This September, ParticipateDB will have been around for two years. Time to maybe kick it up a notch!
Let’s look at how things have been going and what we could or should do next:
First, where do things stand?
On the plus side, it appears that ParticipateDB has quickly grown to become the most comprehensive catalogue of its kind world wide (please correct us if you have proof to the contrary). Based on the occasional kind feedback, many people seem to find it quite useful. Some have even expressed ideas how to expand or build on top of it.
On the not-so-plus side, growth has slowed down in recent months. Many entries are still little more than stubs with key pieces of information missing. Many much-needed features are still missing as well (e.g. proper search, tagging or other metadata, notifications). By and large, contributions have come from only a handful of the 50+ registered users. There’s a backlog of about 100 entries just on my end (mostly resources and projects) that we just haven’t had the time to process yet. Writing decent entries can be a time-consuming task, and since this is a side project, not our main focus, bottle neck happens.
Second, how can we best move things forward?
If you’ve been following the site or have used it occasionally to look up tools or related projects, what are the things you’d like to see? What’s on your wish list? How could ParticipateDB become even more useful to your day-to-day work (and more user friendly, of course)? What should be our strategy to go both wider (more entries) and deeper (more comprehensive entries)? If you’re a tool maker, how would you like to see your work presented?
If you have an opinion, don’t hold back! Please let us and your fellow Participators know what the next version of the site should look like. Leave a comment below or ping us on Twitter, Identica or Facebook. You can also go straight to our support site. We promise to look at each and every idea or request and will start to plan our relaunch efforts accordingly. And please, no holding back: feel free to go crazy!
Third, where’s the party at?
Two years of collecting tools, projects and resources in one of the, dare we say, most exciting and without a doubt very important areas of 21st century civic society warrants a celebration. No details yet, but chances are there will be a little get-together of some sort here in the San Francisco Bay Area some time in the Fall. Stay tuned!
A huge thank you to everyone involved in getting us this far: you have been coding, researching, editing, following, forwarding, commenting, getting the word out etc. — a nice collaborative effort all around!
Somehow it feels we have barely scratched the surface of what’s possible here. There are still hundreds of projects out there that are worth documenting, analyzing and comparing to help us better understand what works and what doesn’t in e-participation. I look forward to a productive year three.