I went last week to Taipei for the 2018 edition of g0v summit, a biennial event organized by the g0v community to bring academics, hackers, activists and/or policy-makers interested in open government, open source collaboration and civic participation. The agenda included very stimulating keynotes (by Anasuya Sengupta, Ethan Zuckerman, Heather Leson and Michael Canares), talks (e.g, Parti’s experiments in South Korea, Pegabot and Mudamos systems from Brazil), panels (e.g., organizations of workers from the tech sector) and a crazy closing session of lightning talks. This impressive program, together with an excellent organization by the g0v community (collaborative notes are available here), made this summit the most inspiring conference I have ever attended.
My participation consisted of a 60 minutes workshop on characterizing online participation in civic technologies. The content was based on my ongoing PhD research, supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness under the María de Maeztu Units of Excellence Programme (MDM-2015-0502). In particular, I presented practical examples of how interfaces, technical features and algorithms might have influenced behaviour in civic technologies. Using data from platforms like Decide Madrid, Decidim Barcelona, and Menéame, I showed how conversation threading affects the deliberative structures of online discussion and how sorting algorithms explain the dynamics of petition signing. Finally, we had a open discussion on how to improve the performance of civic technologies by applying participatory design, as done in Metadecidim.