A dialogue between people who share a planet?

The_New_York_Times___chevyI stumbled over a Chevy ad on the front page of the New York Times today, announcing a dialogue about alternative energy with the headline "We share a planet, why not share a dialogue".  While I appreciate the offer to talk openly about their alternative fuel efforts (and realize I have to do some more research about the seriousness of their efforts), I disagree with their choice of words. After navigating to the microsite, I had to realize all they offer is a Q&A section. The answers seem to be pretty open and address the issues, but technically a Q&A doesn't qualify as a dialogue:  Users can only submit questions, neither are they able to respond to the answer nor are other visitors able to leave their response to the answer or the initial question - Chevy has the final word!

Yahoo Local adds community suggestion board feature

Yahoo just added a community suggestion board feature on its Local site for two California cities where citizens can post and deliberate about local issues.  People rate the suggestions, comment on them, subscribe to posts about particular issues and spread the word by printing flyers, adding events and forwarding posts to neighbors.


From "...for instance, on the Sacramento "Neighbors" site, people have suggested that the city needs more downtown gas stations, more urban farms, and a dog park. It turns out the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen is seeking volunteers and a group is volunteering to help with painting projects.

The pilot test is also running for San Carlos, south of San Francisco. Following a three- to six-month trial, the feature will roll out nationally, Yahoo said.

"We're providing a forum for the community to air considerations," which ideally will lead to action, Frazier Miller, general manager of Yahoo Local, said on Wednesday. "We think people are very passionate about their local community. This is a Web 2.0 site for people to talk about local community issues."

It's interesting to see big players jump on the hyperlocal bandwagon. Also, I'm fascinated by the overlap with's Issues Forums. The interesting question will be: Is simply offering the right features enough to build community and to be heard by decision makers?

eConsultation Platform for National Leadership Summits

We've been asked by Bill Becker, who's hosting the National Leadership Summits to provide an easy way to collect feedback on a large amount of ideas generated in the past to be included into the next Presidential Climate Action Plan. This is a screencast showcasing the eConsultation platform we built on Drupal. My first screencast... I'll keep practicing:

Some background information on the project:

In 1993, a group of American leaders began a six-year process to create a sustainable development agenda for the nation. The group was the President's Council on Sustainable Development, created during the Clinton Administration. Many of its ideas have remain just that -- ideas. Some have been implemented, but most have not. We need your help updating and refining these ideas to include them into the next Presidential Climate Action Plan.


In 2006, the Johnson Foundation began hosting a series of four National Leadership Summits to renew a discussion about U.S. sustainability. The summits, each involving 40 of the country's best thinkers, developed additional ideas about how to advance energy policy, natural resource stewardship and sustainable community development, especially in light of global climate change. (Learn more at   The final summit will take place in October. Its mission is to produce a five-year action plan to revitalize the goal of sustainable development and to identify the nation's next steps.
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