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      So, just some interesting learnings to share.

      At the top level, it’s interesting to me how this project has evolved. Originally it was intended to simply be a mechanism for enabling me to engage with viewpoints I did not understand so I could learn about them, but which I could not engage with face-to-face due to COVID restrictions. But it has evolved much beyond that.

      Now I think it has multiple goals:

      1. Still the ability to help me engage and understand unfamiliar viewpoints.
      2. Also now, though, the mechanism I built to achieve that I realized could also be useful to others, so that is now an additional goal. (Sadly I am reaching the limit of my own web/information/usability design skill, so that is a limiting factor at the moment.)
      3. With the surveybot mechanism I built in for scalability, the — I think it’s time to refer to it as a “system” — the system now has the ability to expand geographically and collect data across a much broader set of subjects. So that is now a goal: collecting unique, insight-opening data sets.

      Yet, it continues to evolve. One of the most interesting — and possibly exciting — aspects, just recently emerged from the participants’ data.

      If you look at the Viewpoint Map as originally structured, it was conceived as a method of comparing two opposing viewpoints, side-by-side. So there are two columns, one for each viewpoint, and a narrow column in the middle into which I placed a vertical line, to denote a division between the two. Now, at the time that made sense, because the original purpose of the tool was to simply lay out competing viewpoints. But when you think about what we are trying to do in abstract with e.pluribus.US — enable accomplishment despite opposing views — there is an obvious flaw with that structure.

      And then … when I started gathering opinions, the flaw was revealed; some of them did not fit into either opposing side. Some were calling for — egad! — comprise. (wot?!) I quickly realized I had not offered a “compromise” viewpoint in the map. So I immediately iterated, adding that option. And then, over time, more and more compromise proposals came in. I do not actually think that the inclusion of a compromise option is what influenced that trend, but then it occured to me … “Would it be possible to structure the Viewpoint Map in such a way that it actually psychologically invites the insight, ‘Maybe we should be looking for a cooperative solution here’?” (As our advisor Ron Drabkin wished for, something akin to a Venn diagram.)

      And I find that possibility fascinating. It was not at all what I expected this project to lead to. So that is something I am working on now. In the latest version of the Viewpoint Map you can maybe see some of the initial/simplistic things I have done to toy with that idea (once again hitting the limit of my information design skill).

      I also am going to take advantage of the improved scalability to, as probably Phase 0.4, expand to a topic that is relevant nationally. There are some efficiency obstacles I still need to overcome, but hope to achieve this within the next few months. First, though, will be Phase 0.3, another contentious local issue, to continue to shake out the bugs before we go national.

      Also need to figure out how to gather impressions/reactions/feedback from users on the question of how useful they find this tool at all. Have asked every participant so far; only a few responses on that. Need to make that a priority in Sep/Oct.

      There were a bunch of other learnings, but we’ll leave it at this for now.

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