Use Case Overview
A municipal government decides to implement participatory budgeting (PB) online. The PB process proceeds in three phases: (1) idea collection, (2) project proposal development, and (3) voting.
Administrators: People who make the rules of the PB process and oversee its implementation
Idea submitters: People who propose projects that could be funded by PB
Budget delegates: People who take project ideas and develop them into feasible project proposals (e.g., design, cost estimate, timeline, etc.)
Voters: People who cast a PB ballot to vote for projects (typically includes idea submitters, budget delegates, and anyone else eligible to participate)
Example User Flow
Trigger: An administrator tells PolicyKit to initiate a PB process
The administrator has accounts with PolicyKit (or some other driver), Discourse, Loomio, and Open Collective. The administrator already has specified the rules of the PB process in PolicyKit (e.g., who can propose an idea to be funded, who can be a budget delegate, and the rules for voting in the process).
After the administrator initiates the PB process, Metagov creates topics on the group’s Discourse. The topics correspond to the project funding themes already stipulated by the administrator in PolicyKit (e.g., transportation, arts, education, etc.).
Idea submitters then propose project ideas in Discourse within the Topics created by Metagov. Each thread is a project idea proposal, and users can like and reply to the thread to discuss the possibilities of the project idea. Example: An idea submitter creates a thread on the “Transportation” topic to propose installing a bench at a bus stop. Other idea submitters then reply to the thread to discuss whether they like the idea of a bench at that bus stop.
Either when the administrator manually directs PolicyKit to move to the next phase of PB, or after a period of time that already was stipulated in PolicyKit when the administrator initiated the PB process (e.g., 2 weeks), Metagov closes the Discourse (users can still view everything but no longer create or reply to threads) and transfers the project ideas (threads) over to Loomio categories (the categories would correspond with the Discourse topics, such as transportation, arts, education, etc.) and threads. Budget delegates then work on the project ideas to develop them into full-fledged project proposals using Loomio’s poll and decision-making features. During this time, some project ideas are eliminated and others are approved to be placed on the PB ballot.
Either when the administrator manually directs PolicyKit to move to the next phase of PB, or after a period of time set in PolicyKit (e.g., 8 weeks), Metagov closes the Loomio discussions and transfers the approved project proposals and their descriptions from Loomio to Stanford PB, creating a PB ballot with the projects already populated. Voters then cast ballots for the projects they want to see funded.
Either when the administrator manually directs PolicyKit to move to the next phase of PB, or after a period of time set in PolicyKit (e.g., 2 weeks), Metagov closes voting on the Stanford PB ballot and transfers winning projects to Open Collective, which updates the budget to include spending on the approved projects.
Throughout each phase of the PB process, perhaps Metagov can track data and send that back to PolicyKit for reporting purposes. Or maybe Metagov just tracks the data and reports it to the administrator? Examples of data to collect and report: Number of idea submitters on Discourse, number of projects proposed in Discourse (e.g., number of threads created), number of projects moved from Loomio to the Stanford PB ballot, number of PB ballots submitted, and the breakdown of votes on the ballot).
Is there a way that Metagov could interface with PolicyKit to make the rules of the process easy to select before the administrator initializes PB in PolicyKit? For instance, Stanford PB has a wide range of settings: Size of the budget to be allocated, the window of dates available for voting, how to validate PB voter eligibility, and the voting method. Could Metagov present these options to the administrators either when the PB process is first initialized, or when project proposals are transferred from Loomio to the Stanford PB ballot?