[Please Note: Contents of this post have been moved to a page under "About" section of the website. The FAQ will be maintained there]
Let us be clear here. We are building Praja.in to be the breeding ground for citizen activism. Activism involves knowing, caring and particpating, and can be a mix of online and on-ground activities. One reality is that to get good participation in on-ground activities, you need a bigger pool of citizens to draw from. From our experience, 2-5% tends to be the conversion rate - if 100 folks say "I will help", 2-5 will end up coming to the event.
Now, most self-help groups today will work primarily with this on-ground activist set (5% of the pool), and not have much for other 95% who have the interest, but couldn't show up often enough. But here, we won't belittle those who prefer discussions. Because, we know and recognize that not everyone is open to sacrificing weekends and evenings on a regular basis to do things on-ground. But, if we have a bigger pool of, say 5000 members, then, any call for "lets do this" should attract 40-50 folks. Every next event may see a different set 40-50 people - but is that a problem? Its not, provided we do these things:
- Be transparent in our activities. Dump all context on the website, so that the next set of people can just pick up from where the last set of people left.
- However, there should be a group of at least 3-4 people who'd be willing to 'lead', which means that they be present at most events for their pet cause.
- There may be virtual ways of helping as well - filing online complaints, doing background research work, sharing past experiences are some examples.
Hope this explains what we are chasing here at praja.in. There are plenty of activist groups around, we are not trying to eclipse any. But, we are trying to provide a transparent, and Internet rooted platform for existing, or new activist groups. Our strength will be:
- Use Internet to the hilt - knowledge sharing, transparent log of activities, (some day) online meetings as well.
- No disrespect for those who prefer to discuss but may not be ready (no time, family situation, etc) for on-ground action. Hopefully, with time, the circumstances, or peer pressure from the rest of us will make many convert into "activists"
- Democratic nature- Admins dont push their pet causes. Come find your friends for your cause, and if it sticks, and more members join in, we will set you up with the tools on the website. For example, it might be that a group of people run the campaign to privatize BMTC (via PIL), while at the same time, another group seeks to keep it public but make it more responsible.
- However, we will do a little moderation for things like foul language, uncivil behavior, and strong arguments backed neither by facts nor by positive or constructive intent.
Before we close this post, here are some messages to members with special profiles:
- Policy makers - Please get in touch if you want to connect with any of us, or soon-to-be formed "engagement groups" here on praja.in.
- Journalists - We are not here to compete with the newspapers. We feed on you, and direct people to you for more. If you can help drive some publicity for us, that will be great. If you want tighter associations, do contact us.
- Members of existing activist or self-help groups - Praja.in is not trying to eclipse you. We only want to bring all like minded folks in one big virtual hall. Please consider making Praja.in your "online" home, thats all.
- Businesses wanting to help (ex: with CSR funds) - We are still working on 'financial' structure for our operations. If you want to help, please contact us, and we will queue you up for later interaction when we finalize our workings.
- Businesses willing to run ads - Same as above. However, do stay in touch.
- All of above - we promise confidentiality of contact communications.
Hope this explains and answers common questions we may have about praja.in. Comments are most welcome, do help shape and refine this community's thoughts.