Recent comments and messages from a few members indicate that it may be time for us to take some next steps to "do more". We are trying to see if there are good and practical ideas on "what next" and "do more", this is the place-holder posts to capture your input.
Doing things in consultation with members fits in our culture as we wish to be open and transparent community limited only by practical constraints of time, money and the initial thoughts that started it all. So here is some context before we kick this off.
First, a quick list of the thoughts that bind the set of about a dozen people who joined hands to build what we have today.
- Praja is neither an NGO, nor a journalistic venture. There is space between polarized NGOs, and pure media. NGOs consist of "converted" people (already know a lot), and media prefers to share information and versions that sell. We don't know enough, and can understand stuff a lot better by sharing our observations.
- This is primarily a place for aware citizens to "network" and "talk sense". We don't belittle discussions. Talking sense as in showing willingness to understand as opposed to mere cribbing is the critical first step towards becoming active and aware citizen.
- Going beyond discussions is left to the members. There is no pressure - talk as much sense as you want. On the other hand, you can't come talk, and then demand or expect someone else to do the walking.
- Talking sense, and creating useful content in terms of requirements or factually bright suggestions can lead to indirect influence. More sense we talk, more chances that we will be heard by those in a position to do something with it. We truly believe that positive and constructive talk tends to find its way.
- Beyond this, we do our best to make it possible for members to group together and connect with local bodies. These connects are expected to be carried forward by enthusiastic members themselves. Our long term goal is to build creative, loosely structured, transparent and collaborative ways of facilitating these connects. Remember, there is a fine line between "my suggestion" and "our suggestion". Sending links to consolidated quality discussions (representing a group) would work better than each of us sending our personal ideas to govt email addresses.
- Ideally, with time, we would connect with NGOs, or "do-ers" to direct (or funnel) those who want to go beyond discussions (numbers are usually thin here)
- For those members who will like to collaborate on projects here itself, we are building project management type systems, with time, we will invite NGOs to make use of our tools to run (and publicize) their projects.
Next, and pretty important, a quick note on how it all works today:
- An early set of people built the website. They continue to maintain it, on volunteering basis.
- There is now a Society consisting of donors who pool in money to support 1 full time engineer to help run this Internet based community.
- Praja "donors" is a closed group right now, but we will soon open it up to all registered users so that Praja lovers can donate to support and keep this community running.
Bottom-line - be aware of the thoughts behind building this place, and think practical aspects of implementing what you would suggest.
Look forward to a healthy discussion, this time about Praja itself.