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Gyan part of Praja

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Praja related

Been meaning to write this for a looong time - not intended to be personal.  Posting it here as there are (I assume) multiple admins who can all see this post. Some of the below may be very difficult / in the works etc.

Am trying to figure out the direction of the site. Does it want to be similar to skycrapercity forums where people just post, or get more technical? In other words, my focus is on the "know" or gyan part of praja. I have read all the relevant pages on the site so please, no "surface" or non-serious replies. Here is an example on the extent of technicality:

A software has many facets - language to be used, back-end, front-end/UI, testing, updates and so on; similarly civic projects have many facets. Transportation is a broad category that encompases alignment, its design and construction, design and construction of ancillaries (drains, footpaths), design and actual traffic, transportation (buses, cars), disruptions (hawkers, processions) and so on (not even including other modes like railways and its categories). Each has its subcategory - construction itself has design, construction, on-site inspection, safety, quality control etc. Just like software engineers have typically a 3 to 4-year education that cannot be crammed into gyan for non-software-trained public, so too with other fields. Just used as an example; hope the drift is clear.

For a person to know (and then participate), (s)he has to have enough gyan to participate but not too much to get inundated. Again, for example, if I want to know and complain about my neighbour having a building violation, I need to know to spot the violation. Or, if a recently-laid road got dug up and improperly filled, I want to know what responsibility is mandated for the digging agency and then also need to know who to contact. Here's where the suggestion comes in - if the gyan is categorized, and broken into sub, sub-sub categories and so on, and extracts of documents are placed relevant to that sub-category, it will be immensely helpful in "knowing". Hopefully, caring and participating follow. The most "burning" sub-categories can get started first followed by other ones. Can also be done for items like say pedestrian facilities - if there is a drop-down for the new wards (yeah, not yet notified but can be used here for clarity), people can provide specific suggestions for particular areas (than say city-wide) and authorities can (hopefully) start small and work from there.

Related to the above is bunching together of projects (the earlier project tracker was a good feature that got discontinued for some reason). For example, I saw atleast 3 different posts on the DULT workshop (the full DULT documents were also prime examples of generic or big-picture documents; it is easier to track their implementation piecemeal or area-wise than city-wide). If they were aggregated, it would have been easier to track.

It does take time and a lot of effort. If the admins want to move in that direction, I am willing to walk the talk and invest time in say sub-categorizing and possibly aggregating for one or two sub-topics. Thanks for your time (pun unintended).


tech's picture


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Dear N, thanks a lot of the suggestions, bang on line with what the admins and techs are thinking and planning.

Our priorities right now are

  • Ease of use, ease of navigation and posting
  • Democratic ways of moderation
  • Seperate space for projects (like how it was earlier)

Once past these basics, we will certainly fix Gyan (which has not received tech attention for some time now).

Constructive suggestions are neither taken personally, nor lightly by the admins and techs here. Site has a lot of tech work pending to fulfill the original objectives, we'd say that we are only about 40-50% there.

Do stay tuned, and we will take up on your offer of help here.

tsubba's picture


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thanks n for bringing this up. and you are correct we must somehow compile our experiences and gyaan.

but production of gyaan by itself tricky thingie. . writing gyaan in and by itself is a terribly demanding task and sort of boring.  i think something like that will have to be reflected -post fact.

eventually we will have to find some editors to compile the gyaan that emnates from discussions. but it is important and we should encourage documentation. one approach could be for us to start a "journal" or "magazine" of citizens' experience. to which people contribute articles about their experiences.

at the same time we cannot and should ensure that this doesnot become an artifical burden. because important thing is for people to think and do something about these issues. hopefully what they do they share with us, so that we also learn. imposing the task of gyaan is a burden. somebody like me has terrible time writing 4 cogent sentences. i can draw 50 pictures in the time i can write 4 lines. but if you want me to do field work or hector a babu about the leaking pipe i will. i know atleast half a dozen praje like that - top of my head and i will not take take names, but there is atleast one praje who has awesome articulation skills and yet too scientifically cautious to speak up. he does lot of work but wont talk.

some initial shots.

 oh btw did you see that presentation by manjari?

n's picture

BMTC Presentation

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At tarlesubba - yes, saw the presentation and it is related to the post above. Moving on- and off-topic, below are the thoughts. Disclaimer: Very commendable effort and a good start by a lot of people; again not directed personally against anyone and no offense meant.

Typically, such interactions end up looking at the big picture (Eg: route rationalization city-wide?) or get very local (Eg: need last-mile connectivity for a particular area). The need is to focus and prioritize so BMTC cannot get away with vague assurances and more vague timelines. Thoughts are under Praja point (pp), BMTC (b) and my questions/comments (q).

pp: Lopsided connectivity
b: Will address it (eventually? never?).
q: Need to start somewhere. Suggest a specific area (involving one route), get commitment from BTMC on timeline and get that right generally in that timeline (easy for one person to follow-up). Once implemented, point out 3 more areas and ask them to do similar to 1st area (get more people involved citing first one's success) and so on.

pp: Consolidation of routes
{see above}

pp: Point-to-point service
b: No demand.
q: Point to point is not good if it is for one-way movement in peak hours. Eg: office goers from point 'A' to point 'B' will patronize. How about return from B to A? How about non-morning/evening rush hours? Run buses empty? Point-to-point is good if intermediate points have adequate traffic to and fro (similar to ring routes). Isn't that what Big10 et al are about?

pp: Bus shelters, priority for buses on roads, last-mile.
b: No funds, not in our hands, not feasible.
q: Agree with BMTC. Don't TTMCs address last-mile?

pp: Dissemination of route information.
b: Doing all we can, website revamp, IVRS
q: This should be the first priority and focus area. Impractical (esp. for myriad buses passing through a bus stop) and not feasible to have kiosks with route information. Majority (using whole city) of BMTC users don't use web. IVRS - this is needed yesterday - is the system that most people will patronize (apart from word-of-mouth). Provide 1-800-BMTC-INFO pronto, advertise it intensively on radio/TV/newspapers, make system robust so it doesn't crash and see usage soar. Related focus issue - generally stick to the schedule.
b: Hard to stick to schedule.
q: Give generous travel times, update IVRS and stick to it.
b: Buses break down.
q: Have backup buses and/or hire private contractors especially in denser routes.

pp: Survey routes, future vision, experts, etc.
b: No resources or may do in future. we have traffic planning / transportation degrees and also coordinate with professors from IISc. Do you have other experts that we need to talk with?
q: Agree with BMTC. What better survey than to run a bus for a few months? May end up costing the same as surveying. How to plan for the future when city (and hence peoples' residences, offices, schools/colleges) themselves are unplanned? *puzzled* Just go with the flow and introduce/withdraw buses on an as-and-where basis.

pp: Sustainable.
b: Any specific ideas?
q: Sure - what are the timelines to convert buses to CNG? In Delhi, the SPM reduced by an estimated 80-90% after all buses were converted (too lazy to dig up the link). This is priority number 1a or 2.
b: {squirms} {mumbles} We are looking into it.
q: Don't you (to the MD) want yourself and the public to breathe clean air? How about converting side exhausts (into the faces of the 2-wheelers or window-open cars) into top exhausts as a first step. Won't Tata, AL and Volvo provide mass discount? We need a timeline.

q: {not brought up by pp} Is BMTC talking and coordinating with the elephant in the room - metro?
b: Yes.
q: Can you elaborate how it will be convenient for people to change modes? Does it happen in TTMCs? Away? If away, do you expect people to walk kilometers to change?
b: We will look into it.
q: Also, how about BMTC increasing frequency (where possible) at mono locations so mono routes are decreased? As mentioned elsewhere Metro-Mono-BMTC are ordered in the decreasing order of cost. Will BMTC complement mono or or shrink or withdraw? These are priorities 1c (a, b, c can go on simultaneously). These need to happen before metro/mono become reality so can you start now?

If praja focuses on what BMTC can do instead of generalities, they can be more easily held accountable (harks back to issues raised in the above original gyan post -> on topic -> QED :-) ) Sorry if any bubbles were burst.

Why didn't I bring these "focus" issues into focus before?
1) Am remote and don't want to do "I will tell, you do" kind of preaching.
2) Easy for comments to get lost in the deluge of comments (again, highlighted in original gyan post and on-topic). Also, holy cow, this post got tooo long. Self motto: don't act until officials react ;-)

silkboard's picture

paging N, Tarle - need help wrt Gyan

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Tarle, N - if you read this, please ping. Want to spend september on gyan feature

  • How and where to fit it amongst discussions and projects (projects have wikis now, feature was used to create Namma Railu report)
  • Editing rights - all registred users, or those familiar with praja (praja points > 30 or something like that)
  • Look and feel - keep it distinct from regular website, or have a separate color/font etc?
  • How to present gyan summary on main page? Need to bring about distinction wrt wikipedia. - Local knowledge, link with discussions or projects. small focused community?
n's picture

sent you a pm.

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sent you a pm. comment guidelines

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