Countywide Community Forums

In the last weeks of 2010, we solidified our web presence by acquiring the “” and “” domain names, and we’d like to start off the New Year by thanking Countywide Community Forums for giving us those domains on very generous terms.

Countywide Community Forums is actually an interesting Gov 2.0 effort itself. They provide civic engagement forums and surveys designed to give elected officials an accurate picture of what their constituents are thinking; equally importantly, the forums are a place for those constituents to discuss issues with each other. The forums are designed to enable diffuse opinion to coalesce into something coherent — a kind of smoothing factor for representative democracy. We’ve seen other tools that do this (think IdeaScale); the innovative touch here is that it’s both online and in-person, and is specifically designed for citizen engagement with elected officials. CCF even provides videos to help people learn how to facilitate in-person events more productively.

This is all happening in a pretty big venue: King County is the 14th-largest county in the United States, home to the city of Seattle (the county seat), but extending well beyond the city, into rural areas. CCF is part of a public-private partnership with the county government, under the 2007 “The Easy Citizen Involvement Initiative”, with the forums and surveys used to give the county government feedback about budget priorities (and getting a fair amount of notice for it: see some of these other articles about CCF, in particular this September 2010 Seattle Times Op-Ed).

CCF had been using the “” and “.net” domains mainly as unpublished aliases forwarding to their main site, so no public confusion should be caused by the name transfer. We’re grateful CCF agreed to help us out by letting us have the domains, and glad to have been brought into contact with another Gov 2.0 organization doing civic engagement work.

– Tim O’Reilly and the Civic Commons team

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  • Diana Toledo

    So glad to see that the County Wide Community Forum as received such notoriety. I had the chance to attend one this summer and was very impressed. The information gathered from the community should help our leadership better understand our priorities.

  • http://, Sarah S

    this is my first time here and I just wanted to stop by to say Hello!