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[liberationtech] testing out a new platform for collective action

neal lesh nlesh at
Sun Oct 9 08:24:18 PDT 2016

Hi everybody,


I hope this is an appropriate posting for this mailing list, but I'm writing
to see if some of you might like to help test out a new project. I'm working
with some colleagues to launch Shared Nation-a project to support large
scale collective action to address the world's biggest challenges. I've
included a description below.

Starting Oct 12, we're going to do a 1-week test-run of our current site to
get feedback on the user experience, as well as identify any bugs or rough
edges in the current prototype. We'll be playing with fake money. It should
take about 5-10 minutes per day, and it's fine if you don't do it every day.
We'll have a short survey at the end, as well as other avenues for feedback.


If it sounds like fun, send me an email (nlesh at and I'll add you
to the list. Feel free to ask me any questions, or send me any thoughts as

Thanks very much,








Overview of Shared Nation


We're building a new platform called Shared Nation to allow large groups of
people to pool resources and collectively select projects to support.  These
collective decisions are made by having Shared Nation give each participant
two projects per day, and having them decide which they would rather
support. Participants can also share their knowledge or opinions about
projects by posting comments on project pages. Our first round will focus on
climate change projects. Future rounds will focus on other issues, such as
income inequity or biodiversity.  We've spent a lot of time designing a
process that we think is efficient, engaging, and effective. It works like


1.  Joining: Participants each contribute a small amount of money or commit
time in advance to a common pool of resources. Note: in the test round, this
will be fake money/time. 


2.  Reviewing Projects: Participants browse project pages that contain a
description of a project and links to the organization backing the project.
Participants can post comments and rate other participants' comments, much
like product reviews on shopping sites. We're building Shared Nation on an
eCommerce platform (called Shopify)  so the process of reviewing ideas
should be familiar to people who have shopped online. 


3. Quick Daily Voting on Projects:  Every day, each participant will be
given a choice of two projects, and pick the one they would rather support
We'll combine all these votes to rank the projects based on which ones are
favored the most. After two weeks, we'll select eight finalists who will
match off against each other until we have determined the 1st place project,
2nd place project, etc. Note: in the test round, we'll run an abbreviated
version of this which will only take 1 week. 


4. Allocating Resources: The 1st place-winning project will get most of the
funding, the 2nd place some funding, and so on. In our early experiments, we
found people were very enthusiastic about contributing time as well as
money. We're designing useful tasks that can be completed by a large number
of people each contributing a small amount of time, such as crowdsourcing
feedback on messaging or strategic choices, or a coordinated burst of posts
on Facebook to raise awareness for your organization. Note: in the test
round, we'll just announce the winner but not actually allocate resources. 



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