Q: What is this project and what are the organizations involved?
Thank you for your interest in our site. This is a collaborative effort between America’s Path Forward, Civic Commons and The Evergrey to start a conversation about our shared future and how to move towards prosperity together. America’s Path Forward (APF) is a national effort to unite the American public in civic dialogue about our shared future. Civic Commons is a Seattle Foundation initiative focused on building equitable futures through community-driven, cross-sector partnerships. The Evergrey is a digital news publication that helps Seattlites make the most of their city and is supporting this project through media promotion.
Q: Who funds America’s Path Forward?
Currently APF is funded through donated services by the participating organizations. These include: Civic Commons, The Everygrey, MIT Media LAb, FindOurView and the Local Voices Network.
Q: Does America’s Path Forward have a political agenda?
Our agenda is to make it possible for the American public to be in conversation with each other.
Q: Why should I participate?
For too long politicians and media have framed the questions that most concern the public. We believe that it is time for the public to be in charge of shaping its own vision and setting the agenda for this country.
Q: Who is eligible to participate?
Anyone aged 14 or above is eligible to donate a question and participate in a APF conversation (with those under the age of 18 requiring permission from a parent or guardian). We recognize that when dealing with minors, there ought to be an extra level of sensitivity to dealing with personal information.
Q: Can non-English speakers participate?
Questions can be submitted in any language and will be thoughtfully translated and equally represented in our collection. However, the facilitated conversations are only offered in English at this time. We are working to expand the language offering for our next pilot.
Q: I have a question that wasn’t answered here. Who should I contact?
For further questions or to learn more about the project please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to answer all questions within 1-2 business days.
Q: What are you doing with the questions submitted? Who will have access to the data and how will they use it?
All submissions will be made available to the public via the America’s Path Forward site. It will also be exported into secure data files and made available to our internal team for analysis. Our team will carefully sort and categorize questions into emergent themes, which will ultimately inform the topics of the factiliated, community conversations.
Q: What measures will be taken to protect my privacy?
Although APF will not collect and publish detailed personal information about participants, similar to calling in to a local talk radio show, participants should understand that their identity could later be recognized by others who were not part of the conversation.
We support participants’ privacy by asking that they only share a first name (and explain that they are welcome to use a pseudonym), collecting demographic information via an optional survey, and removing any identifying information through the redaction process. For virtual conversations, we remove the video and use only audio.
Q: When will the conversations be hosted?
Conversations will be hosted the week of September 4. More details will be provided as they become available.
Q: How can I sign up to join a conversation?
The times and themes of conversations will be posted on The Everygrey and Civic Commons sites as soon as possible. If you sign up for APF, we will also send you email notifications.
Q: How many people will be included in a conversation?
There will be between 6 to 8 participants in a conversation, plus a facilitator.
Q: What is the job of a facilitator? Who are the facilitators and how are they trained?
Facilitators guide the conversations, making sure that everyone in the group has a chance to be heard, and assist people in bringing their thoughts to the surface. While some experience leading groups is helpful, the role of the Facilitator is as a neutral party in the conversation that keeps the conversation going, but doesn't interject much at all. All facilitators are experienced professionals that received additional online training specific to APF.
Q: Will the conversations be recorded? What are you doing with the recordings?
Yes, all conversations will be recorded via Zoom. We will not sell access to participant data, or in any other way profit from use of that data. Our partner, Local Voices Network, will store the recordings, transcribe and analyze them, and share this information with hosts and people who participate in the conversations. Selections of audio will ultimately be published on the Evergrey site and other partner channels.
Q: If someone says something they regret, can it be deleted?
Yes. Participants can request a redaction if there was something they said that they don’t want to be part of the public record. At any time participants may email email@example.com to request a redaction, specifying what they like to remove (to the best of their memory) and provide details on which conversation they were in. While we will honor these requests at all times, we advise that participants make their request as soon as possible after the conversation has completed.
Q: Can I access the recording of the conversation after I participate?
Our partner, Local Voices Network (LVN), has created a web-based tool for accessing and exploring the conversations on app.lvn.org. LVN’s system creates a transcript for each recorded conversation and uploads both the transcript and audio recording to the explorer tool. The system highlights keywords that emerge across the different conversations and allows users to search conversations, listen to audio snippets, and discover patterns.