E-Democracy.Org is developing a framework for local neighborhood/neighbourhood "life" forums.
Based on our analysis, the largest forums across the Internet are those that include a local marketplace of sorts. Mixed with discussions about public safety or community events are posts about garage sales, community fundraising events, etc. However, with our civic mission in mind we'd need to do something different than simply create a hyper-local Craigslist or Freecycle. Those forums that include a "Local Market" seem to have more participants than those restricted to more or less local neighborhood politics.
Below is some draft text on a feature neighbor forums could opt-in to allowing on their group. Some forums may decide to limit such postings and refer people to other places.
Local Market - DRAFT
This neighborhood forum's local market is strictly hyper-local. It promotes green-friendly exchange and support for locally owned small business.
- Free items - You may donate free items via the forum as long as the listing is presented here at 24 hours before being posted elsewhere online. The subject line should start with "Free:" with an update on quickly taken items shared as well. Those receiving a free item(s) valued over $20 are to donate $5 to a local charity listed with the forum (planned for mid-2008). The "green" approach to donating a used couch is to share it with some down the street before having someone drive across town.
- Free to post - Job postings, free live events and music, and roommate wanted postings are free, but must only be within the neighborhood. Charitable community event postings, even with a charge, are also free.
- Digital coupons - Locally owned independent small businesses and coops may share digital coupons that have actual monetary value twice a month. Businesses, including those providing services, must be located within or immediately adjacent to the boundaries of the neighborhood (as defined in the forum charter). Businesses are to donate $10 for each coupon set posted to E-Democracy.Org in support of this forum. Coupons may be sent in text and/or PDF or Word format and must include an expiry date within 60 days.
- Additional postings offering services such as childcare, fix-it, etc. are to use the digital coupon service. This does not include private replies to those requesting advice on a service provider (e.g. "Who can recommend a good plumber?")
- Post with donation - Used car, garage sale, for rent flyers, and any items listed totaling over $100 (in text or a 1 to 2 page PDF or Word file including photos) require a $10 donation to E-Democracy.Org. Home and condo for sale postings require a $50 donation. (A great way to save on color print costs with your interested neighbors.)
- Limited Geography - All "Local Market" postings must come from businesses and people within the boundaries of the neighborhood. Digital coupons and free live events extend the range to businesses immediately adjacent to neighborhood boundaries. Charitable events and offerings, may be posted more widely ONLY if members of the organization who live in this neighborhood post the announcement.