#AskDurban

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The plan for Durban Answers is quickly taking shape. In the previous blog post, I briefly mentioned we would be kicking off Durban Answers with an online campaign aimed at crowd-sourcing questions from citizens to get a sense of the most pressing day to day challenges that people are facing. This online campaign will build the database of questions that we will use in our Write-a-thon.

What is a write-a-thon? Well Durban Answers requires a lot of content in a short amount of time to build the database of answers. So, in order to do that, we will host an event where writers, techies, or people with nothing to do on a Friday night can come to the write-a-thon and answer as many questions as they can. That content will be the answers that everyday citizens can use to navigate government services — built by citizens for citizens.

Over the next few months, we will host 1–2 cycles of crowd-sourcing for content. Each cycle starts with an online “Ask Durban” campaign, and finishes off with the Write-a-thon event. After we generate the content necessary, we will rely on the contributors to test the site and the answers provided. This is called “user-testing” and is a chance for you to tell us whether or not the site is useful or how it can improve.

Citizen participation in this process is THE crucial component for two reasons. Firstly, we are relying on Durbanites to tell us what their pains are and help generate an easy answer to those questions. Secondly, and probably most important, we want citizens to take ownership of Durban Answers and build a network of active citizens who are interested and passionate about making their city work better for them. We really can’t do this without you.

Some of you may be thinking — what is an Answers project? Answers projects are a civic platform that allows citizens to type in a question about city services for a quick and simple response, mainly in the form of a step-by-step “how-to” format. “Its a citizen-centric website that is question driven with clean, easy-to-navigate design. This simple site functions similar to Google it centers around a search box where a resident can ask a question or type in keywords using standard language and receive friendly and comprehensible responses.”

While Durban Answers might still be taking shape at this stage, we will be kicking off the “Ask Durban” campaign in the next few days. If you have even the slightest inkling of curiosity of what this thing is, follow us on Facebook and Twitter over the next few days to stay up to date on the launch of the “Ask Durban” Campaign. #AskDurban

That’s it for now.

Your blogger for all things Durban and all things urban,

- Sophie

Sophie McManus is ODD Inclusive Cities Fellow


Originally published at Open Data Durban.