Public Lab Research note

Diagramming knowledge production on

by warren | January 27, 2017 22:03 27 Jan 22:03 | #13886 | #13886

On a recent (weekly) open research call, @liz and I wanted to work through some mental models of how knowledge is produced on Public Lab -- especially with our new #research-culture initiative. We're trying to make things clear and inviting, but we know there are lots of questions -- so we gave it a shot. @gretchengehrke and @stevie chipped in too!

For better or worse, our first attempt ended up being really complicated! Of course, everyone understands things differently, but although this was really interesting (see how Ask a Question spans from Entry to Production, challenging the 1-9-90 ratio -- the idea that only more involved people become content producers...), it wasn't helpful from the perspective of one person's journey through the site.

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Well... helpful but COMPLICATED.

Attempt 2

So we gave it another try -- shown here and as the main image. image description

This one made a lot more sense to us! It starts with the basic interests/attitudes that a few different people might have upon arriving on the site, and imagines how they might transition to becoming more involved.

It's still a work in progress, and people of course understand things in different ways.

So, what do you think?

Make your own diagram

We used Google Slides to do this -- and here's the document itself -- give it a go, and post your own diagrams in the comments!


In light of all the work we've done to build out Q&A and activities on so many different topic and methods pages, I tried for a simplified diagram of the site -- it doesn't capture all routes, or all types of pages, but i think it substantially represents the bulk of the site's features in a legible way:


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@stevie @gretchengehrke @liz -- this last diagram is a stab at explaining the site to newcomers; it's just a first step but thought you might have thoughts to add.

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@liz @stevie - after the diagram Liz and I worked on yesterday:


...I brainstormed a bit on this and wanted to make another "phases of PL work" diagram that's good for introducing, but not overwhelming; I'm not sure about it but what do you think? I put it in the same diagramming doc above.


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