Open Agile Discussion: Speech is free, time is not

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The aim of this meeting series is to practice constructive and civil discussion about the kinds of 'hot button' issues that, in the online world, all too often explode into wars of words, into antipathy, opprobrium, and incomprehension. As Jaron Lanier has put it in 'ten arguments for deleting your social media', social media sets people from thinking like individuals, to thinking like pack animals. "Democracy fails when the switch is set to Pack. Tribal voting, personality cults, and authoritarianism are the politics of the Pack setting". This meeting group is about turning us back into individuals.

But how?

1. Sign up to the meetup group, contact me, or meet me outside Waterstones on Sauchiehall Street between 5.40 and 5.50 on Wednesday evenings. We'll then head in for discussions with coffee which will finish by 7 (because Waterstones closes at 7! When time's more limited, it's more valuable!)

Once inside, we use a couple of techniques from lean-agile meeting practice:

2. We propose and vote on topics for discussion on post-its, starting with the most popular topic, then working through the rest until we run out of time.

3. Each topic is given 10 minutes for discussion in the first instance. By consensus, we can continue to discuss the topic, or more onto the next topic. (As in software, if we're going to fail, fail fast. And as in life, if you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough!)

4. For topics where there are clear binary positions, and people who strongly believe in one side or the other, we may adopt a more structured format, employing some ideas from conflict mediation, which will likely take around 30-40 minutes to complete.

The meet-up itself will finish by 19.00, but I'll usually be happy to continue conversations somewhere else afterwards.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!

Jon