‘Activate Wichita’ outreach system may be echo chamber of positivity


FAULTY FEEDBACK: Is feedback effective if you can’t give a negative ratings?

By Bob Weeks | WatchdogWire.com

Activate Wichita is touted by Wichita city officials as an “online conversation about the future of the Greater Wichita metropolitan area.”

On Facebook, Activate Wichita is sold as “an innovative new way to be heard on the issues your passionate about. Whether your passion is local arts, the environment, or employment creation, you can log on and voice your opinion and local leaders will respond. Together communities come up with solutions and vote on the best course.”

For an outreach system designed to be an interactive conversation, there aren’t many people talking. I might not have looked diligently enough, but I didn’t see local leaders responding. Occasionally, ideas were marked as “referred to appropriate party.”

The real problem is that when citizens are asked to rate ideas, they can only express approval or express neutrality. There are no options for voicing discontent or disagreement with a city proposal. Your choices for voting on an idea are:

  • I Love It!
  • I Like It.
  • It’s OK.
  • Neutral.

That’s it. “Neutral” is as much dissent as Wichita citizens are allowed to express in this system.

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