The Giving Carnival Evolution

I really like the way the Giving Carnival has evolved. The back and forth discussion that came out of the last edition was great. Now I’m ready to refine the way it is structured and I want your help. As I said last week:

To date, The Giving Carnival has been (in the words of Holden of GiveWell), a “collection of disconnected editorials”. I’d much rather it become (again in Holden’s words) a “space to provide dialogue and constructive criticism”.

So how do we move towards the goal of dialogue? Certainly the Giving Blogs as a group have made great strides towards this goal and The Giving Carnival has only been one of the instruments.

Albert Ruesga suggests the following in a recent comment:

Let’s never lose the original aggregating function of the Giving Carnivals. I know it helps me enormously to see how different people—some with clearly defined agendas, others not—approach the same question.

Your idea of a debate-style riff on the form is a good one. Here are three ideas:

  1. The many on one option Instead of proposing a topic or topic questions, why not suggest that we all comment on or respond to some blog post that stakes out a clear position? I’d want to do this only with the permission and participation of the original blogger, perhaps even giving him/her first crack at laying bare the weaknesses in his/her position.
  2. The bucket brigade Although it would take longer to produce the final product, find N bloggers willing to “bucket brigade” a given topic. Each has a strict word limit. Blogger number one starts off and hands off to blogger number two who must respond directly to what blogger number one has written (i.e., no disconnected soap-boxing); etcetera. When the piece is finished, give it to one of the participants to publish on his or her site. Rotate who gets to publish it.
  3. The hidden treasures option A lot of light and some great heat is generated in the comments sections. Phil Cubeta has mastered the art of drawing this very interesting material into the main body of a blog post. I wish there were some widget that could enable us to more easily feature the best of these exchanges.

And, by the bye, why not widen the circle by inviting a guest moderator to comment on the debate and sum up?

What does everyone else think? How can we turn The Giving Carnival into the equivalent of Meet The Press for philanthropy? Where THE issues of the week are debated with passion and heat, but with the respect for other’s position that comes from having an open mind and understanding the limits of our own ability to correctly interpret reality.


  1. Lisa Kays says:

    I really like options 1 and 2. I’m also wondering if there’s some sort of an option that could be similar to two, but consist of someone throwing out a question they’re perplexed by, the next person answering it from their perspective and then throwing out another question, and on down the line.

    In any case, sounds like some great ideas regardless and I can’t wait to participate in whatever you come up with next!

  2. Holden says:

    What we need to do is get all the conversations organized at one location. It’s too much of a pain to check 5 different blogs for comments.

    Two ideas for doing this, one high-tech and one low-tech.

    HIGH-TECH. Everything’s RSS, right? We just need one URL that uses the RSS of each post to display teh post, then the comment-RSS for that post to display the comments under it, then gives a “Respond” link that just takes you to the comment page for that post. A sidebar can show the most recently added comments across all the posts – so you have one place to follow the whole conversation. And this page itself can provide a feed. I don’t know how to do all of this, but I do know that it’s all easy. Just find someone who knows what they’re doing.

    LOW TECH. Have the Carnival host manually copy-paste each post into a new thread on a central bulletin board (we can use vBulletin or YaBB or whatever). Then, encourage people to continue that dialogue on that single page, rather than on individual blogs. The downside relative to high-tech is that conversations happening on individual blogs won’t automatically show up on the central page – people will have to purposefully use the central page instead.

  3. Phil says:

    How about inviting someone who does not blog to “meet the press” by having an interview or an essay published. Then, on a given day, others would be invited to comment and the noted author, would participate in the comment section for that one day. Even a busy person might agree to those terms.

    The purpose would be to widen the conversation by including those “movers and shakers” who do not blog, for example, Walter Issacson or Adam Myerson from Aspen, or Bill Schambra from Hudson. Would they be willing to “meet the press” online?

    Or, think of it as a call-in show, where the voices from the hinterlands are blog comments.

  4. Paul Botts says:

    I like options 1 and 2 and would be glad to participate in either of them.