Since this pattern language is designed to be developed by the community that grows around it, we are providing the following list of questions to help guide their pattern writing and editing process. It is the same list we used to guide our development of the initial 70 patterns. While it’s not required that every pattern necessarily be able to answer yes to every question on this list, these are hallmarks that have been noted and found useful across many of the patterns.

Is it a window on and enabler of the underlying aspiration of this project – to evoke and engage the wisdom and resourcefulness of the whole on behalf of the whole?

Does it further the goals of the project?

  • Nurture the collective wisdom-generating capacity of a democracy
  • Help activists and democratic reformers see better directions for their work
  • Serve as a resource for those who are teaching others
  • Provide a compelling vision for inspired citizens to demand and communities to strive for
  • Expand wise-democratic literacy among people closely involved in democratic processes, enabling them to talk clearly together about what’s happening and what to do about it

Does it point us toward “the quality that has no name”? Does it describe a feature that shows up repeatedly in democratic systems that exhibit exceptional vitality, health, spirit, sustainability and quality of life?

Does it feel resonant? Is it evocative? Does my gut respond to this with a sense of recognition (if it is common experience) or curiosity (if it is unusual)?

Does it happen across methods/approaches? Is it a common piece underlying multiple methodologies?

Can it take a large variety of forms? “Each pattern describes a problem which occurs [or would occur if we had a wise democracy] over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”–A Pattern Language

Is it fractal? That is, does it – or would it – show up at more than one scale (such as in an organization, a community, and/or a whole society)?

Is it a distinct creature? That is, once grasped, it stands out as its own thing, coherent, and not merely a result of other aspects of democracy. While it may take a while to first “see” a pattern, its essential “shape” should be easy to recall once understood.

Is it unifying? It may bring together what previously seemed like separate aspects of a wise democracy.

Does it describe action that can be consciously undertaken by people trying to nurture public wisdom and a wiser democracy? – rather than, for instance, a dynamic to be passively observed. Does knowledge of this pattern increase the skill of activists, citizens, and democratic change agents and actually lead us towards greater collective wisdom?  In a formal sense, does it have the word “So…” in the middle, with what follows that word being a gentle guidance on applying the pattern to the reader’s life?