What we’ve learned so far

We’re hard at work building our the nextLI website — keep an eye out for a preview soon. In the meantime, we wanted to share some of what we’ve learned from our community outreach survey.

Our survey asked folks to think about the biggest challenge facing Long Island over the next decade.

Affordability was a recurring theme. One person shared the concern that “my grown children won’t be able to afford to buy their own home.” We heard from people about affordability’s many dimensions: housing, transportation, business creation and more.

Another common theme was the need for Long Island to have a vibrant economy. As one person put it, Long Island need to focus on “replacing the aging workforce with . . . new and innovative jobs.”

We also heard from folks who stressed the need for reckoning with Long Island’s deep segregation. “The balkanization of Long Island was rooted in institutional racism,” one person wrote. “Racism is what keeps these constructs in place. As a region, we are less comfortable with facing our flaws.”

More than 20 percent of our responses came from people who learned about nextLI from their colleagues and friends — thank you! Keep spreading the word by forwarding this email to someone who would be interested.

What we’ve been reading

We’re doing a lot of reading and research to make nextLI a successful and healthy community.

Here’s some of what we’ve been thinking about since our last update:

  • Non-profit journalism platform Spaceship Media launched a closed Facebook group called The Many for women across partisan lines in February. One of the project’s moderators recently wrote about her experience — and the value of listening to different communities: “While minds have not been changed in the group, so far as I can tell (and that’s not the point), it’s valuable for me – and, I believe, for others – to see that many of us have different perceptions of reality. And while we may never agree, taking into consideration the way someone reached this point in their ideals is the only way we can try to understand each other on a human level rather than political association.”
  • While researching ways to set and enforce community norms, we found a fascinating example from MIT’s campus in the early 90s. Administrators created a system called stopit to deal with harassment and uncivil behavior by students on message boards and email lists. When the university received an allegation of improper behavior, administrators emailed the perpetrator: “Someone using your account,” the note begins, “did [whatever the offense is].” Rather than accusing the student, the email went on to tell the student that their account may have been compromised. In a 1994 paper from The Educational Record, MIT administrator described the outcome: “When we let perpetrators save face by pretending (if only to themselves) that they did not do what they did, they tend to become more responsible citizens. While we lose the satisfaction of seeing perpetrators punished, we reduce misbehavior and gain educational effectiveness.”
  • The challenge of creating healthy conversations online has been in the news a lot. At the end of April, Facebook published the community standards used by its moderators to review posts. YouTube released a report summarizing how it enforces standards, and offering descriptions of the more than 8 million videos that have been removed from the platform. At the start of the month, Instagram announced that it was launching a filter for bullying comments.