SeeClickFix a powerful engine for community engagement
The commotion over lettering on the subway platform wall at the Dufferin TTC station is the best evidence I’ve seen that SeeClickFix is a winner.
My Wednesday column was about an unevenly spaced ‘N’ in the word ‘Dufferin,’ on the tiled wall of the westbound subway platform, reported on SeeClickFix by a reader with compelling reasons for fixing it, including invasion by cannibalistic humanoids.
It sparked a huge outpouring of comments from people who surf SeeClickFix, which we’ve been offering since last summer as another way for readers to report problems in need of fixing, along with our regular online reporting form.
SeeClickFix is used in communities across North America and offers features that allow citizens to be more involved in the process after a problem is reported, including typing in comments on issues posted by others, even in other cities.
Most reports have no third-party comments posted to them, while a few comments might show up on the odd one. But there’s never been anything like the response to the wonky N on Toronto’s SeeClickFix.
It has so far prompted 36 reader comments, an indication that the offbeat description of the potential for harm from the unevenly spaced letter captured their imagination.
Readers who cruise SeeClickFix are more aware of what’s going in their community and more likely to at least take part in a dialogue about it, adding their voice to the call for a cure, or to leave it alone, as some readers said about the N.
Some people comment on a lot of issues, just like the posts to stories on thestar.com, while others are from readers who take an interest in a particular problem, but it’s a marvelous tool to for engagement.
And for me, it provides more and better leads on the stuff that makes columns, especially when something as small as a letter in a word takes on a life of its own.