Civic Compass

Project repository:

Short updates: We applied at Deutsche Stiftung für Engagement und Ehrenamt with Fordem on 21.03.2024!


In pursuit of fostering a more inclusive, democratic decision-making landscape for Iranians worldwide, the Civic Compass initiative emerges as a beacon of innovation and hope. This proposal outlines the vision and strategic framework for قطب‌نمای مدنی (Civic Compass), a platform designed to facilitate profound civic engagement and participatory democracy among the Iranian diaspora, with inclusive mechanisms that could potentially extend a bridge to homeland Iranians. ¹

At the heart of this initiative lies a commitment to overcoming the geographical and political barriers that fragment the Iranian community. By leveraging advanced digital tools and processes, Civic Compass aims to create a secure and open-access environment where every voice can be heard, and every opinion considered. This platform is not merely a tool for engagement; it is a testament to the resilience and agency of Iranians striving for democratic participation, regardless of their location or the challenges caused by the regime.


Civic Compass aspires to redefine the contours of civic dialogue and engagement among Iranians by:

  • Providing a pseudonymised platform for secure, anonymous participation, ensuring the protection of privacy of its users. Pseudonymisation outside Iran would involve self-identification and KYC procedures with limited scope.²
  • Enabling users to share, evaluate, and discover a wide array of perspectives on critical social, political, and economic issues through interactive surveys and questionnaires.
  • Facilitating a deeper understanding of democratic principles, fostering a culture of informed decision-making and active participation.
  • Serving as a foundational tool for identifying commonalities and building coalitions across diverse segments of the Iranian community, supporting efforts against undemocratic forces.

Civic Compass could also start serving communities beyond the Iranians in its future versions.

Value Proposition: 

Civic Compass offers a unique blend of privacy, security, engagement, and empowering by:

  1. Amplifying marginalised voices within the Iranian community, ensuring that the silent majority finds a platform for expression and engagement.
  2. Providing data-driven and real-time insights into the collective consciousness of Iranians, informing policy-making, and community actions with real, grassroots perspectives.
  3. Acting as a catalyst for unity, enabling the Iranian diaspora and homeland Iranians to forge a shared path towards democratic governance.
  4. Increasing efficiency within the discourse through merging and chaining the related topics and providing efficient voting systems which do not exist on other platforms.
  5. Fast-tracked community-building based on shared interests.³
  6. Finding representative groups for other advanced democratic processes e.g. deliberation.
  7. Sharing revenue generated through selling the data to customers among participants.
  8. Keeping a non-profit nature behind the platform.

Innovations and Key Features:

  • Secure and Anonymous Participation: Utilising pseudonymisation and anonymization techniques, Civic Compass prioritises the protection of user identities, especially crucial for participants. State-of-the-art encryption and authentication processes ensure a trusted environment for all interactions, and safeguards user data from tampering and while enabling secure access.
  • Dynamic Engagement Tools and Interactive Questionnaires: The platform offers interactive questionnaires and surveys, designed to capture the nuanced perspectives of participants on a broad spectrum of issues. These tools are responsive to user inputs, fostering a vibrant, collaborative community through suggestions, edits, and discussions.
  • Community-Driven Content Creation and Personalised User Profiles: Users are empowered to contribute to the platform’s growth by creating new surveys and discussions, thereby promoting diverse perspectives and fresh content generation. Customisable user profiles showcase individual activity, insights, and contributions, further personalising the user experience.
  • Data Linkage, Deduplication: Behind the scenes, advanced (AI) algorithms ensure the coherence and relevance of shared information by identifying and merging duplicate or similar questions. This contributes to the efficiency of the discourse and maintains content quality and coherence across the platform.
  • Advanced Search Functionality: Simplified yet robust and flexible search bar enables users with an undistracted environment to quickly locate their topics of interest. 
  • Deliberative Democracy Mechanisms:
    Civic Compass aims to provide civil society actors and researchers with the means and resources necessary for advanced democratic processes including deliberation. Our toolbox will help researchers in finding representative groups, essential issues concerning the society, the range of existing opinion and so on. 
  • Insightful Questionnaire Generation: Interactive AI-assisted questionnaire generation benefits from the knowledge inferred from our database and ensures the quality and experience of survey and questionnaire throughout the design and publishing phases.
  • Public API Panel: Our clear and encouraging API access policies are designed to promote research and to accelerate democratisation processes and increase civil society networking.   
  • Fair Participation Model:
    Continuous improvement and giving back to the community are our two goals. The data generated by our users is not free. We make sure that the usage of the data produced on our platform by any for-profit organisation or organisation that is not in the public domain will generate a revenue which we will solely share between our stakeholders and further development of the platform. 

Auf Deutsch:

 Technischer Beitrag zu dem Diskurs

  • Deduplizierung und Themenkategorisierung zur Vermeidung von Mehrfacherfassungen und thematischen Überschneidungen.
  • Dynamische benutzer-definierbare Umfrage mit universell identifizierbaren Fragen, die über Zeit in verschiedenen Umfragen erneut beantwortet und aktualisiert werden können

Bürgerschaftlich-politischer Beitrag:

  • Gemeinschaften wie z. B. Städte und Kommunen bei der Identifizierung repräsentativer Gruppen unterstützen und somit weitere komplexe demokratische Verfahren, wie beispielsweise Deliberation, vereinfachen.

Beitrag zur Demokratisierung von Entscheidungsfindung:

  • Integration von Deliberationsprinzipien und demokratischen Prozessen auf der gesamten Plattform.

Ökonomischer Beitrag für die Nutzer:innen

  • Gewinnorientierte Organisationen und Organisationen, die sich nicht in der öffentlichen Hand befinden, müssen für die Nutzung der auf unserer Plattform generierten Daten eine Lizenzgebühr bezahlen. Die Höhe der Lizenzgebühr richtet sich nach dem Umfang der Nutzung der Daten. Die Einnahmen aus den Lizenzgebühren werden an die Nutzer:innen ausgeschüttet oder in die Weiterentwicklung der Plattform investiert.


  • Iranian Diaspora Community: Individuals living outside Iran seeking to engage in discussions about civic, social, and political issues related to Iran and the woman Life Freedom movement.
  • Homeland Iranians: Iranians residing in Iran who desire a secure platform to express their views anonymously. Given the challenging political climate, Civic Compass offers them an anonymised way to participate in civic discourse ⁴, contributing to a broader understanding of public sentiment within Iran.
  • Civil Society Organisations and NGOs: These organisations focus on democracy, human rights, and civic engagement, using the platform to gather insights, mobilise support, and engage with both the diaspora and homeland Iranians on various initiatives.
  • Human Rights Organisations: These organisations focus on monitoring, reporting, and advocating for human rights issues affecting Iranians. Civic Compass provides them with critical data on public opinion and human rights concerns, supporting their campaigns and interventions.
  • Researchers and Academics: Scholars studying the socio-political dynamics of the Iranian community utilise the platform for accessing data on public opinion and social trends, aiding in academic and policy-oriented research.
  • Policy Makers and Advocates: Individuals involved in creating policies or advocating for the rights and reforms impacting the Iranian community. They leverage the platform for informed decision-making and to tailor advocacy efforts to the community’s needs.
  • Think Tanks: Research institutions benefit from Civic Compass’s insights into public opinion and social trends, informing their analyses, policy recommendations, and advocacy strategies related to Iran and its diaspora.
  • Journalists: Reporters covering international affairs, human rights, and Middle Eastern issues use the platform to gain firsthand insights into the perspectives of the Iranian community, enhancing the accuracy and depth of their reporting.
  • Press Houses: Media organisations draw on Civic Compass to understand public sentiment, identify trends, and produce content that resonates with their audience, engaging readers in meaningful discussions on relevant topics.
  • Parties in Diaspora: Political and social groups within the Iranian diaspora use the platform to align their initiatives with the community’s needs, mobilising support for causes and engaging in effective advocacy. The platform could as well help individuals with similar ideas to form their own political parties through formation of groups based on the users’ reactions to a wide range of topics. 
  • Governments: Entities involved in foreign policy, immigration, and diaspora affairs find Civic Compass invaluable for crafting policies and strategies that consider the nuanced views of Iranians globally, facilitating community support programs and diplomatic efforts.

¹ Security concerns might limit such an expansion, to counter that we use different techniques e.g. Trust Network 
² Age, Gender, Location (not PII), Country of origin
³ With alerting systems envisioned common issue i.e echo-chamber, cultural bubble and groupthink risks
⁴ We use systems like Trust Network 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *