Step-by-Step Process

The three main roles for people involved in a Dotmocracy process are:

Trained individuals who manage the process and remain neutral on the content.

The many people who take part in the process, contributing their ideas and opinions.

Representatives of the organization(s) that have sponsored the process and will be responsible for acting on the results.


Below are instructions for using idea rating sheets, which are a kind of “dotmocracy” process but more reliable than sticker-dot voting.

1.  Learn about the issue.

Before starting an idea rating process on a complex topic, education should be provided to the participants to ensure they are knowledgeable on the issue that will be addressed, e.g., distribute a primer booklet a few days ahead of time, or host an introductory lesson on the topic.

2. Present the issue and question(s).

A person pointing to preamble and questions posted on a wallThe hosting group provides a preamble to introduce the issue at hand and the context in which it will be addressed. Post the key question(s) participants will answer through the Dotmocracy process.


3. Discuss potential answers.

People brainstorming ideas and making notes.In small groups, have participants brainstorm and deliberate potential answers to the posted questions. Invite participants to collectively and independently draft many ideas.

4. Write statements on idea rating sheets.

Proposals posted on a wall under posted questions.Participants clearly print single statements on idea rating sheets. Sheets are usually either posted on a wall or placed on a table.

5. Fill dots to record opinions. Write comments.

Participants read and consider the ideas and fill in one dot per sheet to record their opinion of each idea on a scale of “strong agreement”, “agreement”, “neutral”, “disagreement”, “strong disagreement” or “confusion”. Participants sign each sheet they dot and may choose to add brief comments.


Repeat steps 3 through 5.

Participants review ideas, discuss comments and dotting patterns, and post new ideas to be dotted.

6. Report the results.

The end of the dotting process is announced. The sheets are collected and sorted by topic and/or level of agreement. All results are published, with the most popularly agreed-upon ideas celebrated and the important disagreements recognized.

7. Announce a decision.

The hosting group authors a plan that selects, combines, prioritizes, and/or finds compromise among the popularly agreed-upon ideas, with minimal disagreement. The decision is publicized and the hosting group is held accountable to the reported results of the Dotmocracy process, in relation to the original preamble provided

Download idea rating sheets at