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Tech for Engagement…

Look over the resources we’ve compiled in the Tech for Engagement category to get a sense of the range of tools and products that can be used by dialogue and deliberation practitioners who want to utilize modern technology in their activities – both online and face-to-face.

Rulemaking 2.0: Understanding and Getting Better Public Participation

This 2013 report from the IBM Center for The Business of Government is based on five case studies of e-rulemaking experiments to better engage the public, and offers advice on how agencies can increase the quantity and quality of public participation. By authors Cynthia R.Farina and Mary J.Newhart with CeRI (the Cornell eRulemaking Initiative). From Center Executive Director Dan Chenok’s announcement:  This report provides important insights in how governments can improve the rulemaking process by taking full advantage of Rulemaking 2.0 technology, building on the progress made […] (continue)


ConsiderIt is an open source platform that combines the virtues of personal reflection and public deliberation. ConsiderIt helps individuals make sense of complex issues through familiar deliberative activities. People can sort out their own thoughts by taking stances, weighing pros and cons and browsing key points made both others. ConsiderIt makes it easy for contributors to make their voices heard and find others who share their views. ConsiderIt’s structured approach to deliberation also helps decrease polarization and establish common ground. It nudges people towards considering tradeoffs […] (continue)


Agreedis.org is an online deliberation tool launched on March 1, 2013 designed to break down issues into relevant parts and present these elements as action items to participants who evaluate the items and determine their importance or relavance to potential solutions. As described by the tool’s creator… (continue)

NIFI Teachers’ Forums

The National Issues Forums Institute provides many resources for teachers.  Along with an entire section of their website dedicated to educators (including classroom material, issue guides and course descriptions), NIF has created an online forum space where educators can share experiences using NIF material. Are you looking for new ways to engage students in productive, deliberative conversations in your classroom? Are you interested in connecting with other teachers who are thinking about ways to instruct a new generation of citizens? Have you used National Issues […] (continue)

Incorporating Facebook Into Online Engagement: A Practical Guide

Australia-based Bang the Table, offers a 14-page guide on how Facebook can best be used as part of a community engagement strategy. With tips on common questions like “pages vs. groups” and “anonymity vs. transparency,” this is a great guide for those new to using social media for engagement. Check out the 11 tips on page 13 for tips like: Use appropriate language and tone. Remember Facebook is a social network and people go there to be social. Reflect this in the type of language you […] (continue)

National Issues Forums Online Discussions

The National Issues Forums Institute’s Online Forum section of their website provides a space for online discussions focused on the various issues and topics related to past and ongoing National Issues Forums.  NIF also provides a collection of links to other online discussions dealing with similar themes. Section description from the National Issues Forums Institute website… You are invited to start or continue discussions, or post comments, related to the National Issues Forums (NIF) and public deliberative forums. As a national network of nonpartisan, locally sponsored public forums […] (continue)

Online Public Participation Platforms and Applications

This 10-page white paper by Della G. Rucker, AICP, CEcD and Patrick F. Whalen (version dated November 9, 2012) was developed to orient readers who are interested in local public participation to some of the existing online platforms and services available at this time, and create a base level of understanding with regard to each approach’s strengths and most appropriate applications. The following companies (and their current platforms) are described: Mindmixer Urban Interactive Studio Delib Crowdbrite Change By Us Ideascale PlaceSpeak Open Town Hall Citizen Participation Suite […] (continue)


The CivicCommons.com is a new way to bring communities together with conversation and emerging technology. We provide the place and tools for citizens to connect with and inform one another and to take action. It’s a bit like a virtual pub or coffee house, where citizens and officials can gather to talk about community issues, brainstorm solutions, coordinate plans —  and maybe even have fun and meet new people along the way. We take some of our inspiration from Clay Shirky’s book, Cognitive Surplus, which […] (continue)

The Promise and Problems of Online Deliberation

This 2011 Kettering Foundation working paper by Laura W. Black focuses on the question: To what extent can digital media truly offer potential opportunities for deliberative decision making, particularly the practice of deliberation itself? To address this question, this working paper assesses features of online deliberation by reviewing online deliberative tools, examples of other potentially deliberative websites, and relevant academic research. (continue)

Front Porch Forum

Front Porch Forum‘s mission is to help neighbors connect and build community. We do that by hosting regional networks of online neighborhood forums. Common sense and a growing body of research tell us that well-connected neighborhoods are friendlier places to live, with less crime, healthier residents, higher property values, and better service from local government and public utilities. (continue)