Democracy online: technologies for democratic deliberation

Paper by Adam Meylan-Stevenson, Ben Hawes, and Matt Ryan: “This paper explores the use of online tools to improve democratic participation and deliberation. These tools offer new opportunities for inclusive communication and networking, specifically targeting the participation of diverse groups in decision-making processes. It summarises recent research and published reports by users of these tools and categorises the tools according to functions and objectives. It also draws on testimony and experiences recorded in interviews with some users of these tools in public sector and civil society organisations internationally.

The objective is to introduce online deliberation tools to a wider audience, including benefits, limitations and potential disadvantages, in the immediate context of research on democratic deliberation. We identify limitations of tools and of the context and markets in which online deliberation tools are currently being developed. The paper suggests that fostering a collaborative approach among technology developers and democratic practitioners, might improve opportunities for funding and continual optimisation that have been used successfully in other online application sectors…(More)”.