Lessons from over 100 online forums for citizen participation

Presentation slides on the lessons we have picked up along the way from over 100 online forums for citizen participation.

Earlier this month I presented at two events in Western Australia. The first was the annual conference of the Australasian IAP2 held in beautiful Freemantle – if you haven’t been, find an excuse to go. The second was “RightClick” a technology focussed 1/2-day event hosted by the WA branch of the IPAA. I’ve only now realised that the slideshow hasn’t made it onto the blog. They two presentations were very similar, so I’m only posting the IPAA version here – because it came second and incorporates a couple of minor changes.

The presentation was a great opportunity to dig into some of the quantitative and qualitative outcomes we have noticed over the past couple of years. People familiar with the “90-9-1” debate will see a strong parallel in our results. I have used relationships as a metaphor for the intensity with which an individual participates in a forum; from “interested observer” through to “passionate”. As you would expect the proportion of the population who are “passionate” about any particular issue is modest. Our principle methodological challenge for embedding forums as a preferred tool for community engagement is to work out ways to bring people on the journey from vague interest to some form of active involvement.

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