Online Public Participation
Our tour of Online Public Participation tools:
- Survey Monkey is a easy to use web based system for creating, managing, and analyzing survey data. Its a very flexible tool that is available for free with limited features or on a subscription basis for the full featured version. Survey Monkey is entirely online, no need to download any software.
- Question Pro
- UK Prime Minister - Beta version of a site being developed for the Prime Minister of the UK. This is one of the most open and transparent e-petitioning sites that we are aware of. Any user can launch a petition and if the petition is rejected by the PM's office, they must leave a public notice with the reasons for their rejection.
- The Scottish Parliment - one of the oldest e-petitionins sites around. Many other governmental units in Europe have adopted the software developed for the Scottish parliament.
- Bristol City Council - the council of Bristol is a local authority using the same software as the Scottish parliament.
- Wellington, NZ - this appears to be a brand new e-petitioning site. As of yet, they do not appear to have any active e=petitions.
- Tasmanian regional Parliament, Australia - another e-petitioning system. This one requires that a user submit their petition on paper to be added by the web site administrators. Such systems suffer from public cynicism about whether or not their petition will actually get accepted into the system.
- Sample web site
- Queensland is a very disperse and remote region of Australia. This form of interactive survey was designed to help solicit engage the public using internet technology.
Our definition of an e-panel, is a group of local residents (either self-selected or ideally recruited to represent the diversity of the community) that can be periodically called upon to offer input and advice by local government, on issues of particular concern to the local government.
- Wolverhampton is currently running an e-panel to gather input about "Sex and Relationship Education" in the community.
- Ask Bristol - Bristol recently launched a brand new tool called viewfinder, which allows participants to use their cell phones to submit video or audio feedback on questions that have been posed on their web site.
- E-Democracy.Org Issues Forums: A range of resources about Issues Forums and how to launch one in your own community.
- List of E-Democracy.Org Issues Forums
- Example #1 - E-Democracy.Org Greater Bedminster Neighbourhood Forum (Bristol, UK) (88 Subscribers)
- Example #2 - E-Democracy.Org Brighton & Hove Issues Forum (UK) (268 Subscribers)
- Example #3 - E-Democracy.Org Minneapolis Issues Forum (830 subscribers)
- Example #4 - Market Harborough - This council run Issues Forum in the UK, differs from E-Democracy.Org forums in its reliance on web based participation.
- Example #5 - Cleveland.Com - This local newspaper hosts online forums. Again, these forums are completely we based.
Games / Simulations
- MPR Budget Balancer gave MPR listeners an opportunity to craft their own state budget and submit it along with their comments to their state legislators. The actual budget balancer is no longer available, however this link will take you to additional information.
- Delib Budget Simulator is a commercial product that can be customized for cities or other local units of government. Its currently offered in the UK, we are not sure of its availability in the US.
- Metro Joe - Created by a group called Chicago Metropolis 2020, Metro Joe is a game meant to get folks thinking about problems in the Chicago Metro area as REGIONAL problems that need to be addressed regionally.
- Next Ten - California Budget Challenge
Online Events / Consultations
- Listening to the City - This early example of an online "consultation" asked residents of Lower Manhattan about their visions for redeveloping the site of the World Trade Centers. It was part of a larger process which also included a large scale public meetings.
- The National Consortium on Dialogue and Deliberation
- Deliberative Democracy Consortium
- The Open Planning Project - This is a web site where community groups can plan and organize projects.
- Sample page to play with - go ahead and edit this page. Don't worry, you can't "Break" anything.
- Top 10 List - This article was written by Steven Clift in 2002 on Tips for Government and Civic hosts interested in conducting online consultations. NOTE: because of its age, some of the links in this article may no longer work.