Issues Forum Guide
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Our updated Issues Forum Guide is a work in progress.
The new more concise guide will start with an open chapter and then based on your needs you may refer to multiple appendices. For convenient printing, see our original 60 page guidebook commissioned by the UK government.
This advice can be adapted and used for anyone seeking to host online community participation with civility that matters NOT just to launch an Issues Forum with E-Democracy.org.
We are in the process streamlining our model to allow a single volunteer (the Forum Manager) to start a forum. We will also be encouraging communities to adapt the support "team" concept as best suits their needs (be that an informal team with the Forum Manager as leader, a team with volunteers taking various roles, a committee with a chair other than the Forum Manager who leads support efforts, etc.). These changes are not yet reflected in our updated drafts.
- Draft Issue Forum Guide - Lead Chapter - Via Google Docs
- Appendix 1 - Technology, GroupServer
- Appendix 2 - Managing the Forum
- Appendix 3 - Charter, Rules, and Mission
- Appendix 4 - Preparation - Getting Ready to Launch
- Appendix 5 - Launch - Message Templates
- Appendix 6 - Your Issues Forum in Practice
- Appendix 7 - Sample Memorandum of Understanding for Partnership Launches
- Appendix 8 - Case Studies
- Draft Diagrams - To integrate into drafts. Word format.
If you would like to help edit this guide, please contact us and we will share those rights with you.
The draft complete table of contents is as follows:
What is an Issues Forum?
E-Democracy.org’s model for Local Issues Forums
Setting Up a Local Issues Forum
1. Pick Your Democracy
2. Steering Committee
3. Create Mission, Establish Rules, and Set Goals
6. Community Approach
7. Launch Publicity
8. Facilitate and Manage
9. Be Patient and Persevere
Appendix 1 – Technology
Why host your Local Issues Forum on E-Democracy.Org
Terms of Hosting with E-Democracy.Org
Other available technology
Appendix 2 – Managing the forum
Steering Team Terms of Reference
The Forum Manager
Appendix 3 – Charter, Rules and Mission
E-Democracy Forum Rules
Warnings and Suspension from E-Democracy.Org Forums
Appendix 4 – Get ready to launch
The Guide to Virtual Door-Knocking
Short Outreach Note – General Public
Longer Introduction Early in Process to Civic Leaders
Recruitment Checklist and Sample Sign-Up Form
Sample News release:
Appendix 5: Launch
Sample Forum Opening Messages
Post 1: Welcome Message
Post 2: Rules and Expectations
Post 3: Introductions
Guest Speaker Information
Appendix 6: Your Local Issues Forum in Practice
Why Should Citizens Participate In A Local Issues Forum?
Why Should/Do Elected Officials and Decision-Makers Participate?
How to Effectively Participate in a Local Issues Forum
Levels of Participation
Frequently Asked Questions
Appendix 7 – Working in partnership
Case Study 1: Citizen Problem Solving on the Issues Forum Leads to Legislation
Case Study 2: Mayor Uses the Issues Forum to Learn of True Citizen Concerns
Case Study 3: Newspaper Uses the Issues Forum to Improve and Balance Its Coverage
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