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October 27, 2007

Why host your Local Issues Forum on E-Democracy.Org

The concept of a Local Issues Forum is easily transferable to other groups, sites, or hosting platforms. Many groups host forums that are very similar to those hosted by E-Democracy.Org on their own sites, using similar or the same technology that we use, see Groupserver.

The mission of E-Democracy.Org is "expanded participation and stronger democracies and communities through the power of information and communication technologies and strategies," whether that be within or outside our network.

However, we'd like to encourage you to consider joining our network in a formal way, potentially hosting your forum on our site.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider hosting your Local Issues Forum with us.

Shared Experience

We fundamentally believe, that technology will only get you about 10% of the way towards a successful Issues Forum. 90% of your success will depend upon how well you organize and manage your forum.

The E-Democracy.Org network of Local Issues Forums is being designed to maximize the sharing of knowledge and experiences among members of the network. We seek to provide opportunities for local Issues Forum leadership to share knowledge and learn from each other on an ongoing basis.

Shared Resources/Technology

The more groups that use our site to host their local Issues Forum, the more we can distribute the costs of things like:

  • hosting expenses
  • future development of software
  • tech support - we provide tech support to volunteer organizers and participants of all forums in our network
  • online training for volunteers and forum participants
  • ongoing development of volunteer and participant resources on our site

Community to Community Links

As our network of Local Issues Forums continues to grow, we envision a variety of ways in which communities or individual members of forums might interact across communities to share information and solve problems that they share in common.

Here are just a few ways that we can imagine that might happen:

  1. Simply by reading discussions from other community forums hosted on our site.
  2. By organizing "topical discussions" using web based forums or potentially conference calls, open to members of all forums about topics of concern to many communities. For example:
    • City-wide WiFi
    • Dog Parks
    • How to deal with graffiti
    • Light Rail (good idea or not?)
    • Public subsidies for professional sports stadiums
    • Organizing Block Clubs / or Crime Watch Groups

Experienced Staff Support

In addition to the peer-to-peer support and learning, E-Democracy.Org has a small but experienced staff whose job it is to provide assistance and support the various members of our network. Our experienced staff not only respond to queries, but try to keep an eye on local forums and can occasionally offer pro-active advice on how to deal with an issue that might be emerging in your forum.

In addition, each year our staff try to visit as many of our member communities as possible and offer on-site support and training.

 

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