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"Can our field present a united front to the new Administration? Let's start by seeing if we can develop a set of principles for public engagement we can all endorse..."

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    INTRODUCTION: If the new administration sponsors national, face-to-face discussions, they will likely have an online component.  It is not necessary for the online tools to be deliberative, however, in order for them to provide value.  At a minimum, if they open the results of the face-to-face discussion to new ideas, online tools can be very valuable.  The purpose of this discussion is to examine a hybrid model to online and offline discussion.  Please add your thoughts below.

    Online tools can help before, during, and after the face-to-face deliberations to ensure that limited resources are spent wisely.

    BEFORE: A structured online conversation can effectively seed the face-to-face discussion with great ideas.  This ensures that the participants do not have to start from scratch or spend precious time reinventing the wheel.

    DURING: Citizens who are not able to attend the face-to-face deliberations (due to personal or financial obligations) can participate in parallel discussions online.  The best ideas from the online conversations can be inserted right into the in-person deliberations.  This is a way to harness the collective intelligence of our citizenry in real time.  Using free tools like Ustream or Mogulus, the face-to-face deliberations can be broadcast live to this online audience.

    AFTER: When they are complete, face-to-face discussions may arrive at a partial or full consensus.  This consensus should be opened up to large-scale feedback to perform a "sanity-check" on the results.  This literally provides an opportunity for anyone everyone to get involved-- ultimate inclusion.

    Other notes:

    1. Online tools do not need to be deliberative in order to add value to the face-to-face deliberations.

    2. Anonymity has both advantages and disadvantages and is much more feasible online.  Advantages include providing an outlet for timid voices and also those that challenge authority.  One possible disadvantage is that some anonymous participants might act in an immature fashion.

    3. Online dialogue can be directly tied to external resources through hyperlinks.  These links can point to specific pieces of evidence across the entire Web, creating a well-researched discussion.

    4. Avenues for online participation can be far more inclusive than those that require people to show up at a certain time at a certain place.  This is especially true for single parents, citizens with disabilities, and those with demanding work schedules.

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Special Note:

Welcome to the NCDD website. What you see here, in the way of web design and layout is a work in progress. The forum feature works as you would expect, but we have just begun our web re-design and are testing the "bare bones" with this conversation. Many of the links and buttons outside the forum may not work as expected and we thank you in advance for your patience with us.

This re-design marks a new chapter in the online life of NCDD. It began in 1998 with a small online project called the Dialogue to Action Initiative and became the NCDD website after our first national conference in 2002. Beginning in 2009, we are turning our focus to embracing existing tools, instead of creating our own, as a way to further the networking opportunities of our members and offer examples, through use, of the many great tools that are available to us and our community.

Visit the Main Page of our website to learn more about NCDD. Please let us know what you think of the design! Send your feedback to [email protected].