Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Involved
Dialogue & Deliberation
NCDD's Resources
Technical & Administrative Questions

Getting Involved

How can I join NCDD?

Thank you for your interest! Please complete our short online form in our Join NCDD section. You may also email Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD's Convener, with the information asked for in the form ([email protected]).

Can organizations or individuals from outside of the U.S. join NCDD?

A snapshot from the 2002 NCDD Conference.

People who are based outside of the U.S. are encouraged to join the Coalition. Your membership will be no different from the U.S.-based members of NCDD.

Some people have expressed concern that we are limiting ourselves - and leaving out important practitioners, organizations, scholars and activists - by calling ourselves a “national” coalition. We share this concern, but feel that it is important for us to establish ourselves within the U.S. first, before striving to be - or claiming to be - an international organization.

We value and welcome international members and partners, and hope that we will be in the position to change our name and our scope in the future.

What can I do to help develop NCDD?

NCDD is a new entity which is still in the development stages, and we certainly could use your help. If you are a practitioner or scholar of dialogic and/or deliberative processes, we encourage you to become a member of NCDD if you haven't already. Whether or not you join NCDD, however, there are many ways you can help us to strengthen and unite our growing field. Email [email protected] if you'd like to follow up on any of the ideas below.

  1. Financial contributions are of course needed and welcome. A small annual donation to NCDD would be most appreciated. Large donations are also welcome! You can also help us obtain funding by connecting us with your contacts at foundations.
  2. Ongoing administrative support - even just a few hours a week - is extremely welcome. If you or someone at your organization has some time to spare to help with administrative tasks (answering email, entering data into a database, etc.), please let us know.
  3. Help to get the word out about NCDD. Informing your networks about what NCDD is doing and how D&D practitioners and scholars can join our efforts is a wonderful help. Placing a link to NCDD on your website is also very helpful (click here for the NCDD logo and instructions). NCDD members are strongly encouraged to do these things.
  4. Advanced web design skills and assistance in creating online communities is extremely helpful. Are you - or is someone who works with you - skilled in stimulating online discussion or designing dynamic online databases?
  5. Work on NCDD's organizational development. Do you have special skills or knowledge that can help a newly-forming organization get off its feet? Are you experienced at developing strategic plans, work plans or vision statements?
  6. Get involved in one of NCDD's projects or discussions. Do you want to help organize NCDD's next conference? Can you or someone on your staff serve actively in one or more of our initiatives? Are you interested in starting a new project or online discussion in an attempt to tackle an important issue or problem in our field?
  7. Work with NCDD to develop a network of D&D practitioners in your region. In the years to come, we hope to connect more and more people at the local level, fostering regional meetings, trainings and conferences, helping to identify regional leadership, and working with these emerging networks to get the word out about the opportunities they provide.
  8. Resources for the NCDD website are always helpful. Can you provide material for the NCDD site (for the Resources section or the D&D Community Happenings Blog)? Do you know of upcoming events that D&D practitioners might be interested in attending? Does your organization have a new resource that people in the field should know about? Do you have best practices, lessons learned, or research results that you would like to share with other D&D practitioners and scholars?

Dialogue & Deliberation

Does NCDD run its own dialogue or deliberation projects?

NCDD often partners with other organizations and groups who are running large-scale dialogue or deliberation projects, but we have not run our own D&D projects independently (aside from those held at our conference). Our members run such projects regularly, and we exist to help them improve their work by connecting with one another, sharing and accessing resources, establishing partnerships and sharing their successes. When we partner with organizations which are running large-scale projects, we are generally providing them with access to our large network of people and organizations. These projects tap into our network for facilitators, design expertise, partners, resources and increased publicity.

Can NCDD help me organize networks and events for practitioners in my region?

A photo from the 2002 conference.

NCDD is very interested in fostering the development of regional networks of practitioners and scholars, so that people can more easily and more frequently gain the direct support, encouragement and assistance they need from others in the field.

As of December 2003, NCDD's database includes 4200 listings of dialogue and deliberation practitioners, scholars and organizations - mainly in the U.S., but in many other countries as well. We are happy to sort our database by state or city and share our contacts in specific regions with people in the field who are interested in starting regional networks or planning regional gatherings of their colleagues. This is the only circumstance in which we share segments of our database. Email Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD's Convenor, for inquiries about the database ([email protected]).

As we continue to expand our database of colleagues and to grow in membership, we hope to consciously connect people by region, fostering regional meetings, trainings and conferences, helping to identify regional leadership, and working with these emerging networks to get the word out about the opportunities they provide.

If you would like to help us in our efforts to foster regional networks of practitioners, we encourage you to share your contacts with us as well.

Why is NCDD important for the dialogue & deliberation community?

People are leading dialogues across the country in schools, in churches, in workplaces, and in virtually every other venue imaginable. They are encouraging people to engage in deliberative dialogue about issues ranging from race relations in their communities and violence in their schools to how to handle the buildup of nuclear waste or the rapid rate of development in their region. People are organizing dialogues in order to resolve conflicts, to increase citizen input in policy decisions, to increase people's knowledge about important issues and realities, to help people build self-awareness, to improve communication skills, to strengthen teams or build coalitions, to stimulate innovation and to foster effective community change.

Deliberative approaches to dialogue are being applied with increasing frequency in communities, across regions, online and at the national level. Some of these approaches are designed to bring citizens and government decision-makers together as joint problem solvers; some aim to provide decision-makers and voters with the informed citizen perspective on an issue; and others aim to equip a group of citizens with the knowledge and will to take action on an issue themselves. Techniques range from intimate, small-group dialogues to large forums involving hundreds or even thousands of participants.

Although they are by no means new processes, dialogue and deliberation have enjoyed a tremendous growth in popularity in recent years. This growth has been so grassroots that numerous communities of practice have developed without much awareness of each other. The result is the emergence of an important field whose practitioners use different terminology, networks and resources and emphasize different outcomes.

The October 2002 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation was a vital first step in the effort to build cohesion and foster collaboration among the various communities of practice that center around the processes of dialogue and deliberation. Practitioners and scholars were thrilled to finally have the opportunity to experience one another's models, to explore similarities and differences in philosophies and tools, and to begin thinking about how we can become a collective force which ultimately could empower citizens to solve many of society's most pressing problems.

NCDD will continue to address the problem of the disconnect and isolation of practitioners, scholars and organizations in our growing field. In order to unite and strengthen this growing field, we need to establish ongoing ways to connect with one another, share tools, build understanding and work together across the entire spectrum of practice. Means of sharing strategies, asking questions and getting the right people to answer them, getting the word out about events and training opportunities, evaluating programs and developing professional standards - the development of all of these things is essential to the growth of the field and the future of dialogue and deliberation processes.

Organizers and participants of the 2002 conference - and many others who have since joined us - are committed to working together to unite the field. Many now view the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation as the foundation of a new infrastructure in the field - one that will welcome and value the expertise and contribution of practitioners and theorists regardless of their program's size, purpose or scope. The individuals and organizations which have become members of NCDD are committed to exploring ways in which we should be working together, sharing information and building knowledge in our emerging field.

NCDD's Resources

Where did the Dialogue to Action Initiative website and resources go?

Dialogue to Action Logo.

The Dialogue to Action Initiative was an independent project run by Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD's current Convenor. From 1998 to 2003, Dialogue to Action provided leaders in the dialogue community with resources and ideas for improving their work. Since the 2002 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, which gave birth to NCDD, Sandy's work has focused on developing this new network of practitioners and scholars. To make thataway.org a more user-friendly site, Sandy decided to incorporate most of the Dialogue to Action resources into a new, more comprehensive NCDD website that better represents the entire dialogue and deliberation community.

The most popular resource on the Dialogue to Action site was the Dialogue Community section, which helped thousands of people each month stay up-to-date on what was happening in the D&D community. We are still providing this important service; just click on the word “Happenings” on the menu at the top of this page to be taken to our Community Happenings blog.

Technical & Administrative Questions

How can I receive an answer concerning a technical question?

Andy Fluke, NCDD's Creative Director, will be happy to try and answer any technical questions you may have. You can send an email to him using his address on the contact page, or by using our general administration address: [email protected]. Please include information about the computer you are using: Which browser do you use (please include name and version number, this is very important to understanding problems)? What platform does the computer run (Windows XP, 2000, 98, etc., Mac (old or new), Linux, Unix, etc.)? Do you work on a network or behind a firewall? Do you have similar problems on other websites?

Why won't your forms work for me?

A small percentage of visitors report that the forms on our site do not work or present them with error messages. This is not uncommon. Many computers are on networks which, for security reasons, block the sending of information (such as the data you enter into the forms). Also, many home computers now come with in-built firewalls that can do the same thing. If we have not provided an offline equivalent of the form, we ask that you gather the information you wish to send us into an email (you can use our general contact address: [email protected]) and just let us know which form you were trying to use. We'll make sure that your submission gets where it is supposed to go.

Another problem that a few visitors have commented upon involves links like those that make up our frequently asked questions listed above. These are called anchor links and these links point to specific paragraphs or headers on the page. Some older browsers require special syntax for anchors to work, while newer browsers will use already present syntax. We chose not to include the special syntax because so few browsers will experience this problem and the special syntax is not useful for anything other than the anchor link and in many cases adds unnecessary clutter to the code.

How do I report a typo, error or problem I have discovered?

We really apreciate hearing about typos and errors. With so many pages on the site now (and that number increases almost daily) we can't catch every litle mistake or bug. If you come across an obvious erroor, or even somthing you think migt be a mistake, please email it it to our general administration address: [email protected]. Thankks!

--

Return to the top of this page...