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Design Considerations for Online Deliberation Systems

This research paper by W. Ben Towne and James D. Herbsleb appeared in Volume 9, Issue 1 (2012) of Journal of Information Technology & Politics.

ABSTRACT. Online deliberation enables structured, topical discussion about particular questions or concepts. A number of Web-based deliberation systems have been independently introduced in recent years, and reported on as single-point examples. This article reviews several of these systems, focusing on the design principles behind them and how they worked out. From this literature, we distill another iteration of design considerations that can be used to design online deliberation systems to “inform the debate.” These considerations focus on the mutually reinforcing goals of attracting contributions, navigating through content, improving usability, focusing on quality content, and promoting wide-scale tool adoption

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