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From the How it works page:

[OnlineTownhalls is a] Web-based application that can help you engage thousands of stakeholders in a single conversation to discuss any of our organization’s toughest problems. […] [OnlineTownhalls] uses conversation mapping to visualize the pros and cons of competing ideas.

The steps to the OnlineTownhalls process are:

  1. Set the Table: Propose the topic and make a handful of statements that viewers can choose to agree or disagree with.
  2. Invite Your Guests: Stakeholders and constituents can spread the word through blog embedding, email, and Twitter.
  3. Sip Coffee, Listen, & Watch: As participants join, the map grows larger and larger.
  4. Now Engage!: Ask questions or weigh in on a conversation. Explain your rationale on complex decisions.
  5. It’s Easy: Visualize the common ground. Summarize the conversation, and plan your next discussion. Steadily build momentum to resolve controversial issues.

Features of OnlineTownhalls include creating trusted communication networks, aggregating citizen ideas and input, using private sector expertise, receiving balanced information from stakeholders of all sides, finding each sides’ strongest ideas, and reaching large audiences. More information can be found on the tool’s features page.

OnlineTownhalls is developed by AthenaBridge based in Charlottesville, VA (US) and Washington, DC (US).

Additional information

Slice & Dice


Additional information and materials about OnlineTownhalls: