OpenDCN (Open Deliberative Community Networks) is an open-source collection of deliberative spaces, each with specific tools to foster discussion:
Community space: aimed at fostering public dialog on civic issues and facilitating the rise of mutual trust between participants through free discussions;
Deliberation space: fosters the creation of a shared vision position among the partcipants, i.e., to finalize a deliberative process in order to produce a well defined outcome. Deliberation space makes up the core of the participatory system; participatory processes consist of a series of deliberation stages, each relying on a different participatory modality and involving different participants.
Personal space: Manage user profile, relationships and personal objects of each user.
Each space is equipped with the following tools to facilitate the participation process:
• Informed Discussion: an enriched forum with facilities for sharing information resources to support the discussion and for finalizing the discussion by producing, asynchronously and collaboratively, a summary document.
• Problems and Proposals: collect constructive proposals that meet at least a problem previously reported by others or by the same participant.
• Certified Citizen Consultation: polls among participants, who choose among alternatives, thanks to a variety of polling modalities; Certified Consultation is suitable when the opinion of a large number of people must be heard.
• On-Line Ordered Meeting: structures synchronous on-line debate finalized to making decisions. It can be seen as an advanced chat where times and modes of interaction are organized by a set of business-meeting rules adopted to support a fair decision-making discussion. This tool is useful to support limited groups of people who have to work together synchronously on very specific issues or on bound domains.
• Agenda: designed for outlining and managing the deliberative process, as well as for coordinating all the deliberation tools associated with a certain stage of the process.
Events calendars, brainstorming, e-petitions, and social mapping are among OpenDCN’s eclectic modular toolbox. For the full set of tools and detailed explanation of each tool’s function, consult the website. A demo version of the tool can be found “here”: http://demo.opendcn.org/.
OpenDCN has been used in numerous Italian municipalities and is based in Milan, Italy. It was developed jointly by the Foundation RCM (FRCM) and the Civic Informatics Laboratory (LIC).