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1
Local Issues ForumGuidebook
Prepared by E-Democracy.Org for the UK Pilot Issues ForumsFinal UK Version 5.015 March 2005
 
2
Contents
WHAT IS AN ISSUES FORUM?................................................................................................................4PREFACE:..................................................................................................................................................5
S
PECIAL MESSAGE TO
UK L
OCAL
A
UTHORITIES
...........................................................................................5
INTRODUCTION:.......................................................................................................................................6
SECTION 1:
SETTING UP A LOCAL ISSUES FORUM............................................................................7
1. Pick Your Democracy.....................................................................................................................2. Steering Committee and Forum Manager.......................................................................................3. Create Mission, Establish Rules, and Set Goals............................................................................4. Technology.....................................................................................................................................95. Recruit............................................................................................................................................96. Community Approach...................................................................................................................10 7. Launch Publicity...........................................................................................................................118. Facilitate and Manage..................................................................................................................119. Be Patient and Persevere.............................................................................................................1110. Celebrate....................................................................................................................................12 
M
EASURING
S
UCCESS
.............................................................................................................................12W
HATS
N
EXT
?........................................................................................................................................13SECTION 2:
CITIZENS' GUIDE TO PARTICIPATING IN A LOCAL ISSUES FORUM..........................14
B
RINGING
T
HE
M
EETING TO
Y
OU
..............................................................................................................14W
HAT
I
S
A L
OCAL
I
SSUES
F
ORUM
?..........................................................................................................14S
URVEY
S
AYS
....................................................................................................................................15W
HY
S
HOULD
C
ITIZENS
P
ARTICIPATE
I
N
A L
OCAL
I
SSUES
F
ORUM
?............................................................15W
HY
S
HOULD
/D
O
E
LECTED
O
FFICIALS AND
D
ECISIONS
M
AKERS
P
ARTICIPATE
?..........................................16H
OW
D
OES
I
T
W
ORK
?.............................................................................................................................17Y
OUR
L
OCAL
I
SSUES
F
ORUM
I
N
P
RACTICE
................................................................................................18H
OW TO
E
FFECTIVELY
P
ARTICIPATE
I
N
A L
OCAL
I
SSUES
F
ORUM
................................................................18L
EVELS
O
F
P
ARTICIPATION
......................................................................................................................20E
XPLANATION
O
F
K
EY
R
ULES
:.................................................................................................................21
Key Rule #1) “All posts must be signed by the author’s full and actual name”.................................
21
Key Rule #2) “No individual may post more than two posts a day.”..................................................
21
Key Rule #3) “No personal attacks.”.................................................................................................
21
Key Rule #4) “Issues discussed must be local issues.”....................................................................
22K
EY
R
ULE
#5) “
The Forum Manager has the duty to warn and remove members who fail to comply with forum rules
.”..................................................................................................................................22SECTION 3:
THE FORUM MANAGERS GUIDE.....................................................................................24
F
ORUM MANAGER
-
JOB DESCRIPTION
:......................................................................................................24Q
UALIFICATIONS
-
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FORUM MANAGER
:.......................................................................25T
EN SPECIFIC TASKS OF THE FORUM MANAGER
: (
DETAILS BELOW
):.............................................................25
1) Keeping the space “safe/civil” for all participants..........................................................................
25
2) Encouraging/enforcing compliance with forum rules....................................................................
26
3) Keeping the discussion on-topic...................................................................................................
27
4) Managing message volume..........................................................................................................
27
5) Introducing new topics..................................................................................................................
27
6) Encouraging alternate viewpoints.................................................................................................
28
7) Provide positive reinforcement of constructive posts....................................................................
28
8) When a new member joins the forum, make sure they understand the purpose of the forum......
28
9) Customer service – responding to participants questions and complaints...................................
28
10) Recruit other list members to help encourage positive dialogue................................................
28
APPENDIX A: CHECKLIST FOR SETTING UP A LOCAL ISSUES FORUM..........................................30APPENDIX B: SAMPLE CHARTERS......................................................................................................31
 
3
M
INNEAPOLIS
I
SSUES
F
ORUM
..................................................................................................................31B
RIGHTON
& H
OVE
I
SSUES
F
ORUM
C
HARTER
...........................................................................................31
APPENDIX C) THE GUIDE TO VIRTUAL DOORKNOCKING.................................................................33
S
HORT
O
UTREACH
N
OTE
 – G
ENERAL
P
UBLIC
...........................................................................................34L
ONGER
I
NTRODUCTION
E
ARLY IN
P
ROCESS TO
C
IVIC
L
EADERS
.................................................................35
APPENDIX D: RECRUITMENT CHECKLIST AND SAMPLE SIGN-UP FORM.......................................37APPENDIX E: SAMPLE FORUM OPENING MESSAGES.......................................................................39
P
OST
1) W
ELCOME
M
ESSAGE
..................................................................................................................39P
OST
2) R
ULES AND
E
XPECTATIONS
........................................................................................................40P
OST
3) I
NTRODUCTIONS
.........................................................................................................................40P
OST
4) R
ECRUITMENT
...........................................................................................................................41
APPENDIX F: E-DEMOCRACY FORUM RULES....................................................................................42
42
APPENDIX G: E-DEMOCRACY MEMBER SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS...............................................48APPENDIX H: ALTERNATIVE METHODS AND FORUM TECHNOLOGY.............................................52APPENDIX I: BENEFITS AND COSTS DISCUSSION.............................................................................55
I
NDIVIDUAL
B
ENEFITS AND
C
OSTS
............................................................................................................55O
RGANISATIONAL
C
OST
/B
ENEFIT
.............................................................................................................56
APPENDIX J: ABOUT E-DEMOCRACY.ORG.........................................................................................58
W
HAT IS
E-D
EMOCRACY
.O
RG
..................................................................................................................58
E-Democracy.Org Mission Statement...............................................................................................58 Goals................................................................................................................................................58 
C
ORE
B
ELIEFS
........................................................................................................................................58B
ACKGROUND
A
ND
H
ISTORY OF
E-D
EMOCRACY
.
ORG
................................................................................59

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