EDemocracy Issues Forums
An initiative to create local open forums for political discussion on issues important to democratic governance:
"Most online discussions are based on a specific topic, cause, or hosted by someone with an ax to grind or perhaps a secret agenda. What we need are geography-based, multi-topic, non-partisan online public spaces where citizens with diverse perspectives and backgrounds gather for online discussion, dialogue and deliberation on real public issues. We need an online citizen assembly that brings people together from across the political spectrum.
Unlike most web forums and weblogs, our e-mail enabled discussions sustain involvement because members only have to make a commitment to join once (we do provide a web-only option and headline feeds (RSS) as well). With the web-only forums, people must proactively decide to visit a web forum every time they go online. The job of the forum manager or facilitator is to build and maintain a participatory audience by keeping message volume in check and mediating disputes in a fair manner.
E-Democracy.Org is building a local steering committee and chapter model, like the Rotary or Kiwanas service club model. While you can adapt this advice and create something independent for your community, this article presents a way to do this as part of a family of local Issues Forums. Together we can build a stronger future for citizen engagement in our own communities." (http://e-democracy.org/center/if.html)