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The term online deliberation describes the emerging field of practice and research related to the design, implementation and study of "deliberative processes that rely on the use of electronic "information and communications technologies (ICT).
Online deliberation is a relatively new field.
Online deliberation is very interdisciplinary, and includes practices such as "online consultation, "e-participation, online "deliberative polling, "crowdsourcing, online facilitation, "online research communities, interactive "e-learning, civic dialogue in "Internet forums and "online chat, and "group decision making that utilizes "collaborative software and other forms of "computer-mediated communication. Work in all these endeavors is tied together by the challenge of using electronic media in a way that deepens thinking and improves mutual understanding.
Open international conferences on online deliberation have been held at "Carnegie Mellon University in 2003, "Stanford University in 2005, and the "University of California, Berkeley in 2008. The most recent conference was held at the "University of Leeds, June 30 – July 2, 2010. Attendees of the 2005 conference voted to create an international society for online deliberation, but no formal organization has yet been established. Other events of interest have been sponsored by the Online Deliberative Democracy Consortium.
Online deliberation is a relatively new field. Although the concept of public deliberation via electronic means was discussed as early as the 1970s,25 and there was some early empirical work on deliberation online in the 1980s and 1990s,26 studies of structured or public online deliberation appear to have begun with work by Stephen Coleman and colleagues,27 Lincoln Dahlberg,28 and Vincent Price29 around a decade ago.
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