New Tools and Technologies

Use Good Collaboration Practices in Web and other Technology Design

Mediators, facilitators and other professionals have a well-developed set of principles about transparency, participation, and collaboration. Use them. Examples: -apply principles of active listening to comment analysis -apply principles of interest-based negotiation in development of interactive websites, for instance by using multi-criteria decision analysis (in part) to help people distinguish between positions ...more »

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New Strategies and Techniques

Comment Feedback System—Comment Analysis and Summarization

Many of the suggestions on this site would increase the public’s access to government and the ability to provide feedback on government proposals. But what is the government going to do with all those comments? The current comment analysis technology fails to create a “learning system.” To be a learning system, the government’s response to the public comment has to be timely, interesting, and relevant (“this is what ...more »

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Making Government Operations More Open

Open-Ended Questions in Requests for Comments

As a standard of practice, design requests for comments should include open-ended questions. For instance, this site presumes that efficiency and effectiveness are the goals. What if a participant values fairness as well as efficiency? There should be a place to comment on the actual framing of the questions.

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Rulemaking

Comment Gathering Events Articulate How Comments Will be Reported, Acted Upon

Letting users/commenters know how their information will be securely reported and acted upon is a good practice for websites and other types of public interaction.

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New Strategies and Techniques

Allow Agencies to Survey Public Without Central Review of Survey Instruments

Engineers do not send all their engineering plans to a central engineer reviewer. Agencies rightly implement NEPA differently. Why is there one central review system for surveying of the public? There are many better systems for supporting quality. The tools for transparency will evolve so rapidly that a year-long lag in corresponding evaluation systems just won’t work. This is all the more essential since any ...more »

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New Strategies and Techniques

When Using Novel, More Accessible Techniques, Advertise In Traditional Media

Developing novel techniques meant to involve “more than the usual suspects” needs to be teamed with advertisement in more traditional media. People can’t come and be excited by a new website unless they know it is there. For instance, did the website include a Spanish version? That’s cool, but also not much good unless it was matched with advertisements in Spanish-speakers’ newspapers, or flyers and leaflets in their ...more »

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New Tools and Technologies

Multi-Criteria Decision Support online and in Traditional Workshops

Multi-criteria decision support is a technique that supports wiser and more inclusive decisions. It -Gives more people the opportunity to comment in a more accessible and powerful way. (See, for example, http://gsnmvibe.ecr.gov/hike , and go to the “weigh in” section or see http://www.decisioncafe.com/ccwes/ .) - Separates values from science - Can be fully collaborative from the workshop-based creation of the decision ...more »

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New Strategies and Techniques

Planning and Collaboration Operate from the Same Platform

Technology gives the public the ability to comment from the same platform as the planners, thus greatly increasing the likelihood that the comments themselves will be salient, that the planners will be able to act on the comments, and that the system (decision-maker and agency) will have a positive reinforcing loop. For instance, if planners are using GIS, then commenters should be able to use GIS in similar ways. Instead ...more »

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Making Data More Accessible

Report Types of Uncertainty

In decision-making processes, the type of uncertainty should be identified. Is the system inherently predictable and well known? Is it inherently predictable but not well known (you can give a number, but have to say + or -)? Are important aspects of the situation stochastic (random)? Is the system nonstationary (cannot predict future from the past)?

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Between Federal, State, and Local Governments

Think of New Approaches as Social, Tech & Staff Investments—Long Term

New approaches, such as collaborative comment analysis or online multi-criteria decision support, are costly. They require an investment by the public in at least two ways (a) learning a new approach/interface and (b) giving the agency their trust that this new approach really will work better. It requires capitol investment. It requires investment in training and practice for staff and management. Agencies should ...more »

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New Strategies and Techniques

Design Planning and Decision-Making Processes with “Outreachability” in Mind

When designing planning and decision-making processes, one of the criteria should be “does this support the level of collaboration to which we aspire?” If differing planning or modeling approaches score similarly for cost effectiveness, relevance, and planner or scientific acceptance, then the approach that lends itself more readily to wider collaboration (and if wider collaboration is a goal), then that approach should ...more »

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