I think the active involvement in this project by a number of Community Informatics folks (Doug Schuler, Andrea Kavanaugh, Jackie Phahlamaloka and I presume others) is not incidental. I haven’t read the book yet, but seeing the blurb and the table of contents suggests to me that this volume deals directly with what I consider one of the most important areas for future CI research which is the interaction between online communities and off-line interaction and physical communities and virtual deliberation.
I haven’t seen any research in the area of online deliberation, but the research on virtual groups for example, is very clear that even a one time only face-to-face interaction has a significant impact on trust building and thus on the capacity of virtual groups to make decisions and undertake collaborative actions. My guess would be that research would find similar results for online deliberation i.e. that even a very very limited amount of f2f interaction (where this is possible) would greatly facilitate the process of online deliberation. My guess further is that the converse is also true i.e. that face to face deliberation could be made significantly more responsive, more inclusive and more efficient through the structured and deliberate use of online supports.
Michael Gurstein, Ph.D.
Director: Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and Training (CCIRDT)
Cape Town, SA (in conjunction with Izandla Zethu SA)
A new edited volume, Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice, the first to focus on online deliberation especially, is available now from…
University of Chicago Press
as a free pdf download at http://odbook.stanford.edu (Creative Commons licensed).
Many thanks to the contributing authors, publisher, reviewers, and friends for helping bring this book to reality both online and in print!
Todd Davies and Seeta Pena Gangadharan editors, Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice (Stanford: CSLI Publications, November 2009)
from the back cover:
“Information and communication technologies must move toward becoming the platform for deliberative online dialogue that extends and augments offline public interactions. This volume examines this subject in a rich and comprehensive way.” — Fiorella de Cindio, Universita degli Studi di Milano.