Professor Dr. Euripidis Loukis of the University of the Aegean Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering, and Professor Maria Wimmer of Universität Koblenz-Landau Institut für Wirtschafts- und Verwaltungsinformatik, presented a paper entitled Analysing Different Models of Structured Electronic Consultation on Legislation Under Formation, at OD 2010: The Fourth International Conference on Online Deliberation, held 30 June-2 July 2010, at the Leeds University Business School, in Leeds, England, UK.
Here is a summary of the presentation:
Conducted as part of the EU’s LEX-IS project, this research compared “two different models of structured e-consultation on the formation of legislation”: one — more complex and structured, taking the form of “issues-alternatives-arguments-comments” — “based on [the] IBIS framework”; the other “simpler and less structured,” in the form of “questions – answers – comments.” The research was conducted on eConsultations respecting proposed legislation in the parliaments of Austria and Greece.
The authors drew the following conclusions from the research data:
Less sophisticated users with lower levels of education and [fewer] skills and experiences in structured discussions [found] the more structured e-forum[s] … more difficult and demanding and [made] a suboptimal use of them. [The] [m]ain difficulties result[ed] from mental efforts needed in thinking in the highly structured way that such tools impose, in annotating correctly the postings[,] [c]onnecting them to others’ postings and in general using efficiently the ‘discussion language'[.] However, [the more structured e-forums] can facilitate higher quality discussions[.] Highly structured e-consultations require adequate skills, capacities and training of the users. Hence, such highly structured tools may not be the best solution for wider citizen participation, but very good for more sophisticated and knowledgeable citizens. Parliaments are therefore recommended [to] organize e-consultations with a wider public by using simple e-forums, while at the same time they may exploit structured e-forum tools to consult with expert groups relevant for the bills under discussion[.]
For the full text of the paper, please contact the authors.