This is a tough question to answer because I've been on both sides -- taking complaints and giving complaints. Still, let's see what we have here with Pros, Cons and Potential Solutions.
Engaging Citizens Pros
- Makes your agency look pro-active.
- You get access to ideas (solutions and problems) you may not know about.
Engaging Citizens Cons
- Yes, often it probably will turn into a gripe session. I have experienced this.
- Occassionally crazy people will get through and annoy you...even spam you. This has happened to me.
- If customer/constituent service is part of your job, then this is another medium to you have monitor.
- Ignore the general complaints; focus on the specific complaints.
- Advertise engagement as a solutions tool, not complain tool. Tell people to only come to you with potential solutions to specific problems.
- Tell people to complain through email and phone calls.