Citizen Involvement

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    Henry Brown
    Participant

    Still in the pilot stage but at the very least has a significant amount of potential!

    http://regulationroom.org/

    Regulation Room is designed and operated by the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) and hosted by the Legal Information Institute (LII). The site is a pilot project that provides an online environment for people and groups to learn about, discuss, and react to selected rules(regulations) proposed by federal agencies. It expands the types of public input available to agencies in the rulemaking process, while serving as a teaching and research platform.

    CeRI is a multidisciplinary group of faculty and students, based at Cornell University. We work with federal agencies to discover the best ways to use Web 2.0 and other technologies to improve public understanding of, and participation in, rulemaking. LII, based at Cornell Law School, has been providing legal information at no charge to the public since 1992, and is the most linked-to web resource in the field of law.

    CeRI cooperates with various federal agencies to select and present the proposed rules that are available in Regulation Room. However, this is not a federal government site. Discussions on Regulation Room are moderated by CeRI students and faculty or other nongovernmental researchers collaborating with CeRI. The federal agencies whose rules are offered here collaborate in this research, in order to learn about the most effective Web 2.0 strategies for increasing public understanding and participation during rulemaking, but all content and operation are the sole responsibility of CeRI.

    Regulation Room is a work in progress. Services and applications will be added in phases and may be modified with experience. This is an overview of our current plan:

    Alert and Engage: Social networking services and other online and conventional outreach strategies will to used alert individuals and groups who may have an interest in proposed rules. Our focus will be on reaching people and groups who might not learn about the rulemaking through traditional channels, and providing them enough information about the rule and the process to encourage them to participate.

    Educate and Inform: Materials about rulemaking and effective participation will be available, strucutured to allow people to learn about the process in as much detail as they feel they need. For each specific rule, summaries of the important issues and the agency’s reasoning, as well as links to relevant primary and secondary materials, will make the legal and factual bases of the proposal more accessible.

    Facilitate Reaction and Discussion: A moderated blog will lead people through the major policy issues of the rule. Users will be able to target their comments to particular sections of the agency’s proposal and reasoning, and react specifically to those sections. Comment threading will enable users to reply to the comments of others, to specific paragraphs, as well as on the issue overview post.

    Encourage Comment Aggregation & Consensus-building: Reaction and discussion will lead into a collaboration phase during which users can participate in drafting and responding to other users comments. Moderators trained in group facilitation will actively assist this phase.

    Harness Technology to Manage Information: Regulation Room is part of ongoing CeRI research into the use of natural language processing and other information management techniques to categorize and summarize public comments in rulemaking.

    Read a FCW article that provides more insight… http://fcw.com/articles/2011/02/28/home-page-gov-20-dot-erulemaking.aspx

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