Hosting Online Groups

E-Democracy's hosting services rest on three principles:

  1. Openness - We use open source software that leverages the talents of the technology community.
     
  2. Connections - We host the largest global exchange for practitioners, researchers, and experts dedicated to active knowledge exchange on e-democracy, e-participation, e-transparency, and open government.
     
  3. Inclusion - In 2014, we are wrapping up BeNeighbors.org, a three-year, Knight Foundation funded, outreach and engagement project in Saint Paul to recruit 10% of households to participate in highly local Neighbors Forums. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only project, worldwide seeking to address the barriers to online civic engagement raised by Pew Internet. Our goal is to demonstrate that with intentionally inclusive outreach and engagement support we can build online communities to raises ALL voices within the communities they serve.

Currently we host over 50 online community forums with over 27,000 memberships across the globe, focusing on inclusive community/civic engagement. Of the almost 20,000 forum memberships in the Twin Cities metro area, over 80% engage at the neighborhood level as part of our BeNeighbors.org program.

Over 20 years of direct experience hosting independent online groups designed to raise local voices in democracy gives E-Democracy real insights into the trends and trade-offs of hosting an online discussion space. 

Whether it be standing up an open source platform on a private server or renting a space on a new innovative platform (etc.), online hosts need their groups to be discoverable, they need to be able to leverage one-click-to-join identity schemes, and they need access to technology advice and help when major online providers block them in overzealous spam traps or limit their outreach in a way that threatens their online freedom of assembly. In short, they need to be connected to the lessons and the peer-to-peer support of the hosting field.

E-Democracy offers the expertise and connections to support the efforts of practitioners working to move the field. Email contact@e-democracy.org to let us know how we might help with your hosting projects.