in Community, Democracy

Standing in line for democracy

This is odd – e-democracy.org’s 125-member United States issues forum, is described as “a civil, more deliberative discussion of national public policy issues and politics in the United States among people with diverse political perspectives.” I joined, and was having an interesting and potentially productive discussion with an intelligent, seemingly reasonable Tea Party conservative. However my last post in that discussion was blocked – the list limits members to one post per twelve hours. “We limit the number of posts any one person can send within a set time frame to increase the number of voices heard and keep overall e-mail volume in check. Please try posting again later.” The implication is interesting: democracy is not about enabling discussions, but restricting them. From their perspective, I suppose the idea is that an unrestricted list will be dominated by a few voices. Savvy online communitarians know that every forum will have a few vocal members, though, and many more observers who rarely if ever speak.

A restriction like this just seems tone deaf to me, especially on a list that espouses deliberative discussion. The restriction leaves the list inherently stilted.

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