Not all conversations have a purpose…but some do. Our purpose here is to encourage and to support a ‘Deliberative Practice’ in real-life communities and in virtual world communities. This ‘Practice’ defines a specific group of people who apply deliberative tools in a variety of settings and who connect themselves with one another in an on-going learning effort.
Many forms of deliberation and dialogue are available today. National Issues Forums (NIF) have provided citizens an opportunity to purposefully and carefully deal with our most challenging public problems for over 25 years. Today, people gather for NIF-style conversations across the USA and around the world to carefully deliberate on our most troubling public dilemmas where reasonable people disagree strongly and deeply and to actively seek solutions everyone can live with.
- Participants often find themselves considering some actions they thought they would easily oppose.
- Similarly, people sometimes discover hidden costs and consequences in actions they thought they would support.
- Participants gather to learn together, not to simply persuade or advocate.
- Citizens move from making individual choices to making choices as members of a better informed and more connected community.
Deliberative methods and outcomes can be guided by some basic IDEAS…how we talk with each other and what we find as action outcomes need to be: