The 2nd Conference on Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice
will be held May 20-2005 at Stanford University. (Full disclosure: I’m on the organizing committee).

The call for proposals asks for abstracts by March 15. A peek at some of the details:

We welcome proposals for presentations and workshops from both within and
outside academia. An edited volume of abstracts and selected full papers
from the conference is planned for publication afterward through CSLI
Publications, a division of the University of Chicago Press. Topics of
interest include:

* Online deliberation and groupware design
* Computer-supported cooperative work
* Uses and implications of the Internet for democratic participation
* E-consultation and E-rulemaking
* Online facilitation and community-building
* Research on virtual communities
* Uses of groupware in organizations
* Online learning communities
* Social decision procedures for online environments
* Analyzing online dialogue
* Email and listservs
* Chatrooms and instant messaging
* Message boards and blogs
* Collaborative editing and wikis
* Online organizing and petitions
* Teleconferencing
* Mobile communication and “smart mobs”
* Smart rooms and iRooms
* Immersive virtual environments
* Multilingual online communities and machine translation
* Secure communication and voting
* Information systems support for deliberation
* Lessons from “offline” deliberation and democracy
* Distributed design
* IP, ownership and “copyleft”
* Digital divides, usability, and accessibility
* Free speech and censorship online
* Communication across platforms

All of the above topics bear on whether Internet tools for deliberation
can truly deepen democracy — in groups, communities, and societies –and,
if so, how. But work on these topics is spread over many and diverse
disciplines: computer science, the social sciences, education, law, public
policy, philosophy, social work, and information science, just to name a
few. It involves scholars, designers, and practitioners from all over the
world. This conference, like the one at CMU in 2003, is an attempt to
bring these perspectives together so that we can all widen our horizons.

The focus of the conference is not the Internet, society, and politics
generally, but rather work that is especially related to online
deliberation tools and their use. “Deliberation” denotes “thoughtful,
careful, or lengthy consideration” by individuals, and “formal discussion
and debate” in groups (Collins English Dictionary, 1979). We are therefore
primarily interested in online communication that is reasoned, purposeful,
and interactive, but the power and predominance of other influences on
political decisions (e.g. mass media, appeals to emotion and authority,
and snap judgements) obviously make them relevant to the prospects for
deliberative e-democracy. Topics such as technology policy and social
networks are of interest, but proposals around such topics for this
conference should relate them to online deliberation.