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Abstract

The essay focuses on the role of design in online deliberation, and outlines three directions for future research. First, research must embed the study of the technical and organizational architecture of online discussion spaces, as an ongoing area of inquiry. Scholars need to take stock of varying available design choices and their potential effects on the deliberative quality of online public discourse. Second, looking more broadly, research must examine the design of deliberative processes as they manifest themselves via digital technologies. The author discusses the importance of surveying the broad array of processes that are currently employed, and the varying theoretical assumptions that they convey. Third, the essay concludes with an outline of possible implications that online deliberation endeavors may have on democratic citizenship, and calls for further research on the broader implications of this work for promoting healthy democratic societies.