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Abstract

Diamond's Liberation Technology describes how new communication technologies can help bring about democracy, but not how they can help improve an existing democracy. One natural idea is that technologies developed specifically for improving deliberation might help improve in quantity and quality the public deliberation required for a healthy democracy. To date, this has failed to happen; deliberation technologies have not been taken up by the public to any significant degree. I suggest that this is because such technologies have taken the wrong approach, imposing too much structure on deliberative discourse. An alternative is to "cultivate" better deliberation. This approach is taken by YourView, a new kind of virtual forum, which aims to enhance democracy by providing an opportunity for citizens easily access key arguments on major issues, take a stand on those issues, and help shape the "collective wisdom" - the considered collective view. By identifying when participants exhibit "epistemic virtues," and rewarding such behaviors, it encourages rather than imposes better-quality deliberation.

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