More than a decade after the launch of Regulations.gov, the government-wide federal online rulemaking portal, and nearly four years since the Obama Administration directed agencies to use “innovative tools and practices that create new and easier methods for public engagement,” there are still more questions than answers about what value social media and other Web 2 .0 technologies can bring to rulemaking–and about how agencies can realize that value. This report, commissioned by the IBM Center for the Business of Government, begins to provide those answers. Drawing on insights from a number of disciplines and on three years of actual experience in the Regulation Room project, CeRI researchers explain the barriers that new rulemaking participants must overcome. And they make specific recommendations for lowering these barriers using outreach strategies, information design, and choice of participation tools. Although the particular focus is public participation in the context of rulemaking, much of what is discussed here will help any government or civil society group seeking broader, better public engagement in complex policy decisions
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