Internet, Politics, Policy Conference – Day 1

16. & 17. September 2010, St. Anne’s College, Oxford
– Blog Post about Day 2:
click here

Opening by Helen Margretts & Arthur Lupia

Arthur Lupia

Online participation has high goals, but most attempts concerning online participation have failed; presently failure seems to be the norm. The main reasons for failure are that people are ignorant, lazy and apathetic. It is a common believe that good intentions are sufficent. Motivation is influenced by biologal factors such as a working memory, which is very constraint and has limited capacity and a high decay rate. Lupia stated that pre-conditions for persuasion are attention, elaboration, and credibility. According to him, the core question is: How do we get people to memorize things? People have to set words into the context of what is important to them. If they do not see it essential for their own goals, it is neccessary to talk about things that are relevant to them. Chunks of information leave a legacy if the recipient perceives them as unique and highly relevant.

Arthur Lupia outlined how to win battles for attention. One should make participation projects on a local level as consequences of such projects are concrete and immediate for the people involved, and the desired outcome has to be possible to achieve. He presented a study showing that threats are weak motivations for participation. He then underlined the study’s results by analysing wordings concerning monetary support by Obama and H. Clinton. Clinton’s wordings were much more frightening than those of Obama, and Obama raised much more money that Clinton did. Lupia finished his presentation with popular differences between online & offline debates. While traditional communication is marked by interruption (white interrupt more often that non-white persons, men interrupt more often than women) and an order of who speaks first (the first contribution ist far more likely to be picked up for further discussion), internet based deliberation doesn’t have these effects and merely the abscence of these effects will have an impact on society.

Political Participation and Petitioning

Andreas Jungherr from Otto-Friedrich-Universität, Bamberg Germany on the topic: The political click: political participation through e-petitions in Germany.