CivicChat is a discussion board recently launched in Australia, for local government discussions in Western Australia. It “is the Forum where you can have your say on any matter that concerns you in your local city, town or shire, and see what others in your or other local areas are saying. Within CivicChat, you can start your own conversations, organise events or meetings. CivicChat is free to citizens — Councils pay an annual access fee.”
Usage is based on registration, but from what I can see in the indexes, there isn’t a lot of activity around. Yet. I wonder how many members there are, especially on the council side.
In our Danish Denamrk Debate project, which is still under development, we plan not to charge the councils, nor the citizens of course, and generally avoid too much registration, which I think will scare away people. What we also do, and this I think is key to success, is that we go for distributed ownership, i.e., that we make the local councils responsible for the debates in their “zone”. In fact, we will try and go far in this direction, and are building a special web service for allowing the councils and other to integrate the debates into their own sites. XML and web services meets democracy 😉