Designing Web 2.0 Tools for Online Public Consultation

Public consultation is a formal mechanism of social participation where government invites citizens to participate in policymaking. Increasingly, public consultations are being held online, where Web 2.0 tools and other information and communication technology (ICT) tools become central to understand the design of virtual spaces for government-citizen interaction. Through the analysis of two case studies from Brazil—the “Gabinete Digital” and the “Marco Civil Regulatório” initiatives—this chapter discusses how online public consultation spaces are designed, using a combination of ICTs. Based on three frameworks of deliberative theory and characteristics of Web 2.0 tools, the aim of our paper is studying what aspects of Web 2.0 tools are useful for online consultation and what democratic environments they might generate when combined. The main contribution of this work is raising awareness on how the usage of certain Web 2.0 tools can reinforce or diminish some attributes of political communication and therefore, as a result, produce different models of online democratic communication.