An experiment in e-rulemaking with natural language processing and democratic deliberation

Peter Muhlberger, Jenny Stromer-Galley, Nick Webb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

3 Scopus citations


Public comment processes in federal and state agency rulemakings are among the most substantial potential arenas for public input into government. Unfortunately, these processes have not been much used for thoughtful public input. This chapter explores whether online democratic deliberation and natural language processing tools, can empower participants to provide more informed input into an agency rulemaking. It also sought to determine whether such an approach had other positive effects such as enhancing citizenship and increasing confidence in the pertinent agency. Findings indicate improvements in participant knowledge of the network neutrality rulemaking topic, systematic attitude change, improvements to citizenship measures, and increased confidence in the Federal Communications Commission. Results suggest that public deliberation under conditions needed to involve substantial numbers of people-namely, online deliberation without facilitators-can improve public comments into federal and state agency rulemakings while strengthening the citizenship qualities of participants. They also indicate that many of the desired effects of face-to-face deliberation with trained facilitators can also be obtained online without facilitators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCitizen 2.0
Subtitle of host publicationPublic and Governmental Interaction through Web 2.0 Technologies
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781466603189
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'An experiment in e-rulemaking with natural language processing and democratic deliberation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this