Not only do consulting bodies need someone to write a report on the consultation, but also consulted groups often need to put together a document responding to a consultation. In both cases, it helps if a group can be asked to develop their solution and write it up in a report. With computer software running on a server, several people can work on the same document at the same time, writing different parts of it, then editing each other's work.
- Blogs can be used to collect individual pieces of writing.
A wikiwiki web page (or wiki for short) can be edited by anyone. So groups of people can work on the same pages, each developing and correcting each others work (a lot quicker than circulating word processing documents).
- DoWire.org - Democracies Online - Best practices wiki
- This guide
- Wikipedia, a wikiwiki encyclopaedia
- DEFRA's wiki site intended to let anyone edit a model environmental contract between citizens and government.
When there is strong disagreement, wikiwiki sites can suffer from editing wars, as people keep changing pages and others keep changing them back. But if a group has already resolved their differences, they can work well.
Report writing systems
Researchers have developed tools to help people collaborate on reports, even when they strongly disagree.
- GRASS (Group Report Authoring Support System)
- developed by Aldo de Moor for his Ph.D., where it was used by loggers and environmentalists to co-write a report on forestry policy for British Columbia
- makes differences explicit, rather than trying to force a consensus
- on each issue, there are several competing positions each written by a group of participants