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[liberationtech] Journal of Public Deliberation: Equity and Inclusion in Online Community Forums

Steven Clift clift at
Tue May 2 09:32:04 PDT 2017

A special edition on equity and deliberation includes this in-depth
interview on digital inclusion and online participation (abstract below):

No matter the technology, if you are interested in lessons from , also see
... further if you are interested in helping launch/fund/research NEW
efforts to inclusively connect neighborhoods and local places online among
immigrants and native-born, race and ethnicity, income and red and blue,
let me know: clift at

- Steve

Equity and Inclusion in Online Community Forums: An Interview with Steven


Online forums pose unique challenges and opportunities for creating
equitable public discussions. In this interview, Steven Clift, Executive
Director and Founder of, shares lessons learned about how
to attract new immigrants and refugees to place-based online communities,
seeding and facilitating discussions among ethnically diverse residents,
and fostering civil discourse. He emphasizes that building a thriving and
diverse neighborhood forum online depends on providing spaces where people
can discuss community life, exchange free goods, and talk about civic
issues in ways that arise organically from people’s everyday concerns,
rather than recruiting people to a primarily political forum, which tends
to attract privileged residents whose voices often dominate in offline
politics. Clift also reflects on the implications for equity of the
changing technological landscape for online deliberations, from the rise of
Yahoo! Groups to Facebook Groups to commercial neighborhood sites, such as As the Internet becomes integrated into all aspects of
everyday life, Clift’s insights can help us to envision how inclusive
online forums can be incorporated into many kinds of public engagement.
Recommended Citation

Abdullah, Carolyne; Karpowitz, Christopher F.; and Raphael, Chad (2016)
"Equity and Inclusion in Online Community Forums: An Interview with Steven
Clift," *Journal of Public Deliberation*: Vol. 12 : Iss. 2 , Article 11.
Available at:
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