Regulation Room is designed and operated by the Cornell e-Rulemaking Initiative (CeRI) and hosted by the Legal Information Institute (LII). The site is a pilot project that provides an online environment for people and groups to learn about, discuss, and react to selected rules(regulations) proposed by federal agencies. It expands the types of public input available to agencies in the rulemaking process, while serving as a teaching and research platform. Learn more.
The Drafting Room experiment is testing the boundaries of effective online civic engagement. Is it possible to go beyond soliciting feedback from individual members of the public and help them move towards collaboratively producing effective policy inputs? Specifically, we are focused on three main questions:
We investigate those questions by using a large scale controlled experiment focused on deliberation of an actual campus policy change. The practical goal of the project is to test platform features and facilitation procedures for collaborative drafting of policy inputs by the members of the public.
Policymaking bodies have limited financial, human, computational, and temporal resources for recruiting members of the public to participate in online deliberations surrounding rulemaking processes. Thus in order to make the most efficient and effective use of these resources, this project is an effort to improve outreach strategies by identifying people who are likely to be highly motivated and capable contributors. Its aim is to develop natural language processing techniques that can analyze text online to detect cognitive and experiential characteristics that are positively or negatively associated with a person's willingness and ability to participate effectively.
To date, experiments have concentrated on recruiting people from the social media platform Twitter by analyzing the text that Twitter users post. An initial experiment in Spring 2012 examined whether text similarity between rulemaking concepts and a Twitter user's bio, tweets, or some combination was correlated with that person's willingness to participate during an open comment period on CeRI's RegulationRoom.org.
The current experiment begun in Summer 2012 continues to explore predictors of an individual's readiness for engagement. In particular, the focus is on identifying citizens who exhibit evidence of:
Additionally, the current experiment investigates whether outreach messaging can be crafted with wording that amplifies and appeals to these interests and mental states in order to be more persuasive, achieve better response rates, and elicit higher quality comments.
With the continued advancement of information technology, we are experiencing an explosion of user participation in the web environment. In order to efficiently manage the growing amount of information, this project aims to automatically evaluate the quality of user generated texts, such as reviews and comments, by means of determining whether each claim is accompanied by substantiation. A working assumption here is that user generated texts that consist of substantiated claims are of better quality than those that contain unsubstantiated claims.