Encouraging dialogue and political discourse online where "multiple competing ideas and voices can flourish."
While the rest of us tended to yell at each other online throughout much of the late 90s, the New York Internet think tank Web Lab was evolving a better way...
Less chronicled is the experience of 800 people who could not make it to the Javits Center that day but instead convened over the Internet over a two-week period to discuss many of the same questions, at more length and perhaps with more nuance . . . the 10,000-odd messages produced by the online groups are also being scrutinized as a model for civic engagement on local and national issues...
A place to speak your virtual mind, by Lisa Napoli
Sept 11, my need to talk and to share has been acute, not just for me,
but for so many. Always, I lament: If only we had that giant town square,
where each night after dinner everyone could gather. Instead of reverting
to the TV set, revert to each other to check in and express ourselves,
try to make sense of it all
Groups like Web Lab are building new kinds of Web forums designed to foster a more useful debate....
...None of these people have ever met in person, but for the past week, they have been revealing emotional details about their personal lives in a unique online forum. Spurred by the engaging PBS documentary series, ''An American Love Story,'' these intimate strangers have volunteered to participate in an ongoing dialogue about race, relationships, prejudice, and other provocative topics. It's an experiment masterminded by a New York operation called Web Lab, which aims to show that the Internet, despite its crass commercialism, can foster intelligent communication among diverse groups.
...Since the 10-hour documentary "An American Love Story" aired Sept.
12-16 on PBS, the "lovestories" Web site has hosted a series of sustained,
intimate group dialogues. The hope: to continue and expand discussion
about the series and the thornier issues of race, relationships and
differences that the series raised.
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