Most e-participation projects take place within the ‘You—not Now—not Here’ space. However, the distinction between the spaces is not a distinct border. The level of unity on the personality, time, place and action parameters is highly dependent from the e-participation project it concerns.
Even within the ‘pearls of e-participation’, the conditions for building trust between government and public are not always present, judging from a brief YUTPA scan. The reflection provides us with some guidelines for designing interactions through e-participation:
- It is very difficult to build trust if interaction retains a high degree of anonymity. Many e-participation projects depend on communication and interaction between strangers. The YUTPA model shows that actual meeting can be a valuable addition to e-participation and is an important factor in building trust.
- Some degree of asynchronicity is often inherent to e-participation. Asynchronous communication may not impede the building of trust, if the time-span between sending and receiving a response is acceptable (a few days to several weeks). By dividing the communication process in separate stages, response times for each communication step can be reduced. Transparency in communication, such as applying ‘tracking and tracing’, provides a better acceptance of asynchronicity in communication.
- Unity of Place is principally responsible for the sense of a shared interest. Best, this is realised by organising offline meetings. Mapping can play a supportive role.
- The ability to act is essential for successful e-participation. If there is no action perspective, one cannot speak of e-participation. Therefore, it is questionable whether initiatives that exclusively depend on a service like Twitter can be called e-participation. In general, the higher a participation project is on the participation ladder, the higher the YUTPA score on the dimension Act/Not Act will be.
- It is very difficult to build trust if interaction retains a high degree of anonymity.
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