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  Group Areas

Group Areas are inter-media communication spaces where the remote deliberative processes of an organisation's bodies actually take place through a sequential structuring of conversations and discussions. The Groups are sophisticated, well-articulated, and highly configurable spaces supported effectively by inter-media and inter-language options. They contain Decision Items that can be chosen from templates and structured in various sequential phases.

In practice, authorised users, utilizing their choice of media and language, can do the following anytime and anywhere:

View Decision Item drafts and amendments, and easily compare and visualize differences among versions;
Submit Decision Item drafts, amendments to existing drafts, comments, petitions, endorsements and motions;
Submit detailed proposals for: new Forums, new Groups, new Decision Items, Campaigns and Petitions;
Express preference on all items.

Groups are designed to be easily adaptable to existing organisational decision-making rules, as reported in statutes, rules of procedures and regulations.

Each Group has members, possibly with varying access rights, as well as a Group Moderator(s) and a Group Coordinator. The Group is a space where a number of Decision Items are introduced to generate deliberation and ideation to build consensus or reach a decision. These may be created by the Coordinator, based on internal organisational obligations and internal political goals, to suit the most varied needs like: co-drafting of budget plans; arranging for in-person meetings, audio conferences and events; initiating informal processes of data collection through petition campaigns; soliciting endorsements and polls; introducing policies and agendas; generating discussions; and reaching a consensus by ensuring visibility and voice to all the members.

For each Decision Item (DI), the Group Coordinator or his/her assistant may specify the detailed configuration of sequential deliberative phases. For each of these phases, s/he may define: preference expression methods; preference conversion parameters; permissions to submit, comment, express preference; enabled DI templates; expiration date; moderation rules; required quorum; required majority level; and more.

Groups may be used to collectively discuss and deliberate upon a wide variety of different matters public statements, live meeting plans, tele-conference plans, legislative proposals, statute changes, budget plans, strategic plans, agenda plans, and rules of procedures. Such versatility is accomplished through six basic Decision Item Types:

Simple Text;
Structured Text;
Text List;
Budget List;
In-Person-Meeting Plan;
Tele-Meeting Plan (audio or video).

For each Decision Item Type, the Group Coordinator can maintain one or more customized templates according to group rules or personal preferences; S/he may or may not enable users to modify those templates while proposing new Decision Items.

One or more "Assistant Proxies" may be created by Group Coordinators or members to enable their personal secretaries to securely and accountably interact with the system on their behalf.

A "Delegated Proxy" functionality can be enabled or disabled by each Group Coordinator.

When enabled, any user can select a "Proxy", or temporary representative, from a list of volunteers, for specific Decision Item types for which they feel they do not have the time, experience and/or skill required to participate adequately. The user can monitor a complete activity history of his/her proxy at all times, and s/he can transfer or revoke the assignment at any time. If required, the user can be set to retain the final say, allowing him/her to overwrite the choices of his proxy any time s/he considers it necessary.

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