- How exactly does
an online Dialogue work?
The discussion is asynchronous
which means that it is not conducted in real time. This allows
people to participate at any time, day or night.
The Dialogue is organized
in a Roundtable format with a panel of individuals who represent
specialize information and/or agencies. Each day, typically in
the morning, the moderator poses a question to the panelists.
Each member of the Roundtable responds to the question during
that day. Registered participants may also respond to the discussion.
Participants can visit the web site to read the messages and use
the comment form to contribute to the discussion. At the conclusion
of each topic a brief discussion summary will be posted to the
A record of the discussion
is maintained on the Dialogue web site and messages are organized
by thread, topic, date or author. Please feel free to post a message
to an earlier thread.
- What equipment
is necessary for someone to participate in a dialogue?
Individuals need to
have access to the Internet and use a Web browser such as Netscape
Navigator, Internet Explorer or the text-based browser Lynx.
- How does a conversation
All messages that are
sent to the discussion group are reviewed by the administrator
before being posted. The administrator will clarify any questions
and help keep the discussion running smoothly and productively.
The discussion is focused
around a Roundtable, or panel of experts. The moderator poses
questions to the panelists and they usually reply within a few
hours. Our participants should submit comments and ask questions
as well. Invited panelists are asked to respond to one question
from the moderator every day. Panelists and participants typically
exchange comments and questions as the discussion develops.
- Do participants
send in their thoughts on the topic for that day, and then periodically
check to see if others have responded?
Messages are posted
to the web site throughout the day. Many participants bookmark
the site and check it at least once or twice every day.
How do I follow
You may read the Dialogue
using message Threads (all replies to the first message are grouped
below that message), a Subject matter index or Date and Author
do I post a message?
Messages are posted
to the discussion by using a comment form on the web site. When
you click on a message in the discussion, you will see two hot
links in the top corners of the screen. If you want to start
a new topic, click on the link "Post a New Message" in the upper
left-hand corner. If you want to reply to a previous message
just click on the link "Reply to This Message" in the upper
Create clear subject
headers. We would like to solicit your help in making
the discussion easy to follow. As those of you who are familiar
with asynchronous discussions know, subject matter headers and
threads can be cumbersome to follow. This happens because participants
often do not take the time to summarize their message accurately
in the header line. Please take the time to select a good message
header that succinctly encapsulates your thoughts.
Please also remember
that unlike e-mail, the Reply feature may not always be your
best option. Your thoughts on the topic under discussion may
be breaking new ground; under these circumstances please post
a new message.
- What is a Summary?
an overview of the comments of Roundtable panelists and participants
during a given period of time. Each summary should also help participants
find threads they want to read in more detail.
The text is presented
in a bulleted format. Space and time limitations obviously will
prevent us from doing full justice to your ideas.
Whenever possible we
post summaries at the end of the day. All comments posted before
7:00 PM EDT will be included in the summary of that covers that
day's discussion. When appropriate, postings made after that time
will be incorporated in the next summary.
- Is everyone online
at the same time?
Because the discussion
is asynchronous (not conducted in real time) people can participate
at their convenience during the day or night. This structure makes
it much easier to accommodate different time zones and busy schedules.
A thoughtful discussion can evolve when participants have time
to refer to reference materials, think about contributions from
others in the group and have time to create their own thoughtful
- How much time does
it take to participate?
The time required to
participate in the Dialogue is quite flexible and has much to
do with the extent to which the reference materials are used and
how actively each individual wants to offer comments to the discussion.
The amount of time can range from a minimum of 15 to as much as
45 minutes should an individual want to give the discussion a
great deal of thought.
- What's the URL
for the EPA Dialogue?
- Results of the