Openlaw is an experiment in process, as well as product. We are
continually testing different tools to facilitate collective discussion
and collaborative development of argument. Different modes, including
web, email, and chat, help at different stages of the development.
Odds and ends:
- Website, with htDig search engine
Openlaw is organized by cases, each with its own website.
The website serves as document file, resource library, archive, and
collection of links relevant to the case. The search engine can be
set to index only pages within the case site.
- FAQs, e.g. dvd-discuss
Frequently Asked Questions documents (FAQs), generated from the
online discussions, provide a knowledge base and an introduction for new visitors.
- Majordomo and MHonarc or Mailman mailing list and web
Mailing lists (listservs) often provide rapid feedback (and high volume)
discussion, as mail from all participants goes to everyone else.
Archiving by date and message-thread helps keep a record
of past discussion. RSS feeds give an alternate window to the
The lists are used for brainstorming, news
updates, and exchange of drafts. In most cases, they are structured
- discuss: general discussion, unmoderated
- digest: daily compilation of the discuss list
- announce: moderated list for relatively infrequent announcements
- TWiki collaborative
The TWiki is a web sub-site in which users can edit and add pages.
The Twiki preserves a record of changes to its pages, enabling us to
annotate documents and update drafts, while comparing pages with their
The Annotation Master (still in alpha release) allows users to add
notes to existing web pages on this server or elsewhere. Readers can
suggest changes to a document or overlay corrections to propaganda
from the other side.
- HyperNews bulletin board
Message boards enable long-term exploration of topic "threads."
- Phorums threaded messaging (e.g. MS-DOJ
- Rotisserie exchange of comments and responses
- Hosting of drafts and commentary