Debate Europe and online participation

More on the whole relevance of online debate. I was looking at the Summary Report[*] of the Debate Europe project – the second paragraph does kind of grab the attention:

90% of participants are male, aged 18-44, so statistically it is not representative of the population…

Too right it’s not representative!

So why should anyone pay attention? OK, there have been a million views and almost 13,000 comments and it’s better that this demographic is fighting it out online than anywhere where else I suppose…

But wouldn’t using the summary of the debate not infact distort policy makers decisions? Do we know how differently older and female Europeans feel about the same subjects?

Having said that, the report does make a good read and raise some interesting points that need to be addressed – but then, I am in the same demographic 😉

There needs to be a way of connecting what’s been said by the involved minority to the possibly different opinions held by everyone else. How though?

[*PDF link]

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About Peter Cruickshank

Lecturer in the School of Computing and a member of the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland. Interested in information systems, learning, politics, society, security and where they intersect. My attempts at rounding out my character include food, cinema, running, history and, together with my lovely wife, bringing up a cat and a couple of kids.
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