The City of Flagstaff (the “City”) has partnered with OpenGov, a third-party online forum provider, to create a civic engagement platform that will allow the citizens of Flagstaff get more involved in City government. Flagstaff Community Forum is a forum for the discussion of proposed City projects and upcoming policy topics related to local government in the City and its partner agencies. The topics are generated by City staff, commissions, and Council for the purpose of public participation in current government decision making.
To ensure that all voices are heard and that forum participants are able to speak freely about the posted topics, participants who register to use the forum must agree to not post disruptive statements. Disruptive statements include the following:
- Statements that do not relate to the posted topic;
- Personal attacks and statements that threaten or abuse other forum participants, members of the public, City staff or City officials;
- Statements that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual preference, age, region, disability, etc.
- Hate speech of any kind;
- Statements containing any sort of commercial advertising or soliciting funds, goods, or services;
- Repetitive or meaningless messages (“spam”);
- A statement from a user who has falsified their registration information with the intent to post multiple statements in one topic or to misrepresent their city of residence; and
- Statements that include obscene, pornographic, abusive, or otherwise illegal material.
OpenGov, acting as the forum monitor, will remove any disruptive statements that are posted on the forum. Forum participants who post disruptive statements may lose their posting privileges.
Frequently asked questions about the participation guidelines
Why does Open Town Hall monitor for disruptive statements?
OpenGov is a non-partisan company dedicated to building public trust in government and broadening civic engagement. Many people will not participate, if the forum has disruptive statements.
Does Open Town Hall find many disruptive statements?
No. Disruptive statements are quite rare - less than one in a thousand statements on OpenGov moderated topics nationwide are disruptive.
What does Open Town Hall do if they find a disruptive statement?
- moves the statement to a different web page,
- describes the problem in an email to the author, and
- invites the author to change the statement.
Does Open Town Hall ever edit or delete statements?
Never. Only the statement's author can edit or delete a statement. If a statement is removed from the public website, it will still be seen by the City of Flagstaff and be part of the public record.
If I disagree with someone, can I post my opinion?
Yes. Open Town Hall encourages open dialog and debate which, by necessity, includes disagreements.
How do I know if my statement is a 'disagreement' or a 'personal attack'?
Personal attacks are disparaging remarks which impute motives to a person's action. Statements of fact, or of your own opinion are generally not personal attacks.
Here are some examples of statements which are, and are not, personal attacks.
Personal Attack v. Not A Personal Attack
He is a liar. V. He said he did X, but in fact he did Y.
She misrepresented the truth. V. I don't believe what she said.
He is greedy. V. He is making money from this project.
It is merely a power play on her part. V. She will announce her candidacy soon.