The discourse-machine and the Dialog Management System
The discourse-machine, which originally evolved from the basic scientific research in the field of e-participation, has been continuously developed by Binary Objects in different projects since 2003. Today, the DMS- is the most frequently installed e-participation tool in Germany. Comprehensive online discourses and online dialogues on urban development, budget planning or political issues for cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich or for the Federal Ministry of Education or for the German Parliament have been successfully developed. Beyond that, cities in Great Britain, Italy, Greece, Spain and Austria have carried out several projects with our Dialog Management System.
In addition to the basic functions of writing articles, giving comments, making evaluations, citing quotations, collaborating work, creating rankings, locating geographical areas, searching tools, etc., numerous additional special modules were created for the DMS. In close cooperation with the administrations of different federal states, special functions were developed, in which almost every single participatory project was given maximum support. For example, different types of budget planning or budget calculators were designed for the Participatory Budgeting Project. This was necessary to meet the unique requirements of a big city like Hamburg or a city district like Berlin-Lichtenberg.
No other available software platform in the market offers a comparable quantity of configuration options. To canalise the numerous possibilities, optimized configuration-sets emerged out of the projects in practice. Also during operation specific settings can still be modified.
The DWF is generally web-accessible and sets minimal hardware requirements for the user. Resource-intensive plug-ins were strictly dispensed with. Furthermore, the software can be installed on almost every Open-Source-based web-server (PHP + MySQL).
Since all software functions within the DMS are separated from the design, they can easily be fitted into any existing web-design. Alternatively, a completely independent design can be developed, or one can revert to a standard design. Each menu item can be adapted to the specific needs of a particular project, such that the linguistic style can be made to vary from a juvenile modern lingo to a more serious tone.