Frequently Asked Questions

About this site and what's on it

  • Is this a government site?

    No. It's built and operated by CeRI (Cornell eRulemaking Initiative). CeRI is a cross-disciplinary group of Cornell University faculty and students from law, conflict resolution, computing and information science, and the social sciences. We collaborate with government agencies who share our interest in using the Web to improve citizen participation in public policy making.

    Learn more about the CeRI team and its e-participation research.

  • Who writes the topic posts and the other material on the site?

    The Topic Posts contain the "official" draft or final text written by the agency.

    The CeRI team writes the Learn Pages, basic site pages (such as Terms and Conditions and FAQs) and the glossary entries. It also inserts the cross-references and hyperlinks in the Topic Posts. The team writes the Announcements, although this may be done jointly with the sponsoring agency.

    Documents in the Important Documents list are clearly marked with their author.

Site moderation

  • Who are the site moderators?

    It depends. Typically, the moderators are members of the CeRI research team, or students trained and supervised by them. If an agency wishes to moderate the discussion, the moderator comments will be clearly labeled to reveal this.

    The level of moderation depends on the nature of the discussion and the participants. The goals of moderation are to mentor effective commenting, support a useful interchange of informed views and, if necessary, ensure that the discussion is open, on point, and civil. See the Site Use Guidelines.

  • Are comments screened before they appear on the site?

    No. RecommendationRoom users are expected to recognize and respect that the purpose of this site is open, civil and productive public discussion about real government policy decisions.

    Although the moderators will intervene if necessary (see the next FAQ), everyone has a stake in maintaining this kind of atmosphere. So, if you see a comment you believe violates the Site Use Guidelines, please feel free to speak up (civilly of course) by replying to that comment.

  • Can the moderators remove something I submit?

    Yes, if the content is really off-topic or violates the Site Use Guidelines. The moderators will make it clear whenever material, or an entire comment, has been removed. Someone who repeatedly or flagrantly violates the Guidelines may be banned from the site.

    Please don't include potentially sensitive personal information in your comments. If the moderators see this kind of information, they may remove it to make sure you didn't include it without thinking

Site use tips and help

  • Content on the site isn't displaying properly. What's up?

    The problem might be on our end, but check a couple of things:

    1. Make sure you are using a recent version of your browser. On Internet Explorer, you should be using at least version 9, although 8 will probably work (To check, click Help in the top menu bar, select About Internet Explorer). If you're using an older version, update it at the Windows site or switch to Chrome, Firefox or another browser.

    2. Be sure JavaScript is enabled in your browser. The site cannot be viewed or used properly without it. (You can check this, and get instructions for how to enable JavaScript if necessary, at this site.)

    If you're still having problems, please contact us.

  • Do I have to register to use this site?

    If you want to just read the site, no.

    If you want to make a comment, you must register with a username, password and email address.

  • What will you do with my email address?

    We'll use it if you need to recover your password. We may email you to let you know things such as: when someone has replied to or endorsed one of your comments; when there’s been some new development about the government’s proposal; when the time for making comments is running out; or when the government has announced a decision. We may also ask you to fill out surveys that help with the research. We may email you when new discussions open on the site.

    We will not give out your email address to anyone, and we will not use it for any reason that is not directly related to the e-participation events and research this site is part of. (For more details about how we protect your personal information, see Privacy Notice.) You can opt out of receiving emails from us on your Account page.

  • How can I change my password?

    On your Account page. Click the arrow by your username on the top righthand corner of every page.

  • Have a question we didn't answer here?

    Please contact us to tell us what else you’d like to know about RecommendationRoom.

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