We are all familiar with roundtable and panel discussions on the radio, on TV, at face-to-face meetings and on the internet in various forms. Here I want to suggest a way that these kinds of discussions can be held on a website. Exactly what I have in mind is described below:
- An Editor picks a topic and outlines some initial thoughts on the topic. The Editor has a role equivalent to that of a Chairperson or Facilitator.
- People with an informed view on the topic are invited to write a post, responding to the Editor’s initial thoughts or questions and developing an argument, for or against, or even completely reframing the topic. This is their place ‘at the table’ or ‘on the panel’; they become the ‘panellists’.
- The Editor might then respond with more questions or counter-arguments.
- In turn, the panellists are given the opportunity to update their post.
- After a period of time, the Editor might decide to wrap up the discussion with some final observations. The roundtable could remain on the website as a record of the discussion. Or, if the topic is an unresolved issue, the roundtable could continue until the issue is resolved.
This post here would be the Editor’s post. Posts by the panellists can be displayed in a list such as the one below. Clicking on a post in the list will take the reader to that post.
Or a Post Carousel like the one below can be used by readers to move around the Roundtable. Each post in the Roundtable will have the carousel.
Perhaps the neatest way to show posts by the other panellists in the roundtable is to use the Blog Posts block. This allows the post title and excerpt to be displayed as below:
Readers could then be asked to participate in a group discussion on the issues raised in this roundtable by filling in and sending the registration form below. Groups should be limited to 20 people at any one time and discussions either face-to-face or on Zoom. Every participant is expected to see this as a learning experience; we don’t want to hear just uninformed bla-bla.
I’ve fleshed out these ideas a bit more in the post called Our City Our Future.