Tobias Escher, University of Duesseldorf
Jost Sieweke, Ulf Tranow, Simon Dischner, Dennis Friess, Philipp Hagemeister, Katharina Esau:
The focus of this paper is the use of the Internet for cooperative development of norms as one particular form of crowdsourcing policy. Our key interest is if and how such processes can produce norms of both high quality and legitimacy. To answer this question, we have designed and implemented an online norm setting process to redraft the examination regulations for doctoral degrees at a science faculty of a German university. To our knowledge, this is the first such process at a university and one of the rare instances in which online participation resulted in a binding regulation. In this paper, we outline an approach to operationalise quality and legitimacy, describe how this process was designed with the aim of ensuring both of these goals, and report on the results of the evaluation. Based on a variety of data sources, we argue that the quality and legitimacy of the resulting norm were high. However, even in the university context, which offers ideal conditions for online participation, only one third of the target group participated actively, and the participants’ satisfaction with the result was far from universal. Furthermore, we highlight a number of challenges in evaluating such processes.