Online Text Review / Collaborative Legislation​

Online Text Review / Collaborative Legislation enables citizens to comment and co-create legislative texts prior to the approval of new plans, regulations or strategies.

Level of participation


Duration of participation process

Preparation: 1-4 weeks for invitations, publishing etc.
Implementation: 1-6 weeks
Follow-up: ½ -3 days to sort comments and fit into a new text​

Target group size

<15 people​
15-30 people​
30-100 people



Costs for moderating, campaign

Human resources needed

At least one person for preparation, moderation and re-writing it

The method: what is it, when to use it and what outcome to expect

Online Collaborative Petitioning or Legislation is a feature of online participation platforms for citizens to co-draft and co-edit text together asynchronously, adding comments and suggestions to specific sections of a text. Comments then may be discussed further or voted on by other participants.

Online Collaborative Petitioning or Legislation can be used to co-create text for laws, petitions, regulations, written debates or basically any text before publishing or using it further.

Online Collaborative Petitioning or Legislation helps to collect feedback and knowledge from a wider, more inclusive audience independent of time and place to inform legislative actions and petitions that take multiple perspectives of citizens into account.

The process: how to conduct it in an in-person setting or online using a PC/laptop with video option

The method follows three steps:

  1. Preparation: Compile a draft of the designated text and, if applicable, collect which questions participants should answer along with commenting. Determine how to set up the co-creational process (e.g. is there an in-person kick off event?, which platform should be used?). If needed, book a venue and plan how to reach participants from all desired citizen groups. Invite participants, providing both access and process information. Set up a point of contact for participants. Hire or assign one or more professionals to moderate and monitor the process. Test-run to eliminate errors.
  2. Commenting: Invited participants annotate the text, bring in their contributions and ask questions online. The moderation monitors and analyzes the annotations, meanwhile participants upvote or comment on those.
  3. Evaluation: Analyze all contributions in terms of their relevancy and integrate them into a new, final text and share it with the participants, interested public and/or officials.


Blended participation

You can combine this process with a face-to-face engagement in which the collected feedback, inputs are further discussed with selected experts on the respective topic. This way you can ensure that there is transparency about what happens with collected inputs.

Digital communication

Make sure to mobilise people via various channels (incl. social media, messenger groups). It is recommended to communicate with multipliers (e.g. civil society organisations) to reach experts on the respective topics. 

Good to know

  • Online participation platforms usually offer text modules where changes are traceable
  • Consider if annotating shall be anonymous or not
  • If separated, consider 1-2 weeks for proposal submission and 2-3 weeks for proposal evaluation and extend/shorten depending on the volume of comments and number of participants
  • Consider 2-3 hours per week for the moderation of contributions
  • Be aware that: 
    • Processing of responses and feedback can be time consuming
    • Dominance of an individual citizen or opposing petition may influence the outcome
  • Read further:


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