Thanks for this, Simon.
I thought this site might be of interest to you... I just came across it....
The beeb was fair, but they got my hopes up! I thought they read too much into the high turnout and were too certain about its meaning...
I will have to have a think about the baseline requirements. I had a hunch that the civil servants would not know enough about the technology to be able to ask for too much, and that the designers could use this as a way to do what they wanted rather than what their customer wanted - if the customer had any specific ideas about how to design a discussion forum at all. If that was right, it would suggest that power was in a different area from where conventional social science wisdom lies on the subject. I guess this is a reverse of your argument. I'm also not sure that governments, especially at the local level, undestand what is democratically "good".