Hi Simon, I think it is fine in the open and, as you say, it will be good to get the other people's opinions.
You have an extremely interesting background - I have no clue about programming so please bear with my ignorance!
I am in contact with the Futurum administrator (civil service - not the web-designer which I believe was not done internally). I am not sure whether they would be willing to co-operate or not - though it would do no harm to ask. The thing is, they currently do nothing with the posts apart from an internal summary which has no influence. The statistics would be very interesting for them. But the problem is that I don't think they really want stats because this would create a pressure to use them! There are also institutional complications for the Commission more generally, which "feels" that citizen communication should come at the national level/EU Council/European Parliament.
The second factor is that I've already undertaken a considerable amount of work on this (I've got two co-authored publications forthcoming - once they are in draft I will try and post them here or email them). This also makes getting funding to pay for your code etc difficult. Bearing this in mind, and your other commitments, I think a collaboration would be more fruitful elsewhere. There are so many possibilities - the discussions featuring MP participation on local business issues that you spoke about for example - as well as non-political communities. I am flexible on topic but can offer advice on what is more likely to get published. As I say, I am conscious of your outside (paid!) work. It is really how keen you are.
There is also the possibility that I can get funding to pay for some work. This is a strong possibility for the future, but will be difficult for the next year as I'm starting an Economic and Social Research Council post-doc and the research funding is limited.
I've heard of the Wiki approach, it is a growth area for analysis - I think a book called "from usenet to coweb" has some material on this. Marc Smith and Peter Kollock's edited book on On-line Communities is also interesting on earlier versions of this - you may have come across them? If not, it is worth getting them from the library. Though I say that as a boring old social scientist!
I hope these references are not patronising: I am worried you've read all this stuff!
The deletion statistics are crazy - the forums where no posts remain must have something to do with the forum being taken down or something? Whatever other explanatory factors there are, they must still have removed a large proportion of posts because of content. This is really, really interesting because I've never seen any stats on censorship before - at least not ones that do not rely on the censor's own figures. Thank you so much for going back and producing these - they are great!
I can't go into details because it was off the record, but one senior person I spoke to who saw some of the moderating on Citizen Space said thousands of posts were deleted every week. But they had far worse problems with "abuse" than on the Downing St. website - and this was actually a problem of structural design.
Anyway, some food for thought.
I look forward to your comments - and if anyone else is interested it would be great to hear from you.