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The "Top Ten Principles for Platforms that Promote Participatory Politics" are the work of the Youth and Participatory Politics Platform Project Team: Danielle Allen; Jennifer Earl; and Lissa Soep.

Allen, Earl, and Soep have synthesized the quantitative, qualitative, and conceptual work done by the Youth and Participatory Politics research network over the past five years to distill central findings in the form of design principles. The ten we highlight on this website are those that received the most emphasis and priority across the research of the network.

Based on our research, when these ten principles are in place, you are well positioned to achieve four important outcomes: Engagement, Quality and Equity, Effectiveness, and Security.

Engagement in participatory politics = young people are drawn in and crave more opportunities to exercise their agency in civic spheres, using your platform to do so. Young people are engaged when they lose track of the time they spend participating in an activity; they describe the activity as important to themselves; they are driven to share what they’re up to; and they invite others to participate in the activity as well.

High quality and equitable participatory politics = young people do truthful, connected civic work with your platform, no matter who they are, but especially those for whom participatory opportunities are hard to come by elsewhere. High-quality platforms are broadly accessible and foster norms of accuracy, authenticity, equity, and openness to social diversity. It is our view that you can’t have quality without equity.

Efficacious participatory politics = your platform’s activities make the difference your community seeks. Participation is efficacious when participants can point to something that has changed on account of their efforts—for instance, someone’s opinion or attitude; a decision-maker’s choice; a law or policy; the attentiveness of the media to an issue.

Secure identity management in participatory politics = your users—to the extent possible—determine the boundaries and public visibility of their participation in your platform, and they plan for the digital afterlife of their choices. Contrary to the usual understanding, secure identity management is not merely management of one’s pseudonyms, aliases, and privacy and security settings but a broader project of preserving psychological integrity in the face of the challenges presented by digitally-enabled participation: the collision of a young person’s separate social networks (for instance, a gay teen who participates in gay rights initiatives online but hides that activity in the face-to-face rural setting in which she lives); the unpredictable repercussions of speech and action in digital environment; the dangers that come with public exposure.