Being a moderator, I feel, is going to be more difficult than it was described in class. Although the moderator does not say much, it is her responsibility to make sure the conversation remains fruitful. The questions posed by the moderator must be phrased in such a way that those participating in the deliberation do not answer the moderator directly but rather discuss their opinions amongst themselves. The moderator also has to be well informed about the issue being deliberated. If she does not fully grasp the concept of the topic and the standpoint of each group, she cannot formulate questions that will prompt productive deliberation. The questions she poses cannot favor one side of the issue over the other; they must be “framed,” so to speak, in a neutral manner.
My moderating philosophy will be a nonintrusive one. I will do my best not to voice my personal opinions during the deliberation. Before the deliberation takes place, I will have already developed several questions that do not favor one opinion over another so that I am prepared to keep the conversation going when a lag or silence occurs. To me, the most important part of moderation a deliberative dialogue is to make sure it remains a deliberative dialogue. It is my responsibility as a moderator to prevent the deliberation from turning into a debate with a winner and a loser. I want the participants to listen to each other and come up with solutions to the sustainability issue as a group. As a moderator, I want to ensure that the participants keep an open mind about new solutions to the issue instead of being stubborn and sticking solely to their own opinions.