To be a good moderator, I think it is most important that the moderator lets each viewpoint on an issue be given equal weight in terms of focus in the conversation. I think it is more important that the moderator focus on evening out time spent talking on each viewpoint than time spent talking by each person. Sometimes unpopular viewpoints get underrepresented by the conversation and its important for the moderator to not let a popular viewpoint take over the conversation. That said, the point of the deliberation will ultimately be to reach some sort of understanding or consensus. Eventually it will be the moderator’s job to steer the conversation away from simply expressing ideas, to finding compromises and solutions. My hope is that this will all happen naturally in a deliberation, but if that were the case then there would be no need for moderators. I think its most important for the moderator to keep the conversation balanced well, and moving in the right direction. In some cases, that may mean a lot of intervention, while other deliberations may require less interference. I’ll just have to wait and see for next week. Maybe after next week, my philosophy will be different.