IGF 2018 WS #147
Interactive Roleplay: Digital Participation Heroes

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 3: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Leidel Steffen, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Julius Endert, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Lena Nitsche, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Other - 90 Min
Format description: Our interactive rolegame is a new format where participants will slip into the role of a fictional character and try to increase digital participation in a fictional country. It includes a full game set with a board game, role description cards, Take-a-chance cards as well as play money and name tags.


DW Akademie moderators will introduce the participants to their model of digital participation that serves as an important theoretical concept as background for the game setup.
After this brief introduction, the object of the game as well as the game setup will be explained by the DW Akademie moderators. After participants will be given space to chose and introduce their characters, the moderator will also give space for background information about the fictional country where the game is set. During the game, participants are asked to interact, share ideas and discuss with other participants as much as possible. A lively exchange of ideas will be generated by the game set up.


The game characters are representing all stakeholders of our media-ecosystem from civil society to government, the private sector and the technical community. The role descriptions are diverse, facing various challnges of people and organizations that have been observed in real life.This encourages participants from many stakeholder groups to participate in the game, interact and discuss and slip into other stakeholder's roles and perspectives. DW Akademie moderators are male and female.

Digital Participation is a prerequisite for freedom of speech in a digital age. However, negative interventions in free digital communication are common: Internet shutdowns, censorship and digital attacks exist in many countries around the world. As well, some people do not have the necessary skills, education and Internet access to use digital tools.

We want to invite participants to a fictional country where they will be slipping into the role of a stakeholder within our digital ecosystem, for example “president”, “journalist”, “founder” or “citizen”. By confronting them with disruptions such as internet shutdowns or the silencing of critical voices, participants are faced with the repercussions of these challenges. However, participants can level up digital participation for their characters by pitching ideas and projects by convincing other characters of their ideas. A full game set with a "Monopoly"-like game board, Take-a-chance cards and avatar cards is provided which guarantees a playful and interactive session.

The goal of the session is to make the concept and relevance of digital participation more tangible by letting participants discuss within the realms of a simulation game. The discussions in this simulation game should illustrate how multifaceted the field of digital participation is and how severe disruptions from outside can be, but also what can be done to broaden digital participation. As well, the game embraces the multi-stakeholder character of our media-ecosystem and gives participants a chance to view challenges and opportunities from the perspectives of different characters.

Due to the interactive game setup, interactions and discussion among participants will be a primary goal of this session. In order to be successful, participants have to pitch ideas from the perspective of their characters and to convince other participants to invest in their ideas, which naturally lead to many discussions among the different players.

The role play will give an opportunity for IGF participants to interact around the concept of digital participation and freedom of expression in an entertaining and interactive manner. By slipping into the role of a specific character, participants are invited to share ideas on how to enhance digital participation and will be confronted by disruptions that limit digital participation such as Internet shutdowns.

Online Participation

Since the board game can only be played on site, physical presence of participants is necessary. However, social media will be used to allow remote participants to get an impression of this new interactive method.

Reference Document: http://www.dw.com/barometer