The inventors of Delibera, which was developed as an open-source product, originally hoped to offer the software on a sustained basis as a royalty-free tool for civic, research, and educational purposes. In the five years following the formal close of the Virtual Agora project, however, there proved to be insufficient interest in the further development of the software to warrant maintaining the code in shareable form.
Beginning around 2003, the CAAE Multi-Media Project, under Professor Cavalier's direction, evolved a parallel development project for a platform that Professor Shane named PICOLA (Public Informed Citizen Online Assembly), and which was designed specifically to model the protocols of James Fishkin's Deliberative PollŪ. Although PICOLA did not support the collection of clickstream data, as did Delibera, it was a more robust program, which Professor Cavalier was able to use for several years to continue his work on online deliberation.
Because PICOLA, like the Virtual Agora, was based on a complex programming environment that combined both commercial and open-software tools, the CAAE was not able to sustain it past its initial five-year cycle. (PICOLA communicated with a Flash Communication Server installation. A browser with a Flash player was required to run the client.) However, the successful use of the prototype supports the view that the design of PICOLA constitutes a paradigm for these kinds of online tools.
As Professor Cavalier has written, PICOLA "stands as a 'regulatory ideal' for high-telepresence, integrated deliberative e-democracy online. Programs like Adobe's Connect and, more specifically, Polimetrix's Vox Populi come close to embedding the features of PICOLA and can serve as examples of high telepresence deliberative tools." Robert Cavalier, ed., Approaching Deliberative Democracy: Theory and Practice (Carnegie Mellon University Press: 2011). We hope the 2006 descriptions of Delibera and PICOLA linked to this web site provide helpful guidance to individuals seeking to design similar tools.