You should now have taken care of all the practical preparations, so you are ready to put your project into practice. Now it is all about creating a good environment for the participation to take place – and last but definitely not least to have an impact.
A key to a successful eParticipation project is a good online community manager. A community manager is a cross between a guard and a friend, making sure that everything is going the right way. When discussions are side-lined, you should get discussions back on track. To understand what you might be confronted with; we advise training the moderation by publishing your project to a dedicated group of testing users who challenge you online by using OPIN as if it would be the real project. Just don’t forget to clean up before you publish the project for the real users. If your project is at a smaller scale, there usually is no dedicated community manager, so you as an initiator may have to fill this role yourself. See also here for tips on moderation and how to prepare your project.
Once your project is live on OPIN, don’t leave the young users alone for 24 hours. Being an online community manager is potentially more than a 9 to 5 job. However, it is understandably not possible for you to be online day and night. Therefore, before you launch your eParticipation project you should decide how often you will be available online, and then you should communicate this clearly to the young participants. If you can’t be present outside office hours, make it known to the young people when they can expect answers.