Portland is pretty lucky to have not only members of its city council blogging, but also their mayor. And, they're not just using blogs as another (rss feed strengthened) way to get their well oiled opinions out there, but they're blogging with comments on. Which means they're having conversations, or at least encouraging conversation between folks.
I wish we could have this in Olympia.
One way to encourage participation by elected officials on Olympia's online communities is to lay out a set of ground rules to discourage abuse. Mayor Tom Potter's blog lays it right out, saying that people should agree to a code of conduct before commenting. Over at Better South Sound, we're starting to write a comment policy and over at Olyblog, Rick has put into place a way for folks to rate comments, so abusive commenters find themselves ignored.