Improving online deliberation with argument network visualization

Abstract

Social media are increasingly used to support online debate and facilitate citizens’ engagement in policy and decision-making. Nevertheless the online dialogue spaces we see on the Web today typically provide flat listings of comments, or threads that can be viewed by ‘subject’ line. These are fundamentally chronological views which offer no insight into the logical structure of the ideas, such as the coherence or evidential basis of an argument. This hampers both quality of users’ participation and effective assessment of the state of the debate. We report on an exploratory study in which we observed users interaction with a collective intelligence tool for online deliberation and compared network and threaded visualizations of arguments. We contend that animated argument networks enhance online debate reading when data complexity increases, improve understanding of the argumentation data model and promote users engagement by improving users emotional reactions to the online discussion tool. Author

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