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 the ‘subject’ line. These are fundamentally chronological views that offer no insight into the logical structure of the ideas, such as the coherence or evidential basis of an argument. This hampers both the 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, improves understanding of the argumentation data model and promotes user engagement by improving users’ emotional reactions to the online discussion tool.
Research Professor. Director at Learning Change Project – Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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