- I envision Deliberapedia as a crowdsourced wiki-like database of issue framings that could weave together any and all views on public issues by tapping the considerable energies of competing advocates in the debate about each issue—weaving it all into an informational commons of significant value to every citizen and group in the country.
- This is an imagined story of what Deliberapedia could be like in 2014...
When you go to the Deliberapedia website, you find a searchable library of hundreds of issues. What you call "one issue" may appear reframed as several different issues ("poverty" might show up as "eradicating poverty", "eradicating hunger", "full employment", "ameliorating poverty", etc.). Every issue has five leading policy options and an "Other Approaches" database of less popular or less well-known policy options that people have proposed for that issue. The "leading" policy options are established dynamically through participant ratings. The top five policy options evolve, changing when someone contributes a new solution that gains sudden popularity or reconceptualizes the list to cover a more comprehensive or readily understood spectrum of options.
The underlying wiki software has sophisticated database capabilities (such as those provided by Wagn.org ). Contributors need to offer their contributions in a form that allows their data - pro and con arguments, evidence, references, values, or proposed policy options - to be sorted into the database. Anyone can submit additional material but only qualified editors can actually ok it for addition. (The distinction between casual contributors and qualified editors is necessary to prevent disruptive trolls and partisans from degrading the quality of Deliberapedia for everyone else. There are reputational and other standards whereby anyone can qualify to become an editor or be removed from that role. Furthermore, all the submitted additions or edits are available in a "parking lot" until linked to the issue's main page.)
Contributors can name experts and advocates as resources on the issue - both those who have agreed to be on-call as source people for citizen deliberations and those who have not yet agreed to that. These are potential witnesses for deliberations on that issue.
Any visitor - partisan and non-partisan alike - can propose new issues or policy options and add blog-like comments to the arguments for or against any policy option. However, only registered network members can become editors of the actual text of the organized arguments. They're also the only ones who can rate arguments, policy options, and changes. (A neat feature is that a specific argument, reference or expert can be evaluated and rated for (a) its veracity - its factual truthfulness - and (b) its importance - that is, how useful or relevant a user finds it. Not only that, but every issue, policy, argument, reference, and comment on the site has a little clickable talking-face icon next to it, that takes you to a forum where you can offer information or opinions about that. Those second-level discussion forums are quite free-wheeling but, again, comments get rated by registered members, so disruptive or useless ones tend to sink to the bottom and treasures rise to the top. Viewers can also sort them in various ways like they can sort Amazon.com reviews.) Furthermore, a Deliberapedia algorithm tracks people's reactions to Person A's contributions and computes an evolving "reputation rating" for Person A, which is visible next to their name and can be used to search for the most truthful and useful contributions in a particular category.
How do we ensure that unique legitimate identities are participating? How do we facilitate crowdsourced evaluation of the truthfulness of information? How do we crowdsource the editing of complex issue information into something the public can easily digest, use, and add their two cents to? How do we make a participatory public policy deliberation forum both sticky (so engaging that it is hard to stop) and viral (so compelling that people quickly share it with their networks)?
Here are some existing approaches to issue framing (mostly based on some form of argument mapping):
- Multicentric Issue-Based Information System (MctIBIS)—ncdd.org/rc/item/6091
- MIT’s Deliberatorium—cci.mit.edu/klein/deliberatorium.html
- Debate Graph—debategraph.org
- IPA—Issue/Position/Argument—a discussion of underlying principles of issue framing software—dkosopedia.com/wiki/Issue/position/argument and dkosopedia.com/wiki/Open_politics_argument