The technical side of Gravity, bugs and all.

Computer Assisted Deliberation

No new messages. 10 total:

1. Michael Bowen (boohab) 10/09/1998 at 08:42 PM

Computer Assisted Deliberation

this is my old idea and i'm finally going to do something
about it. i'd like to brainstorm the design and
implementation of a web-centric discussion forum which allows
for voting & resolution of issues.

as we speak i am putting together some pseudo-code and
thinking my way through some ideas.

[Msg #8231]

2. Michael Bowen (boohab) 10/10/1998 at 04:21 PM

Identity: Sleeve, WeighIn, LitmusTest

The first question is that of identity.

you enter the portal to the zone and register as a Citizen.
non-registered persons are Nons. a Citizen will have a Sleeve
which is either rolled up or rolled down. one's sleeve
reveals one's positions on various LitmusTests

the Sleeve appears as a band of colors ranging from red to
blue on a range of Issues. newbies are identified by their
absense of hue. whenever you WeighIn on an Issue, the
intensity of the hue becomes deeper. Citizens can Cluster
based on Sleeve affinity or at random in the various Agoras.

[Msg #8232]

3. Cuda Brown (bbebop) 10/10/1998 at 04:46 PM

Re: Identity: Sleeve, WeighIn, LitmusTest

more, more!

not sure i understand the sleeve concept from a usability
standpoint. i get the idea of affinity based on positions,
but affinity can be demonstrated or denoted in many ways.
thus the sleeve confusion.

but i'm listening.


[Msg #8233]

4. Michael Bowen (boohab) 10/10/1998 at 07:38 PM

Re: Identity: Sleeve, WeighIn, LitmusTest

i'll talk more about the various Agoras later...

but let's say i'm in the PeanutGallery and somebody says
something i like - i click on their name and read their
Sleeve. maybe they agree with me on other topics. the
attraction of the Sleeve becomes a bit more clear because of
the way i'm thinking about caucuses. so you can work with
your sleeves rolled up, have your issues unknown...

[Msg #8234]

5. Michael Bowen (boohab) 10/10/1998 at 10:20 PM

Policies, Issues, Arguments, Premises & Facts

This is the hierarchy of subject debated in the various
Agoras. maybe each Agora is dedicated to a level maybe not,
but Citizens should be able to debate policy at all levels.
the point here is that when a policy comes up for a vote, a
Citizen is eligible iff they have done Diligence which is
represented, necessarily by a WeighIn and consequently
registers on their Sleeve.

the beauty is that there are really two ways to modify your
Sleeve, that is by LitmusTest and the other by Deliberation,
which is what all the Agoras are about.

but back to the Issues. Policies are designed by Framers
(Citizens with Credibility). A Policy is designed to handle
one or more Issues. depending on the intent of the Framers,
it can be designed from the bottom up or from the top down.
LitmusTests are designed by Pollsters (InterestGroup
representatives). You can Vote or WeighIn (the distiction as
of this writing is unclear... should one have a VotingRecord
as well as a Sleeve? probably). then you go to the IssuePage.

an Issue is always displayed with its most significant
Arguments both Pro and Con. there is probably some room here
for TalkingPoints too, which are kind of 'amicus briefs'
which are denote important consequences related to the Issue
which may be Pro or Con. rather than WeighingIn on the Issue
directly, a Citizen will indicate some level of agreement on
the significant Arguments attached to the Issue. it is
assumed that most of the time these things will become
obvious, but it allows for many colors, especially if we
allow 'amicus briefs'.

Arguments attached to an issue are polished and owned by
Citizens. Credibility is established by the number of
Citizens who WeighIn positively on Arguments.

a WeighIn currently has the three dimensions. Agreement,
Reputation and Intensity.

Agreement has 7 degrees. (strongAgreement, Agreement,
Acceptance, Neutral, Dispute, Disagreement,

Reputation (sounds redundant) is a calculated attribute of
acceptance of Premises and Facts, it may or may not be
entered directly on the Argument.

Intensity may be entered directly or derived from a

[Msg #8235]

6. Michael Bowen (boohab) 10/10/1998 at 11:33 PM

Re: Identity: Sleeve, WeighIn, LitmusTest

The idea of a LitmusTest with respect to Identity is to allow
newbies to give themselves a kind of MeyersBriggs shorthand
as they enter the space. however LitmusTests are by their
very nature, slanted. they are created by InterestGroups
(i've got to think of a catchier name) as devices to gain
membership and adherence.

but in opposition to this there should be a neutral
ValuesHierarchy - the difficulty will be in assigning some
reconciliation by 'objective' computation of the
self-selected valueHierarchy, and a fully
Deliberated/LitmusTested Sleeve. one of the ambitions of this
(yet unnamed space) is to provide Citizens with some
accounting of the values they claim and the Arguments they
find attractive in practice, therefore the Policies they
support as a consequence. if the space works well, then it
will achieve the 'Fred Friendly Effect' which makes the pain
of decision making so acute that one can only escape it by

so I imagine a newbie Citizen walking into the first Agora
and taking a ValueHierarchy test and then taking several
LitmusTests, maybe becoming a Partisan (aha, that's better
than InterestGroup member) and working in concert on
polishing an Argument.

in addition, we should be able create historically accurate
Citizens and their arguments into the space.

[Msg #8236]

7. Michael Bowen (boohab) 10/11/1998 at 12:00 AM

Wonking in the Agoras

Framers Wonk and Polish.

i find it difficult to imagine being able to Wonk alone
although many might be drawn to it. since Credibility is
established by the Weight of Arguments, one would expect some
slick purveyor to be able to spin something nebulous into
getting lots of approval.

but the way the voting process works, things should be
weighted in favor of Partisans working in cooperation, thus
Wonking should favor those able to deliver votes and those
able to respond to disagreement with their Arguments. this
drama should play itself out in the Agoras.

the concepts that stick in my head are the PeanutGallery and
the YakPool. these are roughly equivalent - hell they are
equivalent i just can't tell which name i like better. the
point is that they would be the equivalent of what all
webchat is today - unmoderated, free-for-all flame-baiting
masses of blather trying unsuccessfully to gain concensus.

however, it is often in the fray where provocation works
best. an original idea will stand out every once in a while
and people will say 'hey - what he said'. so it is this grass
roots thrash (MoshPit - that's the other name i had for it)
where consensus starts. WarpandWoof. OK how about if we have
several free-for-all Agoras (WarpAndWoof, MoshPit, YakPool,
PeanutGallery). There any thread may generate Gravity (yeah)
and Citizens, especially those unattached to any Partisan
group, can generate Facts & Premises, construct Arguments and
have them attached to Issues.

But in order to attach an Argument to an Issue there must be
some level of consensus. so let's set an arbitrary threshold
of 5 for Attachment. i think that the threshold for
Attachment should be relatively low, or it should vary
depending on how many Arguments are already Attached to an
Issue -either Pro or Con. (let's not forget
TalkingPoints/amicus briefs).

OK so Arguments generated from the GrassRoots (the collective
free-for-all Agoras) are Floated by individual Citizens. I'm
in the YakPool talking current events and the subject of
discussion is Clinton's sexuality, I post something and an
option on my Reply Message Form is a checkbox to Float this
as an Argument/Premise/Fact. I can Float any previous comment
I own.

In come the Citizens who are a-Wonking. Thread by thread they
can take a quick survey of Floated comments. A comment floats
for a week. It can Fly or it can Sink. These are then
constructed and Attached to Issues. That's (part of) Wonking.

[Msg #8237]

8. Ward Bell (wtbell) 10/11/1998 at 10:01 PM

Re: Wonking in the Agoras

The idea of Computer Assisted Deliberation is a good one; the
question is, is there a large enough audience that will work
their way through the complexity that Mike offers in his

[Msg #8241]

9. Michael Bowen (boohab) 10/11/1998 at 11:46 PM

Re: Wonking in the Agoras

that all depends on if i allow Citizens to shoot each other.

[Msg #8243]

10. Michael Bowen (boohab) 10/11/1998 at 11:59 PM

Re: Wonking in the Agoras

but seriously, when i was hanging out in the fray at slate, i
was amazed at the debate that raged on about the 'person of
the century'. there had to be at least 400 posts. it turned
out in the end that when 3 of us decided to organize a vote,
there were only about 33 ballots cast.

so this indicates to me that people will do some solo
wonking. i also think that given enough controversy, people
will eventually weigh in. furthermore if the spec is open
enough, i can attach it to webx and motet and popular places
will add it in. if you look at the volume at nyt and cnn,
it's bound to get some activity.

but even without all that i'm also interested in the ability
to use it as knowledge representation system. this afternoon
i considered the idea of 'obiter dicta'. Arguments not
generated in any of the Agoras can be Floated as 'obiter
dicta'. surely there are some pedants out there whose fans
are just waiting to apply their famous words. i can imagine
the AynRand Partisans making a great fuss and show.

[Msg #8244]