Finding good eConsultation software is difficult. Often it’s decoupled from debate and the only way people provide feedback is through a survey…which is inevitably a simple form and doesn’t feature any sort of sexy input types.
Worse still, the consultation documents will be PDFs and there’s no way of establishing if somebody has made an informed response.
But what I really want is a good debate tool that isn’t a forum. Here’s a little wish list of features that I’ve compiled recently:-
- an easy to use interface
- a conclusion or a decision, which is to be “tested” by the use of the tool
- various hypotheses, which are offered in support or in opposition to the conclusion, with degrees of plausibility
- logical structure, such as “X follows from Y”
- challenges to logical structure, such as “X may not necessarily follow from Y, if you grant Z”
- elements of evidence, which make hypotheses more or less probable
- recursive relations between these elements
- generates its results from an annotated log of a debate
- smart ‘analysis’ (sentiment etc).
- collaboratively editable texts
- social integration
- multiple outfut formats: graphs, tables, the raw data
- prevents online arguments from retracing the same points over and over.
- not have lots of fancy argument types and patterns, because no one really uses that stuff (Debategraph?)
- a karma system, because otherwise there’s no way to find the good stuff.
- safeguards to prevent ‘loudest voice’ syndrome.
- safeguards to prevent bad language and spam.
Time to develop!