The debate-izer of online noise

Was recently checking out imzy (www.imzy.com invitation only, they gave me a dozen if anyone wants one) and it got me thinking about the time we spend trying to reach a conclusion online.   Imzy has quite a reasonable user interface for a community type website.  It is surely better than Facebook’s and uses better thought out colour, graphics and notifications for what it does.  But I want more.

Very often in online discussions the whole thread becomes unreadable. Comments, responses, nested responses, people answering at the wrong place, others waffling on and some with gems of wizdom. What would be fantastic is some more automated way of turning a 150 comment saga into a “pro and cons” type exposition.

Having the “most liked” comments on top isn’t the best way.  It might just be that the online bullies are liking each others’.  My idea might need an actual person (whoever is running the show on the particular topic/page) to manually whizz through the comments and throw them into a basket of sorts.  Ideally it will present a tree like graphic which expands and contracts to demonstrate which facets of the topic had been covered.  That way we won’t be going around in the circles so common with online debates.

Older users of online forums will counter that we can do the same thing with categories and locked topics and featured topics and….well, you get the picture.  They are obviously “older users” and have missed the whole digital revolution.   Fast and furious, cute and cuddly, interactive graphics which are “good enough”.  Stuff we can take in our peripheral vision, that’s what we want now.

In the late 1380s in London the fashion was debating societies. At the end of the show the person running the two hour event, presented everyone with the conclusions, as in a summary of what had been said for and against.   For all of us who love discussion and truly seek the truth rather than trying to enforce our opinions on others this would be a wonderful thing to strive for 600 years later.

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