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Debategraph Visualizes Discourse

June 15th, 2010      

As the saying goes, there are two sides to every story. But when it comes to the hot topics of the day – whether nuclear proliferation or the BP oil spill in the Gulf – two sides simply aren’t enough. That’s where Debategraph comes in. You don’t have to remember all of the nuances of a position or policy – you can see them.

Debategraph says that their goal is “to make the best arguments on all sides of any public debate freely available to all and continuously open to challenge and improvement by all.” In large part, they deliver with their wiki debate visualization tool, web-based creative commons approach, and global graph of how various debates are interrelated. Interested in debating facets of the BP oil spill? When you search the term, it connects to nodes ranging from “What should Obama do next?” to “Oil prices” to “EU climate change policies.” Click on “What should Obama do next?” and a new set of nodes pops up that include “Sustainable Energy Blueprint,” “How to reduce oil consumption?” and “Generate revenue to finance wider energy policy investment.” You’ll also see a few (probably) unintended mash-ups related to “blood pressure” (a different kind of BP).

David Price, co-founder of Debategraph, uses his blog to report on the organization’s collaboration with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and its new stream interface, as well other initiatives such as mapping the White House’s Open Government Initiative and the WAVE climate change project.

Debategraph’s projects are laudable and their mapping technology is on the right track. As with SpicyNodes, Debategraph allows you to link from node to node, but the nodes wiggle and jiggle, causing a disconcerting visual vibration. You can create a similar experience, with smoother animation, using SpicyNodes. Plus, with SpicyNodes, you can display much more information within a centered node and effortlessly embed images and video.

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