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David Price

David co-founded Debategraph with the former Australian cabinet minister Peter Baldwin. Debategraph combines argument visualization with web-based collaborative editing 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. David also blogs at Open to Persuasion, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Mapping the Mind of Government

Posted by David Price
  • Saturday, 29 May 2010 at 09:32 pm

Building on the initial analysis of the original Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement in The Independent earlier this month, Debategraph has now mapped the full text of the Coalition's Programme for Government.



(click this link to open the live interactive map)

The map of the Coalition’s programme, outlined in the Queen’s speech earlier this week, gives us an opportunity for an unprecedented democratic experiment during this parliament.

In essence, we have the opportunity to map the mind of Government as it evolves across the coming parliament: to create a new kind of multi-dimensional, non-linear, participatory Hansard for the 21st century.

The initial map, drawn from the coalition document, allows us break down the Government’s thinking into the individual policy proposals, and then to begin to build around each proposal the debate occurring in parliament and in society about the measures proposed.

The map can grow broadly and deeply without limit around each proposal to express the reasoning underpinning the government’s choices; the counter arguments honed by the opposition; the considerations raised in select committees and commissions; the supportive and opposing arguments raised by different stakeholder groups; and the support and concerns voiced by members of the public—with the objective being to capture all of the arguments and evidence relevant to all of the proposals in as compressed a form as possible, with each argument and point only being represented once.

The Nuclear Politics map, which is currently integrated into the Global Issues section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and which encompasses over a thousand ideas now; illustrates how large maps of domains of knowledge can evolve collaboratively from small seeds.

New policy proposals can be added to the government map at any time—along with details of the Bills and the proposed spending cuts—and the map can also track what transpires when the proposals are implemented. Is the rationale for a particular measure borne out in practice, and, if not, what changes can/should be made, and what can be learned iteratively from this?

Potential contradictions and inconsistencies between the measures being developed in different areas of government can be highlighted on the map, and the rating system can be used to signal the source and relative levels of support for the different policy proposals and the salient reasons for that support or opposition.

Over the course of the parliament the thinking embodied in the map could also be opened up for mash-up and reuse in different contexts; so that, for example, wherever any discussion of a particular policy proposal was happening on the web the full debate could be accessible in that context to the people reading the partisan fragments.

Of course, this is a colossal undertaking: but an undertaking that is manageable if distributed collaboratively.

British parliamentary democracy was once a beacon to the world: let it be so again.

As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with the subsequent developments via @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a Google map) using the code shown below:

<iframe src='http://debategraph.org/Flash/fv_indep.aspx?r=62182&sc=small' frameborder='0' width='600' height='600' scrolling='no'></iframe>

 

 


As part of The Independent’s visual mapping of the election and its aftermath, we have broken down the Conservative - Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement into an interactive visual graph that lets you comment on and rate each of the proposals.


(click text link to launch the live map)

By surfacing their shared agenda for the next Parliament explicitly in this way, the Conservatives and Lib Dems have given the electorate an unusually swift and detailed opportunity to give feedback on the proposals they have drawn together in our name.

Both parties have also avowed the desire to open public policy deliberation to wider public input online during the coming parliament; so it’s a timely opportunity as well to consider to what degree—under the intense pressure they faced and in a closed rather than open process—the negotiating teams were able to find an agreement close to a mutual optimum.

To log-in to contribute: click here.

As well as rating and commenting, you can use the interactive graph to add arguments for and against the Coalition proposals and to suggest alternative ideas that might have been missed.

So, in the new spirit of collaboration, what do you make of the agreement?

As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with the subsequent developments via  @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a Google map) using the code shown below:

<iframe src='http://debategraph.org/Flash/fv_indep.aspx?r=60408&sc=small' frameborder='0' width='600' height='600' scrolling='no'></iframe>




Which way are the UK newspapers voting and why?

Posted by David Price
  • Thursday, 6 May 2010 at 03:11 am
A quick overnight analysis of the general election results advocated by 17 leading UK newspapers – and the positive reasons they present for their choices:


...based on an initial reading of the editorial declarations made by: the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Evening Standard, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Times, The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent on Sunday, The Observer, The Sun, and The Times.


Visualizing the Third Leaders' Debate

Posted by David Price
  • Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 07:53 pm


Building on last week’s map, The Independent is using Debategraph again to visualize the issues addressed during the third leaders’ debate tonight – and to examine the positions of the three prime ministerial candidates on the key questions facing the country in the run up to polling day.

You can follow the third debate live here as the map develops during the broadcast and contribute your own thoughts during and beyond the broadcast here too.


(click text link to open the live debate)


Once you have logged in, you can also rate the merits of the individual points made by Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg—with the thickness of the arrows changing to indicate which ideas and responses are perceived to be stronger (thicker) and weaker (thinner).

As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with the subsequent developments via @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a Google map) using the code shown below:

<iframe src='http://debategraph.org/Flash/fv_indep.aspx?r=58067&sc=small' frameborder='0' width='490' height='500' scrolling='no'></iframe>



Visualizing the Second Leaders's Debate

Posted by David Price
  • Thursday, 22 April 2010 at 07:10 pm

Following the remarkable shift in the polls after last week's debate, what fate awaits Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg as they confront each other in the second prime ministerial TV debate tonight?

The Independent will be using Debategraph this evening to map the flow of questions and answers during the live debate – and in the days after the debate to examine the positions of the three leaders on the key global issues facing the country.

You can follow the debate live here as the map develops during the broadcast and contribute your own thoughts during and beyond the debate too.

(click the text link here to open and contribute to the debate)


Once you have logged in, you can also rate the quality of the individual points made by Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg—with the thickness of the arrows changing to signal which ideas and responses are perceived to be stronger (thicker) and weaker (thinner).


As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with the subsequent developments via @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a Google map) using the code shown below:

<iframe src='http://debategraph.org/Flash/fv_indep.aspx?r=58067&sc=small' frameborder='0' width='490' height='500' scrolling='no'></iframe>

And for a preview of what to expect, and an alternate visualization tonight, check out Simon Buckingham Shum's excellent mapping from the first debate last week.



Nuclear Politics: a defining moment?

Posted by David Price
  • Sunday, 28 March 2010 at 03:22 pm

Humanity’s struggle to contain the threat of nuclear weapons and to exploit nuclear energy safely is approaching a defining moment.

Demand for civil nuclear power has intensified in response to climate change concerns, promising new civil nuclear technologies are starting to emerge, and Presidents Obama and Medvedev have just reached a substantive arms control agreement. But the risk of nuclear terrorism is increasing and the international stand-off with Iran, along with scepticism about the long-term interests of the existing nuclear weapon states, threatens to undermine the nuclear non-proliferation framework.

The next two months are likely to shape international nuclear policy for the next decade: with 44 heads of state due to gather at President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April to develop a plan to secure loose nuclear materials and forestall nuclear terrorism and the 2010 NPT Review Conference—which opens in May at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York—aiming to revivify the nuclear non-proliferation framework.

The policy challenges involved are complex and daunting: and during this period The Independent will be using Debategraph to map the contours of the international policy debate in an interactive, visual form to which all are welcome to contribute.

 


(click here to open the live map)


As before
, the structure of the interactive map is like a wiki – every aspect is provisional, and open to further iterative improvement – and everyone one can add new points to the map.

The aim across the next couple of months will be to articulate all of the salient issues, positions and arguments in a single, coherent and transparent structure – in which each idea and argument is expressed just once – so that anyone can explore the subject quickly and gauge the relative strength of the different arguments and policy options.

You can move around the map by clicking on the spheres: clicking on the smaller spheres takes you deeper into an argument, clicking on the largest sphere takes you back up.

To contribute to the map and to view the underlying details for each point click here (or on the “+ button” below the embedded map).

To rate the different ideas, click on the arrows that connect the spheres – you will be asked to log in first time (to stop people voting for the same idea multiple times). The thickness of the arrows changes to signal which ideas are perceived to be stronger (thicker) and weaker (thinner); with the map becoming a visual, multi-dimensional poll of the community’s perception of the issues.

As with the other maps in the series you can you can follow developments via @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a Google map) using the code shown below:

<iframe src='http://debategraph.org/Flash/fv_indep.aspx?r=53836&sc=small' frameborder='0' width='490' height='500' scrolling='no'></iframe>


 



Making Sense of Copenhagen?

Posted by David Price
  • Tuesday, 8 December 2009 at 02:11 pm
During the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, The Independent is using Debategraph as a new kind of global citizen reporting tool to help people around the world make sense collectively of what's happening and not happening at the UN conference.



The process builds on The Independent’s existing cluster of climate change maps, and over the next 9 days mapping teams will be reporting on both the proceedings at COP15 and its civil society counterpart Klimaforum09.

The climate maps already cover over a thousand arguments on everything from Climategate, the perceived threats from climate change, the options for reducing the human impact on the climate, and the obstacles to a negotiated agreement.

Everyone is welcome to contribute their own reports and ideas to the process here.

Copenhagen: What's Happening?

Posted by David Price
  • Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 07:13 pm

The balance of probability, if the recent downbeat pronouncements from the UN are to be believed, is that the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen next month will end, like a Spike Milligan sketch, with the actors shuffling offstage, staring into the half-distance, mumbling "What are we going to do now? What are we going to do now?"

For some the absence of a punchline will signify a potentially catastrophic failure of political leadership and imagination, for others it will reaffirm a predictable pattern of rational choice.

So what’s up? How and why have we arrived at this point? And is this projected outcome inevitable?

Help us explore these questions and the prospects for Copenhagen, using interactive debate map below:
 


(Click here to open the interactive map)
 

As before, the structure of the map is like a wiki – every aspect is provisional, and open to further iterative improvement – and everyone can add new points and comments to the map.

The arguments on the map also interlink with those on the The Independent’s wider map on climate change, which has been building online over the last six months.

The aim is to weave together and rate all of the salient issues, positions and arguments in a single rich, transparent structure – in which each idea and argument is expressed just once – so that anyone can explore quickly and gain a good sense of the perceived merits of the relevant ideas.

You can move around the map by clicking on the spheres: clicking on the smallest coloured spheres takes you deeper into an argument, clicking on the largest sphere takes you back up.

To contribute to the map, click here or on the “+ button” below the map. There’s a quick video overview of the process here.

As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with developments on this map via @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a Google map) using the code shown below:

<iframe src='http://debategraph.org/flash/fv_indep.aspx?r=35600&sc=small' frameborder='0' width='490' height='500' scrolling='no'></iframe>
 


How to respond to Iran?

Posted by David Price
  • Friday, 25 September 2009 at 07:07 pm

With the news breaking today that Iran has informed the IAEA that a new pilot fuel enrichment plant is under construction, and President Obama warning that the plant represents a direct challenge to international non-proliferation and “deepens a growing concern that Iran is refusing to live up to these international responsibilities,” how should the international community respond?

The Independent and Debategraph would like you help us identify, explore and weigh the different options using the interactive debate map below:

 

(click this link to launch the map)

To explore and contribute to the map, click here or on the link above the image.

As Jimmy flagged on Tuesday, this is the first map in the series to use the new version of Debategraph which launched earlier this week. There are many new features (including simpler editing, real time communication within the community building and exploring the map, and an integrated help system), with the video below offering a quick two minute overview.

 





As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with developments on this map via @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a YouTube video) using the code shown below:

<iframe src='http://debategraph.org/flash/fv_indep.aspx?r=29308' frameborder='0' width='450' height='550' scrolling='no'></iframe>

The Future of Newspapers

Posted by David Price
  • Friday, 3 July 2009 at 09:21 pm

The global financial crisis has brought the structural weaknesses of the traditional newspaper business model to the fore as the industry seeks to respond to the rapidly changing competitive environment in the digital era.

A rich debate is developing in print and across the web about the implications of these changes for the newspaper industry, for journalism, and for society. And we would like you to help us explore and weigh this debate using the interactive map here.

With have seeded the map with arguments raised by, among others, Clay Shirky, Richard Posner, Jeff Jarvis, Roy Greenslade, Howard Kurtz, and The Independent's own Gavin O’Reilly; however, as before, every part of the map is provisional and open to further iterative improvement, like a wiki – with everyone being able add new points and comments to the map after registering and logging in.

The aim with interactive collaborative maps of this kind is to weave together all of the salient issues, positions and arguments dispersed through the community into a single rich, transparent structure – in which each idea and argument is expressed just once – so that it’s possible to explore all perspectives quickly and gain a good sense of the scope and perceived merits of the different arguments.

After clicking on the link below to launch the live map, you can move around the map by clicking on the coloured spheres: clicking on the smallest spheres takes you deeper into an argument, clicking on the largest sphere takes you back up.
 

(Click here to view the live map)

 

To rate the arguments, click on the arrows that connect the spheres. A 1–9 rating scale opens when you click on an arrow. A “9” rating means that you think it’s a very strong point: a “1” rating that it’s a very weak point. As the community begins to rate the different ideas the thickness of the arrows changes to signal which ideas are perceived to be strongest and weakest.

The “i” button below the map opens a help page and the adjacent “screen” button expands the map to a full-screen view. The other buttons let you view fuller details for each point, add comments and links to relevant articles elsewhere on the web, access links to share and embed the map, and open an overview visualization (which is also where you are able to add your own ideas to the structure of the map).

As with the other maps in the series you can you can keep up to date with developments on this map via @TheIndyDebate on Twitter. And you are welcome to embed the map on your own website or blog (like a YouTube video) using the code shown below:

<iframe src='http://debategraph.org/flash/fv_indep.aspx?r=21130' frameborder='0' width='450' height='600' scrolling='no'></iframe>
 

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