In the following, we explain what kind of user interface is needed to build a social media platform suitable for Debating Encyclopedia.
The Debating Encyclopedia encourages users to express their views as distinctly and sharply as possible. Objectivity will be achieved by the possibility to evaluate opposite views side by side. There can be as many articles on the same subject/headword as there are different views.
For this reason, the library (i.e. text archive) is divided into threads by topic. The user can either start a new thread or post a comment or a partially or completely different view to an already existing thread.
Everyone can upload texts or speeches (audio/video) to the library. Users are free to share them on their personal pages.
Writings intended as opening statements in debate panels have a length limit. The opening statements for the same debate panel are selected from the same topic thread.
The Debating Encyclopedia requires advanced search functions. The user has to be able to use multiple keywords and tags separately for different sections of the Debating Encyclopedia (library, debate panels and personal pages).
Additional advanced searches may include the number of comments or likes, panel duration, chronology, downloads over time, etc.
Anyone can set up a panel/panels. They have the following characteristics:
- A panel has 1–4 opening statements. It should include different – even opposing – views.
- The opening statements are selected from the same topic thread, so they have the same length limit.
- The created panel will trigger a discussion in which anyone can participate.
The creator of the panel
- Moderates the discussion: makes sure that the discussion stays relevant, structures the discussion, creates summaries, decides on splitting the panel into sub-topics and/or closing it.
- Expels disruptive debaters.
- Can also choose to limit the number of debaters or select debaters individually.
The panels are stored in the library. In the search results all panels are displayed – both open and closed (archived). A user can share any of them on his/her personal pages.
Users’ Personal Pages
There are three types of personal pages available for users:
- Personal debating encyclopedias are websites created by a private individual in the service. Personal debating encyclopedias form a collection of issues that are important for the user in terms of worldview, current politics, culture or hobbies.
- Theme encyclopedias, as the name suggests, focus on a limited topic. There may be several founding members. Interest in the theme is sufficient for membership, regardless of opinions.
- Platforms are associations for the like-minded. They may be based, e.g., on a party or election program, scientific school of thought or some individual opinion. There may be several founding members.
The personal pages can be either public or closed, and membership can either be open or require the moderator’s approval. They can have both members and followers. You can publish articles, speeches, pictures, etc. on your personal page. You can also distribute material from the Debating Encyclopedia database or links elsewhere on the internet. In this respect, they function just like Facebook groups.
The difference is that personal page administrators can decide on their own themes (categories), build a theme map of them, and organise the content of the pages using a built-in tool included in the user interface.
Moderators control the discussion and are responsible for removing inappropriate comments and hecklers.
On their personal pages, founders can engage in publishing, organise real-life events, webinars and study courses, and start businesses.
- Private individuals. A link in the user’s name leads to a user profile that records the user’s activities within the service. Users can change the settings in their profile. Users can have both friends and followers.
- Communities such as states, parties, organisations, companies, institutions and agencies can create their own presentation pages. Still, only individuals can participate in discussions and create personal pages on their own name.