Kenyersel: Blog

Intelligent Democracy, Improved Policy Making, Building Community
Thoughts can change the world

15 May 2009

democracy and the thoughtvine

Filed under: Uncategorized — KenYersel @ 3:58 pm

Have you heard of us? we are the thoughtvine, where rational thought and discussion methods meet web based argument maps. We are a project sprung from KenYersel, focusing on the online mapping of arguments and on providing tools to improve it. We want to support informed rational and critical thinking, and have this reflected in the way information is presented and used. Furthermore, this needs to be combined with interfaces that make the interaction fun and informative.

This has important applications to approaching our ideals of democracy. Plato’s Republic highlights a deep limitation of democracy, he says that it is only possible when every person can hear the speaker. While our own experience is that more than a few people having a sensible discussion is hard enough, Plato’s insight into the bottleneck of communication being a key limiting factor is still an important observation. However, the internet has overcome this – everyone can speak at once and we can listen to it all in our own time. So where do we find ourselves? We now find ourselves in an even more problematic situation: we have no idea how to make sense of it all. For instance, discussion forums quickly become full of irrelevant, wrong, confused, emotional, and nonsensical posts. The key issue is no longer to let everyone hear everyone, but to let everyone understand what we know, and to find ways to avoid needing to trudge through to all the uninteresting, irrelevant off-topic, meaningless or incorrect information.

Our dream is then of technology that lets us filter out and remove the information that is now believed to be incorrect. Naively, this sounds dangerous: rewriting history is a way of lieing to ourselves. What we want is a way to let us delve in the history – to recover the path to why we believe what we believe, and at the same time let us move on and show us only the conclusions. This is the technology we are developing.

9 May 2009

Talking at OpenTech 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — KenYersel @ 9:14 pm

So our talk suggestion was accepted for OpenTech 2009 – so we will be preparing a talk! Other good news is that we’ve started work on a fun flash interface for argument maps… we are meeting next week Thursday at 9am Peter’s yard, so hope to see you there!

6 May 2009

Open Tech’09

Filed under: Uncategorized — KenYersel @ 10:47 am

We will be attending the OpenTech meeting, so if you are in London on the 4th of July and want to talk over KenYersel related ideas, do get in touch. We were a little late in submitting a talk, but hopefully they can fit us in! In case you’re curious, about the talk…

KenYersel: a web of democratic rationality

How can we reconcile the internet's terrible verbosity - just think of
internet forums, emails lists, and comment streams - with it's unique
power to let so many people participate and express themselves?
KenYersel mixes web-technologies with democratic discussion games, an
evolving thought-vine, a web for better democracy.

Thursday morning coffee

Filed under: Uncategorized — KenYersel @ 10:35 am

There is now a regular meeting in Edinburgh for KenYersel, if you fancy coming along, we would be happy to talk to you! We meet at 9am-10am every Thursday morning for a coffee in Peter’s Yard.