Digital Deliberation

2016 ~ Present


This project is motivated by the assumption that it is possible to create platforms that counter developments that threaten the foundations of democracy by providing opportunities to train the skills and attitudes needed to engage in constructive deliberation about societal challenges. As a first step, we aim at formulating design principles that can then be used to design digital platforms that support and guide deliberation for various purposes:

·       Enhancing empathy with people that are perceived as opponents

·       Understanding opponents’ point of view and the legitimacy of their concerns, as well as the limitations of one’s own point of view

·       Changing attitudes towards compromise, consensus, and peacebuilding

·       Promoting constructive collaboration to solve problems or to develop proposals for policies, laws, and regulations

·       Building knowledge in collaboration and sharing it

·       Participatory design: When governments engage citizens in decision-making or technology developers future users

Issues Involved or Addressed

Research shows that social media algorithms, by promoting everything that promises to “go viral,” fuel outrage and hatred in polarized societies. Getting people emotionalized increases the profits of social media companies. At the same time, social media users who want to get famous on the internet are incentivized to spread misinformation and outrageous lies because these will go viral more easily. All this increases polarization and undermines trust in government, science, and other institutions that are crucial for the survival of democracy.

Design principles will address the following challenge:

How to incentivize, structure, and sustain various forms of deliberation?

Methods and Technologies

  • Graphic Design
  • User Interface Design
  • Usability Testing
  • Psychological Experiments
  • Surveys
  • Focus Groups
  • Javascript Web Development (e.g. React, GraphQL/Apollo, etc.)
  • Video production (marketing, tutorials)

Academic Majors of Interest

  • BusinessGeneral Management
  • BusinessMarketing
  • ComputingComputational Media
  • ComputingComputer Science
  • ComputingHuman-Computer Interaction
  • DesignIndustrial Design
  • EngineeringCivil Engineering
  • EngineeringComputer Engineering
  • EngineeringElectrical Engineering
  • EngineeringEnvironmental Engineering
  • Ivan AllenDigital Media
  • Ivan AllenLiterature, Media, and Communication
  • Ivan AllenPublic Policy
  • Other
  • SciencesPsychology

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Video production, Human-Computer Interaction, Industrial Design, Psychology, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Computational and Digital Media, Public Policy, Cognitive Science, Argumentation Theory, Semiotics, Political Philosophy, Organization Theory.

Background/interest in designing user interfaces and graphic design, visualization techniques, interaction design, usability testing, debate, deliberation, deliberative democracy, conflict management, decision making, eDemocracy, governance, mediation, education, wicked problems, web and back-end development.

Meeting Schedule & Location

Meeting Location 
Van Leer 465
Meeting Day 

Team Advisors

Dr. Michael Hoffmann
  • Public Policy

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