We just launched Opinion Space 3.0! This is a new, social media technology developed at UC Berkeley working with the State Department that helps communities generate and exchange ideas about important issues and policies.
Using an experimental gaming model, Opinion Space incorporates techniques from deliberative polling, collaborative filtering, and multidimensional visualization. The result is a self-organizing system that uses an intuitive graphical "map" that displays patterns, trends, and insights as they emerge and employs the wisdom of crowds to identify and highlight the most insightful ideas.
Opinion Space invites anyone from around the world to contribute to the discussion and evaluate the responses of others. The position of each participant on the map is based on similarity of opinion. How does collective diversity of viewpoints generate new ideas? How are the most insightful ideas identified? These are some of the interesting questions that I consider when looking at Opinion Space.
Want to know more about how Opinion Space works?
1. New participants use graphical sliders to express the degree to which they agree or disagree with five baseline statements such as: "Climate change poses a threat to political stability around the world." The responses are combined from these five statements to display the new participant as a unique point in a map.
2. Every participant thus chooses a "point of view" on a global opinion map. The map is not based on predetermined categories, but on similarity of interests, behavior, and perspectives. Those who agree on basic issues are neighbors, those who are far apart have agreed to disagree. The system is designed to "depolarize" discussions by including all participants on a single level playing field.
3. Participants can instantly see where they stand in relation to other participants. Participants click on the points of other community members to read ideas and suggestions on discussion topics such as, "What new approaches could be used to address issue C?" By reviewing comments, participants help the community highlight the most insightful ideas. Participants earn points as "reviewers" based on how they evaluate the ideas of others and earn points as "authors" based on how others rate their own ideas.
Version 3.0 of Opinion Space has a completely redesigned and streamlined interface with improved splash page, colors, fonts, more intuitive welcome process, registration, user experience, animated point and score displays, and enhanced response reputation metrics.
When we launched Opinion Space 2.0 last April, Secretary Clinton said, "Opinion Space will harness the power of connection technologies to provide a unique forum for international dialogue. This is...an opportunity to extend our engagement beyond the halls of government directly to the people of the world."
Today, we pose a new question for the global Opinion Space community:
"What are one or two specific new technologies or interfaces that could help governments around the world enhance open public dialogue?"
I welcome you to join the community, share your ideas, consider and evaluate the ideas of others, and help generate insightful ideas for the future.