The Argument Web’s ultimate objective is to improve the quality of online argument and debate. Keeping in
mind that evaluation of natural argument is philosophically thorny, it is
possible to propose objective metrics
through which to assess natural arguments, including, say, consensus
about which arguments are best (one
might disagree with an argument
while still appreciating its merits);
exhaustiveness, speed, volume of content, signal to noise, and structural
complexity; argument richness (in
terms of the range of argument types
used); and dialogue richness (range of
dialogical moves used).
The Argument Web represents the
first technology linking debate, disagreement, and argument structures
from a variety of tools applied in different domains. The approach has
strong potential both academically
and practically. Along with developer
and user interest and increasing Argument Web resources, the academic
community gains access to a valuable
resource that, particularly for computer scientists, can function as a tes-tbed for new theories of argument-ac-ceptability applications and as a rich
dataset with which to deploy new applications; for linguists and philosophers, it offers a unique corpus of discourse activity, replete with detailed
annotation and commentary.
By solving theoretical problems involving how argument structures can
be navigated and extended through
dialogical processes, the Argument
Web opens up a new class of application in which intuitive, dialogically
based interfaces (such as Arvina and
ArguBlogging) can be used to explore
and improve large-scale debates. There
is evidence19 that debate is a good way
to navigate and support engagement
with complex issues involving disagreement (such as abortion, climate
change, and military intervention) that
are not just important but that define
our time. By supporting and facilitating engagement in debates (otherwise
daunting, leading even to disengagement and disempowerment) the Argument Web promises to play not only a
technological but an important societal role as well.
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Floris Bex ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a researcher and
instructor at the university of groningen, groningen, the
John Lawrence (email@example.com.
ac.uk) is a Ph. D. student at the school of Computing of the
university of Dundee, Dundee, u.k.
Mark Snaith ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a postdoctoral research assistant at the school of
Computing of the university of Dundee, Dundee, u.k.
Chris Reed ( email@example.com) is a professor at the
school of Computing, university of Dundee, Dundee, uk.
Copyright held by owner/author(s). Publication rights
licensed to aCm. $15.00
Debate is a good
way to navigate
as abortion, climate
change, and military
that are not just
important but that
define our time.