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Happy debating!

CyberPractices
Nov 2, 2016 · 3 min read

A few months ago, when we published our roadmap, we distinguished a serie of thematic and crossed lines to define our interests and to guide us in a 6 month timeline. Moreover, we identified 7 projects that focus our more imminent efforts. Now, we can give green light to the first product: a Wordpress plugin to create Oxford-style Debates.

CyberPractices has been working to develop an open communication tool that allows anyone for running simple debates on the web. With this product, we want to contribute, at least, to achieve the following objectives:

  • To experiment with the classic — and physical — debates protocols and design new ways of expressing opinions in fully digital environments.
  • To make accessible a non highly — and techie — demanded tool to anyone eager to dive deeper in some topics.
  • To enrich the communication apps world with a new generation of tools.

An Oxford-Style debate is a communication process in which participants argue for and against a given topic. According to Wikipedia, physical Oxford-Style debate

is a competitive debate format featuring a sharply framed motion that is proposed by one side and opposed by another. A winner is declared in an Oxford-Style debate either by the majority or by which team has swayed more audience members between the two votes.

The online version of the Oxford-style debates adaptes the physical model and makes it possible to expand the capabilities of both speakers and audience. So, in a debate interacts:

A moderator who propose a topic with two opposite views and stimulate the debate.

Two speakers who defense their proposal with argument using web connectivity and multimedia.

The community who vote the proposals and comment fixing its position on the proposals or raising their own alternatives. They can use social media and email to share, promote and spread their position.

To be more — technically — precise:

From Twitter account @OxfDebate

In addition, the plugin has a really “good friend” to be displayed:

From Twitter account Hybrid Days

However, this isn’t new for us. For the past years, we have promoted this way of argumentation in different spaces and context. In 2011, Hybrid Days came to light and people talked about hybrid societies and digital practices; then, in 2014, academics and universities from Ibero-america debate on university challenges; and so on. Now, we want everyone to use it and experiment with it.

The plugin will evolve from its current version (2.1) to future version in order to become a more social friendly tool, editable proposal by different roles, or even we dare to go out of Wordpress and allow people to add multi-platform post.

One of the most powerful thing on new digital practices is to deepen on the users’ behavior and manage data generated by its activity for their own good. Consequently, the best feature is about to come. Insight Oxford-style Debate gets closer community and author to display their preferences on a debate: what they think, how the vote evolves, what makes to change community’s minds, etc. This stats app wants to allow the owners of portal to go deeper on the information that emerge from the debate.

This week we have released a version 2.1 of the plugin which allows for linking the WordPress debate with a beta version of Insights. At this early step, the changes will be on the debate page where display a day-to-day vote progress and total votes graphs by proposal.

Another field of exploration comes from the idea of adding automatization systems to enrich the interaction on the debate such as bots, but this is a long story.

Do not hesitate to be a member of the community on the Google Group or Twitter account to follow the last updates.

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