A Tale of Struggles: An Evaluation Framework for Transitioning from Individually Usable to Community-Useful Online Deliberation Tools
Association for Computing Machinery
In this paper, we discuss the importance of providing socio-technical support for technology-mediated public interest debates and outline the principles that need to be considered to ensure healthy and fruitful deliberation in online discussion processes. We highlight the challenge of transitioning from individually usable only to community-useful online deliberation tools and we propose a 4-layer evaluation framework for online deliberation technologies that take into consideration usability, discussion quality, debate quality, and societal context, under the prism of participants’ sensemaking. We present a new online deliberation tool (BCause), enhanced with computational aids for sensemaking support that conforms with our evaluation framework guidelines. We also present the hurdles encountered in two use case applications of BCause and reflect on the real-world challenges of deploying a novel deliberation tool within real communities.