It’s been quite here, very quiet. I’ve been taking a break, and I’ve been processing the world and my life a little – input but no output, if you like. At least, no output on this blog – as I begin the final year of my PhD I’ve been gearing up to make it happen. In other words, I’ve actually started writing it, like for real.debategraph

But enough of my personal life, what has awoken me from blogging hibernation? A new web tool called Debategraph.

In true just-out-of-hibernation fashion, I’m a little late with this one, but I still think it deserves some lovin’. It’s a ‘wiki debate visualization tool’, which aims to allow the organisation and presentation of different positions and issues within an argument. Since I spend my day-to-day reading, processing and writing arguments I’m all ears when it comes to new ways to present subtle and complex issues.

I like it because it seems to be a  way of avoiding sound bite simplifications and could prove to be a very useful tool to help students, and anyone else interested in learning and forming opinions, get their their heads round just how difficult some problem or other is.

Of course, to really get anything out of it (or put anything into it) it requires a decent amount of your attention. You can’t just read a headline to decide what’s right, nor can you slap up your first thoughts and opinions with complete disregard for what else is being said (well, I guess you can, but it’s not so easy or tempting). But in that sense it reflects more accurately the difficulties of real debates, something often hidden by internet rants.

It’s not perfect, by a long shot, but the idea gets my thumbs up. It’d be great to see philosophy students using it for a bit of collaborative learning.