Wyner & van Engers on Online Discussion Forums for eGovernment Policy Making

Dr. Adam Wyner of the University of Leeds Centre for Digital Citizenship and Professor Dr. Tom van Engers of the University of Amsterdam’s Leibniz Center for Law have posted A Framework for Enriched, Controlled, On-line Discussion Forums for eGovernment Policy Making (2010), a paper submitted for EGOV 2010.

The paper arises from the EU project IMPACT: Integrated Method for Policy Making Using Argument Modelling and Computer Assisted Text Analysis.

Here is the abstract:

The paper motivates and proposes a framework for enriched on-line discussion forums for e-government policy-making, where pro and con statements for positions are structured, recorded, represented, and evaluated. The framework builds on current technologies for multi-threaded discussion lists by integrating modes, natural language processing, ontologies, and formal argumentation frameworks. With modes other than the standard reply “comment”, users specify the semantic relationship between a new statement and the previous statement; the result is an argument graph. Natural language processing with a controlled language constrains the domain of discourse, eliminates ambiguity and unclarity, allows a logical representation of statements, and facilitates information extraction. However, the controlled language is highly expressive and natural . Ontologies represent the knowledge of the domain. Argumentation frameworks evaluate the argument graph and generate sets of consistent statements. The output of the system is a rich and articulated representation of a set of policy statements which supports queries, information extraction, and inference.

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