Making Sense of Large-Group Discussion Using Automatically Generated RST-Based Explanations
18 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 23, 2015
With the advances in social media technology, it became possible to involve large group in deliberations. Online discussion environments, such as forums and argumentation maps websites, allow solutions to be outsourced and bred from the crowd. Nevertheless, as a discussion develops, making sense of its content represents a big challenge for newcomers, thus impairing their potential participation. We claim a rhetorically organized text, automatically generated, fosters understanding by guiding participants though the content within chronological, logical and social dimensions of a discussion. An empirical experiment supports our claim. The experiment involved three groups of 16 people whose task was to answer a questionnaire on reading comprehension of a previous debate presented in one of three formats: forum, argumentation map or rhetorically organized text. We discuss the reasons that might explain the results and the implications for the design of large groups’ interaction tools.
Keywords: large-scale deliberation; argument maps; rhetorical structure theory
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