CreateDebate — Making Arguments

The other day, I received an e-mailed announcement for a new social network.

E-Gads~ Another one!

Picture of CreateDebate Web SiteBut as I read through it I became increasingly intrigued by CreateDebate.  It works like this:

  1. A debate question is introduced by a registered user.
  2. People write compelling arguments supporting one side of the question or the other.
  3. People vote on the arguments, pointing up or pointing down.
  4. The graph to the right indicates the voting on the arguments, rather than a simple yes or no.

Those are the steps that I sent back to founder, Bryan Orme, to check my understanding, and he responded…

Your understanding of the site is correct.  There are a lot more features (embedding evidence, allies/enemies, etc) but you have captured very well the basic essence of CreateDebate.

Here is another blurb from Bryan’s initial e-mail.

CreateDebate is a new social community that launched on April 28, 2008. At the most basic level, CreateDebate is a social tool designed to help groups of people sort through issues, viewpoints, and opinions in an organized manner, so that better decisions can be made. CreateDebate thrives on ideas, discussion and democracy. CreateDebate2008 was developed through a partnership with Vote Smart, the leading nonprofit provider of candidate information, to provide access to abundant, accurate, and relevant candidate information through the CreateDebate platform.

You can read the formal press release at http://www.createdebate.com/about/newsletters.

Social Network for Graduate Students — Built by a Graduate Student

Picture of The Graduate Junction Web SiteThose of you who follow me on Twitter know that I’ve been thinking a lot about social networks — or trying to.  I’ve just not gotten enough sustained time to really put any thing down on paper.  This morning I’m waking up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which is great.  I just jumped in my little car and drove over, yesterday afternoon, taking a meandering array of back roads to get here.

While scanning through my aggregator this morning, I ran across something that looks about as close to what I’m thinking about as ALMOST anything I’ve seen so far.  It’s The Graduate Junction, which I learned about through this Wired Campus article.  In the article, the products developer, Daniel M. Colgate, answers some questions about Grad Junction, saying about Facebook,

It is already so big, and nobody I know would consider putting a technical keyword into the groups search there. I have discussed using Facebook groups with many friends and contacts, and they agree with me: It is just too big to be useful. They would prefer a more focused academic site. ((Fischman, Josh. “Networking, but Not Intimidating, Graduate Students.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 13 Aug 2008 14 Aug 2008 <http://chronicle.com/wiredcampus/index.php?id=3242&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en>. ))

I would tend to agree, though I’m also interested in other limitations of these canned networks.  Anyway, according to the tour of Graduate Junction, you share through your network profile your research interests, publications you have, specific research skills you’ve acquired, professional associations, research links, and general notes added to your research blog. ((“Tell the World.” The Graduate Junction. The Graduate Junction. 14 Aug 2008 <http://www.graduatejunction.com/site/tour1>. ))

Through the Network, members can,

  • Search to find researchers who share your research interests
  • Discuss and exchange useful information via email
  • Create virtual ‘Research Links’ to bookmark the research profiles you are interested in
  • Join existing online research groups or create your own. Communicate online using Group forums
  • Broaden your horizons by widening your interests ((“Get Connected.” The Graduate Junction. The Graduate Junction. 14 Aug 2008 <http://www.graduatejunction.com/site/tour2>. ))

It’s still a container, but I like the dedicated way that it provokes connections between researchers.  I’m looking for a way to make this happen among educators, who almost by definition, are isolated.