To explain about the project, here's one of the world's leading argument experts, Professor Chris Reed of the Centre for Argument Technology at the University of Dundee.
Can you sum up the project?
Test Your Argument is about encouraging thinking about thinking: in a world of online argument, fake news and echo-chamber forums, we are interested in exploring how to better equip people with ninja skills to expertly build and critique arguments.
How was it created? (creative process)
The Moral Maze is an amazing resource for debate: it's combative, emotive and its participants are as passionate as they are enthusiastic
-- but it's also very carefully structured and moderated. As a result it works really well as a basis from which to extract examples of good
arguments and then dissect them, laying bare their anatomy.
Then finally, we invite people to try their hand, first at improving the arguments, then at knocking them down, and then -- most challenging of all -- creating arguments on both sides of the issue.
One of the things the team are really pleased with is the ability to link back to the original arguments so that they can be heard in context.
How was it built? (technical build)
The pilot was developed using standard web technologies (HTML5, CSS and Javascipt) to ensure a consistent and visually appealing experience across a range of platforms. The argument structure graphics are all generated in the browser and populated with hand selected data from an in-depth argumentative analysis of the entire programme.
Any challenges and what were the solutions?
The biggest challenge is the timeline. The research group is used to doing analysis -- but it typically takes several weeks to tease apart
the detailed structure of a 45-minute Moral Maze programme. For this Taster project we have a 36-hour deadline. In order to meet it, we've
been running training courses for analysts all over the world, who will work in synchrony with the coordinating team at Dundee, with waves of frenetic analysis work moving round the globe as the timezones come into focus.
With any luck it will be a fabulous piece of detailed workflow choreography. You'll be able to find out more at our 'Behind The Scenes' website, available at www.arg.tech
What do you hope to learn from it being on Taster?
Our big question is how to design the gizmos so that they're fun, whilst still getting the idea across. Thinking skills are becoming increasingly
important as we get ever more trapped into echo chambers of like-minded advocates online: it's going to be more and more vital that we can critique ideas we agree with and listen to those we don't.
We're hoping that with real Moral Maze content, and nicely designed prototype interfaces we'll be able to stimulate some interest.
If things go well, we're hoping we'll be able to work with BBC News, BBC Learning and anywhere that debate crops up explicitly -- BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze is the longest running and best example but there are many others right across BBC output.
The idea will be to use the TV and radio programmes as a way of seeding learning opportunities (and, through the companion Argument Analytics work, of providing infographics that offer some overall insight into debates).