Loomio could support Dialogue Mapping with IBIS diagrams
Thanks for all you do with Loomio to help people collaborate. A key benefit of Loomio for that is helping groups visualize their deliberation process -- ranging from hand signals to pie charts displaying a group's sentiment. How can Loomio help bring those visualization tools supporting collaboration to the next level? Supporting "Dialogue Mapping" by adding an IBIS diagramming tool is one possible answer to that question.
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Here are some related resources explaining IBIS and Dialogue Mapping -- to understand the potential value of IBIS diagrams for visualizing complex discussions as an aid to collaborating on "wicked" problems -- and hopefully to spark discussion on adding this feature to Loomio somehow. IBIS diagrams are made of a simple-seeming grammar of four major building blocks of Questions/Issues, Ideas/Answers, Pros, and Cons which form a connected graph that is good enough to visualize essentially any complex conversation. IBIS is an acronym for "Issue-Based Information System".
"A Tool for Wicked Problems: Dialogue Mapping™ FAQs"
From there: ""Dialogue Mapping™ is a radically inclusive facilitation process that creates a diagram or 'map' that captures and connects participants' comments as a meeting conversation unfolds. It is especially effective with highly complex or “Wicked” problems that are wrought with both social and technical complexity, as well as a sometimes maddening inability to move forward in a meaningful and cost effective way. Dialogue Mapping™ creates forward progress in situations that have been stuck; it clears the way for robust decisions that last. It is effective because it works with the non-linear way humans really think, communicate, and make decisions. What is a Dialogue Mapping™ Session Like? Picture a meeting room with the usual tables and chairs and with a computer, display projector, and screen. Now bring in a group of people working on a project or problem. Now bring in a facilitator (also known as a "technographer") who sits at the computer and types. As the people in the meeting speak, the facilitator paraphrases and captures what they are saying in a hypertext diagram on the screen. For example, at one moment in the meeting the dialogue map might look like this: [image omitted]. The icons represent the basic elements of the Dialogue Mapping™ grammar (called IBIS): Questions, Ideas, Pros and Cons. This combination of (i) a shared hypertext display, (ii) a trained facilitator, and (iii) a conversational grammar is Dialogue Mapping™. ... In Dialogue Mapping™, as the conversation unfolds and the map grows, each person can see a summary of the meeting discussion so far. The map serves as a "group memory," virtually eliminating the need for participants to repeat themselves to get their points made. Moreover, Dialogue Mapping™ captures the way that we humans actually converse and solve problems (in a non-linear way), rather than the way most of us wish we solved problems (in a structured way)."
"Limits of Conversational Structure" (referenced in the previous citation)
"Dialogue Mapping The Lord Of The Rings with Paul Culmsee & Nick Martin"
"Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problem 1st Edition" by Jeff Conklin
From there: "In contrast to the use of agendas and restrictive structures, dialogue mapping is a facilitation technique that allows the intelligence and learning of the group to emerge naturally. Each participant can see how their comments contribute (or don't) to the coherence and order of the group's thinking. The first full-length book to bring dialogue mapping to a wider audience, Dialogue Mapping provides an exciting new conceptual framework that will change the way readers view projects and project management."
FOSS "Compendium" desktop software in Java made by the late Al Selvin and others (no longer in development) which supports IBIS and Dialogue Mapping:
Al's book about his PhD work:
"Constructing Knowledge Art: An Experiential Perspective on Crafting Participatory Representations"
From there: "This book is about how people (we refer to them as practitioners) can help guide participants in creating representations of issues or ideas, such as collaborative diagrams, especially in the context of Participatory Design (PD). At its best, such representations can reach a very high level of expressiveness and usefulness, an ideal we refer to as Knowledge Art. Achieving that level requires effective engagement, often aided by facilitators or other practitioners."
Perhaps, to a degree, Loomio itself essentially serves sometimes as a practitioner chosen by a group to help guide discussion through the good practices Loomio embodies?
Simon Buckingham Shum, currently a Professor of Learning Informatics at the University of Technology Sydney, oversaw Al Selvin's PhD thesis related to Compendium and best practices for facilitating groups while using Dialogue Mapping -- and he might be a resource for further ideas:
From there: "I’m Professor of Learning Informatics at the University of Technology Sydney, where I direct the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC). I have a career-long fascination with making thinking visible using software. ... My academic journey has involved various mixes of User Modelling, Hypertext, Organisational Memory, Knowledge Management, Semantic Publishing and Learning Technology, all with a fascination in making thinking visible as networks of ideas and arguments. ..."
Inspired by Al's work, Simon's work, and work and commentary by many others, I have made some initial steps towards bringing IBIS to the web (others have tried as well). I am hoping to eventually replicate all of Compendium's features in a web app, although that may take quite a while. As part of some larger software I've been working on towards a multi-user programmable notebook, here is my latest crude work-on-progress toward bringing IBIS to the web using a tech stack of Mithril+HyperScript+Tachyons+ES6 for the front-end and Node.js+Socket.io for the backend:
That code is under the MIT license. There is obviously a big impedance mismatch from Loomio's choices of AngularJS/Vue/Coffescript for front-end work and Ruby for server-side work. But, I can hope that example can at least help inspire the Loomio team to explore the possibility of adding support for Dialogue Mapping using IBIS diagrams in the Loomio teams's preferred tech choices. Or maybe it might also help inspire Loomio to give Mithril+HyperScript+Tachyons a try or at least allow it in the tech stack for plugins like perhaps some future version of what I am working on with this code? And, given the FOSS license, Loomio developers are welcome to use that ibis.js file as a starting point for your own explorations -- and if it helps, the Loomio team is welcome to relicense that file for Loomio's use under the same GNU Affero Public License that Loomio uses. There are also some icons needed which I obtained from the Compendium project and have their own free license.
Not that you probably need more affirmation that you are doing the right thing with Loomio, but in case it helps anyway, here is some more encouragement:
From there: "The main idea of the “argumentative theory of reasoning,” put forward by Dan Sperber and myself [Hugo Mercier] is that the function of human reasoning — why it evolved — is to improve communication by allowing people to debate with each other: to produce and evaluate arguments during a discussion. This contrasts with the standard view of reasoning — apparently shared by quite a few of the readers — that reasoning evolved in order to further individual reasoning: to make better decisions, to plan ahead, to get better beliefs, etc. We have gathered a lot of evidence in support of our theory. The interested reader may enjoy a short summary ( https://sites.google.com/site/hugomercier/theargumentativetheoryofreasoning ), and the bravest may read the main academic article ( https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1698090 ). For those who don’t have the time or the inclination, let me simply try to correct an important but common misconception. We do not claim that reasoning has nothing to do with the truth. We claim that reasoning did not evolve to allow the lone reasoner to find the truth. We think it evolved to argue. But arguing is not only about trying to convince other people; it’s also about listening to their arguments. So reasoning is two-sided. On the one hand, it is used to produce arguments. Here its goal is to convince people. Accordingly, it displays a strong confirmation bias — what people see as the “rhetoric” side of reasoning. On the other hand, reasoning is also used to evaluate arguments. Here its goal is to tease out good arguments from bad ones so as to accept warranted conclusions and, if things go well, get better beliefs and make better decisions in the end."
I feel supporting IBIS in Loomio could help Loomio get even better at meeting the need for "arguing" together in a productive way. The existing Loomio functionality for decision making makes a natural complement to IBIS. For example, people could review an IBIS diagram visualizing a Loomio conversation and then agree, abstain, disagree or block possible solutions for a problem after examining all the related pros and cons on the IBIS diagram -- or people might add more to the diagram before voting such as to ask new questions. No doubt other people will think of even more ways to tightly integrate IBIS into Loomio in various ways.