Talkaoke Debatewise

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Talkaoke is the 'ufo of chat', Debatewise is 'where great minds differ'. This project is about bringing the two together to help take the debates around the Talkaoke table online to Debatewise for further research and debate - then take them back offline for more Talkaoke - creating a productive conversational loop.


  • Visualise discussions around the table, allowing participants to see what's under discussion.
  • Allow participants to frame and modify the discussions in an emergent way - during and after the Talkaoke.
  • Explore ways to move between circular tangential discussion (Talkaoke) and adversarial debate (debatewise) and back.
  • Encourage people who may not take part in the live debate to share their views and opinions


  • Create a Talkaoke 'discussion client' that can be operated by participants simply to enter and expand on discussion topics.
  • Create a Debatewise API that the client can use to archive and present those topics online during and after the Talkaoke.
  • Trial the Talkaoke/Debatewise interaction in the context of a youth engagement project with Islington Council's youth services.


Talkaoke Discussion Engine


  • discussion client
  • visualisation server

Discussion Client

It might be preferable to create a command-line/ncurses tool (at first) then web-based tool as required - but in order to shuffle statements and ideas within 'topics' into adversarial positions, it might be necessary to create a visual tool in max/msp, pure data or flash or something.

  • input: text from user 'naming' a debate
  • output: range of available 'live' debates
  • input: choice of available debates
  • output: 'discussion so far' within debate as list,
  • input: further ideas/statements on each debate
  • output: debate title + list of ideas/statements

Visualisation Server

  • input: live video feed
  • output: video feed + Talkaoke TV graphics
  • input: available debates from client/debatewise
  • output: keyword cloud visualisation of available debates
  • input: choice of available debate from client + ideas/statements so far
  • output: discussion so far within debate (as ticker tape on video?)

Debatewise API

How this works depends on how the Talkaoke Discussion Engine works live. However, there are some simple suggestions about functionality that can be proposed.

The big problem is working out how to move between tangential and adversarial modes of discussion - but although it's a big problem, it isn't impossible to solve. Here's a suggestion:

The Debatewise API should:

  • receive 'potential' debate topics from Talkaoke Discussion Engine (or whatever)
  • provides a list of potential 'live' (ie. recently created) debate topics on request
  • receives statements + debate ID
  • provides a list of statements within debates
  • receives a statement + debate ID + instruction to promote statement to a 'position' within the debate.
  • provides debate title + ID + list of positions + position ID
  • receives further statement + posision IDs, associates statements with positions.
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