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Artificial facilitation: Promoting collective reasoning within asynchronous discussions

Online forums have become prominent in deliberative research as venues for infusing democracies with additional participatory elements. However, forums are criticized as being unsuitable for high-quality discussions as they predominantly induce self-expressive talk with little prospect for deliberative virtues. Drawing on the “argumentative theory of reasoning,” we hypothesize that an artificial facilitator (AF) ameliorates deliberative virtues by spurring interactions among the users and promoting knowledge gain. In a randomized field experiment, we show that the AF indeed enhances interaction, but only partially increases knowledge gain. Psychological variables mediate whether participants learn more in a facilitated online forum.

Project Number IP 7: Online, deliberative experiments on multilevel governance institutions
Author(s) Wyss, Dominik & Simon Beste
Series/Publication Journal of Information Technology & Politics 14(3)
Year 2017
Pages 214-231
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19331681.2017.1338175
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