I'm surprised this was not yet posted on the platform.
As for the platform it was very easy to use. The UI is simple and it makes you flesh out both sides of the argument to the best of your ability before it is publicly visible. This dynamic is very interesting as even before the topic is visible it will appear as if there is considerable participation in the topic's discussion. I bet that will definitely drive participation.
I'm very interested in seeing how this shapes up. Love the idea and the implementation!
I suspect other more serious debates will suffer from the same problem.
If you are undecided, that's fine, don't vote or vote it a two. Voting is how you show your position in Kialo.
But we do have debates with middle ground positions or for debating multiple theses, they are called multi thesis debates. Here are examples for drug legislation (https://www.kialo.com/2027) and Game of Thrones (https://www.kialo.com/1203)
So then people vote if they think its more positive or negative by rating it from pro to con on a 10 scale.
But if there are sub arguments to the arguments the voting of the sub arguments affect the value of the argument.
Sub argument - non-licensed WiFi create a market for cheap electronic equipment connected to the cloud(iot). (Could also been seen as pro or con.)
And so on.
Maybe bad example, but if a argument should support a thesis or not, I think is good to put in the hands of the peolpe with their values instead by the writer of the argument. And as all is not is not black and white a 10 scale (something similar)could make it more colourful and maybe more accurate to what people think.
This is more neutral than the current "Tabs are better than Spaces", since the negation of that statement is "Tabs are not better than Spaces", rather than "Spaces are better than Tabs."
When the initial question is skewed, the rest of the discussion becomes skewed.
In the end, this is a simple, doing X is better than doing Y.
Using multiple theses generally only makes sense if they are "unrelated" (and not competing) or if you have more than two options.
Yes, there are multiple points where an argument might occur. This risk occurs for all multi-thesis debates. Perhaps a DAG is more suited than a tree.
An example of the bias of having "X is better than Y" as the claim:
Claim: Tabs are better than Spaces.
Con: IDEs will handle spaces transparently and as effortlessly as if they were tabs.
Sub-con: This is not a "con" of tabs.
This demonstrates that arguments for spaces are confused with arguments against tabs.
So good arguments to spaces will always occur as counter-arguments to tabs, not as positively phrased arguments to use spaces.
More obviously, arguments for spaces will appear red and disproving.
If you don't call that a bias, try starting a thread called "Kialo is a biased and simplistic platform." and see the effect.
My grasp on the subject of logical formalisms is a bit rusty, but I believe this bias can be expressed as a consequence of using propositional logic to simplify a world in which "tab" is not the logical opposite to "space" as true is to false. The objects you neglect to address unambiguously is:
- How do I differentiate between "Tabs are not better than spaces", "Spaces are better than tabs", and "Spaces are good"?
- How do I express that "Tabs are not better than spaces, and spaces are not better than tabs"?
- How do I express that the combination of tabs and spaces are better?
- How do I express that tabs are only good if accompanied by spaces?
- How do I express that tabs are just as good as spaces as long as they're accompanied by spaces?
Putting them in a tree that is biased at the top makes this very difficult.
The debate of the use of tabs and spaces is not able to be summarized in the one thesis "Tabs are better than spaces".
The thesis does not do a very good job of giving a collected overview of the debate. But it surely incites anger!
('This is not a "con" of tabs." is not itself a con of the argument, but a comment that the argument doesn't belong here. Ironically, the point it tries to make applies to itself.)
Also, why does the Kialo website hijack my right-click ability and my ability to copy-paste text?
At least we have a >1k claims Star Wars The Last Jedi (https://www.kialo.com/7055) and Rebel alliance would defeat the United Federation (https://www.kialo.com/9394) debate already. :)
Thank you for your kind words!
I understand about the reading experience. But maybe then allow formatting in comments, not in the claim title?
Normally you then get invited as a writer. That's our system to keep the trolls away, which naturally, with the topics we are dealing with, is essential. (https://support.kialo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003791445-Sug...)
I don't want to know what e.g. the gun legislation debate would otherwise look like. It meanwhile has 2.4k unique claims and 5x that in comments. (https://www.kialo.com/3346)
I worry that it won’t really result in more rational outcome but I do wish it luck. Is there anyway to downvote the points for being, for example, strawman arguments?
Edit: maybe I’d parse it better if they were labelled “agree” and “disagree”?
It boggles my mind anyone designing Kialo would have thought that to be a good idea, or that they wouldn’t foresee it being abused regularly to nudge the tide of an argument in the preferred direction by the moderators.
I’ve seen it all the time: Depending on the agenda of the moderators, one side of the argument mysteriously receives an overwhelmingly large amount of “moderation” for minor technicalities or even outright nonsensical reasons.
I’ve even seen Kialo’s own confusing design you mention here used as a way to subtly suppress one side of an argument: Take any argument beyond the top level, and it’s very easy to simply claim it is a duplicate of a top level argument. For example, if I write a con of a con, moderators can remove it saying it resembled an argument they saw in a top level pro. Or if I write a pro or a pro, they can remove it by saying it’s a duplicate of its own parent!
And this technique applies any number of levels deep in the tree. When this “moderation” gets applies overwhelmingly on one side of an argument, you can shift the entire balance of a Kialo argument quite easily without revealing overt corruption on the surface of your actions.
If you have specific examples, please point us to them, but we are not aware of any really large (>500 claims) biased debates.
The idea is for claims to be canonical for each debate, otherwise you have to rewrite them a gazillion times, including their children. That's what we have linking for.
Generally speaking, if you think your claim was unfairly rejected, just hit report and we'll look into it.
Having claims rejected as duplicates, happens to us too. :)
If you have any suggestions, other than reporting, and roaming powerusers (which we will introduce soon), please let us know!
Also instead of removal just make it less visible. With a big arrow pointing towards the main discussion. If people still choose to discuss there then they must see value in doing so.
PS: thank you for making this
Suggested claims that were not accepted, aren't deleted. users often argue back and forth with admins on those claims, often edit them and then get them accepted. Very often it's really just a clarification or "could you please add sources" or "do you mind moving this claim over there".
Duplicates are thornier. What we have considered, is linking them to the ones that they supposedly are duplicates of, so you could see them there.
That's possible and we might do it, but we really don't get that many complaints about them. It's really just a problem in the debates with >1k claims. but as more debates grow, this might become more of an issue and then we'll build that.
Thanks for your input.
Is it possible to deter troll behavior by using a reputation system and investigating bad behavior? Reputation that takes a long time of good behavior to build but a single act of malice to destroy.
It also has the statistical beauty of adding a prior probability estimate to the likelihood estimate that sorts Reddit comments.
We have a "reputation system" it's the thank count next to usernames. We have not handed out any privileges based on those yet, but will probably soon take all with a certain thank count, look at their contributions and grant them some poweruser rights, e.g. commenting into all public debates and see how that goes.
Page rank would give users a high score if they are up voted by other users with high scores.
I'm not sure if page rank can deal with negative weight edges for down votes but probably.
The brain has several cognitive biases, such as giving more value to the last paragraphes it reads (which are usually at the right, or at the end of a text block). Cultural biases, such as colors (red for "alert","bad" for example) also influence judgements.
By the way, the website doesn't look easily usable or accessible to impaired people
The most common misunderstanding is the one mentioned before, a con to a con, indirectly supports the thesis, but is red.
But changing that around is even more confusing. Especially when the parent to that con is then used as a pro somewhere else (and the con now having to be labeled red again).
We consider pros and cons always to be relating to the parent directly above them. This allows them to be linked or copied between debates, irrespective of what debate they originally were a part of.
So to clarify, the below is in the wrong section, right? Even if it was under cons, as I believe it should be, the X cons Y wording doesn't feel natural to me.
>>> Getting asked for permissions by various apps (can I access the camera, can I read you photos, can I send you notifications, can I get your location, etc...) is annoying.
>>> Pros: Mobile users seem to be okay with getting asked for permissions on demand, why would desktop users be any different?
As an aside, how do I copy anything without having to trawl through the DOM or click the tweet button!?
We finished read and navigation accessibility (screenreaders) last month, if anyone knows a great company for testing this, please let us know.
All debates are unique
Mind you, we aren't a site for commenting or opining, but for capturing and visualizing the reasoning for your opinions.
Thus to "show/capture" your opinion, you vote the individual claims and theses (in the case of multi thesis debates, like this one: https://www.kialo.com/2027). Then later you can select the different perspectives (opinions) and see the reasoning of different individuals, all in the same document. Works best in team environments, as public users often only vote 5 claims.
We tried agree/disagree, but this became problematic on mobile browsers.
This interface version 4.5, but we are happy to try new stuff. :)
I'm on Firefox, Android 8.1
Edit : Nevermind, I found the view on the menu, then "Info / Stats / Topology". For information, I never opened the website on a desktop, and the mobile version is a bit overwhelming at first sight. UI animations are rather laggy
Edit2 : Just registered to try to participate to that debate. A bit overwhelming at first, but after understanding the UI, that tool is awesome. Democracy Forum 2.0 right there :-)
Edit3 : I agree that "agree"/"disagree" is easier to understand than "pro"/"cons" when navigating the tree. An action verb makes it more obvious that we can participate, and it then naturally shows a text box to add our arguments. Also, I'm still not a fan of green/red colors.
It's also an awesome tool to help one at building a reasoning
the most obvious feature (and a more objective metric for the productivity of the scoring algorithms) would be a button or color that highlights the claim, which if swayed to garner more or less support would most influence the topmost/root claim. If you don't build it sommeone else will. The most popular and desirable interface is the one that helps the user sway the rest.
Apologies for the pedantry, but no - a con of a con need not be a pro of anything.
From a logical standpoint, not at all.
From a social standpoint, it often does persuade people towards the pro. However, that is a known fallacy. It is a standard tactic in persuasion.
From the movie "Thank You For Smoking":
Joey Naylor: ...but you didn't prove that vanilla was the best...
Nick Naylor: I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong I'm right.
9 months after launch we make it to the frontpage :)
Happy to answer any questions! More info about us and our mission can be found in this interview with our founder:
Also, when you are on level 10 of a debate, the claims might very well be a subdiscussion that attack the veracity or relevance of their parents, not of the thesis. Our debates often have >1k claims, that's the only way to handle it. A pro or a con relates directly to the parent above.
(Linking your site once, instead of thrice, would have been polite, like the others did. :) )
It's been used in organizational contexts for decision-making, -preparation, -logging, ideation and funnily enough job interviews, where you let people reason a business decision in a given time and then compare their reasoning to others'.
We are right now building dedicated sites for edu (free) and teams, which won't be cluttered up with the public debates.
Yes, SAAS is how we will want to make money at some point in the future. :)
If I start to enter a pro or con to a claim, and it shows me a duplicate claim with a different parent, what is the correct action for me to take?
In discussions where you do not have editor rights, click "view in new tab" copy the url and suggest a claim with text "suggest linking this(link) as a pro (or con)"
We are building suggest linking in a couple of weeks for discussions that you haven't been invited to yet.
Also, our reputation system, the thanks count, is based more around HOW you interact with others, so if you are polite, open to have your claim changed, etc. It's a general measure of how nice it is to work with you and how good your contributions are.
Contrary to SO and Q, we are not a place where you, solipsistically add an atomic answer, but because you are working with others in a collaborative reasoning system, will have to edit your claims, comment on others etc.
Visiting the page, I'm seeing fewer anchor issues than I'd seen previously, but still seeing some like the following:
'Students Keep "No Platforming" Contentious Speakers. Should They Stop?'
'Should Businesses Deny Service to Trump Administration Officials?'
'Is Science Political?'
Some of these can't be phrased any other way, but a little tuning might help: the latter, for example, has a subtle bias towards science being apolitical, and introduces a new claim: that science may be political. Rephrasing the question 'Is science political or apolitical?' would leave you with only an ordering anchor bias - a slight weighting towards the first item in the list.
This also seems to be a factor in the foundational claim made in each question: it usually picks one side or the other, and all arguments and counterarguments are then firmly grounded in that claim. Perhaps expressing each claim as both a positive and negative claim would make a difference.
For example, in the 'no-platforming' question, the foundational claim is 'Social justice movements should abandon the use of no-platforming at universities'. If there were a way to present both claims as foundational - 'should abandon' vs. 'should embrace', e.g. - you would get a more fleshed-out debate, as the arguments for and against the one are not necessarily arguments against and for the other, respectively.
EDIT: I do see you've added what you call 'multi-thesis debates', this seems to tackle the latter half of this post fairly directly.
It's something we have been thinking about a lot. As you write, there is no real good way of dealing with this. Stating both options will make theses read convoluted.
Writing the thesis as a question doesn't help much either and confuses some people. (We have tried.)
We think that the best place to correct for anchoring and setting up the stage for a discussion is the discussion info, the popup that appears the first time you load a discussion.
Regarding the "should abandon" and "should embrace", what kind of new claims do you think would arise, compared to a single thesis "should abandon"? We normally were able to fit all claims of two theses multis in comparative single thesis debates, sometimes though not at the first level as they require an implicit assumption to be stated as a parent pro or con.
We leave it to users, but consider comparative single thesis debates much easier to write than multis with a lot of linking. If there are more than two options though, multis are required.
We see most multis in team situations, not public discussions, e.g. us discussing which framework, library or design to choose.
Perhaps my reticence comes more from the fairly dual nature of Kialo's discussions: an initial premise, and then points strictly for or against that premise, which makes it difficult to discuss, say, middle or nuanced positions. But that may not be the role of the platform to fit all those nuances into one discussion, either; that could easily be a use case for spinning up a new discussion, instead.
Glad to see you trying to set this kind of ground for discussion, regardless. I do hope it becomes a useful tool for people to dissect these discussions and gain an accurate understanding of arguments instead of a distorted one; I think that may be one of the most valuable aspects of this tool, by a long shot.
The heart, is just a thanks to the original author and doesn't impact the sorting.
We are going to do something drastic to the default impact shown, because we agree that the average is not really an interesting measure. 1-2 months.
I hope we are not overselling ourselves. We are no panacea, what we do, is facilitate and capture the reasoning of all viewpoints. This won't automatically lead to consensus. But at the very least you can now truly understand where others are coming from and write your opposing claims to whatever they consider being their strongest points.
More generally, though, I would be interested to hear how you would define "reason" and "rationality." These are difficult questions, and I'm interested to hear more about your approach.
Not speaking for the team, but, I would probably consider something to be argued rationally, that is logical within a cultural setting and frame of mind. Very often, this depends on the epistemological system a person is using. Take believers vs non-believers. Both can be rational within their framework, but many will consider other people's framework as not rational.
We think that claims should always be logical and pertaining to the parent claim above them, in YOUR belief system, otherwise it becomes incoherent and unreadable for others.
How would that be remedied? I think if a large enough group of users ranked arguments on intrinsic validity or soundness, the effect would be indistinguishable from popularity.
Imagine the results of asking everybody in the US to rank music on musical skill and artistic achievement. You would get the Top 40.
Second, there is not "yes, but ..." answer, you are forced to take sides, for example to the hypothetical question "should drugs be legalized ?", I'd probably want to aswer "yes, but regulated". Not sure how to express that.
Voting on our site is different, we explicitly ask for the impact a claim has.
But we agree, the total average of votes, with public discussions, isn't very useful, not because popularity contest, BUT, if we assume a fair split of society on a topic, because the thesis will be voted two = middle and most claims too. People basically cancel each other out and you end up with a no strong opinion either way for most claims. Which is boring. You could add standard deviation, but that would still not be great.
Thus we are going to introduce a way to visualize votes, by separating them into cohorts.
We had perspective tagging, but that has it's own set of features.
So really many topics don't have middle ground, the debate IS binary: Is climate change real / man-made. Should abortion be legal. Is there a God. Should homosexuals be allowed to marry/adopt. If you made these into multis, not much is gained.
And then, exactly for your example about drug legislation we have a multi theses discussion, check it out :) and you can add new theses or claims:
Right, is what is rationally justified decided by what is democratically popular? The best solution would allow for customizable curation, where different systems of authority and checks/balances on that authority could be tried, with different participants.
Equally-weighted voting is obviously not the solution for promoting rational debate, since in almost all domains there are a select few with much more knowledge than all others.
We do have perspectives, where you can see the votes of individuals and will introduce a measure to show you the votes that agree / disagree with the main thesis. That is the best auto splitting of votes we could come up with.
Happy about better suggestions.
Weighing voting brings a whole new set of problems.
But agree, the ALL votes perspectives, isn't really that great. The reason being that often then many votes there end up in the middle (2), but the interesting bit being what the sides(0+4) are thinking. See here: https://www.kialo.com/should-the-us-adopt-stricter-gun-contr...
The site seems designed for desktop first. The fancy radial graph doesn't seem to appear on mobile. That would seem like a pretty big barrier to popularity. I have lots of friends who's only access to the net is their phone.
It's not at all clear to me which link to share with people. Was the one above correct? It's not showing the radial graph in my topic so I assumed it was the wrong link since links to other topics show a graph. Clicking the "share" button is not helpful with providing a link
It's entirely unclear whether to respond pro or con on 2nd level topics. It feels intuitively to me that it should be green vs orange for the entire discussion. All green is pro the original topic, all orange is con the original topic. But that is not how others are using it. The comment for "con" of sub topic says "attack the parent ...." What's the parent here? The parent to this comment? The parent to this sub-topic so if it's sub-sub-topic that's what?
Whatever Kialo want's it to be it needs to made 1000x clearer. Even the help is unhelpful. It shows topic->pro->con which is uncontroversial. It needs to show topic->con->con or topic->con->pro. But of course most people won't click to the help so the actual form needs to make this far clearer.
The fancy sunburst, currently, only appears on initial load of a discussion, we are thinking of changing that. You can open it by clicking the (i) on the thesis, or via discussion menu "Discussion Info".
The link one above is correct, if you want people to have viewer rights, (which allows them to vote and suggest claims). If you want people to have writers rights, where they can immediately write into a discussion, you have to go to share, enable the writers sharing link and paste that. We do not recommend using that for public posting though.
Generally speaking, claims are supposed to make sense and relate to their parent claim, the one directly above it. This is the only way to allow for linking, intermap linking and copying of branches into other debates.
In very large debates, with thousands of claims and levels, often, a discussion on level 10, is really only pertaining ot the parent, e.g. this is not relevant here or attacking the veracity of a statement. How this claim relates to the thesis on top, isn't anymore that relevant.
Due to linking, it would also be quite confusing, one time the claim is a pro, then a con. And most people read claims as relevant for the parent directly above. That's why we spell out the "Support /Attack parent". I think it's also in the intro video.
I see topic->con. click to dispute con. see con and under it "attack parent" . to me with con showing on the screen the parent is the topic not the con. if it was the con the prompt would read "attach this con" or "attack the statement above" .
But let’s say I’m a billionaire that made my fortune in the fossil fuel industry. You’re not going to reason me out of opposing any sort of carbon tax or cap. I simply don’t give a fuck if the world burns because my wealth depends on burning it. You’re not going to reason me out of that position.
And of course, I can’t get my candidates to win on a ‘fuck the planet’ platform so I do political science research and public policy polling so I can figure out how to cobble together a political coalition that can win, while having a ‘fuck the planet’ as a side effect. You have your pro-life people, your anti-immigration people, etc, all of whom are voting for different motivations and all of whom are using logic and reason to decide who to vote for in pursuit of those motivations.
Politics is about power and wealth and any attempt to improve ‘public debate’ that doesn’t recognize that is doomed to failure.
Note that it is different from /r/CMV. Unlike CMV, Steelmanning wants to bring out the best form of either sides of an argument. The goal is not to change OP's views, but just to lay down the best arguments for lurkers to inform themselves with. It's more like /r/neutralpolitics but without the restriction to politics.
This looks like the closest thing I've come across since, and I like it, though I'm still curious about the format I was tinkering with...
(Also: funny side story: I e-mailed Leslie Lamport about the idea when I was still working on it [because of how I saw it relating to some ideas of his about writing proofs]. Out of respect for his privacy I won't say much about his reply other than that he was... not optimistic that folks would actually use it. I was also surprised by his generosity in reading about my idea and replying to me.)
Edit: it was tentatively named 'Hypothesis Crucible'. And I have no concrete plans to do anything with it anymore—I wish you guys good luck.
1) Most issues don't fall on a binary - and are not conducive to the pro/con, positive/negative, yes/no binary.
2) Most individual positions are not reached at one end of the spectrum. They start of near center gradually oscillate and deviate the more someone studies a subject. As such, a UX that places pros/cons front and center robs the reader of the actual learning/oscillating phase. I ask that you to find the source of any opinion you hold and try to reach back to it's source. You'll rarely find that it was a table that you studied and picked a side on.
4) Discussions should not center around individual issues. Rather it should be communities around a certain topic, where the discussions evolve and debates arise. The OP only does the latter -- which perhaps makes sense if say some communities like sub-reddits use it.
3) Expertise is not up for debate. An expert's opinion should not be moderated, or weighed, in the same way as a layman's opinion. you can argue for pure meritocracy, but an expert will simply not indulge in an environment when they have to prove their expertise day-in-and-day-out. The platform needs to acknowledge the parallels with how debates and opinions are shaped AFK.
(note above is purely for matters-of-opinions, not for matters-of-fact.)
Overall, what you don't need (and what's been done many times) is a table with all positions listed down. What you instead need is to solve for the larger problem, or handling moderation, reputation and expertise, because consensus and debates actually do care about the above. This does not mean anonymous/pseudonymous discussion is not possible, just that the framework has to allow for it in an integrated manner.
I have tried multiple implementations of above (not public-ally available), but none satisfactorily handled the above -- it is a hard problem to solve, so I commend and wish all the best to the Kialo team.
Re 1-3) Most discussions can actually be distilled to a single pointed issue or a very specific discussion (https://www.kialo.com/should-there-be-a-universal-basic-inco...).
You can then ask in a follow up, using a multi thesis discussion, which variant of e.g. legislation is the best (https://www.kialo.com/what-is-the-best-drug-regulation-syste...).
Or you can start with a multi and discuss various options, as e.g. done here: (https://www.kialo.com/who-will-win-the-game-of-thrones-1203)
It's really up to the discussion creator. Multis allow you to change the theses and add a "better" one, as happened in the drug legislation debate (I think).
Re 4) Do you remember nupedia, it didn't work. Wikipedia is not perfect, but the best resource we have to look up the "what". What we are building with the public site is a repository of the "why".
It doesn't require experts to write the reasoning of experts, which is what is happening, sometimes phds come in and post all the scientific papers pertaining to a position.
We agree that the hardest issue is actually moderation. When you have thousands of people chime in, as is the case with e.g. the UBI debate, you need a good system to filter for duplicates and trolls. That's why we implemented the suggestion system (https://support.kialo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003791445-Sug...) and 5 different permission levels(https://support.kialo.com/hc/en-us/articles/115003877705-Par...).
This seems to work, as can be witnessed in the large debates. It's by no means perfect though and we are constantly improving it. The last bit we added was nested suggestions and suggestion commenting.
Again, thanks for your input. :)
My overarching hypothesis is that perhaps a more holistic approach is what will change and engage peoples mind, as opposed to a technical listing down of all points of argument. For example the r/changemyview fosters a lot of such discussion. Even HN ends up being a great place gaining consensus on technology choices. What both have in place is that the audience is a targeted community, and there is some basic moderation in place.
Then there's also a catering towards this being used in enterprises? I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a product, but the entrepreneur in me screams "too large of a scope!"
1 public discussions / repository of the why / community
2 free edtech solution
3 SAAS for decision-making, -preparation, ideation...
We have for now focussed on 1, as we consider it the hardest and most pertinent problem.
2 We are deploying a dedicated edu cluster in 2 weeks. Already quite popular for classroom debates (some Harvard profs being the first to use it), introducing students to controversial issues, etc
3 We provide teams for free right now and are building another cluster for them. (they too do not want to be inundated with gun / atheist debates)
In the end, our core, is something like a wiki technology. When we launched, we didn't know what would stick and now we have all three kind of sticking. 3 being the one that has received the least amount of love till now, as companies seem to be doing ok, regarding decision-making, even though everybody hates emails, chat and meetings...
I decided not to use it for various reasons including:
1. The situations I deal with cannot be reasoned through the skein of a boolean network.
2. The core of a useful discussion, in my mind, is talking with a few people who, in general, are each smarter / more knowledgeable in part of the discussion space, than I.
I didn't see provision for such things in Kialo.
We and others have tried that.
We gave experts a multi theses debate and let them discuss the various options (that's also what we do internally when having to decide things) and then looked at the outcome and switched through the perspectives to see what the individual experts thought.
Some use it in that way for board meetings. Instead of receiving memos that don't touch upon each other's points, you receive a Kialo in which all departments added their reasoning for why their favorite solution is good and the others' not.
Hope you guys will lower this limit, as the idea is truly great and Internet need a well-structured discussion platform!
Currently my attention is drawn to good and bad claims equally. Only after reading do I check the score and realize the claim is incorrect.
It wastes my time reading bad claims and the thought will stay with me regardless of quality.
The hordes would have been an issue, just coming in and downvoting claims that they disagree with.
When we switch from the all votes average, we might introduce them again. For individual perspectives, it would already make sense, you would then only see claims that a particular user voted of at least impact 2 or so.
I would not rely on the "impact votes" today, plus, the average is not really interesting. What is more interesting is how people that agree or disagree with the main thesis voted. (hint: what we'll be building)
I hope this platform has better luck.
Thus all you can do in a collaborative reasoning platform like ours, is give everybody the tools to portray their reasoning as well as they can.
E.g. an underlying reason for somebody's arguments might be the existence of God. An atheist would consider this irrational, but the logic, given the underlying thesis, might be sound. So in the end, we are going to debate epistemology. Something, I feel, we don't do enough.
Nor are we taught in school enough how (utility vs happiness) to evaluate the different epistemological systems.
They broadly fall into, "science is knowledge" vs "whatever I want / feels right" is knowledge. We have perspectives, with which you can look at a believers vs a non-believers voting, other than that we are still waiting for the world to build AIs that can distinguish those....enough are working on this :)
And yes, we do allow multi-linking and intermap-linking of claims.
Also, many discussions have little scienitifi papers to use, e.g. most of the ethics and religion debates. "The Existence of God", "Theodicy"...
Edit: How to do this formally? Look at formal systems for hints of how to do it in the 1900s, or category theory for how to do it in the modern day. 
The point of using a search engine (like elastic) is that you can easily match against n-gram/fuzzy versions of the words. So you can write in a sloppy way and still have it be parse-able. (But that's standard code completion I guess.)
Ideally, if you design it right you shouldn't need to explain the text completion. It adds value by allowing faster typing.
So ideally, you shouldn't need to motivate the feature further. It should pay for itself UX wise. This very much depends on you being able to match your DSL to the domain being discussed. If the domain is politics it is very hard but if the domain is discussion meta, it might be easier.
Another follow up issue is that you want to do more with the structured text. You want it to be interactive, and have effect on the rest of the UI. You want to reflect the semantics of what you're writing. For example, perhaps you can pick out data points from the DSL interpretation and pull it into a common visualization.
Compare with tagging people on Facebook. People do this sort of naturally. This could work in a similar way. Instead of showing suggestions when typing "Bob Smi" it would be suggestions when typing things like "child mortality in ". And the effect of the complete sentence could be to attach relevant data.
Any debate that has hope of progressing the state of argumentation about [topic] will include agreements on definitions and fundamental premises so they don't get bogged down there.
A while back someone who stayed himself an intellectual posted a contrapositive of a statement as if it were a brilliant insight.
My proposal: You write a Medium post with your argument, I'll respond with my rebuttal/response on Medium. That's how the old guys did it, except with letters.
I agree you need much more to make the comments more "unique".
The problem is, that argument mapping and other formal methods have quite a learning curve and do make it even harder for the general public to read / participate.
What's interesting about debate on HN, when it is interesting and illuminating, is that each person debating makes their point while changing the framework of discussion, which questions are most important and so-forth.
I tend to think that the site could do better just having good moderators setting the terms of debate and letting people put forward their positions from there.
The problem with evolving theses is that they invalidate a huge amount of claims and require many claims to be edited.
Threads, where you are not fixed on a particular thesis are of course often more fun, but bring their own set of problems. When a thread goes on for long enough, the different strands are discussing entirely different bits and pieces and newcomers are completely lost, plus the mixing of claims and commentary...HN is truly exceptional with regards to the quality of contributions and I agree, reading comments here is often a wonderful learning experience, one of the very few sites, where I first open the comments, then the linked article.
And yes, we are a bit dry. It's a bit like Wikipedia article editing, less like an enthusiastic commenting thread (https://twitter.com/KialoHQ/status/954461988960251904). But given the nature of our topics, we are happy about things being a bit drier. :)
Imagine the outcry if we forbade users to create their own discussions. We wouldn't have that tabs vs spaces debate (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17486949) :)
This strikes me as exactly right. There is no obvious way to formally guarantee that the content of a person's argument actually matches the formal structure that they claim it has.
People that are incoherent, don't normally get their claims accepted. The admins after all don't want gibberish in their debates.
People that have very different points of views, get their claims accepted and get them rebuked underneath. We believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant. You need to spell out bad thinking and then debunk it underneath.
Also, you have to look at it with the expectation of a rise of automated moderation tools, and maybe even AIs entering into the debates.
One of Asimov's I, Robot stories did a similar thing, with a robot on a space station making rational arguments against the existence of earth.
Of course, there are also nutters...
Plus yes, nutters, obligate contrarians, and conspiracy theorists.