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  • A Large-scale Consensus Support System called COLLAGREE based on Online Facilitation Functions ― A Real-world Application for Nagoya Next Generation Total City Planning

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Online direct democratic discussion has been focused very much, and will be one of the next generation methods for open and public civilian forums. For such large scale discussions, from the viewpoint of collective intelligence, some level of management is required. For example, in Wikipedia project, some management-level people are checking the newly created contents while in the open source project for Linux, L.Torvalds leads its Linux community adequately. We developed an open web-based forum system called COLLAGREE that has facilitator support functions. we propose the “weak structured” discussion, in which some human facilitators coordinate large scale discussions while our system provides several supporting functions for those facilitators. In this paper, we deployed COLLAGREE for an online town meeting in Nagoya city, Japan, as a city project that lead by Nagoya city mayor. It is hold as one of the real town meetings for the Nagoya Next Generation Total City Planning. In the experiment, the professional facilitators joined to our project. In the two weeks, COLLAGREE gathered 264 total registered participants, 1,151 opinions, 3,072 visits, and 18,466 views. The following are the results: (1) Facilitation is useful for online large-scale discussion. (2) We confirmed that there is a possibility that facilitators and their supporting function can avoid flaming and inadequate discussions, and also (3) there is a possibility that facilitators and their supporting function can facilitate diverging ideas and converging opinions in discussion. (4) We confirmed that online town meeting can gather younger generation more than real face-to-face town meetings.


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