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I came across this site and it seems quite interesting to me. I believe that the discussion format can influence the discussion itself a lot. Not sure whether exactly the Kialo format is optimal but I consider Kialo as at least a promising attempt.

"I consider Kialo as at least a promising attempt." This problem hasn't been tackled afaik and it's nice to see someone working on it!

Well, Kialo is indeed an interesting platform but I think its format is rather oversimplified, I prefer proper old school debating websites like or, where you can have more structured one on one textual debates with fewer limitations.

I find that trees of claims don't always work because context gets lost as you traverse the tree.

Imagine we have an claim A supported by B that is supported by C. If I think that C does support B in some cases but is irrelevant when specifically talking about A, there's no good way to express this. Actually even arguing about relevance of B to A is not really possible, there's only impact vote, but often that was too limiting to express my point.

To some extent both of those cases can be addressed via comments. However, the comments are not very prominent in the UI, are often used for meta discussion instead, and don't contribute to the scoring and visualization.

One idea that I thought about is creating an additional claim that states how B is relevant to A (and then it can have further sub-claims). However, "hows" are not binary claims, so they wouldn't fit well into the format and into the visualization. It seems like complicating the model this way won't be worth it for the limited improvement that we're likely to see.

People keep rebuilding this thing. It's a mistake. If you tag all content as for or against something, it helps with sorting out genuinely binary balance-of-considerations issues, but almost nothing that's actually discussed, or that is actually worth discussing, fits this format. The most valuable content either clarifies, or pulls the rope sideways, or makes the original question moot. These can't fit in the template of an argument-structuring website, so argument-structuring websites don't get this content, so they aren't worth reading or participating in.

Have you seen that you can do multi theses debates and thus evaluate non-binary issues?

Here is an example by a user:

We allow for comments, on claims as an additional way of interacting, but we are always happy to learn more.

The internet can, I believe, fix itself. Kialo is one attempt at doing so.

The pros of Kialo appear to be that 1. Participants are civil, 2. Arguments are deconstructed, and 3. one can look at a topographic map of an argument. Also, the system checks to see if any arguments have already been made elsewhere so as to prevent repetition

Deeper than this is what could be be called the Wikipedia effect. Though anyone can edit a page in Wikipedia, pages more or less get better and better, particularly in the areas that are not controversial. There is a constant improvement process in place.

That is in Wikipedia. However, arguments are inherently controversial but with editors and flagging I can imagine that improvements could lead to improved arguments. I cannot say if that is in fact the case. One troubling part is that sub arguments get voted upon to appear higher or lower on a pros vs. cons list. Truth is not democratic.

Furthermore as there are no barriers to entry of participants, such as a test of reasoning skills or a test to eliminate those with a pathological bias -- the hallmark of a online troll -- the voting process hinders rather than furthers the "Wikipedia effect".

Thanks for your feed-back!

We are considering questionnaires for certain discussions, but aren't sure this would help. We do have flagging, once you have been granted discussion editor rights. Can you recommend a good quick reasoning test?

Unlike Wikipedia, not everyone can just edit a discussion. Currently you have to be invited by the discussion creators (no we haven't seen much bias due to that, as one-sided discussions look really stupid). Until you are invited you can only suggest claims, which admins have to accept. This also keeps the trolls out.

The next phase will be to have user levels and allow roaming powerusers that have writers etc rights in all public discussions. We are learning as we go. As you say, dealing with controversies is a very different game than with definitions of terms (although they are sometimes controversial too and then they might well get edit-locked)

In case you are interested, some more background info about us can be found here:

And a very kind shout out by Reddit cofounder Ohanian, incl how we differentiate ourselves to Reddit here:

We agree that the voting and displaying of avg is not ideal and will probably introduce perspective tagging.

Msg support if you want private teams / portals, for decision-making etc..

We know we got a long arduous journey ahead of us...

Thx for the post mirefek. If you guys have suggestions on how to improve K, we are all ears.

Off the top of my head I'd say it's doomed to forever be a minor niche platform, because what the general public wants is not "reasonable debate". They want drama, and reasonable debate doesn't provide that.


Your landing page doesn't show me any current discussion the way Reddit or Quora do. I think that's likely a bad decision.

Click on new, there you will see all new discussions. The discussions on the explore page are ongoing, we are thinking of revamping the whole portal though. You can also click on tags and play around with the sorting, by default we show the discussions with the most recent activity.

I came across this platform and my question is when submitting a "pro" for an argument on Kialo, is it supposed to be in agreement with the parent argument, or just a positive outcome of it?

And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two

Hm, the format is interesting. The end product is, ideally, a tree of arguments, with each argument having an attached relevance rating from the audience. I like that they didn't try to use the pro and con arguments to influence the rating of the parent argument, because that would be too reflective of audience composition.

Most of the comments provide arguments without referencing any sources to back up their claims. The result is that this system filters for popular arguments instead of filtering for arguments that can be well supported by sources.

An argument might also be deductive in nature and might very well not need sources. In other cases there are claims where sources might not add anything to a claims veracity/relevance, e.g. sources to pro homeopathy sites. It's the what are good sources problem...

Kialo's aim is to have viewpoint diversity and to also engage with the bad claims, which indeed might be very popular.

You are able to switch between perspectives and see how different people reason and vote the claims. We will release persona tagging to show aggregates of this. The avg being shown today isn't ideal.

We'd agree, that we still have to improve the displaying of the "results" of a discussion. One step at a time, currently we are improving the "capturing" of discussions and are revamping the whole suggestion system, to allow for better bidirectional communication:

In world-class debating, sources don't matter and as a result what side of a topic a team gets at a debating tournament usually doesn't define whether the team loses or wins.

Grounding in empirical reality is important to getting policy decisions right.