Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Putting Argument Diagrams on Your Site

A key feature of is the ability to put Argument Diagrams on any website, including yours.

Obviously, this will be of greatest value to the individual Argument Moderators - in exchange for undertaking to catalog the Arguments, they get to display the fruits of their labor on their own sites, for the benefit of their own readers. But any Argument Diagram can be placed on any site by anbody, including public resources such as Wikipedia.

Here we present an example of what an Argument Diagram will look like on another site, in this case a Blogspot blog. This is indeed an actual Argument on the site.

Abramoff scandal is a Republican scandal Abramoff donated no money to Democrats Abramoff's clients and lobbyists donated to Democrats Congressional Democrats have little to no legislative influence Donations to Democrats decreased under Abramoff Abramoff central to 'K Street Project' Donations pervasive throughout Republican establishment Many conservatives admit it's a Republican scandal
It even behaves almost exactly like an Argument Diagram would on the site:

  • Mouse over the various nodes to read the brief descriptions

  • Click through nodes to read the complete node text

The only real difference is that clicking through a node opens a new browser window on so your readers don't leave your site.

The technology behind this is simply an image map. Every Argument Diagram page contains a link to "Put this argument on your site!" Clicking that link will take you to a page with a code listing that you can cut and paste into your own site.

Additional notes:

  • The image part of the image map is stored on the server, so you don't have to incur the bandwidth cost

  • The image map text that you paste in your page is static and will not track changes to the Argument itself. If the Argument is updated on the site, and you wish to reflect that on your site, you will again need to click the "Put this argument on your site!" link on the Argument Diagram page, and again copy the image map code to your site.

  • Using this feature requires that you adhere to the copyright policy. You must not alter the image map code in any way, for any reason. If you are the Argument Moderator, any changes must be made to the Argument itself on the site as explained above.

  • No tracking of your users is done other than that performed by Google Analytics, or the generic site statistics gathered by our hosting provider.

Finally, although image maps are a mature technology, our testing of this has not been extensive. We have only yet encountered one issue, and for that we recommend that you not attempt any formatting of the image map text that you paste into your page - simply paste the "blob" of text as is.

As such, do not hesitate to contact us if you should have a problem with your site.

We hope that you will find this feature useful for yourself and your users!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


At their best, blogs and other forums (fora) on the net serve as individual nodes in a great and widespread conversation. However, these media inherently suffer from multiple flaws, the most important of which is that you rarely see an attempt at cataloguing the entirety of an argument. In the few cases where this is laid out, it is almost always done so in a simplistic list of assertions for and against the argument. is a place where people gather to discuss topics big and small, to hash out a complete argument. What makes this site especially interesting is that the argument is mapped out visually, in a tree structure of supporting and refuting assertions, until the argument reaches a natural conclusion.

The arguing, of course, is not the point of the site, but simply the means of getting there - exposing the half-truths, untruths and fallacies that the hacks use to convince you that their side is right. Just as importantly, the hacks don't get to hide from inconvenient facts, or assertions that fail to fit neatly into their belief systems.

Simply put, imposes structure and completeness on an argument.

An argument starts with a thesis, along with a few assertions that support and/or refute that thesis. Once the user community starts discussing the argument, additional assertions are identified and each of the assertions is extended out with its own supporting and refuting assertions.

The result is not only a complete argument, in which all of the points and counterpoints are identified, but the argument is mapped out into a visual structure that enables a holistic understanding of the topic. is a free site and open to all. We hope to discuss sports, movies, music, politics, technology or any topic that you feel could benefit from structure and completeness.

So head on over to and join the fray!