Opinion Space 3.0

25 Jul, 2011

Opinion Space 3.0

"Opinion Space" is a social media technology designed to help communities generate and exchange ideas about important issues and policies. A version of Opinion Space is being used by the U.S. State Department. It has attracted thousands of participants from around the world to organize, visualize, and analyze constructive suggestions on foreign policy.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2010): "Opinion Space will harness the power of connection technologies to provide a unique forum for international dialogue. This opportunity to extend our engagement beyond the halls of government directly to the people of the world."
Version 3.0 of Opinion Space has a completely redesigned and streamlined interface with improved splash page, colors, fonts, more intuitive welcome process, registration, user experience, animated point and score displays, and enhanced response reputation metrics.

Please try it at:

Social Media has tremendous potential for innovation and problem-solving, but existing tools such as blogs, wikis, and comment lists can be quickly overwhelmed by extreme viewpoints. Opinion Space uses a game model that incorporates techniques from deliberative polling, collaborative filtering, and multidimensional visualization. The result is a self-organizing system that uses an intuitive graphical "map" that displays patterns, trends, and insights as they emerge and employs the wisdom of crowds to identify and highlight the most insightful ideas.

Details and a 3 minute video illustrating the system are available at:
Opinion Space can help organizations 1) Understand the diversity of their communities, 2) Solicit feedback and creative suggestions on specific topics, 3) Rapidly identify the most insightful ideas and suggestions, and 4) Increase satisfaction and engagement with their communities.

Opinion Space helps participants: 1) Visualize their relationships to other participants, 2) Express thoughtful ideas and suggestions about emerging issues, 3) Engage in friendly competition with other participants, and 4) Learn and gain insights from other participants.

It works like this: new participants use graphical sliders to express the degree to which they agree or disagree with five baseline statements such as: "Climate change poses a threat to political stability around the world." The responses are combined to display the new participant as a unique point in a map.

Every participant thus chooses a "point of view" on a global opinion map. The map is not based on predetermined categories, but on similarity of interests, behavior, and perspectives. Those who agree on basic issues are neighbors, those who are far apart have agreed to disagree. The system is designed to "depolarize" discussions by including all participants on a single level playing field. Participants can instantly see where they stand in relation to other participants. Participants click on the points of other community members to read ideas and suggestions on discussion topics such as "What new approaches could be used to address issue C?" By reviewing comments, participants help the community highlight the most insightful ideas. Participants earn points as Reviewers based on how they evaluate the ideas of others and earn points as Authors based on how others rate their own ideas.