Collective Intelligence as Community Discourse and Action

A Workshop @ CSCW2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work
February 11–15, 2012
Seattle, Washington


The major themes of the workshop are:

  • Collective Intelligence
  • Community Ideation and Idea management Systems
  • Argumentation
  • Online Deliberation
  • Online Discourse technologies – such as email, blogs, wikis, chats, web forums, Q&A sites, peer-rated news aggregators, social networks, ideation and argumentation tools

Collective Intelligence

Collective Intelligence (CI) research investigates the design of infrastructures to enable collectives to think and act intelligently, and intriguingly, more intelligently than individuals. From a more technocratic and operational perspective, CI is the capability to engineer mechanisms and tools that take people’s ‘thinking’ and actions and empower them. The study of collective intelligence seeks to explore how people’s interactions can be re-interpreted and used by other people or machines to infer and mine data, suggest or improve people’s choices and effect and enhance collective actions.
Within the wider research field of CI, in this workshop we aim at exploring the relationship and interplay of Collective Intelligence and Online Discourse.

  • Can we use Online Dialogue as primary data source to study Collective Intelligence?
  • Can we trigger Collective Intelligence by facilitating, aggregating, structuring and mining Online Discourse?
  • How can we design Online Discourse technologies for Collective Intelligence?

Online Discourse technologies

Increasingly, people interact and deliberate online, using a bewildering array of social media technology that range from email to wikis, from blogs to social networking sites like Facebook, from web forums and Q&A forums to ideation and argumentation tools, from news sharing/rating sites to prediction markets. While such tools have the potential to enable human interactions at a scale unprecedented in human history, little is yet know about how they lead (or don’t lead) to collective intelligence, and how we can do it better.
Recent events show that online communities are being mobilized within Social Media platforms (see for example the Middle-Eastern uprisings organized through Facebook, or the use or Twitter for emergency responses). Collective intelligence and even collective action seem to be triggered by online dialogue on Social Web sites.
Moreover, in the field of e-government and public engagement, initiatives such as Global Voices and America Speaks show that there is an increasing need and interest in finding ways to gather and aggregate people’s voices in a way that make these voices better and more widely listened to, explored, understood, and reused by others.

  • We seek for contributions which advance the understanding of technologies for ideation and deliberation at unprecedented scales, while allowing many voices contribute to effective, unbiased conversations and lead to intelligent group behaviours and social change.

Community ideation and Idea Management Systems

Web2.0 systems for idea management and deliberation represent a growing class of collaborative tools in support of communities. The communities may include communities of interests on the public web, business organizations, and local geographic communities. New tools are emerging that let the members of these communities generate and augment ideas, judge and discuss them, and collectively deliberate around specific problems as part of a grassroots community online discourse.
Use case for these tools in business organizations is in support of online communities of consumers. The aim is to allow these communities to propose their ideas and preferences about current or new products, for instance public workers in local administrations who can, for example, generate ideas and suggest ways to increase productivity.


The Theory of Scholarly Discourse, Dialogue Mapping and Argumentation suggest that by structuring several forms of discourse, such as dialogue and debate, with specific models and tools, discourse can be used by groups to build shared understanding, explore solutions to complex problems and make better informed collective decisions.

  • How can Argumentation theory contribute to the understating and development of Collective intelligence?
  • What kind of argumentation tools can be used to structured online discourse and develop collective intelligence?

Online Deliberation

Online Deliberation technologies are increasingly being developed to support civic communities on the public web: i.e. tools for large-scale deliberation by the citizens in the community. These system are currently classified as online deliberation, e-participation, e-democracy or e-government systems. Examples, among the system generated in research, are the Debategraph (, the Deliberatorium, Cohere and the mIPS system, and Considerate. These systems are argumentation systems for communities and use an argumentation model to facilitate and structure online discourse and deliberation.

  • How can we use Online Deliberation to mobilize community action?
  • How can we design Online Deliberation technologies for Collective Intelligence and social change?


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Knowledge Media Institute