Agree with statements instead of adding new

MR Mads Ringblom Public Seen by 84

In bigger groups the list of statements can get long, so what about being able to agree with other statements instead of (or as a supplement to) adding you own.

It would add a little more complexity to the process of stating your position but the benefits would be less information clutter and the ability to get a quick overview of popular arguments for and against a proposal.


Mads Ringblom Mon 13 Oct 2014 6:05PM


Matthew Bartlett Mon 13 Oct 2014 6:58PM

Nice. Feels a bit like the 'Ideas' feature http://blog.loomio.org/tag/ui/


Mads Ringblom Mon 13 Oct 2014 8:11PM

Ahh that seems like a nice feature as well.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'feel like the 'ideas' feature' though.
Like the fulfilling the same need? kind of the same functionality? or have the same design-feel?

PS. Found this discussion (https://www.loomio.org/d/5Lxbd4Rs/ideas-proto-proposals) and added an idea to the idea-feature as well :)


Alanna Irving Mon 13 Oct 2014 8:28PM

We have this feature to 'like' statements of position in a proposal in the backlog: https://trello.com/c/YGLxkVeB

Is that what you mean?


Mads Ringblom Mon 13 Oct 2014 8:48PM

Oh yeah almost "like" that. (gotta remember to check that backlog :)

But it would be cool to add the feature to the place where the user are asked to give a reason for his/hers position because it could result in less statements that are almost the same (especially in larger groups) which would make the list of arguments for and against the proposal smaller, thus making it easier for other to decide.

Also using the word 'agree' instead of like, might lead to more awareness about that you're actually participating in decision making rather than being on Facebook ;)

(Thanks for the link @alanna I'll add this comment to the card)


Ben Burton Wed 19 Nov 2014 4:15PM

@madsringblom Instead of just limiting what we "like" or what positions we agree with to individuals, we should be able to propose facts that can be used as the basis to make a decision. I've been calling them "Statements of fact" in my head.

Just like a proposal, someone should be able to propose a "fact" be added in the side bar. These facts ultimately add up to be the foundation for the decision. Consensus on facts will lead to more accurate and healthier decisions.

I believe this type of feature could help drive discussions to decisions in a lot of different ways.


Mads Ringblom Thu 20 Nov 2014 9:12AM

@BenBurton I really like the idea of consensus on facts!

Way to often are we not even agreeing on why we disagree and agreeing on facts may go some of the way in solving this problem.
If it somehow could be implemented in a user friendly not to complicated way.


Ben Burton Thu 20 Nov 2014 5:04PM

@madsringblom I would suggest the "Create a proposal" either have multiple types, or probably better a second button dedicated to the feature. Facts could ultimately stack along side the discussion or above the discussion and below the initial post. Any newcomer to the discussion could probably get a very quick synopsis of the discussion and join in relatively easily.


Mads Ringblom Mon 24 Nov 2014 12:48PM

@BenBurton I've previously suggested multiple types of comments (to force people to think about the discussion on a meta-level), but multiple types of proposals could also be a cool feature.

Only problem with these thing is, that adding more complexity always raises the bar for participation, so it has to be really well thought through useability-wise.

A start could be a "this is what we agreed on so far" section recognizing that it's not always about reaching that one decision but more a series of smaller decisions. (could be 'facts' as well as 'definitions', 'basic assumptions' or agreeing on 'goals' before agreeing on 'means' and so on)


Ben Burton Mon 24 Nov 2014 4:01PM

@madsringblom I'm trying to work out some of these issues in the discussion regarding how Loomio.org defines a decision. If we break it down into its component pieces, I think we can create a user friendly and more effective tool.


James Kiesel Wed 26 Nov 2014 11:47AM

I think the original idea is a pretty simple implementation, if we allow users to select a 'parent' vote when they cast their vote, similar to the way a comment or a group can have a parent. Then, we could also group them by a parent vote, assuming that all of its children 'agree' with the parent. By clicking on 'Agree' next to a vote, we take you to a new vote form, with that vote set as your parent vote, and a matching position (agree, disagree, etc.).

So I'm biased because there's a nifty, elegant implementation. I wonder a little about how many people would derive value out of it, though.

I do agree that as we look toward supporting slightly larger decision-making bodies, we'll want to take a harder look at clumping together different 'factions' or like-minded viewpoints.


[deactivated account] Wed 26 Nov 2014 8:30PM

As @madsringblom mentions, "adding more complexity always raises the bar for participation". This suggests that added complexity will ideally be optional.

As @jameskiesel notes, supporting "larger decision-making bodies" will require the ability to clump ideas together. I'd add that the clumping need not be by "‘factions’ or like-minded viewpoints", but rather by idea thematic.

What I mean: in Jame's comment immediately above, there are 3 paragraphs which map out to 3 ideas. I might "like" 2 of them, but not the third. So what does the "like" tell us?

Instead of "liking", I'd love to add separate content on each of these 3 ideas. I'd like to see a form of "threading" either by indentation or by adding meta-keywords to paragraphs so I can see all the comments associated with a certain keyword.

But if we want to really support for formal bodies, I submit that we will want to be able to support formal argumentation methodology (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentation_theory). For instance, an given post can be a Warrant, which can be substantiated by Evidence, countered by a Rebuttal, supported by Data, etc. These components of argumentation help parse the interchange and force the user to be clear about the nature of his/her contribution.

This would be better than a general "like" because what is being liked, and why it is liked, is very ambiguous at best.


Ben Burton Wed 26 Nov 2014 8:32PM

@jeandaniel I need to delve into that link but supporting argumentation theory sounds like a great direction to investigate. It speaks a bit to my question of how Loomio.org defines a decision.


[deactivated account] Wed 26 Nov 2014 10:24PM

@BenBurton About how to define a decision. That would depend on what Loomio can support AND on what a group has agreed on as a norm.

For instance, a group may decide that majority vote is good enough. Another group may decide that they want full consent. How a group decides to make decisions is a key aspect of group formation.

Loomio could help that along by having a field "Proposal Acceptance" that would default to "Majority Vote" but would also offer other variants, such as "Full Consent", and including an "Other", where the proposer can write in a group-specific decision-making norm. It wouldn't be tied to any other logic. It would just be an information field to make the norm explicit.


Ben Burton Wed 26 Nov 2014 10:40PM

@jeandaniel Well it kind of goes without saying that if a group decides to use Loomio then they've agreed on that as a norm. ;)


[deactivated account] Wed 26 Nov 2014 10:51PM

@BenBurton Well, I guess the decision to use Loomio is certainly part of the group norm. But beyond that, Loomio doesn't constrain the group to a particular criterion that automagically determines that a decision has been made.

As a proposer, I can Publish an Outcome even if not everyone has voted or supported the Proposal. My previous post was to explore how Loomio can help the group define for itself how it wants to use Loomio in the group.


Steve Phillips / @elimisteve Tue 2 Dec 2014 4:06AM

Hmm, I definitely like this idea but am wondering if there's too much overlap between "Like" and "I Agree"/+1 or similar.

@madsringblom Are you satisfied with the "Like" functionality? Is that close enough?


Daniel Nephin Wed 3 Dec 2014 3:45AM

I really like this idea. In order to scale loomio to larger and larger organizations, there needs to be ways to aggregate opinions. I think this is a good first step.

I don't see "Like" being useful at all. In general I think the discussion panel is too divorced from the actual proposals. You can't easily see who is making arguments on which side of the debate without reading over the entire list of comments (which doesn't scale).


Clark Davison Wed 3 Dec 2014 3:59AM

@dnephin I liked your comment, because as yet there is no other way to "support" or "endorse" or whatever else people may want to do with it.

Democracy.os have a mechanism for rating if the comment "contributes to the debate" or "It brings the debate" by which I guess Google Translate means it detracts or argues against the proposal or discussion topic.

This doesn't address long posts with multiple "points", "facts", "comments" that other users may want to agree with or promote mixed in with others that do not.

I have been giving this some thought but still not any closer to anything that really addresses this.


Daniel Nephin Wed 3 Dec 2014 4:13AM

I think it is definitely a challenging problem. Before I heard about loomio I had done some work on this project, which had basically the same goals as loomio.

My idea for solving this problem (of being able to scale discussion making) was:

  • keep the discussion and the "decision" together, not as separate things. Every comment had to have some "position" (support, agree, challenge, disagree, flag), which is very similar to the proposal portion of loomio.
  • all posts would be responses to a specify piece of data or sentence in the proposal. Allowing people to disagree with some portion of a proposal and agree with other portions of it.
  • handle some of the complexity by exposing all of the posts as more of a graph instead of a linear list of posts. So every post could have comments on it, forming a directred graph.

The idea with the user interface is that instead of seeing a chronological list of posts, or something like reddit where you can see the nesting, you would instead look at posts in the context they belong. So if you clicked on a proposal, you'd start by seeing some posts for each position, and if you click on one of those you'd see the parent context, and all responses to the post, and so on down the graph.

Of course all of these add lots of complexity (to both the process and the user interface), and probably too theoretical and not designed out of organic use. I still hope that some of these ideas may be useful to loomio in the future, but we'll have to see.


Ben Burton Wed 3 Dec 2014 3:56PM

Wikipedia has proven that consensus can scale. I think it succeeds in part because of clarity. Every page is very focused, and that limits disagreements. I think it would help Loomio to work towards a similar clarity in discussions and proposals to help consensus work without massive amounts of obstruction.


Clark Davison Thu 4 Dec 2014 12:00AM

I wonder if this could be addressed by introducing different "views" of the posts. For example..

  • Chronological - by time of post
  • Chronological + nested comments
  • Supporting the discussion / proposal
  • Arguing against the discussion / proposal

Just a quick list to highlight the idea.

I think it would be useful to see who supports / disagrees / challenges etc. because that way it would be possible to focus on the positive and negative comments within a discussion. If the negative or disagrees have a valid point and are "supported" by other members then they need to be addressed and answered in order to win over those who are not in agreement OR the discussion / proposal needs to be changed or worded differently or whatever.

Is there any way to preview the project you were working on? I followed the link and started downloading the tools to set it up but if you had screenshots or a live demo somewhere that would be even quicker and easier.


Daniel Nephin Thu 4 Dec 2014 12:59AM

@alandavison the UI was never really flushed out. I had some mockups on paper, but the code in that repo is mostly just backend/database stuff, and the grunt pipeline for the frontend.


Clark Davison Thu 4 Dec 2014 1:41AM

@dnephin thanks for the update, that will save me setting it up just to find out I can't see it.

It seems like we are both interested in the same issue relating to how posts and comments are viewed, sorted and displayed. What did you think or my suggestion for different "Views"?