That’s so Meta! Usability of a Hypergraph-Based Discussion Model

  • Felix Dietze
  • André Calero ValdezEmail author
  • Johannes Karoff
  • Christoph Greven
  • Ulrik Schroeder
  • Martina Ziefle
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10287)


Massive online communication systems such as social networks, message boards and comment sections are widely used, yet fail in conveying a diverse public opinion. Limitations of models and protocols do not allow users to precisely express their intention and to maintain a complete overview in large-scale discussions. Data-driven approaches fail as well, as they remove the nuances of human communication and use coarse representations like trends, summaries and abstract visualizations. We argue that a new discussion model and a large-scale communication protocol is needed. We evaluate the comprehensibility of a hyperedge connection in modeling arguments for online discussions. An initial mechanical turk study (\(n=200\)) revealed that 30% of the subjects intuitively considered using hyperedges. This was followed by a user study of a prototype (\(n=51\)), where 80% actively used hyperedges. Both findings were independent of user diversity factors (age, gender, graph theory knowledge). The prototypical implementation was evaluated positively.


Online discussion systems Argument mapping Living document Hypergraph User study e-democracy 



The authors thank the German Research Council DFG for the friendly support of the research in the excellence cluster “Integrative Production Technology in High Wage Countries”. Thank you to Lena Oden for helping with the mechanical turk setup. Special thanks to all participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Felix Dietze
    • 1
  • André Calero Valdez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Johannes Karoff
    • 1
  • Christoph Greven
    • 2
  • Ulrik Schroeder
    • 2
  • Martina Ziefle
    • 1
  1. 1.Human-Computer Interaction CenterRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Learning Technologies GroupRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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