Nova Agora: How an online platform deconstructs policy disputes to inform deliberative democracy

Authors: Natalija Fisher and Jenny Whyte

The art of discourse is being lost. Policy controversies, such as debates on abortion and immigration, have become intractable disputes. The more positions polarize, the more a simple policy dispute moves towards policy conflict and ruptured public discourse. The 2016 American election is a prime example of polarized policy discourse which follows an upward trend of populist outcomes in Europe i.e. Brexit. A lack of diversity or mobility, filter bubbles and targeted advertising amplify polarization through feedback loops.

Nova Agora is platform that deconstructs policy disputes by reframing how issues are expressed and interpreted, from positions to values, thereby facilitating connection, catharsis, and understanding. It provides a platform for deliberative democracy with a digital meeting place for people to be heard, to build empathy, and to transform.

The tool will be developed in two phases. Phase one will allow users to explore and share linked positions and values. Phase two will allow people to connect online over shared visions and values. The platform can be viewed at

Presentation & paper

Posted: Oct-2017

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