Developed by the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute, Debate Hub is a tool for online communities to: raise issues; share ideas; debate the pros and cons; and prioritise contributions in order to collectively organise and progress good ideas forward. Debate Hub is distinctive in its use of advanced analytics to show the best argued ideas, and visualisations of a community.

Key Features

  • A grouping mechanism to set up discussion groups
  • An intuitive linear interface for argumentation-based discussion
  • New mechanisms to prioritise issues, ideas and arguments
  • A Moderator toolbar to allow re-structuring and organisation of the debate by merging and splitting ideas and arguments.
  • A Visualisation Dashboard to support community management and sense making of the debate.


Public deliberation in complex socio-technical debates is critical, but poorly supported by today’s social media platforms: it is hardly possible for citizens and community managers to quickly grasp the state of a public debate, know where they might best contribute to advance understanding, and effectively identify and pursue socially innovative ideas.

Debate Hub is an innovative tool for community deliberation that provides an intuitive interface for large-scale argumentation and advanced analytics and visualisations to enhance sensemaking, attention mediation and community moderation.

Debate Hub helps communities to identify the most robust ideas in the noise. It provides a collaboration environment in which ideas can be debated and assessed, in a way that it is not the most popular idea to win, but the one for which the best arguments are brought forward and the best evidence are provided.

Debate Hub also supports informed participation to public debates by providing a collective intelligence visualization dashboard consisting of summary analytics and attention mediation feedback. These features support newcomers to get a sense of where is the debate at and where is the best way for them to contribute. The DebateHub Visualization Dashboard is also a tool for community managers to monitor their community, promote attention and prioritize community’s resources and actions.


Debate Hub Design, Development and Testing was undertaken as part of the Catalyst Project by the Knowledge Media Institute team (Anna De Liddo and Michelle Bachler).
We are also indebted to Harriett Cornish for graphic design.