I received an email from the founder of Debatepedia, and indeed, it seems a very well thought out and highly qualitative resource.
Promoting P2P forms of organization does not mean an exclusively favouring the most pure p2p architectures. In many cases, elements of centralization or decentralization may be beneficial to the overall participatory dynamic, and avoid lowest common denominator effects. This, I believe, is such an example of the good usage of a priori filtering.
Wikisoftware is based on the a priori principle of consensus, and chooses a neutral point of view; in contrast, the Debatepedia project acknowledges the controversial nature of issues, and allows a qualitative presentation of arguments and facts by experts. It seems a very useful tool for policy debates, that could used in many settings.
Here’s the description of the project:
“Debatepedia is the new “wiki” encyclopedia of arguments and debates. It allows users to objectively frame public debates as they exist (not how they would like them to exist) in the public sphere between the relevant players. It enables the public to present the pro and con arguments that have been by scholars, experts, leaders, etc. It also empowers editors to present the overall positions of politicians, think-tanks, interest and activist groups, foreign leaders, etc. It does not allow users to present their own arguments. Debatepedia helps resolve an outstanding question: how can “wiki” technology be successfully applied to politics (divisive by nature), when “wikis” are a medium of consensus. The important insight and bridge is that a public debate and its public arguments can be treated as documentable facts, and that the public can arrive at a consensus in the framing of these facts. It is also important to note that Debatepedia enables the public to present all of the information necessary for an individual to develop a rational position. This has large social implications.”