Best discussion/debate sites
January 21, 2008 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Which websites are the best at conducting vigorous, intelligent online debates and discussions? I'm especially looking for successful examples of collaborative filtering; sites where readers can quickly sort the best posts/arguments to the top of the heap.

What I have in mind is a site with some combination of the following traits:
  • controversial topics are posted
  • highly-rated responses float to the top of the list
  • open to general users
  • the quality of discussion scales even with a high volume of participation
  • if any human moderation is applied, it's generally light
Slashdot and the Kuro5hin/Scoop sites both offered early models of collaborative filtering for large discussions, but I've gotten the sense that their systems are too complicated for non-techy audiences to understand. I'm intrigued by some of the models being tested at, but that site doesn't let you do much actual filtering (you can't, for example, sort arguments by the number of votes each one receives or collapse unpopular responses), so the discussions seem to be just as noisy.

Are there other examples out there?
posted by grrarrgh00 to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite might be enjoyable. I hate them all, but that's my problem. :)
posted by gjc at 6:24 PM on January 21, 2008

Maybe truthmapping
posted by shivohum at 7:37 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

The forums attached to the news stories at
posted by gmarceau at 8:00 PM on January 21, 2008

By specifying minimal human moderation, do you mean that the balance of moderation is carried out by the users rather than the administrators? Systems that rely wholly on user moderation seem to scale poorly.

If you're aiming for the level of discourse of the MeFamily, I'd offer that you've already hit on one of the most sustainable discussion models on the web.
posted by FissionChips at 8:59 PM on January 21, 2008

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