BETTER informing citizens about current debates: Moderating and summarizing Online Discussions.
The BETTER-MODS project is a collaboration between Tilburg University, the KNAW Meertens Institute and NU.nl. It consists of two PhD projects, one at Tilburg University and one at the Meertens Institute, which both focus on improving the online discussion platform of NU.nl.
Moreover, the BETTER-MODS project is part of the NWO Digital Society – The Informed Citizen programme. The aim of this research programme is to ‘better match the use of digital techniques with societal preferences, needs and skills, and vice versa’. The BETTER-MODS project contributes to this goal by aiming to make online discussions more accessible. We believe that engaging in discussions enhances social cohesion and mutual understanding in society, as it allows people to learn from other viewpoints. However, the potential of online inclusive deliberation is not yet realized because the current moderation of discussions on news sites is not yet optimal for the more complex topics. For example, minority viewpoints often remain unnoticed due to the sheer volume of other messages. Therefore, in the BETTER-MODS project we study online discussions from NU.nl and aim to develop a tool that assembles different perspectives and presents them insightfully with the most constructive posts per viewpoint.
Our project is also a part of Cultural AI which aims to accelerate excellent research on the intersection of humanities and artificial intelligence. Their research areas have an equal focus on “humanities to improve AI research” as well as “AI to improve humanities research”.