So what ARE people talking abouit
January 14th, 2010 by analyticjournalism

One of the things we've noticed about journalism operation that allow comments and discussion on their web pages is that few take the time to analyze that interchange and content.  Partially, that's because of a lack of tools.  The “tldr Project” is a step toward meeting that challenge.

Recent years have seen a proliferation of large-scale discussion spaces on the internet. With increasing user participation, it is not uncommon to find discussion spaces with hundreds to thousands of messages/participants. This phenomenon can be observed on a wide variety of websites – news outlets, blogs, social media websites, community websites and support forums. While most of these discussion spaces are able to support small discussions, their effectiveness is greatly reduced as the discussions grow larger. Users participating in these discussions are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information presented, and the systems that support these conversations are lacking in functionality that lets users navigate to content of interest.

tldr is an application for navigating through large-scale online discussions. The application visualizes structures and patterns within ongoing conversations to let the user browse to content of most interest. In addition to visual overviews, it also incorporates features such as thread summarization, non-linear navigation, multi-dimensional filtering, and various other features that improve the experience of participating in large-discussions.

The current version of the application is functional for discussions on Reddit. This application will be released shortly. Until the application can be released, here is a video that presents many of the unique features built into the application. For best results, watch the video with HD turned on, or download a high-resolution version from Vimeo. More soon!

Here is a sample of patterns seen with the visualizations built into the application. Each of these visualizations present unique insight into the nature of the conversation, and help in discerning points of interest within a large conversation.

Narayan, Srikanth and Cheshire, Coye – “Not too long to read: The tldr Interface for Exploring and Navigating Large-Scale Discussion Spaces”. To appear in The 43rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences – Persistent Conversations Track – Jan 2010

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