Figure 1. An Example Topic Page and Its Key Elements
Note. Before reviewing this page, we highly recommend watching the platform's Overview video.
Getting Started

Getting started with nlite is easy. To investigate a controversial topic, create a new page by clicking on the New Topic button in the top navigation bar. You will be asked to enter a title and a short description for the topic. You can initially stick to the default values for all other inputs.

Once the topic is created, users can add viewpoints to it. Typically, the person who creates the topic adds at least two viewpoints to it. In the next step, they share the URL of the page with their audience, which can be a group of friends or the public.

The audience will then submit arguments for the listed viewpoints by clicking the Submit Argument button below each viewpoint. Submitted arguments will appear as yellow boxes below the respective viewpoint. The color yellow symbolizes that arguments aim to enlighten society.

Users can also submit counters for existing arguments using the Submit Counter button below each argument. Submitted counters will be displayed as green boxes below the respective argument. The color green reflects a friendly and good-faith attempt to highlight a point that the argument submitter might have overlooked. Maintaining a positive and friendly environment is one of the key priorities of the platform.

The topic page displays the top few arguments identified for each viewpoint at any point in time. It also shows the single top counter identified for each argument. The full list of counters can be found on the dedicated page for the argument.

The elements discussed here are illustrated in the sample page above. The title in this sample page is "Are the U.S. sanctions against countries like Iran and Cuba justified?"

Participation

When visiting a topic page, evaluate which of the following situations applies more closely to you:

  • You are opinionated about the topic. In this case, form logical, data-backed, and easy-to-understand arguments for the viewpoint you endorse and submit them.
  • You are not strongly opinionated, but interested in the topic. In this case, you can still significantly contribute to the topic in question by helping rank existing arguments. To do this, select a viewpoint whose arguments you wish to evaluate and click on the Evaluate Arguments button below it. The platform will then select two arguments at random from the pool of arguments submitted for the viewpoint and ask for your feedback on which of the two arguments is stronger. These pairwise comparisons are aggregated in real time by the platform to identify the top arguments for the presented viewpoint at any point in time.

    Sometimes, when presenting two arguments, the platform asks a different question, namely, Are the following counters (essentially) making the same point? Such questions aim to ensure that the top selected arguments maintain distinctiveness and avoid redundancies.

    A very similar mechanism will be used to rank the counters submitted for each argument. As you may have already guessed, the process occurs through the Evaluate Counters button located below each argument.

Note. The two bullet points above are only presented to discuss two common ways of contributing to the platform. In reality, everybody is free to both submit and evaluate arguments as they wish.

Example Scenario

The figure below illustrates the two roles mentioned above in an example scenario where the audience is a friend group consisting of 100 individuals. Assume there are two viewpoints on the underlying topic, each with approximately 10 staunch supporters. As mentioned earlier, these staunch supporters will typically be the ones who form and submit arguments. The remaining individuals are interested in the topic but not strongly opinionated. Given that this subgroup makes up 80% of the population, they will be the ones who are primarily responsible for evaluating the submitted arguments.

Figure 2. A sample friend group of 100 individuals and the role of each member in investigating a controversial topic
Timeline

Investigating a controversial topic on the platform is governed by two deadlines: the Argument Submission Deadline and the Argument Evaluation Deadline. The Argument Submission Deadline is the cutoff point for users to submit their arguments. Users can continue to evaluate existing arguments until the second deadline, the Argument Evaluation Deadline. Once the Argument Evaluation Deadline passes, the topic will be closed, and the final list of top selected arguments will be known. At that point, the platform will also display an estimated score for each argument.

The Argument Submission Deadline helps ensure that all strong arguments are put forward for evaluation. The Argument Evaluation Deadline occurs after some time has passed since the Argument Submission Deadline. The time gap between the two deadlines allows for the evaluation of all submitted arguments – which is one of the key features of the platform.

The individual who creates a topic will be able to change either deadline at any time based on the level of activity on the page.

The two deadlines described here also apply to the submission and evaluation of counters.

Figure 3. Timeline for Investigating a Controversial Topic
Learn More

To make the best use of the platform, we encourage you to review the Practical Tips provided for its optimal use. We also recommend reviewing the User Guide section to learn about other interesting features of the platform, such as: