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Risk Controversies visualized

The Development of Internet based Argumentation Maps

The architecture of the dietary supplements controversy

In a cooperation between the Munich team and the team from Manchester University (Danny Richards, Liam Heaphy, Nick Dunn, Albena Yaneva) an animation has been designed for the dietary supplement case. With data taken from the Risk-Cartography database the team from the MAC at Manchester University invented a dynamic form of animation that shows actors related to concerns. Unlike in Risk-Cartography, in this animation the distance between the actors has a meaning: actors who share more statements are shown closer to each other. Actors are closer to a concern, if they are very active in discussing about the concern.

The animation gives a quick overview of the controversy

The worldview gives an impression about the whole debate. We can see all the concerns and all the actors at once. It might take some time for the user to get comfortable with all the information at hand but it becomes obvious quite fast which actors are active in which concerns. Compared to Risk-Cartography the animation has the advantage to give this information at the very first view. It might be worth discussing to use the animation as a starting point in Risk-Cartography instead of the arbitrary assemblages that are used at the moment.

Clusters of Actors for every matter of concern

The animation shows for each concern how actors are related to each other. In one concern, two actors can be very close while they will be very distant in the next concern. For participative processes these pictures can help planners to represent the whole spectrum of actors. The first concern of the animation "Can there be performance-enhanced effects in sports by dietary supplements?" shows three clusters of actors: two represent the industry (Herbalife, Neuform), one represents the state (Federal Institute for Risk Assessment) and the three others are a University and two consumer associations. Going through the entire animation, the user will find actors in different clusters. There will be actors that tend to be in separate clusters but not in every concern. This illustrates very nice what we always observe when we study controversies: It is not possible to make simple pro/con orders for actors in a controversy and every grouping of actors is only one version of multiple possibilities.

Users who want to know more about the actors or their statements after watching the animation will find their way through Risk-Cartography very easy because they already have an impression of the "big picture".


We are happy about your comments. You will need the Quicktime player to see the animation.

(Animation by Danny Richards, Liam Heaphy, Nick Dunn, Albena Yaneva.)

Macospol 7th Framework