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Modelling eristic and rhetorical argumentation on the social web

Modelling eristic and rhetorical argumentation on the social web
Modelling eristic and rhetorical argumentation on the social web
Argumentation, debate and discussion are key facets of human communication, shaping the way people form, share and promote ideas, hypotheses and solutions to problems. Argumentation can broadly be broken down into collaborative problem solving or truth-seeking (dialectic argumentation) and quarrelling without hope for a resolution, either aggressively or for the purpose of recreation, catharsis or entertainment (eristic argumentation). Techniques used within argumentation can likewise be classified as primarily fact-based (logical), or emotion-based (rhetorical).

The social web, consisting of the people, tools and communities that form over the world wide web, is a growing way in which individuals, social groups and even corporations share content, ideas and information, as well as hold discussions and debates. Current models of argumentation often focus on formal argumentation techniques, in which participants are expected to abide by a stringent set of rules or practices. However, on the social web there is no such code of conduct. Antisocial behaviour, which often stems from argumentation, can have a negative impact on online communities, driving away new users and stifling participation.

This thesis examines the way in which the use of eristic and rhetorical argumentation impacts the perception and engagement of participants in, and the audience of, arguments on the social web. After a preliminary investigation to determine the effectiveness with which current formal models represent eristic argument, a series of augmentations to these existing models was proposed, dubbed the Argumentation on the Social Web Ontology. This allows for the explicit representation of rhetorical support and attack, and supports the annotation of groups of participants and the viewing audience. These augmentations were further refined through deeper investigation of modelling social argument, and through expert review. This culminated in the creation of a large dataset which was in turn used to drive an experiment into the way in which social media users perceive and engage with different types of eristic argumentation, showing that while rhetorical tactics were often more entertaining and offensive than their logical counterparts, they did not significantly alter the degree of engagement with the discussion.
University of Southampton
Blount, Tom
7c4e5a1d-d105-4c18-8f02-42bd65e3f3a7
Blount, Tom
7c4e5a1d-d105-4c18-8f02-42bd65e3f3a7
Millard, David
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Weal, Mark
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Blount, Tom (2018) Modelling eristic and rhetorical argumentation on the social web. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 232pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Argumentation, debate and discussion are key facets of human communication, shaping the way people form, share and promote ideas, hypotheses and solutions to problems. Argumentation can broadly be broken down into collaborative problem solving or truth-seeking (dialectic argumentation) and quarrelling without hope for a resolution, either aggressively or for the purpose of recreation, catharsis or entertainment (eristic argumentation). Techniques used within argumentation can likewise be classified as primarily fact-based (logical), or emotion-based (rhetorical).

The social web, consisting of the people, tools and communities that form over the world wide web, is a growing way in which individuals, social groups and even corporations share content, ideas and information, as well as hold discussions and debates. Current models of argumentation often focus on formal argumentation techniques, in which participants are expected to abide by a stringent set of rules or practices. However, on the social web there is no such code of conduct. Antisocial behaviour, which often stems from argumentation, can have a negative impact on online communities, driving away new users and stifling participation.

This thesis examines the way in which the use of eristic and rhetorical argumentation impacts the perception and engagement of participants in, and the audience of, arguments on the social web. After a preliminary investigation to determine the effectiveness with which current formal models represent eristic argument, a series of augmentations to these existing models was proposed, dubbed the Argumentation on the Social Web Ontology. This allows for the explicit representation of rhetorical support and attack, and supports the annotation of groups of participants and the viewing audience. These augmentations were further refined through deeper investigation of modelling social argument, and through expert review. This culminated in the creation of a large dataset which was in turn used to drive an experiment into the way in which social media users perceive and engage with different types of eristic argumentation, showing that while rhetorical tactics were often more entertaining and offensive than their logical counterparts, they did not significantly alter the degree of engagement with the discussion.

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Thesis - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 October 2020.
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.

More information

Published date: September 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425456
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425456
PURE UUID: 9773a4e7-3833-4e08-a4ca-9f484941ce43
ORCID for David Millard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7512-2710
ORCID for Mark Weal: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6251-8786

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Oct 2018 16:30
Last modified: 09 Apr 2019 00:38

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