Mapping the path to peace in the Middle East

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The Independent Online

Building on The Independent’s map of the Crisis in Gaza, which generated widespread interest and support—and as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and George Mitchell begin to reach out the Middle East—Independent readers and the Debategraph community have begun to focus on the options for achieving a long-term sustainable peace in the Middle East.

As before the first objective will be to develop a comprehensive map of the issues and options facing the main regional actors and the international community, and the arguments for and against the different options.

As the process develops, the map will begin to encompass the key diplomatic texts, analysis and initiatives from all sides; with the aim of representing the different worldviews and interests fairly and succinctly on a common map.

In this case though we want to push the mapping process one stage further: by using the map as an informal, multi-dimensional poll about the merits of the different options.

Everyone who registers to participate in the map will be able to signal the merit they attach to the different issues, options and arguments just by clicking on the arrows in the map. The ratings can be applied just to the top level options or, if you are minded to do so, through the entire structure as you navigate around.

As the votes are cast, the visual structure of the map will change to reflect the significance of the different elements as perceived by the community of participants—with the stronger options and arguments beginning to come the fore.

The process will run over the next four weeks; with the emphasis shifting from mapping to rating in the fourth week. However, the mapping and rating processes can occur simultaneously: so if you want to experiment with the rating system feel free to start now.

…and as before you can you can also keep up to date with developments on the Gaza map via the Independent Minds blog and @TheIndyDebate on Twitter.

David Price [david AT debategraph DOT org]