Exploiting Open Data to analyze discussion and controversy in online citizen participation

Cantador, Iván; María E., Cortés-Cediel and Fernandez, Miriam (2020). Exploiting Open Data to analyze discussion and controversy in online citizen participation. Information Processing and Management, 57(5), article no. 102301.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ipm.2020.102301

Abstract

In this paper we propose a computational approach that applies data mining techniques to analyze the citizen participation recorded in an online digital platform. Differently to previous work, the approach exploits external knowledge extracted from Open Government Data for processing the citizens’ proposals and debates of the platform, enabling to characterize targeted issues and problems, and analyze the levels of discussion, sup-port and controversy raised by the proposals. As a result of our analysis, we derive a number of insights and conclusions of interest and value for both citizens and government stakeholders in decision and policy making tasks. Among others, we show that proposals targeting issues that affect large majorities tend to be supported by citizens and ultimately implemented by the city council, but leave aside other very important issues affecting minority groups. Our study reveals that most controversial, likely relevant, problems do not always receive sufficient attention in e-participation. Moreover, it identifies several types of controversy, related to ideological and socioeconomic factors and political attitudes

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