What You Should Know Before You Start

Before you start:

  • There are some strange problems that arise only in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Please use another browser.
  • You will need the Adobe Flashplayer. If it is not already on your computer, download from http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.
  • Use only the navigation within the AGORA application. If you use "back" in your browser, you will leave the Flash application and you have to restart the software. Don't worry, nothing will be lost since any entry is immediately saved on the AGORA server.
  • If something unusual happens while you are constructing an argument, e.g. text boxes are not properly located or lines are missing:  click "Refresh" and the map will be reloaded from the server.  Do not simply continue if something does not look right. If this does not work, click on “Save and Home” and simply re-open the same map. This way you will get back to what is stored on the server. Keep in mind, every change on your map will immediately be stored on the server after entry. Thus, the button “SAVE and home” is kind of misleading since saving is not necessary. It is named this way only because people get scared if there is no “save” button.
  • If you work on a larger argument map, create a back-up copy of your map from time to time. Sometimes a map gets corrupted and you cannot open it. Copy your map by clicking on "Save map as" when it is open.
  • Depending on the quality of your Internet connection, there will be delays. Sometimes you have to wait until buttons can be activated and operations completed. That is the price we have to pay when every single command is sent to the server.
  • User guidance is mainly provided by short notes that pop up when you move the mouse over a text or a button. In the beginning, you should read these notes.
  • The software allows synchronous online collaboration. Based on that, any entry on a map is immediately saved on the central AGORA server and will be visible almost immediately on any computer that has the same map open. You can close your browser at any time because every change is immediately saved.
  • Since in collaboration someone else might add something to a map on which you are working, there cannot be an "undo" button. If you delete something, it is deleted.
  • You can delete a text box only if it is at the end of a chain. Nothing that is justified by a further argument or has an objection attached to it can be deleted. You can delete only your own boxes unless you are working in a project that is set on collaborative mode by the project administrator.
  • You can use "Save Map as" to copy any map. This way you get permission to change everything on it. The previous author of any text box will be indicated if you mouse over "PA." By clicking on "History" in the right panel, everyone can access the original argument map.
  • Since AGORA-net is a collaborative tool, nothing will be saved on your computer.  However, you can produce at any time a PDF file of a map. Click on "Print or pdf" and select a pdf-converter (in some systems you need to install one first). From PDFs you can print large maps as posters. You can save maps only as PDFs on your computer. (Note: In case your browser does not export PDFs as scalable vector graphs, use another browser. You can see the difference when you zoom in. With a scalable vector graph, the picture will not get blurred when you zoom in.)
  • Every argument map that you create will be stored in a private folder that carries your name and to which only you have access. If you want to publish your map in the World of Arguments, or if you want to move your map into another category within the World of Arguments, click on the tab 'My Maps.' When you click on the blue button that specifies the location of your map, you can change its location. Alternatively, open your map and determine a new location by clicking on "Publish / Move."
  • On public maps, you can only edit text and delete nodes that you created. But you can always add objections, comments, and other things to existing nodes. Simply click on the downwards directed white triangle in the surrounding line of nodes to see all available options.
  • You can create projects and add other users with their user names as "members." Only you and the members will see the maps that are created within a project. If you define a project as "collaborative," every project member can change and delete everything.
  • Use only lower case letters at the beginning of reasons and claims, no capital letters (because of the way the software creates the enabler automatically).

Please click HERE to watch a 5-minute YouTube video.