Online communities support policy-making: The need for data analysis
Policy decisions in governmental models are often based on their perception and acceptance in the general public. Traditional methods for harvesting opinions like telephone or street surveys are time intensive and costly and direct interaction between a governmental member and the population is limited. Social media harbor the chance to easily get a high number of opinions and proposals in form of poll participation or interactive debate contributions. Especially debates about political topics can generate data which are hard to interpret because of its length and complexity. We propose a collection of methods to support a decision maker in gaining an overview over textual debates coming from several social media to save time and effort in manual analysis. Our approach enables an efficient decision making process by a combination of automatic topic clustering, sentiment analysis, filtering, and search functionalities aggregated in a graphical user interface. We present an implementation and a use case proving the usefulness of the proposed methodologies.