|Squishdot is a great product for the quick deployement of news and discussion forums. So much so that I could envision a massive diffusion of ideas and insight accross non communicating sites.
I think a tool/feature/application that allowed for the harvesting of insight accross news items and even boards might provide an interesting view into public opinion.
Slashdot, Squishdot and their kin are such great forums for forming individual opinion and mixing it up with others. When you enter such charged topics as the Arab-Israeli conflict or Linux vs. Windows I would like to be able to capture the overall "feeling" of the threads as they reassert themselves accross news items and maybe accross sites.
Slashdot goes a little further then Squishdot in this regard with it's moderation system, but even that is lower level then what I am talking about. I want to be able to organize coherent position statements from the flamming sparking caldrons that are the message boards.
This tool/application/feature might assist in wading through a moderated mess of messages to extract the essence of the arguments and redact them into menesfestos of opinion.
With regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict, it might be usefull for both sides and for the rest of the world to see in a redacted version what positions are being maintained by each side. For myself, I sometimes come accross messages that present strong opinions, but because of the forum, the opinions only need to be maintained for the duration of interest with the thread.
If a mechanism was in place to anonymously move strong opinions into a position statement it would force a more thorough defense of some of the extreme positions that seem to fuel the worst elements of humanity.
Hopefully a feedback loop of comments, redaction and then posting the redaction would help all sides come to terms with each other perspectives.