What are Discussion Maps for

extracting the deep meaning from a string of text (text can be very vague, ambiguous, incoherent, superficially emotive, etc.)

uncovering clarifying reviewing explaining your models / beliefs / theories about the world

and other people's beliefs / models etc.

More precisely - they are a way of representing

what 'things' you are paying attention to

how well have you grouped them into classes / categories

how those things interact with each other.

This provides a solid foundation for starting to think about emergent properties, emergent behaviors, and all the other tools, patterns and concepts that systems thinking has to offer.

They can then be used in problem solving,

to predict what would happen if x y z - assuming the model is true

to bring subconscious mental models into conscious awareness

to stimulate and document learning - models can be created and updated in the light of experience - or experimentation (to confirm or refute)

Discussion maps / models can be used to communicate with others,

to guide a thorough calm comprehensive discussion

expose and resist fast-think cognitive biases

encourage slow-think techniques and thinking tools

explore multiple viewpoints

and

expose and resist;

the perceptual distortion of group-think tribalism, and

the manipulative rhetorical tricks and logical fallacies of malicious persuaders.