You’ve probably experienced the worst of it: trolling, false information, and fights that turn political and soon get out of hand. But, there are also respectful and enlightening discussions that take place online.
A Facebook group called Vaccine Talk has established a culture of factual information sharing through the use of rules and active moderating. On Reddit, you can find communities discussing controversial subjects without resorting to personal attacks.
Twitter also just released a new feature called “Communities” to encourage constructive dialogue.
In What Ways Can we Learn From the Places Where Productive Discussions Take Place?
What is it that these organisations are doing that seems to be working so well? Is it feasible to find a real community and friends online? Shira Ovide, author of the Times’s on-demand weekly On Tech, hosted a virtual event in which she discussed the factors at play in the most successful online communities and sought to draw lessons from them.
Claudia Lo, a community moderator and design researcher, Steve Huffman, co-founder and CEO of Reddit, and Kate Bilowitz, co-founder of Vaccine Talk, were all interviewed. A previous contestant in “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Latrice Royale, was interviewed about the challenges faced by drag artists in maintaining orderly conversation within their frequently volatile fan bases.
We prepared for the event by encouraging people to join our Slack group, where they could discuss the impact of technology on their daily lives with others who share their interests.
This is a Subscriber-Only Virtual Event in The Times’ Ongoing Series.
All humans have an innate need to interact with others. Humans have feelings, too. The spread of information has always been a driving force in human progress.
Humans have always had a need to communicate their ideas and experiences to others, whether through written texts, oral tales, or more recently, through the use of electronic media such as cellphones and online forums.
In-person conversations with others are different from those we have with strangers online. Successful online conversations share common characteristics, and these characteristics may be used to foster productive and interesting debates on any topic.
It’s Important to Know Why You’re Talking to Someone
Information exchange between people is what communication is all about. It’s a way of communicating in which ideas are exchanged, analysed, and responded to. As we interact with one another, we are either doing so in a healthy way to build relationships based on trust and open communication or in an unhealthy one to gain power and control.
It’s easy to lose sight of good manners when carrying on a conversation online. It might also look okay to have conversations online in ways that wouldn’t be appropriate in person.
Why not make an effort to have conversations that are both healthy and high-quality by keeping in mind and using some basic guidelines for doing so?