Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

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Pfhorrest
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:40 am UTC

One thing I think really keeps people from even attempting to build bridges of understanding is tribal peer pressure.

I've always tried to be very open minded and I've "tried on" all different kinds of political (and more generally philosophical) positions; at times in the past I've identified as things as different as "communist" and "libertarian". But that doesn't mean I'm neutral or seek false moderation; I always have some definite opinion. And after going back and forth over the pros and cons of different positions for many years I've settled into a position way off the mainstream political spectrum but definitely closer to Democrats than Republicans (at least in the same way that Earth is closer to Proxima Centauri than to Rigil Kentaurus). I'm not super fond of either of them, but there's almost never a circumstance where I'm less fond of a Democrat than Republican.

But I'll still admit when a conservative position has a point, even if I think there's an overriding counterpoint. (e.g. "That's thing's true, but this thing is also true, and must be accounted for, not just ignored.") But even when, in the end, I end up agreeing with a Democrat (which is usually), I find they're often angry at me for ceding any of the claims of a Republican argument, even if I immediately override them with a counterpoint. It's like it doesn't even matter if I end up at the same conclusion as them; the fact that I even gave "the enemy" a fair hearing and admitted their fleeting dialectical victories even if I then turn overturned those victories means that I'm not part of the tribe, and gets me treated as an enemy.

It's like people treat giving "the enemy" a fair hearing marks you as some sort of monster, the way reading an essay in favor of child rape would: even if you're sure there's not going to be any sound arguments in the essay and you're not going to agree with the conclusions, the fact that you would even deign to read it would mark you as a monster in the eyes of anyone who found out, so it's safer just not to read it at all. I want to tell those people: if you're so certain that "the enemy's" arguments are such obvious bullshit, then certainly there's no danger of being swayed by them, right? Their bullshittiness will be obvious. If you think there's some kind of danger in even listening to the other side, maybe you're not so sure if your beliefs after all, since how could obvious bullshit possibly threaten the truth?
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby slinches » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:01 pm UTC

Agree, Pfhorrest. There's such animosity between the camps that we seem to forget that most people just want to make the world a better place for themselves and the people they care about. If we can hold onto that assumption, maybe we can extend the bridge long enough to find a bit of common ground. Then, even if we ultimately disagree, we can do so amicably and leave with both sides having a better understanding of the issues.

I'm not sure how to help encourage that through a "social platform", though. The social features would inherently be in competition with the concept. Any encouragement for people to form groups will necessarily enable means to identify and exclude those not in the group. And a purely anonymous site wouldn't have much draw or ability to retain interest.
Last edited by slinches on Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:08 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:59 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:But I'll still admit when a conservative position has a point, even if I think there's an overriding counterpoint. (e.g. "That's thing's true, but this thing is also true, and must be accounted for, not just ignored.") But even when, in the end, I end up agreeing with a Democrat (which is usually), I find they're often angry at me for ceding any of the claims of a Republican argument, even if I immediately override them with a counterpoint. It's like it doesn't even matter if I end up at the same conclusion as them; the fact that I even gave "the enemy" a fair hearing and admitted their fleeting dialectical victories even if I then turn overturned those victories means that I'm not part of the tribe, and gets me treated as an enemy.


Yeah, it's one of the major downsides of partisanship. Giving other ideas a fair shake runs the risk of being seen as disloyal.

And yeah, from any rational perspective, fear of listening to the other sides would be a sign that you believe that there's some danger to doing so. Someone who is certain they have the stronger argument ought not fear rational debate...but unfortunately, a great deal of political dialogue is less than rational, and often scoring a point, somehow, is seen as more important than fairness.

guenther wrote:Anyway, I bring that up just because it reminds me of what set me on this journey long ago. I spent a long time among liberals and would hear them wonder how the Right could be so stupid. And then I spent a long time among conservatives and heard them wonder how the Left could be so stupid. How could both sides come to this same conclusion about each other? That's the question that has really kept me going. It leads me to think that, perhaps in some small way, building bridges of understanding could help.


It's the mantra of both sides, really. But if you step outside of it, and glance at it from the outside, you get...something roughly akin to half the population of the US on each side. And not split neatly by IQ or anything. Oh, sure, demographic differences will always exist, but stupidity is not actually a very helpful explanation for why half the folks disagree with something. At least a few of those folks are smart, right?

Humans are prone to a number of biases, and in particular, find it easier to ascribe positive traits to those they already like, and negative to those they don't. This causes endless group interaction problems. It works pretty well in the context of a small tribe of people, treating everyone outside that as a potential enemy to kill or be killed by, but modern civilization is quite unlike the cultures humanity evolved in. We're simply terribly adapted to socialize with vast numbers of other people. I don't have a great solution for it either, really. Wish I did.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ranbot » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:08 pm UTC

I think the "Change My View" Reddit sub-forum has many of the pieces the OP is looking for in a social media platform. Civility is built into the Change My View forum rules. They give rewards [nudges] for people who actually do change their mind on a subject and rewards to those who constructively help change someone's mind. Their rules and rewards discourage the sorts of ideological grand-standing to gather "likes" from a particular side, which dominate other social media discourses.

Pfhorrest wrote:...(I personally actually recently was wondering "What's a place like Reddit, except not? A popular general-purpose discussion site that isn't full of mouthbreathing morons parroting memes at each other?" I couldn't think of a good answer. Slashdot used to kinda fill that niche, some niche forums like this one have expanded to have more of the desired breadth, but none of them are quite what I was looking for).

I've been a Slashdot member for 10+ years and I still frequent it occasionally, but most people with actual knowledge of technical subjects do not participate there any more. For any topic even slightly political the comments degenerate into a the same ideological drivel everywhere on the internet. Even worse though is blatant trolling racism, sexism, etc., which Slashdot refuses to police based on a stated moral stance against censorship. Moral stances are fine in theory, but their lack of action has allowed things to fester and driven the knowledgeable members away. Occasionally it's even said those ex-Slashdot users have migrated to xkcd forums or specific Reddit forums.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby guenther » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:02 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:One thing I think really keeps people from even attempting to build bridges of understanding is tribal peer pressure.

I agree, and I think we see the extreme version on college campuses, where even allowing the other side to speak is an act of violence that must be met with violence. And a similar thing was true during 2016 election and even still today where conservatives who speak out against Trump are met with very nasty online attacks (Shapiro has spoken of the very antisemitic trolling he's received). I think at the edges you have a very vocal minority that actively aims to police behavior it disagrees with. I don't think they're all crazy people, but just people with very polarized perspectives. I don't know what to do about them.

My aim is at the people closer to the middle that are more moderate in their views. Some might engage in that policing behavior to some level, but I bet there's room for more nuance in their perspective. However, even given that, I think it's still easy to get stuck in traps that wind up aligning us towards polarization rather than pushing against it.

For example, if you see someone on your team do something bad, it might be natural to tsk and shake your head. But if you see someone on the other team do something bad, maybe it suddenly feels imperative to beat the drums at this travesty. Which is the right response, tsking or drum beating? There's no clear answer and it really depends on the person and the situation. I think this grayness is where bias can really take hold. Sometimes bias can bring people to deny outright facts, but I think more often it's responsible for these pernicious, subtle twists. We can self-reflect on any one of them and feel it's reasonable to react the way we did. But it takes looking at an aggregate to understand if there's a bias, if similar behavior causes outrage on one side more often than the other. As a general rule we're not good at this, so self-reflection fails.

I actually don't know what to do about that either. :) But my hope is that this more moderate group will have a larger openness to expanding their understanding, and it will push against this bias, and perhaps push against the fear of getting scolded by your own group.

slinches wrote:Agree, Pfhorrest. There's such animosity between the camps that we seem to forget that most people just want to make the world a better place for themselves and the people they care about. If we can hold onto that assumption, maybe we can extend the bridge long enough to find a bit of common ground. Then, even if we ultimately disagree, we can do so amicably and leave with both sides having a better understanding of the issues.

The problem is the people that actively push the idea that the other side is the thing getting in the way of us making the world a better place. I think this is true sometimes, but then it's too easy to broad brush and paint the whole side as a big monolithic thing that's dangerous.

This is where I hope building understanding will help. Perhaps naively. :) Right now my current working concept is a menu of passive things to consume, so there's really no way to fracture people into groups (unless I fail in some bad with with curating the list of options).

Tyndmyr wrote:I don't have a great solution for it either, really. Wish I did.

This is another quandary I have. When I talk to people, most of them will readily agree that our polarization, our tribalness, our filter bubbles and echo chambers are a big problem. And they shrug and say, "What can we do? It's human nature." How can we all know it's a problem but have nothing to do about it? It's not that I think we should have a solution, but I think there should be movements aiming to work on this.

Here's my theory. I don't dispute that it's human nature, but I think the issue is that it's all of our human nature. It's easy to self-reflect and feel that we personally have got it figured out, but what can we do about those fools over there? There's no reasoning with them!

In my humble opinion, the solution isn't to fix those people over there, but to culturally change how all of us deal with this. The history of science is full of stories of smart people with big egos butting up against data that shows bias creeping into their results. Getting people to self-reflect on the size of their own ego isn't the solution, but rather we needed a change on how everyone, not just big-ego people, approached science.

Science naturally lends itself to systematizing more so than partisan discussion, so there's no nice and clean solution to fix this mess. But I think the principle is the same. Maybe there's a different way to approach this stuff. I do think there's incentive to push us towards polarity because we're so easily motivated by outrage. But then there needs to be a push in the opposite direction. What if it was in vogue to do small things to break out of our filter bubble? What if there was a national holiday for connecting people across divides, for seeing the humanity in the enemy?

Ranbot wrote:I think the "Change My View" Reddit sub-forum has many of the pieces the OP is looking for in a social media platform. Civility is built into the Change My View forum rules. They give rewards [nudges] for people who actually do change their mind on a subject and rewards to those who constructively help change someone's mind. Their rules and rewards discourage the sorts of ideological grand-standing to gather "likes" from a particular side, which dominate other social media discourses.

Since my first post, I've moved away from trying to facilitate active engagement of people, except perhaps as an experiment to run on the side. But I hadn't heard of this and it sounds like it's right on target with what I was looking for. I'll have to check it out.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Nov 23, 2017 12:36 am UTC

A brief parting thought before I disappear for the holiday weekend: what if we turned tribalism against itself? A second-order tribalism. Somehow build a tribe of people who are against tribalism, where all first-order tribalisms are shunned as "the other", and being tribal marks you as an outsider of the tribe.

The immediate problem that springs to mind is "maybe everyone already thinks they're doing this". Everyone already thinks that they are the open-minded ones fairly considering all arguments which of course leads them to the position that they've arrived at, and everyone else are therefore closed-minded bigots who won't listen to reason; therefore, hypocritically, it's seen as unreasonable to listen to those someone-elses and their closed-minded bigotry, so they close their minds and become bigots against them. (This seems to verge into the Paradox of Tolerance territory here).

Which I guess makes the problem "how do we do that, but keep people from being hypocrites about it?" Build a tribe who's against tribalism and hypocrisy? Who shun anyone who acts tribal or hypocritical?
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:45 am UTC

guenther wrote:This is another quandary I have. When I talk to people, most of them will readily agree that our polarization, our tribalness, our filter bubbles and echo chambers are a big problem. And they shrug and say, "What can we do? It's human nature." How can we all know it's a problem but have nothing to do about it? It's not that I think we should have a solution, but I think there should be movements aiming to work on this.
People who first meet and interact with one another in support of a common cause -- a shared interest -- a specific goal -- will get along much more readily than people who first meet and interact with one another in opposition. That seems trivial, but I think it's important: It's much easier to love and respect someone if you first know them through a shared, positive experience. If a Christian and an atheist first meet while working together in a soup kitchen, they're much more likely to get along and discuss their differences positively than if they first meet at a debate about the existence of God.

Charity is great for this; so is volunteer work. The whole point of spaces like that is to put aside your ego -- put aside your nonsense -- roll up your sleeves -- and help someone else. I think that's a fantastic starting point for people who otherwise disagree to work together and construct a diverse, vibrant, positive community. Games are good for this, too, but charities are particularly great because of how they can benefit people who aren't even involved.

It's really, really hard to dehumanize someone when you've seen them at their best -- worked with them to do something wonderful. No matter how much you disagree with them on everything else, you can always fall back on what you admire about them. And once you have those shared interests, you might start to understand where the other person is coming from -- why they believe what they believe. That's when the bridges start getting built.

TL;DR version: If you're interested in building bridges, convincing people to work together on something they don't disagree on is how you do it. Positive relationships need solid foundations, and you can't construct a solid foundation out of disagreements. You need to find spaces where we agree.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby guenther » Thu Nov 23, 2017 4:38 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Which I guess makes the problem "how do we do that, but keep people from being hypocrites about it?" Build a tribe who's against tribalism and hypocrisy? Who shun anyone who acts tribal or hypocritical?

It's an interesting idea. :) But I'm thinking that cornering people and telling them how bad they are won't make the sharp dividing lines any less sharp. Plus I'm betting you'd get a coalescing of who the group thinks really is the culprit of tribalism and needs the shunning, and it would probably just fall on the same dividing lines you're trying to fix.

The Great Hippo wrote:TL;DR version: If you're interested in building bridges, convincing people to work together on something they don't disagree on is how you do it. Positive relationships need solid foundations, and you can't construct a solid foundation out of disagreements. You need to find spaces where we agree.

Building bridges to work together and have a positive relationship sounds good, but is beyond what I'm trying to do here. They all use the same bridge-building metaphor, but my aim is just getting people to broaden their understanding.

But I'm open to the idea that a broader understanding could (or should) go beyond just the intellectual arguments on areas of disagreement. I put that in my top post, but I haven't expanded on it because I don't know what it would look like in an app.

One idea I had was having random pairings between users and have them chat to obtain very specific objectives like to find out why the other person cares so much or how they feel the other side gets them wrong. This could include objectives like finding an interest they both share. But I didn't know how to make that not sound contrived.

Having people physically work together in areas of agreement sounds like a great idea. I joined a very pro-Trump FB group and they had the idea of wearing their Trump shirts and going out and doing community work together to show people they cared. I had the idea that it would be even more powerful if there were people with pro-Trump and anti-Trump shirts working side-by-side. However, I didn't last long enough in the group to suggest it. This seems beyond the scope of the app unless it's just suggesting meetups or something.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Zamfir » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:03 am UTC


But I'm open to the idea that a broader understanding could (or should) go beyond just the intellectual arguments on areas of disagreement. I put that in my top post, but I haven't expanded on it because I don't know what it would look like in an app.

But why do you want a dedicated app ( or an online platform) at all?

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Mutex » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:16 pm UTC

This article seemed relevant to this thread: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/ ... ics-debate

TLDR: People find listening to alternative political points of view actively unpleasant, and so avoid it as much as possible.

“People on the left and right,” the study concludes, “are motivated to avoid hearing from the other side for some of the same reasons: the anticipation of cognitive dissonance and the undermining of a fundamental need for a shared reality with other people.”

(...)

Both liberals and conservatives fail here because the human brain fails here. The answer to “fake news” is not just deleting posts that are factually incorrect. It’s motivating people to be curious, and to seek out information that contradicts what they believe in an open-minded way.

Unless Facebook — or any social media — can find a means to make opposing points of view enjoyable to consume, or somehow incentivize seeing the other side, the internet will continue to divide and fracture into competing and alternative understandings of reality. Because right now the conclusion all this research points to is simple: We find interacting with other points of view to be unpleasant. And it’s hard to build a viral consumer product around an unpleasant experience.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby SuicideJunkie » Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:42 pm UTC

Marketing it similar to how they push sour candy and suicide hot sauce might work.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby SDK » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:15 pm UTC

"Are you tough enough to handle the other side!?"
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby guenther » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:19 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I'm saying you don't even *touch* our areas of disagreement. You might enjoy interacting with people you disagree with, but most of us don't. We want to hear what we already "know" to be true. We want to reject other points of view.

The target audience for this is exactly the people that want to know more, and the core mission is to make that process easier. It could be that I'm part of a small minority that wants this, but I suspect it's wider spread than it would seem. Pinning down what people want is a tricky thing (I say more about this below).

The idea of getting people to work together on a shared goal sounds good. This is what corporate team building exercises are all about, and I get why you wouldn't want to open with everyone's feelings on Trump and then move into trust falls. I agree that this is a powerful technique, and more of this in any particular community would be awesome, but it's not a scalable solution.

Zamfir wrote:But why do you want a dedicated app ( or an online platform) at all?

What's a way to reach people and accomplish this goal without a social platform? That's a real question, and I'm open to alternatives. The whole idea is to make the process of leaving your echo chamber easier. Apps can reach lots of people, and everyone already knows how to install and run them.

Mutex wrote:This article seemed relevant to this thread: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/ ... ics-debate

TLDR: People find listening to alternative political points of view actively unpleasant, and so avoid it as much as possible.

This is exactly on point, so thank you for sharing it.

But my response is: Would you get similar results if you put cookies and carrots in front of people? How about a massage chair and a treadmill? If so, would we decide that people just don't want to be healthy and give up on the notion?

This goes back to the idea of what people want. We clearly have preferences for what is enjoyable in the moment. But we also have a capacity to build higher level goals and longer term plans. We can forgo the fun thing in the moment if it is helping us get to somewhere we want down the road. That is also a want.

The point of this thought experiment isn't to solve the problem and get everyone to be perfectly civil online. Food and exercise are a great analogy. There's no solution because it's a really hard problem. But if you Google about trying to be healthy, you'll find find lots of sites aiming to grease the skids. It still requires people to choose this option, and going down this road takes work. But in our collective conscience we know it's good, we encourage people to do it, and we have resources at the ready to reduce the hurdles as much as possible.

That's what I'd like to see with the echo chamber problem.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:31 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:A brief parting thought before I disappear for the holiday weekend: what if we turned tribalism against itself? A second-order tribalism. Somehow build a tribe of people who are against tribalism, where all first-order tribalisms are shunned as "the other", and being tribal marks you as an outsider of the tribe.

The immediate problem that springs to mind is "maybe everyone already thinks they're doing this". Everyone already thinks that they are the open-minded ones fairly considering all arguments which of course leads them to the position that they've arrived at, and everyone else are therefore closed-minded bigots who won't listen to reason; therefore, hypocritically, it's seen as unreasonable to listen to those someone-elses and their closed-minded bigotry, so they close their minds and become bigots against them. (This seems to verge into the Paradox of Tolerance territory here).

Which I guess makes the problem "how do we do that, but keep people from being hypocrites about it?" Build a tribe who's against tribalism and hypocrisy? Who shun anyone who acts tribal or hypocritical?


I mean, that's basically what "tolerate everything but intolerance" amounts to in practice. Everyone assumes they're the tolerant ones, and those differing, why, they must be intolerant. Can't tolerate that.

So, in practice, there is no difference.

The Great Hippo wrote:People who first meet and interact with one another in support of a common cause -- a shared interest -- a specific goal -- will get along much more readily than people who first meet and interact with one another in opposition. That seems trivial, but I think it's important: It's much easier to love and respect someone if you first know them through a shared, positive experience.


Honestly, I think shared suffering works too. You and another going through a miserable experience together can build a relationship. It's similar, in that there's teamwork, rather than opposition, but in some cases, it might be even stronger.

This is probably harder to ethically set up than volunteering for charity, though.

guenther wrote:One idea I had was having random pairings between users and have them chat to obtain very specific objectives like to find out why the other person cares so much or how they feel the other side gets them wrong. This could include objectives like finding an interest they both share. But I didn't know how to make that not sound contrived.


That sounds interesting. If you make a game of sorts out of it, and vary up the objectives, and both folks objectives are hidden, it might inject some creativity into it. More work would be needed to make it functional, but it's an interesting basis.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ranbot » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:38 pm UTC

guenther wrote:
Ranbot wrote:...the "Change My View" Reddit sub-forum...

...I hadn't heard of this and it sounds like it's right on target with what I was looking for. I'll have to check it out.

Earlier this year NPR's Planet Money did an interesting story/podcast about changing one's views from a economics angle, and the Change My View Reddit was part of their discussion.
https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017 ... nd-thought

Tyndmyr wrote:
guenther wrote:One idea I had was having random pairings between users and have them chat to obtain very specific objectives like to find out why the other person cares so much or how they feel the other side gets them wrong. This could include objectives like finding an interest they both share. But I didn't know how to make that not sound contrived.

That sounds interesting. If you make a game of sorts out of it, and vary up the objectives, and both folks objectives are hidden, it might inject some creativity into it. More work would be needed to make it functional, but it's an interesting basis.

I'm imagining something like Tinder... Swipe right to debate? :lol:

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:50 pm UTC

Hah, dunno if swiping is quite up to gameplay, by itself, but perhaps something roughly akin to that.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby ucim » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:39 am UTC

Swipe right for debate, swipe left for contradiction. Swipe up for abuse. Swipe down for something completely different.

Or maybe that's too silly.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby guenther » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:03 am UTC

Ranbot wrote:Earlier this year NPR's Planet Money did an interesting story/podcast about changing one's views from a economics angle, and the Change My View Reddit was part of their discussion.
https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017 ... nd-thought

I actually had heard that episode but forgot about it. They boil the success down to the set of rules they have in place and, of course, to the moderators enforcing them. I don't know that I'd want to implement a "Change My View" style discussion since the focus would be more about learning the other person's perspective. But to implement a similar award system, I'm not sure what metric I'd use. When someone reports that their mind has been changed, that's a clear event. But how do you know when understanding has been reached? Should that even be the metric?

Tyndmyr wrote:That sounds interesting. If you make a game of sorts out of it, and vary up the objectives, and both folks objectives are hidden, it might inject some creativity into it. More work would be needed to make it functional, but it's an interesting basis.

Gamifying it sounds neat. I had the idea of a simple quiz to learn the other side. But what are the answers? Would I be curating them? (that sounds like a can of worms) Would they be generated by polling users? There are some party games where you have to guess what answer the other person would give. Perhaps one of the chat-roulette (I keep coming back to that format, for better or worse) objectives would be to chat over topic X for five minutes, and then play that game with pre-written questions on that topic.

For the idea of generating answers base on polling users, we could steal something like this candy quiz. Perhaps all users would identify themselves by some menu of labels (check all that agree, so we're not just boxing you into simply conservative or liberal). And then they'd get a series of pairings they'd have to rate based on which is more important/condemnable/worthy of government funding/etc. This would provide a ranked set of choices, and then there could be a quiz on how well you could organize them by label. "Sort these from high to low on how Liberals rate them on Importance."

ucim wrote:Swipe right for debate, swipe left for contradiction. Swipe up for abuse. Swipe down for something completely different.

Smash phone against your head for "being-hit-on-the-head" lessons. Throw phone across the room to quit the app in frustration.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ranbot » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:19 pm UTC

guenther wrote:...getting people to break out of their filter bubbles and engage across sharp divides....

Examples of this type of thing elsewhere...


I came across an article that made me think of this discussion.... https://nypost.com/2017/12/26/college-s ... fake-news/
Short version: Some college students designed a Google Chrome extension called Open Mind (https://openmind.press/ ), intended to combat fake news by pointing out fake information to the user, however it combat's our ideological information bubbles too. Open Mind determines if the article is potentially biased based on the information source(s), key words/phrases, and comparisons to other articles. Open Mind will then suggests alternative news sources for the same information in the article from other points of view.

So, now we just have to convince people to take the time to read stories outside their ideological bubbles. That's easy, right?... :lol:

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby guenther » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:29 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:So, now we just have to convince people to take the time to read stories outside their ideological bubbles. That's easy, right?... :lol:

I'd like to see it along side exercising or eating healthy. Those aren't easy, but we all know it's good, and there's a tradition of trying again every year. Unfortunately, our level of bias is not as easily quantifiable as weight or cholesterol, so this leaves room for our mind to bolster up our perception of how well we're doing.

Thanks for sharing that link. I just happened to come across AllSides today which aims to do something similar. But instead of just telling you how many calories you're consuming, it takes a more topical approach and offers up perspectives from the different sides.

So as you say, we just need to convince people to eat their veggies. :)
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby bantler » Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:13 pm UTC

An Equitable Social Platform is doomed thanks to those righteous, myopic, naïve bastards on the other side.

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Ginger
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ginger » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:43 pm UTC

Equitable social platforms/apps/forums are amazing ideas. And I think they're workable. You just have to heavily moderate for biases and ban repeat offenders. If someone is naive and myopic then moderate them a bit gently. Or hide their content so you have to click to look at it. Social media platforms can be used for good by encouraging thoughtful, friendly dialogue via even making it one of their main tenets or "mission statements" they follow right on their website. Up votes could be used to push the more thoughtful replies to more visibility. I'd rather go on a forum however I've used my cell phone for chatting and could do a cell phone application maybe? About moderation to encourage good faith dialogue: Moderators like on the website we're on that seem to care about us and our posting habits. Not authoritarian no-goods that just yell to be quiet lest you offend someone unnecessarily as if it's a crime.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby ucim » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:25 am UTC

Ginger wrote:You just have to heavily moderate for biases and ban repeat offenders.
You need the "right" moderator. How will xe be picked? What happens if that pick turns out to be... er.... sub-optimal?

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ginger » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:56 am UTC

Presumably they shall get chosen by their friends, co-workers and friendly acquaintances who browse the website or use the app. I mean, I don't even care if strangers pick them, but they would be vetted by their former comments/stances about various issues if they had any available work to look over. I dunno how to choose a mod from a complete unknown with no published comments to their names to check over however. Anyways, if they were not optimal for the job, then hold a thread discussing their misbehavior and if they don't back down then bring the ban down on the one usually giving out bans.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:09 am UTC

It would be interesting to have a social platform where moderators are elected (by some method better than FPTP, in some formal automated process) by the users. Sorting out how to handle automated elections like that without problems would be a tricky problem itself, but if that could be solved it could go a long way.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ginger » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:05 pm UTC

And as far as eliminating bias to promote positive dialogues it really really isn't rocket science. You just gotta be a bit socially conscious and love the dialogues you're having and wanna improve your critical thinking skills. And I'm not gonna harp endlessly about how people are naturally biased or whatever. I happen to believe people in general and especially those elected fairly as moderators have a bias towards critical thinking. So... a bias towards uncovering biases bias inception. Anyways, I know next to nothing about computers, however I would try to have faith in the election process. I've never been involved in choosing moderators they chose me instead.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby bantler » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:20 pm UTC

Ginger wrote:And as far as eliminating bias to promote positive dialogues it really really isn't rocket science. You just gotta be a bit socially conscious and love the dialogues you're having and wanna improve your critical thinking skills.


You have not described an actual person. Adults who've voted in at least a couple elections are forever locked into their world-view.
They only dialogue to shame, mock, or attempt to convert the opposition.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby SuicideJunkie » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:35 pm UTC

guenther wrote:Gamifying it sounds neat. I had the idea of a simple quiz to learn the other side. But what are the answers? Would I be curating them? (that sounds like a can of worms) Would they be generated by polling users? There are some party games where you have to guess what answer the other person would give. Perhaps one of the chat-roulette (I keep coming back to that format, for better or worse) objectives would be to chat over topic X for five minutes, and then play that game with pre-written questions on that topic.

Why not make it symmetrical and answer the same question twice?
A) How would you respond to X?
B) How would the other person respond to X?

If your A and their B are the same, or vice versa, then you get points.

As a bonus, the two of you will basically be on a team.

Give a topic to chat about and some amount of time to discuss it, then do a rapid fire set of the question and answers, and then finally go back to the chat room while the responses and scoring are gradually revealed.
You can both commiserate about the scoring system's text matching together when it thinks you didn't understand, and get rewarded when you do understand the other person's point of view.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby guenther » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:43 pm UTC

bantler wrote:An Equitable Social Platform is doomed thanks to those righteous, myopic, naïve bastards on the other side.

Is "Equitable Social Platform" a specific thing? Or is this just describing a place where people are treated equally?

I'm not sure how tongue-in-cheek your post is, but pointing out that those guys over there are the problem seems to be exactly the sort of thing you see in endless stand-offs between two sides. At least that's what I've witnessed, and hence why I'm motivated to think about ways to create bridges of understanding.

ucim wrote:You need the "right" moderator. How will xe be picked? What happens if that pick turns out to be... er.... sub-optimal?

I think this is the crux of the issue for having a space for good discussion. I have seen it done in various message boards. And for a more notable example, Intelligence Squared US has a great moderator for in-person debate. I don't have any idea what method you would use to reliably pick them out of a crowd. It seems hard, and that's why I left it beyond the scope of my thought project. :)

SuicideJunkie wrote:Why not make it symmetrical and answer the same question twice?
A) How would you respond to X?
B) How would the other person respond to X?

If your A and their B are the same, or vice versa, then you get points.

This is a nice idea. I think there's a lot of room for creative innovation here. In fact, I'd love to see something like this paired with an actually study of how it affects attitudes. Someone might score well at guessing how the other person would respond, but then they could cynically say to themselves "Of course they SAY that, but what they really feel is ...". If people get stuck there, then a high score wouldn't necessarily relate to improved attitudes. But I bet there is some arrangement of interactions that could move the needle in a positive way. It's just a matter of experimenting and measuring the results.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ginger » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:35 pm UTC

bantler wrote:
Ginger wrote:And as far as eliminating bias to promote positive dialogues it really really isn't rocket science. You just gotta be a bit socially conscious and love the dialogues you're having and wanna improve your critical thinking skills.


You have not described an actual person. Adults who've voted in at least a couple elections are forever locked into their world-view.
They only dialogue to shame, mock, or attempt to convert the opposition.

Well Sir, you got stereotypes and I got some real lives' experience to tell. I think adults, especially adult college students and young high school students, are ready to have real positive dialogues. Without shaming or mocking or voting just to spite the other party. The situation you describe is far far too cynical and to be honest: If you came to my social media wanna talk to me "positively" I'd kick you out. Because I think adults and teenagers are way more liberal and open-minded about Everything these days and it just takes a loving motherly push to have them open up positively. With some moderation on the sides to keep things civil when they get passionate.
Amy Lee wrote:Just what we all need... more lies about a world that never was and never will be.


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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby bantler » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:13 pm UTC

Ginger wrote:Well Sir, you got stereotypes and I got some real lives' experience to tell. I think adults, especially adult college students and young high school students, are ready to have real positive dialogues. Without shaming or mocking or voting just to spite the other party. The situation you describe is far far too cynical and to be honest: If you came to my social media wanna talk to me "positively" I'd kick you out. Because I think adults and teenagers are way more liberal and open-minded about Everything these days and it just takes a loving motherly push to have them open up positively. With some moderation on the sides to keep things civil when they get passionate.


I concur with your assessment of open-minded youth.
I specifically damned middling-adults as incapable of constructive political-discourse. They probably won't come to your chat-party, and if they do it's only to damn the heathens.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ginger » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:22 pm UTC

Ooh Ooh now there's a thing we can agree on: The older you get the more entrenched your beliefs get. And if you do get so entrenched in believing the world is full of sinning sinful sinners then you are gonna act way super negative all the time and your discourse shall sounds like Catholic damning sermons. Which would be a real problem in a community about positive discourse and difficult to ferret out and get rid of, since people with negative opinions often lie and misrepresent their opinions until they sound polite and cheerful and try to avoid moderation by keeping their venom hissing in private. I dunno how to solve any of those issues. I do know however one step I would take is by encouraging honesty about when you have religious/moral hangups about a sensitive issues. Heaven Knows I have been scolded heavily much in supposed safe space supportive dialogues (not on here), just for wearing strappy tops or makeups or high heels or too short-shorts or skirts or... so people do have a tendency to wanna police/damn those criminals/harlots/heathens--EVEN positively.
Amy Lee wrote:Just what we all need... more lies about a world that never was and never will be.


Azula to Long Feng wrote:Don't flatter yourself, you were never even a player.

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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:09 pm UTC

I do find myself having more, if not entrenched, then at least stable opinions as I get older. A part of me feels kind of disappointed in that, but then another part sees how that's a natural progression. I was always the type to be looking for new opinions to try on for size and see how they work, and trying to combine different facets of them, and I loved engaging in debate because it gave me new arguments to consider and new things to mull over and helped me evolve my worldview. But as I've gotten older, nothing seems new anymore. Every opinion and every argument is something I've already heard and considered and accepted/rejected/incorporated/modified/whatever. It's disappointing because it feels like there's no longer any forward progress, but it also makes natural sense that over time, there is just less new stuff to think about.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby guenther » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:30 pm UTC

The flip side to entrenchment is knowledge and experience. They're related because the depths of our understanding grows, and we don't just lurch from thing to thing when we see something shiny and compelling. There's always a balance between obstinate and wise, but I would say there's something lost if this community is built just from young people who are paradoxically only just learning about the world and at the same time convinced they have all the answers.

If "positive discourse" just means a place to constructively hash out ideas (as opposed to a safe place where we need to constantly buoy up each other's suggestions), then I would say we want as diverse a capture of people as possible, with the common thread being about an interest in civil discussion (and moderators who will keep ahead of our path of good intentions). Cutting out demographics because of stereotypes seems to be at cross purposes.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ginger » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:38 pm UTC

Young people can be experience and knowledgeable about life too. Especially if they went through a lot for their young ages. Anyways that aside, I agree that we should be as diverse as possible, and include All races/religions/creeds/sexes and genders and orientations and nationalities. Yet people of other races often get left out of whites' debates. Why? White people get called racist in black peoples' debates. Women's concerns are dismissed because they're not willing to defend their opinions to the deaths of debate. And that's another thing: I don't wanna come on social medias where you're expected to compulsively, badly flirt and or argue. I wanna be free to come and go as I please, under a pseudonym so I don't get texted or harassed or even called up if I leave my phone number. So I'd wanna have a semi-anonymous community on the hypothetical platform, which has places it fails as well, such as being less likely to have people who receive shaming and negative opinions from others to step up to the mods to tell on their offenders. Dunno how to solve that beyond just banning all dishonest, negative people, which is a truly dangerous road to go down if you try to do it in totality like a dictator. Yet if you don't set out clearly clear ground rules and ban appropriately then Some People shall just stomp all over you.
Amy Lee wrote:Just what we all need... more lies about a world that never was and never will be.


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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby guenther » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:12 pm UTC

I don't know how to solve it either, and I agree it's a hard problem even in the general case of just putting people together and letting them interact. But in this venture of reaching across a sharp divide and trying to understand who those people are over there, I think it comes with even more risk of being made uncomfortable and likely even offended and hurt. I used the analogy of diet earlier, and I think there's just some amount of having to eat your veggies to overcome these divides. But I also think that there are better and worse recipes for doing this, and asking people to weather abuse is not the right approach.

The answer to this, like most things, is balance. And I bet there is no clear solution that anyone can come up with a priori, but that it will take people experimenting and tinkering and just seeing what works. Which means we need metrics to actually measure how well something is working, how well the sharpness of the divide it getting smoothed out.
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Re: Crossing Divides - A Social Platform

Postby Ginger » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:08 am UTC

Somethin' on my minds lately is that when people have behavior problems like I do, not only are they at risk for abuse they may never wanna tell to another soul, making the system break down however they may as well cause the system to break down. Someone like me that doesn't know all the etiquette yet and not 'cause of bein' a twenty-something but because of other less pleasant reasons. And we need systems of ways to help those people have discussions too in my opinion. People with behavioral issues that act out sometimes need positive discussions and while I don't condone being inappropriate I just wanna voice that being rejected from good faith communities is wrong wrong just 'cause you said something sexy sexiness or said the words "flirting w/me when I don't wanna" to another poster or whatevs.
Amy Lee wrote:Just what we all need... more lies about a world that never was and never will be.


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