For some time it has been clear that online discussion are more laden with personal invective than those that are carried on face-to-face. The causes sited are numerous. A loss of inhibition when not facing the other person; The opportunity to be anonymous and therefore feeling free to went without consequence; Absence of non-verbal communication; More persons not-schooled in the art of the debate entering an arena where before they were excluded by editors.
These all have merit and explanatory power.
But this strand in my blog will not deal with these aspects, but rather consider them as given. Looking for a constructive way forward in the mechanics of the debate itself.
Proposing, designing and building a tool where those participating in the debate themselves execute the steps required to carry on a constructive debate and the tool helps them to do so.
I fully realize that most participants in online debated have no interest in constructive dialog. And indeed may well be incapable of it. For most participants in online discussions the primary purpose is to give them to their feelings with out a second thought, or any thought at all. A cursory examination of any commentary field on any major newspaper will confirm this. Online fora that pretend to seriousness, have been forced to employ editors to curb the worst excesses.
My ambition is that the tool to come of out this design process would make a human editor non-essential. Primarily this will be for the minority who desire to examine an issue constructively and inform themselves of aspects of it they were not already familiar with. Again, learning and trying to both deepen and broaden ones understanding is a minority pursuit. This will be a tool to aid this minority.