Countering the “nastiness” quotient online and in person

This question was raised in our first panel, “How Open Starts” — i.e., how to move past adversarial exchange. I think building a culture of open communication and exchange counters negativism naturally over time. The negative voices and vitriolic positions necessarily start to become the marginal positions when people genuinely exchange and model open and respectful communication and when collaboration clearly starts to work. Being open is key, and the starting place.

5 Responses to “Countering the “nastiness” quotient online and in person”

  1. Nick Charney says:

    Agreed, and being the first person to be open is incredibly difficult, as is being the first follower.

    My experience has been that if you are the first to be open, you will be first to many things: leadership, opportunities, and responsibility to name a few.

  2. tklassen says:

    The negative/uninformed/troll voices do become muted by the crowd – and governments can assist this process. Many blogs now have ways to “vote up” or “vote down” comments, for instance. Accompanied by a genuinely engaged citizenry and judicious (light) moderation, people participating in open government initiatives can themselves decide what contributions are of value.

  3. kieranh says:

    “Nasty” responses to blog posts occur most often when the comments are anonymous, in my experience. When you have open dialogue, based on trust and sharing, I believe revealing your identity (who you are) is a foundational step in building trust and mutual respect. – Kieran Harrop

  4. Kieran, I completely agree with your statement about identity being a foundational step. Solid commenters who stand behind what they say reveal their names.

  5. It may seem counter intuitive, but I think it’s also important to listen to the people making the nasty comments. Are these people just frustrated that they haven’t been heard and so are digging their heels in deeper and getting angrier? Listening and gentle questioning may help them to lower their guard enough so they can listen to others and participate. Of course this doesn’t always work (Andrea Reimer’s 3% asshole rule needs to be remembered). – Angeline Tillmanns

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