Being Nice on the Internet: Designing for the Coexistence of Diverse Opinions Online

Eric Gilbert
Catherine Grevet

Exposure to diverse opinions makes us more informed and engages society in a necessary deliberation process. Inwardly focused groups risk tunnel vision and an inability to challenge their own views. Technically, online we can connect to anyone in the world but social network analyses of blogs and Twitter have shown that we stay connected in groups of like-minded others. There is untapped potential here for online environments to go further towards giving more access to diverse views. Incivility has direct consequences for relationships with others of different opinions. It has been shown that in televised political debates, incivility increases negative feelings towards the other side. While disagreement is necessary for a healthy democracy, alienating arguments result in the current culture wars. I will present work I have done on encouraging civility on a platform like Facebook could alleviate frustrations such as the need to tune out when there is overwhelming disagreement.

Eric Gilbert

The lab focuses on the design and analysis of social media. According to their website they "like puppies, mixed methods and new students (particularly MS)."