Civic Innovation for Community Conversation

I was pretty confused about Coral, so I really appreciate this roundup of what they are doing and where they are. Much praise on the research!

  1. I have never personally experienced online bullying. I get a troll who shows up occasionally on Twitter, but its sad desperation prevents me from classifying this person as a bully. I have seen it happen any number of times — as I’m sure we all have — but have never been in a position where I could resolve those. Occasionally one has to jump in, but that rarely works unless one has some elevated status within the conversation. Just jumping in and saying, “What you are saying is sexist!” rarely defuses the situation by itself. Other than that I have only gotten into somewhat heated debates at times.
  2. Like Simon, I actually know very little about the moderation of comments. I’ve thought about it, but most of the application is new to me. I will say that, while I hate Medium’s policy of including your responses with your stories, I love that there is a record of comments so we can hold people accountable. So much of this stuff goes up online and remains in the ether with no way of connecting it to the person who says it, even within one website. I don’t think there is a non-invasive way to hold people accountable across the internet, but within one site, that seems elementary to me.
  3. My community really needs to start any conversation at the moment, as lack of resources for communication (and the replication of prison isolation) really stifles it presently. The issue I see far more frequently is the deluge of comments vilifying and stereotyping the incarcerated or formerly incarcerated. That creates a space where the incarcerated/formerly incarcerated and their loved ones don’t feel safe or welcome to speak. That vitriol can be horribly dehumanizing and cruel. The ability to moderate that and facilitate some version of understanding of the struggle of system-involved people could MASSIVELY affect policy decisions, which are largely built on the perpetuation of a narrative about “criminals” and not about actual statistics on what works. Shaping that narrative with stories is key, but it also needs to be addressed in terms of what we expect from the responses we receive to those stories. If we allow vulnerable communities to be attacked below stories built around their empowerment, we aren’t exactly doing our jobs.
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