Deemr, part 3: the “how”

In this post we are diving into a little more detail. We’ll go through the features and the reasoning behind them, so bear with us if we get a little abstract in our thinking.

As we mentioned in previous posts, there is a world of experiences and knowledge in other people that we could be making use of, in order to power up our own knowledge and therefore improve our experiences and decisions.

We have developed Deemr to crowd-source this knowledge by posting questions or opinions we wish to have “deemed” by others. We focused on a few pillars on which the concept stands, and the short version of what they are is:

  • Control over how other users interact with the content you are creating. (Main purpose is to give the content creator control on the mechanism of response to their posts, in order to avoid internet trolls, bullies and effectively prevent unnecessary “noise” on the responses)
  • Anonymous responses (Aimed at increasing the rate of free and therefore honest responses)
  • Time constrained (Express a sense of urgency by choosing how quick or for how long you will be expecting responses)
  • Short-lived (once finished, the post disappears after final results have been reviewed by the creator)
  • Targeted audience (either through direct private questions to contacts or openly to all users through representative hashtags)

Let’s go slightly deeper into the motivations behind them.

The concept of control at the hands of those who are creating content was one of the first things we were extremely sure of. Seeing the amount of bullying and harassment some people are subject to across social networks and internet tools, we figured it was important to not leave space for that kind of behaviour. There still is a quota of responsibility on the users when creating deems, but by giving them full control over the way the world answers to them, we have managed to strip internet trolls and bullies of most of their damage power within our platform.

Anonymity of the responses was a big one. And we are very well aware that this is subject to change in the future, or at least to become more flexible, but we are starting with full anonymity because we want every answer you get to be as honest as possible. Honest is not easy, it is not our first reaction. Our first reaction is to internally process wether honesty would hurt, offend or be misinterpreted as rude. We hold honesty back, because feelings come into the equation, and way too often, we resort to just giving the answer we think is expected. We hold back because there are just too many caveats to consider; what if I hurt someone’s feelings? what if I’m judged for my ideas? what if I’m bullied, shunned and shamed? Society, especially in the modern communications era we live in, has set extreme standards of what’s acceptable to say (and think). So we tend to abide by these tacit rules of engagement. And we lie. And this is fundamentally bad for all parties. So be honest! Your opinion, your vote on any given subject by any user out there, is completely anonymous, even to us.

Time constraints are meant to be a cue for other users on the urgency of the responses you need, and also an indication of the relevance of the Deem. A lot of your daily decisions or thoughts might need quick feedback, and getting such feedback after 24 hours, is likely useless if you were standing in a store, trying to decide between 2 pairs of shoes when you posted your deem. So choose the time accordingly.

Short-lived means that your content will not stay in the platform after your results are in and you’ve come back to see them. A deem is only alive and visible to it’s audience for the duration you selected at creation, plus visible only to you and waiting until you open to see the results once the voting is done. After that, it will not only disappear from your Activity Feed, it will be entirely deleted from our system. This is also meant to encourage you to ask whatever, even if you think it’s a silly thought or a controversial question. However bad or embarrassing you think it might be, it’s probably more important to get an answer, and you can be comfortable that no one else will ever see that content once the time is up, or you manually delete it.

With Targeted audience, we wanted to help you get the more useful responses. If you know the people whose opinions are more valuable, just send your deem privately to them. If you are more interested in widespread opinions, post it openly into the platform, and add a #hashtag that represents the subject of your deem. Your deem will be displayed to people who are either actively browsing the same subject, or have had related activity. With this, we intent for people who share particular interests and are in the same mind frame as you, to be the ones sharing their knowledge through their votes.

Each of these pillars have been analysed extensively, but there’s only so much we can do before setting them up out in the wild, and let you, our users, put them to the test.

So… did I mention already we are already live on iOS? Download the app, start creating Deems and helping other with theirs. And don’t forget to invite your friends! The more users, the more knowledge and experiences to help your decisions.

Be better, decide better!