Echo Chamber Silencer — A simple mechanism to reduce group-think in online discussions

Leo Sammallahti
Sep 12, 2018 · 2 min read

This is a mechanism to combine polling and comment sections to encourage comments that seek to appeal to those who disagree with the commentator.

  • There is a poll where the choice is between A or B
  • You vote for A
  • The top comment shown to you is by a person who voted for B, but was most upvoted by people who voted for A.

In practice this could look something like this:

  • There is a poll: Do you support or oppose nuclear energy?
  • You vote in opposition to it
  • The top comment shown to you is a comment by a pro-nuclear energy commentator that received the most upvotes from people who opposed nuclear energy

This would reward comments that appeal to people opposed to the argument in the comment. I have proposed this on WeCo (a Reddit alternative that is democratically governed as a cooperative). Anyone can register to WeCo and vote on the proposal for free, and if the users democratically approve this proposal, any programmer is then allowed to develop it and WeCo communities will be allowed to implement it on the platform.

To prevent abuse of the system, moderators could be able to see how each commentator voted.

I am currently looking for individuals and groups interested in fostering better political discussion online to get in touch with.

Launching a community around this polling and commenting system to promote constructive handling of political disagreement will also potentially be the flagship project for WeCo as it starts to do outreach in mid 2019.

If you are interested in taking part as a developer or an user, you can join WeCo, the WeCo Slack or Discord group, email me at leo@weco.io or send me a message on Twitter. You can also message the WeCo founder James Weir on Facebook.

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