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The Content Strategy of Civil Discourse

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In the current political climate, it seems like we've all but given up on productive, respectful discourse. However, there are simple design and content strategy choices we can make that encourage collaboration over conflict, even when dealing with hot-button issues. In this thought-provoking session we'll look at real-world examples of how the way we phrase a question or design an interaction (or even the objects in a room) can have a huge impact on the quality of conversation, and the three rules you can use to change course from a fight to a constructive exchange. You get the conversation you design for. This session will help you design for a better one.

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The Content Strategy of Civil Discourse

  1. 1. The Content Strategy of Civil Discourse: Turning Conflict into Collaboration
  2. 2. David Dylan Thomas Content Strategy Advocate ThinkCompany.com @movie_pundit
  3. 3. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com
  4. 4. Should this person drive this car?
  5. 5. How might this person drive this car?
  6. 6. HOW Conversations vs SHOULD Conversations
  7. 7. — Robert Fersh, President, Convergence “Over a period of years I kept meeting people of great decency who had different world views. But there wasn’t a place where they could meet to bring out the best in each other and find answers that each hadn’t considered.
  8. 8. Today we think about political discourse as a zero sum game.
  9. 9. The Fundamental Attribution Error
  10. 10. The internet is where you go to find people who are doing it wrong and tell them they’re doing it wrong.
  11. 11. What does a productive conversation about race actually look like?
  12. 12. Once we agree on that, then we can talk about how to have one.
  13. 13. What if the conversation was the service? Ronnie Polaneczky
  14. 14. You get the conversation you DESIGN for
  15. 15. PROOFREADING 30% BETTER BRAINSTORMING 2X MORE IDEAS
  16. 16. “people reminded of money are less interpersonally attuned. They are not prosocial, caring, or warm” Source: http://differentialclub.wdfiles.com/local--files/meetings/vohs_2015_money_priming.pdf
  17. 17. We put the least amount of effort possible into how this place looks so you should put the least amount of effort possible into how you conduct yourself.
  18. 18. Collaboration vs Hierarchy
  19. 19. HIERARCHY says this is how it should be and there should be no deviation. It already knows the answer. It is exclusive and non-learning.
  20. 20. COLLABORATION says here is a problem we can solve together. It searches for continuously better answers. It is inclusive and learning.
  21. 21. How we talk about race is HIERARCHICAL.
  22. 22. The problem with this approach is that it treats n00bs like trolls.
  23. 23. To speak meaningfully about race is a skill.
  24. 24. Twitter allows no room for error.
  25. 25. Knowing HOW NOT to do something is not the same as knowing HOW TO and the outrage ecosystem only tells you how not to do something.
  26. 26. What’s the opposite of a racist?
  27. 27. We don’t even have the language to describe how to do it right but we have plenty of words to describe how to do it wrong.
  28. 28. Most of our content is SHOULD-oriented, not HOW-oriented.
  29. 29. It’s not that we should stop having should discussions, it’s just that THAT’S ALL WE EVER DO!
  30. 30. And if that’s all we ever do, the best we can hope for is a bureaucracy.
  31. 31. Reactance Why PC backfired.
  32. 32. So what can we do?
  33. 33. Let’s call out good behavior! When you celebrate something, you get more of it.
  34. 34. #WokeCinema Positive Exemplars
  35. 35. Civil Comments Rate before you post.
  36. 36. — Chris Alfano, Code for Philly “We need more tools than there are business models for.
  37. 37. ReThink A 14 year old figured this out.
  38. 38. How can we get healthier food into the supermarket?
  39. 39. How can we work together to shift consumer demand to healthier consumption?
  40. 40. How might this person drive this car?
  41. 41. How do we do a better job of moving people?
  42. 42. How might we improve health outcomes? Your job is harder than you think.
  43. 43. Create new platforms for better conversation Ones specifically designed to facilitate how conversations.
  44. 44. We can UPVOTE or DOWNVOTE, but what if there was an “ideate” button? What if there was a “collaborate to make this better” button?
  45. 45. Can we do this digitally?
  46. 46. Add slide about vTaiwan
  47. 47. “We did away with replies. That’s part of the core, that’s part of the foundation.” -Colin McGill, Founder, Pol.is
  48. 48. Incentivizing consensus and adding friction to trolling
  49. 49. “…in many cases when a participant registers a ‘disagreement’ with someone’s statement, they shortly thereafter submit a statement of their own that provides a solution to their underlying concern.” - Tom Atlee, Blogger
  50. 50. “We should introduce the same five-star rating system to order taxis because the thing that ensures Uber’s quality is its rating system. It is not anything else. So if the government mandates all the independent taxis and fleets to introduce the same system, we can get the same quality and then Uber doesn’t become a problem.”
  51. 51. “…a collaboration between Uber and Taiwanese taxi companies … that puts Uber's ride- sharing and rating technology in currently operating cabs.”
  52. 52. “For wisdom, we need to treat our differences as a resource that can help us ‘consider more of what needs to be considered’. In the wise democracy paradigm, defeating an opponent rather than tapping and integrating their ‘piece of the truth' is a tragic waste.” -Tom Atlee
  53. 53. Difference between generating winners and generating wisdom
  54. 54. Problem-based procurement Describing the problem, not the solution.
  55. 55. Case study
  56. 56. Frances facilitates meetings where people decide how to distribute millions in federal funding for at risk populations in a major metropolitan city
  57. 57. Status quo bias
  58. 58. Old agenda • Massive document • Walk-thru • Q&A • Working budgeting lunch
  59. 59. Old agenda • Massive document • Walk-thru • Q&A • Working budgeting lunch New agenda • Budget-free document • Pre-meeting data training • Q&A (w/ actual questions) • 8-up • $ versus non-$ sort • Non-working lunch • Budget decisions
  60. 60. Old space • Too many chairs • No room to move • Difficult to sit near windows • Lecture style seating • No green space • Did not feel like space used by humans
  61. 61. Old space • Too many chairs • No room to move • Difficult to sit near windows • Lecture style seating • No green space • Did not feel like space used by humans New space • Fewer chairs • More room to move • Access to light • Semi-circular chair arrangement • Plants • Coatrack
  62. 62. — Eric Bogosian, Talk Radio “Marvelous technology is at our disposal and instead of reaching up for new heights, we try to see how far down we can go.
  63. 63. Three Rules of Productive Discourse 1. Neither of us has the answer. 2. Neither of us will win. 3. We are here to create something new.
  64. 64. Next time you see somebody doing it wrong, ask yourself if there’s a How Conversation to be had
  65. 65. #fightbias @movie_pundit www.daviddylanthomas.com Thank You

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