People talked before there was tech. We gathered around—or took pen to paper—and exchanged ideas with civility and thoughtfulness.
Since then, the tools we built to bring us closer together have all but destroyed this human connection. Our online conversations are run by algorithms that reward screaming over actually saying something. Our discussions are driven to monopolistic platforms that amplify the loudest (or best funded) voice in the room.
All of this weakens our social fabric as well as the publishers who create the content we love to talk about in the first place. As a result, the Internet is threatening to undermine the values it was supposed to advance—freedom, democracy, and trustworthy knowledge. We’re told that trolling, harassment, and misinformation are unfortunate—but unfixable—things an open society needs to accept.
At OpenWeb, we refuse to. We fight against this status quo and for all of us—by supporting a publishing industry we believe has the power to improve online discourse. That’s why we’re creating environments that constantly spur quality conversations—and keep them going. Helping publishers host the engaging discussions the public is starving for, right beside the stories everyone wants to talk about. Building new areas on publications that encourage people to listen and talk in ways that are actually enjoyable and informative.
We do this because we believe it will bring out the best in how we talk—and function—as a society once again. That it can create a web where publishers are thriving destinations and, most importantly, where we the people can exchange— and embrace—new ideas openly with one another.
The Pillars of Quality Online Conversations
Join the conversation
Assume the best intentions
Defend your point of view without getting personal
Respect others’ views
Don’t feed the trolls
Stand up for others
The Case for Quality Conversations
Today’s online publishers are the trusted curators of our collective experience, shaping perceptions and impacting events as they happen. The discourse they spark through their content is essential for maintaining a healthy democratic society.
For publishers to be able to uphold their role as the hosts of the public debate, it is imperative to create an online environment where all voices and opinions are heard, where people can speak their minds freely and without fear of abuse, where disagreement is the starting point of a thoughtful and engaging discussion.
It is our collective mission to build proactive technologies that support online publishers, advertisers, and communities in reclaiming conversations from those who wish to destroy them. To help fight against the trolls, the bullies, and the bots. To condemn abuse, racism, intimidation, segregation, and hate. To stand up for everyone’s right to be heard, to be accounted for.
By fostering a sense of awareness to the way each and every one of us conduct ourselves online, by shining a clear and direct light on what is acceptable discourse, and which are the detrimental online behaviors none of us should abide by, we will not only be able to gain a powerful platform for online discussion but create a truly unique and impactful hub for human interaction and knowledge that will span the world over.