Civil Comments

From IndieWeb

Civil Comments was a service that brought real-world social cues to comments sections via crowd-sourced moderation and community management tools. It was specifically designed to improve the way people treat each other online.

It was originally available at

Another good time to slow people down is when they’re about to post something nasty online. Friction-positive design can help here, too. Civil Comments was an app you could apply to your comments section that forced commenters to rate three other comments before posting their own. This did a few incredible things. One, it forced users to acknowledge that there was such a thing as good or bad comments.

Two, it forced them to apply their own standards to what that is. This is powerful because we will adhere to our own standards far more readily than we will to anyone else’s. So when a commenter gives someone else’s comment a low rating and then sees the same problem with their own comment, they have to go back and change it because the cognitive dissonance of not living up to their own internalized standard becomes too great.

Finally, they know that if they’re rating other people’s com-ments someone else will probably end up rating theirs, so they feel compelled to up their game. All of these elements conspired to make many commenters who used the Civil Comments system go back and change their comments after rating oth-ers’ comments.

David Dylan Thomas, Design for Cognitive Bias (A Book Apart, 2020)

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