Designing for Civil Conversations: Lessons Learned from ChangeMyView
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Research has shown that people all over the world, and particularly Americans, are divided over many issues – from immigration and gun control to economic and foreign policy. Information bubbles further contribute to these divisions: People prefer to consume content they feel familiar with and see views they agree with. Yet, pluralism and viewpoint diversity are necessary for a well-functioning democracy. In this paper, we explore how we can design interfaces that dial down partisan antipathy and allow users with opposing viewpoints to understand one another. We study ChangeMyView (CMV) subreddit, a community that encourages users to change their opinion by inviting reasoned counterarguments from other members. We use interviews with 15 CMV members to gain insights about the design mechanisms and social norms that allow this community to function well. We also explore how we can replicate such civil interactions between users with different ideologies on other platforms.