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New app helps improve online debates

Work & Lifestyle

A new app aims to create an environment where people with opposing views can have more respectful debates and discussions

The news has been filled with discussions of the ‘echo chamber’- the way that people only tend to listen to opinions they already agree with, and how this makes it very difficult for people with different opinions to ever come together or compromise. The result is an increase in trolling and rancorous exchanges. A new app is hoping to improve this situation by bringing people with opposite opinions together. Mixmind is a communication platform which matches strangers with opposite opinions and provides a place for them to debate and exchange views.

Mixmind ensures the debate stays civil with a chat structure where the user earns points by being kind and respectful throughout the chat, and loses them for being unkind and disrespectful. The more points a user earns, the more control they have over the debate. Users chose which subject they wish to discuss and what their positions is on that subject. They are then paired with someone who has a different opinion, and the two users start to chat. There are action buttons, such as ‘agree’, ‘refuse’, and ‘ask for a source’. Users of the platform can earn ‘mixpoints’ when they are recognised by another user as being a good arguer. These can then be used to acquire moderation powers, such as ‘force to restate’, ‘force to research’, and ‘not an answer’, which forces the other person to give a more direct answer.

Mixmind was designed by Felipe Grinsztajn, a digital media design student in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The app is free and is being developed as a non-profit. Current topics include gay marriage, iOS vs. Android, religion vs. science, Marvel vs. DC and American and Brazilian politics. More topics will be added over time. Mixmind is not the first innovation to try and encourage more rational discourse. We have also recently seen a site that attempts to tackle extremist views and a news site that encourages readers to empathise with those with different views. Will sites like this succeed in helping people with different views to understand each other better?

Website: www.mixmindapp.com

Contact: www.mixmindapp.com/contact

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