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you+me+politics

From the about page:

Hey, thanks for visiting our site. We’re Tali Blankfeld, Nara Kasbergen, Niel Bekker and Rachel Slaff, students in Clay Shirky’s Designing Conversational Spaces course in at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.

For our midterm assignment, our class was tasked with creating a conversational space centered on a specific piece of content. Our group decided to focus our work around something controversial. So often, online conversations based on contentious topics are overwhelmed by ugly insults and flame wars. Our aim is to circumvent these all-too-typical cruel and circuitous debates, and, instead, to encourage intellectual and civil conversation.

The site follows an approach whereby participants get paired one on one:

Which brings us to the unique structure of our site — conversational enclosures. You’re locked into a discussion with another user on our site, so that you’re forced either to engage in a meaningful discussion, or to bow out. There isn’t a peanut gallery of support for rude comments here; 50 users can’t gang up on one person for having a different opinion. Our hope is that most users won’t be able to sling solely insults for an hour, that those who would typically become bullies in a political debate online might be forced to back up their opinions. In the short term, our goal is to force users from a variety of political creeds to develop civil discourse and to engage with each other.

Our intent is to encourage users both to analyze their government’s successes and shortcomings, and to broaden their political understanding before heading to the ballot box next year. Our hope is to create a space for conversation.

According to the site’s footer, you+me+politics is an experimental conversational space by students at NYU and utilizes a non-specified custom plug-in for WordPress. Participants are required to login via Facebook.

You can follow you+me+politics on Twitter at @you_me+politics.

Additional information

Tools used

A list of tools that were used during this project: