Frustrated by filter bubbles and the general state of online debate, especially on Twitter, I made Debubble.
It’s a publishing tool that will let you challenge another Twitter user to a debate. If they accept, the two of you will be able to engage in a public but distraction-free conversation. Debubble will make sure you wait for your turn before you can deliver your arguments. It will also limit each response to 1500 characters (roughly one page) and the entire debate to 12 turns. Instead of cheering for their side like sports fans, registered readers will be able to signal the value they got from your conversation by starring the whole debate.
I haven’t properly tried to launch it yet, as my day job and kids are keeping me very busy at the moment.
The trend is to just reuse the standard up/down voting comments without realizing implications. Yes, if you do this and sort comments by votes you will on average get higher quality user-curated content. OTOH small piece of UI is using reward system to condition users to seek attention, and it sets the tone for whole discussion.
There are no easy solutions here. Everyone wants their opinion to be heard (even if somebody already expressed same thing). That will sometimes mean aligning your opinion to masses so that your content gets proper visibility, which leads to echo chambers and bubbles. Your take forces users to bring attention to all of debate and not just to one side's arguments. Clever.
I have been working on something very similar but with less of a focus on debating (https://taaalk.co). (Indefinite chats, any number of participants.)
Some friends and I started it a few years ago stopped working on it, so I decided to rebuild it over the last few months. Some of the old Taaalks are still on there:
Cutting out the plebs makes it less rewarding to read the debate. Celebrity debaters will be required to overcome the lack of organic pull into the conversation. Why not just watch an interview between the two people?
The app lets users send tweets or DMs and I didn’t find an obvious way to narrow the required permissions down to just that. But a few people have now pointed this issue out and I think I will just remove that functionality and require only read permissions.
I will probably just get rid of the features that require write permissions. They aren't essential.
I've registered this Twitter account: https://twitter.com/DebubbleMe. There is nothing on it for now, but if Debubble takes off in any shape or form, that's where I'll be posting the updates.
Will you be summarizing some of the best debubbles? The reminds me of that subreddit ... changemyview?
After reading "How to Have Impossible Conversations" (which was recommended by someone on HN a few weeks back), I've come to understand that the toxicity of social media has more to do with the lack of social cues, rapport building, and consequences than the details of the platform.
Also, "staring" conversations rather than "liking" comments still results in the same "sort by controversial" phenomenon: https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/10/30/sort-by-controversial/
Since ancient times, two philosophers would often have a debate by exchanging letters. The goal was not publicity, though many of such correspondences eventually became public. The goal, as I see it, was simply searching for truth. I wonder if it's possible to build a platform for something similar today. Even if it never becomes as popular as social media, I hope it could at least create a clear distinction between entertainment and actual conversation.
Do I need to sign in to see any of the debates?