One suggestion for making Web conversations more civil

Scientists in Seattle want to improve the listening skills of the Web . In terms of conversation, they say, the Web is fairly social (about the level of a 2-year-old, able to express simple thoughts). However —

Communication is about listening as much as speaking. Unfortunately, our web interfaces have thus far paid scant attention to supporting listening, creating a feedback gap and likely contributing to the scorched earth nature of our web dialogue. 

By turning the traditional comment box into a listen box, the level of discourse might change.  Read details of the proposed interface here

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