On platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it is not uncommon for public discussions between internet users to become solid or even toxic. Certain trolls have also made a specialty of spoiling certain debates that could nonetheless be very interesting.
Far from being defeated, researchers at the University of Washington conducted a study with the aim of developing new features that would make online exchanges more constructive. They interviewed 260 Americans who belonged to various political tendencies in the country.
Offer internet users the opportunity to chat privately
The finding was very clear from the start. Internet users enjoy interacting with other people online, but are often frustrated with their conversations. However, they seek change and want to make the debates less passionate in order to find certain common reasons.
Currently, researchers find that most of the options allow users involved in an argument to break with their opponent on a permanent basis. It is thus possible to hide, log off or block a person.
The interviews then made it possible to find ideas for changes that could be brought about by the major platforms. This is the case with the ability to rate the most constructive comments to make them stand out more.
Others suggest humanizing the participants. The question of the end of anonymity is raised, an idea that is far from unanimous. There are also plans to enlarge profile photos or provide more details about the person we are interacting with.
Finally, another proposal deserves investigation. If two people chat under a post for a long time, they may be offered to chat privately on a different channel. We can also see that the behavior in such a case is not the same. The main goal of trolls is to appear winners in the eyes of other users.
For now, the scientists hope they can use some of these ideas to see what impact they have on online conversations. We can imagine that the major platforms have taken note of their conclusions and are also thinking about these issues.