Gell brings people together through civil discourse on issues that matter.
Many of the issues facing the world are complex. Healthy discussion, debate and collaboration are useful for good decision making. Civic engagement and civil discourse are the foundations of democracy but the highly polarized and aggressive tone of late in the media and government have created a void. Gell is working to bring back civil discourse to facilitate effective democracy.
How We do It:
We bring together a diverse group of thought leaders and engaged citizens to encourage, facilitate, and moderate healthy discussions and debates on the most important issues. We then prioritize the top rated opinions for and against important issues to help people make better decisions with their actions, votes, and lives.
We also allow the community flag inappropriate content (personal attacks, spam, off topic posts, and hate speech) so we can remove it from the site. This way we can all stay focused on what matters most, while not being distracted by “noise” or irrelevant conversations. We ask everyone to agree to keep the discussions respectful - disagreeing is fine but we ask people to keep it respectful.
These features work together to give users an efficient and balanced viewpoint on the most important issues.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Q: How do you rank the comments?A: We let the community rank the comments, and then we use the best practices employed by the top user generated web/mobile communities. Specifically we use the lower bound of Wilson score confidence interval for a Bernoulli parameter. This balances the goals of giving all comments a chance to be seen while also showing the highest rated comments first - you can read all about it here .
- Q: How do you determine what content should be removed from the site?A: We let the community flag comments (by clicking the Flag icon on comments). Moderators review flagged content and determine what should be removed based on our guidelines, terms and conditions. Our goal is to keep useful content (fact based arguments, contrarian points of view, etc.) but remove noise (personal attacks, off topic posts and spam). Moderators may also directly remove content.
- Q: What if you feel your comment was removed unfairly?A: If your comment is flagged and removed from the site, you will receive an email message telling you so, as well as an explanation of why it was removed. If you disagree, you can escalate it to a senior moderator for review. If it is found to be flagged in error, it will be added back to the normal view.
- Q: Will you remove a comment if it isn’t true?A: No. We believe it is important to keep these comments for two reasons: 1) it could be difficult to prove some comments aren’t true and it would be counterproductive to try and arbitrate all disagreements on “truth,” and 2) a false comment gives the community the opportunity to educate everyone else on why it is false (by commenting on the comment and attaching links to supporting evidence to publicly debunk misinformation).
- Q: How do we know you aren’t just removing content you disagree with?A: You can see all the content we remove from the site and judge for yourself. When you select the “show flagged content” option in the menu, any removed content will return to the discussions. We want to be completely transparent and our goal is to only remove content that is a personal attack, spam, off topic or hate speech.
- Q: How do you define personal attacks, spam, off topic and hate speech.
A: We will do our best to make decisions based on this primary guideline: “is it useful to the discussion and will it help people make better decisions with their actions, votes and lives?” As is the case with everything on Gell, every decision we make is open to discussion. Any content that is removed is accessible to everyone (just click “show flagged content” under the menu). If you find that we remove something you feel is useful, please appeal that ruling or flag the comment. You can also send us any suggestions or feedback here .
Here’s how we attempt to define the disallowed terms:
Personal attack: insulting or referring to individuals’ character, intelligence or personal characteristics rather than the issues at hand. If the discussion is about an elected official and their ability to lead and you made a comment along the lines of, “they are unfit for leadership and have repeatedly shown that they lack the intelligence and character for the job....,” and you included links to sources that provide concrete examples of this then we would consider this useful information. - it is relevant to the discussion and for evaluating the individual's leadership ability. However, comments such as, “you’re an idiot and how could you even think that” will be removed.
Spam: spam is any comment attempting to sell or promote a service not related to the discussion at hand.
Off topic: Off topic posts are simply anything that isn’t related to the current discussion. If you want to cheer for your favorite football team that’s great, but please don’t do this in a discussion about the pros and cons of a single payer healthcare system.
Hate speech: Hate speech is speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.
- Q: Why do you allow anonymous posting?A: We do encourage people to post as themselves, but we also realize that sometimes it may be difficult for certain people to speak openly (for fear of losing their job or political backlash). For these reasons, we feel it is important to allow anonymous postings. Also, since the platform allows the community to comment on comments, vote on comments, and flag and remove inappropriate content, the community will figure out what is truthful and useful.
- Q: What happens if a user abuses the system (flags things that aren’t inappropriate, continuously posts things that are personal attacks, spam, or off topic, abuses the appeals process, etc.)?A: We reserve the right to suspend or permanently remove any user from the community. This would be a last resort for us, and we would first try to educate people on the intended purpose of this community. We want to engage people in healthy discussion and we welcome diverse points of view.
- Q: Who is funding this site?A: Gell is funded by a group of philanthropists from the left, right and center who believe that civil discourse is critical to the future of civil societies. We have also attracted a team of advisors and investors with current or past experience from a diverse group of organizations including RAND, The White House, Harvard Business School, Junior State of America, Pepperdine, Riot Games and thought leaders from media and entertainment.
- Q: Where do we send suggestions for improving the site and/or the community?A: We’ve added a feedback section and we welcome your input. You can find it here .
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