We've all had this experience on websites with lots of community content: witnessing - or being the victim of - bad behaviour. Whether it's trolling, ad hominem attacks, or good ol' comment spam, online conversation can sometimes be downright hostile. Lots of us wring our hands about how nasty people can be, but what if you could fix the problem...with software? What if it's not simply an ethical issue, but a technical one?Jeff Atwood
is something of a rock star in designing great places for the exchange of information online. He founded and built the Q&A site Stack Overflow
, and the Stack Exchange
group of sites: an elegant platform for effective communication. Now he's turning his skills to reinventing ye olde online forum, with Discourse
. He thinks forum software can actually teach people how to be effective, civil communicators on web forums.