Because: A Platform for the Constructive Discussion of Social Issues

November 7, 2013

1:00 pm

There are lots of places to go online to discuss social issues—Reddit, Facebook, personal blogs, news sites, etc. However, the problem with many of these platforms is that any possibility of actual discourse gets lost in a stack of comments. There is little chance of constructive conversation, let alone any hope of coming to possible solutions to these social issues.

The frustration with these comment stacking systems is what led to Because. Because is a community for people to constructively discuss social issues in a “debate style” conversation. Their community is built on the belief that citizens will do good when given the tools to do so. The features are meant to enhance the debate process, allowing people to create constructive public discourse.

Because is based in Pittsburgh and was founded by Nick and TJ Santillo. Their market research included a survey of almost 300 “tech savvy” people. Eighty percent said that they don’t use online commenting platforms.  Of this 80 percent, about half said they would be more willing to participate if provided with a more structured format and if they felt the conversations had the potential for more of an impact.

The platform allows people to post topics, questions, or opinions and lets a debate-style conversation build organically. To keep things civil, Because has several guidelines that users must follow:

  • Avoid excessive hostility and personal attacks. We want devil’s advocates. Not fistfights or “mom” jokes. (Unless it’s a really good one.)
  • Avoid excessive persuasion and/or political lobbying. We’re not affiliated with Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, or Whigs.
  • Keep an open mind. We’re really not that different from one another. And when we are, there’s usually a reason.
  • Keep an even more open mind. Understand that every idea can twist, turn, and eventually become something amazing if you’re willing to listen.

The team at Because knows that content providers want to create a valuable community experience around their content. They hope their platform will increase audience engagement and change the way social issues are discussed and resolved.

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Kristin is an aspiring entrepreneur who is enthusiastically navigating her way through the DC startup space. She has an unending passion for learning and is never satisfied with the status quo. During the day she is an ops, biz dev, and marketing maven for Fission Strategy

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