Computing Magazine

A Hierarchy of Disagreement

Posted on the 12 June 2013 by Expectlabs @ExpectLabs

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In 2008, Paul Graham outlined a hierarchy of conversational elements to help people disagree more effectively online. The Internet has transformed communications, and one effect is that people feel much more comfortable saying things online that they would never say in real life. Graham argued that people are not necessarily angrier, they are just talking more, conveying praise, criticism, and everything in between.

Graham writes, “If moving up the disagreement hierarchy makes people less mean, that will make most of them happier. Most people don’t really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can’t help it.”

The hierarchy of disagreement puts a name to different conversational behaviors, and can help people have more effective conversations by employing elements that are higher up on the pyramid. 

(via I Love Charts & Paul Graham)



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