Without conflict and disagreement, there is no progress.
In science, like in democracy, like in relationships, it’s only when we confront ideas that we can get beyond them.
But it matters enormously HOW we disagree.
We have spoken with (literally) dozens of experts on the subject, and for good conversation to take place, you need three things.
🎯 A Common Goal
If you want to do what’s best for the group and I want to do what’s best for me, no amount of arguing is going to settle it.
Argument only works if all sides sincerely commit to the same goal, AND trust that all the others are too.
For Parlia, our goal is simple: we want to understand all sides.
There is no argument to win. There is no opponent to ‘crush’. The only ‘winning’ is explaining an argument so clearly that everyone can understand it.
Our common goal is build a complete collection of opinions - whether they’re right, wrong, controversial or plain as day.
Our mission is to help each side understand each other, nothing more.
Civility isn’t doffing one’s cap and calling people ‘[My Right Honourable So-and-So]’ before eviscerating them.
Civility is accepting that everyone in the community is an equally valid member of the community - whatever their politics or values. Like all societies, Parlia thrives because of its diversity. Without the broadest collection of voices we will fail.
Civility is respecting everyone’s right to be heard, and treating their views with respect.
Their views are as sincerely held as yours, and come from the same place of concern and engagement with the world.
Great games need great referees that ALL sides trust. It’s true for football matches, like it’s true for Democracy (where the referees are academics, the law, journalists, and - of course - ballot counters).
At Parlia, we want to referee with you. That’s why we’re asking you to help us report instances of uncivil behaviour on the site, and why we’re building a community-led moderation team, to uphold the community’s principles.
The Rules of Parlia
We also put together a very short ‘Rules of Parlia’ - a cheat-sheet for keeping conversation productive and happy!