Our Approach to Controversial Topics

"Rock'em sock'em robot... " NOT our approach to controversial topics.
Rock’em sock’em robot… Or how we settle arguments” by betsyweber is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Kontent has plenty of room to cover controversial topics from a variety of positions and approaches across different sites. Some sites may be exclusively conservative or liberal. Others may target a centrist audience or avoid controversy altogether. However, we do not expect all sites to avoid controversial topics. In fact, we encourage diversity of writers, audiences, and topics. However, we expect sites to present topics in ways that promote understanding rather than simply seeking to win an argument.

This is actually a very pragmatic approach. We believe that conversion happens in private discourse. We also believe that public discourse is most effective in equipping people for those conversations. Part of equipping is understanding the other person’s viewpoint and starting place.

Multifaceted, highly diverse viewpoints

Any of hundreds of thoughts, opinions, and values may shape a particular view on controversial topics. It is only by understanding the background of the individual that you can present the particular ideas that will convince individuals to change their thinking.

In recent years, writers have attempted to convince everyone with a single wall of text. That wall of text then gets attacked from all sides and never convinces anyone. Public speeches and even books in the past could address a large but fairly homogenous audience with the same points and approach with great success. Those days are gone. What could be achieved through broadcast in the past must now be done in individual conversation.

It is our goal to help all sides to understand other viewpoints. This way they can make informed decisions and have the information needed to convince others in private conversation.

Understand, Inform, Explore

So how do you most effectively promote a view that you believe in strongly when you do not know who you are writing to or who will be reading what you have written?

Start by presenting the positive case for your view. Consider stating the intended audience for each point, or group points together that would be most convincing to each audience. Then do separate posts for each audience.

Then address your opponents’ views as a series of unanswered questions rather than statements of what they believe and the dire consequences of those beliefs.

We expect sites to present topics in ways that promote understanding rather than simply seeking to win an argument.

Convince and Convert

Carefully avoid using words, phrases, or images that alienate or mock your opponent. Our goal is to convert our enemies, not destroy or humiliate them. Mocking your opponent may make you feel better and provide entertainment for some, but it will not convince or convert your opponents and may actually increase the number of opponents you will have to contend with in the future. In short, mockery is unwise and will not be supported by Kontent.

Similarly, Kontent will not support a call to arms or anything that encourages violence or drives a wedge between people groups. This is not an attempt to limit free speech. You are free to write whatever you like on your personal site and even link to it from a Kontent site, as long as you make it clear that the link is provided for reference and is not an endorsement.

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