Tired of online debates like these?

The University of Connecticut and the University of Westminster are currently carrying out a research study on freedom of speech and healthy debate.

Sorry, but enrollment for this study has now closed and in about a month we will start analysing the results.

If you are a participant, log in here.

Let's make a difference
GillianShaw @gillsgotnewsforyou

What is the deal with Brexit? Is this thing actually going to happen?? Why can't the UK be more like America and get a leader that will get sh*t done!


Andrew Jones @Andyknowsbetter

What do you know about politics? Your leader is a child trapped in a fat orange mans body!!!!!!

30 mins ago

Tiffany James @Tifaintgotfakenews

Yeah @gillsgotnewsforyou. Why don't you worry about your own political issues... #RUSSIA

40 mins ago

What is it?

The study is simple. Participants were asked to take a survey, then wait until the study starts. They then received a login for the WeDialogue platform. They will soon be able to use it to read and comment on articles as if it was a normal news website or blog. At the end of the study there will be a final survey about how participants found it.

Try better ways to debate online

Participants get the chance to explore new online comment systems. These have been designed to create more satisfying discussions.

The aim.

To promote humility in public discourse and prevent digital harassment and trolling

We badly need to create more inclusive and safe methods for commenting on news. I am pleased to support this important research and hope you can participate in the experiment

Prof. Jane Mansbridge

Kennedy School of Leadership, Harvard University

Who is involved?

Prof. Graham Smith

Principal Investigator

Professor of Politics and Director of Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, UK

Read more

Prof. Michael E Morrell


Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Connecticut

Read more

Dr. Paolo Spada


Centre for Social Studies in Portugal

Read more

Dr. Mark Klein

Principal Research Scientist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Read more

Perry Walker

User testing

Perry is an innovator of participatory methods that anyone can use. He has more than 20 years of experience in designing and testing new participatory methods.

Read more

Rachel Collinson

Participant Engagement

Rachel is known as the Donor Whisperer. She is a former lecturer at the Hypermedia Research Centre, University of Westminster.

Read more




Phase 1

In this phase participants were asked for their email address and some small amounts of data. They were invited to take part in a survey. Based on their responses, the researchers will divide participants into groups for different parts of the study. This phase is happening now.



Phase 2

In this phase participants will be assigned to an online platform where they can comment on news items. They will receive anonymous login details. Groups will use different commenting platforms so that we can compare their impact on the discussion. We designed the experiment to last 3 weeks.



Phase 3

At the end of the study, we'll ask participants to complete a final survey. We will then open up all the parts of weDialogue so that users can explore and compare them. They will then be able to provide open feedback on the experience. This phase will last 2 weeks.

During the research study you'll be assigned to one of three types of commenting system. In the debrief phase, after the study ends, you'll be able to explore and compare all of them.

Yes, please invite all your friends! However, once the enrollment phase is over we can't accept any more people.

We need to create discussion groups that are the same size and have similar types of people. Once those groups are created and the research study has started, we can't add new people.

The first survey is important because we need to collect demographic and attitudinal data to create identical discussion groups before the study starts. Otherwise we could end up with a group made up of people that like to comment a lot, and another group that like to read without commenting. This would mean that we can't test the effect of different platform designs. The first survey will also contain some questions that we'll ask again in the final survey. This allows us to see if the experience of weDialogue has changed your opinions in any way.

Let's change the way we debate

Sign up and take part in the study

Take part in the study