Rick Heller, the editor of The New Humanism, the online magazine of the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy, recently wrote a post for The Public Conversations Project in which he lamented, “while in-person dialogues are valuable, it seems to me that these are producing an archipelago of sanity in an ever-widening gulf of violent rhetoric that is inflaming the United States. I’d like to see conflict-resolution techniques take to the Internet.”
As part of this goal, Heller modified the WordPress blogging software to allow comments to be made using either the standard format or one following what he termed a “nonviolent communication process” that entails (1) make nonjudgmental observations, (2) noting one’s feelings, (3) identifying the personal needs that give rise to those feelings and (4) make a request. What the new comments fields look like is this:
While the term “compassionate comments” might not resonate with everyone, Heller’s WordPress modification is an interesting and positive addition to the online conflict resolution field.