The mission of Shared Reality is to create documents of unimpeachable credibility. In order to accomplish this goal, we bring together the smartest people who disagree with each other. In that spirit, our mediation of conversations is intended to be as elegant and minimal as possible. We are not thought leaders and so the assertions of thought leaders in any particular discipline - law, science, economics, etc - are not ours to judge. Our specialty, which we bring as a resource to the conversation is the ability to maintain neutrality and clarity in order to support effective and productive communication. Any points can be made - and rebutted - by others, but they need to be clear, without innuendo or dog whistles, so that they can be addressed clearly. That’s the goal of Shared Reality mediation: clarity of communication. To these ends, Shared Reality mediators will follow these guidelines.
- Choose a specific, narrowly defined topic.
“Is it true that pigs can fly?” not “Pigs, cats, and other animals fly better than they used to do, and better than humans do” – the latter is a claim but is harder to map out, as it contains multiple parts. Also, phrasing the claim at issue as a question reminds viewers and other editors of the map that the issue is open for debate, which is what the map is there for.
- Nodes (objections and reasons) should include links to support for the point.
In some cases the point may be one of logic, and you may feel that is needs no support, but in general the more support provided, the more that viewers of the map will see that a reasoned argument is being made rather than mere opinion.
- Links should be to statistics, facts, and data not to opinion articles.
There are exceptions, times when it makes sense to link to an opinion article, such as when you are trying to show that the author of that article has that opinion (and thus the article is itself a piece of evidence). But, in general it is better to avoid “appeals to authority,” in which you are citing an expert’s opinion as fact.
- Keep your nodes (objections and reasons) to specific, narrow, points.
“Notes kept by farmers do not include observations of their pigs flying away [link],” not “Nobody has ever seen a pig fly” - which, although it may be true, is just an assertion. You cannot prove that nobody has ever seen a pig fly and the map is there in order to debate the issue, so in order to resolve it you need to provide specific factual and provable nodes (objections and reasons).
- Ensure your description is written in a reasoned tone and states basic facts about the issue.
It should not be an opinion article or a rant, but should simply and clearly state the issue which you would like to see debated. It should sound unbiased about which “side” of the issue might succeed, once the map is completed; it should invite both those who agree and those who disagree to add their reasons/objections.
- Invite experts on both sides to edit the map.
Once you have created the initial map, including a description, image, and initial claim, you should invite others to join you in editing the map: at least one expert who agrees with the claim and one who disagrees. You may add nodes yourself, but you need also to invite others who disagree with you.