FAQ

Overview

What is Civility?

Civility lets you arrange and participate in scheduled face-to-face video discussions on any topic you'd like, with small groups of 4 to 8 people.

Are all Civility discussions online?

Yes. All of our discussions take place over group video chat.

Is Civility a scheduling platform?

Civility is a web app that runs on your desktop or mobile browser. The web app allows you to browse upcoming discussions, create new discussions, request to join existing discussions, and much more.

Who can apply for discussions?

Any Civility member can sign up for any upcoming Civility discussion as long as there is room.

Is there a limit to how many discussions I can request to join or create?

Nope.

How does Civility work, exactly?

  1. A user creates a discussion (we call discussion creators "Anchors") and shares its URL with friends and anyone else who wants to join.
  2. Other Civility users ask to join the discussion.
  3. We send email reminders and updates about the discussion to all users who are signed up for it before it starts.
  4. Shortly before the start time we email you a link to join the discussion. You can join from a browser, smartphone, or tablet.
  5. During the discussion, the Anchor will gently guide the participants towards an interesting and inclusive discussion.
  6. After the discussion, we give everyone the chance to provide feedback if they would like. We also keep track of users who don't show up to a discussion they had signed up for and hadn't canceled, so we can better predict discussion attendance.

Signing up

How can I become a member of Civility?

Simply go to civility.social and click the LOGIN button to join.

How can I stay posted about upcoming discussions?

We post upcoming discussions on the web site - but also via our Facebook group and Twitter, and our new Discord channel.

Which platforms do you use for discussions?

We're hosting the discussion servers ourselves, using a secure videoconferencing technology called Jitsi.

Discussions

How do I create a discussion on the Civility platform?

Go to civility.social/create and follow the on-screen prompts. We select discussion photos for now, but will add in the functionality to let you do this yourself in the future.

I saw that there is some required or optional material to review or questions to answer before the conversation. How important is it to do this?

You’re expected to prepare for a conversation. If the conversation asks you to read a specific article, watch a YouTube clip, or even listen to a podcast, realize that by requesting to join the conversation you’re committing yourself to do this before you participate in the conversation.

I reviewed the discussion material, answered any questions, and followed any specific instructions. Is there anything else I should know prior to attending?

Yes. Keep in mind that Civility is about ideas, but don’t neglect your social intelligence when you participate in a discussion. Be courteous, respectful, and make your points diplomatically if you feel they could be misinterpreted. Remember, these are real human beings. Furthermore, it's often helpful to prepare a few open-ended questions on the review material or on the topic in general, even if not asked to do so specifically in the questions or instructions.

What if I miss a Civility discussion?

Perhaps the most important thing we ask is that you do everything humanly possible to not miss a conversation if you’re invited to participate in it. The only thing worse than a participant not having looked over the pre-conversation material, is one who doesn’t show up at all. If you know you can’t make it, please go to the discussion page and click the "Cancel" button.

What happens if a discussion doesn’t reach the minimum of 4 interested participants for it to go forward?

Conversations without the minimum number of confirmed participants prior to the scheduled conversation start time are canceled, and all participants are notified.

What if a discussion is oversubscribed?

We aim to keep the number of participants in a discussion under 8 or 9. If a discussion is full, you can create the same discussion with the same parameters yourself, and even schedule it for the same time if you want. Soon we'll be implementing a waitlist feature so you can ask to join discussions that are already full.

What can I do about my video call quality?

A good video call involves three things: good audio, good video, and a good connection. Good audio means a quiet environment, and a headset (or a high quality mic setup of some kind). Good video means good lighting that comes from behind the camera and lights up your face. A good environment is one without distractions, in a quiet place. Try not to join a discussion if you're moving around.

What happens after a discussion ends?

We will send you a feedback form and ask that you take a quick moment to fill it out so we can improve Civility. Other than that, it’s up to you. We encourage users to connect with each other if they so choose, and follow up on any threads of interest that came up during the discussion.

Can I watch discussions after the fact?

We're not recording Civility discussions at this time.

Miscellaneous

How do you deal with data privacy and my information?

All the information you provide us during onboarding or post-discussion feedback is kept strictly within the Civility team. We may, however, post aggregate or anonymous data such as “the most popular discussion topic last month”.

I'd like to help out. Can I volunteer or apply for a job at Civility?

We’re always looking for great people. If you’re interested and like what we’re doing, reach out to us at info@civspamility.social and let us know how you can help.