"Discussion" vs "Dialogue"
What if we changed references to "discussion" on Loomio to "Dialogue" instead?
mid-14c., "examination, investigation, judicial trial," from Old French discussion "discussion, examination, investigation, legal trial," from Late Latin discussionem (nominative discussio) "examination, discussion," in classical Latin, "a shaking," from discussus, past participle of discutere "strike asunder, break up," from dis- "apart" (see dis-) + quatere "to shake" (see quash).
Meaning "a talking over, debating" in English first recorded mid-15c. Sense evolution in Latin appears to have been from "smash apart" to "scatter, disperse," then in post-classical times (via the mental process involved) to "investigate, examine," then to "debate."
See this encyclopedia entry
Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog) is a reciprocal conversation between two or more entities. The etymological origins of the word (in Greek διά (diá,through) + λόγος (logos,word,speech, concepts like flowing-through meaning) do not necessarily convey the way in which people have come to use the word, with some confusion between the prefix διά-(diá-,through) and the prefix δι-(di-, two) leading to the assumption that a dialogue is necessarily between only two parties.
A dialogue as a form of communication has a verbal connotation. While communication can be an exchange of ideas and information by non-verbal signals, behaviors, as the etymology connotes, dialogue implies the use of language. A dialogue is distinguished from other communication methods such as discussions and debates. While debates are considered confrontational, dialogues emphasize listening and understanding.
Dialogue is used in terms like "interfaith dialogue" which specifically allude to increasing shared understanding in a collaborative way. To me, dialogue implies everyone building on what others contribute, working toward something bigger than the sum of its parts, not just advocating an individual point of view.
Although individuals often put forward conflicting points of view and talk them through on Loomio, we're not trying to build a tool for debating in the sense of two opposing views trying to "win" against one another. This is also why we don't refer to stating a position on a proposal as "voting" because it's not about contention and majority rules. It's about building shared understanding.
Loomio is a platform for collaboration. For people with differing perspectives to come together and arrive at a solution better than any individual would have come up with on their own. It's not "A vs B, who wins?" It's A + B = C, which is better than either A or B.
I think Dialogue reflects that better than Discussion. I have rarely seen the term dialogue used for online forums or apps, which would set Loomio apart and spark thinking about how communication here is different.
What do you think?
Alanna Irving started a proposal Thu 26 Sep 2013
Suggest to change references to "discussion" to "dialogue" in Loomio Closed Sun 29 Sep 2013
This is a proposal to suggest a change in terminology from calling the comments section a "discussion" to a "dialogue". For people who are unfamiliar with the use of the term dialogue in this sense, it will create an opportunity to explain (via tool tips, help documentation, etc) this choice and get them thinking about how they can apply the concepts to their group conversations on Loomio. For people familiar with the term, it will be a strong signal that Loomio intentionally supports this mode of communication.
|Agree - 14|
|Abstain - 14|
|Disagree - 14|
|Block - 14|
Sat 28 Sep 2013
I agree that the word's meaning is more accurate for the type of communication we want to foster. Yet I'm concerned that using a term at the heart of the software that may require explanation may hinder massive user adoption.
Sat 28 Sep 2013
It is a natural step for Loomio but I think it might confuse participants unknowing of the difference thus it must be explained properly. It is however more suitable if the definition is what Loomio strives to enable within communication.
Sat 28 Sep 2013
I think we could see any other options before making this change. Off course dialogue is a pretty word but more appropriate when we are talking about somethig where there is not a decision as a goal. I think it's better leave it as discussion for now
Sat 28 Sep 2013
Having slept on it, I think it's better to use the term discussion for now. Not every decision will need dialogue and Loomio could be used in lots of contexts. Discussion is more generic and gives users the scope to decide how they communicate