“You have the magic within you, now go change the world.” This quote was written for us in the program book of the HIA Fellowship. This phrase helped guide us throughout the process of the output phase of the fellowship.
At the start of the output phase, we were presented with three challenges to choose from. After a great deal of brainstorming and several consultation meetings with HIA Poland, the organization we were working with, we chose to take up the technological challenge in order to best meet the needs of HIA Poland, who aimed to use technology to combat hate speech online among youth. Our main assumption was that if gamers use less hate speech online, they will also use less of it in the real world.
Working on the project was challenging, mostly because we were new to the field of chatbots, especially when it came to using chatbots toward a topic with as serious implications as hate speech. We first found challenges with improving the effectiveness of the chatbot and finding a way to make it more attractive to young users. We wanted our chatbot to be technologically advanced and to contain complex content that would adequately cater to our users. Using a 14-year-old male persona that we developed, we brainstormed how to best reduce the pains and increase the gains of individuals within our target group while raising their awareness of hate speech and its impact on others. After hours in the process of design thinking, we came up with the name “Cursing is Half the Fun” to attract young gamers, who we believed would be curious to discover the content behind the link. We created a visualisation of the chatbot content using a schema and sent it to some young individuals for a trial, also attaching a short follow-up questionnaire.
Although we faced challenges along the way, our teamwork was always great and effective. No arguments, just discussions and brainstorming. No competition, always strong empowerment. It is safe to say that we all felt that we could not have imagined a better team. We combined different abilities, experiences, and passions to deliver the best solution we possibly could within the given time and resources. We gained new important skills and allowed ourselves to expand outside different communication styles/roles than a “buffalo” or an “eagle” (more explanation to that you can find here). We will look back on this experience with positivity and gratefulness, as it helped us grow and become more involved as activists and opened doors for us to pursue professional careers in whatever fields we choose.
By May Lim, Rena Pitsaki and Ewa Rodzik, participants of the 2018 Humanity in Action Warsaw Fellowship