Changing How We Debate Online

For this week’s Corkscrew Thinking in Action case study we are putting the spotlight on ‘Change A View’

Change A View’s journey began with a seemingly simple yet grounded observation – the way we communicate and converse with each other on the internet is broken. 

But unlike many of us, Kal wasn’t content to just continue with ‘business as usual’.

Having failed to find an online community through which he could expand his knowledge and perspectives, Kal did what any imaginative 17 year old Corkscrew Thinker would do… …he created his own community and built it with the right ethos and foundations to create the safe, online space that he had previously failed to find. 

You may be asking yourself, how did a teenage manage that. The answer?

Like any true Corkscrew Thinker. With Creativity and Courage. By deconstruction the status quo, reconfiguring the system and implementing a new idea. 

Whilst reading more about the origins of Change A View, I was reminded of a phrase from Steve Blank which is used to describe startup MVP’s – he says ‘Get out of the Building!’. What he means by this is the importance of taking your first steps early rather than spending months at the drawing board hypothesising and planning. 

This is exactly what founder of Change A View, Kal Turnball did. Like many people he had noticed that the way in which we communicate with each other online is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. The fact that poor online behaviour and cyber-bullying now has it’s own slang term – Trolling – is evidence of how common place is it in our daily internet lives.

The creativity started with his approach, he didn’t spend months building a platform from scratch. He took something that already existed and worked with it to create a MVP. In this instance, these foundations came from Reddit. 

Originally Change A View found it’s home in 2013 on Reddit as a subreddit called r/changemyview created as a simple forum for debate. The process was simple…

  1. State your belief
  2. Explain your reasoning
  3. Ask the many voices of Reddit to convince you otherwise

Jump forward to 2019 with 700,000 members in tow, r/changemyview has just moved into it’s own new shiny home With the help of a small team and some finding, Kal has been able to build a custom built space for his community to continue sharing, debating and learning with one another. 

The courage came in two fold. Not only did he decide to ‘do something’, he also took on a challenge that as we spoke about earlier, is notoriously known for it’s bad behaviour. There appears to be a separation whereby people say things on the internet that they themselves would never have the courage to say to someone’s face. 

What I love about this example of Corkscrew Thinking in Action is that Kal has not attempted to tackle the whole issue of online communication in one go. He’s started small and found a micro-solution. To create a space online where people who want to communicate effectively and respectfully can gather to learn from one another. Through every conversation, they are rewriting the rules of how to debate online and lead by example

They are working towards a deeper use and engagement with online content. Yes, we can all loose an hour or two watching videos on YouTube but when it comes to being an active internet user, our attention spans are incredibly short with companies producing shorter and shorter form content. But there is no reason why we can’t still make the choice to engage in more meaningful ways. 

One example reads…

It is encouraging and facilitating people to commit to lifelong learning and also engage in expressing opinions and step beyond just consuming content.

I look forward to continuing to see how Change A View evolves over the coming months and years. From Corkscrew, we wish Kal and his team all the best and love seeing how he’s applied Corkscrew Thinking in such a positive and constructive way to tackle a challenge that so many people would dismiss as ‘too big to fix so why bother’. 


Here at Corkscrew we love to celebrate Corkscrew Thinking across the globe. We’re looking for creative and courageous individuals, companies and educators and we want your help. If you think you’ve seen Corkscrew Thinking in action and would like to highlight the excellence then send us some details below. Please include as much information as possible such as web addresses, contact details and descriptions. If the Corkscrew Thinking in action you suggest is highlighted we’ll be sure to give you credit so leave your details too! 

12 + 4 =

Like a newsletter, but better, sign up below to receive the best of Corkscrew every month.

Like a newsletter, but better, sign up below to receive the best of Corkscrew every month.

Like a newsletter, but better, sign up below to receive the best of Corkscrew every month.