Through Facebook I recently was introduced to CiviliNation, a non-profit education and research group dedicated to advancing civility in cyberspace. Founded in 2009, CiviliNation (website here) describes itself this way:
Our mission is to foster an online culture where every person can freely participate in a democratic, open, rational and truth-based exchange of ideas and information, without fear or threat of being the target of unwarranted abuse, harassment, or lies.
I believe this organization holds a lot of promise to raise awareness and influence our national discussion about online civility, harassment, and bullying. CiviliNation’s founder and president is Andrea Weckerle, a Washington D.C.-based attorney and communications consultant. She’s well connected; her board includes Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. The seeds are there for important work to be done.
And we sure do need it. The Internet’s marvels are matched increasingly by its nastiness. Through some combination of education, consciousness raising, and regulation, we need to save ourselves from ruining cyberspace. Here’s hoping that organizations like CiviliNation can help to lead the way.