Rules of a bridge-building conversation (applied new sincerity)

The rules for successful implementation of a discussion between parts of opposing sides of political divides are as follows:

#1 – The Chatham House rule: ”Who said what” is confidential. Only what was spoken of, and what arguments were presented (anonymously) can be reported outside the circle that participated in the conversation either while the conversation happens or after it has happened. The Chatham House rule is named after the think tank in Chatham House, City of Westminster, London, that applied the rule to be able to discuss difficult matters openly.

#2 – Sarcasm, humour and rhetorical exaggeration are forbidden, because they only convey the intended meaning to those of similar beliefs and rhetorical culture. Instead, try to be as exact and neutral as possible in conveying your message.

#3 – In-group slang and jargon are forbidden, for the same reason as the previous rule. The language used shall be as understandable as possible, and carry as little condescension or appraisal as possible. For reference language, see textbooks or scientific litterature. In-group slang and jargon can however be discussed in a separate meta-conversation.

#4 – Express your feelings and interpretations as sincerely, thoroughly and honestly as you can, while focusing on being intelligible and conveying as much understanding possible, to as many as possible.

#5 – Give room to others so they can express their sincere feelings and perspectives. If you’re bothered by something, you can express your feeling in a non-offensive way that the others can understand and respect.

#6 – Be patient, tolerant and open to new prespectives. Understand, that others’ experiences are interpretations from their own perspectives. The objective validity of different perspectives can and should be discussed together, in a constructive manner.

#7 – Always aim to find common ground and synthesis. Learn to understand each others’ perspectives and ways of thinking. Based on your new understanding, try to build a common idea of how the world works, and explore new ideas that could help fix or alleviate problems you’ve identified.


Version 0.31 CC-BY-SA 3.0 Lilja Tamminen. Assembled by the Finnish metamodernist movement in February 2017. (Originally in Finnish).


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