Goodbye, Trolls: How OpenWeb Plans to Elevate Conversations Online

June 24, 2020
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In an era where unrepentant trolls, aggressive political quarrels and general misinformation can easily make its way into virtually any online conversation, creating healthy discussions online can seem like a Herculean task. 

But that’s exactly what OpenWeb is trying to do following its recent rebrand from Spot.IM.

“Our aim is to inspire and elevate conversations online and support independent journalism,” Javier Ramos, talent acquisition lead and HR manager, said. “As such, we wanted a name that reflected our commitment to the original promise of the web: freedom of speech, civil expression and diversity of experience.”

OpenWeb helps online publishers — including Huffington Post, Salon and Engadget — host conversations on their content platforms. It offers publishers tools like moderation, live blogging, a content recommendation engine, and analytics to facilitate more engaging dialogue among their communities. The company encourages quality over toxicity, rewarding those that offer impactful and supportive contributions to conversations.

As OpenWeb empowers its users, the company fosters a culture of ownership internally as well. Just ask Ramos, who said as the business continues to grow, team members are urged to take on projects that hone whatever skills they need to reach their ideal role. 

Ramos took advantage of that commitment on his first day.

“I told our CEO during my interview that if I was hired, I had one ask: to build out kick-ass teams my way,” said Ramos.

 

Javier Ramos
talent acquisition lead and HR manager

What prompted the decision to rebrand from Spot.IM to OpenWeb?

The name change reflects the evolution of our company and product. We build technologies to create engaged, thoughtful communities, reduce toxicity and increase safety. Our aim is to improve the quality of conversation overall and support independent journalism in the process. As such, we wanted a name that reflected our commitment to the original promise of the web: freedom of speech, civil expression and diversity of experience. 

 

What is OpenWeb’s mission and why is that goal so important in this day and age?

Our mission is to inspire and elevate conversations while democratizing where they occur. We believe the health of society depends on our ability to have quality conversations, and that publishers are hosts of our cultural curiosity. We want to empower people to talk as they wish and for publishers to foster and facilitate healthy dialogue, creating greater sustainability for themselves and society.

Right now, the spaces for conversations online are limited by algorithms that reward screaming over actually saying something meaningful; we believe it doesn’t have to be like that.

Our mission is to inspire and elevate conversations.”

 

What are some examples of the tech that’s currently powering the platform?

Our conversation technology supports millions of real-time discussions on our partner sites. It creates an immersive experience for site readers and allows them to create engaging content. Our platform integrates across all devices and environments and can be easily implemented on a variety of publisher-user touchpoints. 

OpenWeb’s products aim to deepen the relationship between publishers and their audience. Whether it’s our content recommendation engine or live blog, we make it easy for users to find relevant content and be on top of breaking news. We have also gamified the conversation experience so users earn rewards for their valuable contributions and for supporting each other to build healthy and positive communities. 

What professional development opportunities does the company provide?

While we do offer our staff some common practices like professional development courses and a developed career ladder, we emphasize giving folks the opportunity to branch out and take their career development into their own hands. We encourage our crew to not only chat with their managers about their aspirations, but also to take ownership of new projects they’d like to work on, even if they aren’t within a person’s specific realm of expertise.

 

How have you advanced your professional skills since joining the company? 

I’ve advanced a number of skills since joining, including adapting interview loops to a smaller company, assisting on roles I never previously recruited for, and taking complete ownership of leveling, titling and salary benchmarks.

I told our CEO during my interview that if I was hired, I had one ask: to build out kick-ass teams my way. Looking back on the hires and the teams I’ve built, accomplishing that goal is my proudest moment here. I think people in roles across the company feel and value the autonomy and authority they’re given to do things their way. 

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