The Kindli app can block trolls with the help of Tim Tebow.

Kindli

What does it take to bring down the trolls?

A new app called Kindli has the answer: let them assign a credit card number.

It’s an innovative approach, but before we dive into the specifics of the app, here is some background on troll behavior that you may find helpful.

In recent years, trolls have taken over. They comment on posts and find what they disagree with. We live in a time when it is normal to speak out about your complaints.

It’s not difficult to imagine what a troll looks like.

He or she is likely sitting in an expensive performance chair wearing earmuff headphones. A few empty bags of Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos are scattered on the floor. “Timmy / Kimmy, take your trash,” a middle-aged mother yells down the stairs while the troll furiously types another insult on Twitter.

Many years ago I interviewed an online troll. His name was Derek. This was before the age of social media when you could only comment on articles. My story was about online abuse and I wanted to interview someone who regretted their negative comments and decided to change.

I managed to find someone who agreed to an interview via online chat (this was also long before Zoom). What he said then surprised me.

Derek struggled with depression, negative thoughts, and poor self-image. He had been unemployed for several years. He lived with his parents. It stayed with me because, in a way, I understood what was happening. Those negative emotions in him spilled onto the keyboard. This is not an excuse, but he agreed that his actions were wrong.

I learned two things from this interview. One is that a troll is a real person who deals with personal problems. The other is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The way a troll deals with these dark emotions is not healthy.

Social media provided a forum for their anger and anger, but it might work to make social media a little less accessible to them on the ramp.

Kindli is the new app I’m testing and the goal is to make it harder for people to spread negative thoughts on social media. It is designed to promote friendliness and address mental health problems. Tim Tebow is involved, as are athlete Kerri Walsh Jennings and WWE star Titus O’Neil.

To use the app, you need to enter a credit card and donate $ 1 to charity. You can also buy Kindli cards (a pack of 12 is $ 3.99) that you distribute to other people after you’ve done something for them. The recipient adds a thank you to your profile.

The company says they hope to achieve a billion acts of kindness worldwide, and I hope they do. I plan to order cards to be distributed.

I tested the app by creating an account and following some users. In a few days I only had seven followers. The app launched recently so no surprise.

A feature that I really like: Kindli blocks negative posts or comments because they violate the guidelines. (Most of them relate to berating, criticizing, and beating someone up for their political views.) I tried posting a few troll-like comments, including one about electoral fraud and one about hatred. It’s weird to see the algorithm activate and tell you the post won’t go live, but I was grateful. My hope is that asking for a credit card and blocking hateful comments will work twice.

The app is currently a little buggy. I created a new post on my phone and the app crashed. Nothing happened in my browser when I clicked on people to follow them. (It worked after refreshing the screen. Also, a second attempt to post from my phone worked.) I also noticed some typos on their website, e.g. B. Kindli misspelled on the How It Works page.

Kindli is about to climb. Years ago, some companies tried to create “the sports social network” and “the parenting social network” but it never worked. One word: Facebook. The friendliness social network is a wonderful idea, so I’m curious to see if it catches on.

Until then, I think the app still has something to do. It’s a bit too easy and I’ve seen the same posts over and over again. In order to assert itself against Instagram and others and even have a chance, the company has to be innovative far beyond the basic functions it offers. How about some kind of friendliness meter? A measure of how many encouraging posts and comments you’ve made. I would love to see more explainer videos that get in more detail. Promote the app on YouTube and other forums.

I am also a little concerned about the aspects of freedom of speech. It seems a little too much not to allow discussion of politics … although in some ways it’s a welcome relief too. (By using the apps, you agree to the guidelines.)

Trolls are pretty awesome. Hope they don’t find out how to bypass the filters like they did on twitter. Unfortunately, friendliness doesn’t sell. It tends to pull the worst of us as a chance to cause more damage and chaos.

What does it take to gain momentum when you find yourself in the dark shadow of the trolls? That is a question I cannot answer. I hope Kindli does.