Kialo is “a debate platform powered by reason.”

by JERRY SILFWER aka Doctor Spin
Expert in corporate communications and online persuasion

I rarely engage in public debates in social media.

This is not because I don’t enjoy debating (because I do), but because a majority of all grown-ups online can’t uphold a difference of opinions without resorting to populism, emotional immaturity, and logical fallacies.

That’s a harsh judgment, but not unfounded:

A majority of all grown-ups aren’t as high up on the maturity scale as one might think. Hate comments, mob mentality, and cyberbullying — yes, a lot of us are literally behaving like children. And we should grow up.

But where there’s a problem, there’s also an opportunity.

Enter Kialo, a debate platform for reasonable people.

Here’s how (and why) it works:

One Argument at the Time

First, let’s pick (or create) a topic. In this case, I’ll go with Autonomous Fighting Machines: The Future of Warfare?

Kialo topic

Interesting right?

At the page, you can see crowdsourced arguments for and against — clearly divided. Not all arguments are equal; a voting function sorts the most prominent opinions on top.

Kialo arguments

In this case, you can see how pros and cons are divided via a simple visual representation on top. 

Kialo argument tree

A quite balanced topic at first glance.

However, each pro or con is, of course, also up for discussion. And each pro and con for each pro and con could be further discussed. 

Which creates a rather interesting tree structure of arguments:

Kialo arguments structure

Dig deeper and engage with any argument.

Elegant while encouraging the sharing of knowledge. A difference of opinions is not a problem here — it’s a prerequisite for engagement.

Kialo in one word?


Opinions and Stupid Majorities

As a digital strategist and spin doctor, it’s my job to make sure that the chosen message evokes engagement. While it might sound straightforward enough, it’s often a challenge to get people involved.

Mental bandwidth is a valuable asset.

My model for engagement is easy to understand:

The Stupid Majority — a dominant group of people who are about to be proven wrong.

The Smart Minority — a smaller group of individuals opposing the majority position.

Examples of stupid majorities:

  • Electric cars can’t compete with fossil-fueled cars when it comes to performance. 
  • Computer users don’t care about the exterior design of their desktops and laptops. 
  • Extreme sports are for adrenaline junkies and can’t be compared to classic sports.

Of course, within the above examples, we find companies like Tesla, Apple, and Red Bull siding with smart minorities.

Conflict is just 100% interesting.

And that is why I will continue to explore Kialo. If more people start using it, it could potentially be a great PR tool for finding that “sweet spot” for engagement.


A genius tagline if I ever saw one.

Have you tried Kialo? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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Jerry Silfwer is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.


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