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Let's face it, the days of the spoken word have all but disappeared. With the popularity of email, text messaging, instant chat apps, and exchanging posts on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin we have little need for face-to-face communication.
No doubt there is a greater likelihood of a misunderstanding once in a while when visual cues are absent. But in many situations the benefits of using the written word outweigh the few disadvantages. One such situation is a contentious dispute.
How many times have you been in an argument or dispute with someone where simply looking at the person makes your blood boil? How often have you had visions of bloody murder when that person opens their mouth to speak?
Anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell found that over 65 percent of communication is nonverbal. Each gesture or movement can convey meaning and trigger different emotions in others. This is useful in some circumstances, but given a dispute between Parties who are at odds with one another, it can be destructive. Facial expressions, the roll of the eyes, crossing of arms, shrugging of shoulders, or the inflection in one's voice can set off negative emotions that distort the substance of the message - reason and logic are lost to emotion.
Text-based Online Dispute Resolution provides the following benefits over traditional in-person dispute resolution:
Lance Soskin is the President of eQuibbly. eQuibbly is a web application created to help people resolve their disputes quickly and fairly online. His mission is to provide disputing parties with an alternative to the government-run justice system. He believes that dispute resolution should be guided by principles of fairness and equity rather than the often perplexing, technicality-riddled and overly-rigid laws imposed on attorneys and the courts.
The views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc., Mediate.com or of reviewing editors.