Hearts

Install Hearts ↗

Every community begins with the best of intentions. And every community, invariably, experiences conflict. Experiencing conflict is not a choice. Handling it is.

Communities can choose to ignore conflict, letting it build and fester until communal bonds are permanently damaged. Communities can also choose to evade responsibility, giving away power and agency to an authority figure who promises to make the problems go away, but never really does. Or communities could choose to face conflict head-on, engaging in the essential relational processes which lead to fulfilling long-term relationships.

Hearts is an accountability tool, used to help structure the experience and resolution of conflict. Hearts is designed with two goals in mind: first, to give members of a community meaningful tools for holding each other accountable; second, to emphasize communication and repair over judgment and punishment.

Quickstart

  1. Set an app events channel

  2. Encourage people to give karma (@Kira ++) if someone exceeds expectations

  3. That’s it! Everything else is automatic.

Core Concepts

Hearts

The core concept of Hearts is, unsurprisingly, hearts. Everyone starts with five hearts, and gains and loses them as the result of various processes.

Karma

Much of Hearts is about handling conflict. But what about all the good things that happen, which are in all likelihood the majority of the interactions occurring among the residents? For that we have karma. Anyone can give karma to another resident by adding a “plus-plus” (@Kira ++) after their name. Every month, all the karma is taken together, and the resident(s) with the most karma get a bonus heart. By earning karma, it is possible to have an epic six or even seven hearts.

Regeneration & Decay

It is said that time heals all wounds. Whether or not that is true is a question for psychologists and philosophers. What we can say with confidence is that time restores lost hearts. Specifically, a half-heart per month, for everybody, always. This is how we center rehabilitation over punishment. If you lose a heart for whatever reason, integrate the lesson, and soon enough it will be forgotten. Hearts regeneration will only take you back to the five-heart baseline. If you already have five hearts, you don’t get more. If you have more than five (due to earning karma), you’ll slowly go back to five.

Basic Functionality

Hearts app home

The Hearts home page is the hearts dashboard. On the home page, folks can see their current hearts. The app home is also the entryway into the basic functionality, described below:

Resolve a dispute

The most dramatic way to lose hearts is by having another resident call you out for bad behavior, by issuing a challenge (analogous to “getting a strike”). This, rightly, is an uncomfortable experience, but a necessary one, as the final step in the conflict resolution process. If you couldn’t be called out, or you couldn’t call someone else out, then there would be no accountability: problematic behavior would continue until someone moved out, clearly not an outcome to be proud of. By issuing and receiving challenges, we create a structure for engaging proactively with conflict.

Anyone can issue a challenge, stating a number of hearts they think you should lose (up to three), and the reasoning. The issue then goes to a vote. If you lose, you lose hearts. If your challenger loses, they lose hearts. As a way to prevent abuse, a challenger needs a minimum of 40% of the house to support them to win, otherwise they lose by default. If losing the challenge will leave the challenged with one heart (or none), then the challenge needs the support of at least 70% of the house. This is how we protect minorities from abuse, while respecting the judgment of the majority.

It is very unlikely someone will be challenged arbitrarily, as the challenger is strongly disincentivized from doing so. Anyone who issues a challenge stands to lose hearts themselves, if other residents feel they are out of line or being abusive. Instead, challenges should (ideally) come as no surprise, and represent a final step in a respectful process of disagreement.

See current hearts

Pull up a view showing everyone’s hearts, ordered from most to least.

Slash Commands

In addition to the home page, Hearts comes with a number of “slash commands” which provide some important management functions. Most people will not need to know about these commands to use Hearts.

Note

Commands marked with an asterisk (*) are admin-only

/hearts-channel *

The /hearts-channel command is used by workspace administrators to set the events channel for Hearts, which is where app activity is posted and where housemates go to vote on challenges. This command takes no arguments, and will set the events channel to the channel in which the command is invoked.

Warning

A channel must be set for the app to work.

/hearts-sync

The /hearts-sync command will update the app with the current active users in the workspace, adding any new users and removing any who have been deactivated. The sync command will also add the Hearts app to all public channels, allowing people to give karma in those channels. Keeping the Hearts app synchronized with the workspace is important, as the number of active users determines the minimum number of upvotes needed for proposals to pass.

Warning

Make sure to run /hearts-sync whenever someone joins or leaves the workspace.