Women entering public service are consistently the targets of stomach-turning abuse from the trolls who manipulate online discourse. Many of these women are Trumanites. Our community is uniquely situated to help—and be helped. What might we do?
For Truman purposes, the second interesting question is what to do with problems like this one. Questions of complex human behavior—and what are most questions of public consequence but problems of this type?—demand common frameworks for tackling them together. This report models one such framework.
For this initial step, we chose the toolset known as Human-Centered Design. These tools make it easy to make sure we understand, and are targeting, the right problems. That means finding people who have experienced the problem first hand, and then exercising meticulous and radical empathy. We listened closely and then drew patterns out of their experiences to guide our problem-solving. With those insights in hand, we assembled teams of Truman members with expertise across communications, politicking, digital platforms, research, policy, and more, and drew on all their professions and experiences to generate ideas for making a difference. Think of this as the first step in “Innovation Tradecraft.”
Five women in Truman who had been subject to trolling volunteered to be interviewed. Seven Truman members conducted interviews. We collected the interview notes to synthesize insights, and then used those insights as the starting points for the sixteen Truman members who worked to find ways we might help.