Scientists in Seattle want to improve the listening skills of the Web. In terms of conversation, they say, the Web is fairly social (about the level of a 2-year-old, able to express simple thoughts). However —Communication is about listening as much as speaking. Unfortunately, our web interfaces have thus far paid scant attention to supporting listening, creating a feedback gap and likely contributing to the scorched earth nature of our web dialogue.
By turning the traditional comment box into a listen box, the level of discourse might change. Read details of the proposed interface here.
Love the spirit behind this, even if it never takes off. Maybe instead of an interface that encourages listening by asking you to literally repeat what a commenter just said, you instead pose a question or two seeking clarification/understanding of a comment. Either way, hats off to researchers at my undergrad alma mater.