Angry Uncle Review: The Angry Uncle Bot

Perhaps I will dedicate myself today to reviewing other people’s advice about how to deal with angry uncles at Thanksgiving. First up is Karin Tamerius, a former psychiatrist and the founder of Smart Politics. She recommends a five-step process:

  1. Ask open-ended, genuinely curious, nonjudgmental questions.
  2. Listen to what people you disagree with say and deepen your understanding with follow-up inquiries.
  3. Reflect back their perspective by summarizing their answers and noting underlying emotions.
  4. Agree before disagreeing by naming ways in which you agree with their point of view.
  5. Share your perspective by telling a story about a personal experience.

In order to practice, Tamerius has created the Angry Uncle Bot, which allows you to simulate a conversation with your Trump-loving uncle. That’s handy!

Unfortunately, the “correct” answers are pretty obvious, and it’s not clear if this technique has been tested in the real world. The Uncle Bot is an innovative idea, but I’m afraid the all-too-conventional 5-step process reduces its usefulness. I give it three uncles out of five.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.