Conversation with Colin Rule, Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal

Colin Rule

Had a great conversation today over Skype with Colin Rule – with whom I’ve shared many (crazy) ideas and thoughts on peacebuilding, ODR, technology, the social impact of violent games, culture and trust – just to name a few topics.It’s fascinating how conversations on the same day with two very different people engaged in equally fascinating, but different fields of practice and study (Ross Dawson on social networking, Colin on ODR) resonated with so many inter-connections between ideas, tools and technologies.

For instance, Ross’s mention of “reputation systems” and eBay was picked up by Colin – who said that the trust architecture that eBay had engineered to help it’s e-commerce transactions would evolve into a foundation to measure, build and strengthen trust in other online relationships as well.Part of problem with speaking with Colin, as I think we both realised, was that we have so much of interesting ground to cover that an unscripted conversation between us invariably ends up somewhere very different to what we planned to speak about.

As I note at the end of the podcast, I hope that this first podcast leads the way to several other podcasts that between us, explore new developments in ODR, trust in online domains, the impact of Web 2.0 on ODR and the use of mobiles in ODR.For this podcast, we explored the terrains of culture and technology in South Asia, and how in my opinion, the onset of easier communications between communities is changing the socio-political, cultural and economic fabric of our societies in subtle, but irreversible ways.

We also talked about the difference of emphasis between ODR systems – eBay for instance concentrating on the resolution of disputes, whereas the One Text system that InfoShare helped design and develop in Sri Lanka for peace negotiations concentrating on conflict transformation. We spoke extensively about mobile technologies – how they are revolutionising communications, information sharing, content creation and ODR.I made the point that the ways through which I’m pushing the boundaries of ODR since 2004, when I attended my first ODR conference, into peacebuilding and conflict transformation, is hugely beneficial to mainstream ODR applications and theory as well (and not just a fringe activity).I also gave a short debrief of Strong Angel III – and how it was tremendously useful in bringing together the developers who design humanitarian systems and those who work on the ground to fashion ways that the tools and technologies could be made better.

Our podcast is available here.

5 comments on “Conversation with Colin Rule, Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal

  1. Colin Rule
    September 21, 2006 at 8:24 pm #

    It was great to chat with you, Sanjana. I hope that our podcast will spark some realted discussion threads during Cyberweek next week so we can continue the conversation.

  2. jessie
    December 11, 2007 at 7:39 am #

    I cannot access the podcast and got this message: “The requested URL /sanjanacyberweek06.mp3 was not found on this server.” Please help.

  3. Sanjana Hattotuwa
    December 11, 2007 at 10:34 am #


    Thanks for the heads up – I’ve now linked to the podcast at a different location that should work.



  4. jessie
    January 16, 2008 at 7:54 am #

    thanks. Very insightful conversation.


  1. SMS for election monitoring, peacebuilding and strengthening democracy - A conversation with Ken Banks « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace) - October 17, 2007

    […] 17th, 2007 This podcast, from Cyberweek 2007, is a conversation between Colin Rule (Director of ODR at eBay/PayPal) and Ken Banks, founder of and creator of […]

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