The Opinion Festival is built around the mutual agreement that everyone participating in and listening to the discussions follow the Respectful Discussion Convention (Hea arutelutava in Estonian). The Convention was articulated by the Festival’s volunteer-based team, with the aim of instilling and encouraging the motivation behind the Festival: to develop the kind of debate culture in Estonia that is thoughtful and respectful.
Listening to what the other side has to say and taking different opinions into consideration is just as important as proving your own statements. In order to create a polite and constructive atmosphere, we would like all festival participants to remember and follow some basic ‘rules of the game’:
1. We respect and value each other’s time, the discussion leaders and other festival participants.
2. We back up our claims.
3. We listen: it is just as important as speaking.
4. We are not biased towards or against other people participating in the discussion.
5. We react to the idea, not to the person.
6. We focus on solutions: if we want to criticise something, we keep it brief, and then move on to discuss possible solutions.