The NiceAF campaign brought six of the leading sites and apps together in a united effort to help their users find ways to treat each other with more respect.
A first-ever cross site collaboration between gay dating apps, NiceAF.org helps promote ways of keeping the conversation positive when chatting online. The video campaign of testimonials, which ran through the summer as a voting contest, has concluded and now lives on as a resource library.
Guys from around the globe submitted videos of themselves discussing chat experiences they’ve turned around when the conversations weren’t so nice. The common theme among all of the NiceAF testimonials is to treat guys online with the same respect you would face to face.
Yale psychiatrist John Pachankis, who has done extensive research on gay men’s mental health, says anonymity makes it easy for people to leave their real-world manners behind once they go online. “When gay men experience stigma coming from other members of their own community, it can have even worse effects than when it comes from the outside,” he says.
Created by Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC), a consortium of public health leaders and gay dating app owners, the first-of-its-kind video contest united seven dating platforms. Grindr, Adam4Adam, Scruff, Jack’d, DaddyHunt, BroApp, and Poz Personals each directed traffic to the campaign with in-kind advertising, some also took initiative to publish blog articles.
“When gay men experience stigma coming from other members of their own community, it can have even worse effects than when it comes from the outside”
Participants who submitted videos of themselves describing a chat exchange were recruited through the BHOC network, YouTube, and word of mouth. The voting contest began in June, inviting NiceAF.org visitors to watch and rate the videos that embodied the meaning of being “NiceAF” on a scale of one to five, five being the most impactful. Winners were determined based on overall votes, overall rating, and total video views.
During the five-week contest, nearly 105,000 people viewed the campaign, over 3,000 votes were cast, and countless website visitors were forthcoming with their feedback.
“It’s about consideration that people are vulnerable and have feelings, even if you can’t see their reactions through the phone screens,” commented one user. “I’m happy to see that the gay community is starting to look at itself realistically and facing our own shortcomings,” commented another.
Not all NiceAF.org visitors were optimistic about the campaign’s intentions. One comment stated, “Courtesy is something people should be taught as a child that should continue to adulthood. Unfortunately, that gets lost as people get older, it seems. NiceAF has a long battle ahead.”
The winning video, titled “Let’s Be Friends” by Acep Gates of Jakarta, discussed his experience disclosing his undetectable HIV status to men online and the pushback he often received. The video gained over 1000 votes and Acep was awarded a $300 cash prize. Two runners up, Raif Derazzi (“Mutual Respect”) and Noel Gordon (“Direct Honesty”), were each awarded $100.
The contest concluded in July and the result is a collection of resourceful testimonials that can guide dating app users who feel alone in their chat experiences, offering ways to keep the online experience kind. NiceAF videos remain available for viewing and, though the voting contest has ended, submissions are still open to anyone interested in sharing their dating app experience.