Give and get kindness
A social app to send and receive messages of compassion. Anonymous and safe.Notice
Gentle shut down in May 2020
The source code and master design file are now freely available. Learn more in this post!
Updated May 17, 2020
Write a request for kindness
There have been a lot of changes in my life lately...
I've been feeling pretty anxious about...
It feels like my friends have a different...
Send and receive kind replies
Moderated and anonymous
- Spam and bad word filters
- Reporting and moderation
- No ads or data selling
- Delete everything, anytime
tl;dr: What is Gentle?
- It's a mobile app.
- You anonymously write requests about things you're worried about.
- Other people can reply to your requests with kindness and compassion.
- You can reply to others' requests too.
- The app has spam and bad word filters, and reports are taken seriously.
Is this app meant to solve my problems?
It’s tempting to think Gentle is about solving your deepest problems, but that’s not the goal. One of the expectations you agree to when you start is “I recognize I can’t fix others’ problems, but I can share kindness.”
If there is a “goal” in this app, it's to take the reflection and empathy it encourages into other parts of your life.
It's important to note that Gentle is not a replacement for counseling. If anything, I hope it will encourage people to seek out professional support when it's helpful.
Were you inspired by games like Kind Words?
Absolutely, yes! Kind Words, Animal Crossing, A Short Hike, Slowly, lo-fi hip hop radio, and many more. There's been a growing appetite for experiences that inject kind feels into your life. I'd argue there's nothing novel here beyond my own take on the genre. The closest thing I've worked on is a conversation tool called Supportive.
Gentle was designed to be a cute and delightful experience. I hope you find something wonderful on it!
How do you keep the app safe?
- At official launch, Gentle will be a paid app.
- We moderate the content and provide easy-to-use reporting tools.
- We use spam and bad word filters.
- We timeout or ban users who repeatedly or flagrantly break our rules.
- Personally identifying information is banned from any messages.
- All new users agree to community expectations.
- (Soon) We'll offer guides and tips for writing excellent messages.
- (Soon) If the app notices that somebody is writing about concerning topics like self-harm, it will privately and proactively offer resources from professionals.
What's the roadmap?
There's lots of ideas brewing. If you have any ideas, reach out and share it!
- Stickers, letter styles, new envelopes, and more
- Formal community and moderation guidelines
- Replying more than once to someone (could be chatting, 1-time replies, etc.)
- Dark mode and accessibility fixes
- Non-addictive push notifications
- Ability to login to sync data across devices
- Collectables and a place to keep them
- Messages in a bottle?
- And many more...!
You can follow a more specific roadmap on this this Trello board.
How does Gentle make money?
Gentle will be a paid app. There are no ads.
A positive byproduct of being a paid app is ensuring that Gentle is moderated well.
There may be future in-app purchases for cosmetics (such as envelope types, stickers, and more). However, the plan is to provide a hefty amount of cosmetics by default.
Why should I trust Gentle?
- If you trust me, the creator and moderator of Gentle. Previously, I worked in the Privacy org at Facebook, which I’m sure will spook some people. Today, I work at Khan Academy as a designer.
- If you are comfortable with the design choices in this app. The anonymous nature of the app lends it to be more difficult to connect things to who you are. You are also able to push the “eject” button at anytime and delete your stuff.
- If you are comfortable with your device communicating with Google's Firebase, which is used as the server, and Sentry.io, which is used as a crash log.
Do you read my messages?
I will only read something you wrote if it is reported by someone.
This is a flimsy guarantee based on trust. If I become corrupt, I hope you hold me accountable by complaining loudly and deleting the app.
Because Gentle is not encrypted, I do have the ability to read the messages you send. However, because this app is anonymous and it doesn't collect personal data, it's likely impossible to identify who you are.
In the future, I’m interested in encrypting replies so that it becomes infeasible to read messages. However, this will depend on whether it’s seen as a valuable investment by the community.
Do you collect or sell personal data?
Please don't send identifying information in this app. This includes names, pseudonyms, addresses, emails, telephone numbers, locations, and more.
Gentle is no longer live, but an Android version was planned. The app was built with a cross-platform framework called Flutter, so it would be quite easy to get an Android version ready.
My name is Andrew, and I’m the solo maker of this app. Pleasure!
I’m making Gentle because I think people have such a capacity for kindness, but they don't often get the chance to flex that muscle online. The big social media platforms of today aren’t designed to spread love and empowerment. In fact, they’re often incentivized to do the exact opposite. It's disheartening because I believe there’s so much potential in digital connection.
With Gentle, I hope to give you a place that’s worthy of your time and grows the compassion in your life. If it’s not for you, you have the control to easily delete all of your data and try something else.
Whether you hate it, love it, or have questions, reach out to me directly and I’ll follow up with haste!