Let’s face it: most comments posted on public news sites like New York Times, HuffPo and Wall Street Journal are lame and/or mean. Between the snark, the demagoguery and the trolling, which is often enabled by anonymity, it’s really intimidating for a “reasonable person” to jump into a conversation. This is true even when there *is* someone with whom you would like to engage in meaningful dialogue. BreakOut Cafe aims to solve this problem by letting users signed up with the service invite each other to discussions that take place in a more private setting. Not only can users control with whom they converse, they can also control who sees their conversations after it’s over based on mutual consensus. BreakOut Cafe users can make the conversations private or visible to the public, and enable or disable comments by others. A user rating system creates social pressure for encouraging respectful discourse, and a “featured conversations” section fosters motivation to engage. Theoretically, BreakOut Cafe would work across media platforms.