Conflict resolution guide

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September 8, 2018

These guidelines were part of the Reporting Guidelines approved by membership vote on September 1, 2018. This version separates Conflict Resolution from Incident Reporting in order to clarify the difference between the two approaches. It also includes revisions made since the 9/1/2018 vote.

Conflict Resolution Guidelines v3.1

Handling Conflicts

Social.Coop is based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

Our top priority is the safety of each of our members and our community as a whole. We will not tolerate bigotry, including fascist, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or transphobic content and will act swiftly and decisively to protect our members from abuse. We embrace the principles of restorative justice. We want to give people a chance to correct mistakes and learn from them.

How to Initiate Conflict Resolution

We want to prevent conflicts from leading to Code of Conduct violations. We also seek to avoid having productive discussions get derailed by problem posts or by meta discussions of such posts. In the case of conflicts that do not involve violations of the Code of Conduct you should use your best judgment in choosing from the following options:

  1. Bring the concern to the other member directly via Direct Message.
  2. Enlist more support from Social.Coop member(s).
  3. File a formal report to the Community Working Group Operations Team (CWG Ops Team).

1. Bring the concern to the other member directly

If you feel capable and safe in doing so, discuss your concerns directly with the other person.

Use your best judgment to decide whether to discuss the issue publicly or privately.

For addressing a particular problem post, consider the following template: "I noticed your [post]. Although you may not have intended it, one interpretation is ______, and I feel that is not reflective of [list specific relevant portion(s) of CoC]. Would you please (edit your post | take down your post | put a CW on your post)?"

When engaging in dialogue to resolve concerns, consider the following:

  • Foster inclusive dialogue by sharing ideas, asking clarifying questions, and responding to others' ideas.
  • Identify personal wants and needs.
  • Make offers or requests.
  • Propose plans to help resolve in a mutually satisfactory way.

You can request edits or deletions be made where feasible such as for toots in Mastodon, posts in Loomio, comments in the Matrix space, and content at the wiki.

You can request public retractions, corrections, clarifications, and/or apologies as appropriate (particularly where many people saw a problem post before editing or during a live call, among other cases).

2. Enlist More Support

If you aren't comfortable contacting someone yourself but think such outreach from someone else would be appropriate, ask for help.

  • Private support -- Talk privately to member(s) of the CWG Ops Team or a mutually trusted friend to help you resolve conflicts with other Social.Coop members or other participants in Social.Coop spaces. Make a plan together about what you're going to do.
  • Expanded dialogue -- Social.Coop members may seek to informally resolve their conflicts by discussing them with a group of mutually trusted Social.Coop members. This should be done confidentially.

Someone else can contact the other person on your behalf and keep you anonymous.

  • If you can, you could still help by providing a clear message to send, such as using the template in the section above.

3. File a Report

Remember, you are always free to file an incident report to the CWG Ops Team to seek help in resolving conflicts. Please see 1 above. We do not look negatively on reports that we determine to describe incidents that do not constitute violations of the Code of Conduct, (unless excessive reporting is used as a form of harassment).

See the Reporting Guidelines for how to file a report.