Review of Williams-81019 account closure [closed]

+40 votes
3.5k views

Hi WikiTreers, 

The account for John Williams (Williams-81019) was recently closed. 

John has asked for a public review, as described on the Conflict Escalation help page. John understands that this will not result in his account being reopened. This is an opportunity for the community to evaluate whether or not John’s case was handled fairly and to consider whether the conflict escalation process could be improved.

If you would like to provide feedback on the conflict escalation process, please respond with an answer below or with a new proposal. John will also be invited to respond with an answer (now posted here). Please post an answer instead of a comment (comments will be removed after they are read once).

Here is a timeline and summary.

6 May 2020:  After difficult communications between John and multiple members a request for help was submitted to the Mentors Project. Member A was assigned as a volunteer mentor.

6-31 May 2020:  Through 30+ emails and 10,000+ words of communication member A attempted to mentor John and mediate conflicts between him and other members.

31 May 2020: Member A determined that they were unsuccessful in helping John. Member A wrote, “I am getting almost daily complaints about John's constant negative behavior on WikiTree and unwillingness to learn the rules or follow the rules and standards.”

In order for a new volunteer mentor to be assigned, member A requested that complainant member B file a Mentor Intervention Request. Member C also independently filed a Mentor Intervention Request. Member D was assigned as the new volunteer mentor..

31 May - 24 June 2020: Through 100+ emails and 20,000+ words of communication member D attempted to mentor John and mediate conflicts between him and other members. 

[summary continues in comments]

closed with the note: See Response post here: https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1094765
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
closed by Abby Glann

25 June 2020: Member D determined that their mentoring was unsuccessful and filed a Mediation Request Form.

Member D summarized: “John refuses to follow Wikitree guidelines and questions/complains about processes he does not agree with. He refused to follow the advice I gave as his Mentor. He has argued repeatedly with me and has refused to follow the Mentor process. He has treated me rudely, has insulted my intelligence and credibility, has belittled me, and has made thinly veiled threats toward me. My time Mentoring him has been a waste of many dozens of hours of my time. I hope that he can change his ways in Mediation or with another Mentor but I am not at all optimistic. I have found Mentoring John to be VERY stressful. My Mentor notes should well cover much of the experience that I had. However, there are MANY additional issues covered in the hundreds of emails I have exchanged with him and others.

Member E was assigned as a volunteer mediator, requested input from John, and began researching the long history of issues.

8 July 2020:   Member E sent John their formal recommendation, as follows.

  • Agree to no longer operate outside of established WikiTree or Project guidelines unless you have consulted with the project leadership (or community as needed) and have received confirmation that the changes or operating deviations are needed, wanted, and approved
  • Communicate with Projects and Profile Managers to open discussions before adding images to profiles (especially those of our pre-1500 ancestors).
  • Learn to work on your communication styles with other members. This will include taking the time to carefully plan and review your message content and reflecting on how that can be perceived by our diverse user-base, as well as working with me as your advisor for all communications with other WikiTree members before:
    • posting, answering, replying, or commenting in G2G;
    • private messaging another member, whether as a new message or as a response; or
    • Commenting or replying to comments on profiles, including your own profile.
  • Review and acknowledge the following Help pages, and agree to follow the guidance set forth within them:​​​​​
    • Special:Honor_Code
    • Help:Collaboration
    • Help:Courtesy
    • Help:Communication_Before_Editing
    • Help:Pre-1500_Profiles
  • Review and acknowledge the following Help pages in order to gain a better understanding of how WikiTree operates and the differing roles of members:
    • Help:Projects
    • Help:Project_FAQ
    • Help:Project_Leaders
    • Help:Project_Coordinators
    • Help:Team_Leaders
  • Read and acknowledge the procedure outlined on Developing New Rules. Throughout your time on WikiTree, if you feel that you have a better way of accomplishing something or would like to see a change made to the Styles & Standards, you will use these procedures as outlined and not bypass or otherwise try to implement these changes on your own.

17 July 2020:  Member E reported a successful conclusion to the mediation: “John has accepted the formal recommendation and will continue to work with me as his Mediator/Mentor.”

20 July 2020: Member E reported: “Just over 48 hours out of mediation, John has already broken the terms of the formal recommendation. Without any notification of intent or a chance to review his messages as requested, John has made over 50 comments on member profiles and has now started to send unsolicited private messages …. One of the messages specifically mentioned a hack he found during his account block that he was using to try and communicate information to other members.”

Member E escalated the case to the WikiTree team. The team invited John to submit anything he wished to be considered in their review.

27 July 2020:  The team concluded that member E was correct in their mediation recommendations and that John’s account should be closed.

23 Answers

+53 votes
Would appear to me that the powers that be have been very patient, even handed and spent a lot of time and effort trying to resolve this issue.

Thank you for the effort these volunteers expended.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+51 votes
From the summary it would appear that established procedures were followed. Mentors/mediators went beyond expectations in working with the member. It appears that the conflict escalation process worked.
by T Stanton G2G6 Pilot (204k points)
+49 votes
I commend the Mentors who volunteered their many hours and, it appears, demonstrated considerable patience. I spent some time as a Mentor and decided I did not have what it takes to be as patient and understanding as is necessary. I do not see that our Mentors could have done any more to be fair, helpful and understanding. It is unfortunate their efforts were not rewarded.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (487k points)
+41 votes

Mentors and Mediators that tried to work with John definitely seemed to have taken quite a bit of 'verbal abuse'.  Hopefully John can take the time to realize that he needs to change some things.

I agree with the Mediation attempt.  It looks like many things were tried to get John to follow the wikitree 'friendly' rules. It is unfortunate that John couldn't follow the recommendations, which seemed very reasonable, and went against them almost immediately.

Edited so post is about process only. 

by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (533k points)
edited by Linda Peterson
+20 votes

It seems that a lot of members literally thought he was wonderful ( some with over a million points - not just those new members he Greeted ).  I had no contact with him at all, so know nothing of his work.

Perhaps a review of the "Wonderful Wikitreer" posting system is in order. Should it be suspended whilst a member is under mediation ?

June 23 https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1060069/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1060069#q1060069

May 30th https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1045124/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1045124#q1045124

May 30th https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1041386/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1041386#q1041386

May 20th https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1038899/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1038899#q1038899

May 18 https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1037765/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1037765#q1037765

May 4th https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1030527/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1030527#q1030527

May 3rd  https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1029943/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1029943#q1029943

May 2nd https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1029751/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1029751#q1029751

by Joe Farler G2G6 Pilot (122k points)
I agree. Some people may not be overly active in other projects but earn tons of WW awards through Greeting, while others who have been here for 5+ years (even 10+ years!) and consistently do some brilliant research don't earn even half that.

Perhaps when a member is blocked pending mediation it could prevent WW awards from being given out? Or this WW prevention could be tied to profiles with the red referral badge? Just a couple of ideas that immediately came to mind.
As a business owner and a parent, I can't imagine witholding praise for good deeds when someone is "on probation" or "grounded" for previous misdeeds.  In many ways, giving praise is more effective in modifying bad behvior than disciplinary actions.

Wonderful Wikitreer awards are a way of saying "thank you" when someone does something nice or helpful.

Each process - the awarding of Generous Genealogist Badges and Wonderful Wikitreer notifications are separate and distinct things from the problem with members process and conflict escalation processes.  I don't think that because John came into conflict with Wikitree rules that his good deeds shouldn't be acknowledged as such.
I don't think Wonderful WikiTreers or other recognition should be suspended while a member undergoes Mentorship or Mediation.

I had no interaction with John that I recall, but I hope he takes advantage of the invitation to respond.  Reading through his G2G questions and answers, I don't see the person described in the question (except for the large number of words).

I first "met"  John in April 2020,  when I became a greeter.  While I can't speak to his actions with others,    my comments made  May 5th  are a reflection of his impression on  me,   I enjoyed his messages and he presented himself very well. 

https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1030527/john-williams-is-a-wonderful-wikitreer?show=1030527#q1030527

However,   my career included many disciplinary actions against employees. While this was uncomfortable, it was  necessary...... It gave me no pleasure and I'm sure the WikiTree mentors and mediators involved here feel the same.   

I agree with SJ,   until a final decision is made, action shouldn't be taken to prevent WW Awards and Badges.   Who knows,  perhaps getting this recognition will actually help modify the outcome.

+37 votes
Though I am one of the people that received unsolicited correspondence from John shortly after his mediation ended, and therefore possibly somewhat biased, I agree fully with the method of mentoring and mediation that took place and all I can do is offer my support, commiserations and congratulations to the mentors and mediators that had to wade through the muddy waters of this particular issue.
by Amelia Utting G2G6 Pilot (187k points)
+31 votes

28 April 2020:  I noticed that John was duplicating my work for the Appreciation Project.  I reached out via a Wikitree message to John and suggested that he choose a task that was not already allocated from the Tasks Section of the Appreciation Project Page.

I guess that this upset John because his reaction was to vandalize the Appreciation Project Page.  I followed the problem with members page, gave it a day of rest, and then decided to notify one of the Appreciation Project Leaders rather than file an MIR.  The Leader reached out to John via email and then restored the project page from its vandalized state.

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
+47 votes

It seems that every effort by mentors and mediator to work with Mr. Williams was unsuccessful.

The process works, though I'm certain that this was time consuming.  I see 130+ emails exchanged, which is quite a lot to deal with.

I would like to thank the mentors/mediator/team who did their best to give the man a chance to turn things around.

by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (836k points)
edited by Natalie Trott
+42 votes
Kudos to the mentors who slogged through this affair.  I sometimes think of myself as patient, but I don't picture myself up to what the mentors have gone through!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (364k points)
+41 votes
After reading through the process, I believe that John's case was handled with more patience and guidance than I could have offered (probably why I haven't volunteered to be a mentor).  The mentor/mediators went above and beyond in my opinion providing three different people to help John out. Unfortunately, when the rules and agreements made aren't followed there are consequences that we may not all like.
by Rhonda Zimmerman G2G6 Pilot (203k points)
+35 votes

Having participated in the mentor/mediator process with other members, all the steps taken followed the process and our Honor Code IV. was well applied.

We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don't act accordingly.

by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (711k points)
+36 votes
I want to thank John Williams for all his contributions to WikiTree and G2G. This sad situation does not take away the merit of all the great work he did.

IMHO, this process offered John more than enough chances and support to keep his participation in WikiTree.
by Rubén Hernández G2G6 Pilot (706k points)
+30 votes
Would like to reiterate what has already been stated: Thank you to the Mentors/Mediators for all the hard work and patience that went into this situation. Truly above and beyond, trying to think the best of someone under difficult circumstances. Thanks to the team for having a process that works to protect everyone in the community.
by Azure Robinson G2G6 Pilot (208k points)
+22 votes
Maybe I missed something, but I don't see John's side of the story.
by Lindy Jones G2G6 Pilot (218k points)

Hi Herbert, maybe I misunderstood you, but you said you couldn't express an opinion 'based solely on the "prosecution's" description of how they carried out the process.' The only other person who can give us a description of how the process was implemented is John, so I took it to mean you couldn't express an opinion until we get his response.

I wouldn't characterise this as a "prosecution" either, and I doubt there was "a list of charges." Mediation is not meant to be an adversarial process. Help:Formal Mediation states:

"There is no judge or jury during a mediation. Nobody is accused of wrongdoing. There are only parties to a misunderstanding." 

You understood me, I Speed.  I don't believe I personally have enough information to express an opinion about 'whether the decision was fair and whether our conflict escalation procedure needs to be changed,' without seeing John's response.  Which is not to say I think others should not continue discussing it.

It sounds very nice to say, "There is no judge or jury during a mediation. Nobody is accused of any wrongdoing. There are only parties to a misunderstanding." Still, someone got punished, by having his account closed (presumably involuntarily).

So please allow me to pose a question, merely for purposes of discussion and not making any accusations or allegations.  In the current scenario, in which we still have no input from the former member, suppose the process had been carried out unfairly in some way or ways.  How would this G2G thread look any different than it does now?

Herbert, as I understand it, his account was closed to protect our community, not to punish him. Similar issues arise in the real world when, for example, a government body decides to cancel a person’s occupational licence. The decision is made for the good of the wider community, even though it has an indirect punitive effect on the individual.

It's hard to give a complete answer to your hypothetical question. But the sorts of things that might raise a red flag about fairness include:

  • If the mentoring/mediation process was completed in a very short space of time with limited or no contact with the member. This might suggest the member hadn’t been given an adequate opportunity to respond or to correct their behaviour. (There might be exceptions for spammers etc.)
  • If the decision/recommendation didn’t appear to be based on a policy or rule addressed in a WikiTree help page, style page or G2G question. This could suggest the decision was arbitrary or not based on principles agreed by our community.
  • If the mediator/decision-maker was a party to the original misunderstanding/disagreement, which could raise questions of actual or perceived bias.

This is just my personal view. Others might disagree. I would be more than happy to hear what others think.

I kind of agree that we don’t see the story from his perspective.  I agree with the process that was used, if this truly was the account of all events.  Him being “rude” may be a reaction to others being rude to him.  This doesn’t justify things, but there are cliques (and yes, some of these are mentors/leaders) here that may be siding together against him.  This isn’t a WikiTree problem only, it applies to all moderated forums, social media sites, etc.  Note that I don’t know John at all so can’t comment on him personally.  And of course he isn’t posting his side of the story, he may feel like John vs. a legion in doing so.  One improvement I may suggest is to appoint an advocate in his favor (or for future situations like this), someone in the leadership who actually agrees with his side of things that he may have been wronged.

Anonymous --

I'd like to clarify some things:

  • John was not asked to leave because he was rude. He was asked to leave because he was unable to follow the established standards and procedures. This is spelled out in the summary.
  • You said: "there are cliques (and yes, some of these are mentors/leaders) here that may be siding together against him" ... If this were the case, this process would have taken far less time than it did. I would imagine the people who worked with John feel disheartened by your statement given the lengths they went to to try and help him stay.
  • Re: an advocate: The mediator that is chosen is always someone who has not been involved in the conflict being escalated, and if a mediator feels too close to the conflict, they say so and take a pass. Their responsibility is to look at both sides of a situation. They ask the member who is the subject of the escalation to provide their version of what happened. That is taken into consideration along with the notes that the mentors who worked with the mentee have kept, as well as correspondence from members who have followed the Problems with Members process and asked for the subject of the escalation to get help.

I have been a member of numerous online forums, and I am not aware of any forum / community anywhere -- paid or free -- that offers this level of help that WikiTree does to a member who's struggling. However, when a member comes along who disrupts the community, and sucks up the time of the volunteers trying to help them, and prevents them from actually working on the things that further WikiTree's mission, it's time to recognize that their need for attention outweighs their contribution to the community.

Please also note that the formal process being discussed here went on for three months. This doesn't count the number of weeks and months that passed before John was formally asked to work with a mentor.

(Edited to fix a typo)

We are given this statement relating to the original problems:

6 May 2020:  After difficult communications between John and multiple members a request for help was submitted to the Mentors Project. Member A was assigned as a volunteer mentor.

How can we be expected to judge if the conflict escalation process was brought fairly into play based on the vague description "difficult communications?"

Without a more specific description of the original problems, how do we not judge that the conflict escalation process itself did not lead to escalation of the original problems?

I see little fairness in implementing a process for the first time BEFORE we have evaluated that process.

The conflict escalation process isn't new.
But isn't this the first time we are being asked to judge/evaluate the process?

Perhaps I misread a statement regarding public reviews.

Do you have an approximate date for when the process was instituted?

The conflict escalation process we have now was implemented in Mar 2015, so it has been in place for just over 5 years.

Thanks for that information!
+19 votes
I do hope he will present his side.  From the summary, it certainly seems that he was given every opportunity.  But without hearing both sides, it's impossible to know for certain.
by Nan Starjak G2G6 Pilot (271k points)
I agree. We are asked to comment on  a limited presentation.
+27 votes

I have no direct knowledge of this person, so cannot comment on the issues that caused the account closure. 

I am very impressed with the time and effort put into this process by all involved.

by M Ross G2G6 Pilot (190k points)
+17 votes

I would like to ask some questions about the process, if I may?

1.  How long has the Public Review of Account Closures process been in place?

2.  Is this the first time Public Review of Account Closures has been used?  After considerable searching, I have failed to find another thread about one.

3.  Did John directly request this public review, or did WikiTree open it under the 'discuss[ing] the case with others in a public forum' provision?

4.  Regarding the 'public discussion' rule, surely gensoftreviews qualifies as a public forum.  Should we not have seen numerous public review questions on G2G, resulting from such online reviews?

5.  What criteria does WikiTree use to decide whether to open a Public Review based on a terminated member's public online comments?

Thanks very much.

by Herbert Tardy G2G6 Pilot (639k points)
1. It has been there since the Conflict Escalation process was put in place. It isn't something new.

2. This is the first time it has been used, yes. It has been requested a few times over the years but usually when the member realizes it won't lead to their account being reopened they have chosen not to proceed.

3. John directly requested a public review.

4. That part should probably be reviewed and likely removed or reworded as we haven't ever really taken any action like that.

5. None, since as mentioned above, we've never done it.  Partly this is likely because the Team is small and we just haven't expended the extra time needed to track or monitor any statements previous members may be leaving outside of our site/forum.
Thank you Eowyn.
+14 votes
Thanks Herb and Eowyn -- I had some of the same questions, since I've been here 8-1/2 years and have never seen such a case, and didn't know we had this process.  I do give the site credit for having such a process in place and wanting it to be perceived as fair.  As others have noted, the absence of a defense certainly detracts from a perception of fairness.  (But in this case it seems as if it would take a pretty miraculous defense to cause people to think the wrong conclusion was reached.)

From the standpoint of fairness of the overall process, however, the other thing that's conspicuous by its absence (at least for those of us who grew up with the American judicial system) is a jury of one's peers.  The disciplinary decisions, in general, are made by "the team," and I doubt if any of us could describe exactly what that means or what process might be used in any particular case.  If we want fairness to be perceived by all, I wonder why it wouldn't make more sense to have some ordinary members, with no particular site stature, making the disciplinary decisions, particularly in cases where the penalty to be imposed is the WikiTree death sentence?
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (432k points)
Steve, that's an excellent description of the process, and I thank you for that.  I do question the opening implication that the "punishment" and "discipline" discussion is off-topic.  To me it is quite relevant to this case, and I must tell you that these word games have now made me suspicious of the process, when I had no suspicions initially.  We were told above that Mr. Williams "was asked to leave because he was unable to follow the established standards and procedures."  I was chastised for referring to that as "punishment."  I asked above what the politically correct terminology for this action would be, but that question was never answered.  As the remainder of the thread makes clear, Mr. Williams was not "asked to leave," his account was closed involuntarily.  In my simple mind, if the site is incapable of acknowledging that throwing a member off the site is punishment for his misdeeds, then that makes me wonder what sort of spin-doctoring and wordsmithing is going on inside the other steps in this process where offenses are being described and recommendations are being made.  To what ridiculous extremes are we going to try to put lipstick on a pig of a process?  If we're afraid to even describe the case accurately, I have my nagging doubts whether the process is fair.

Dennis --

If you want to call it "punishment," feel free.

I, personally, don't like the word games, either. I also don't like that people are having a hard time accepting good intentions on the part of the people who were trying to help John.

My comments yesterday were meant to clarify that mentors and mediators go to great lengths to use positive words and methods to help other members. I felt the need to make it clear to everyone that they don't meat out "discipline" and "punishment;" they try to help people.

If a member's account is closed, it's because they didn't respond reasonably to those efforts.

If people are unsure what the problems were with John, there is a good summary from one of his mentors at the top of this comment

There is a character limit on G2G posts -- I don't know what it is. If we tried to share all of the correspondence that went between John and his mentors, I can't even imagine how many posts it would take.

I do hope you can understand how hard people try to keep this process fair. It's not often that we close a person's account, and despite concern from John's mentors and mediator, they filed "successful" conclusion reports to start with. Unfortunately, as soon as he was able, he went right back to the same behaviors. 

As an example: One of the things he does is to email people privately to talk about other people behind their backs and try to pit one person against another. He throws in lots of flattery of the person he's emailing to try and win them over and then spreads false rumors about the person who has upset him. This has happened numerous times, and continues to happen even now. 

I know everybody's frustrated here because they don't have concrete examples of what went on. I hope this helps some.

Thanks Julie, yes, it does help some.  We're asked to evaluate process.  I don't really care about knowing every detail of this case -- it's not my business, and I certainly don't advocate a retrial with the whole world chiming in.  But if the bottom line is having one's account closed for repeated failure to follow standards and procedures, in my simple mind that is punishment.  I'm unable to grasp why you're unable to say the word, and I'm open to hearing a more politically correct word.  I really do accept that the people who were involved in the process have good intentions and invested a lot of time and effort in this.  I'm not criticizing them in any way. But you have me wondering if they are constrained in the language they may use to articulate the case or address the subject, or provided with acceptable evaluation terminology they may report.  Is there some specific spin that is expected from mentors and mediators to describe the results of their efforts -- and they are chastised if they don't adhere to the prescribed model?  Does the process somehow preclude just telling it like it is?  That's the substance of my concern.

There's no prescribed model, Dennis. Mentors each have their own style of working with people. We don't expect them to use particular vocabulary or terminology, and we don't expect them to be perfect. They abide by the Honor Code just like everyone else, and they're subject to the same Problems with Members process just like everyone else. 

Mentors are volunteers. When a person volunteers to become a mentor, we review their contributions -- both on profiles and in G2G. It's usually pretty clear whether or not someone would be good at mentoring. If their help in G2G is clear and friendly, then it's more than likely they will be a good mentor. I can't think of one mentor on the project right now who isn't just a genuinely nice person and interested in helping people succeed.

Part of what happened in this case is that at least one of the mentors probably tried too hard to make things work. If a member is not cooperating at all or making an effort, we don't expect mentors to get to the point of frustration, but this mentor went the extra mile to try and turn things around. Unfortunately, there are some people who just aren't able to work well with others regardless of the effort that is put in to try and help them.

ETA: re: "punishment" ... I don't mind saying the word when I feel it's appropriate. I just feel like account closure is more of a consequence. It's all semantics. Let's just drop that and agree that we have different feelings on the subject. ;-) My concern was more that I didn't want anyone reading this to think that working with a mentor was going to be a negative experience.

Dennis, please don't read too much into my comments on word choice. I have no first hand experience of the internal workings of the mentor/mediation process. My comments were largely based on the help pages, such as Help: Formal Mediation, which says "nobody is accused of wrongdoing." Maybe what we are really talking about here is whether that is an accurate description of the process.

Agreed, and I'll try not to belabor any semantics issue.  Since you're in charge, I'll just tell you that when my time comes I want blunt, tell-it-like-it-is mentoring, not a bunch of politically correct BS.  I sense that my time is not that far away! smiley

Ha!! I appreciate that, Dennis. laugh 

Stay out of trouble now! hehe

I Speed we may have found common ground!  The Mediation Help page addresses both one- and two-party mediation.  Or maybe it's two- and three-party, since WikiTree is always involved.  The statement about no one being accused of wrongdoing clearly only applies to member vs member disputes, not to WikiTree vs member cases.  That page could use some work (I am not volunteering to do it).  Topic for another G2G question.

Virtual digital handshake.

Thanks Herb. Yes, it's a question for another G2G post. I am more than happy to reciprocate your virtual digital handshake! I would happily do that even if we couldn't find common ground smiley 

Melanie -- This is in reply to your comment here.

It's rare, but occasionally a situation arises, and when reviewed by the Mediators -- as all MIRs are -- it is immediately escalated. This will normally only happen if someone is effectively vandalizing the site or if they've already been the subject of multiple conflict escalations in the past. This can also happen if there is a heated exchange where one person is verbally attacking or threatening another person -- it's usually pretty obvious what a "heated conflict" is. 

This is described in step #3 of Stage Two on the Conflict Escalation page. 

+15 votes
I have only just seen this. I got on extremely well with John and I was impressed with his many excellent contributions to Wikitrtee, John was courteous and generous at all times to me .I noted that in the short time he was a Member he contributed a great deal. John loved Wikitree and sought to help others.
Gilly
by Anonymous Wood G2G6 Mach 2 (21.0k points)
edited by Anonymous Wood

Gilly, you wrote:

Might it be that when he was critisized he was extremely hurt and upset and responded accordingly?

The Honor Code, part IV says:

We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don't act accordingly.

You wrote "when he was criticized."

Telling someone that they have broken the rules can be done in a pragmatic way or it can be done in a critical way.  There is a big difference between a highway patrollman telling you that you were over the speed limit by 10 miles versus telling you that you are a bad driver.

If a Wikitreer is outside of the rules and they are reminded of the rules, that isn't criticism.  If someone says it in a critical way and you are offended, your recourse is to follow the problems with members page.

In my own case, when he was duplicating my work, I emailed him a very benign email.  I didn't criticize him, I was not rude.  I simply pointed out that the project had assigned tasks, that he was duplicating my work, and suggested he choose a different task.  His response was to vandalize the project page.  I mentioned it in my answer because that incident was never a part of his mentoring, mediation, or the conflict resolution processes.

If a person takes benign corrections as criticism and then acts out accordingly, then perhaps a Wiki is not the best place for them.  To Wiki you have to be able to collaborate and you have to be able to get along with other people.

SJ, since you have mentioned twice now about John 'duplicating your work,' I wonder if you would mind expanding on what offense he committed there?  I opened the link you posted previously, and saw that John had posted a comment saying only "I want to congratulate you on your Super Star Badge awarded 9 Apr 2020 ."  He did not reference the Appreciation Team or give any other indication to suggest he was usurping anyone's prerogatives.  Would not any member be allowed, even encouraged, to make such a comment?
Oops...I was only surmising. I have no knowledge at all in regard to any of his correspondence with others. My bad!
Herbert, originally John's comment(s) were in the name of the project and he edited them later to reflect that there were thanks only from him.

John's only 'offense' that I had mentioned here in this thread is that he defaced the project page.
Thanks SJ.  I understand now.
+13 votes
I believe John made 50 comments in order to fulfil his Appreciation Team duties. I hope everyone appreciates his dedication to his responsibilities. It seems to me disingenuous NOT to mention that they were Appreciation Comments.
by Anonymous Wood G2G6 Mach 2 (21.0k points)
edited by Anonymous Wood

Having a good reason for violating rules doesn't justify violating them.  One of the problems that was addressed during the conflict resolution process was John's communications with other members.  He was asked not to email or post comments to other members and he agreed to this temporary restriction.

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