I've spent the past two weeks working with other team members and Project Leaders to improve our conflict escalation procedures.
I think our basic Problems with Members process is very good. It sometimes leads to "Mentor Intervention Requests" (MIRs) and the help of volunteer Mentors.
In the years before we had the process and mentoring, there were far more little misunderstandings that snowballed into big problems. Now, for a large website where thousands of strangers collaborate on an emotional topic, we have remarkably few serious conflicts.
A recent reminder for me of what Mentors do for our community was in the Member of the Week interview with David Douglass where he wrote:
"When I first started as a new member I made all kind of mistakes including the worst of all, creating lots of profiles without sources and creating duplicate profiles. A very knowledgeable leader/mentor gently turned me around and once I started doing things the WikiTree way I found that my profiles looked better, were more accurate and my research skills improved because a mentor cared enough to help me."
David is now a terrific member. He actually co-leads the Magna Carta Project, which is really high-level work. If it weren't for his mentor (it was the amazing Robin Lee) he might have been driven away and our community would be poorer for having lost him.
So, we have not been messing with the Problems with Members page or the work of Mentors. We set out to improve upon what happens when mentoring fails, when a problem has to escalate further because of a persistent problem or a serious conflict.
In the past most of these stickier problems went straight to the team. We were short-circuiting the ability of the volunteer community to solve these problems and turn things around before account closure.
Under the planned changes, there will always be a step between failed mentoring and escalation to the team: Formal Mediation. We had this step before but it was seldom used for various reasons.
These changes are not final. As most of you know, we have an open process for developing new policies here. Everyone in the community should have a chance to voice their opinions. That's what I'm inviting here.
If you're interested, see these pages:
Most of those pages aren't new. They have just been changed, sometimes in small ways.
I realize that for most members, this is all "inside baseball" stuff. That is, it's more than you're interested to know. Most members never get into serious conflicts so none of this matters. But I think most everyone wants to know that their account would not be closed without good cause.
If you have input on any of this, please post here. Thanks!
Onward and upward,