What should you do when you have a serious disagreement or problem with another WikiTree member?

+23 votes
in Policy and Style by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

1 Answer

+18 votes
Best answer

First, don't WikiTree while angry!

Stop the conversation. Drop it until later. If after you cool down, you still can't communicate with the other person without getting hot under the collar again, roll it to someone else for help.

We've now developed a formal procedure for what to do in more serious conflicts. See the Conflict Resolution Procedure.

This has four stages of escalation, from simply asking for informal help, to formal mediation by a WikiTree Leader, to intervention by the WikiTree Team.

by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
selected by Keith Baker
From "Stop, Drop and Roll" on, this is so smart. Thank you.
Thank you, GeneJ! Coming from you, I take that as a real compliment.
Stop, drop and roll does seem like a more reasonable plan than my initial idea: duel at noon.
LOL, that is too funny, Ronald Arsenault.
Just curious if there are any specific types of flagrant offenses or patterns of behavior that have led to the need for a formal conflict resolution procedure?  It's hard to imagine that there would be a lot of issues that couldn't be resolved amicaby, and I suspect most of us would be inclined to avoid any behavior that has a track record of causing disputes.
Ha, Roland :-)


We identified a number of types of disagreements:


  • 1 Disagreements about Content
    -- Citing sources
    -- Insufficient sources
    2 Disagreements about Merging
    3 Disagreements about Formatting
    4 Disagreements about Privacy
    5 Disagreements about Control
    6 Disagreements about Member Conduct
Well, I can certainly believe there are some disagreements about all of those things.  But it's hard to believe that a lot of them get to the point of needing formal arbitration.  I don't know whether to be glad that members are passionate about getting it right, or upset that members are very possessive about profiles they manage.  And you didn't even mention one that I would have guessed could be a biggie -- i.e., editing an open profile without discussing the changes with the profile manager, which seems like just a common courtesy that any participant would honor.
Hi Dennis!

Most of our members are really great about respect, courtesy and upholding the Honor Code.  But for the few who don't, we felt we needed to have a formal process in place so we could consistently and efficiently work through whatever the situation was and also so that the community could know what to expect and to perhaps feel a little more comfortable knowing that there IS a process should it be needed.
The other reason to have a formal process is for folks who aren't comfortable dealing with conflict and want help.

You also wrote: "editing an open profile without discussing the changes with the profile manager, which seems like just a common courtesy that any participant would honor."

Two things:

1) I think that is handled in there somewhere but not pulled out that way because

2) every profile --at least open ones-- before it's been edited has a phrase that encourages anyone to edit. To be bold. I interpret that to be giving people permission to edit. The exception are project protected profiles which explicitly state to discuss *major* changes before editing.

Look too in the Style guide-- Biographies I think-- (I'm running to a meeting --and can't immediately check)-- about editing existing text.  

That saaid I'm aware there are conflicting feelings about this topic so you may want to start a new G2g about this but do please read the style guide first.

Gotta run
I'm OK with the language in the Style Guide, and have no inclination to make a pet cause out of that issue.  But just saying, it would not be my style to do unilateral edits to a profile with an active manager who answers the mail, even if the site allows and encourages that.  If I felt that someone did damage to a profile I actively manage, I would complain directly to the perpetrator, and would probably only invoke the formal process or the duel at noon for a serial offender.

The new conflict resolution guidelines do (I believe the current draft does, anyway) recommend that the first step is to try to resolve the situation directly with the person.  The bulk of these new policies are focused on what happens when such direct efforts fail.

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