Help:Conflict Escalation

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Well-intentioned WikiTreers come into conflict with each other. It's unavoidable. Most disagreements are settled quickly, privately, and with courtesy. Here's how to handle harder cases.

WikiTree will immediately close an account if there is a Terms of Service violation, legal issue or threat, or if someone declares their intention to knowingly violate a rule. Otherwise we follow our Honor Code and assume that all parties have good intentions and all conflicts are based on mistakes and misunderstandings. We find that many problems are based on unclear help pages. Every stage of escalation described here involves more volunteer community members attempting to identify the source of the misunderstanding.

We have worked hard over many years to make this process fair, generous, rules-based, and entirely member-driven. Please appreciate how seriously our community takes its rules and ask in G2G whenever something is unclear. On the other side, we appreciate that all our rules don't suit everyone. If you don't enjoy participating on WikiTree, reduce the number of profiles you manage, take a break, or close your account. Help is available for any of this.


Stage One: Problems with Members Procedure

If you're having a problem with another member — a conflict or any kind of problem with what someone else is doing — start with the Problems with Members procedure.

Following this simple procedure will result in a Mentor Intervention Request (MIR) if appropriate. It is the first level of escalation.

Stage Two: Mentor Intervention Request

  Mediators Private Group

A conflict cannot be escalated without a Mentor Intervention Request (MIR). MIRs go to the private Mediators group. The Mediators then choose to do one of the following:

  1. They resolve it without mentoring. The member is not added to the tracking document or is added at the green level for reference only.
    • ✔ Conflict Resolved
  2. They assign a Mentor and add the member to the tracking doc at the yellow level.
    • → Move to Stage Three
  3. They file a Mediation Request Form (MRF) and move the member(s) to the purple level because it's a heated conflict or otherwise beyond the scope of informal mentoring.
    • → → Skip to Stage Four
  4. They refer it to the Mediators Council if the MIR represents another instance with the same circumstances involving the same member(s) to whom a formal recommendation was made in a previous mediation.
    • → → → Skip to Stage Five

Stage Three: Informal Mentoring (Yellow Level)

  Volunteer Mentor

The MIR is forwarded to a volunteer Mentor who will communicate with the member informally. Whenever the Mentor decides it's appropriate, they choose to do one of the following:

  1. They file a new MIR because they are not willing or able to continue mentoring but the member needs more help.
    • ← Back to Stage Two
  2. They file a Conclusion Report (CR) to report successful mentoring. Mediators then move the member from yellow to green level.
    • ✔ Conflict Resolved
  3. They file a Conclusion Report (CR) to say that they have been unable to reach the member for seven days. Mediators then temporarily deactivate the member's account. The team will close the account if the member never returns.
    • On Hold
  4. They file a Mediation Request Form (MRF) and move the member to the purple level if mentoring is unsuccessful or if the member requests Formal Mediation.
    • → Move to Stage Four

Stage Four: Formal Mediation (Purple Level)

  Volunteer Mediator

A Mediation Request Form (MRF) can only be submitted by a Mediator or Mentor after an initial Mentor Intervention Request. This is part of our strategy for involving more community members in more difficult problems.

The volunteer Mediator follows the highly structured process on Formal Mediation. At the end of this process, the Mediator makes a formal recommendation and asks the member(s) if they understand and agree with the recommendation. The Mediator then files a Conclusion Report (CR).

  1. They report a successful mediation if the member(s) accept the Mediator's recommendation. The Mediators group receives the CR and moves the member(s) to the green or yellow level.
    • ✔ Conflict Resolved
  2. They report an unsuccessful mediation if the member(s):
    a.) do not accept the recommendation, or
    b.) request Mediator Council intervention, or
    c.) do not reply within seven days.
    • → Move to Stage Five

Stage Five: Mediators Council

  Mediators Council

The Mediators Council is the last stage of our volunteer community's process for resolving conflicts. The four stages above must be followed and their required reports must be filed before reaching this final stage. The Mediators Council will use the output of these forms to choose from their menu of options.

This council may deescalate the conflict, but more often, a member is asked to clear their Watchlist, refrain from certain activities, take time away from WikiTree, or end their participation entirely.

Account Closure

  WikiTree Team

If the Mediators Council decides that the volunteer community is unable to resolve the problem, the member's account will be closed.

Account closure is final and permanent. It is not a decision that is reached lightly or quickly. The stages above may represent dozens or even hundreds of volunteer community member hours.

All the stages described above are private. We do this to protect the individuals involved and to prevent conflicts from escalating unnecessarily. Most people don't want the things they say privately in the midst of heated conflicts to be made public on the open internet forever. See Help:Conflict Privacy for more explanation.

We understand that this may lead some people to question whether an escalation was handled objectively. If your account was closed and you believe that WikiTree did not follow its own written rules, you can request a public summary. Or, if you state in a public forum that your account was closed unfairly, we may post the summary in response. Private mentoring and mediations should not be discussed publicly outside of the summary.

A public summary is intended to allow community members to evaluate whether our volunteer-driven systems are fair and whether they could be improved for the future. It will never result in an account being reopened.

The summary will be posted on a public free-space page. It will summarize the output of conflict help forms related to you, with the names of others removed. Only your name will be included. Explanations of rule violations will appear in these forms and serve as the community's explanation of the account closure, generally without further comment.

A public summary is not an option for most Terms of Service violations and legal issues.

This page was last modified 15:00, 20 May 2022. This page has been accessed 13,420 times.