Help:Conflict Escalation

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Categories: Conflicts

Well-intentioned WikiTreers will 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.

Each stage of escalation involves more community members. We believe this is important before taking an extreme measure such as permanently closing a member's account.


Stage One: Problems with Members Procedure

If you're having a problem with a 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.
  2. They assign a Mentor and add the member to the tracking doc at the yellow level. See 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.

Stage Three: Informal Mentoring (Yellow Level)

  Volunteer Mentor

The MIR is forwarded to a volunteer Mentor who will communicate with the member informally. They may enlist the help of other Mentors and Rangers. 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. See stage two.
  2. They file a Conclusion Report (CR) to report successful mentoring. The Mediators group receives the CR and moves the member on the tracking doc from yellow to green level.
  3. They file a Mediation Request Form (MRF) and move the member to the purple level. See stage four.

Stage Four: Formal Mediation (Purple Level)

  Volunteer Mediator

Mentoring is meant to help individuals who are making mistakes. If it becomes hard to assume good intentions or if there is a heated conflict between members, formal mediation is warranted.

A Mediation Request Form (MRF) can only be submitted by a Mediator or Mentor after an initial Mentor Intervention Request. This continues the paper trail for the Mediator to follow, and it is part of our strategy for involving more community members in more serious 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 accept it. The Mediator then files a Conclusion Report (CR).

  1. They report a successful mediation if the member(s) accept their recommendation. The Mediators group receives the CR and moves the member(s) to the green or yellow level.
  2. They report an unsuccessful mediation if their recommendation is not accepted. The Mediators group forwards the CR to the WikiTree Team. See stage five.

Stage Five: Escalation to Team

  WikiTree Team

Escalation to the team means that the member will be asked to take time away from WikiTree, clear their Watchlist, or end their participation entirely. Before this, we want the volunteer community to have every reasonable opportunity to help the member. This is why there must be at least one Mentor Intervention Request, Mediation Request, and Conclusion Report before final escalation.

Closing an Account

We believe that almost all conflicts are based on mistakes and misunderstandings. They are communication problems. The goal of mentoring and mediation is to break through the communication problem.

If a member is involved in repeated conflicts or requires repeated mentoring, they may be asked to leave the WikiTree community. This can happen even if there was no intentional misconduct. The member may not be making genealogical research mistakes. They may just have no patience for the mistakes of others.

WikiTree is for collaboration, and collaboration requires a special kind of personality and a lot of patience. Not everyone wants to do what it requires. If you might be headed in this direction — if WikiTree hasn't been fun for you — start by reducing your Watchlist or suspending your participation.

Dealing with frequent conflicts drains our free community's scarce resources. Sometimes closing an account is necessary to keep our community productive, enjoyable, and free.

Public Review of Account Closures

If you have your account closed you can request a public review.

This will not result in your account being reopened. Account closures are permanent. Requesting a public review is a way for you and others to evaluate whether your case was handled in the best way for WikiTree, our mission, and our community.

Mentoring and mediation is done privately to protect the individuals involved and prevent conflicts from escalating unnecessarily. See Conflict Privacy. If you suspect that the process was not handled appropriately you can request that the output of Conflict Help Forms and a summary of your case be made public. The information will not be shown to you privately. It will be posted publicly.

If you discuss the case with others in a public forum, this may be interpreted as a request for public review and we will start the process explained here.

In a public review, we start by posting a timeline and summary on G2G with the output of Conflict Help Forms. We may include quotes from private messages and emails that you have written, with sensitive details and information about others removed. Only your name will be included.

You can ask to have a statement posted on the G2G thread. This is a one-time message, not a debate. Other members may also comment on it. Your statement will be edited to protect the privacy of other members.

We will not reply publicly or privately about mentoring or mediation anywhere other than the G2G review message. If someone wants to discuss the case, e.g. on a social network or via email, we will point to the review message and comment there if necessary.

To emphasize, a public review will never result in an account being reopened. It is just a way to allow the community to evaluate whether the best decisions were made for WikiTree, and whether our conflict escalation procedure could be improved for the future.

Note that some Terms of Service violations and other cases with legal implications may not be handled in the same way as other community problems.

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This page was last modified 05:55, 13 January 2021. This page has been accessed 5,606 times.