Updated: Comment #28
@paddypatpat posted a summary and detailed reference 3 Jun 2013.
Conflict and disagreement is natural in any community. However, when it becomes inflamed with emotion and negative personal feelings, it can be hurtful and dammaging. The impact of these inflamed disagreements include sapping strength from developers, and making it difficult (and scary) for new contributors to engage. It's also not always possible to seperate community issues from technical issues.
Drupal Community Conflict Resolution Proposal
Conflict and disagreement is natural and to be expected and treasured. However, when it becomes inflamed with emotion and negative personal feelings, it can result in damaged people and damaged community. We'd like to find another path.
In general, emotionally charged conflicts result when people view the conflict and their opponents without understanding of the others' viewpoints. A huge percentage of interpersonal conflicts can be resolved or at least calmed simply by attempting to build this understanding of each other as human beings who have rational goals.
- Agree on the real issue (identify the real issue and then constrain the boundaries of the conflict to something that can be worked with)
- Agree on the history (the narrative of events)
- Agree on the facts
- Interpret the facts (each party can give their own interpretation of what all this means to them)
- Identify the emotions involved (Express what this means emotionally to each party)
- Determine a course of action
In general, we don't want mediation to be called into play very often, because it strains and exhausts the mediator, and we'll never have enough resources for that.
- Someone, preferably the parties involved, should create an issue in the Conflict Resolution issue queue. This is normally done by the parties seeking help resolving a conflict, but in the case where a conflict is already affecting others, it can be done by others.
- If the conflict involves illegal activity such as threats of bodily harm, etc., it should immediately be reported to the responsible governmental authorities for legal followup. We're not qualified to deal with threats of rape, violence, or the like.
- Each party to the conflict should write two comments in the issue. The first will express just the history/facts of the situation (not emotions or interpretation). The second will express their own interpretation of these facts and how it affects them emotionally. (Note that if this is too sensitive for public laundry display, the parties can opt to do it by email.)
- The parties "meet" with each other in the most personal way possible (in person is best; Skype with video probably second, Skype without third IRC a poor fourth). Standard ground rules should be provided, and an impartial observer (not a mediator) may be recruited by the two parties. The agenda will be to re-hash what was said in the emails, with the objective of understanding the other person as a person and their view of the conflict.
- At this point, the conflict may be resolved, and no formal action needs to have been taken. If it is not resolved yet, the situation can be escalated to the Community Conflict Resolution Team. If the team chooses to accept the conflict, it will start with updated history/facts and interpretation/emotion summaries provided by the parties, along with a statement from each about the earlier meeting and why it did not succeed. A member of the team will meet with the parties (again, using the best possible communication type) and go through the steps again.
- If the conflict is considered resolved by the parties, that's good.
- If the parties to the conflict do not consider it resolved, and they think it has to be escalated, they can request escalation to the Conflict Resolution Team. The team can then decide if this is a conflict which must be resolved through authoritative action somewhere in our community governance structures or not. If not, it will be dropped. If it needs to be escalated, the team will request a decision resolving the conflict from the appropriate quarters in the Drupal community. This, of course, depends on us building policy and governance structures.
Additional helpful strategies for mediation proposed by @itangalo in #16
- Each "side" in the conflict should describe the other party's opinion, in a way that the other party agrees with. (This helps understanding others' points of view, and also helps removing misunderstandings about what the issue at hand.)
- Each "side" in the conflict should state what could make them change their mind on the issue. (This forces each party to consider alternatives to their own opinion and is also useful for finding approaches to move on with the conflict. In case one or both parties don't see any way to change their minds, this is also useful information.)
Community Working Group to discuss, finalise and post as Community policy.
also see on GDO [DRAFT] Conflict and Community Standards
Original report by @rfay
We need conflict resolution for community issues as well as technical issues. How should we do it?