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Re: Bits from the DPL For December 2019

Hi Sam,

On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 02:29:31PM -0500, Sam Hartman wrote:
> Seeking Volunteers for Deescalation
> ===================================
> While discussing the role of the Community Team, I talked about my
> desire for the community team to help deescalate conflict.  I used the
> dread m-word (mediation) and confused us all.
> Russ and others expressed doubt that this sort of deescalation was
> something we could accomplish.
> I think it is really important.  We've demonstrated that we can make
> decisions; we can effect change.  But for it to be healthy to do so, I
> think we need to deescalate and heal.
> The first question is whether we can find volunteers to work on that.
> I don't know whether it will fit into the Community Team: I think we
> need to see who volunteers, get input from the Community Team, and get
> input from the project.
> If you would be willing to help with deescalation, please reach out.
> Sorts of things this might include:
> * Working with people to make sure they are heard--whether it is a
>   technical issue or a community issue.  The point is not to judge or
>   mediate, but to make sure that people and their opinions are not lost
>   in the noise.  And of course to raise the issue if they are getting
>   lost.
> * work with people to split meta-issues away from discussions.  So for
>   example during the conduct discussions this December, provide
>   reassurance that questions about our standards would eventually be
>   heard, but help separate that from a discussion where we were trying
>   to stand behind our transgender community.
> * work with people so they walk away from discussions feeling that they
>   were considered.  Try to figure out where frustration is festering and
>   respond to that.
> * Provide reassurance.  When we do need to take strong actions, help
>   people understand  how they can respond if they are nervous about
>   whether they are meeting our standards.  Help get them to a place
>   where they have confidence  that they could work constructively with
>   the community if there were a concern.
> * Help people let go of past disagreements.

I don't think any of the above is something that can be done by a team
of any sort. I believe our community has been slowly migrating to a
situation where these kinds of actions are seen as normal, and I think
we should work to encourage that going forward; but IMHO, delegating
that to a team is not going to help, on the contrary.

I specifically also disagree that trying to "split meta-issues away from
discussions" is in any way or form helpful. What may be a meta-issue to
you might be the core reason why someone else is upset about the
situation, and they may want to explain that to you to make you
understand *why* they are upset; being told in such a situation that
"we'll talk about it later" does not help deescalating things (on the
contrary). Additionally to that, telling people "we'll talk about it
later" can also be a way to (disingeniously) kill a discussion that
people don't want to have, with no intention to ever talk about it
later. In my experience, when tensions are running high, people get a
little bit paranoid about the "other side", and then being told things
like this will add oil to the fire.

I'm sorry to only shoot down suggestions and not have anything more
constructive to offer; but I can't think of anything better than
"continue to educate the community"...

To the thief who stole my anti-depressants: I hope you're happy

  -- seen somewhere on the Internet on a photo of a billboard

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