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Sometimes useful for ConflictResolution: a third party, who is neutral or at least able to understand both sides more clearly; has less emotional involvement. A ConflictMediator should first listen to both sides, then make both sides listen to each other's PointOfView, and de-escalate violence by uncovering the substance of the conflict.
In a healthy community, do members step in and resolve conflict before they are asked?
- Typically in a wiki, members step in, yes.
- Unless members are so numerous they don't see the conflict until it is very ripe. And then, some members think others may take care of the job.
While Trolls (see WhatIsaTroll) create conflict, between themselves and other members, or by stirring up debate, ConflictMediator members of a community are in a sense Anti-Trolls: they seek to resolve conflict where they see it.
Mediators must be careful to separate their mediation role from any other role, in particular the one of a GodKing. A mediator should not be seen as threatening to the members in conflict, otherwise a side might not feel confortable enough discussing the issue.
See also WikiPedia:mediation and WikiPedia:Wikipedia:Mediation