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There are three conflict types.

A HealthyConflict is a resolvable conflict within the community. It happens when people who are peers and are acting in GoodFaith have a disagreement. They are arguing because they want to move things forward, to do some BarnRaising in in their own view. They are also limited to their hands, hearts, and mind just like we are. Resolving such conflicts is simply a matter of empathy, understanding, integration, and education. After all, if they are simply passionate, we can listen to them.

If they are acting inappropriately, we can educate them on how to most effectively voice their message.

The second conflict type is between the community and difficult persons outside. It is one about manipulative power, people don't want to be part of the community but still change its direction. People who use PenNames, create HostileForks, undermine PersonalRelationships, obsessively dump energy into the site, use HostileSoftware?, or incite FlameWars are all trying to gain power over the rest. And with that excessive power, they seek to push the agenda forward in their direction, possibly for selfish reasons. While technological abuses of power can often be checked with the technology of the site, say by using a SurgeProtector, social abuses of power require cogniscence of the situation. Someone must transcend the situation and NameTheConflict so that everyone will know how the manipulation is happening.

The difficulty in NameTheConflict is that it is a serious charge to lay, and if you are wrong, you will be in serious trouble.

The third conflict type is a fundamental conflict within the community. It's often the case too that a person using manipulative social power is not aware they are doing this. It is somehow baked into their psyches in the way they approach the world. They believe they are acting in good faith even when it is bad faith. For instance, those who think that FlameWars are an acceptable means to bring the agenda forward, or that PenNames are a good idea, or those that participate in HostileForks may surround themselves in an air of self-justification.

The most ideal response is to teach them a better way of getting things done in the world. (But be aware that some may not listen to anything you say.)

It is a neccessity to a communities health that they check these abuses of power. SoftSecurity relies on the principle that PersonalRelationships are stronger than anything else. Circling the chuck wagons as the community pulls together to DefendEachOther may look like a cult or a LynchMob, but it is at least necessary that when the community is pushed around by an external party (or even an internal party), they maintain their integrity and coherence. That does not mean inciting a FlameWar, it just means that if someone tries pulling them askew through anything but the accepted practice, they will not have anything to do with it.

If this requires a leader to crystallize the community sentiment, as is often the case, the leader will look power hungry to the abusive individual, especially if that individual is unaware they are acting manipulatively. After all, the leader is acting to reduce their power. Even if it is obvious to everyone else that the goal is to equalize power so that everyone may participate through their hands, hearts, and minds, to the person who had more power and then lost it, it will be an affront. More to the point, they will likely shoot themselves in the feet in the process and end up as CommunityOutcasts, and they will blame the leader (now a LightningRod) for their own failure.

However, it may create an enemy that may grow into a future attacker. A future HostileFork will draw these people back into your cosmos like moths to a flame (war). It is imperative to learn how to handle these situations with grace and ConstantRespect, although you should forgive yourself for initial failures. It's not an easy thing to learn. (Although this is Meatball, which exists to sort it out.)

CategoryConflict CategoryPower


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