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The RequestToLeave is part of a suggested role model. It means that a person in the GuestRole who is not able to take a constructive role within the community - for example as a CommunityMember or OccasionalContributor - is turned into an UnwelcomeVisitor, who is expected to leave peacefully. So in fact it's inverting WelcomeNewcomer.

The RequestToLeave can be done by writing something like "you are not welcome, please leave this wiki" to the homepage of the person in question. A signature must be added. Only members can do it.

Similar to when you WelcomeNewcomers there is no specific number of members necessary to do a RequestToLeave. The founder or host may do it alone, otherwise 2-3 members that agree should be considered enough (SilentAgreement). The RequestToLeave becomes invalid if a single member opposes.

So a RequestToLeave may fail. It is risky business for those who start it. A member should only start it if he is absolutely sure about it. If it fails it weakens the community, for it must then be reinterpreted as an individual hostility against a guest. Trust will be lost between those that supported the request and those that let it fail.

On the other hand, those that let it fail also take a risk. They lose some trust and they take responsibility for the person in question. Any later problems with him become their problems too. If they were wrong they have weakened the community twice.

I think that a RequestToLeave has only two purposes, neither of which requires real communication with the target, as after all a RequestToLeave can only exacerbate the ConflictCycle. In fact, to that end, the only time a RequestToLeave is legitimate is when it is generally recognizable that there will be no end to the conflict as the target is self-perpetuating it beyond external influence (e.g. a troll, a sociopath, someone 'angry from birth', an ideologue).

The most obvious purpose is an cathartic hope to escape. "You have done the following heinous things. Therefore I want you to leave. This is my final word." These are usually done in anger and consequently not very effective. Whilst vehement, overt, and inflammatory, they are not as extremely emotional as cries for escape, "Leave me alone!" "Get out!", that aren't really requests to leave as much as they are cries for help. In fact, they are restrained by a sense of rationality, albeit one under an AngryCloud. They are also pointless as they will not achieve an ending. Catharsis can only happen after the conflict is over. These kinds of messages do not end a conflict. Remember, you have to convince the other person they are wasting their own time. It's completely unadvisable to send one, final message as it will lead to a response, and then further one, final messages.

The second purpose is to communicate with the rest of the community that you wish to CommunityExile this person. A RequestToLeave, given SilentAgreement by a SilentMajority, says to the community this person is marked. Having a couple additional people corroborate the RequestToLeave adds extra credence that this isn't just one person in a personal fight they got themselves into, such as an EditWar on WikiPedia. Given the mark, the community must then take action to exile the target, such as limiting their interaction or erasing anchors to their reputation (DissuadeReputation, ForgiveAndForgetInSoftware).

As a whole, since this method is framed as part of the conflict, and requests to leave are generally still emotionally charged, this method of instigating community action seems flawed as it will inflame the situation more than necessary. A more neutral method seems appropriate, although what that could be is beyond me at this time. I'm not convinced an anglo-saxon styled legal system (a rationalization of morality; policies as LegalSolutions) is the best solution either. -- SunirShah

See SuggestedWikiRoleModel

An experience

Let me tell you a story. Slightly more than 10 years ago, I went to the head office of Nestlé in La Defense to candidate for a job position as a research engineer in food science. After a full day of talk and tests with several people (which you might compare to the first few days/week of a visitor on a wiki), here is what I was told : “we look for a researcher, and we think you would do well as such, but we always plan ahead, we train our managers for long term, so we want the employee to possibly be fit for high management, here, at the headquarters; And here, what we want is muffled atmosphere (that was the Nestlé community expectation, that people be discreet, very polite, very diplomatic, non obstrusive, deeply respectful of hierarchy…they had to melt in the walls). They added they did not think me able to behave in such a way, so mentioned that if I could probably satisfy them right now, I would likely not satisfy them later on, so it was best that they refuse my application for any job they could propose, unless their management type changed (here, they showed me very politely the door, asking me not to try to create any more links, not to insist). They also added that they did want to insist it did not mean in the least my personality was wrong in any sense, or that they did not trust my ability to make very good things. They just said “you probably won’t be happy with us either, because you will suffer from the muffled atmosphere.”

I remember how upset I was then. Not very disappointed because the job had some strong drawbacks (in terms of location in particular). But it took me a long time to understand what that woman said that day, and to realise how honest and positive she had been. 10 years later, I realise such comments are unusual.

I am just a guest here [at Meatball], so that is not mine to say anything to Sunir about how he runs the place. I do not judge, I observe mostly. And I observed the last days [Jan 04] with interest. In my wiki, we have an official position of welcoming anyone per default, the newbie is requested to jump in, we create bonds as soon as possible. We need people. And then, sometimes, we suffer. Like hell. When we realise the person is not very well respecting the community expectations, we spend endless hours, trying to make him respect them, trying to understand, trying to reach a compromise, we try to keep him the longer we can. We explain, we beg, we fight. Asking someone to leave is the last end. Actually, at that point, we rarely politly ask. We slam people out of the place, which is usually hurting both the community and the exiled one. That is one way. The way of an open place which tries to welcome anyone, and which quickly turns into a wasp nest. Not the best, not the worse, just one way.

Here, on the contrary, the place is not very open. There are strong behavioral limits set. When people do not fit, it does not necessarily mean they are wrong, or bad, or without any sort of interest to the community. That just means that it is best for the community sake that they do not stay. And that means people are more or less clearly told they will likely not be happy here. Best to clear things before the situation raise a lot of pain. See it as ‘’’harm reduction’’’ technique.

All communities have different rules. That is the variety that allow anyone to find his place somewhere, right? In a rather close society, such as Meatball, there is less pain in doing what Sunir is doing. Among the things I like here, are the very low level of agressivity between members (no insult) and respect from other opinions and work (no free criticism, assumption of good will). Plus, it is “muffled”. I wish you well ..., I will regret your departure, [...] as you also gave some insightful comments; but I do not think you belong to this place.

[-- FlorenceDevouard (moved from some other page)]

Suggest to Leave?

The example above example of a job interview process with Nestlé cites an instance where the interviewee was politely told that they probably would not fit it and that they would have to leave because it was in the long-term best interests of both parties... The end result being that this person was told to leave, and even though it was done very politely and diplomatically, and even though the person asked to leave later came to the realisation that it was a ultimately an honest assessment of what was felt was best and a positive experience, negative feeling were still the immediate result.

I wonder if, in the setting of an online community, the above approach could be modified to suggest to person who does not fit in, perhaps a DifficultPerson?, that they will not the be happy here for what ever reason(s) (perhaps the CommunityDoesNotAgree, or they do not meet CommunityExpectations, they have the inability to ControlYourself thereby acting as TrollBait?, etc.). To highlight to them the choice to leave (to exercise their RightToLeave and become a VoluntaryExile?)?

Could this approach minimise negative feelings in the short term, and have the benefit of being appreciated as an honest and positive example of CriticismIsFeedback in the long term?

Are there any thoughts as to whether this request, if it is a good approach, should be done publicly or privately?


There are a lot of cases on C2 where two 'opposing' parties each took the position that the other should leave. While its difficult to generalise all of the issues that come into play in these situations, one Observation that seems valid is that the more each party seems to have 'at stake' in the community, the more difficult it becomes to separate the feuding parties. -- HansWobbe



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