A community of technology community managers, leaders, and builders.

Handling perennially controversial topics


#1

Overall question: is the controversy on-topic or not?

If off-topic, maybe breakout sessions

forums need policies, enforcement mechanisms

how to get people to focus, get back on track

faith / religion — balancing elf expression vs prosthelytizing

balancing extraverted vs intraverted / opinions of big-shots vs leaders vs others

conflict resolution needed
social skills social norms, people may not know well, need to learn

For on-topic issues, we have to deal with the controversy

Recognizing when consensus is not achievable and still holding the community together after
drinking culture / communities that withstand controversy when more personal care and social sense
face-to-face / human elements help

calling out the elephant in the room, how to call it out, how to make progress…Benevolent Dictators (and not always appropriate)
Does the community manager call out the elephant?

Avoid driving away volunteers
Importance of showing that people are managing the situation
Respecting boundaries! Clear boundaries
Falling on your sword (admitting your struggles, taking responsibility) find a sword even…

Concrete example: Drupal controversy about whether or not there are blocks to new contributors getting their code included

CLA blocks people from contributing to OpenStack… controversial topic

Dictator helps make decisions but doesn’t do conflict resolution necessarily

Facilitated consensus with fallback — work for consensus, have fallback (vote or dictator)

Resources

Books:
How To Make Meeting Work
How To Make Collaboration Work

narrative inquiry
Dave Snowden
cognitive-edge.com
rosecoloredstories.com
Open Sources O’Rielly book IETF story


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