I’ve been thinking a lot about the transition from text based communication to audio/voice notes when tensions rise (my personal group chats with friends have been top of mind lately, as microcosms for social spaces that still require community guidelines and potential moderation). A few things come to mind with this approach:

- tone is often misconstrued in text, with the recipient sometimes bringing their own insecurities and anxieties into their reading of a message

- the sender of a comment might have to rethink their approach when they read a note out loud vs sending it via the safety of a keyboard

- I’ve considered switching to audio chat rooms when tensions rise (i.e. slack huddles) but have some concerns about the real time nature, especially in a group chat, when certain participants might not be active in a conversation in real time

Our group chat has yet to implement any changes like this so I can’t report on effectiveness yet. But im getting closer to pushing an experiment forward with at least one of my group chats.

Expand full comment

Dear Adit Dhanushkodi,

The work of online community stewards sounds like an extremely difficult undertaking and I am guessing there is no real training provided in resolving disputes between members and/or between moderators and members.

I am currently reading Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication which Satya Nadella had his senior management read shortly after taking over as CEO of Microsoft. What is so interesting about Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication is taking out judgmental and critical elements in our communication with others. If there is nothing else available I would think that all community stewards should read and digest this 219 page book that represents Rosenberg’s life work.

Love what you are doing, John Back

Expand full comment

The lack of specific training/resources for resolving conflict was something we also heard about! There there were a lot of approaches stewards took to get around the lack of resources - stewards share practices amongst themselves, adapt practices they learned from different contexts like college clubs or church, or by trial and error.

And thanks for the reference to Nonviolent Communication - one provocation our team briefly was thinking about was how features in the platform itself might support Nonviolent Communication practices. So rather than thinking about it just as an external training resource, also exploring how the features of the platform itself could guide stewards through those practices.

Expand full comment