Communicating in a healthy way


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This wiki is a work in progress, started by @nadia on a suggestion by @Dorotea, and in collaboration with her. Please feel free to add your suggestions as comments or edit the document (revisions are automatically generated, so don’t worry about any errors etc).

Content

1. What is trust in Edgeryders and how does it work?

2. How is a welcoming atmosphere built and maintained? How can I contribute?

3. Making it easier for one another to support each others great projects

4. Helping maintain honesty, respect and integrity in communication

5. Understanding group dynamics and how you function in them

6. What do I do when things go wrong or when conflicts arise?


1. What is trust in Edgeryders and how does it work?

Edgeryders is an experiment in decentralised organisation structures. We are learning how to think and work as a network in a spirit of mutual support and camraderie. By learning to harness our collective intelligence towards solving problems, we are investing in our own capacity to build the world in which we live together.

This requires us all to learn new kinds of collaboration skills both as individuals and as a collective. What successes we have had so far rest on two legs: openness and trust. By opening our processes, knowledge, time and resources with one another we are engaging in a massive exercise in trust. By assuming good faith, that our peers wish us well, in all our interactions with one another, we allow one another to fail well and learn from our mistakes together.

What makes all of this possible is the social contract underpinning our interactions and collaborations with one another. Please make sure you understand it [url coming here], and help newcomers to the community to do the same. Some key principles…

Accuracy: ensure that whatever information you spread is factually correct and supported by credible data. If you cannot be certain of the accuracy of a statement or claim, e.g. because it is based on hearsay, i.e. something you think someone said or did, refrain from spreading it. To do otherwise is to sow the seeds of distrust and disrespect.

Confidentiality: the importance of respecting people’s privacy and not reveal personally-identifiable information about them. This includes information about people’s social, economic or psychological situation. Remember, we live in a surveillance paradigm and are responsible for safeguarding one another’s privacy.

Generosity: Assume good faith in all communication with your peers. Where you have doubts, ask a question the way you would to a trusted and liked peer. You would be surprised how many avoidable conflicts arise because people feel unjustly accused due to how questions are framed.

Intellectual integrity: When possible speak for yourself based on your own first hand experience, and present verifiable cases or examples. Watch out for logical fallacies, and gently point them out when you do spot them. This helps everyone discover blind spots in our knowledge or thinking, and makes us all smarter together.

Personal responsibility: When you see something you think can or should be improved, take responsibility for proposing a solution that you are willing put time and effort into building. This is important because what allows us to stay independent and not have to compromise for money, is if everyone is helping to maintain the infrastructure we all use.

Shared ownership: Projects born and developed collectively on the community platform are owned by every single person who has contributed to their evolution. Forking projects by taking them out of the platform or building new organisations around them is fine if you use names and visuals different from those of the original projects. This is to make it clear that whenever people interact with the new projects or organisations, they are engaging with a group of individuals and not the community as a whole or the not-for-profit social enterprise with the same name that supports it.

2. How is a welcoming atmosphere built and maintained? How can I contribute?

Text coming here soon.

  • Join the welcoming team [URL coming soon].
  • Join the community hangout team [URL coming soon].
  • Join the community events team [URL coming soon].
  • Join the translation team [URL coming soon].

3. Making it easier for one another to support each others great projects

Information overload is a key reason why people choose not to engage in projects- if a call for participation requires us to spend too much time and energy on analysing what needs to be done, and how we can help…we are less likely to engage in it.

For those driving the projects that need help, it is easy to be blind to the needs of “newcomers” or possible customers/funders because we are so immersed in the work and know it very well. But we are often new to one another’s projects… so we can help structure the information for each other.

  • Join the content management team [URL coming soon].
  • Join the project development and management team [URL coming soon].
  • Join the fundraising team [URL coming soon].

4. Helping maintain honesty, respect and integrity in communication

The best way to ensure honesty, respect and integrity in anything Edgeryders related is to be part of running it.

  • Join the community management team [URL coming soon].
  • Join the social enterprise management team [URL coming soon].
  • Join the social media and outreach team [URL coming soon].

5. Understanding group dynamics and how you function in them

A lot has been written about group dynamics, but many of us are not really aware of how we function in different roles and situations in groups. Especially not in online-offline communities. If you have some suggestions for helpful reading, please add them in comments below. A good way to develop your competences is through learning by doing and sharing your reflections with others.

  • Join the community management team [URL coming soon].

6. What do I do when things go wrong or when conflicts arise?

Ask for a personal call with one of the community managers. Explain the situation, and ask for their help in trying to make sense of how to move forward. If you are sad or hurt, tell them. Remember, no one can read your thoughts unless you make them known, and it’s very difficult for others to help unless you ask for it.

Accuracy: ensure that whatever information you spread is factually correct and supported by credible data. If you cannot be certain of the accuracy of a statement or claim, e.g. because it is based on hearsay, i.e. something you think someone said or did, refrain from spreading it. To do otherwise is to sow the seeds of distrust and disrespect.

Critical thinking: Listen actively to the concerns of those involved in the conflict, but keep in mind the need to maintain critical distance if you are to really help resolve the situation. Watch out for logical fallacies, and point them out when you do spot them. This helps everyone involved identify the real issues, and moves us all towards a solution.

We are looking for case studies and tools around conflict management in online communities. Some questions to answer:

  • How do we make sense of what is happening? How do we support one another in resolving conflicts?
  • How do we learn from the experiences?

If you have questions or suggestions please add them in the comments.


:green_book: Community Builder Manual
The unMonastery: On shared ownership in open collaboration