ClsXlca2015 behaviour

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Problem behaviour strategies

Notes from the discussion at clsXlca 2015

What we want to get out of this

Many haven't had to deal much with problem behaviours much, and would like to learn how, particularly those who can't necessarily be told they're a problem.

Code of conduct enforcement

Dealing successfully with problem behaviours that manifest across professional and personal boundaries.

Open discussion

What is problem behaviour?

  • Code of conduct violation
  • Refusal to admit you've done something wrong
  • Anything preventing communal growth and causing conflict

Would be interesting to deal with this by putting yourself in the shoes of the person exhibiting that behaviour. They might feel they're doing the right thing despite others' opinions because they were so absolutely confident.

Community management vs affecting somebody's livelihood; we want to leave out discussion of the latter.

Dealing with somebody who has extremely positive effects on a community, but also has negative effects. Write a document that says how to deal with certain issues, and convey that to the problem person.

Focus on solutions rather than complaining about problems.

People behaving inappropriately often don't realising, and the first step is to identify that problem to the individual; lack of self-awareness.

Often any given behaviour isn't bad enough to provoke somebody to do anything about it.

Monkey, banana, water spray, ladder. (google it)

Educate newcomers to how things are done around here, but be open to new ideas from newcomers as well.

BDSM community, [broken staircase web post].

Having a code of conduct or other framework goes a long way to making the problem easier to deal with.

Act like gravity when enforcing boundaries; gravity doesn't care why you fell, but the consequence is the same.

People need to look at the *intent* of a code of conduct, rather than necessarily take it literally, and not all people do this.

Code of conduct is a good way to turn away trouble people at the door.

What has worked for you

Discussing the issues with the person, possibly privately, and possibly publicly. Having open discussions all the time decreases the tension and makes people more comfortable to have these discussions more often.

Having an idea where you want the conversation to start and end really helps with preventing the discussion from being derailed. Also rehearsing that discussion in your head beforehand.

Some people want to avoid conflict at all cost.

If you can't separate the behaviour and the person, it makes it easier to tell that person that they're no longer welcome. If, however, there's a chance the person can change, then they can be welcome as long as they don't exhibit that behaviour.

Wanting to be an accepting community for people with mental disabilities makes it really difficult to accept that the person can't be accepted.

Some people have mental disabilities, some are just willfully unpleasant, and some are both. When somebody is both, things are difficult.

Some people with disabilities are incorrectly treated, and it's hard to identify.

Many people with disabilities externalise the blame and as such get what they want from the community in the community's attempt to be accepting of all.

Need to be confident in having a solution, and being willing to take the repercussions. This is made easier by having a code of conduct or similar (such as the white ribbon) that you stick to that says "I won't be silent about this; I will stand up and do something about it"

Advice for past self

Have a clear decision on what behaviour is acceptable and how you respond to something that isn't acceptable.

Raising issues as early as possible; don't be silent, because often the person just needs the issue to be raised.

Have policies and processes before incidents occur.

Discuss early with other community organisers on perceived issues and possible solutions.

When you have a conversation about troubling behaviour, ensure the conversation ends in an action plan.

The community learns by the slow process, so it's often not possible to deal with an issue quickly, but hopefully we can learn from past conflicts and deal quicker with similar conflicts next time.