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#rC3 How to solve conflict in a community of equals

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    prerol music
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    Herald: OK, then welcome come back
    everyone. With these void spaces of the
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    Internet into which we've all been forced
    to migrate. This is our last talk for
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    today: "How to solve conflict in a
    community of equals" by Merlijn. We'll
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    talk about specifically how to solve
    conflict in a community in which there is
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    no leader based on his own experiences from
    hacker camps and the hackerspace in Gent
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    in Belgium. So without further I do. Merlijn
    the stream is yours and start the talk.
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    Merlijn Sebrechts: Thanks for the
    introduction and thanks for having me here
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    to share my experience, so to give a
    little bit of background about why I'm
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    doing this talk. About seven or eight
    years ago, I came into hackerspace Gent.
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    And at that time it was still flourishing.
    But in 2014, the hackerspace imploded
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    because of internal conflict. And this is
    something that seems to happen a lot with
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    hackerspaces and with other organizations
    which are less structured, don't have
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    clear leadership or a clear hierarchy. But
    in 2014, one of the original founders of
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    the hackerspace started the idea to
    actually create workshops around finding a
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    system to fix our community. I was very
    interested in that initiative. So I joined
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    the so I joined the workshops and together
    with the other people from the
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    hackerspace, we started building a system
    that basically got the best out of people,
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    but that was still very close to anarchy,
    very a very chaotic system. This is my
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    cat, Simba. He will be also here for the
    talk, probably. And in throughout the year
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    2014, we started writing down how the
    system would work. First very informally,
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    and in 2015 I decided to become a board
    member of hackerspace Gent with the
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    explicit goal to implement this system.
    And the first thing I did was basically
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    change the role of board members into
    removing any of their leadership
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    responsibilities, but keeping the goal of
    maintaining the core infrastructure of the
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    hackerspace and acting as a counselor in
    order to fix conflict. And it's this
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    second role that I will talk about in this
    in this talk. Throughout the following
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    years, we kept on hacking the system,
    hacking our own hackerspace, and finally
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    everything we wrote down, we bundled it
    into the "hackerspace blueprint", which is
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    basically a small booklet describing how
    to run a hackerspace using doocracy. But
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    it's written very generically so that it
    can also be used by other organizations
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    which want to know more about how to
    actually run a doocracy, how to run an
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    organization where nobody is actually
    leading the organization. In 2019
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    throughout the previous years, that
    hackerspace kept becoming better and
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    better and the environment and the
    atmosphere and the hackerspace kept
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    becoming better. But in 2019 we had this
    real point of like this is the point at
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    which the space is running itself as a
    board. We don't need to actually intervene
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    anymore. The only thing we need to do is
    make sure the bills are paid and make sure
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    our Internet still works. But the
    doocracy worked. And so I started I
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    organized a bunch of talks and and
    discussions all on our experience with
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    building this community. And time and time
    again, I got the exact same question, how
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    do you how do you actually solve
    interpersonal conflict. And. So, as I
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    said, "The Hackerspace BLUEPRINT". It only
    talks about how to build this community of
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    equals. It doesn't actually talk about how
    to solve conflict in this community. The
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    only thing that's described in "The
    Hackerspace BLUEPRINT" is to use the
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    private talk pattern, but it's not
    actually explained by the private talk
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    pattern is. So in this talk, I will
    explain what a private talk pattern is and
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    and how to use it to solve conflict. Solve
    conflict without having to use authority,
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    without having to use explicit leadership
    or forcing people to fall in line. So the
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    private talk pattern, we didn't invent it.
    This is an old hackerspace pattern. Which
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    is something that a lot of people, a lot
    of different hackerspaces and notice that
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    they were using the exact same method in
    order to solve conflict and in their
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    hackerspace. And so it became like a
    design and design pattern for
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    hackerspaces. This is a good way to solve
    conflict. And so it works in two stages.
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    The first stage is that when there is a
    conflict, you first talk to the involved
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    parties in private. You listen to them,
    you let them know how the group feels
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    about their behavior and you find you
    trying to find the root cause of the
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    actual conflict that's going on. The
    second part is that you done moderate a
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    discussion between the different parties
    involved in the conflict. The goal of this
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    discussion is to help these parties
    understand each other and to discuss and
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    write down concrete solutions. Now, I
    could end my talk here, but I don't think
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    it would be very useful because there's
    actually a lot of beneath to using this
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    pattern. Well. And so I'm going to get
    more information about each stage and
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    about the kind of mindset that you need in
    order to use this pattern. So the first
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    question is, obviously, who should do
    this, who should organize these talks?
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    Well, you you should do this because
    you're the person listening to this talk.
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    You're clearly interested in how to solve
    this conflict. And so you're probably a
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    very good person to actually organize
    this. There is no formal authority needed
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    because this pattern is about offering
    your help, you are not forcing the
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    conflict to be solved. You are not forcing
    people to solve conflict. You are going to
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    people and you're saying, hey, look, it's
    clear that there is some conflict here and
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    this conflict is an issue to everyone
    involved. So can I help you solve this
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    conflict? And when you open your help,
    most people actually accept it without
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    questioning it. However, it's very
    important that the person who does this,
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    they need to be seen as someone neutral to
    both parties. This is this becomes an
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    issue. For example, if you've already
    chosen sides in the conflict, then the
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    other party will not see you as a
    trustworthy, a neutral person. This can
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    also be an issue if you're like very good
    friends with one of the parties of the
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    conflict. Then again the other party will
    not see you as neutral. The second thing
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    is, is that you have to be prepared to
    listen, everyone joins every conversation
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    with a whole bunch of preconceptions,
    especially when a conversation is about
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    conflict. Everybody has an idea in their
    head about what the issue is of the
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    conflict and how it should be solved.
    However, a lot of times those issues tend
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    to those preconceptions, those preexisting
    ideas tend to be wrong. And when you
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    actually listen to people, you can
    actually figure out what the root cause is
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    and you might be surprised. And it's
    hurting is that it's very important to
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    stay authentic because the people involved
    need to trust you. And the only way to get
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    them to trust you is to show them that
    you're authentic and that you are
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    genuinely willing to find a solution that
    benefits both parties. Then the next thing
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    you need is you need the right mindset and
    the first part of the right mindset is
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    that conflict needs to be solved. As
    humans, we have this tendency to, when we
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    see conflict, to just try to ignore it and
    hope that it goes away by itself or most
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    reasonable humans. This is their first
    initial response. However, by ignoring
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    conflict, you actually allow it to grow.
    And when it grows, it becomes more and
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    more difficult to actually solve it
    because more and more people get involved
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    and it becomes harder and harder to find
    the actual root cause of the problem. So
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    you need to solve it and you need to solve
    it as early as possible. It's much better
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    to to solve this conflict, to intervene
    too early than too late, because given
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    that this is a process that is beneficial
    to both sides, there is not really a
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    downside to intervening to early. You're
    not forcing anybody to do anything, you
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    just want to hear them out, you just you
    just want to know more about the conflict.
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    Then the second thing is that the only
    people who can stop the conflict are those
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    involved. I said that the first response
    is to ignore conflict. Well, the first
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    response is to ignore conflict when you
    were interacting with the people who are
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    involved with the conflict. And then when
    you get to people who are not involved
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    with the conflict, you start talking about
    it, then you start discussing it and and
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    start discussing what might be done to
    actually solve the issue. And most of the
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    times, these discussions happen without
    the people who are involved in the
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    conflict or without the people that other
    people are having issues of it. And this
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    will almost certainly fail, these
    attempts. Talking to third parties has has
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    very little value. You can do it in order
    to get some ideas, but you always need to
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    include the people involved in the
    conflict in these discussions or your
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    attempts will fail. Then the third mindset
    point is that the contributions of a
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    single individual or a few individuals in
    your organization are never worked having
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    that conflict. A lot of times and people
    in their head, they start to make a
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    balance of like, yes, this person is
    creating conflict in our organization, but
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    this person also contributes a lot to our
    organization so that in our heads, that
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    gives them some kind of right to make
    conflict, but they are never worth it. You
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    do not owe it to them to allow them to
    create conflict. If you are afraid that by
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    talking to them about a conflict, they
    will lower their contributions, then you
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    should know that you are trading short
    term gains by compromising long term
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    viability. In the short term, they might
    keep contributing. But in the long term,
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    this will poison your community and your
    community will not be long term viable,
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    given that this is the track for hackers
    against climate change. Climate change,
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    for example, is an issue that requires
    long term solutions and that requires
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    communities who keep putting pressure on
    everyone over the long term. And so. Or in
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    terms of conflict, you should always
    optimize for long term viability, not for
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    short term gains. And the thing is that
    solving the conflict even becomes easier
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    when these people are actually really
    contributing a lot to your organization,
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    because you can start your discussion by
    with saying we really value your
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    contributions and we want to keep you
    here. And that's why we want to solve this
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    conflict. You're not a bad person. You're
    clearly not a bad person. There's just
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    this conflict that needs to be solved. The
    second part of the right mindset is that
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    complex needs to be solved and you need to
    see solved as like solving a puzzle or
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    solving a math equation. You can't force
    people to stop conflict. You need to
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    figure out how the pieces are not
    connecting to each other. And you need to
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    figure out how you can connect the pieces
    in a way that a puzzle works. As an
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    example, punishing people will get you
    nowhere, even though it is like an innate
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    response that we have when, when when
    conflict arises. We want to see people
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    punished, even though this this doesn't
    actually improve the situation to punish
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    people. And when you dig deeper into the
    conflict, you see that that's most
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    conflict is created by by bad
    communication, by cultural differences and
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    by differences in expectation, not by
    people being bad people. And so there's
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    actually no reason to punish anyone when
    you're trying to solve a conflict. So
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    every time you want to do a certain
    measure like banning people from joining
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    your community space for a while, you
    always need to ask yourself, how does this
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    improve the situation. Temporarily banning
    people can be very useful. It can be
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    useful to de-escalate conflict. It can be
    useful to to to make sure that stuff
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    doesn't blow up before it's at rest. But you
    should always do it in order to solve
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    something, in order to get a certain
    result, not in order to punish people for
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    what they have done. The whole point of
    this is that when conflict is solved is
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    actually solved, everybody involved should
    win. Nobody should feel like they are the
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    looser because almost always people do
    not actually want conflict and people do
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    not actually benefit from conflict. The
    [?????] thing about having the right
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    mindest is, that you need to get into
    these kind of discussions and these kind
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    of talks with people with the mindest,
    that most people are good.
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    Hanlon's razor also says:
    "Never attribute to malice that
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    which can be adequately explained by
    incompetence." It's a very complicated way
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    to say that if you have two possible
    explanations for some of these behavior
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    and one of those explanations is this
    person is trying to do bad things. And the
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    second explanation is this person is
    incredibly incompetent, then probably the
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    explanation that involves incompetence
    will be the right explanation, because
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    most people are good. So most of the times
    when you need to choose between these two
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    explanations, choosing the incompetence
    one is the right one. And so when you are
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    in talks with people always in the back of
    your head, think about where can I find
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    the incompetence? What is the incompetence
    that that created this issue? And so I've
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    talked about cultural differences. For
    example, not being aware of cultural
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    differences is an incompetence. Not having
    the right communication skills is an
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    incompetence. If you try to search for the
    incompetence, most of the time, you will
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    get to the root cause of the conflict. So
    the first step in the private talk pattern
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    is the private talks, the individual
    talks, the goal of the private talks are
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    first to let the person vent. Because in
    the end, we want the two in both parties
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    to talk to each other. But that's not
    possible if there are too many emotions.
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    So these individual talks are in order to
    let these emotions out and make sure that
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    these people are hurt. When they are hurt,
    when they vent these emotions to you and
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    they have the feeling that they are heard
    by you, then these emotions will be become
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    smaller. And then the next talks, they
    will be able to have more rational and
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    less emotional and less explosive
    conversations. The second goal of these
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    individual talks is to build trust and
    understanding. And this has to be both
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    ways. You have to be able to trust them.
    And they have to be able to trust you. And
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    this understanding is very important.
    First of all, you need to understand their
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    point of view. This doesn't need to be on
    a level of like I would do the exact same
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    thing if I was in your place. But you need
    to understand why they're doing it. And
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    then second of all, they also need to have
    some kind of understanding of what the
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    problem is from the other side, like like
    as outsiders. How do you look at this
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    problem? Then the last step of these
    individual talks is to find the root
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    cause, find the root cause of the
    conflict. So, a lot of times and I've seen
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    this happen a lot in hackerspaces, a lot
    of times. When you look at the surface of
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    the conflict, it seems to be that that
    that it's about certain behavior like this
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    person said. This person was very
    dismissive of my work, for example. But
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    then, when you dig deeper, you find out
    that there are actually other problems
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    which caused this and a lot of the times
    some of the root causes that these people
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    don't actually trust each other. One of
    the ways to find this out is to to ask a
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    person. So say the other person said
    something that hurt you? If somebody else
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    would say the exact same thing, if a
    friend of you would say the exact same
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    thing, how would you interpret it then?
    Would you interpret it differently? And if
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    they would interpret it differently, then,
    you know, that's the root cause is not
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    this communication, but the root cause is
    the actual trust, the root causes that
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    everything the other person says is seen
    through a very negative light. Everything
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    the other person said is interpreted in
    the most negative way possible. And so if
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    that is the root cause, then you just need
    to build trust between these people and
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    that will solve most of the conflict. So
    let's do some practical tips for these
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    individual talks. First of all, it needs
    to happen in a neutral place. If you have
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    like a clubhouse or a place that you
    frequently gather, you can't do the
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    private talks there. You need to do it
    somewhere else. It's better if the place
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    is public in the worst case for
    everybody's safety, but also because
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    because it helps people have some level of
    control over their emotions. For example,
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    a local bar or a comic-cafe or a board
    game club is always very good. Find
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    something that these people are
    comfortable with. Second of all, you
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    always have to do these talks, either face
    to face, away from keyboard or by using a
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    good video chat solution, because body
    language and tone is incredibly important.
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    You need to be able to see each other. You
    need to be able to see each other, facial
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    expressions, and you need to hear the tone
    of each other's voice. And the quality
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    needs to be good, first of all, in order
    to have this extra channel of
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    communication. And second of all, in order
    to remove the frustration, because this
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    kind of private talks can be very
    frustrating and can be very taxing both to
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    the person involved in the conflict and
    the person who wants to solve the
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    conflict. And so having decent audio and
    video make sure that removes that
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    frustration. And so then you can focus on
    the frustration of the conversation
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    itself. Third of all always take
    notes during this conversation. It helps
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    build trust. It shows them that you are
    actually taking what they are saying
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    seriously and they can be very useful to
    reflect on the conversation afterwards.
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    Then you can initiate a private talk
    simply by being direct and authentic. Just
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    say: "I'd like to talk to you in private
    to understand this issue better". Things
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    like I'd like to help and I want to
    understand your point of view. Those are
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    very good things to say in order to
    initiate a conversation, make sure that
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    it's very clear to them that you are there
    to help them too. It's also important to be
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    authentic and to be humble. Don't say
    things that you don't actually mean.
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    However, you have to get into the
    conversation with the mindset to listen,
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    with the intention to listen. And so this
    might be, this can be a bit controversial,
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    like these two things might be against
    each other because it's it's very hard
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    when you see a conflict to get into this
    first conversation with the idea of I
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    don't actually understand what a conflict
    is about. But even if you think that you
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    know what the conflict is about, very
    often when you try to find the root cause
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    of the conflict, you find out it is
    actually something else that is different
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    from from what you told. And so be humble
    about your own knowledge about the
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    conflict. Then the individual talks itself.
    First, it's very important to explain that
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    they are valued. Try to think about the
    valuable things that this person brings to
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    your community or the valuable work that
    they are doing. And then second of all,
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    just ask them to explain their point of
    view and listen, let them blow off steam
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    and start to build trust by showing them
    that you want to understand them by
  • 26:09 - 26:14
    validating their feelings, but stay
    authentic and don't pick sides. It's very
  • 26:14 - 26:29
    important not to pick sides. It's very
    important not to pick sides because
  • 26:29 - 26:35
    otherwise people will think that you are
    not neutral and it will be a lot harder to
  • 26:35 - 26:44
    fix this conflict. Then towards the end of
    the conversation, trying to find the
  • 26:44 - 26:51
    actual root causes of the conflict and
    summarize that. Summarize them verbally
  • 26:51 - 26:58
    and try to write them down and ask the
    other person's opinion about, do you agree
  • 26:58 - 27:06
    that that this is the root cause and this
    really requires digging deeper? I
  • 27:06 - 27:12
    explained the example before where a lot
    of times when somebody doesn't trust
  • 27:12 - 27:21
    somebody else, they will start to
    interpret any communication in the worst
  • 27:21 - 27:27
    way possible. And so in order to figure
    out how to dig deeper, to figure out if
  • 27:27 - 27:32
    this is the cause, you can ask, like if your
    friend would say the exact same thing,
  • 27:32 - 27:39
    would you have the same reaction? Most of
    the time the people answer: "no, no". And
  • 27:39 - 27:47
    if I would think maybe I misunderstood it
    because this is my friends, they don't
  • 27:47 - 27:55
    want to say something so negative about
    me. Then this point is optional, but it
  • 27:55 - 28:01
    can be useful to explain other people's
    views if you already have some idea of
  • 28:01 - 28:12
    other people's views, it can be can be
    useful to also discuss this in this first
  • 28:12 - 28:19
    initial conversation, and especially
    explain your views like this conflict is
  • 28:19 - 28:25
    dragging our community down. This is the
    reason why I want to solve this conflict.
  • 28:25 - 28:30
    And finally, ask them how they think it
    could be solved. Sometimes these are
  • 28:30 - 28:36
    completely ridiculous ideas, but sometimes
    they also have some very good ideas about
  • 28:36 - 28:45
    how the conflict could be solved. The
    second step in this in the private talk
  • 28:45 - 28:53
    pattern is the discussion of the two
    parties together and never do a group
  • 28:53 - 29:01
    discussion. I would try to always do it
    with two people. And the goal of this
  • 29:01 - 29:09
    discussion is to get these people talking
    to each other, because a lot of the times,
  • 29:09 - 29:15
    a lot of conflict is created by people not
    communicating properly with each other.
  • 29:15 - 29:20
    And that at a certain point, the
    communication just stops completely, and
  • 29:20 - 29:27
    that's the point where stuff starts to
    explode. The second goal is to work
  • 29:27 - 29:32
    towards understanding each other's
    viewpoints, but this requires people to
  • 29:32 - 29:37
    actually talk to each other. And then the
    third goal is to define concrete steps to
  • 29:37 - 29:41
    solve the issue. It's very important that
    these steps are concrete so that you can
  • 29:41 - 29:50
    later coach them and see if these steps
    are being followed. So the setup of the
  • 29:50 - 29:55
    discussion is the same as the setup of the
    individual talks, which the distinction
  • 29:55 - 30:00
    that it's very important to be the first
    person there. If it's in real life
  • 30:00 - 30:07
    location, come there 30 minutes beforehand
    or come their on time, depending on if
  • 30:07 - 30:15
    it's common in your culture to be on time
    or not, or if it's an online video call,
  • 30:15 - 30:20
    make sure you're the first person that
    initiates the call. Because if these two
  • 30:20 - 30:28
    people are there without you, it will
    become very awkward. Then the course of
  • 30:28 - 30:34
    the discussion. The first thing you need
    to do in this discussion is to explain the
  • 30:34 - 30:40
    root cause and then discuss and write down
    concrete steps to fix the conflict. They
  • 30:40 - 30:45
    need to be concrete because you need to be
    able to track progress and and every party
  • 30:45 - 30:56
    needs to be. There can be no confusion
    about whether or not there is progress. If
  • 30:56 - 31:01
    those steps are not concrete enough, then
    you can start to start to have a
  • 31:01 - 31:06
    discussion about whether or not there is
    actual progress about whether or not the
  • 31:06 - 31:09
    steps are being followed. If they are
    concrete enough, then there's no
  • 31:09 - 31:18
    discussion. A bad kind of concrete step is
    keep the desk smartly clean desks in
  • 31:18 - 31:24
    hackerspaces, specifically clean desks are
    often an issue. But one of the big issues
  • 31:24 - 31:29
    is that people's ideas and people's
    expectations of how clean the desk should
  • 31:29 - 31:36
    be are very different. And so keep the
    desks more clean. Will will mean different
  • 31:36 - 31:42
    things to different people. So make it
    concrete. For example, clean does desk
  • 31:42 - 31:54
    completely every time you leave the space.
    This step is something that might be
  • 31:54 - 32:02
    overshooting. So in hackerspaces, for
    example, it's often allowed to have some
  • 32:02 - 32:08
    clutter on the desk if you're working on a
    long term project, but there are always
  • 32:08 - 32:18
    people who have who succeed that limit,
    who have who leave way too much clutter on
  • 32:18 - 32:25
    desks and who take up all the desks in the
    entire space and having a clean desk,
  • 32:25 - 32:29
    having them clean the desk completely
    every time they leave the space is
  • 32:29 - 32:40
    something that is like an overshoot. It is
    too clean. Then what do we actually want
  • 32:40 - 32:46
    as a space. But it is that way because
    that makes it much, much easier to track
  • 32:46 - 32:51
    progress that make it makes it much more
    concrete. If they are out of the space and
  • 32:51 - 32:57
    the desk is still cluttered, then they
    didn't do it. Then they broke their
  • 32:57 - 33:05
    promise. Another good step is when this
    person says something to me, and I think
  • 33:05 - 33:12
    it's insulting. Talk to it, talk about it
    to another person, and maybe the other
  • 33:12 - 33:20
    person can translate what the person means
    if during the discussion you see that the
  • 33:20 - 33:26
    these people really start to communicate
    very well, then a step could be. But I
  • 33:26 - 33:31
    think you are insulting me. I will say it
    to you and then we can discuss it together
  • 33:31 - 33:35
    and then we can clear it out that they
    don't actually mean it in an insulting
  • 33:35 - 33:44
    way. Finally, understanding each other and
    having that discussion and starting
  • 33:44 - 33:50
    communication is often already a very big
    part of the solution. So if you don't have
  • 33:50 - 33:55
    a lot of clear steps that might not be
    such a big issue, because simply talking
  • 33:55 - 34:02
    to each other solves a lot of issues. I
    think 90 percent of all teen drama series
  • 34:02 - 34:08
    would be solved by just having the
    characters talk to each other. And this is
  • 34:08 - 34:17
    sadly the case in real life too. So after
    discussion, right down the concrete steps
  • 34:17 - 34:25
    that you agreed upon in a discussion and
    send it to everyone. Send it to everyone
  • 34:25 - 34:30
    involved, then the short description of
    this was the core issue. This was the root
  • 34:30 - 34:34
    cause of the conflict. And this is what we
    are going to do to address it. Put it on
  • 34:34 - 34:40
    paper, even though you don't have any
    authority, even though they don't have to
  • 34:40 - 34:46
    follow it, simply having it written down
    and having them agree upon it during the
  • 34:46 - 34:51
    discussion will make it much more official
    for themselves. You don't need authority
  • 34:51 - 35:00
    for this. Second of all, it's very useful
    to keep coaching and do the follow up.
  • 35:00 - 35:06
    Make sure that the conversation between
    these two people keeps going, otherwise
  • 35:06 - 35:12
    the anger and frustration will start to
    get bottled up again and then at a certain
  • 35:12 - 35:16
    point they will start to interpret all
    communication again, very, very
  • 35:16 - 35:30
    negatively. And then the conflict happens
    again. So the overall idea of the of the
  • 35:30 - 35:34
    private talk pattern is that most
    interpersonal conflict is solved by
  • 35:34 - 35:41
    talking to each other. However, emotions
    make that very, very hard because people
  • 35:41 - 35:45
    just stop talking to each other because
    they're afraid of the confrontation and
  • 35:45 - 35:51
    because when they talk to each other, the
    emotions make stuff explode. And so first
  • 35:51 - 35:58
    you do the initial private talk where you
    get out all the emotions and and and you
  • 35:58 - 36:03
    make sure that people understand that
    that's you make it clear that you
  • 36:03 - 36:08
    understand them and that you hear them.
    And then during the second talk, you get
  • 36:08 - 36:17
    these people together and you get them to
    talk to each other. A second smaller idea
  • 36:17 - 36:24
    of the private talk pattern is that
    conflict is extremely hard to solve in the
  • 36:24 - 36:32
    group. During meetings, meetings are one
    of the worst places to solve conflict at
  • 36:32 - 36:42
    having private personal talks is much,
    much better than doing it in the group. So
  • 36:42 - 36:46
    I have to add a disclaimer to this. I
    started the talk by saying most people are
  • 36:46 - 36:53
    good. Well, some people are bad. If
    people have genuine malicious intent or
  • 36:53 - 37:00
    inherently incompatible with your
    community, you have to kick them out. The
  • 37:00 - 37:07
    private talk pattern will make it very
    clear who is like this, the private, after
  • 37:07 - 37:11
    going through this entire process, it will
    be clear whether or not these people
  • 37:11 - 37:17
    actually have genuine malicious intentions
    or whether these people are inherently
  • 37:17 - 37:22
    incompatible. If it's the case, kick them
    out. But again, you're not kicking them
  • 37:22 - 37:31
    out to punish them. You're simply kicking
    them out to protect the community. Most
  • 37:31 - 37:37
    times the community is the common of the
    organization, you might have a certain
  • 37:37 - 37:42
    goal, but you can only reach that goal
    when you have a healthy community. And so
  • 37:42 - 37:48
    in order to protect this community, you
    need to make harsh decisions and kick
  • 37:48 - 37:55
    people out. Of course, given that these
    communities are, for example, run on
  • 37:55 - 38:01
    doocracy or run on consensus decision
    making, you can't decide to kick them out
  • 38:01 - 38:12
    yourselves. But use the processes that are
    in your community to kick people out when
  • 38:12 - 38:23
    after this process it's very, very clear
    that they're inherently incompatible. So
  • 38:23 - 38:30
    thanks for listening to the talk, I hope
    it was useful and I hope some people can
  • 38:30 - 38:40
    solve some conflict in their communities.
    Obviously, this entire talk was based on
  • 38:40 - 38:49
    my own experience, which hackerspace Gent
    in Belgium. And so your mileage may vary.
  • 38:49 - 38:54
    This worked for us. This worked very well
    for us. Every time we tried it, it
  • 38:54 - 39:02
    actually worked. But tweak it, make it
    your own, make it so it works for your
  • 39:02 - 39:09
    community.
    My name is Merlijn Sebrechts. I'm from
  • 39:09 - 39:14
    hackerspace Gent in Belgium. If you want
    to know how to build a community of
  • 39:14 - 39:20
    equals, go to hackerspace.design and read
    the hackerspace blueprint. And it also has
  • 39:20 - 39:29
    links to other talks I did about doocracy.
    And then finally, this talk was partly
  • 39:29 - 39:36
    inspired by a video by Jono Bacon: "A new
    way to look at conflict resolution." And
  • 39:36 - 39:45
    surprisingly, I think a few months ago he
    released that video and surprisingly, the
  • 39:45 - 39:51
    process that he used in professional
    organizations and companies to do conflict
  • 39:51 - 39:59
    resolution looks a lot like the private
    talk pattern. Jono Bacon was the former
  • 39:59 - 40:05
    community manager of the Ubuntu Linux
    project. And so he's a very experienced
  • 40:05 - 40:13
    person and knows a lot about how to build
    communities. So if there are any
  • 40:13 - 40:19
    questions, let's hear it on.
    Herald: OK, thank you for your talk. There
  • 40:19 - 40:24
    are indeed many questions, and the first
    is you've mentioned repeatedly that this
  • 40:24 - 40:29
    is, of course, based on your own personal
    experience. But, what do you think that
  • 40:29 - 40:34
    this model of something like it could also
    work on a larger level, on a perhaps
  • 40:34 - 40:46
    regional or even super regional scale?
    Merlijn Sebrechts: Are you ... I am I'm
  • 40:46 - 40:52
    going to interpret that question as like
    having having different countries solving
  • 40:52 - 41:03
    conflict between different countries. I'm
    not sure. I'm not sure because this matter
  • 41:03 - 41:08
    to specifically for interpersonal
    conflict, conflict between different
  • 41:08 - 41:19
    people, although the idea of finding the
    root cause is still very useful. I'm not
  • 41:19 - 41:28
    sure if it's possible because you can't
    talk to a country as an individual. The
  • 41:28 - 41:34
    country is composed of many different
    people, and so it is the total behavior of
  • 41:34 - 41:43
    this country is some emerges from the
    behavior of all the individuals. And it's
  • 41:43 - 41:47
    very, very hard to find a single
    individual that you can talk to that
  • 41:47 - 41:52
    represents this total group.
    Herald: I'm not sure if the question was
  • 41:52 - 41:57
    actually meant that way. If it wasn't,
    please write it again in the chat and I'll
  • 41:57 - 42:02
    ask it again in a more specific way. And
    the next question is, what if we don't
  • 42:02 - 42:12
    have a common basis for such a system
    anymore and we cannot start with personal
  • 42:12 - 42:16
    conversations anymore? Because just
    letting things implode and then start
  • 42:16 - 42:20
    rebuilding everything from scratch is
    probably usually not an option. So would
  • 42:20 - 42:24
    you have any ideas on
    how one could proceed then?
  • 42:24 - 42:34
    Merlijn Sebrechts: I'm also not a big fan
    of starting completely new. What we did is
  • 42:34 - 42:41
    that we actually didn't start from zero.
    We during the hackerspace workshops, we
  • 42:41 - 42:48
    started from the the system that we had
    and we started to think about what do we
  • 42:48 - 42:52
    like about the current system and what do
    we dislike about the current system. And
  • 42:52 - 42:57
    we started to gradually change it. And
    throughout the years with gradual changes
  • 42:57 - 43:04
    and by keep having these having the
    hackerspace workshops every single time,
  • 43:04 - 43:10
    and we encountered issues, we were able to
    gradually change and improve our
  • 43:10 - 43:17
    community. So even though, like the big
    implosion happened in 2014, the big
  • 43:17 - 43:23
    resurgence didn't happen at once. It
    happened over the course of a few years
  • 43:23 - 43:28
    and it happened by slightly improving it
    and slightly changing the system every
  • 43:28 - 43:35
    every year and took a very long time in
    order to to make that complete change. So
  • 43:35 - 43:44
    I would my concrete advice is to start
    doing workshops in order to fix the
  • 43:44 - 43:48
    system, in order to fix your community,
    start doing workshops and see what comes
  • 43:48 - 43:53
    out of those workshops.
    Herald: OK, so at least hope is not lost,
  • 43:53 - 43:59
    I guess, even if it can be difficult. And
    then the next question is, isn't it a
  • 43:59 - 44:04
    problem that you mentioned always
    identifying a root cause of a problem?
  • 44:04 - 44:09
    What do you do if the cause of a root
    problem is somehow subjective and cannot
  • 44:09 - 44:16
    be agreed upon? What should one do then?
    Merlijn Sebrechts: I think there always
  • 44:16 - 44:23
    needs to be some common base. And in our
    hackerspace, the common base is that the
  • 44:23 - 44:28
    hackerspace itself and the hackerspace
    community is the thing that we need to
  • 44:28 - 44:37
    protect. And so if there is ambiguity of
    the cause, the cause of the conflict and
  • 44:37 - 44:43
    we simply start to look at what behavior
    is advantageous to our hackerspace and
  • 44:43 - 44:49
    what behavior isn't. And we use that as
    the common ground and we start to build
  • 44:49 - 44:58
    from there depending on what the goal is
    of your community. The common base will be
  • 44:58 - 45:04
    different, but I think in every community
    there will be this common base, even if
  • 45:04 - 45:09
    the common base is simply that it's the
    existence of the community is the thing
  • 45:09 - 45:13
    that everybody wants.
    Herald: OK, then, thank you again for your
  • 45:13 - 45:17
    great talk. There is one last question,
    which is someone wanting to see the cat
  • 45:17 - 45:20
    again.
    Merlijn Sebrechts: The what?
  • 45:20 - 45:25
    Herald: The cat.
    Merlijn Sebrechts: They're sadly not
  • 45:25 - 45:32
    anymore. It seems they've gone downstairs.
    Herald: OK. That's all we have is the
  • 45:32 - 45:39
    waving cat in my screen, which is. We'll
    have to make do. OK, thank you for your
  • 45:39 - 45:45
    talk and, have fun at the remote chaos
    experience alone and everyone watching
  • 45:45 - 45:52
    this. Of course, this was our last topic
    for today. We'll see you again tomorrow.
  • 45:52 - 45:56
    Until then. And happy hacking.
  • 45:56 - 46:02
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  • 46:02 - 46:24
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Title:
#rC3 How to solve conflict in a community of equals
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Video Language:
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Duration:
46:24

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