We are BlackSky – Conflict Resolution

Posted by on Sep 14, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

This is will be another entry along the lines of our early entry on Guild Leaders and Officers. In this entry we’ll be discussing BlackSky’s attitude toward dealing with internal and external conflict or “THE DRAMA” and how we try to prevent it. Before I start off I want to cover a few realities of dealing with conflict.

  1. Conflict will occur no matter how hard we try, we do our best by weathering it and minimizing how it affects everyone.
  2. Communication is key, if it breaks down so will the ties that bind the guild.
  3. Resolution is not about who is “right” but about alleviating concerns and issues and moving forward.
  4. Conflict is based upon the choices people make. Sure one action can ignite a situation, but there is always more than -one- cause for something.
  5. One can prevent conflict by slowing down before reacting and considering what they are about to say or how they are about to react.


No one gets it just right

So down to brass tax, the ability to solve conflict easily is not simple. People will often talk about how they could have fixed a problem, or stopped it, or how it went one way after the fact. But let’s be honest, the focus of conflict resolution is not on solving “what happened’, yet rather dealing with the aftermath of “the event”. I want to note that much of what I’m talking about here today is based on personal experience in years of being an administrator, and in research conducted in the business world. Part of it is that as an administrator, an officer, or a guild member no matter how prepared or how ready you are once the shit hits the fan you are not always going to know what is going to happen, or that your efforts will bear fruit.


Issues are Relative

Everyone is going to react and view a situation differently. If someone makes a bad joke in guild chat some might just ignore, one person might get offended, and then three might laugh. The best thing to deal with in this situation is to take a moment think about it and then if there are more than two parties involved get the full picture. We talk to people, and get screen shots. The situations is also graded based upon how much it will affect the guild. Personal issues are encouraged to be solved between the parties involved unless they required a medatior (will not this in Mediation).

At the end no one is “correct” conflict in general is about alleviating or compromising a situation so that everyone feels they can move on. If someone can’t move on it can mean a few things; either they weren’t happy with the mediation, they may have seen a repeat of behavior the next day, or they simply refuse to move on (in this case mediation begins to break down completely).


Mediate and Compromise.

If two or more parties come into conflict with another and cannot solve the issue on their own then in our guild we encourage mediation. This means an Officer or a member of the Leadership (the GL or the Guild Adviser) will step in and act as a neutral party (this is pretty standard mediator rules). Mediators must remain impartial and stay formal. All parties then voice appropriately what they feel is a problem with time for clarification. We avoid zero sum or ultimatums and focus on getting everyone on an even keel. Our purpose here is to seek resolution of the conflict and make it so people can move on. This is not about preventing drama, but quelling it so people can over time come to understand each other better and communicate more thoroughly.


Drama is lessened through communication

If you have a problem, speak up. I’ve had this rule in three of my guilds and it generally in the long run provides a greater sense of fixing the problem. It can be hard, let us as Rpers face it, to speak about a problem, but once its off your chest it gets easier to talk about it. Note, we do not encourage people to simply state “they hate something” or that they “think something is stupid” on the contrary we encourage constructive explanations or simply stating “that statement offends me”. The point is not to lay blame (who is at fault can matter, what matters more is ending the drama in general), by moving past “who dunnit” and coming to focus on “lets resolve this” we hope to foster a more stable and less chaotic setting.

Sometimes the issue is simply as saying “look dude not cool” so that people know that their joke wasn’t funny. I as a person do not need to demonize the person for offending me, only as an adult inform them that those words offend me so they know not to say it around me.


Text Sucks at Conveying Thoughts

How many times have you walked into a chat room and made a statement and then ended up arguing with someone? To then later find out -you were both on the same page-? This has happened to me a few times. Someone said no at the wrong time, worded a phrase that sounded strange to me. This is where asking for clarification is a good idea. In general written English is incredibly context based with misunderstandings being common place in forums and in the text setting. Humans rely heavily on facial expressions, gestures, and body stance to determine meaning just as much as tone of voice, the volume and the way people emphasize things. On the internet you do not have these resources, so relying heavily on assumptions based upon what we -think- we are saying or what we -think- people are saying, is not a good idea.

In general, we slow down, ask people what they mean and get clarification. It might be annoying, but if we can all get on the same page and avoid an hour of miscommunication all the better.


Moving Forward

At the end of the day once the issue occurs we cannot fix the past. We all have scars from the drama to some degree, and we all create reactionary mechanisms to avoid it. Some people shut down, some people overreact. Some people jump to conclusions and some people simply walk away. We all do it differently and focusing on the past in the end will come back to bite us in the ass. In that regard whenever something big hits BSC our next step is to look to the future, mediate the situation and move forward. No guild is perfect, no group is perfect, but if we can learn from our mistakes then we can make a better community for our members.


Some resources

These are helpful resources we have found when it comes to dealing with difficult discussion and conflict resolution:

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