Where is the line between healthy and unhealthy conflicts?


(Andrej Raider) #1

Not long ago I saw the work of some Community moderators who tended to lock almost every thread that got heated up with debates because they believed that it brings “negativity” to the Community and therefore should be removed or shut down.

While I personally love heated debates and conflicts and always encourage my CM-team to allow them, at the same time, it is a Community Manager’s job to “resolve conflicts”.
I am curious: Until what point do you follow a heated or conflictive conversation until you say “Ok, now I have to intervene” (Excluding obvious cases like harassment or breach of Community Rules).

How would you explain a to a novice how to differ a constructive conflict, that stregthens members relationships as they try to find a common ground, from a destructive one that is turning pointless and combative and where a CM should take action?


(Travis King) #2

We have a community rule around debating that it’s ok to be critical of an idea but never a person. And it also has to be delivered in a way that endeavours to be respectful and constructive.

And I agree about the value of debate and it’s ability to strengthen community. So I think it’s very valuable to have.


(Joel Rangelle) #3

I’ll be the first to admit a rather dirty secret. I actually allow some heated debated to go on to incite conversation and activity. There’s always a spike in users who watch and read the topic, even if they don’t participate.

Taking a step back, I don’t think there is one hard and fast rule to govern all debates. I think it all depends on your gut feel of tonality – if the tone is constructive and helpful and ideative, rather than critical or malignant or personal. The last point is especially important when users degrade to personal attacks against others, and that should never be allowed.