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Playlist "Remote Chaos Experience"

How to solve conflict in a community of equals

Merlijn Sebrechts

This talk provides a practical guide for how to solve interpersonal conflict in communities with a loose structure such as do-ocracy or anarchy. We explain how Hackerspace.Gent uses the "private talk" pattern to solve conflict between members. We share our experience in the hope that this can help you fix issues in your community so it can go back to doing awesome stuff!

Interpersonal conflict is a common but dangerous issue in communities. It's not always easy to deal with it, especially when a community is loosely structured without formal authority. Communities built on do-ocracy or anarchy can be awesome breeding grounds for creative work and powerful ideas, but they are very vulnerable to drama. Seven years ago, we experienced this first-hand at Hackerspace.Gent when our community fell apart because of conflict. At our lowest point, we decided to "hack the hackerspace" to find systems and techniques to build a better community. Over the years, one of the most useful tools for keeping our community healthy turned out to be the "private talk pattern", a method for solving conflict between two people. This tool doesn't require clear authority or policing, which makes it perfect for less-structured organizations such as do-ocracies and cooperatives. With this talk, we share our experience with the hope of giving you more tools to make your community great.