Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Conversational Aikido

50294c772b3985c651cc43374fe4e81d?s=47 Lee Dohm
June 26, 2015

Conversational Aikido

Talk at CodeConf 2015 about how to redirect the flow of online conversations from the negative to the positive and other lessons in moderation


Lee Dohm

June 26, 2015


  1. Conversational Aikido … and other lessons in moderation Lee Dohm,

    CodeConf 2015 http://www.lee-dohm.com
  2. Who’s This Lee Guy? I’m Lee Dohm Professional developer for

    20 years this month SEGUE: But that’s not what I’m here to talk about
  3. Moderator for Discuss Since March of 2014 Soon after the

    Atom Beta was released
  4. First message board => one-line BBS in the early 90s

    But that’s not what I’m here to talk about either SEGUE: I’m here to talk about community
  5. Community “Do you speak it?” How does one build a

  6. Humans are naturally social creatures So there are just a

    couple simple rules (everything’s funnier with monkeys)
  7. The rules are Don’t drive people away Don’t let others

    drive people away Community will happen SEGUE: But how do we avoid driving people away? How do we stop others from driving people away?
  8. Many see forums as opportunity to do battle Others only

    see forums as place to vent their frustrations Like that blue guy there
  9. Want to create a place where encouragement is the primary

    topic How do we encourage people to work together as a community? SEGUE: Before we get to that … I have a metaphor I use
  10. Martial Arts “I know Kung Fu” Like many people my

    age, I grew up with Kung Fu movies I couldn’t wait to be old enough to do it myself When I got older, I studied two martial arts They were very different from each other
  11. Kenpo Karate AGGRESSIVE Destroy your opponent Leap of Death

  12. Aikido is DEFENSIVE Recognizing Redirecting Flow of energy It’s about

    partnering Getting them to see that violence is futile SEGUE: So how do we redirect people to more productive conversations?
  13. Conversational Aikido “Don’t know, never been attacked by tree” The

    way I like to think of it is “conversational Aikido” Conflict Awareness Blending Resolution I’m going to talk about How this flow is used Redirect the energy of a conversation
  14. Conflict Is there a difference of opinion? Aikido is about

    awareness Sometimes people just argue, even when they’re agreeing Must: Recognize Understand Before you can possibly hope to act correctly
  15. You do that through Awareness Listen Strive to understand Not

    just the issue at hand But the people behind it
  16. Blending This is really the heart of Aikido Move out

    of the line of fire If they’re trying to stab you Don’t be rude and stand in their way Mr. Miyagi — Best defense is to not be there
  17. Once you’re out of the line of fire Take their

    side Respectfully and sincerely agree You can almost always find common ground “I understand that …” “I know it is frustrating when …” Add pieces to the conversation, not remove them “Have you thought about …” “What would you think of …”
  18. Resolution Discussions don’t have to be zero-sum games (I dislike

    how “win-win” takes such a beautiful concept and makes it sound like marketing speak) SEGUE: But what if talking is the problem
  19. Put Down the Keyboard … “… and nobody gets hurt!”

    Sometimes you’re the problem You’re burnt You’re stressed Put down the keyboard and nobody gets hurt Rarely any subject so important that it requires your response Ones that do require it, don’t require it immediately BUT: Sometimes others are the problem
  20. And I learned this one little trick

  21. Management technique called “extinction” Strategy for eliminating undesirable behavior Undesirable

    behavior Patterns that are negative But otherwise salvageable Not problematic behavior We’ll get to trolls in a minute
  22. Extinction Stop talking Reason it is called “uncomfortable silence” Lets

    them know their behavior isn’t appropriate Without publicly shaming them Don’t respond to argumentative speech Most people will get the hint
  23. How to Recognize Trolls “Ogres have layers” “Oh, like an

    onion!” What about the people that intentionally don’t get it? How can we recognize that intent Separate from honest actors Trolls have common features
  24. Disrespectful Attack the people, not the idea

  25. Inflexible Refuse to even acknowledge conflicting information

  26. Argumentative and Demanding “Why is Atom so slow?” “Why CoffeeScript?”

  27. Defend all of this with Free speech Others are “too

    sensitive” No, if you unable to stop yourself from hurting people, we have words for that
  28. How to Deal with Trolls “I ate his liver with

    some fava beans and a nice chianti.” So … how should we deal with trolls? As a user Notify administrators or walk away But you should and have the right to expect
  29. As a moderator Step 1 — Call out the behavior.

    Make it clear that your interpretation of the behavior is not up for debate. Step 2 — Issue a warning Step 3 — Ban the offender You can’t expect things to get better if there aren’t CONSEQUENCES for negative actions You’ll more than make up for the tiny minority you lose with the membership and participation you gain from having a safe and supportive forum BECAUSE
  30. The Most Important Thing “Do you know what the secret

    of life is?” The most important thing is The Community Not the moderator Not any individual member or clique of members The Community IN OTHER WORDS
  31. “The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the

    few … or the one.” Lee Dohm lee@lee-dohm.com @leedohm The needs of the many Outweigh the needs of the few Or the one … excuse me (sniffle) THANK YOU