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We just talked about communication in the sense of evaluating what people say. Now we want to take this into the next step. Where does communication help you with conflict resolution? Before I get started by showing how conflict happens online, I want to take a moment to say that as an ambassador we do not want you to try and seek out conflicts to resolve. However, there will be times when you are in chat or a post ans someone will make things much worse through carelessness. We want you to be ready to not make things worse in those cases. If you can make them better too, great. But the primary goal is for you to learn how to avoid making things worse. Conflict is something we see all the time. On the web, conflict has a lot to do with desinhebition theory. This blog post talks a bit about desinhebition and how it happens: http://www.spring.org.uk/2010/08/six-causes-of-online-disinhibition.php So, you are going to find people online are more prone to be part of the problem. The question then becomes, how can you be part of the solution. Overall, this is a very wide topic area called conflict resolution. In fact, it is an entire masters degree: http://ce.columbia.edu/negotiation-and-conflict-resolution Obviously, we can't teach you a whole degree in a week. However, we can teach a bit about why the "be nice" rule of OpenStudy is an important one to follow. By being nice and working towards understand the feelings of the other party you can work towards a solution rather than just having a fight. Lets start with some generic ideas and how they deal with conflict. Here is a 9 minutes video on the basics of conflict: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpnh9EECMOg Note: These topics are covered in modern college classes. The information given on that video is compatible with many business and communications classes. It is also a good overview of the topic, where as I am going to focus more on the things specific to online communications. People tend to just argue. Back and forth, people get stuck in their emotional strongholds with neither wanting to give. However, not much on OpenStudy is really worth fighting over. What makes it worse is that you can not see the person on the other side so you can not tell how emotionally invested you are in the problem. You need to be able to step down the emotional side of things. Remember this first and foremost. Fighting is \(\textbf{not}\) worth it. Instead, calm down a bit, and then you can work towards a solution. Aiming at solving things takes specific skills that can be developed. One of the first and easiest is I language: What is I language: http://www.dealingwithdifficultpeople.org/i-language-2/ The use of I language in relationship building: http://verysmartgirls.com/relationship-communication-skills/i-language-series-responsibility-and-building-relationships/ As you can see, I language will help in keeping emotions low. Instead of pointing the finger, I speak about how I feel or how I see things. This helps keep the focus on the problem and solution and off the emotional powder keg. That is what we are talking about here. Use talking about how you feel and working towards understanding how they feel. This can remove the resistance that is keeping the conflict alive. Then you can move forward to a resolution. It can be hard to get to a resolution. Remember also that in all communication there is noise. There are lots of other things that can cause a conversation to devolve. Take some time to make sure you understand the other person. Do not assume anything. Tell them how what they are saying sounds to you. See if they say that is correct or if they mean something else. Above all else, do your best to NOT blame or attack the person. That just feeds the conflict. Take a few minutes to watch another, short video. Lauren Mackler at Harvard Business School - Managing Conflict: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZOVWzKzpNg Note her comments on assumptions, emotional reactions and controlling them, reality checks, I language, assertive vs. aggressive, and you should language. You need to use positive language. Being friendly to people, even if they are not, is one way to help calm people down. People feel less threatened when they see something supportive. http://assets.openstudy.com/updates/attachments/547be368e4b0241dcdeefb4a-e.mccormick-1417406107360-positivemessage.png You also have only one chance to make a first impression. If you come across strong and aggressive, well, that will stick with the person and taint all the later conversations. It is far better to be seen from the very start as the person that promotes calm and proper action politely. Then, that will follow you. http://openstudy.com/study#/updates/52890468e4b0c6de5ca60cdb And finally, here is a great resource that is far more specific to what you will deal with on OpenStudy. Conflict in Cyberspace: How to Resolve Conflict Online by Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist http://users.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/conflict.html As I said above, these skills are ones taught at colleges. Many of these references are directly from university materials. They are a practical look at the causes of conflict and how by utilizing small changes in your language you can be a part of the solution. Now for the question: how do you think you can use these types of communications skills to help prevent exscalating or even reduce the size of conflicts you see on OpenStudy?
Assuming is the biggest riser or reducer of conflict in my opinion because users sometimes assume something about the user in a conflict that might be incorrect which caused a whole new conflict. When assuming, you must not assume the person medal spammed etc , you must listen to both sides or be correct like Eric said above. Assuming might help reduce the conflict if your correct but will rise the conflict even worse because guessing sometimes dont help. If we reduce assuming on OS then we will live a conflict free site :D
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@geekfromthefutur How are either of those applying the skills discussed above and in the links?
"Now for the question: how do you think you can use these types of communications skills to help prevent exscalating or even reduce the size of conflicts you see on OpenStudy? "
So I want to reply to @jagr2713 first. Well, add. By assuming, you can cause a problem. Like that post Eric showed. In the one, people were assuming the person was asking for answers. Eric handled it well by giving the person things to say. But anyway, people were assuming and the person got no answers the way they worded it badly. What I'm trying to say is, a person can't assume, but a person can't set themselves up for people thinking they assumed or something. You need to use your words carefully and accurately and then you will prevent assumptions.
I found the "I" language lessons really helpful. I used to unconsciously sound demanding, and I never noticed until one of my friends on this site pointed out that my messages and replies should not include too many "you" uses, and I was initially confused as to why the user brought that up. I'm glad that I got the links explaining how "I" language is a more subtle and a better choice of words. Sounding out comparisons that I decided to try out with sentences like "You should watch that TV show, it was nice" compared to "I like this show, it's worth checking out" really does sound different even with a nice tone. In the net though there's a barrier because we can't see and make any eye contact with a user and voice at all, so the points with replying with "I" language basically makes more sense. About the part of not prolonging a fight and finding a resolution, I found this difficult to follow at first. The internet is very different from the outside world (obvious to me now), but I was fairly new at using sites with conversing as I used to only use the internet to do school research until recently (around 2 years ago). It was difficult for me to mentally walk away from a argument and use more positive words here, as only a few years ago I grew up (for 2 years) in an environment that encouraged debates in school (in Indonesia). The school environment gave groups of students debate topics that would go on for days, sometimes. We would often not have a complete conclusion to which side of a debate wins, so by habit we liked pointing out our points of views in a quite brutally honest way. This affected me on this site as I was determined to attack verbally and "win" in arguments here and used strong words. I actually learned to get over somewhat pointless and dramatic uproars on some posts from @pooja195 . She advised me when to step back from a post and leave it at a resolution that would not support my viewpoints. I will be honest, I felt frustrated with her at first. However, she opened my eyes to another's perspective and showed me that some arguments are never worth it and that I should choose better, positive words. Looking at the the links posted here, it explained with depth what she had taught me months ago. Now I think carefully and start a conversation with positive words instead of all-out going in disagreement. I also learned about first impressions from her, and I had done some research on my own weeks ago to find out how to end a argument in a nicer note.
@horsegirl27 Yes. Clarity helps. Making sure others understand you is as important as the reverse.
@EclipsedStar And that is a problem in Argument and Debate... the thought that there MUST be a winner. That sort of trend is an indication of poor teaching. They need to temper it with the fact that "winning" can just man having your point heard and understood. Working towards agreement is far better than pushing people to see every argument and debate as something that must be won. Also, the use of the word argument is poorly explained. Argument can be as simple as presenting a point of view. Sadly, it is taught to children as a verbal fight. This is similar to saying that vehicle means car. What about airplanes, trucks, bikes, etc? With argument, there is so much more! In fact, it can mean the independent variable in an equation or the input in a programmatic function. There are so many more meanings to argument, but there are also so many teachers that present it in the narrowest scope and do a great disservice to their students: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/argument
Exactly! I totally agree there... XD
I applied to become a OS ambassador today and would like to follow this thread; definitely to be honored this title. Going to follow this training session. I believe from all the skills and links you've posted @e.mccormick and @jagr2713 are incredibly very helpful and useful towards preventing the escalation or cause of a conflict . By utilizing these communication skills especially cyber etiquette will surely be helpful to any OS ambassador. It's better to wait and think about what you say because "Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another." as Napoleon Hill said.
Oh ok sorry i had to get some sleep cuz i finally finished flvs and im done so now i can focus on this. #1- In order to handle the situation so it wont get out of control is to figure out what the main problem is that they are having and what everyone is arguing about. So, when you know that you need to try and calm people down and then after that have everyone explain one at a time and try to get it figured out. And have everyone back on track and helping other people besides arguing. #2- Next, If you have trouble figuring out how to handle the situation. you should call in a moderator or another ambassador, to help you solve it. And that way you can have team work to help find and solve it. But if you cant get anyone to help take it slowly and ask a few questions like what is the matter or what are you guys/girls arguing about and how can I help, etc.
I think "I" language will be a very helpful tool in resolving conflict..it makes you sound like you're sure of what you're saying. It helps get points across more easily..the tone sounds a lot easier. When you're in a conflict, people's emotions are triggered easily..using "you" makes it very easy to trigger them..so we should avoid that and use "I" instead.
I have to agree with the I language. When online, you can't hear the tone of voice someone wants, so by saying something like "you should" can be read harshly and something like "I feel like..." does come off lighter and more pleasant. However there are always people who then say something like "I don't care how you feel" or "I don't care what you think"...
Ok, so I read a quote today that I thought I would share here. "It's better to keep your mouth shut and let everyone think you're an idiot than to open it and prove them right."
\(\color{blue}{\text{Originally Posted by}}\) @horsegirl27 Ok, so I read a quote today that I thought I would share here. "It's better to keep your mouth shut and let everyone think you're an idiot than to open it and prove them right." \(\color{blue}{\text{End of Quote}}\) Wow...that is quite a powerful choice of words there...
@Holly00d1248 @KyanTheDoodle @Whitemonsterbunny17 @iYuko @jordan123321 I do not see replies from you here...
I havnt seen @Holly00d1248 post anything at all on the training
I'm working on it. Sorry. @e.mccormick
I believe that assumption is one of the biggest fight starters here on OS. I tend to get angry and begin to feed to the chat. I make it worse. One thing I've learned is to just let it go, it's honestly not worth it. I've began to just type my reply then close the chat. Say what you think. Then leave. Kinda like in court you don't get to take and talk. you take turns. Then it is resolved by a Judge (Moderator). If we all used nice words the fights wouldn't go on for as long as they do. If a troller comes, just don't talk to them. they will notice that no one really cares and he/she will leave.
Yes, several have brought up assumptions. Clarity helps with that. Rather than assume, ask. "I am not sure if I am getting that right. To me it soulds like you just said... bla bla... which would not be very nice/has this mistake/etc. and I am not sure that is what you meant." Anything to try and be nice about it and clarify things without saying, "You are wrong!" but rather, "Are you sure that is right?" or even better "I feel this is the correct way." which distances even more from accuasations.
These types of communication skills, especially "I" language, can be used to help prevent conflict, reduce the size of conflicts, and even create positive conversations throughout OpenStudy when used properly. Most conflicts occur due to miscommunication or misinterpretation. I tend to misinterpret things others say, which causes me to become defensive. If I would take a step back and do a reality check before I misinterpret what they're saying and contain my emotions, I'll be able to come up with a response that is less likely to create conflict and/or tension. Also, using "I" language will help to solve or calm conflicts, as it tends to be better at showing others more emotion, and by using words that are less likely to cause them to become defensive. I try to put myself in others' shoes so that I can try to relate to how they're feeling, and by doing this, I can try to show more respect and support to them, which can help them to calm down and become less defensive, which can resolve the conflict. If I use emotions to express my tone, they will be less likely to misinterpret what I'm saying and take it the wrong way, which can prevent conflicts. If I make a response that is respectful, sensitive, and clear, it is less likely to create a conflict. If I start and end my responses with positive words, others are less likely to become defensive or misinterpret what I'm trying to say. Overall, if I use a great deal of effort, care, and thoughtfulness, things are more likely to go better and conflicts are less likely to arise.
One big reason why conflict gets dragged out longer than it should be is because no one in the argument takes responsibility for what they've done. One person in the conflict doesn't believe that the other person has flaws in their argument. If one of them said "I'm sorry" or "I'm wrong" then the argument would most likely end right there. That's why these communication skills would help conflicts not only on OpenStudy but other places as well.
@KyanTheDoodle Yes, taking responsibility for your own part can help. I would add to that, clarification can also be a part of that. Instead of just "I am wrong," this might become, "Oh, sorry, I said that wrong. What I meant was..." Blame is a bit of a double edged thing. Taking it on can also devalue your own position. So do that carefully. Admitting when you are wrong is good, but phrasing it in a way that softens the blow to you is also not bad. It also shows that you are not just avoiding the argument by saying, "I am wrong, not let's run away!" Instead it is accepting a reasonable level of responsibility for a mistake while clarifying what would have been better.
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