New MetaBrainz conflict resolution policy

Hello everyone!

As you may know, there was a significant conflict involving a contractor last year. The board of directors insisted that we get some professional help to review our policies and to aid us in creating a conflict resolution policy for the foundation. Over the course of 2018 we’ve engaged a consultant to accomplish exactly that and I am pleased to announce that the nearly final version of the conflict resolution policy is now available here:

Note that the policy is not official yet and that it is running on our test server; also the emails mentioned in the document are not active yet, so please don’t mail them yet.

I’m looking for feedback on this new policy; however, unlike previous policies this policy was heavily shaped by an external consultant and we’re happy that this policy is nearly ready as it stands. Given this caveat, we’re not looking for feedback on how this process is going to work, unless you think that the proposed process has serious issues or is somehow in conflict with our policies or values.

We are looking for feedback regarding wording (especially for non-native english speakers), typos, or grievous problems with policy. If you find something, please post a comment on this thread.



I don’t know if it is even worth a comment but there is a Typo in the “Retaliation” section very low down. It says “contractor of volunteer” where it should probably say “contractor or volunteer”.

Otherwise as often with these policies it formalises what I perceive as common sense in human interaction (not judging or criticising) and I hope that we will only very rarely see it acted upon.


Yep, typo. Will fix and push a new version shorty. Thanks!

Very thorough, well thought out and well written. Excellent work.

One more typo, I think. In bullet 5 of the first section of Filing a complaint, it says “The ED will to respond to incidents no later than…” I suspect that the highlighted “to” should be omitted.

Again, well done.


I really, really like this document. Well done, and thanks! :slight_smile:

For reporting bad behavior in other of our projects that do not involve the community manager, please report them to our community manager

This at first read to me as if the projects did not involve the community manager. Took me a few reads to realise that it was the “bad behaviour” that didn’t involve me. Maybe: «For reporting bad behavior, not involving the community manager, in other of our projects […]»? Still feels a bit clumsy though. Or maybe the «that do not involve the community manager» part can be removed altogether since the paragraph does end with «For conflicts involving our community manager, […]»?

I know you have previously mentioned keeping the community and contractor sides of the conflict resolution separate, but it seems this document conflates the two anyway, which makes the «Filing a complaint» feel a bit odd to me. This seems to be the instructions for filing a complaint (any complaint), but doesn’t address how to file complaints about community members. It does have one section say «If the complaint does not involve the Executive Director», but then goes on to specify that this is only «If team member» (also: I think an “a” is missing there). This, for me, left a bit of a weird “unfinished” feeling.

Maybe preface the two options in the «Filing a complaint» section with something like:

For complaints not about MetaBrainz staff, please see the above “Direct conflict resolution” and “Informal reporting” sections.

Or something to that effect? (Alternatively, another section like the two existing ones basically saying to write the community@ address could be added.)

  1. Minor - The response times should (IMO) be stated both clearly and consistently as working days or calendar days.

  2. Major - I personally believe that a conflict that has happened in private should be kept private unless either both parties agree that it should be made public or the conflict has been resolved (in which case a summary should be published). A conflict that is already in public should be resolved publicly.

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A public conflict in edit notes between two editors in our community does not involve confidential information and therefore should be considered a public conflict.

I feel like this is overlooking types of conflicts that involve one person introducing confidential information about another person into a public forum without that person’s permission. Just because it’s in public doesn’t mean it doesn’t involve confidential information, and this is something worth noting because that’s been a common harassment vector online.


@Sophist: Clarified all times to be working days. It has been our long standing policy to try and resolve conflicts in public if at all possible, so that we may learn from them. If a conflict appears in private, the it doesn’t automatically get made public – it is up to the person investigating the conflict to decide wether to make the conflict public, to distill the essence of it for learning purposes and make that public or simply not make it public at all. I feel that the policy is well suited currently for handling this case.

@arturus: The conflict you speak of is a community conflict to be handled by the community manager, if the data in question does not relate to MetaBrainz or its team members. If the data does involve a team member or the foundation itself, it needs to be treated as a formal complaint and thus sent to the ED or board. I feel that the policy handles this adequately as stated.

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@freso: re first point, I’ve updated it to:

For reporting bad user behavior in other of our projects, please report them to our community manager by mailing gro.zniarbatem@ytinummoc. For conflict that involve the community manager, report them by mailing gro.zniarbatem@de.

Regarding the second point:

I know you have previously mentioned keeping the community and contractor sides of the conflict resolution separate, but it seems this document conflates the two anyway

Yes, in the end the process turned out a little different than I first expected. But that is why we have professional help.

but doesn’t address how to file complaints about community members

The “Informal reporting” section does exactly that and as you pointed the policy does not really differentiate between who did the violating, but what the violation was. (e.g. breach of policies vs being rude) This means that:

For complaints not about MetaBrainz staff, please see the above “Direct conflict resolution” and “Informal reporting” sections.

Is not really correct.

Given my feedback how can we improve the policy to make it more clear?

@rdswift: Thanks for pointing out the typo. Fixed.

Will push an update now.

Use «For complaints not about MetaBrainz staff, please see the above “Informal reporting” section.» instead then (ie., just remove the ‘Direct conflict resolution’ part)? Or is this still not correct? If so, I’m sorry, but I don’t understand how it’s not correct, and from your reply it seems like you’re saying that that would be correct, so clearly I’m missing something. :frowning: (Note that I’m talking about the “Filing a complaint” section, not the document as a whole.)

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(Restating a previous comment of mine in a less verbose and hopefully more concise manner. :slight_smile: )

The “Filing a complaint” section header at face value seems to be about how to file a complaint about anyone, but in reality only describes the process of filing complaints about the ED or other MetaBrainz employees/team members.

Adding something like “For complaints not about MetaBrainz staff, please see the “Informal reporting” section above.” would make it cover all cases and thus better (IMHO) reflect the section title.


The new policy is now up on the MetaBrainz site and thus official policy for this project: