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Problem Solving:
Conflicts between Subscribers

The following steps are generally helpful to resolve conflicts between subscribers on a list. As the list administrator, your role is to keep the list focus on its topic.

  • Post a message to the list stating the topic (conflict) is no longer acceptable for list discussions. Clearly state you are sending the message as the list administrator and not as a subscriber.

  • Repost any existing list guidelines that clarify why you are asking the discussion be stopped. For example, if your list does not allow off-topic discussions, and the conflict stems from someone violating that guideline, then restating the rules for the list will be a neutral way to resolve the issue.

  • Write to the subscribers involved in the conflict and privately reaffirm the subject is closed on the list. Try to remain neutral; help them understand this isn't personal, but is for the good of the list. You may want to offer them other options. For example: pursuing the discussion privately if they want to continue it, temporarily unsubscribing from the list until things have calmed down, or subscribing to an alternative list instead.

  • Depending on the severity of the conflict, you may want to tell those involved (or the entire list) what the consequences are for continuing to disrupt the list. It may run the gauntlet from temporarily moderating their posts to the list, to unsubscribing their address and permanently blocking the address from posting to the list.

Occasionally a subscriber may report that another subscriber is being abusive in private e-mails. Remind them neither you or RootsWeb can control what is sent privately between individuals. They should report the alleged abuse to their ISP (service provider) and the ISP of the person sending them.