FairCoop Netiquette

For chat efficiency and good work flow.

Why is it necessary to agree on a netiquette for FairCoop chats?

Currently, most of the online communication in FairCoop is happening in public Telegram groups. This has many advantages for the users because: up to hundreds of thousands of users can be included, they can enter and exit the chat rooms whenever they want, and (if they know the public link) they can see the content of the group in a transparent way without having to join it.

While it is true that these type of groups are necessary for a process of transparency and openness, we must be aware that we also face certain disadvantages because, over time, people may appear who want to spam or troll the groups, with little or no desire to join us, contribute, and/or build community.

In the same way, and given that the groups are increasingly adding more and more people in both quantity and diversity, it is important to define certain protocols for interactions, in the interest of:

  • promoting respect and harmony
  • increasing participation
  • promoting teamwork and consensus building
  • making the most of the time available, improving productivity
  • being effective in the processes we are constructing via our chats.

Basic aspects to keep in mind

For newcomers (when you join a new group)

If it's a public group, you'll have access to all the content of the group (before you even join). Scrolling up will give you an idea of all the topics being discussed. Sometimes, groups are not public groups and you may have limited access to previous content and discussions.

Some good practices to consider would be the following:

  • It's nice to introduce yourself a little bit so that the group knows more about you: greet the group and maybe share a few lines about who you are!
  • Be patient if they don't respond to what you want/need right away. Take some time to follow the group and get to know its general behaviour, notice its flows and dynamics.
  • Please note that some questions or issues you are interested in may have already been addressed in the group. So, make use of the ability to search the public history of the group.

Even so, don't be afraid to participate and ask for what you need. Someone will surely be able to answer fresh questions or send you some answers that have already been given in the past.

For veterans (when new people join a group you've been in for a long time)

Often new people come to the group a little disoriented:

  • asking questions that have already been asked/resolved in the past
  • proposing things that have already been proposed/implemented in the past
  • or they ask and propose things that are not very relevant.

Even if it seems a bit boring, some good practices to consider would be the following:

  • Let's welcome new people (especially if they make the effort to introduce themselves!)
  • Let's encourage those who show interest and initiative to learn, know more, collaborate, add, etc.
  • Let's be PATIENT with all the people who are new to the groups, making it easier for them to get the information they need: welcome guide, netiquette, links of interest, finding their way to the proper group for a subject, etc.

When participating

GENERAL ASPECTS when making suggestions, writing, etc.

  • Avoid talking “in bursts” (as in writing a couple of words or phrases and then pressing ENTER) because what happens is you are monopolizing the conversation and saturating the group by generating many notifications for those that have them activated.
  • At the same time, it is better to split your texts into separate messages so that it will be easier for other users to respond to the different parts of what you are writing.
  • Try to be brief and concise; refrain from irrelevant information, however interesting it may seem to you.
  • Use inclusive, respectful and kind language.
  • Don't write in capital letters (because that means you're YELLING!)
  • Try to use punctuation marks correctly: commas, dots, dots and dots apart, etc., hyphens, asterisks, bold and italics, etc. to structure your arguments and make them easier to read, understand and machine translate, for those that need to do that from English.
  • Emojis are useful but try not get too carried away with them. Even if “one emoticon is worth a thousand words”, let's be restrained every emotion with many emoticons.

AND…

  • Avoid sending voice messages in group chats. They are easier to send but not to hear. They also use a lot of memory on our devices and not everyone is in a situation where they can or want to download and hear them.
  • Avoid sending on “memes” and forwards such as personal photos and videos. Also greetings/personal congratulations to individual members (birthdays, births, weddings, prizes, etc.) it is best to do this directly to the person involved, but not in group chat.
  • Do not spam the group with information not relevant to context of the group.
  • Do not abuse the stickers and animated gifs.

In our chats we have people participating from different continents; this makes it difficult to “respect” certain schedules and also, don't despair and be patient when you need something from someone who is in a different time zone than yours. Let's try to keep time zones in mind: we don't really know if the receiver has their phone turned off, in silence, in airplane mode or if they have turned on some form of “Do Not Disturb” or turned off the app's own notifications.

When presenting a new topic

Make sure that what you are going to comment on is related to the group you are in! (if it is a communication topic, in the communication group; if it is a technical issue, in the technical group, etc).

Check the immediate history of the group to see if there is currently a discussion going on that you might be interrupting unnecessarily. If that's not the case, GO FOR IT!

If you feel the need to comment urgently on something unrelated to a topic being actively discussed at that moment, out of respect for what is being talked about and who is contributing, include an [OT]* in front of your message. The term [OT] means off-topic and is used for those contributions that are somehow unrelated to the ongoing discussion (but not the purpose of the group!). It is a courtesy to indicate that an off-topic message is being posted that has nothing to do with what is being currently talked about, even though it may be of interest to the group. If it is off-topic for the group, DON'T POST IT!

When responding to or giving an opinion on a proposal, read well before answering; it may sound silly, but we often forget it:

  • Read well what has been previously commented on (may be a considerable amount of conversation according to the rhythm and intensity of the conversation, but it is advisable to do so if you want to have an informed opinion, especially if you enter when the subject is almost settled or hours or days have passed)
  • Check yourself what you write before sending it to the group. If you sent something and notice that you have made a mistake, Telegram allows us to click on our message and » Edit).
  • Notify the person you want to answer. Either by directly replying to the message you are responding to (click on the message » Reply) or by mentioning the person's @username (so you can make it easier for them to be notified and follow up with you).
  • If any member of the group has already responded with a point similar to the one you wanted to make, you can reinforce it with a simple +1, “I agree”, etc. But let us all try to make real contributions, and not to be redundant or to repeat points by saying the same thing multiple times.

If you haven't seen a chat in a while, you may have missed some conversations. We recommend that you don't bring up topics that are more than a week old (if you really don't need to).

WARNING: DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!

Inevitably we will often encounter people in groups who have a 'troll' attitude. A troll is someone who publishes profanity, offensive material, difficult-to-detect lies, provocative, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, intentionally or not, with the primary effect of:

  • annoying, or provoking a negative emotional response in the group and the community
  • for having fun
  • to confuse and hurt the feelings of others
  • or to alter the normal flow of conversation in a discussion topic

They often make people angry and pit them against each other. THAT'S WHY IT IS IMPORTANT “not to take the bait,” and to ignore these people.

How to behave in the face of trolling or aggression!

  • Let's avoid feeding the troll. Let's ignore him. Let's not respond.
  • Let's avoid answering stupid questions with another stupid or aggressive answer, nor starting an argument with another person (or different permutations of the previous ones).
  • Let's control our own bad temper. It's very easy to make enemies by not knowing how to bite your tongue. Let's not say anything we wouldn't want to say in person, face-to-face.
  • Let's try to tolerate things even if they seem to be personal attacks » and in the case of feeling the urgent need to respond to a (perceived) aggression, please, let us do it personally to the (perceived) aggressor.

We should be aware that the social rules we follow are not necessarily the same for everyone, and without the help of physical presence to extract visual clues and differentiate sarcasm from attacks and pranks from insults, it is always better for a group to presuppose good intentions.

For people who are new to a group, this last one is important: give yourself at least a few days, or even a few weeks, to confirm that you understand the different “tones of voice” of the different people who participate in the group, before you take offence.

Let's not respond aggressively to stupid comments or perceived attacks. If we believe that the issue is serious, let's contact one of the administrators of the group directly to evaluate the Blocking-Expulsion protocol.

Finally, in order not to monopolize collective chat, let's avoid the situation whereby the conversations become personal or just a “two-way discussion”. We can always continue in a private and direct chat (the rest of the group members will thank us!).

Conflicts and Possible Reasons for Blocking

For each Telegram group, there will be - at least - 2 or 3 persons with admin permission. Only they can block/delete members at the community's request or on encountering harmful, violent, or non-appropriate behaviours.

EXAMPLES OF CASES MERITING THE USER BEING BLOCKED:

  • bullying and violent behaviour
  • hate speech
  • racist behaviour
  • gender-based / sexist comments
  • spam / trolling behaviour
  • sending inappropriate content
  • posting content that may hurt the feelings of those in the group (limits to be defined)

When people are breaking netiquette

It is important to intervene in a non-conflictive manner when attempting to restore appropriate behavior.

To maintain a friendly, uplifting, encouraging and cooperative environment for things to flourish. All organizations face the challenge caused by disrespectful behavior by some of it's participants and during this past year, several very active members have been victims of mobbing that has somewhat pushed them out. We also have seen a rise in cyclical destructive criticism and discouraging comments. These too are extremely damaging to a movement.

In a horizontal organization such as Faircoop, solving this problem requires the participation of EVERYBODY in showing appreciation and optimism, and also in intervening to stop unethical behavior as well as to stop the breaking of important FC principles.

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it” Martin Luther King Junior.

It is crucial for us to do this because although we often think that ignoring destructive or disrespectful behavior makes it go away, in most cases the opposite happens, it keeps getting worse and can lead to the total paralysis of the organization.

If you think a person or group is not following netiquette, is lowering moral or violating an important FairCoop principle:

  • Remember that the cause of unethical behavior is usually not bad intention, but lack of experience, knowledge, or social abilities.
  • If the act is public, show public disapproval of the act in a polite fashion. It's important for everyone to see that such behavior is not wanted. Examples of appropriate comments: “Netiquete is key” “It's important to keep a friendly environment to facilitate participation” “ Remember to use non-violent communication and be respectful in order to keep things constructive” “It is very important to stick to our principles to maintain cohesion and progress.”
  • If the behavior continues, using the name of the person in our intervention gives it more effect. Pointing out the negative aspect while also asking describing the wanted behavior also give result. “Joe, such comments lower moral and participation. Please offer a solution or ask a question instead. That would be constructive and very appreciated.” “Jane, I find that was disrespectful. We like your participation and need everyone to be nice here.”
  • Counter the negative comment with a positive one.
  • If the act is not public show disapproval to them in private in a polite fashion as described above.

If they don't accept the critique, or repeat their behavior:

  • Talk with the Mediation group, and they will have a conversation with the people that need support.
  • A neutral and experienced member of the mediation group may be able to conduct a mediation process between you and the person in conflict with.
  • If private mediation is unsuccessful, the case can be further discussed in the mediation group https://t.me/faircoopmediation amongst its participants.
  • If mediation is unsuccessful, a report about the behavior of the person that is seen in conflict with the netiquette may be published on wider ecosystem groups, and every local node or working group may decide to exclude that person from their circles.
  • For groups, or in exceptional cases, a ban proposal may be taken to the FC General Assembly. The main reason that would warrant banning is repeatedly violating important points of cooperative ethical frameworks.

In case a person or group is banned, the assembly decides and communicates a temporary exclusion of a person from a group or groups. The decision must be transparent and made visible. Any decision can be reviewed (this is part of our culture). We have no supreme justice that makes final decisions.