Public Lab Research note

musings on conflict resilience

by liz | June 25, 2019 20:44 25 Jun 20:44 | #19862 | #19862

As i'm preparing to shepherd a revision process for our 2016 Code of Conduct, a metaphor came to mind that i'd like to share out early in order to get your feedback.

A phrase from emergency management recently took on new significance for me:

all communities are in at least one phase of emergency management at any time.

I looked again at the classic emergency management phases, shown as the lead image of this post. It occurred to me that stronger mitigation practices that reduce the need for expensive conflict response and recovery in emergency management may serve the same role in community management. I reflected about all the ways we act to maintain our community health, and tested the extension of the metaphor:

  • We mitigate future problems through establishing guidelines for communication such as reducing our use of jargon, as well as fostering consent culture as described in our current Code of Conduct.
  • We prepare by creating facilitation plans for meetings and events, and selecting people to serve on ConductCommittees for those events.
  • We respond at a time of issue by intervening to reduce harm.
  • We recover through a variety of means including convening facilitated sessions among people experiencing miscommunication, and ejecting offenders from Public Lab spaces, re-establishing our commitment to healthy norms (returning to mitigation phase)

I am thinking that viewing the maintenance of community health in phases may help us onboard new people more effectively by showing the value of doing self-work in reducing future conflict, growing a supportive culture of calling-in to self-responsibility in order to reduce the need for expensive response processes.

What do you think of this metaphor? Can you think of more examples for the different phases?


Could this be useful for the #zine on the #txbarnraising ? Thanks Liz!

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Expanding the metaphor:


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