TOPIC: Non-violent communication for diffusing charged situations

How to have conversations around difficult situations, such that people don't feel attacked or take things personally... including nonviolent communication techniques.


A spectrum from negative feedback to mediation to ejection, in environments from open source projects and online communities to teams within companies

  • providing negative feedback
  • addressing pests
  • mitigating toxic behavior, ejecting bad actors
  • communicating around power dynamics
  • building healthy and effective teams


  • Codifying positive and negative behaviors via Contributor Guides and Codes of Conduct
  • Keeping the good of the project/the team front and center
  • Creating a sense of safety
  • Humanizing people, truly getting to know each other and empathizing


  • Finding similarities and then exploring the differences to add more nuance and nix the "us vs them"
  • Being vulnerable and acknowledging that someone might not be doing so well
  • Confronting issues face-to-face or with rich media such that we don't lose body language, facial expressions, etc
  • Finding what's not being expressed so that we can find what truly needs to be addressed
  • One-on-ones and retrospectives
  • Staying calm and curious rather than escalating


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