Dear Labdoo Team
Recently I had a very unpleasant experience with a group of people who pushed me to give them laptops for one of their projects.
I had to say NO because they did not fulfill the initial requirements. Nevertheless especially one person got angry and was fighting back. This did go on including a nasty phone call. I was coming close to explode because of their stubbornness and some nasty words were flying back and forth.
Now that this story is definitely over and I slept a night over it, I was thinking about some type of formalization because I feel that I should have behaved more restrained and self-controlled. We had similar occasions in the past with companies I have worked for and the solution was to create a so called CoC (Code of Conduct) - a set of guidelines of how to behave in difficult, demanding and challenging situations.
What do you think, is this something worth considering, especially with the ever growing number of laptop recipients and supporters and the overall Labdoo network?
Ralf from Germany, Wendy and Jordi - we all had some e-mail traffic over this lately so I am attaching these for a complete overview of where we are in the process of finding a solution.
I am looking very much forward to receiving your feedback.
ANSWER FROM RALF:
I am very sorry to hear that, especially as you are the more quiet person of us. A few weeks I had a similar experience, Jordi received a mail of a woman from Germany, telling her I treated her rude and in Africa they would talk bad about my person (without cc-ing me). My fault: I sent her a laptop to Lübeck, but her name was not on the door bell, so DHL was not able to deliver the package. And I did not agree to her request the re-send the package again. So went mad, when I explained that it was her fault, and as she left soon time was too short to send again, beside of the costs.
I think Labdoo's opportunities to re-act are limited in those situations. I banned this woman as dootripper, she will not get any support. But there is not much we can do. We have the semaphore for projects and switch it to red and add comments to entries of dootrips etc, so other helpers get a warning or are aware of the reasons.
May-be we can add kind of a black-list for names/links of persons, projects etc., to handle with care. But German law is very careful with publishing personal data, so this would have to an information only visible for super-hubs(?).
People have no "right" to receive laptops. So we can stop contributing, but more? Beside that our core team is informed and aware of the reasons, why a decision was taken in a certain way, I cannot see many options.
Some people think Labdoo is a warehouse, where they can order laptops for free, next day delivery for free :)
mit freundlichen Grüßen
ANSWER FROM WENDY:
Hi Ralf and Frank,
I agree we can have options to set a code of conduct or make rules to band certain people to participate Labdoo, but I also have concerns if these will be able to correct people's behaviors and eliminate unhappy incidences from happening or ... it may create a totally different effect and send a negative tone that Labdoo is like many organizations burdened by one rule after another and still keep on adding one rule after another, because we believe people abuse system without rules to follow?
To be honest, I have been discouraged by several zest heart Labdoo volunteers too. With my extremely high pride, I still feel embarrassed when I need to hear their names or to admit those people are in the same team with me. Luckily, I have choice to ignore them. I totally understand they are good people with good hearts, just I am not the type of person they like to deal with;)
Here's one of my little stories at a suppose to be quiet and lovely Sunday morning... which happened to be our last QA workshop in California.
There are always tons of things I need to load to my car and bring to the QA workshop (laptops, tools ...) I am not very efficient, so as I running back and forth, trying to get everything ready and not to be late for my church at the same time, my daughter woke up and popped her head out "Mommy, where is my breakfast?" ... I totally blew up at her and left the house. I felt so sorry for yelling at her madly because she is actually a very sweet girl. When I got home after the QA, all the dishes in the kitchen are cleaned, which made me feel even sorrier ...
Miscommunication often leads to mistreatment. We've all mistreated others or been mistreated, lots of time, intentionally or unintentionally... it's much easier for us to see we've been mistreated and trying to fight back... but I really believe love and trust are the essences of Labdoo, more than anything else.
I really love how jordi setup the email templates, which helped me a lot when I am under pressure on responding email requests. Maybe we can start from those templates and add more for different scenarios (eg. response to unreasonable/unpleasant requests:) and encourage Labdoo volunteers to take advantage of. It may be another way to stop people from complaining if they know they are just receiving standard Labdoo protocols?
I am not sure if this is helpful?
ANSWER FROM JORDI:
I love the Sunday morning story :)...
I think one key is empathy, Wendy's daughter Kristy had empathy for her mom, and so she not only cooked her breakfast but cleaned up all the dishes :).
I am hearing your comments and i agree with the solutions you propose.
We cannot control other people's reactions as the project continues to grow. The world is too big and with +7 billion people, there are plenty of different personalities out there :). But we can control our own reactions, and i think a cohesive/united/standard way to address an issue like that would help. For instance, templates as Wendy says can help. And the CoC proposed by Frank can also help, as well as blocking really bad deceiving users as suggested by Ralf.
I also think we need to differentiate if the error was bad intentional or just a human mistake. Everyone can make mistakes. But if someone is trying to intentionally hurt a project, then we should block that user. We had one instance of that about a year or two ago where a user was deceiving our hubs by sending out fake emails to get laptops. However if it was just a human error without bad intentions, we should not block the user.
I would suggest the following:
- Frank, could you initiate an open conversation in our coffee team to create a Code of Conduct? i agree with Wendy we don't want to make this a military exercise, it has to be some very basic CoC that makes sense. I also think making it open in the coffee shop will allow others to see it and participate, so it will be more friendly. Let me know if you disagree.
- Ralf i take your input about blocking users that are hurting our project. I agree adding open information about them is sensitive and may be illegal in some countries, so i think the best thing to do is to simply block these users.
- Wendy could you write up some standard templates about potential polite answers to "unpolite customers"? :) i think we can learn a lot from you there :)
Team feel free to add more suggestions.