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Better Ways to Handle User Conflicts? 37

An anonymous reader asks: "We are a small startup trying to decide how best to handle the conflicts that will inevitably arise between users which have real-world monetary consequences. While sites like eBay seem to have set the standard for internal/outsourced dispute resolution, it frequently feels like a random corporate drone is choosing your fate for you. Other sites like have come up with various variations on the arbitrary mediation (they use rock, paper, scissors for parties that can't come to an obvious agreement) which seem to be more interactive, yet still feels like a resolution system heavily biased by luck. Slashdot, how do you handle user conflicts in a way that feels fair to everyone involved?"
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Better Ways to Handle User Conflicts?

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  • by revlayle ( 964221 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @11:11AM (#16672971) Homepage
    Also, ground them from the internets for 2 weeks! Also, no video games until their attitudes change.

    "HEY, you better finish you vegetables!"
  • Easy (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by ellem ( 147712 ) *
    Use only one DHCP server but make the range Class A. That ought to be plenty of network space for your users with no IP Conflicts.
    • by NiteHaqr ( 29663 )
      That would be advising to use a /8 subnet - right?

      Dont forget we are a classless society now :)

  • by faloi ( 738831 ) on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @11:14AM (#16673029)
    Slashdot, how do you handle user conflicts in a way that feels fair to everyone involved?

    The person that "loses" is always going to feel like they were slighted, regardless of the conflict resolution mechanism in place. Nobody on the losing side of a lawsuit says "Welp, I lost. Sucks to be me!" There's always the "they failed to consider all the facts in the case, the jury was stacked, my lawyer was drunk..."

    My advice is to pick a system that's out there, and run with it. It saves you the hassle of trying to come up with something "fair" that nobody will consider "fair" anyway.
    • I think that's absolutely correct. Also, by using a system that's already in use on another well-known site if someone complains about the unfairness of the system you can always play the "well uses it for their x million customers without much trouble" card.

      The only thing you might have to watch out for is that you implement it and then 5 years down the line sues you for infringing on their IP of "a system by which to resolve user conflicts by means of <your conflic

  • Two users enter, one leaves.

    Seriously though, you didn't say what kind of site you are, which sort of makes a lot of difference in these sorts of matters. The examples you gave lead me to believe you're some sort of auction/classified ad site, in which case your best bet is probably to just fold now. That space is ridiculously oversaturated, and you're doomed to failure. Just because you're "Ajax-powered" or "Web 2.0 enhanced" doesn't mean you're any different than any of the other 500 sites that do the
  • The world is the way it is because conflict resolution is *hard*. There are plenty of people suffering far more over disputes even less consequential to an outsider than two nerds squabbling over the quality of some manga. It's just not human nature to be rational about these things.
    • Not to mention, people like to obsess over petty things.

      Just ignore it for a while, most likely it'll go away.

      Then you deal with the persistent problems.
  • by soulsteal ( 104635 ) <soulsteal@3l337. o r g> on Wednesday November 01, 2006 @11:21AM (#16673133) Homepage
  • The method of conflict resolution system you choose is really dependant on the type, and value, of the product you are selling. If your startup is mediating resolutions for transactions in the thousands of dollars, a live mediator is possibly your best bet. However, if you're like eBay and primarily setting small value mediations, a simple automated solution is far better.

    Would rock/paper/scissors or similar solutions work? Sure, if you're settling a dispute that's for $5, or a non-monetary dispute am
  • Assuming you're talking about an auction type site, make sure they're adults - they should take responsibility for their own actions. Set rules. In Real Life, people use contracts. Users of your site can agree to the rules you set- no more access to the site to whomever violates the rules you set. But by all means, keep any financial responsibility of the users at those users. Ebay uses a rating/feedback system - this is a social control system that works pretty well to keep people in line.
    • make sure they're adults - they should take responsibility for their own actions. Set rules. In Real Life, people use contracts
      Ha ha, +5 Funny. This is The Internet, not Real Life! There's no such thing as responsibility on The Internet!
  • Whoever has more epics wins. If both parties have the same amount of epics, they duel. Best 2 out of 3 wins. Glad I could help. That'll be twenty dollars.
  • Two users enter, one user leaves.

  • I would look into some mediation training for your CS reps. Mediation, unlike arbitration, is not binding and costs less. By mediation techniques, you should be able to come up with an equitable solution.

    • Mediation is based on the premise that it's better to get an agreement than determine who's right. It doesn't matter what the contract/terms of service/agreement was.

      Mediation is your mother saying "Can't we all just get along?"
      Courts are your father saying "You lied. Play time is over, go to your room."

      I've done mediation, and I'll never do it again. Not that I'm bitter.
  • I suggest purging those parties which dare to complain. Siberian exile is another popular choice. In Soviet Russia, conflicts resolve YOU!
  • Slashdot? Handling user conflicts?

    Dunno what you're smoking, but *share*! :)
  • Successful dispute resolution requires a modicum of empathy and courtesy. It is to easy to miss both when communicating via email or through a faceless intermediary and time delays.

    Far and away, the best approach is to meet in person. If that is not possible, it should be possible to talk it over on the phone. Hearing the person's voice immediately has a calming influence. With cross-cultural confusion and general illiteracy making written communication prone to misunderstandings, it is important to revert
  • About 6 feet in length, you can hit people twice as many times as with a short stick, plus they can't get anywhere near you.

    [shrug] Works for me.

  • It isn't random at all. You just have to understand a little psychology.

  • ... but I doubt the "rock, paper, scissors" defense will hold up in many courts.
  • What method's best depends on exactly what kind of things you're doing. You don't say what your business will be, so it's hard to say what's going to work best.

    The one constant, though, is that you'll always have at least one unreasonable party involved. If both parties were reasonable they'll likely come to some sort of acceptable resolution without needing to go to dispute resolution, so if they get to needing your process at least one of them's being unreasonable and ornery. Whatever process you use has

  • Each conflict is different so it takes a different approach each time. They differ in all aspects from what the conflict is about to the personalities and egos of the stakeholders involved. Because of that, one single conflict resolution method will not work for every instance.

    I have used several methods in the past. Petty disagreements between employees whose feelings are hurt can be solved as easily as getting the two employees away from the workplace for lunch or maybe a drink or two after hours. It remo
  • You didn't mention what kind of startup you are. You wouldn't happen to specialize in dispute resolution, do you?

    "Hey Joe, the VC isn't coming in so easily for our dispute resolution company."

    "Maybe we need a better business model..."

    "Yeah, but who has the time to come up one of those in today's environment?"

    "Meh, let's just ask Slashdot."

    - RG>
  • I keep the Sceptre of Death in my office.

    It looks suspiciously like a 4 wood found next to a trash can, but works just fine for my purposes.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!