Grants:IdeaLab/Develop a peer-to-peer counseling forum
What is the problem you're trying to solve?
Stress from participation in Wikimedia projects comes from many places and volunteers tolerate and even thrive in most of it. Sometimes, however, an unusual circumstance arises, and the stress becomes too much.
Risks of participation in Wikipedia include attracting online harassment, stalkers, personal threats,abuse, defamation online, and unwanted communication to one's employers or social circle. Additionally, even minor casual actions taken in the course of Wikimedia participation have been observed to have a major impact on the lives of Wikimedia community members, and this far beyond what should be expected for participants in similar volunteer efforts.
The stress that can be put on Wikimedia community members is not something that can be ignored as it hurts individuals who experience it directly, frightens other community members who see this happen, and results in the community becoming as traumatized as any other community which sees one of its own experience harm from doing their daily activities.
What is your solution?
A secure email channel is established in which people can get counseling support. This would be modeled after LGBT support lines, and likely copy the resources which these lines provide. Mostly the people operating these lines would give links to reading materials and referrals to whatever local services can be identified, and these referral lists would be copied from existing services in the LGBT, women's issues, mental health, men's issues, and suicide counseling fields. In short, anyone experiencing mental stress anywhere ought to be able to write and possibly call a support center and have a peer counselor with whom to talk. This service might be external to Wikipedia, and counselors may know nothing about Wikipedia.
- Provide this service in coordination with other related services, perhaps under the direction of a community human resources staffperson