Mediation is the activity in which a neutral third party (the mediator) assists two or more parties (the editors in dispute) in order to help resolve their dispute, with concrete effects, on a matter of common interest.
During mediation, each party can have a break, sit down with the mediator and the other party, have the opportunity to explain his/her situation, listen to each other, work together to achieve an agreement and make a consensual decision over the issue at stake.
Therefore, Mediation is a process designed to achieve a specific goal and as such, there are certain things that Mediation is not – and there are also certain things that Mediators are not.
What Mediation is not
- Mediation is not Facilitation. So, while mediation may lead to better work on articles or between editors, it is not specifically designed to faciliate the editing of articles where people disagree but it has not come to an impasse yet.
- Mediation is not Arbitration. The arbitration process at Wikipedia exists to impose binding solutions to Wikipedia disputes. This solution may be anything up to and including a ban from editing the entire Wikipedia for a period of time. This is not the goal of mediation.
- Mediation is not soapbox or discussion forum. If a user feels a need to have that kind of forum, the talk pages of users and article will have to suffice.
- Mediation is not a place to test anarchism. The fact that Wikipedia is an open, self-governing project does not mean that any part of its purpose is to explore the viability of anarchistic communities. Our purpose is to build an encyclopedia, not to test the limits of anarchism. The mediation process is not to be used to test the limits of the community's forbearance.
What Mediators are not
- Mediators are not Emissaries. It is not the job of mediators to pass messages between individuals who are not able to communicate. Mediators work to establish the trust and common ground to allow communication to happen.
- Mediators are not Private Investigators. Mediators do not "work for you," nor will they work to build a case against someone or research the facts in an article. Mediators will examine the facts surrounding the dispute in an attempt to understand what each party is looking for and to determine what may end the dispute.
- Mediators are not Psychologists or Social Workers. Mediators will work with both parties, and therefore cannot counsel or give advice to either party involved in the dispute.
- Mediators are not Advocates. Mediators will not take sides or promote one person's point of view or request over those of another person.
- Mediators are not Security Guards. Mediators are not there to protect an article or talk pages and will not watch for improper bahavior or violations of rules or guidelines. Nor will they report any incidents or document what happened in an incident report.
Please feel free to continue adding to this list as we discover interesting new ways of not conduction mediations. When adding new options, please be as clear as possible and provide counter-examples of similar, but permitted, subjects.
Possible measures if these guidelines are not being followed
- Removing the request to the poster's talk page
- Moving the request to en:Wikipedia:Requests for comment
- Ending the mediation
- Referral to arbitration
- Wikipedia:Requests for Mediation
- Wikipedia:Mediation Committee
- Wikipedia:Dispute resolution
Note: I think these may be helpful in creating this article, but I don't really think that they belong in the article. Probably they should be put somewhere else as a reference and reading list for mediators. And perhaps not someplace terribly obvious to those who wish to test the process...
People and roles
- Characters and roles
- Attention seekers
- Vested contributors
- Community members
Behaviors and actions
- Expanding the scope of the conflict
- Selective flattery
- The "good point" defense
- False repentance
- Sniping criticism
- The Wrong Version
- Departures and threatening to leave
Attitudes and approaches to conflict
- Conflict paradox
- Angry cloud
- Assume good faith
- Principle of constant respect
- Forgive and forget
- Record keeping
- Fair process
- Open process
- Back room decisions
- No sudden movements
- Criticism is feedback
- Reward reputation (positive reinforcement)
- Dissuade reputation (negative reinforcement)
- Dissuade interaction
- Enforce responsibility
- Barn raising
- Enabling creativity
- Content over community
- Limit damage
- Us and them
- Excess baggage
- Fighting is boring