Handling Difficult Issues: From Conflict to Crisis

Handling Difficult Issues: From Conflict to Crisis

If there's no conflict in your community, it might be a sign that people don't care. Conflicts and crises, if managed effectively, indicate that members are invested and can drive growth.

Identifying Conflicts and Crises

Spot conflicts early by looking for signs:

  • Recurring Arguments: The same issues being debated repeatedly could indicate unresolved conflicts.

  • Cliques: Formation of exclusive groups can lead to division and conflict.

  • Avoidance: Members deliberately avoiding each other signals a potential crisis.

  • Negative Atmosphere: A shift in community sentiment might signal a brewing crisis.

Tactics for Conflict Resolution

When conflicts arise:

  • Foster Open Communication: Encourage members to express their views openly, yet respectfully.

  • Promote Empathy: Ask members to consider other perspectives.

  • Seek Fair Resolution: Act as a neutral party to ensure fairness.

Managing Crises

Prevent crises from escalating:

  • Have a Crisis Plan: Define roles for rapid response, identify key stakeholders for decision-making, establish a communication plan to keep members informed, and outline the steps for a post-crisis review. For instance, in a privacy breach crisis, the communication plan could include sending emails to members detailing what happened and what actions are being taken.

  • Maintain Transparency: Share consistent updates about the situation and the steps being taken to handle it. For example, if the community platform is down, update members via alternate channels like social media or email.

  • Learn from Crises: Post-crisis, review the incident thoroughly to identify gaps and establish preventive measures for the future. A root cause analysis can help here.

Remember, the community manager is instrumental in addressing conflicts and crises, and the way they show up to the community can is the best predictor of community health and harmony.


Effective conflict and crisis management are key to maintaining a thriving community. They can serve as catalysts for community growth and maturity.

⏪ : Creating Functional Teams for Community Management
📜 : Table of Contents
⏩ : How Others Did It: Figma