Mediation at TarValon.Net
Mediation is “the process of talking to two separate people or groups involved in a disagreement to try to help them to agree or find a solution to their problems”.
Here at TarValon.Net we have a wonderfully diverse range of people who make up our membership. There are many advantages to this however, this also means that there will be inevitable conflicts between individual members and groups. The implementation of Mediation at TarValon.Net was mentioned in the same breath as Moderation however it is by nature a very different process and is being approached with a very different motivation.
The Mediation Team at TarValon.Net is composed of Alyria Savoinya and Calen Velervron. Both Alyria and Calen have extensive experience beyond TarValon.Net in mediation of different types, but both share the same desire to help the members of TarValon.Net through this program. Alyria and Calen have a very symbiotic relationship where each compliments the other in what they can offer the program. They both make themselves available whenever necessary to the participants. It barely takes a moment talking to the two of them to realise how passionate and invested they are in their work as mediators.
When people hear mediation they often associate that with conflicts and people being forced into the process for external reasons, but that is not why our Tower Mediators exist. They serve as a service to our members, not just another cog in a punitive system. They are here to mediate any situations which the members involved feel could be better resolved by having a third party present.
I was lucky enough to sit down with the members of the Mediation Team to find out a little more about the process and how it can be utilised by our members. “Privacy is paramount”. It’s very important for us as members to understand that the Mediation Team is there to support us (if we want it). They have worked very hard to establish a standardisation of handling for any situations that are brought to them.
They understand that mediation is not an easy process, as they are asking people to have “not easy” conversations. Alyria and Calen are and will continue to do everything that they can to make it as easy as possible for those involved. Every situation is different and they are taking great care to ensure that it is handled in a way that best helps the members involved. They have no moderation power, if people come to them it is not because they are in trouble. If people come to them as Mediators it only signifies that there is a situation that they would like to discuss with another member. Sometimes what people need is to take themselves out of the immediate situation and remember that “we’re all human beings, flaws and all”.
The benefit of having two members on the Mediation Team is that they provide checks and balances on each other. When members bring a situation to the attention of the Mediators they are able to request a specific mediator. Our mediators are human too, and will always recuse themselves from working on a specific case if they believe that they couldn’t serve their purpose and the members involved properly.
The Mediation Team takes great care “not to be part of the harming process”. They are more than happy to direct people to resources and services to help them closer to home. It is important to note that the Mediation Team “has no power or authority to compel people to be involved” and that “everyone very much has a choice”. You should never feel like you have to participate in mediation if you don’t want to. The Mediation Team are also not investigators. They are not going to go out and “investigate” outside the express permission and comfort levels of those involved. They are there to mediate discussions between individuals or groups, not to investigate or make any judgements about any situation that has been brought to them.
All records for the Mediation Team are available but not open. What does this mean? What it means is that the mediators are accountable to the Administration to conduct themselves with the highest level of integrity. Membership Administrators of the parties involved are kept informed of the situation as a whole, however the records are not available to anyone outside the immediate mediation, the Director of Membership, the Keeper of the Chronicles and the Amyrlin Seat.
The flowchart below shows the process for any mediation that is brought to the Mediation Team.
Alyria and Calen are working hard to put together a Mediation Manual as well as a class about mediation. The class will cover some tools which members can use in conflict resolution and skills which can be used during difficult discussions. They hope that the class will give the participants confidence in the mediation process and just as importantly, confidence in themselves and how they handle conflicts in the future.
It can sometimes be hard to adjust to changes within our community but this addition is backed up by two very selfless individuals who are here to help you, no matter who you are. Whether you have been a member for one day or from day one, everyone who comes to mediation is treated with the respect and consideration that we all deserve. Not only as members of this community but as human beings.
If you have any questions after reading this post about the Mediation Team or Mediation in general at TarValon.Net please do not hesitate to contact either of the Tower Mediators at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would prefer to ask more general questions the Tar Valon Times (email@example.com) will be doing some follow up interviews as time goes on and we are happy to pose your questions to our mediators.