Grants:IdeaLab/Teach people to recognize and avoid committing harassment

Teach people to recognize and avoid committing harassment
Instead of burdening victims with harassment mitigation, let's teach people how to recognize what harassing behavior is and how to avoid engaging in it themselves.
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created on14:47, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Project idea edit

What is the problem you're trying to solve? edit

It seems that people assume that harassment is inevitable. Most solutions to harassment focus on dealing with the aftermath of it.

Victims of harassment are told how to avoid it, report it, and deal with the harmful psychological effects of being targeted.

Witnesses of harassment (such as moderators and bystanders) are told how to identify it, report it, and provide emotional support for the victims.

A key piece is missing from this, which is preventing harassment in the first place at the level of the harassers themselves. Without this, any advice to victims and witnesses is like baling out a sinking boat without fixing the leak.

What is your solution? edit

I think we should focus on teaching potential or active harassers what harassment is and how to not harass. This should ideally come from a remedial stance rather than punitive.

Different people have different motivations for engaging in harassment. Research what these different motivations are and figure out ways to address them.

Some people may not even realize it when they harass others. If they are provided with a definition and examples of harassing behavior, and alternative ways to behave in conflict situations, many of them might respond well.

Of course, there are those people that very actively want to hurt others. It may not be easy to teach these people to stop. But by focusing on the people that can be convinced not to harass, there will be less harm to victims and witnesses overall. And also, the more serious offenders will stand out and be easier to address, making anti-harassment efforts that much easier.

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Endorsements edit

I like this idea. It reminds me of the campaign against bullying, which helps empower young people to identify bullying and how to prevent it. Megalibrarygirl (talk) 15:55, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

  • I'm endorsing because the idea is nice for users unintentionally harassing others. But, I'm cautious of this as a final solution. For the trolls and vandals, harassment is the point. That's what they're there for. Also, like the "ignore" feature, I don't think we should be promoting "I'm a victim" as a symbolic ignore button. TParis (talk) 18:11, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • We all come from different backgrounds with different expectations and understandings. Helping each other be better people sounds like a good idea. Ckoerner (talk) 19:20, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree that a preventative approach is worth exploring. I can see WMF joining with other large internet sites to produce a campaign and educational materials. Sydney Poore/FloNight (talk) 22:12, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • This is a very good idea. Almost no one wants to harass; people often act without realizing the hurt they might be causing, and when it's a group situation, as on the noticeboards, they don't realize that their collective acts differ from what any individual may have intended. I believe education will make a real difference. SarahSV talk 02:53, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
  • This is a good part of the solution. Craig Franklin (talk) 10:43, 7 June 2016 (UTC).
  • Yes, there needs to be some kind of "Harassment 101" essay to point people to when they seem lost, otherwise they disrupt the work flow. Editors do not have the time or the energy or the knowledge background to be constantly trying to educate people, or to try to separate good faith mistakes from intentional trolling. —Neotarf (talk) 00:03, 10 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Sure, it should likely be more than an essay, maybe a 30 minute video? Of course it won't stop the major trolls, but this doesn't have to be perfect, only an improvement. Smallbones (talk) 02:15, 10 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Comprehensive Behavioral/Social Psychology Education: It's much easier to educate the victim of harassment than it is to change the nature of the harasser. Those who troll, belittle, insult, verbally attack or threaten a user to a degree that garners true fear for this individual it would be far easier to create a place where the user could learn about this type of negative behavior. Provide ways to avoid it, info about the types of people who instigate or perpetuate harassment, legal advice about what behavior is against the law, etc. Basically a Harrasment Help Tab — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Citysburg (talk)

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