Conflict mediation

Conflict is a natural part of life. Whenever people get together, whether it's online or in person, there will be conflicts. 

This guide will go over how activists can mediate conflict by detailing:

How to minimize conflict

How to approach a tense situation

How to manage conflict online

Minimizing conflict

The best way to minimize conflict is to create a space where people feel heard and validated. Though not everyone will always agree on everything, these differences won't lead to conflict if they are understood and appreciated perspectives. You can respect someone without agreeing with all of their views. 

Tools for Change has a great worksheet about proactive measures to prevent conflict. This guide mentions active listening and giving feedback. Seeds for change also has a guide on giving and receiving helpful feedback

It's important to clarify what you understood someone to have said, to reduce miscommunications as well as commenting on someone's behaviour rather than their personality (ie that thing you did was upsetting rather than you're upsetting).

Approaching conflict

When coming into a conflict between two people, act as a facilitator rather than taking sides. Sometimes an outside mediator can give a fresh perspective and help both parties come to an understanding. Encourage acknowledgment, taking responsibility and mutual respect. If the conflict is complicated and heated, suggest both parties take some time to cool off and reflect. After the conflict is resolved, make sure people "check in" with each other to gauge responses and reduce future conflicts.

How to manage conflict online

It's difficult to reign in online comments that get out of hand, as there is anonymity. If there is a dispute, try to address the commenters as directly as possible (using their usernames) and explain if you choose not to show their posts (ie hateful, derogatory or disrespectful terms). Discourage personal attacks and instead, get conversation focused on the issue being discussed. Debate is a good thing, so allow for diverse opinions as long as they aren't creating conflict.

Don't obsess about solving online conflicts when one person involved is just being confrontational for the sake of it. Some people do thrive off of spurring online aggravation, so separate those comments from ones which are legitimate conflicts between people interested in organizing.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.