Articles on: Trust, Safety, and Privacy

What should I do if someone makes me uncomfortable?

The first step to take when you have a negative interaction with someone on Schoolhouse is to ask yourself: do I feel unsafe with this person, or do I mostly feel annoyed by the way they interact?

I feel unsafe with this person

If you feel uneasy around someone, especially if they're an adult and you're a minor, it's important to stop interacting with them. Whether the interaction was on Slack or anywhere else in Schoolhouse, please share your concern with the safety team as soon as possible. There is no need to hesitate—it's better to err on the side of reporting them, even if it turns out to be a false alarm. Schoolhouse will keep your report confidential and investigate the situation, along with the user's history on the platform.

I feel annoyed or offended by this person

To be able to build a global community like Schoolhouse, we all have to learn to interact with others who have different cultures, communication styles, belief systems, or maturity levels than we do. If someone is not malicious, but their behavior is annoying or otherwise problematic, our goal is to help them build the skills they need to participate in this community successfully. This is not easy sometimes, and does require a lot of patience and understanding.

If you find yourself annoyed or offended with a community member, here are the steps we recommend:
Provide feedback and guidance, if possible. If you feel comfortable with it, try to gently guide the person towards more appropriate interactions. For example: "Hey! When you message me multiple times like that, it puts a lot of pressure to respond and makes me a little uncomfortable. In the future, would you mind waiting until I respond?”
Give the safety team a heads up about your concern. Even after you gave the person some feedback, it's helpful to share a quick heads up with the safety team about what happened, so that they can ensure this pattern of behavior doesn't continue. When you share the concern, be sure to let them know about any feedback you gave the person already.
Decide how much you'd like to interact with the person. You can avoid registering for their sessions, or respectfully avoid responding to their chats. If they pressure you to respond or join their sessions, reach out to the safety team for support.
Support the person as they work to change. People who are not clear on how to interact in an environment like Schoolhouse may need multiple rounds of feedback to adjust, and this could take some time. Let the safety team know about any progress you see.
If you find that the person is still engaging in problematic behaviors, let the safety team know. They can help make additional interventions, and may also provide accommodations to allow you to interact with them less.

As you go through this process, please be sure to keep the following principles in mind:
Consider the person's situation with empathy. Consider how their life circumstances and culture might be different from yours, and how these might shape the way they’re interacting with you now.
Talk about the person respectfully. Instead of qualifying someone as "weird" or "rude," consider that maybe they're modeling the interactions they've seen in their life, just as you model the interactions you've seen in your life. When talking about your concern with a person, use constructive and respectful language.
Be the one to stop gossip in its tracks. If someone is struggling to navigate social norms at Schoolhouse, it's easy for them to become the victim of gossip. This makes the situation much worse. If you notice others gossiping, point them to this article so they can learn how to navigate the situation more effectively. Excessively speaking negatively about others is against our Community Guidelines, and may result in a temporary account suspension.
Model respectful behavior. If you are able to recognize that a person's behavior is not very appropriate, you're in a great place to model more positive behaviors with them. Avoid retaliating, and continue treating them with respect (even after letting the safety team know about their problematic behavior).
Maintain professional relationships. In a professional environment, we often don't like every single person we work with. That's okay! We should still treat them with respect, and do what we can to support the person — both for their sake, and for the sake of the community we're all a part of.

Updated on: 13/02/2024

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