Conflict Resolution Policy


Conflicts between people arise in open source projects constantly and the projects by the MetaBrainz Foundation are no different. This policy aims to establish a clear and unambiguous policy for reporting and addressing conflicts in our community. In this policy we aim to establish a fair practice that balances the need for confidentiality and our desire for transparency in our operations.

Before you continue to read this policy, we encourage you to review our existing community policies including our Social Contract, the Code of Conduct, and our Privacy Policy. These policies establish the norms and rules for participation in our projects; these policies apply equally to the contractors of the MetaBrainz Foundation and any participants in our projects.

This policy divides conflicts into two categories: Private and public. Private conflicts are conflicts that involve *confidential* information regarding contributors, contractors or supporters. Otherwise, any conflicts that do not involve confidential information are considered to be public conflicts. For instance, a conflict between a contractor and the Executive Director (aka BDFL) that involves contractor pay is considered a private conflict because pay rates are confidential information. A public conflict in edit notes between two editors in our community does not involve confidential information and therefore should be considered a public conflict.

When conflicts arise we aim to disclose as much information as possible about the conflict in a timely fashion. When conflicts contain confidential matters we will aim to disclose as much information as possible, while fully respecting the confidentiality of the people involved in the conflict. With any private conflict we will aim to extract the relevant lessons for the team and community in an effort to evolve our policies to prevent future conflicts. Should the involved parties disagree whether a conflict is private or public, the question about the nature of the conflict will be presented for the next higher level in the chain of command to decide. (e.g. if a community member and the community manager disagree on a conflict being public or private, the Executive Director shall decide if the conflict is public or private).

Reporting and Response

We aim to not have conflict in our community, but we recognize that in reality conflicts will arise and we must be prepared to address them in a fair manner. When conflicts arise, we prefer to have community or team members resolve the conflicts among themselves, using our existing policies as guidelines for resolving the conflict.

If you do not feel comfortable resolving a conflict on your own, you should feel free to report the conflict to us. How you address the conflict depends on who is involved in the conflict and your comfort level. Please see the detailed sections below on how and with whom to address your conflict. We aim to address conflicts as soon as possible in an effort to prevent them from escalating unnecessarily.

Direct conflict resolution

In direct conflict resolution, the involved parties will attempt to resolve the conflict themselves without involving any MetaBrainz Foundation team member. You should aim to use direct resolution when the conflict does not involve the violation of one of our policies or if the conflict is minor.

For instance, if a user uses a rude tone, is disruptive or flagrantly ignores our project guidelines, we suggest that you use direct conflict resolution to resolve the conflict. Some resources that might give you some suggestions on how to go about resolving the conflict might be this conflict resolution primer and how to have difficult conversations at work.

Informal reporting

You may use informal reporting of a conflict if you aim to communicate a concern or incident without seeking a corrective outcome. Informal reporting may also be an option if you have not been personally victimized, but you’ve witnessed a violation of our policies or where you wish to maintain confidentiality throughout the entire reporting process.

For editing in MusicBrainz you may informally report a user using the “Report this user for bad behavior” link from the user’s profile. For reporting bad user behavior in other of our projects, please report them to our community manager by mailing gro.zniarbatem@reganam-ytinummoc . For conflicts that involve the community manager, report them by mailing gro.zniarbatem@de .

Depending the the severity of the issue, repeated informal complaints may eventually require a formal response from the MetaBrainz team. If an involved party requires anonymity, the conflict becomes a private conflict. If at all possible minor issues should be resolved in a public forum in order for all people to witness and learn from the issue at hand.

Formal complaint process

All complaints about conflicts should be submitted via email. To whom a complaint should be mailed and who will carry out the investigation will be described in the next section.

All complaint submissions to the Foundation should include the following:

The investigation that follows aims to determine:

The following potential forms of resolution may apply to any team members involved in the conflict:

The following potential forms of resolution may apply to non team members involved in the conflict:

Filing a complaint

NOTE: For complaints not about MetaBrainz staff, please see the Informal reporting section above.

If the complaint does not involve the Executive Director (ED), do the following:

If a complaint involves the Executive Director, do the following:


Confidentiality is an important aspect of conflict resolution and all of the conflicts brought to the attention of the foundation will be evaluated with confidentiality in mind and acted upon accordingly.

We work hard to make all of the actions of the foundation as transparent and open as possible. In cases where we cannot disclose all aspects of a conflict we will disclose that a conflict is or has occurred and we will attempt to disclose the appropriate amount of information about the conflict while balancing the need for confidentiality and our desire to learn from conflicts so that we as a foundation and community can learn from these conflicts and improve our policies to avoid the conflicts in the future.

Any breaches of confidentiality will be treated as severe breaches of our conduct policies.


We will not allow retaliation for any contractor or volunteer that files a complaint or is involved in an investigation. If you believe that you are being treated negatively because of your involvement in a complaint please report this complaint directly to the ED at gro.zniarbatem@de or the board at gro.zniarbatem@noituloser-tcilfnoc .