Conflict


1. How can I keep my barter partner accountable?

2. My barter is “done” but I’m not happy.

3. How can I constructively phrase negative feedback?

4. I need help from a human being resolving my barter.

5. How do I report bad behavior?


1. How can I keep my barter partner accountable?

You have all the tools you need for a good barter experience—but you might not have used them in a while. Here are some ways to create a relationship based on accountability:

  • Make a good choice. OurGoods offers a lot of ways to learn about potential barter partners. Before you agree to a barter, read your partner’s profile, check out their ratings, and follow the links that they provide.
  • Look for real names. In the creative world, most people connect their name, and their integrity, to their work. On OurGoods, people use their real names, and this helps keep everyone accountable.
  • Be safe. Before you agree to barter with someone, do research online and meet up in person. Your gut will help you decide if the barter is right for you. And, though most people are trustworthy, meet for the first time in a public place--it’s just the smart thing to do.
  • Six degrees. You may think you are bartering with a stranger, but the creative community is pretty small. Chances are, you already have a mutual friend. When you meet up, see if you know someone in common!
  • Articulate your expectations. If you expect it, make sure you’ve said it out loud.
  • Check in. Regular conversation is the best way to keep your barter on track. If you’re worried, speak up. You are your own best advocate.
  • Keep learning. Barter is an experiment in value. We’re all learning together.
  • Mediation. In cases where both partners agree that help is needed, OurGoods mediators can help work through difficult barter situations.


2. My barter is “done” but I’m not happy.

Assume good intentions. Your partner probably didn’t mean to disappoint you!

  • Communication is key. Re-open the dialogue: “Hey Harvey! I see you’ve closed this barter, but we’re actually not done. Let’s talk about X, ok?”
  • Be specific about what would resolve the problem. “I’m not happy” is hard to resolve. “I would like you to spend two more hours on this,” or “this document needs another draft” are more concrete.
  • A Plan B can also help. Is there something else your partner can offer you instead?  “It doesn’t seem to be working out for you to write this grant. Will you consider helping me in my garden instead?”
  • Or, if it’s too late for your partner to satisfy you, you can ask for an apology. It often does wonders to hear, “I’m sorry I disappointed you. I’ll try not to let that happen again.”


3. How can I constructively phrase negative feedback?

  • “I” statements are helpful. “I was not able to communicate clearly with Cassie” is better than “Cassie was hard to work with.”
  • Talk about the experience, not the person. “Anna didn’t know how to knit as well as she said she did” is better than “Anna is incompetent.”
  • Can you find something positive to say? “Harvey wrote a fantastic press release. It was a week late, but I had great fun talking to him.”
  • Own your part in things. “Bertram and I were not clear about how many hours he would spend painting my studio, so I ended up getting fewer hours than I’d hoped for.”
  • Remember - what you say reflects on you as well as your partner. Honest feedback, judiciously phrased, makes you a more valuable member of the community.


4. I need help from a human being resolving my barter.

We can help you mediate your dispute, not police it. Please understand that we are volunteers, so please seek intervention only after you’ve done your very best on your own.


Mediation is a voluntary process. OurGoods has no authority to enforce or coerce any outcome.


Candidates for mediation must be:

  • 1. open to communication
  • 2. willing to spend time resolving the barter
  • 3. willing to assume good intentions on the part of the other person
  • 4. willing to consider how their actions might have partially led to the conflict

If you meet these criteria, you can contact mediation@ourgoods.org.



5. How do I report bad behavior?

If you are having trouble with another member NOT related to a barter (e.g., someone is spamming you, sending inappropriate messages, etc.) write to mediation@ourgoods.org.