The challenges of diversity

Online platforms bring together a great lot of people. Like-minded in some ways, but often very different. In a world of bubbles and echo chambers, this is often a breath of fresh air. But it leads to the occasional mortally embarrassing misunderstanding.

About half of the energy of the Support Team goes into handling those moments. Some individualities are very synergetic, others stay away from each other, and some are quite contradictory.

We know about the struggles for equality and sometimes even recognition of many social groups in our society. These groups might be religious, ethnic, based on their sexual preferences, gender expression, political opinion, and more. A *lot* more. Sometimes they are only loosely tied through shared needs.

Between these groups or individuals tension can arise. The Support Team Volunteers are often those who moderate these conflicts. A social structure needs and lives on conflicts. They shine a light on deeper issues that require attention. We all make mistakes and we are all socialized differently so a welcoming approach to conflict is very healthy.

Still, we are all volunteers. Solving conflicts is a lot of work, and not every member is happy with conflicting situations.

Let’s bring in some imaginary hosts that show the problem:

  1. Fred has a vegan diet. Fred doesn’t want anyone to consume meat/dairy products in their kitchen.
  2. Claudia eats only meat. Claudia doesn’t want anyone to eat vegetables in their kitchen.
  3. Noel has a bad experience with creepy men. Noel doesn’t want anyone to be naked in their apartment.
  4. Nika lives a nudist lifestyle. They don’t want anyone to wear clothes in their home.

Now how do we handle a conflict between Fred and Claudia or between Noel and Nika?

We think that the most important thing is that every host and guest knows what they are getting into when meeting a member formerly unknown to them. I am not a big fan of bad surprises myself and I don’t wish for any member to run into a situation where they are pressed into doing something that they are uncomfortable with, especially if they already have bad experiences in the past regarding that situation.

On Trustroots one has several options to not get into a situation where you are surprised to be in a flat of paleo-nudists who asks you to be naked and only eat meat:

  • Join a bunch of Circles.
  • It positions you on a spectrum and gives them insight into how you live your life.
  • Be clear and honest about your boundaries and especially those towards your guests in your profile
  • Maybe mention your triggers in an initial message so that you are sure that the other user is aware of them

If you have red lines, please make sure they are visible to others.

Note that being transparent is not a blank check to violate the rules. Don’t be shy with the Report button. We never ban first and ask questions later. We’ll always approach conflict with open ears and hearts.

Noah
Trustroots Support Team

Decolonising Into Circles

You might be wondering why Trustroots is changing the name of Tribes. In this collaborative article we will try to explain what’s behind the change and why this matters. It has mainly been written by Mariyano, a Brazilian backpacker currently under lockdown in Buenos Aires due to the pandemic, and Martin A. who spent a few years travelling before finding relative stability by the European Alps. But as you will see below there has also been plenty of discussion among the Trustroots volunteers, so all in all it’s a rather communal project.

Journeys Through the Night

Community Stories, Vol. II

Welcome to the second part of our community letter to ourselves! In case you missed the first one with Covid-19 lockdown experiences, you can find it here. This time around we are travelling through the night – sleeping at police stations in Pristina, trainhopping to escape from where nobody stops for hitchhikers, and overcoming suspicion in Kończyce-Kolonia.

We hope you enjoy the read and that the stories either bring back memories of your own adventures or inspire you to future ones. A couple of months from now we will publish the next collection of stories where we want to hear about notable Trustroots experiences you’ve had, so send an email to share@trustroots.org if you feel like it!

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