Training modules/Dealing with online harassment/slides/sharing-information-and-managing-expectations

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Communication: Sharing information and managing expectations[edit | edit source]

Though your communications to the reporter should be empathetic, as described above, remember that the investigation is your responsibility. For the privacy and safety of all parties, it is neither desirable nor appropriate to actively involve the reporter or the target in the actual investigation or communications about the investigation. You should, of course, make sure you have the full details of their complaint, and be prepared to set reasonable expectations about what information they will receive and when they will receive it.

Do:[edit | edit source]

  • Offer the target or reporter a timeline. Your goal should be to let them know what to expect. While you will never be able to promise a certain result or a certain closure date, you should be able to give them a sense of the projected progress of their investigation. Consider whether you can offer the reporter a "check-in" date.
  • Alert them to any substantial delays that may alter the timeline you offered. Remember that while, for you, this may be one of a dozen active cases, for the reporter it is likely a much higher (and more emotional) priority. Sudden, unexpected silence or lack of apparent progress may feel alarming to them.
  • Contact users in a timely manner to request any additional information your investigation requires. Particularly when an investigation involves multiple people, small delays can compound – try not to add to that by putting off simple steps like asking an important question.

Do not:[edit | edit source]

  • Overshare. Again, this will be an emotional situation for the target, and you may be tempted to err on the side of giving them as much information as you can. Remember, though, that the parties involved in the case are not neutral or confidential parties. An alleged harasser does not lose their right to privacy simply by being reported.
  • Make promises you may not be able to keep. While you may wish to reassure a targeted user with "I promise we will stop this behavior" or "You will have an answer by Tuesday", such a reassurance will backfire if you are unable to follow through. Know your limits, both in time and in your role.