Colin Rule

Colin Rule

Colin Rule is CEO of Resourceful Internet Solutions, Inc. ("RIS"), home of,,, and a number of additional leading online dispute resolution initiatives.  From 2017 to 2020, Colin was Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler acquired, an ODR provider that Colin co-founded, in 2017.  Previously, from 2003 to 2011, Colin was Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal.  Further, Colin co-founded Online Resolution in 1999, one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) providers, and served as its CEO and President.  Colin also worked for several years with the National Institute for Dispute Resolution in Washington, D.C. and the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Colin is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002, and co-author of The New Handshake: Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of Consumer Protection, published by the ABA in 2017. Colin received the first Frank Sander Award for Innovation in ADR from the American Bar Association in 2020, and the Mary Parker Follett Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) in 2013. Colin holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a graduate certificate in dispute resolution from UMass-Boston, a B.A. from Haverford College, and Colin served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.  You can read many of Colin's articles and see some of his talks at


Contact Colin Rule


Articles and Video: Announces Launch of New Online Dispute Resolution Platform: (05/09/22)
This new platform combines the functionality of and, creating the most powerful ODR system in the world!

Bringing Decision Science into Online Dispute Resolution: The NextLevelMediation Platform (04/06/22)
One of the biggest challenges we face as dispute resolvers is helping our parties understand the choices they face in a given dispute, and the direct impact of each choice on the possible resolutions they can achieve.

The Ethics of NDAs in Mediation and Arbitration (03/18/22)
This video and article look at important NDA questions for dispute resolution professionals to consider. Offers New Family Dispute Resolution Training! (03/15/22) has launched a revolutionary new Family Dispute Resolution Training. This article discusses the factors that led to the making of this new training, including accelerated practice, acceptance of online learning, advances in technology, supporting ownership, and appreciating diversity.

Cybersecurity Best Practices for Ombuds (03/15/22)
One of the fastest growing areas of dispute resolution is Ombuds. Ombuds offices are being steadily established at every level of government, in academia, by non-profits, and throughout our traditional and sharing economies. This growth has been supported by new Ombuds data and security standards and by the development of new online platforms built specifically for the operation of Ombuds offices.

Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution Interview Series: David Hoffman (01/31/22)
From the interview series -- a conversation with David Hoffman about his chapter in the book :"Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution."

Confronting Stigma Around Mental Illness in Mediation (01/07/22)
This article discusses the impact of stereotyping mental illnesses.

Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution Interview Series: Howard Gadlin (12/28/21)
From the interview series -- a conversation with Howard Gadlin about his chapter in the book :"Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution." Great Reads Book Club - Grande Lum, interviewed by Colin Rule (12/14/21)
Another episode from's Great Reads Book Club: Grade Lum talking about his book "America's Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights," hosted by Colin Rule.

Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution Interview Series: Howard Bellman (12/14/21)
From the interview series -- a conversation with Howard Bellman about his chapter in the book "Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution."

Live Talk Tuesdays at (11/30/21)'s "Live Talk Tuesday" with Colin Rule, Clare Fowler and Jim Melamed. Ask questions, share ideas and get to know fellow mediators! Free Registration!

Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution Interview Series: Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán (11/23/21)
From the interview series -- a conversation with Jacqueline N. Font-Guzmán about her chapter in the book "Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution."

Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution Interview Series: Andrea Schneider (11/16/21)
From the interview series -- a conversation with Andrea Schneider about her chapter in the book Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution.

Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution Interview Series: Peter Adler (11/09/21)
From the interview series -- a conversation with Peter Adler about his chapter in the book Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution.

Introducing the Podcast (10/01/21)
We’re excited to finally share the news: we’ve launched a new Podcast, hosted by our good friend, mediator Veronica Cravener! 

Forum on Final Report of Task Force on Online Mediation (09/28/21)
This is a 90 minute video and resources from the Final Report of Task Force on Online Mediation. This video forum features Woody Mosten, Colin Rule, Clare Fowler, Jim Melamed, Tara Ollapally, Bruce Edwards, Donna Silverberg, Susan Guthrie, Angelia Tolbert, Michael Aurit, Tricia Jones, Michael Lang and John Sturrock. Adopts Online Mediation Practice and Ethical Standards (09/21/21)
One of the Primary Recommendations of the Task Force on Online Mediation is to update mediation practice and ethical standards to fully embrace online mediation. In response, has now formally adopted the Task Force's Recommended Practice Standards for Online Mediation effective January 1. 2022.

Congratulations, IOA! 1,000 Members! (09/21/21) would like to celebrate the International Ombudsman Association's 1,000th Member!

Paths Forward for Online Mediation - Index of Resources (09/20/21)
This index of resources is intended to assist readers to conveniently identify and access specific portions of the Online Mediation Task Force Report that are of the greatest interest.

Introducing the Great Reads Book Club (06/09/21)
I’m very pleased to share the news that we’re kicking off a new book club at called “Great Reads.”

Full Video Now Posted of Forum on Standards, Ethics & New Technologies for Online Mediation (05/08/21)
Join colleagues from around the world for Mediate's Forum on Standards, Ethics & New Technologies for Online Mediation. Among the featured presenters are Colin Rule, Leah Wing, Dan Rainey and Melissa Kucinski.

Mediate is Top Ranked Mediation Website (04/15/21) is ranked the top mediation website by Alexa in its April 14, 2021 global website rankings. In business since 1996, has over 25,000 searchable mediation articles, blog posts, news items and videos and hosts the most utilized mediator directory in the world.

Evolution of the Mediation Field: Monthly Conversation Series with Field Leaders (03/10/21)
As an ongoing Premium Membership benefit, Mediate is now hosting, on a monthly basis, an ongoing series of live online conversations with top mediators and conflict resolvers from around the world.  Here is detailed description of the first 9 live conversations.

Announcing the Launch of the New and Improved (03/09/21)
After many months of work, we are very proud to announce the launch of a new site, sporting a sleek design and a powerful set of updated features and capabilities. Please consider joining and sign up for our free Arbitration Today newsletter.

Getting the Most from (02/23/21)
This PDF presentation from CEO Colin Rule reviews available Mediate content, resources, and services to help you develop and promote your mediation services.

Book Review - Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution (02/01/21)
The new book "Evolution of a Field: Personal Histories in Conflict Resolution" is now available. It collects personal histories from 23 experienced mediators, chronicling the paths they took to arrive at their work resolving disputes. 

Book Review: The Art of Roleplay and Dispute Resolution Training (01/15/21)
Role plays are one of the most common tools used by mediation trainers. In his new book, Marc Bhalla takes a deeper look at how to use role plays effectively and shares some of his tested and effective scenarios.

Let’s Make 2021 the Year of Resolutions (01/05/21)
2020 was a tough year for many of us, from the pandemic to shutdowns to political chaos. Let's use the fresh start of the new year to set our sights on a more optimistic horizon.

New Protocol for Case Management in Online Arbitration (12/17/20)
A new Protocol for Online Case Management in International Arbitration drafted by a group of lawyers from six international law firms aims to consolidate a set of best practices and principles for case management platforms.

Review: The Book of Real-World Negotiations (12/03/20)
Prof. Joshua Weiss' new book "The Book of Real-World Negotiations: Successful Strategies from Business, Government, and Daily Life" introduces complex negotiation concepts through storytelling and engaging case studies, making an important contribution to the field.

MC3 and enter into new agreement to further Mediator Professionalism (12/01/20)
MC3 is devoted to ensuring user and public confidence in the process of mediation by setting standards for mediator training, education, and ethical practice -- and is now an MC3 recognized education provider for mediator certification.

Online Mediation Training at Mediate University (11/17/20)
One of’s most popular features over the last decade has been Mediate University.  From its launch with just a few courses in (2010), Mediate University has grown to a rich repository of courses from many of the leading mediation trainers in the world.

Cyberweek 2020: How to Get Started with Video Mediation (11/07/20)
In this Cyberweek 2020 presentation, Clare Fowler and Colin Rule review how mediators can get started with online video mediation.

Arbitration Conversation No. 30: Colin Rule, President and CEO of (11/04/20)
In this special 30th episode of the Arbitration Conversation Amy interviews Colin Rule, CEO of and, on the future of arbitration.

Mediation 20/20 Conference - Day 3 Video (10/19/20)
Mediation 20/20 Complete Day 3 Video: (1) Envisioning Mediation for a New Generation - Where Should We Go? Technology and New Generational Expectations; and (2) Moving Forward - How Do We Get There?

Mediation 20/20 Conference - Day 2 Video (10/13/20)
Mediation 20/20 Day 2 Video: The current state of the field: obstacles and opportunities.

Video: The First 25 Years (10/06/20)
This video, developed by new CEO, Colin Rule, recounts the founding of, now more than 25 years ago by John Helie and Jim Melamed.

Mediation 20/20 Conference - Day 1 Video (10/06/20)
Mediation 20/20 Complete Day 1 Video - What Have We Achieved? How Did We Get Where We Are? Welcome and Celebration with Jim Melamed and John Helie plus panel. Survey: Analyzing the Field (10/01/20) asked 300 dispute resolution professionals 7 questions about the field. Initial results are here.

Arbitration Conversation No. 23: Dr. Nudrat Piracha, Member of the ICSID Ad Hoc Committee (09/16/20)
In this episode of the Arbitration Conversation Amy (and Colin) interview Dr. Nudrat Piracha, member of the ICSID Ad Hoc Committee, Partner at the firm Samdani & Qureshi, and Senior JAMS Weinstein Fellow since 2018.

Separating the People from the Problem - Colin Rule and the Rise of Online Dispute Resolution (07/31/20)
This article from Harvard's "The Practice," shines a light on ODR and its evolution using Colin Rule’s career as a guide. In building ODR systems for the world’s largest online marketplace and for court systems across the country, Rule’s career offers a window through which to observe and understand the larger ODR movement—a movement that is all the more important as the world grapples with the continued impacts of COVID-19.

Heeding the Call: Committing to Racial Diversity in International Arbitration (07/21/20)
This Webinar highlights the racial disparities that undermine the inclusiveness and diversity necessary for international arbitration, and discussing ways to ensure that the renewed calls for racial diversity are heeded in the practice of international arbitration.

Megatrends in Technology (01/05/20)
Colin Rule speaks on megatrends involving technology at the Keystone Conference, October, 2006

Online Mediation in Dubai (09/07/19)
The importance of mediation lies in the fact that it is a confidential process and comes at a low cost as compared to litigation. It focuses on the interests of both parties and is a much less aggressive process than litigation/arbitration thus offering a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Interview with Colin Rule - 2011 (06/30/19)
This is the complete interview with former Ebay and PayPal dispute resolution director Colin Rule as part of's 'Views from the Eye of the Storm' Video Series.

Colin Rule: MegaTrends in Technology (04/30/19)
Colin Rule, directory of dispute resolution for eBay and PayPal, speaks on megatrends in dispute resolution technology at the Keystone Conference

Dishonesty (11/01/18)
I’d wager we’ve all had a friend or family member share one of their new creations with us (maybe a poem, or an article, or a intending-to-be-funny youtube video) and ask, excitedly, “What do you think?”

Empathy (10/26/18)
I travel all the time for my job--and part of the traveling experience is vulnerability.

Justice (09/15/18)
As a non-lawyer who teaches in law schools, I have been brought into the “justice” conversation many times. I am asked: How can you be sure your online systems will deliver justice?

Agents (08/03/18)
I thought I’d achieved a good resolution, but it turns out I was working with the wrong negotiating partner, because they didn’t have the authority to deliver.

Reframing (07/24/18)
One of the core skills in the mediator’s tool box is a technique called reframing. Put simply, reframing helps people see something from a different perspective.

Leaving Facebook (07/10/18)
I was a fan of Facebook from my first login. I registered right after it opened to the public in 2006, and I led most of my friends onto the platform. I am now choosing to leave Facebook.

A Future of Social Technology In Support of Peace & Justice (12/08/14)
I envision a world where our social technology is designed in a way that builds human empathy, identifies and resolves conflict early and effectively, and introduces an era of greater peace, justice, and happiness. It will take a lot of work to get there, and there will be a lot of bumps in the road, but I can see it plain as day. That’s my hope for the future of mediation.

International Disputes Growing . . . (08/31/13)
Those who favor international forums for settling disputes — where arbitrations are presided over by one arbitrator or a panel of three — say that such tribunals avoid local courts, which can tilt in favor of parochial interests.

Colin Rule on Online Dispute Resolution - Video (08/22/13)
This is Colin Rule's excellent six minute presentation on Online Dispute Resolution from the Reinvent Law Channel. Colin is former director of online dispute resolution at eBay - Pay Pal.

Is Compromise Possible? (05/17/13)
Any serious talk of pragmatism and compromise in American politics usually ends with some nettlesome questions: What about the social issues? What about abortion? What about gun control? These are issues on which reasonable people disagree passionately. Anyone who tells you that there is a “right” answer on abortion has not spent much time thinking about the issue or lacks the empathy to appreciate how other people think about it. Americans’ views on these issues tend to be theological — literally in many cases.

New EU Online Dispute Resolution Regulations (05/09/13)
Here is the final text of the new European Union Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) regulations for transborder consumer transactions - Great reading for anyone excited about ODR.

“The Process is the Punishment” (05/03/13)
Court delays of as long as five years in felony cases have pushed the Bronx criminal courts into the bottom ranks of courts nationally, reaching what even the judges call crisis levels.

ODR and Online Reputation Systems (04/02/13)
The authors consider issues of ODR and online reputation systems. As with any complex system, especially one as enormous and complex as a global reputation system, inaccuracies and fraud can arise, and these issues can result in disagreements between users. Timely resolution of these disagreements is essential to the continued health and success of any reputation system.

IRS Mediation Pilot (02/01/13)
Taxpayers under audit and facing an assessment in excess of $1 million may be able to participate in mediation to expedite resolution of their case as part of a new Department pilot program. The timeframe for requesting to participate in the mediation program is limited, so taxpayers should be prepared to make the request prior to their exit conference.

Fair Outcomes in ABA Journal (12/21/12)
Game theory, or the study of interactive decision-making, has been applied to fields as diverse as politics, economics and sports. It is also the subject of A Beautiful Mind, the film about mathematician John Nash, who helped develop the theory. Ring believes it is ripe for use in the legal profession.

Mass Claims in The Netherlands (07/23/12)
The Dutch ‘Class Action (Financial Settlement) Act [WCAM] came into operation in the Netherlands on 27 July 2005. This post describes the rules of mass claims.

European Parliament Evolves ADR (07/16/12)
“The Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection voted this morning on Reports concerning the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). ODR is an alternative dispute resolution process aided by online technology. This can help solve disputes especially for online purchases, where the consumer and the trader are often located far from each other. The aim of these instruments is to ensure impartial, transparent and effective means which can help consumers resolve disputes with trades in the case of both cross-border and domestic e-commerce transactions, without going to court.

Resolving Conflicts on Facebook (06/18/12)
That’s a lot of conflict to resolve what with over 500 million Facebook users in the world – 250 million of whom log in every day.

ODR Gaining Traction (05/21/12)
Courtroom showdowns make for great movie scenes, but To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch would be shocked to hear that the courts are only resolving a fraction of today’s legal disputes. A growing number of cases are being resolved by online tools, and sometimes lawyers and judges are not even involved. Impartial web-based systems apply computation, algorithms and cryptographic technology to bring about resolution quickly and inexpensively.

Conflict Resolution on Pinterest (03/26/12)
“Last week another photographer posted a question on Facebook asking if it was okay to pin your own work on Pinterest. I was surprised to see that many of the photographers who commented back admonished those who pin their own work and even cited Pinterest’s suggested rules of etiquette, which apparently discourage self-promotion. That same day, I participated in a thread on Facebook in which some other photographers were complaining about people posting their work on Facebook pages without the photographers’ permission."

Stuck in Arbitration (03/12/12)
YOU buy a cellphone, computer or car. You sign up for a credit card or open a retirement account. You apply for a job. In all these circumstances, you’re told that you must agree to dozens of terms and conditions, set forth in technical verbiage and tiny print. Eager to complete your purchase — or desperate to be hired — you ultimately sign without reading.

Suing Over an Online Review (01/30/12)
‘A Dallas law firm has filed a lawsuit seeking to learn the identity of a commenter calling himself “Ben” who posted a bad online review. The Lenahan Law Firm claims defamation and seeks $50,000 in damages, Texas Lawyer reports. Partner Wes Black says the suit will allow the law firm to subpoena Google to learn the commenter’s identity.

The Emergence of ODR (12/19/11)
The Commission’s proposal represents a bold statement on the need for an accessible, well-designed and integrated system for resolving consumer disputes in the EU. If implemented successfully, it could lead to significant new dispute resolution options and other trust building mechanisms for consumers and traders and, in turn, more consumer-driven economic activity across the EU’s single market.

Resolution Center News in BC (12/12/11)
As shoppers fill the mall in search for the perfect gift this holiday season, there’s bound to be some problems. A not-for-profit group has launched a new pilot project aimed to help and protect the consumer.

Technology in the CA Courts (11/21/11)
This post examines the state of technology in the California courts, as well as its commitments to advancing the cause.

Google’s Resolution Process (10/17/11)
When resolving an order issue, Google refers to the merchant’s policies and terms of service. Merchant’s policies can include items which may not be returned or cancelled, or must be returned before receiving the refund, restocking fees, return shipping fees, and cancellation fees. Please review the merchant’s policies prior to filing an issue.

Craigslist Lawsuits (10/03/11)
What I hadn’t realized was that Craigslist had actually filed a bunch of similar, equally questionable, lawsuits against others. One of those others is a guy named Paul Hubert, who wrote some software that made it easier to manage your Craigslist postings.

Changing the Legal Landscape (09/12/11)
Undertaking settlement negotiations using traditional lawyers are not only expensive, but the process is often lengthy and exhausting for both parties, regardless the outcome.

Fraudulent “Closed” Reports (09/06/11)
Colin Rule discusses the process of resolving cases of alleged fraudulent closed reports the the challenges of resolving these issues.

There's Nothing to Protect You (08/01/11)
A Marin County cosmetic surgeon who filed a defamation suit against an online reviewer was ordered to pay nearly $20,000 in attorney’s fees after a judge dismissed the case "with prejudice in its entirety."

e-Court is Now in Session (07/11/11)
William Glabberson in the NYT: “The court is the setting for the first full “e-court” in the state and is part of efforts by more than a dozen court systems nationally to move toward a paperless future that has come slowly to state courts, where old habits die hard. (Federal courts, and much of the rest of the world, have been online for more than a decade.)

eBay Resolution Center Up for Dutch Innovating Justice Awards - Needs Your Vote! (06/08/11)
The largest Online Dispute Resolution platform in the world, the eBay and PayPal Resolution Center, is up for an award from the Dutch Innovating Justice competition. The final three candidates will be selected by online popular vote, so If you've got time, please visit the program site and vote for “Modria: The eBay/PayPal Dispute Resolution Center.”

Communiqué on the ODR and Consumers Colloquium Vancouver, BC, Canada November 2-3, 2010 (12/07/10)
This communiqué distills the output of the experts’ deliberations at November 2-3 Vancouver Colloquium on Cross Border Consumer Dispute Resolution.

Building A Global ODR System For Consumer Disputes (11/15/10)
The ODR and Consumers 2010 Forum was held in Vancouver on November 2 and 3, 2010. The Forum (ODRAC) was convened in response to recent proposals advanced by delegations to the United Nations (UNCITRAL) and the Organization of American States. These proposals have begun to outline model rules for a global resolution system to handle cross-border, low value disputes.

A Strange Aversion To Confrontational Politics (08/16/10)
John Judis in The New Republic: "Why has the White House failed to convince the public that it is fighting effectively on its behalf? The principal culprit is clearly Barack Obama. He has a strange aversion to confrontational politics...

Two Presentations (07/19/10)
Video of two recent presentations of mine are now on the web, just in case you might not have been able to catch them in person.

Cyberbullying (06/28/10)
This is the new generation gap: adults are unable to wrap their brains around the new technology, and that opens up vulnerabilities for kids. The answer is for parents and teachers to get more engaged and more involved, and to be as present in their kids' lives online as they are offline.

Obama Meets The House Republicans (02/08/10)
This video was UTTERLY MEZMERIZING to watch. Really an incredible event in modern American politics - it begins: "Part of the reason I accepted your invitation to come here was because I wanted to speak with all of you, and not just to all of you. So I'm looking forward to taking your questions and having a real conversation in a few moments. And I hope that the conversation we begin here doesn't end here; that we can continue our dialogue in the days ahead . . ."

Tinselgate And Online Redress (01/11/10)
The irony of Tinselgate is fairly breathtaking: A person donates his time and expertise -- for free -- and ends up on the receiving end of a torrent of threats and physical abuse from his fellow Americans.

Noble / Nobel (12/14/09)
I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations -- that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.

Don't Blow It (10/19/09)
But that’s not just directed at Mr. Obama. It’s directed at all of us. What the president promised was a “global plan,” not an American plan. The same is true on all the other issues that the Nobel committee cited, from nuclear disarmament to climate change — none of these things will yield to unilateral approaches. They’ll take international cooperation and American leadership.

"The Sinister March of Net Niceness" (08/31/09)
From Valleywag (warning: heavily airbrushed and quite cleavagey model picture after the link): "...that's the thing about being impolite online: it might be needlessly abrasive 95 times out of 100, but those other five times it's awesome, conveying fresh perspective readers would not have seen were it not for the cloak of anonymity.

Beer Summits And Presidential Mediations (08/10/09)
I've wanted to post something on Obama's Beer Summit for some time, but I thought it best to let the dust settle before weighing in. The racial hot buttons made it harder to focus on the conflict management approach behind the engagement. I think now the time has come to process what happened.

Discussions Vs. Disputes Vs. Controversies (06/08/09)
A friend in the eBay Israel office shared this with me... pretty interesting...

Obama And Open Government (05/25/09)
The White House announced its Open Government initiative today. My good friend Beth Noveck's fingerprints are all over this. I urge you to visit the site and participate in the "Brainstorming" phase. This is an exciting step forward in both participating and transparency for the Federal level in the US.

Conflict Resolution Governance (03/30/09)
The president tends to seek conflict resolution rather than drama. He has been compared to Franklin D. Roosevelt, confronted with an economic crisis.

The Mediator-in-Chief (01/26/09)
Well, I suppose no long time reader of this blog would be surprised to hear I'm in a good mood today. This has been a dark period in our nation's history, and I'm filled with optimism today that we'll be able to heal this nation and get back on the right path. Obama's words reaffirm my hope that he would bring an understanding of the importance of resolving conflicts into the Presidency.

Empiricism vs. Human Nature (01/19/09)
Ah the David Brooks I've come to know and love showed up today: "...the current financial crisis — how so many people could be so stupid, incompetent and self-destructive all at once... the crisis has delivered a blow to classical economics and taken a body of psychological work that was at the edge of public policy thought and brought it front and center.

Nobel Lecture by Martti Ahtisaari, Oslo, 10 December 2008 (01/06/09)
On this last day of a very difficult year for the world, I'd like to end the year with a speech from this year's winner of the Nobel Peace Prize: "Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Dear Friends and Colleagues around the world...

Trying To Perceive Things That Aren't True (11/03/08)
My sense is that this financial crisis is going to amount to a coming-out party for behavioral economists and others who are bringing sophisticated psychology to the realm of public policy. At least these folks have plausible explanations for why so many people could have been so gigantically wrong about the risks they were taking.

Companies Unlikely to Use Arbitration With Each Other (10/06/08)
New research about arbitration adds fuel to the fire for the argument that consumer dispute resolution is really at base a manipulative technique to minimize financial exposure from business. I believe it can be done correctly, so that justice is done. But it appears from this study that many businesses do not feel the same way.

Credit where credit is due (08/05/08)
A trademark Brooks turnaround in today's column: "...big gaps in educational attainment are present at age 5. Some children are bathed in an atmosphere that promotes human capital development and, increasingly, more are not. By 5, it is possible to predict, with depressing accuracy, who will complete high school and college and who won’t.   I.Q. matters, but Heckman points to equally important traits that start and then build from those early years: motivation levels, emotional...

A Universal Language (07/29/08)
Jeff Goldfien in the ADRNC Newsletter: "I was struck by a statement by Senator Obama, reported in the press yesterday, responding to an accusation by conservative Christian leader James Dobson that Obama was distorting the message of the both the bible and the constitution in his discussions and entreaties to various religious groups and leaders... Sara Kugler of the Associated Press reported that, "Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane before landing in Los Angeles, Obama said the...

A Credo for Facilitators (07/07/08)
Peter Adler, head of the Keystone Center and a giant in the field of dispute resolution, recently published a great "credo for facilitators" that he first came up with some years ago. I really like his set of seven beliefs at the end of the credo:   "1. A GOOD FAITH CONTRACT.   We believe the job of the “facilitator” involves a three way good faith contract that must be honored by (a) those who are sponsoring or convening the process; (b) those who are serving as facilitators of...

Microsoft and Yahoo: Where Were the Mediators? (05/12/08)
David Hoffman in the 5/12 Christian Science Monitor: "When Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer met with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang earlier this month, what kept them from making a deal? With Microsoft offering $33 per share for Yahoo's stock, and Yahoo willing to take $37, was there truly an unbridgeable gulf? The $4 gap seems trivial in comparison to the potential value of the deal. So did Microsoft and Yahoo walk away from a deal that would have made both sides better off? This type of bargaining failure...

Divided We Fall (04/21/08)
Kristof in the Times today: "To understand your feelings about Wednesday night’s debate, consider the Dartmouth-Princeton football game in 1951. That bitterly fought contest was the subject of a landmark study about how our biases shape our understanding of reality.   Psychologists showed a film clip of the football game to groups of students at each college and asked them to act as unbiased referees and note every instance of cheating. The results were striking. Each group, watching the ...

How to Disagree (03/31/08)
Very interesting post from Paul Graham: "The web is turning writing into a conversation. Twenty years ago, writers wrote and readers read. The web lets readers respond, and increasingly they do—in comment threads, on forums, and in their own blog posts.   Many who respond to something disagree with it. That's to be expected. Agreeing tends to motivate people less than disagreeing. And when you agree there's less to say. You could expand on something the author said, but he has probably...

New Book: Eye of the Storm Leadership (03/17/08)
A few years ago, my friend Peter Adler hosted a meeting on Capitol Hill entitled "Political Courage and the Power of Bridge-Building" that involved some notable participants from the beltway scene. That conversation served as the seed that's grown into a new book and DVD series entitled "Eye of the Storm Leadership: 150 Ideas, Stories, Quotes, and Exercises on the Art and Politics of Managing Human Hurricanes."   Information on the book is available...

Negotiating, as a Precursor to an Attack (03/04/08)
Reuel Marc Gerecht in the NYT 2/20/08: "The Bush administration should advocate direct, unconditional talks between Washington and Tehran. Strategically, politically and morally, such meetings will help us think more clearly. Foreign-policy hawks ought to see such discussions as essential preparation for possible military strikes against clerical Iran’s nuclear facilities...   For far too long, the United States has failed to wage a war of ideas with the Iranian regime over the proposal...

Making voting choices by "unconscious cognition" (01/21/08)
Brooks in today's Times: "...many of the theories we come up with are bogus. They are based on the assumption that voters make cold, rational decisions about who to vote for and can tell us why they decided as they did. This is false.   In reality, we voters — all of us — make emotional, intuitive decisions about who we prefer, and then come up with post-hoc rationalizations to explain the choices that were already made beneath conscious awareness. “People often act without knowing why...

Generosity in the Genes (12/31/07)
"Generosity May Be Genetically Programmed, Israeli Study Says" by Alisa Odenheimer: "Philanthropists may be genetically programmed to donate to charities, while misers may be wired to hold on to their wealth, Israeli researchers say..."   "The study looked at 102 men and 101 women, and took DNA samples to see who had a gene that had been linked to social bonding in animals. They then played an online game that involved making a choice whether to give away money or horde it. Those who...

Using Email In Couples Counselling (11/20/07)
Great new article from ADR pioneer David Hoffman on today. From the conclusion: "Because email is such a new medium {...}the techniques for successful communication via computer may be less intuitive and require more conscious attention...   Experience suggests that there is considerable potential in email communications for both misunderstanding and enhanced understanding. As Collaborative Practitioners, we have the added benefit of working on cases with colleagues who join ...

Why I'm glad I don't live in Gapun (10/30/07)
Damian Whitworth in today's Times of London: "Human beings argue about everything from adultery to Zionism and we do so in different styles, whether we are submissive, passive, aggressive, abusive, abusive-passive, aggressive-abusive, submissive-aggressive or submissive-passive-aggressive-abusive...   But are there any broad differences between the sexes in the way that we argue? US research into marital stress on the heart has thrown up an intriguing finding about the way some are prone ...

Dignity, Not Democracy (10/23/07)
David Ignatius in today's Post: "We talk about democracy and human rights. Iraqis talk about justice and honor." That comment from Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, made at a seminar last month on counterinsurgency, is the beginning of wisdom for an America that is trying to repair the damage of recent years. It applies not simply to Iraq but to the range of problems in a world tired of listening to an American megaphone.   Dignity is the issue that vexes billions of people around the world,...

Misinterpreting Email Communications (10/16/07)
Daniel Goleman in the 10/7 NYT: "We were having an e-mail exchange about some crucial detail involving publishing rights, which I thought was being worked out well. Then she wrote: “It’s difficult to have this conversation by e-mail. I sound strident and you sound exasperated.”   At first I was surprised to hear I had sounded exasperated. But once she identified this snag in our communications, I realized that something had really been off. So we had a phone call that cleared everything...

Disputes Growing In Virtual Worlds (10/16/07)
The Business Shrink, October 10th, 2007: "With virtual world’s forming into the next big thing on the horizon, the real world is starting to play catch up. Traffic stats are increasing and the money pouring into virtual worlds is starting to translate into real world money that cannot be ignored. Just recently a report was released by, a business research and intelligence gathering company, that listed subscription sales for online virtual worlds rising to $526,000,000 in the US ...

From Colin Rule (09/06/07) has been the driving force behind bringing the dispute resolution field online for more than a decade. It has provided an important public face for our work, and it has done so with integrity and respect for every practitioner, no matter how many cases they've handled. I congratulate on passing this milestone, and here's to another decade of spreading the good word about conflict resolution.

Finding The Roots Of Cooperation In Game Theory (08/13/07)
I think the missing link in conflict resolution is game theory. There are legions of practitioners who will talk about the spiritual side of peacemaking, or how mediation is more art than science, or about the links between mediation and meditation. I try to remain open to those conversations, but I think they alienate more people than they attract to the field.

Every Time I Give Up on David Brooks... (07/27/07)
...he comes back and says something nuanced: "...most political and social disputes grow out of differing theories about the self, and I find Hofstadter’s social, dynamic, overlapping theory of self very congenial.   It emphasizes how profoundly we are shaped by relationships with others, but it’s not one of those stifling, collectivist theories that puts the community above the individual.   It exposes the errors of those Ayn Rand individualists who think that success is...

Cognitive Dissonance / Attribution Error (07/16/07)
Shankar Vedantam in today's Washington Post: "The different perceptions of victims and perpetrators in Baumeister's experiment are a result of a phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance, Tavris and Aronson argue in a new book titled "Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)." When we do something that hurts others, there is a part of us that recognizes our action as despicable. But that comes into conflict -- into dissonance -- with our belief that we are good people. The solution? We reinterpret our ...

Questioning Integration (07/09/07)
David Brooks in the 6/6 New York Times: "Nothing is sadder than the waning dream of integration. This dream has illuminated American life for the past several decades — the belief that the world is getting smaller and that different peoples are coming together over time.   Over the course of the 20th century, the civil rights movement promised to heal the nation’s oldest wound. Racism and discrimination would diminish. Blacks and whites could live together, go to school together and...

Race ToThe Bottom (06/18/07)
Kristof in today's Times: '“We see war coming,” Mr. Nkunda said, and he pulled out his laptop to show a map indicating that various government-backed forces are being dispatched to attack him. He added: “The only reply to war and ammunition is war and ammunition.”   I told him — a bit nervously — that such tribalism and fighting has torn apart a country that should be one of Africa’s richest. But Mr. Nkunda, who quotes Gandhi, emphasized that what counts here is simply force. “You go by...

Study Finds High-testosterone People Feel Rewarded By Others' Anger (05/21/07)
Science Daily, reporting on a U-Michigan press release, May 12: "Most people don't appreciate an angry look, but a new University of Michigan psychology study found that some people find angry expressions so rewarding that they will readily learn ways to encourage them...   "It's kind of striking that an angry facial expression is consciously valued as a very negative signal by almost everyone, yet at a non-conscious level can be like a tasty morsel that some people will vigorously work...

Exciting Interational Online Competition -- Win an All-Expense Paid Trip to Hong Kong! (05/07/07)
I am one of the organizers for the competition designed to encourage ideas and interaction around the problem of creating a trusted online environment, which is one of the biggest issues in creating a useful online dispute resolution community. The contest is open to a wide range of students and recent graduates from a number of disciplines (this is NOT a law school-limited competition) and will run from now through July of this year. All of the particulars are included in the...

Statement on Respectful Online Communication (04/30/07)
Participants at the recently concluded Fifth International Forum on Online Dispute Resolution - Liverpool, England April 19-20, 2007 agreed to the following statement, to help progressive debates in support of online civility and respectful communications.

Optimal Email Animals (04/22/07)
It's not unusual to find periodic columns decrying how technology is undermining the authenticity of human interactions, but it is relatively unusual to hear such sentiments coming from a blog A-lister like Robert Wright... In his (what seems to me) hastily put together op-ed in today's NYT, Wright says "I have a theory: the more e-mail there is, the more Prozac there will be, and the more Prozac there is, the more e-mail there will be." The main thesis seems to be that in the past...

The Agents of Normalcy and Entrenchment (04/16/07)
Interesting backlash to the O'Reilly's Blogger Code of Conduct. Nate Anderson on Ars Technica talking about "the tyranny of good intentions": "Tim O'Reilly wants to bring... civil back, and he’s doing it by launching a voluntary new code of conduct that is bound to kick up a bit of controversy. Commenters to O'Reilly's blog have already called the plan something that "reeks of prohibition and candlelight marches," and an example of "the agents of normalcy and entrenchment subconsciously...

Blogging Code of Conduct (04/09/07)
Lots of buzz on the internets today about Tim O'Reilly's proposed Blogging Code of Conduct... My opinion: It's about damn time.   The conversation really kicked into gear with the NYTimes article on the 9th. Author Darcy Padilla put it this way: "A recent outbreak of antagonism among several prominent bloggers “gives us an opportunity to change the level of expectations that people have about what’s acceptable online,” said Mr. O’Reilly, who posted the preliminary recommendations last...

Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavior (03/26/07)
Nicholas Wade in NYT (March 20, 2007): "... primatologists have shown... a sizable overlap between the behavior of people and other social primates..." "Though human morality may end in notions of rights and justice and fine ethical distinctions, it begins, Dr. de Waal says, in concern for others and the understanding of social rules as to how they should be treated. At this lower level, primatologists have shown, there is what they consider to be a sizable overlap between the behavior of...

Settling Disputes With a Blackberry (03/05/07)
Patricia Cohen in the Times: "There was a time when ... points of trivia might arise at dinner or over drinks and lead to a brain-racking long debate or an unsettled and angry standoff. But now... hand-held wireless devices can immediately settle disputes over points of fact." "Kimberly Cardiel, a bartender at the ESPN Zone restaurant in Times Square, said that when she started working there more than seven years ago, bar bets or plain old disputes about sports would be decided by checking...

Exploring the 'Online Disinhibition Effect' (02/27/07)
I'm a big fan of Daniel Goleman, and he has an interesting piece in the New York Times: "...[there is] a larger pattern plaguing the world of virtual communications, a problem recognized since the earliest days of the Internet: flaming, or sending a message that is taken as offensive, embarrassing or downright rude... thoughts expressed while sitting alone at the keyboard would be put more diplomatically — or go unmentioned — face to face. Flaming has a technical name, the “online...

ODR and Web 2.0 (12/21/06)
Innovation over the past five years has occurred in a wide variety of areas, from more flexible graphics to faster connections to richer communications options. It’s difficult to keep track of the full alphabet soup of innovation on the net (PHP, AJAX, SVG, CSS, etc.) but the latest wave of advancements, and the sites that make use of them, are broadly referred to as “Web 2.0" because of the revolutionary potential they offer to reinvent interaction between people over computer networks.

Keystone Conference: Megatrends for Mediators in Technology (11/28/06)
Colin Rule, who coordinated dispute resolution technology for eBay for many years, speaks on the issue of megatrends in mediation focusing on technology issues.

John Helie: A Pioneering Leader in the Field of Dispute Resolution (11/14/05)
John Helie was the 2005 recipient of the ACR Mary Parker Follet Award. Read this article to find out more about John and why he recieved the award.

Introduction to Online Dispute Resolution for Business (06/11/02)
ODR for Business is designed to inform the senior management, general counsels, and risk managers of large companies and start-ups alike about the benefits of using Internet-based dispute resolution to resolve disputes before they escalate. It is intended to provide businesspeople with the information necessary to begin integrating ODR into the way their organization operates. Preview the first chapter online.

New Mediator Capabilities in Online Dispute Resolution (12/06/00)
This article focuses on some of the possibilities ODR opens up to mediators and arbitrators, and how these capabilities might fundamentally affect the dispute resolution process.

Online Dispute Resolution Links (09/29/00)
A comprehensive listing of links to articles, news items, and resources on the internet that pertain to Online Dispute Resolution.


Mediating Online: eCommerce, Property & Workplace

Presenters: Colin Rule, Clare Fowler and Jim Melamed
20 hours - Recorded live April 20 - May 1, 2020.
Includes  all materials and 6 months access.

You can purchase the course HERE

Mediating Online Training - Streaming:
The Mediators: Views from the Eye of the Storm Vol. I
Views from the Eye of the Storm

Featuring 31 of the most experienced mediators in the world.

This two-hour DVD is a "highlight" film of compelling commentary from pioneers and leaders in the field of mediation.

(2006) ISBN # 1-933857-04-8

This video is also available by online streaming here

DVDs are available for shipment to the United States and Canada. International purchasers are asked to order the online streaming version of this resource at

Mediating Online: Family & Divorce Mediation

Colin Rule, Clare Fowler, Michael Aurit and Jim Melamed
20 hours - Recorded live May 11-22, 2020
Includes all materials and 6 months access.

Online Family Mediation Training:
Mediating Online Training
Mediating Online: Divorce and Family Mediation

LIVE TRAINING: March 1-12, 2021
with Michael Aurit, Jim Melamed, Clare Fowler and Colin Rule
Live course modules each weekday: noon - 2 pm Eastern; 9 am - 11 am Pacific
Recordings are then also made available.

Mediating Divorce and Family Agreement Online:
click here for a larger image Presenters speak on megatrends involving technology, economics, politics, media, law, governance, society and culture.  Held at the Keystone Conference, October 2006.

The Online Toolbox for the Post-Pandemic Mediator -- Workplace Edition

LIVE TRAINING with the world's leading online mediation experts!
MAY 19 & 22, 2021
with Colin Rule and Clare Fowler

6 hour live course modules for 2 days:
8am - 2 pm PST; 11am - 5pm EST
Up to 5 hours homework
3 hours pre-recorded "Mediating with Zoom" modules (you will be given access to these modules before the live training)

15 CLE's
Recordings of each day's session are also made available within 24 hours

This qualifies as the core 20-hour online mediation course required for Online Mediator Certification. 15 CLE/CEU credits available, including 1 credit for Ethics.

Mediating Online Training: