Holacracy Community of Practice Archive, 2015-2019 Community Holacracy Web Site

That sounds like a frustrating situation.

To "yes, and" Margaux's feedback, I've found it useful to force good habits around people being specific about what they need. For example, after the circle member described the Rep Link issue, immediately jump in (cutting other people off) and asking the member "So, what do you need?" Then remind them they can need five things: 1) get information, 2) share information, 3) ask a role take an action, 4) ask a role to take on a project, 5) record a tension for governance. Reinforcing these concepts in tactical will help build good habits around member expressing needs.

If they say they need to get or share information, one technique we use regularly to prevent conversation from spiraling out of control is to time-box the open discussion. Our normal time-box parameter is usually 2 or 3 minutes. The facilitator picks the time-box (depending on time and issues remaining) and starts a countdown timer. 

During these open discussions (#1 and #2), I'm listening for two things: 1) other people starting to present their own issues and 2) whether the conversation is not helping the issue. I'll interrupt the conversation if either of these occur. If the first occurs I'll say that sounds like another issue for the agenda and commit to coming back  to capture it. If the second occurs I'll ask the member: "Is this discussion getting you what you need?" If the answer is no, then "So, what do you need?"

Hope that helps.