The Anti-Harassment Program of the Wikimedia Foundation aims to provide safer and more secure spaces on its platform. Building knowledge collaboratively will always involve disagreement as people collectively define and articulate their norms. As Wikimedia grows and diversifies its contributor base, disagreements may well increase; so it is important to ensure disagreements don’t cross a line into incidences of harassment which many online communities and platforms experience. Social media platforms have rolled out features that enable users to ignore people they disagree with, but our platform makes that difficult. The anti harassment program is made up of several distinct projects being worked on by the Foundation's staff with the aid of the community, designed to alleviate that difficulty.
Continuing with the work started during the Community Health Initiative, the Anti Harassment Program will work to deliver several issues from the 2018–2020 Movement Strategy recommendations on the journey towards becoming the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge by 2030.
The Anti-Harassment Tools team is a Wikimedia Foundation team that does technical work in support of the Anti Harassment Program. In short, the anti harassment tools team want to build software that empowers contributors and administrators to make timely, informed decisions when harassment occurs. Four focus areas have been identified where new tools could be beneficial in addressing and responding to harassment which you can learn more about on the project page below.
Project page: Anti Harassment Tools Team.
The purpose of this project is to improve the Foundation’s existing workflows for child protection and terrorism related content in line with the Movement Strategy recommendations 2018–2020. Each of these types of material will be treated differently, but there are aspects of the tools underlying both that can be built out in this release.
Currently, when the Foundation receives a report of images that depict child sexual abuse, we delete it from the projects and report it to law enforcement according to our legal requirements. This setup requires volunteers, who unlike staff have no professional training or mental health support, to initially deal with this very emotionally taxing content.
This program aims to protect the community from being exposed to such content in nearly all cases and get it off the platform a lot faster. It would check images against a database of hashed, known images of child sexual abuse to allow Foundation staff to remove them and report their existence to law enforcement.
This program could eventually plug in to other Trust & Safety workflows dealing with terrorism content for Foundation staff to review to see if they meet our existing criteria for credible threats of immediate harm.
This program will not automatically remove any content without human review by Foundation staff.
In order to encourage greater participation in the functionary selection process, and following the successful rollout of the SecurePoll extension to aid in the Board elections in 2021, the Foundation will explore the usage of the SecurePoll extension to manage the functionary selection process as directed by the 2018–2020 Movement Strategy recommendations.
Universal Code of Conduct
The movement strategy directed code of conduct will set out norms protecting people and will elevate the importance of civility. It will give functionaries clear guidance on what behavior they should prohibit. Newcomers and the marginalized – people who have the least understanding of complex rules and the least social capital to get help – can feel more empowered by universal minimum standards. Communities will be invited to use and build upon this code in their local contexts, but not to go below it in their levels of self-governance and enforcement.
Project page: Universal Code of Conduct
Online anti-harassment training for administrators and functionaries
To encourage a more diverse administrator base, we will develop training material for current and future administrator and functionary positions to empower them to handle harassment cases judiciously, competently and equitably as directed by the 2018–2020 Movement Strategy recommendations. Upon completion of training, the participant will have an understanding of the fundamentals of dealing with abuse reports in a resilient manner. The training is intended to help community leaders, users with advanced rights, and groups handle community challenges around allegations of online harassment and abusive behavior.
- WikiLearn course: Identifying and Addressing Harassment Online
Key to measuring the effectiveness of this program, is meaningful and actionable metrics being baked in from the start. As outlined in the anti harassment program details, the major goals are varied and challenging and as such will require measurement using both qualitative and quantitative analysis. We will explore the many sources of data around harassment available to us and begin compiling the means to measure this data to afford us a view of the effectiveness of the program.