Support and Safety

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Support and Safety (SuSa, formerly Community Advocacy) serves the Wikimedia Foundation, contributors and the public by providing support on Foundation initiatives with a focus on community consultations, governance, and training, and by addressing trust and safety concerns including around appropriately escalating threats communicated on our projects and helping to safeguard the safety of attendees of Wikimedia Foundation supported events. Support and Safety comprises part of the Community Engagement department and works closely with the Legal team. Much of our time is spent "fire-fighting" and triaging customer service contacts to get them to the correct group of editing volunteers. We also monitor issues of emerging concern for the communities and attempt to provide support to other departments so that they can effectively work with communities. We also serve as a bridge, connecting resources and domain expertise to the staff.

What we do[edit]

Poster presenting the Wikimedia Foundation's Support & Safety team and broad areas of their work.

The Support and Safety team supports staff, the public and volunteers in our community through approximately 12 workflows in three broad areas.

Direct community support[edit]

The Support and Safety team works to build bridges between our international and linguistically diverse editor base and maintains contact with communities across the globe. We step in to facilitate interactions among volunteers, WMF and the public and to support several key community functionary groups in their work.

Regular workflows include:

Trust and Safety[edit]

We step in to protect the safety and integrity of our users, our contributors, and the public. We support a healthy environment on our projects through several work areas. Among other measures, we operate email lists for major problems on Wikimedia projects, including suicide threats, threats of violence, and child pornography. We also own the policies regarding Wikimedia Foundation bans of users from the projects and bans from WMF-funded or supported events, and we work with other internal teams to address concerns about user privacy and freedom.
Throughout FY 2015-2016, Support and Safety will be researching harassment and behavioral issues. We are conducting discussions with contributors, stakeholders, and the academic community, gathering data on how other online organizations address such matters (what works and what doesn’t) and how various Wikimedia communities handle issues.

Regular workflows include:

  • Evaluation and reporting: Child pornography reports, Emergency@Wikimedia
  • Global & Event bans: requests, inquiries, investigations & maintenance
  • Identification and access rights for community
  • T&S database management: mandatory and best-practice record-keeping


Internal support[edit]

We provide guidance, advice and support to Foundation staff, the Board, and committees. We assist staff routinely with community and content related concerns, including processing DMCA takedown and notification requirements and, where necessary, responding to search warrants and legally valid subpoenas. We help onboard new staff about community norms and practices, and we manage requests for advanced user rights required for staff members to do their work by assessing needs and liaising with the stewards.

Regular workflows include:

  • Supporting Executives: the Executive Director, the Executive Office, Jimmy Wales.
  • Liaison work: to the election committee, the cross-wiki Ombudsman Commission, and other WMF teams. Consultations on community issues are made available on request to all non-engineering teams and departments. (Engineering teams and departments work with Community Liaisons)
  • Supporting the staff: Advanced privileges and user rights for staff, community on-boarding
  • Legal support: DMCA takedown and notification requirements, search warrant and subpoena compliance

Who we are[edit]

The Support and Safety team consists of the following people.

Maggie Dennis
Maggie created an account on the English Wikipedia as User:Moonriddengirl on 8 April 2007. There, she dedicated a good bit of her time to administrative work, particularly in the area of copyright cleanup, and to creating articles as a member of the albums WikiProject. She joined the Wikimedia Foundation as its first Community Liaison in May 2011. She is the Director of Support, Safety and Programs.
Jan Eissfeldt
Jan became a registered editor on the German Wikipedia in March 2004 as User:Jan eissfeldt, focusing heavily (but not exclusively) on topics related to philosophy and argumentation theory. He joined the Wikimedia Foundation as a Community Advocate (International) in April 2013. In January 2017, he became Senior Strategist, helping both the "Support" and "Trust & Safety" teams plan, prioritize and coordinate their work.

Support task force[edit]

Patrick Earley
Patrick registered as User:The Interior on Christmas Day 2008. With a focus on topics related to his home country of Canada and on bringing access to resource materials to other volunteers through the Wikipedia Library, Patrick began at the Wikimedia Foundation as a Community Liaison (International) in July 2013. He became Senior Community Advocate in February 2015 and is now Manager, Support.
Karen Brown
Karen, also known as Fluffernutter, created her account on the English Wikipedia in April 2008. She became an administrator and oversighter there in 2011, and then joined the Wikimedia Foundation in September 2015 as a Community Advocate, primarily focused on Support tasks.
Joe Sutherland
Joe began editing in July 2006 and now serves as an administrator and functionary on the English Wikipedia as "Foxj". He joined the Wikimedia Foundation as a Communications Volunteer in September 2013, before becoming a Communications Intern in May 2015 and Communications Fellow in March 2016. He moved to the Support and Safety team in May 2016 as a Community Advocate (International), primarily focused on Support tasks.

Trust & Safety task force[edit]

James Alexander
James joined the movement as User:Jamesofur on 22 November 2006. He came on board with the Wikimedia Foundation in August 2010, originally as an Associate Community Officer for the fundraiser and has since then contributed in many areas, including as Wikimedia Fellow, Business Analyst, and Manager Wikimedia Merchandise. He is currently the Manager, Trust & Safety.
Kalliope Tsouroupidou
Kalli came on board with the Wikimedia Foundation as a Community Advocate (International) in April 2015, bringing with her over 7 years of trust & safety experience from Couchsurfing. She is a key component, alongside James, of the Trust & Safety Taskforce.

Contacting us[edit]

Do you have a question for or about the Support and Safety team? You can reach us at
(help | download | file info)

The Support and Safety team (SuSa)

Maggie Dennis
Director of Support, Safety and Programs
James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety
Karen Brown
Community Advocate (Support)
Patrick Earley
Manager, Support
Jan Eissfeldt
Senior Strategist
Sydney Poore
Community Advocate
Joe Sutherland
Community Advocate (Support)
Kalliope Tsouroupidou
Community Advocate (International) (Trust & Safety)