What is the problem you're trying to solve?
Harassment of women editors creates a hostile or offensive work environment. A formal harassment policy will give the Foundation more options to end harassment. It would also start to repair some of the recent negative reports about gender in the press, as well as starting to repair its relationship with women editors and the men who care about them.
- Users do not have a firm idea of what behavior will not be tolerated, users who are harassed do not have any idea how to take action against it, and users who call attention to harassment are vulnerable to retribution.
- There is no redress for off-site harassment that has its basis in Wikipedia.
What is your solution?
The policy should state that harassment will not be tolerated. It should define what behavior is prohibited. It should state that harassment is illegal, if this can be determined for the volunteer side of the WMF.
Users should be given guidelines for dealing with harassment and privacy violations. Policies should be clear and easy to understand. Situations should be dealt with as confidentially as possible. Users who report harassment should be protected from retaliation.
The user's privacy should be protected. Privacy violations should be removed based on their content; removal should not depend on the stated frame of mind of the person posting non-compliant material, or on whether the committee is able to extract a confession from them. Removal of privacy-violating material should be done as quickly as possible. The user should not be required to provide identifying information to the committee's mailing list, or confirm whether the privacy-violating is correct, before the information can be removed.
The investigating group
There should be more than one path or committee for reporting. The user should not have to rely on their home wiki. There should be an alternate path in case of a situation that involves someone on the investigating committee. The investigating groups should have a target of 50/50 gender balance.
The investigation should be prompt and confidential, to limit gossip, prevent people taking sides, and to minimize impact on the wiki. The focus should be on removing on non-compliant postings and privacy violations. The accusing user should be provided with a report of the investigation and the action that was taken. The accused user should be provided with a statement explaining any errors they may have made, and if appropriate, prohibit any contact with the accuser, and specify what will happen if they do not comply.
Off-site harassment and privacy violations
Where a user's private information that was obtained on-wiki is disclosed off-wiki, the identity of the user making the disclosures should be investigated, using internally available IP and other information. Attempts should be made to collaborate with the other organization, in cases where the disclosure violates the off-wiki organization's terms of service.
The policy should be reviewed yearly, with comments invited to reflect changing roles.
Protection against retaliation
Fear of retaliation can prevent users from reporting harassment. Supporters of the harasser can retaliate against someone who rocks the boat by reporting harassment. Other users may refuse to cooperate with these users or make it difficult for them to edit. Individuals who cooperate with investigations may also be harassed. Individuals who report harassment may be banned or threatened with bans. Policy should state that there will not be any retaliation for reporting harassment, and specify the official actions that will be taken against anyone who retaliates.
All users should be provided with training and education about harassment. Training should begin with administrators, individuals in leadership positions, and the individuals in the investigating group.
There should be active periodic monitoring by sampling talk pages, noticeboards, or by surveys, or other means. Compliance should not depend solely on complaints.
Position in the organizational chart
The investigating committee should report as high as possible in the WMF, possibly to the ED, or to an independent outside entity, so that administrators, arbitrators, and other privileged individuals do not regard themselves to be above the policy.
More and more, Wikipedia is depending on GLAM, editathons, and forming relationships with institutions for expanding its content, and making it more representational. These institutions often have formal harassment policies, and expect their employees and guests will not be subjected to sexual harassment as a consequence of inviting Wikipedia onto their premises.
Unfortunately, not everyone understands what sexual harassment is, and that it is disruptive and destructive in the workplace, even a volunteer workplace. The local wikis are unequipped for, and lacking a mandate to deal with hostile workplace issues. A sexual harassment policy would define sexual harassment and set expectations for users.
What is sexual harassment?
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Conduct that creates a hostile or offensive work environment
Examples of sexual harassment
- Sexual jokes or stories
- Sexualized images
- Leering and sexual inuendo
- Belittling or referring to by sexist and demeaning names
- Subjecting to repeated lewd or pornographic remarks
- Attacking or intimidating a woman because he doesn’t think she should be doing Man's Work
- Sexual harassment does not have to be done by or against one particular gender, but is hostility based on gender.
Note: Discussion or images related to sex, pornography, discriminatory language, or similar is welcome if it meets all of the following criteria: ... (a) it is necessary to the topic of discussion and no alternative exists, (b) it is presented in a respectful manner, especially towards women and LGBTQIA people, (c) it is presented in the proper forum, ... This exception specifically does not allow use of gratuitous sexual images as attention-getting devices or unnecessary examples or the introduction of off-topic sexual discussions to chill discussion or drive off contributors.
- bc ChristophThomas (talk) 02:20, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
- · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:34, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
- Mary Mark Ockerbloom (talk) 14:33, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
- Kevin Rutherford (talk) 22:20, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
- Ever wonder (talk) 08:32, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
- A huge challenge not just @ Wikipedia but across a huge number of online platforms Spmcc123 (talk) 07:35, 4 December 2015 (UTC)
Expand your idea
Do you want to submit your idea for funding from the Wikimedia Foundation?
- @Neotarf: Looks like it is up there now? May just have taken a while to sync... —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 01:32, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
- Grants:IdeaLab/Community discussion on harassment reporting -- Community discussion related to this and the many other current proposals for harassment management