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Grants:IdeaLab/Make it very easy to report harassment to an anti-harassment force

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Make it very easy to report harassment to an anti-harassment force
It should be very easy to report an ongoing harassment to call it into the attention of a corps of well-behaving Wikipedians that have powers to stop the harasser.
idea creator
this project needs...
created on15:02, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Sometimes it is very clear that you have to do with a harasser that has no interest in discussing the case at hand, and all you need is someone sensible with power to come and stop the harasser. The current process for the harassed is very cumbersome, often leading to the harassed just leaving and the bully winning, resulting in worsening of the quality on Wikipedia.

What is your solution?[edit]

An anti-bullying / anti-harassment force that is very easy to call: An easy one-click (or few-click) solution to report harassment to a group of good, well-behaving Wikipedians of high integrity and with powers. There should be no cumbersome process for the harassed, no requirement of long descriptions describing the case, but simply somehow a direct reporting with a direct link to the harassing situation which someone from the group can then have a look at and take action towards. It should be easy for the harassed, with no big burden on their shoulders, so the harassed won't just choose to leave Wikipedia instead.

The anti-bullying group would be people who know what is the correct behaviour and who have high integrity themselves (can distinguish clearly between their own personal beliefs and proper behaviour, and focus on the proper behaviour), and they would take a look at what has happened. When they interfere, they could perhaps also report that they are from that specific group, so the harasser knows that it is a person with official powers. The group would be a bit like a police force, but more intelligent and not just blindly following orders from others. After talking to the harasser, and if the harasser refuses to comply to proper behaviour, they could forbid the harasser to make further reverts or edits on the specific article until the harasser says sorry and asserts that he or she will behave properly in the future. And in repeated cases, more and more limitations could be put on the harasser. But always with a possibility for the harasser to come to his or her senses and then be let back in. The harasser should always have the possibility to learn that if they behave properly, they are welcome.

But the first and most important part of this idea is that it should be very easy to report harassment. Possibly with a flag button on each section of the talk page (or a template that can be added directly next to a harassment, such as {{harassment}}, {{harassment reported}} or {{improper behaviour}}), and a button for each edit on the history page (such as "Report harassment" or a more general "Flag" menu with subitems like "Report harassment" and other things that could be flagged for a specific edit), as the harassment can also happen by reverting changes without proper explanation, or by using arrogant, aggressive or bullying wording in the commit messages.

Maybe there would not be enough people to actually handle all the harassment reports, but that should not be a reason not to have the option of easily reporting harassments. At least, with easy reporting, we would get some statistics about harassment and be able to see the amount of harassment happening.


Get Involved[edit]

About the idea creator[edit]

I have several times met harassers, and while it is quickly very clear to me that I am dealing with a harasser (or bully), for instance because they refuse to discuss the matter and/or focus on personal attacks, I don't know how to handle them and will always end up giving up on improving the specific article, often leaving Wikipedia for a while. I give up, because I am not here to take beatings from abusers – I am here to make a very good encyclopedia. But if the choice is only between being beaten up by bullies or staying away, I always prefer staying away – which, of course, makes Wikipedia worse. Currently there is no easy way to "call the police" when people become violent (psychologically speaking, of course). So the violent bullies always win, because of their violence, resulting in articles of bad quality.


  • Volunteer Help out with the Dutch speaking part of this Lotje (talk) 04:19, 18 June 2016 (UTC)


  • Yes, there has to be an easy way to report harassment. Perhaps a button in the toolbar on the left-hand-side of the screen. I do like he idea of a simple template (with simple wording), but could see some places where they would need to be restricted. (Somehow, I'm imagining ANI with a template added at every third posting). The big challenge, of course, is what happens after the reporting. There are some ideas here but they need to be fleshed out and the feasibility examined. But there needs to be a strong system set up after the reporting. Having a report that just disappears into the ether with no response (or no effective response - something like "Please read the following pages WP:NPA, WP:Harass, ....") would be worse than nothing. But to accomplish anything an easy reporting system must be set up. Smallbones (talk) 15:30, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I like the template idea - it seems an easy first step before going to the administrators' notice board. It could trigger a message at the top of the talk page: "This page has been flagged as being an example of harassment. Please do not remove this note until the issues has been addressed." Perhaps it could even automatically generate a article_name/harassment page, similar to the keep/delete discussion pages generated by AfD requests. But, there need to be also clear resolution guidelines describing what has to happen before the hatnote is removed. Also, if someone feels they are being harassed, and enough people agree, there should be at the minimum a warning to the harasser, and something kept on record. If the person is found to be an offender 3 times, there should be a 1 week editing block, and further offenses should each trigger another 1 week block. Likewise, if someone claims to be harassed three times, and each time they are the one at fault, they get the week ban, and so on. The biggest challenge here is who gets to adjudicate. We have to be careful that administrators with networks of supporters can't just come in and force their will on others. Perhaps we could have a team of "harassment docents", to be elected from the rank and file, and expressly not be administrators, so there's some independence. It should be a fair mix of editors who create articles as well as those who spend their time trying to delete them. Timtempleton (talk) 17:50, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
  • A "harassment warning" template seems like a very good idea. Lotje (talk) 16:09, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

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