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]

Support & Safety Team.pdf

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. For some of the resources we are investigating, see Online harassment resource guide. For a list of NGOs that support victims of harassment or the fight against harassment, see Support.

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 and Safety.
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.
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.
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 is now Senior Community Advocate.
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.
Haitham Shammaa
Haitham started with the Wikimedia movement as a volunteer contributor in Jan, 2007. He joined the Wikimedia Foundation in April 2012 as a contractor, and in July 2012 as a full time employee to work on contributors research. In 2013, he shifted his focus to work with global south communities research, and in 2014 his research shifted to focus on understanding and supporting the health of online communities. He is a Senior Strategist.
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 and Safety
James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety
Karen Brown
Community Advocate
Patrick Earley
Senior Community Advocate
Jan Eissfeldt
Community Advocate (International)
Haitham Shammaa
Senior Strategist
Kalliope Tsouroupidou
Community Advocate (International)