Research:Developing Wikimedia's anti-harassment and behavioral dispute resolution systems

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This page documents a research project in progress.
Information may be incomplete and change as the project progresses.


Welcome and thank you for joining us. We are students with the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) who have been engaged by the Wikimedia Foundation to facilitate the organic development of dispute resolution systems in Wikimedia communities worldwide. We are currently in the process of gathering data and insight into the diverse perspectives offered by Wikimedia communities. HNMCP provides students at Harvard Law School with the opportunity to get hands-on experience through working with clients from outside the law school for classroom credit. HNMCP focuses specifically on projects involving conflict management and dispute systems design.

Our role will be largely limited to soliciting information from different stakeholders within the Wikimedia community, compiling such information into data, and making recommendations based on our findings. The finalized contents of our findings and recommendations will be available to the community on this Meta-Wiki page.

All findings will be anonymized and will not be attributed to any individual, unless express permission to reveal the individual's identity has been obtained from that individual. Although we will be reporting on the substance of the information gathered, we will share only the general category of interviewees and any descriptions we share throughout will be vague enough to ensure confidentiality.

Overview of Project[edit]

The scope of this project is limited to the resolution of disputes concerning improper or disruptive behaviors. We are free to make recommendations to the larger Wikimedia community and the Foundation, but have no stake in further community decisions after the recommendations are made. We respect the autonomy of Wikimedia communities and limit our role to that of an advisor.

Our tasks include the following:

  1. To conduct individual interviews of sample stakeholders.
  2. To conduct focus groups to gain a more specific understanding of the needs and concerns of certain communities.
  3. To consult experts and conduct research into dispute resolution literature to present a more comprehensive understanding of dispute resolution systems to the community.
  4. To make recommendations based on our findings.

We hope that this Meta-Wiki page will serve as way for us to ensure transparency and engage the larger Wikimedia community throughout the dispute resolution design process.

We believe one of Wikimedia's most powerful assets is the participation of the community. Throughout this process, we hope to learn from the community as much as possible and welcome your insight with an open mind.

Our Goals[edit]

  1. To lay guidelines and facilitate healthy and robust dialogues within Wikimedia communities to promote community-driven, organic growth of an inter-community platform for behavioral dispute resolution.
  2. To be inclusive and actively engage with the diverse interests and perspectives of Wikimedians.
  3. To be transparent about our process and honest about our findings.
  4. To encourage open and honest collaboration.
  5. To respect confidentiality.

Procedures to Participate in the Focus Group[edit]

We will be conducting three (3) focus groups to better ascertain specific needs that must be addressed for different types of communities. Each focus group will span two (2) weeks, Monday through next Sunday, with each day committed to a step of a systematic design process. Each focus group has a dual purpose:

  1. To clearly identify a problem within a specific context, address the root cause of the problem, and design potential solutions that will directly address a salient need for maximum impact; and
  2. To engage the community in a facilitated and structured approach to design thinking.

We are looking for volunteers from:

  • Communities with developed dispute resolution and anti-harassment processes
  • Communities without developed dispute resolution and anti-harassment processes
  • Communities that have inactive dispute resolution and anti-harassment processes

We ask that volunteers commit to:

  • Posting substantive material at least once per day;
  • Following focus group guidelines and instructions; and
  • Keeping an open-minded and respectful attitude towards fellow participants and the overall design process.

If you are interested in participating, please either add your username below, or, send us an email to hnmcpwikimediaprojec-at-clinics.law.harvard.edu (warning: write the email without the "t" at the end of the word "project").

Sign up here[edit]

  • I would be interested. I have a fair bit of experience with dispute resolution processes on Wikimedia projects. At English Wikipedia, I've been an administrator twice and a subject of arbitration proceedings at least three times. I'm also a current member of the Mediation Committee. Recently, I've been most active as an admin on Wikimedia Commons. Guanaco (talk) 22:14, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Interested. I'm a frequent RFC closer on English Wikipedia. Please contact me there, not here, as I'm unlikely to see anything on meta. Tazerdadog (talk) 22:31, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Are you interested in argumentative people? I think this is a really interesting thing to study but I suspect I tend to start more disputes than I solve. Oh well, grab me if you want me. Equinox (talk) 23:50, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Looks good. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:55, 2 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Slowking4 (talk) 03:47, 3 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Chico Venancio (talk) 21:33, 5 November 2017 (UTC)
  • Im willing to share my experience in these matters since 2002, and not anonymized,but Im also OK to give permission to reveal my identity Dan Koehl (talk) 16:29, 6 November 2017 (UTC)
  • I am interested in this. I have a background in Human Resources and I'm a member of the Wikimedia Affiliates Committee. --Rosiestep (talk) 17:57, 13 November 2017 (UTC)

Background Information Materials[edit]

This section will periodically update to provide the community access to research, literature, and other forms of information pertinent to Wikimedia and dispute resolution systems for disputes concerning improper or disruptive behaviors.