Event Ban policy

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The Event Ban policy is a set of guidelines and procedures regarding identifying and handling users who are banned from Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) sponsored or funded events, in the interest of maintaining the physical and mental well-being of the participants. This policy, and the suggested processes pursuant to this policy, are applicable to in-person events, taking place in physical spaces.

Core principles[edit]

We are committed to empowering all Wikimedia community members, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sex, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, political affiliation, religion or community status, to enjoy a positive and constructive experience through attending in-person events. We are dedicated to creating safe physical spaces for event attendees to meet, interact, learn and collaborate in person towards making the sum of all human knowledge accessible for everybody.

Purpose and scope[edit]

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that appropriate protocols are in place to help assure the mental and physical safety of event attendees, in the circumstances where a banned user should attempt to attend a WMF sponsored or funded event. Its scope covers from the planning stages through the duration of the event, as well as the immediate post-event period.

The processes pursuant to this policy are applicable to situations where a ban restricts the access (explicitly or implicitly), attendance and/or participation of individuals at offline events that are sponsored or funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, or - in certain cases - associated entities (such as movement affiliates or partners). This policy uses the term ‘events’ only for such affairs organised by WMF and is therefore not applicable for events that are not sponsored or funded by the WMF, or in certain cases, associated entities.

When is a user banned from an Event?[edit]

All event attendees are expected to adhere to applicable rules on public behaviour as well as the Friendly Space Policy of the specific event. The vast majority of interactions recorded through the Wikimedia projects or in-person events are indeed positive. However, exceptional circumstances (such as repeated abuse or behaviour that compromises the trust and safety of our volunteers or users) may result in bans against particular users. Those bans may be imposed by the communities themselves, by affiliate organisations, or by the Wikimedia Foundation and may cover a wide array of activities, including but not limited to editing project content, attending in-person events, etc.

Re-use[edit]

In the interest of creating welcoming physical spaces for the Wikimedia community, we encourage Chapters, projects, User Groups and affiliates to adopt and adapt this policy when holding in-person events.

Banned users[edit]

Contributors subject to an internal or public global ban, imposed by the WMF in line with the WMF Global Ban Policy, are by default not allowed access to in-person events funded or sponsored by the WMF. Contributors globally banned by the Wikimedia communities or locally banned from events by a local affiliate group may also be refused access and placed on the global list on a case by case basis.

Event bans imposed by the Foundation are subject to different criteria than those developed and observed by affiliated movement organisations, but are intended to complement them. Users banned from local events are not automatically banned from all global events; however, continued abuse from the user may weigh into a decision by the Foundation to expand the ban.

Details of individuals explicitly or implicitly banned from attending events may be made available to designated teams or individuals within the event organisation team/safe space committee, pursuant to this policy.

Further details and information regarding banned users, pursuant to this policy, can be found under the Banned users lists section of the Event Ban policy process.

Roles and responsibilities[edit]

The Support & Safety team (SuSa) will act as a communication conduit and primary decision maker between the Foundation and the projects, pursuant to this policy. Responsibilities include investigation upon receipt of concerns about a specific user, placing an event ban, communicating with all parties affected, and supporting the EOT in enforcing this policy.

The Event organisation team (EOT) is responsible for all organisational aspects of an event (setting up, registration process, venue choice, running the event, etc). Responsibilities of the EOT include ensuring that appropriate measures are defined and in place for maintaining user safety during in-person event, and carrying out any actions deemed necessary in order to enforce event bans, pursuant to this policy.

A more comprehensive list of responsibilities, pursuant to this policy, can be found under the Roles and responsibilities section of the Event Ban policy process.

Notice of event bans[edit]

Individuals banned from attending events pursuant to this policy should be notified in writing (either electronically or using traditional paper media). Notices of event bans will be issued by the Support & Safety team, through electronic communication wherever possible. Where no private email address is known or can be reasonably discovered, the SuSa team will attempt to communicate with the user through available options such as a physical address or a notice to their on-wiki user page.

For users initially banned in person, at an event, they should be given a hard copy of the ban notice by the SuSa team member present or the local organiser where directed to do so. This, as with any interaction with the user, should be done with two people present (the person talking to the user and a witness). Where possible a copy signed by the banned user should be kept by the SuSa team confirming that they received a copy. If the user refuses to sign, they should not be pressed further and the fact should be noted on the copy.

Movement affiliates who place locale-specific event bans are expected to communicate that ban internally as well as to the banned user, in their designated method of communication. They are encouraged to notify the Foundation of the ban so that it can be noted for the record, or for further investigation to be conducted if warranted. The Foundation may assist in determining optimal communication methods, where necessary.

Notice of an event ban will occur once and will be automatically applicable for any future events. Users that have been previously notified of a global ban or a similar large-scale ban, already covering/prohibiting attendance at events, do not need to be notified separately of an event ban.

Liaising with the event organisation team[edit]

It is the Foundation’s responsibility to request from the local organisers a list of any locally banned users prior to participating in the organisation of an event in that location. The WMF will also ensure that the event organisation team is adequately informed about event bans imposed by the WMF. The communication should be initiated and performed by the Support & Safety team, on behalf of the Foundation or by the Foundation team most connected to the event in question (such as the Grants team, Wikimania Team or Technical Events Team). The reasons for any specific ban shall only be disclosed by and at the discretion of the SuSa team, and only to the extent necessary for implementing this policy.

Due to the sensitive nature of the information that may be shared, this external communication will only commence upon receipt of a signed copy of the Foundation’s NDA, submitted by the event organisation team. Further details about this process can be found under the Liaising with the event organisation team section of the Event Ban policy process.

Preparation[edit]

Proactive preparation can make a difference in how an event-banned user is handled, before or during an event. To maximise effectiveness the event organisation team leader should ensure that all proactive efforts have been made and all necessary precautions have been taken in advance of an event. Such precautions may include but are not limited to adequate preparation of EOT to handle reports of planned or unplanned walk-ins, escalation protocols, established chain of command, designated point(s) of contact, risk assessment, liaising with the WMF as well as venue officials. Detailed steps in preparation of an event are listed under the Preparation section of the Event Ban policy process.

Identifying an event-banned user[edit]

The fact that a user has been banned from attending an event may not deter or prevent them from physically joining, or attempting to join. Such attempts may be identified in advance or during the event, in various ways, as suggested under the Identifying an event-banned user section of the Event Ban policy process.

Attending an event from which one is banned is a form of harassment. Such actions may result in immediate expulsion from the event and may incur further sanctions including, but not limited to, the expansion of a local ban or an on-wiki global ban. As such, the WMF reserves the right to refuse entry or revoke one’s previously granted right to entry, without refund, for any attendee in breach of this or other policy, at the Foundation’s sole discretion.

Handling a banned user[edit]

The EOT should make all possible efforts during the planning process to prevent banned individuals from attending an in-person event. Should a banned individual still manage to physically attend an event, their safe removal from the premises should be ensured and all appropriate authorities should be notified. Support should be offered to any persons affected by the banned individual, should that be necessary. Detailed steps to this process are listed under the Handling a banned user section of the Event Ban policy process.

Post-incident review[edit]

In order to ensure that all possible actions have been taken and all bases are covered, as well as identify possible areas for improvement, a full post-mortem review should be conducted, following reports of banned individuals attempting or succeeding in joining events. This review can be carried out jointly between the Event organisation team and Support and Safety team.