Event Ban policy/process

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This is a set of processes to be followed, pursuant to the Event Ban policy.

Banned users lists[edit]

Individuals explicitly banned from attending events are listed under the Event Bans list. This is a restricted access list, maintained by the Support & Safety team, which may be made available to designated teams or individuals within the event organisation team/safe space committee, pursuant to this policy.

This list will include users who:

  • Have been subject to a global ban, imposed by the WMF in line with the WMF Global Ban Policy. In this case their user name will also appear under the List of global bans placed by the Wikimedia Foundation of the WMF Global Ban policy page.
  • Are banned specifically from events and conferences by the WMF internally. Details about such individuals who are listed under the Event Bans list, may not be publicised to the communities at large and are generally confidential. They will, however, be made available to an Event organising team.

This list may also include users who:

  • Have been globally banned by the Wikimedia communities. In this case their name will also appear on the List of globally banned users. This may or may not be aligned with the List of global bans placed by the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Are locally banned from events, by a local affiliate group. Those bans are subject to geographical and monetary jurisdiction, so they may be listed separately and will likely not be included in the WMF Event Bans list either.

It should be noted that event bans imposed by the Foundation are subject to different criteria than those developed and observed by affiliated movement organisations [1][2]. They are, however, intended to complement them.

Users banned from local events are not automatically banned from all global events; however, continued abuse from the user should weigh into the decision for the Foundation to expand the ban and local organisers are highly encouraged to report problems to the Support & Safety team so that they can be evaluated for further action and/or records can be kept.

Roles and responsibilities[edit]

Support & Safety team (SuSa - preliminary responsibility)

The Trust & Safety team (part of the larger SuSa team within the WMF) will act as a communication conduit and primary decision maker between the Foundation and the projects, pursuant to this policy.

Responsibilities:

  • Carrying out a preliminary investigation, upon receipt of concerns about a specific user.
  • Determining if an event ban should be authorised, in consultation with the head of the Community Engagement department or other stakeholders as appropriate.
  • Serving notice of the ban to the affected individual, when this is a decision made by the WMF.
  • Keeping reports of incidents and recording the ban through appropriate means (for example the internal SugarCRM system, direct email, etc.).
  • Informing relevant parties and teams other than the affected individual (such as the Event organisation team, Grants, etc.) about the ban, through appropriate communication protocol, pursuant to this policy.
  • Supporting the Event organisation team in whatever tasks they need to take in order to enforce this policy and remain available for direct contact throughout the Event.

Event Organisation Team (EOT - ultimate responsibility)

The team responsible for all organisational aspects of an event (setting up, registration process, venue choice, running the event, etc). Any other designated groups, such as a Safe Space Committee, fall under the EOT. A Safe Space Committee may operate under this name or any name decided by the EOT, it can be an existing standing committee formed under the relevant Wikimedia project that may serve and assist the EOT, or a committee specifically appointed by the EOT for the purposes of covering a specific, one-off event.

Responsibilities:

  • Ensuring that appropriate measures are defined and in place for maintaining user safety during in-person events.
  • Carry out any actions that are deemed necessary in order to enforce event bans, pursuant to this policy (with the appropriate authority to do so).

Requesting an Event ban[edit]

A request for consideration of an event ban against a specific contributor can be placed directly to the Trust & Safety team, through ca@wikimedia.org. Ideally, the request should be placed well in advance of the deadline for registering for the event, and should include all pertinent information. All communication or material shared in support of the request is strictly confidential.

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, using the event ban notification template. Such notices will be issued in advance of an event. Where no private email address is known or can be reasonably discovered, Trust & Safety will attempt to communicate with the user through available options such as a physical address or a notice to their on-wiki user page.

Users initially banned in person, at an event, 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 Trust & Safety 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. Refusal of the affected individual to sign the ban notice does not mark said ban void.

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 SuSa 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 SuSa, and only to the extent necessary for implementing this policy.

Due to the sensitive nature of the information that may be shared, the event ban list should only be shared with those who have agreed to keep it confidential. This confidentiality can be assured by language already within the the grant agreement or, alternatively, upon receipt of a signed copy of the Foundation’s NDA, submitted by the event organisation team. Once the signed NDA is in place, a private, password-protected list of Event Bans will be shared for a limited period of time and only with the appropriately authorised parties. Access to this list will be removed upon completion of the event and limited to SuSa and any necessary c-level or Legal team members who may need access to the list.

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:

  • The event organisation team is adequately trained in order to handle reports of banned users planning to attend an event, or in the case of unplanned walk-ins.
  • If only certain members of the team are to receive such training (and access to private information), their names are made known to the rest of the team.
  • There is an established chain of command, an escalation protocol, and a designated single point of contact that will oversee incidents of walk-ins, if needed. The point of contact must know how to contact WMF officials as needed.
  • Whenever possible, 2-person teams are allocated: one person will handle the incident report, while the other person will take over the handler’s usual responsibilities towards the event and the other attendees.
  • Venue officials are made aware in advance of all admission restrictions that exist. Establish a designated point of contact should assistance be required with removal of an individual from the event (e.g. venue security). In the absence of venue security, the event organisation team may perform a risk assessment in order to establish whether it is necessary to outsource security services for the duration of the event.
  • Staff and volunteers of the event organisation team are easy to recognise through special badges

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 through the following media and processes.

Online[edit]

  • Pre-Event registration form. Access to the pre-event registration form, which is usually filled in by prospective attendees, allows the event organisation team to frequently scan and recognise names and/or usernames of banned users who may be trying to join an event.
  • User pages & talk pages. Sometimes banned individuals may publicise their intention of attending an event through their user pages, or contributions to talk pages. More often than not, those notices do not materialise. It is however helpful to keep them in our radar.
  • Off-wiki communication. There may be instances of banned users mentioning that they plan on attending an event in their communication with other members, through off-wiki channels (IRC, Wikipediocracy, mailing lists, etc).

Offline[edit]

  • Meet & greet / offline event registration. Even though the majority of attendees register prior to an event, some may only do so on the day of the event. Regardless of the time and method of registration all attendees will have to sign in with the event’s admissions staff, who may recognise event-banned users when they interact with them.
  • During the event. No matter how well prepared the event organization may be, they may still miss an event-banned user at the time of registration / sign-in. They may, however, receive a report from another attendee that an event-banned user is present at the event.

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]

If a banned user is reported to be planning on attending an event through online interactions, the following steps in escalating order should be followed by the event organisation team:

Level-1: Proactive actions Performed by
1 Scan forums and private communication channels (optional). EOT
2 Scan the pre-event registration form in case the banned individual has attempted to register. EOT
3 If they have already registered, remove them from the registration. EOT
4 Document the incident. EOT
5 Inform SuSa about the incident. EOT
6 Decide about reimbursement, if applicable and at the discretion of the event organisation team. EOT
7 Notify the user about their removal from the registration (action may include ban reminder). EOT
8 Reimburse the individual, as and when applicable. EOT or WMF
Level-2: Reactive actions Performed by
9 If a banned user is found to be attending an event, inform the Foundation (SuSa, through: ca@wikimedia.org / designated WMF contact, through their preferred communication channels) about the incident (action by chain of command). When the event staff believes they need immediate advice or assistance, they should telephone a designated SuSa team member in attendance of the event through a number supplied, or email emergency@wikimedia.org to alert the SuSa team member on call. EOT
10 If the walk-in is reported through an affected attendee who is upset or feels emotionally vulnerable, make sure to accompany them to a place where they feel safe. If possible, have another volunteer or attendee remain with the reporting attendee while the appointed individual deals with the banned user. EOT
11 Ensure that the designated person dealing with the banned user has one other witness with them. This witness can be, but does not need to be, another member of the event team. It can also be a member of building staff/security or a trusted event attendee. EOT
12 Politely yet explicitly direct that the banned user remove themselves from the event. You may use language such as “Unfortunately, we are not able to admit you to the event today, so I need you to leave the premises” (if found out at meet & greet stage), or “I’m quite sorry, but you must leave this event” (if found during the event). EOT
13 Notify chain of command about the banned individual’s appearance. EOT
14 If the individual refuses to leave report the incident to the venue security, requesting assistance with the individual's removal. EOT
15 If the individual is still refusing to leave, despite the explicit request and the security officer’s attempt, law enforcement should be contacted. EOT
16 Document the incident, through the Event Ban Incident log. EOT
Level-3: Retroactive actions Performed by
17 If identification of a banned user attending an event happens due to their involvement in an incident (threat of harm, violent assault, sexual assault), immediately notify chain of command about the incident EOT
18 Alert the designated SuSa team member in attendance of the event through a telephone number supplied. Alternatively, email emergency@wikimedia.org with all available information to alert the SuSa team member on call. EOT
19 Support the victim.
  • Accompany them to a safe place and have another team member remain with them while the appointed individual deals with the banned user/perpetrator. You may use language such as “You are not alone. This is -something we take very seriously.” or “This is not your fault.”
  • Ensure that the victim receives medical attention and accompany them to the nearest hospital, if required.
  • Depending on the severity of the incident (e.g. sexual assault, rape, violent assault) and the information available, help the victim consider immediate and longer- term options (the immediate collection of medical evidence in the case of a rape, for example, makes future reporting possible). These actions may be carried out by EOT or a SuSa team member, if present.
20 Inform the Legal team about incident. SuSa
21 Report the incident to the venue security. EOT
22 Alert the local authorities. EOT
23 Ensure that a witness is present through the proceedings, ideally a member of the event organisation team. It can also be a member of building staff/security or a trusted event attendee. EOT
24 C-level briefing, as and when warranted. SuSa

Not all steps listed above may be applicable to all events; they may be subject to the event's context, size and location and can be adjusted accordingly. The above list is meant as a suggested guide of best practices for all parties involved in the organising of an event, rather than a comprehensive manual that will result in punitive measures if not followed.

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 SuSa.

  1. "Global bans".  Retrieved 8 March 2016
  2. "Banned user".  Retrieved 8 March 2016