Talk:Event Ban policy

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wikiconference 2015 DC[edit]

Could someone explain what authority the Wikiconference 2015 DC organizers had to ban someone from entering the "open" and "public" events taking place on federal property (the National Archives) in October 2015? That event was advertised as "open to anyone, regardless of their involvement with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia projects. We welcome the curious, the skeptical, and anyone wishing to engage in meaningful conversation about the Wikimedia movement in the United States, free culture and digital rights advocacy and outreach, community building, and technology." Wikimedia DC has not responded to an information request about this matter, but the National Archives has nearly completed a Freedom of Information Act request about it. - Thekohser (talk) 13:33, 22 March 2016 (UTC)
(Pinging page creators User:Kalliope (WMF) and User:Jalexander-WMF who may be able to address the question.) - Thekohser (talk) 20:40, 22 March 2016 (UTC)

On March 29, James Alexander said that he intended to respond to this question. It's a month later... no response. I am still hopeful, though. - Thekohser (talk) 11:50, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
We are now approaching two months since James Alexander said that he would respond to the question about the authority of conference organizers to ban people from entering open and public events held on federal property. It would thus appear that the Wikimedia Foundation no longer has an interest in communicating with the community on this matter, so perhaps it is time to let the community take over the policy. - Thekohser (talk) 16:36, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

This discussion monologue doesn't belong on this page. If there's an appropriate place for it, I don't know where that is, nor do I care. But there is no benefit to keeping a discussion monologue about a specific past event on this talk page about the general policy. I'll stop short of deleting it myself, since nobody else beyond Greg has expressed an opinion, but I encourage anybody who agrees with me to delete it. -Pete F (talk) 23:49, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Wow, that's the most appalling thing I've read all day. (And that's saying a lot, with the current news cycle the way it is.) I don't know anything about the history of Thekohser's ban, but his question above seems entirely reasonable to me, and I'd still be interested to hear the answer: how could you have banned someone from an event on federal government property? Instead, to read that not only was he stonewalled, but that you now want to whitewash the page, is really disheartening. I've been a really gung-ho supporter of the whole movement for a while, but lately getting more and more disillusioned. Klortho (talk) 06:26, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
And, I can't help but point out, the only reason that it's a discussion monologue is that he never got a response. Klortho (talk) 06:34, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
This movement needs more people like Klortho who can see the forest for the trees. Still no response from either Wikimedia DC or from the Wikimedia Foundation. However, a summary of the results from the Freedom of Information Act request to the National Archives can be found now. I'm probably not allowed to link to it, but one can Google search for "Diversity Conference at National Archives not so Open". It is my opinion that the Wikimedia DC and Wiki Education teams were clearly told specifically how to handle any event banned individuals, and they failed to follow the procedure laid out for them. - Thekohser (talk) 13:19, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
There is an interesting difference between US and EU law on this issue, I believe. It would be open to any person on the banned list to serve an EU entity, such as the local organiser of a conference in the EU, with a Data Subject Access request, asking for the personal information that they hold relating to that individual (a right which applies whether or not they are a citizen of an EU country). This right will presumably determine what information the WMF is prepared to give to local chapters in the EU, and we may presume that if a mere volunteer is aware of this, then the WMF Legal will already have taken note of it. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:07, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

Happy to see this WMF + community collaboration[edit]

For years Wikimedia community volunteer organizers have been burned with too many decisions about event bans. I am glad to see Wikimedia Foundation staff present this policy back in partnership with the Wikimedia community and in response to many requests for support. I think everyone was unsure in the past about what should be done, and I also expect that the conversation will develop, but I am glad that we have this as a continuing step in the process.

I wish that when volunteers organize events, they could be supported with clear guidance on event bans. Regardless of whether the ban comes from WMF recommendation, other Wikimedia community members, or a request from an external stakeholder, I appreciate that this policy suggests that the WMF will offer central support to event organizers for communicating and managing bans. I continue to believe that volunteering to organize an event should be separate from the process of managing, communicating, mediating, and judging bans. Volunteers who want to do event organization are not equipped to deal with such things without external support. There is a tendency in the Wikimedia community to imagine that everything can be managed with volunteers; this is not the case, and when safety and people's reputations are at stake I especially appreciate trained, experienced event support.

One contributing factor to developing this policy was, I think, a community request to fund an external organization to develop a policy like this. Hexatekin was the most prominent voice that I saw in calling for increased protection for Wikimedia community members in responding to issues that required a ban. She also too often became a target for negativity for being an in-person spokesperson at wiki events where I live. At her direction, I typed a lot of suggestions on meta. Whatever I typed that did not come from her were ideas from other people, and the clever and reasonable suggestions seemed endless to me whenever I asked in any direction. Every community member who contributed anything to the effort to develop this deserves equal credit and should feel ownership in this policy to the extent that they wish to feel that it came from their efforts. I think it would be accurate to say that this policy is a consequence of not fewer than many hundreds of suggestions and requests. To represent some of the names of people who should have credit for this, I will list the names of people who signed on that "harassment reporting" project page. The people who signed there only came to that page after researching the issue and trying to find appropriate actions to take. If anyone else wishes to give credit to any group, organization, WikiProject, mailing list, or set of individuals now or at any time in the future, then I would join them in confirming all the credit that is due to the many volunteers who continue to give their time in this space. Thanks to

and thanks to everyone else who has contributed and continues to contribute to the advancement of constructive and fair community guidance in making difficult decisions. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:37, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

Lane, you mention "constructive and fair". It has appeared to me that in more than one case, a conference team may have 9 committee members who approve of a particular person attending, but 1 member who wishes for the person to be event banned, and the one overrules the nine, and the person is banned. The person is not informed why they were banned, and the person is not allowed to know the name of their accuser. Does this resonate in your mind as a "constructive and fair" process? - Thekohser (talk) 13:10, 24 March 2016 (UTC)

Relationship to Code of Conduct[edit]

It would be as well to ensure that this policy to be aligned with the work going on at mw:Code of Conduct/Draft. It is not entirely clear that they are currently consistent. It may also be worth noting that for WMF events held in countries other than the USA, local legal restrictions, on privacy for example, may make apects of this policy problematic: for example, the handling of personal information relating to individuals involved in an allegation of misconduct. No doubt the WMF legal team will have considered these complicted matters in the drafting of this policy. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 22:15, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for this link, Rogol Domedonfors. I agree very much that two draft policies whose domains overlap so heavily should make explicit reference to one another, and should be vetted for mutual consistency. Ideally, each policy should have a few sentences explaining how it relates to the other policy. (I can't speak to the legal aspects of your comment, but I agree that it's worthwhile for them to be carefully considered, and explicitly discussed in the policy document.) -Pete F (talk) 18:04, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
Grants:IdeaLab/Community discussion on harassment reporting also seems relevant. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:56, 27 March 2016 (UTC)
This is more a CoC discussion than an Event Ban Policy discussion, since the CoC would be one of the many possible Wikimedia community policies this WMF policy could interact with. I have replied at mw:Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Explicit_connections_to_Event_Ban_Policy.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:46, 31 March 2016 (UTC)


Please could we clarify the status of this page? Is it a settled policy, enacted by some authority, and if so, by whom? Is it a compendium designed to summarise and unify existing policies already agreed or enacted? Is it a proposal put before the community for acceptance or rejection as it stands? Is it a draft for discussion, modification and eventual adoption by community consensus? Or what? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 08:20, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

Hey Rogol, at this point this is summarizing the policy and procedures of the Wikimedia Foundation regarding Event bans which are, at this point, settled and will be required of Grantees going forward. It is placed out for the knowledge of the community and so that affiliates or other organizations can use and adapt it for their own needs if desired. It is not a proposal (in that we're not asking for modification/adoption etc), I removed the category that was erroneously placed to that effect. Obviously, as with all policies like this, I imagine we will find things that don't work out so well going forward and need adjustment based on discussion with those interested and actual implementation so it's certainly not "settled forever" but it is settled in that it is "in effect". Jalexander--WMF 05:43, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
A minor item, but is there a reason that the Wikimedia Foundation (a Florida corporation based in San Francisco) is leaning toward British English spelling in policy terms? - Thekohser (talk) 15:54, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
It's as you said: a minor item. Let's move on. -Pete F (talk) 18:52, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

Thanks Rogol Domedonfors for asking, and Jalexander-WMF for addressing this. Since this is considered to be "in effect," I feel it is rather important to have a statement (perhaps in the intro or at the bottom) explaining the origin of its authority. Policy pages typically have this in some form or another: on English Wikipedia, a reader can trace the edit history and talk pages through the years; for a WMF board-approved policy, there is a record on the WMF wiki of the resolution language passed, and the vote tally. With this, presumably a policy implemented by staff, there should be some indication of who was involved the decision, what informed their thinking, and what date it was put into effect. As a bare minimum, the word "we" should be contextualized throughout the document.

To be clear (and I hope this is obvious), I'm proposing this as a good information practice, that helps a variety of stakeholders understand how things are working -- not with any sense that there is a problem with the document, that people need to be held accountable, etc. -Pete F (talk) 19:02, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

Local laws prevail[edit]

If this is a policy, it needs to call out the fact that where there is a conflict with local laws, local laws prevail.

In particular, in some states in the United States, you can't "pre-ban" a person without notifying them in advance. In some cases, this notification may need to meet specific legal requirements, such as being served in person, by certified mail, or by some other track-able method that includes proof of delivery to the actual person named in the "no trespass" order. If you can't meet these requirements - which may be the case if you don't have an address on file and the person doesn't have a published email address - the best you can do is wait for the person to show up then call the police and have the police order him off the premises and order him to stay away for the duration of the event. In some cases, such as those held on public property where the event doesn't have "exclusive use" of the property, you can't do anything until the person does something specific to become a disruption.

Again, if this page is really a policy and it will be enforced, it needs to have a clear, explicit "local laws supersede this policy" statement. Davidwr/talk 21:19, 26 April 2016 (UTC)

David, do you have any links to actual federal, state, or local laws (or policies) that support some of the assertions that you made here? I am not doubting your assertions -- just wondering if we might document them in some way. I have a feeling that the way the Wikimedia DC organization handled an August 2015 event ban, it may have been in violation of statutes that may govern that organization and/or the event venue. - Thekohser (talk) 16:59, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Not handy, but searching for "criminal trespass" and "criminal trespass warning" might get you what you are looking for. Davidwr/talk 00:47, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
Since the policy applies world-wide, no doubt these issues will have been exhaustively analysed by WMF Legal. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:57, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I should hope so, given that is what they are paid to do! - Thekohser (talk) 00:36, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Could you define "safe" as used in "safe mental space"?[edit]

"Safe physical space" is pretty easy to understand, but "safe mental space" is open to interpretation. I started a thread on Friendly space policy to ask about the definition of "offensive", and suggest that it be defined more specifically, and concurrently with defining this usage of "safe". Klortho (talk) 16:46, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

In case it's not clear, I'm suggesting to discuss there. Klortho (talk) 16:48, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
I fear that, following the protracted and inconculsive parallel discussions on a similar topic at mw:Code of Conduct/Draft, still under way after a year, there will be no clear definition of "safe" or "offensive". There is a very real risk that in the absence of a clear definition, the allegation will in practice be used, or rather abused, by whoever can shout loudest, or earliest, or longest, in a dispute, or whoever has the most status, or supporters, irrespective of the merits or otherwise of the case. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:01, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
I knew there must have been a mother-lode discussion that I was missing, and Talk:CoC/Draft doesn't disappoint: 36,000 words! Thanks. Klortho (talk) 22:16, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
I opened a topic on Code of Conduct/Draft. Klortho (talk) 23:41, 17 July 2016 (UTC)