Talk:Office actions/Community consultation on partial and temporary office actions/draft

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Reasons for temporary ban[edit]

I cannot think of a legitimate potential reason why someone should be banned by the Foundation, temporarily, from one Wiki with working admins and a working (en.Wikipedia) Arbcom, except possibly for one of the following:

  1. The Arbcom or admins have gone rogue. (Probably should be permanent, rather than temporary, even so.)
  2. The "temporary" time period relates to an event which may only encourage problematic actions until the event is completed.
  3. The "temporary" time period is until Arbcom has a chance to rule.

I'm not asking why Fram was banned temporarily from en.Wikipedia. I asking why anyone would be banned temporarily from a working Wiki. If no reason can be found, this suggests the reasons could be personal. — Arthur Rubin T C (en: U, T) 03:29, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

  • Why temporary? My view: I prefer temporary actions to permanent. People change, and a lot can change after some arbitrarily chosen time (eg. a year), after which the person has another chance. In my experience if it's personal, then it's indefinite.
What reason? ArbCom might not be in the position (eg. have the power) to act, or the members decide an issue is not arbitration matter. Other than ArbCom, there are only the admin noticeboards, which are only effective in trivial cases.
About 2.: there are event bans too, 3.: this is a very practical use — Aron M (talk) 04:49, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
Hey @Arthur Rubin and Aron Manning:, I think that the cases you describe are not outside of the realm of possibilities. Actually, temporary bans, as they were conceptually designed back in 2018, envisioned a range of other possible scenarios. Those included, among other things, temporary mental health challenges that were disclosed by the concerning volunteer or by they relatives to Foundation staff but not to the communities, credible threats by third parties targeting volunteers disclosed by said volunteers to the Foundation in seeking support (for example authoritarian governments concerned about specific content), etc. Also, temporary bans were originally conceived as an additional intermediary escalation step between Foundation conduct warnings (due to violations of Terms of Use) and Foundation global bans. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 15:34, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): Those could justify a temporary ban from all Wikimedia sites. I cannot see a justification for a temporary ban from a single Wikimedia site. — Arthur Rubin T C (en: U, T) 04:42, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
The self-requested mental health blocks would be fine. Family requested ones have potential issues. For rogue "Admins or Arbcom", a meta decision amongst the different communities is the best way - and that should just handle desysopping/de-"ARB"ing. Obviously it needs a fairly clear majority consensus. I think opening it up for T&S blocks has a lot of ambiguity for "rogue behaviour". ARBCOMs can place temporary prohibitions - though it would be an odd circumstance that required it, rather than just waiting. Someone idiot enough to misbehave under the extreme oversight at that point would just be indeffed immediately. Nosebagbear (talk) 08:24, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi @Arthur Rubin:, the word "temporary" focuses by default on the duration of a ban, so it’s a ban that prohibits activity on all Wikimedia projects for a limited time (kinda like a Foundation global ban, but with an expiry date). Partial bans were intended to prohibit activity from a single or several (but not all) Wikimedia projects. I can see those being reserved for individuals who have been pretty abusive on one project but consistently made very constructive contributions on another project. So this option would allow them to be a constructive contributor wherever they proved to be already, but deter them from returning to the space they were abusive. The partial tool tends to be especially useful if the trigger of concerning behavior is unique to one project. That said, a combination of a temporary and partial ban would also be possible (under the original text of the office actions that included those sanction options): so, prohibited access to a single project for a limited time. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 17:45, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): I can see your point. However, in Fram's case (again, NOT going into the specific reasons), the T&S findings did not specify justification for the unusual sanction. T&S seems not to notice that they are monitoring Wikis which review actions and expect actions to be justified.
Also, my recollection is that blocks for serious reasons on en.Wikipedia are more often indefinite with the right to appeal after 6 months to a year, rather than actual blocks of a year or more. See en:WP:Standard Offer. Since the regulations specify that no appeal is allowed.... Something like en:WP:Standard Offer (with the appeal going, to, say, an ombudsman), might be an approach which would allow the relationship between the Foundation and the Wikis to survive. I hesitate to say this, because it would allow more control of the Wikis by the Foundation than I consider reasonable, but that might be a legitimate approach. Of course, the ombudsman must be allowed access to sensitive information. — Arthur Rubin T C (en: U, T) 18:06, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
Let me be clear; you did specify a potential reason for a temporary ban on one Wiki, where the Arbcom cannot be trusted. However, T&S didn't say that was the basis for their decision, nor did they specify that Arbcom could not be trusted. In almost all cases, a temporary ban until the local Arbcom could make a ruling would be preferable to a temporary ban one on one Wiki. — Arthur Rubin T C (en: U, T) 18:09, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
Hey @Arthur Rubin:, I certainly see value in your point but I think the consultation itself, starting early September, will be a better-suited occasion to voice it, since the current discussion focuses only on the text of the consultation. Much thanks for your input. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 12:42, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

Transparency, trust[edit]

In the whole fram drama one of the complaints I heard repeated most, was the lack of transparency. I can wholeheartedly agree with that, and I am thinking about how the topic of transparency can be introduced into the consultation. I think the community would be considerably more trusting, if the policy would balance the envisioned sanctions with guarantees that the decision making process and the justification of those decisions will be as transparent to the community, as possible, while still respecting the involved parties' privacy.

To start with, I could come up with the following, and hope the team can turn these into presentable questions:

  • What actions do you expect from the WMF that would make the process transparent?
  • If you were to report an issue, and wish to remain anonymous, what evidence could be presented to the public to ensure transparency?

I believe transparency is so crucial to trust and to community acceptance, that the final policy will dedicate quite a few sentences to that matter. The upcoming consultation could start a few steps ahead, with a more trustful community, if the team was to include an initial formalization of the transparency measures guaranteed for office actions. I'm still working on ideas for this, maybe your team has something in mind? — Aron M (talk) 06:57, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

One answer which I think has been repeated at least a hundred times and probably more since Fram's ban was announced is that editors need to know the standards by which they are being judged. If you are banned but nobody is allowed to say why, that will just lead to rumors and scouring of histories for wild guesses -- as we have seen in abundance -- not to mention a chilling effect. For child protection and threat issues the desire to keep the bans out of the courts justifies this, but secrecy for lesser offenses can not. So, as for the second question, at least an abstract summary of the accusation is necessary. The identity of the accuser(s) is not. EllenCT (talk) 06:50, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
Even if child protection, or threat issues are involved, the ban should state so, without showing the evidence. With Fram's ban, the T&S could and should have presented at least the publicly available, on-wiki evidence of the issues, so the community would not have felt like this is a punishment, out of thin air. — Aron M (talk) 17:30, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi @Aron Manning:, I think the general idea you proposed is an interesting point to be added to the consultation's text. We'd really welcome ideas about how to frame these questions better so as to get the proper balance between privacy needs and transparency needs Samuel (WMF) (talk) 15:17, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

Puppet accounts[edit]

And what about puppet accounts and continuous disruption of communities?--Kalogeropoulos (talk) 08:15, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Hey @Kalogeropoulos:, this consultation's scope covers two items within the established scope of the Office Action Policy, which sets out Foundation policy tools flowing from the Terms of Use. I am afraid that puppet accounts and other issues are not within its scope unless they are tied to office actions investigations. Hope it makes sense. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 16:19, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
I would add, though, that serious cross-wiki abuse, including via sockpuppetry, has been for many years a valid reason for a San Fran Ban. This wouldn't change anything about that. Seraphimblade (talk) 16:25, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Q:On all projects, or only on a subset?[edit]

I would suggest splitting the group of communities into three types

  1. Big ones with an elaborate conflict resolution team/function (like enwp/Arbcom) (a few (one or two?) communites)
  2. Medium ones with a working process for conflict resolution (but not elaborate or fully formal) (many communities but perhaps only 50-80)
  3. Small ones where neither follow up on all edits is done nor a proper conflict resolution exist (the rest being 150-200)

The small ones is mostly under supervision of Stewards and I think it will be good for WMF to be able to step in when there are ugly conflicts. For medium ones I also think it would be good to have a supervision role of WMF for ugly behavior in those communities if and when there are situations they are unable to resolve themselves. But for the big and strong ones I believe a more hands-off reaction would be recommended, where WMF only act in coordination with the local conflict resolution function.Yger (talk) 08:47, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

I agree. Small communities without a functioning dispute resolution regime are appropriate for much closer T&S involvement, but no excuse for secret accusations. EllenCT (talk) 06:53, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes and also medium-sized ones. Both Azerbadjan and Croatia versions have been unable to sort out their problems, and I would welcome an active involvement from T&S after the discussions re them on meta have run for a while.Yger (talk) 08:13, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
Which would be a good reason for any Code of Conduct adopted by T&S/the wider volunteer community to be considered a model Code of Conduct: it is in force in all projects (i.e. not only the different Wikipedias, but Commons, Wikisources, Wiktionaries, etc.) unless a given project has adopted both its own CoC & an official conflict resolution process. This then leads to the issue how a small community where conflicts are resolved by T&S advance to a larger one that handles its resolution internally -- which would need to be discussed in the next stage. -- Llywrch (talk) 18:56, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
I add that the biggest projects also have their fair share of difficult, complex issues, that are not handled properly, or simply ignored, ex. Fram. These issues should be handled by trained professionals (mediators), for which the WMF has the resources. This should be done transparently, and in cooperation with the local ArbCom. Such involvement would be beneficial to long-running issues: mediation - if done well -, results in a mutually agreed-upon resolution, not a one-sided sanction. — Aron M (talk) 17:50, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
The problem with difficult & complex cases is enforcing any decision. I've always envisioned any body like the English Wikipedia ArbCom as nothing more than where disputes go to die; if any resolution body cannot enforce or convince its community to accept its ruling about a dispute, then the dispute will continue & possibly destroy the community. (To use the legal analogy, this is akin the common motivation for appellate courts to duck issuing a judgment based on some technicality, such as jurisdiction or mootness.) -- Llywrch (talk) 18:56, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
T&S? Trained professionals? One of those phrases does not belong in the same sentence. — Arthur Rubin T C (en: U, T) 19:41, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
@Arthur Rubin:, I think you attached your comment to the wrong one of mine. -- Llywrch (talk) 05:51, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Mediators would have no idea how to operate within the Wikipedia communities. Mediators generally act in broad but specific spheres, to give them experience and background in an area. There isn't a pool of professional mediators who work in the Wikimedia sphere. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:00, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
Hello @Yger:, the subsets you're suggesting make lot of sense, thanks. — Samuel (WMF) (talk) 15:42, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

@Yger: Question 1 was updated with your suggestion (Special:Diff/19317505). Thanks again —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 16:10, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Solution seeks for a problem[edit]

In almost two decades of WP there was, aside from some legal issues, never a need for offisäktschns except for those cases in which the foundation wanted to exersize power against the communities and finally, the foundation had to step back. Just in case the foundation is not aware of: WP is no sect, the WMF is not a government and surely is not a government/court/police within one body.

Some of the communities do have own established means (e.. en ArbcCom, de Schiedsgericht) for dealing with almost every problem which can occur when different people collaborate; most small projects have very smallcommunities what on one side means that disruption potential is smaller and on the other side easily can be overlooked by stewards.

Overall I don't see the need for T+S and any offisäktschns. Besides, a trust and safety committe does need trust by us users. Concerning trust the Fram case is a disaster in communication, transparency (cf. Aron @ 06:57, 16 August 2019 (UTC)) and some other isssues. First of all a T+S committee needs to deserve trust. Which, sadly, the foundation is throwing away every other year or so, for years, by disrespecting the communities, naming superblock, image filter and some other communication catastrophes. I believe that trusting the foundation has never been so low than it is now. And, IMHO, the 2018-2020 strategy planning discussed elsewhere is the next step to worsen trust into WMF. Sorry, I have to oppose those type of offisäktschns decidedly so I even abstain on further comments to the draft. Much simplier: No, next. --Matthiasb (talk) 09:48, 16 August 2019 (UTC)


It has been said, meta is not the place to discuss, but the individual affected projects. I do not think so. Links from the projects to meta are enough for that. However, the text can not be presented in english only. At least the languages used by a significant number of users need to be addressed: English, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Portugese, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Hebrew, Italian, Greek, Turkish at a minimum. --C.Suthorn (talk) 10:51, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

The problem is not so much the place as the language. Why? Pues mira, porque si lo escribís en inglés hay mucha muchísima gente que no se va a enterar de nada. Ya les va a costar venir aquí, pero es que cuando lleguen se van a topar con un pedazo de tocho indigesto que te pasas que encima está en una lengua que igual ni entienden. ¿A que me he explicado perfectamente? B25es (talk) 13:06, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Meta tiene un gran grupo de traductores voluntarios activos, que son bastante buenos para presentar varios párrafos de exposición con cualquier cantidad de preguntas, y casi tan buenos para resumir las respuestas multilingües recibidas de ellos. Y sé que esto probablemente sea lo suficientemente bueno para que los hablantes nativos de español lo entiendan, porque a pesar de todos sus defectos, Google Translate puede traducir su texto a otro idioma y luego volver al suyo para mostrar la inteligibilidad o falta de ella. EllenCT (talk) 07:00, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
Agradezco tu respuesta @EllenCT:, pero creo que hay algo que se debe entender. La mayoría de los que participamos en los proyectos no estamos particularmente interesados en la gestión de normativas. No es que no nos interesen, porque nos afectan y muchas veces son imprescindibles. Pero lo cierto es que no estamos en los proyectos para eso. Yo mismo, ahora, estos últimos tres días, he estado preparando un proyecto para sacar fotos de un centenar de municipios de la provincia de Cáceres. El más cercano está a 490 km de mi casa. Nos llevará cinco días sólo recorrer el terreno y hacer las fotos, 2700 km. Luego hay que subirlas. Hay que categorizar. Hay que usarlas en Wikidata y otros proyectos. Pero es que eso no es más que una actividad adicional. Porque lo que estoy haciendo como "actividad principal" es crear Q en Wikidata para todos los monumentos protegidos de las categorías BIC y BRL de mi comunidad autónoma, la Comunidad Valenciana, me faltan unos 2000. Y además colaboro con mi esposa, que también es editora, en pequeñas -o no tan pequeñas- actividades. Además me he tirado cuatro horas leyendo el tocho de los Working Groups; cuatro horas porque no tenía más que una tarde. Porque este voluntario, por las mañanas, curra en un una empresa, que es lo que le paga las facturas. Y después de todo eso pues intenta hacerse una idea de lo que está pasando.
Y mi inglés es bastante bueno. Mejor que la media de mi país, pero no tan bueno como el de los nativos o casi nativos. Las personas cuyo inglés sea peor que el mío se tienen que hacer una idea remota. Hay traductores en línea y algunos fragmentos se traducen, pero cuando hay textos largos, técnicos o argumentos complejos, los textos no son precisamente fáciles de digerir. Por ejemplo, de lo de Fram, en castellano nos hemos enterado cuatro.
No se pone una nota en la lengua de Cervantes. No sé si en la de Goethe o en la de Rimbaud. Ya digo, si lo ponen fácil; un texto breve, un lenguaje no técnico... quizá alguien lo lea. Si no, al final la gente corriente del movimiento piensa que hay unos que "hacen política" y otros que "curran en el tajo". Y claro, se ponen negativos. Lo que es malo, la verdad. Muy malo. Uno de los argumentos recurrentes contra innovaciones (un ejemplo para mí muy doloroso es la reticencia a enlazar con Wikidata en la Wikipedia en español) es que "vienen impuestas de fuera".
En el caso de los Office Actions, no sé dónde se publicitó este asunto en castellano, pero no he sido capaz de encontrar el lugar (porque de alguna manera llegué yo aquí). B25es (talk) 18:05, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
Thanks C.Suthorn, that's a valid point. We will ask for translation assistance from the community, but are limited as to what they are able to offer. Samuel (WMF) (talk) 14:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
@C.Suthorn: - at the risk of volunteering my colleagues when I can't contribute myself, OTRS has quite a large bank of bilingual individuals (functionally all speak English) - a polite request might handle at least the major languages. At a minimum they could place requests on their local wikis equivalents to the Village Pump asking for a couple of editors with some free time. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:03, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Might be better to pay for commercial certified translators. Money should not be the problem, as it is an important legal issue. --C.Suthorn (talk) 15:22, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
True, much cheaper than it used to be, only takes a day or two. The WMF must be doing something with the hoard of money. Rough estimates, if we wanted 6 other main languages, would be about $600. Nosebagbear (talk) 15:28, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Hello @C.Suthorn and Nosebagbear:, the Foundation’s experience utilizing professional translators, especially for community-facing texts, have historically not been great. A lot of the concepts covered in Wikimedia texts tend to be a challenge for professional translators. However, I will raise the idea with management. Thanks for mentioning this. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 16:23, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Snaevar comment[edit]

Listed as an answer to the three questions on the main page.

  1. Yes, partial and temporary bans can be used, on all projects
  2. The office actions policy can be used. It does make sence to use the same policy for long and short bans.
  3. The problem with the June 2019 policy is that it wanders too far from the office actions policy. Temporary actions are likely cases where the community itself reacts to the issue at hand. The community is likely to intervene if the issue is on the wiki itself, while it is less likely to do so when the issue is on social media or in person. The temporary policy should follow the bullet points below.
  • The WMF would go over prior ArbCom disscussions about the users and see if they cover the issue at hand. List over arbcoms is at Arbitration Committee. WMF would also go over the block history of the user at the project in question and see if any of the blocks could have been becouse of the issue at hand, based on date and block reasoning.
  • WMF would not intervene when the issue has been fully covered by an arbcom, except if it considers the issue to be serious enough that it could be in breach of US law.
  • Issues at social media or in person can be the tipping stone in deciding if the issue should lead to an ban. As such issues which have discussed the part of the issue that happened on wiki, whilst not the aspect on social media or in person could warrant a block.
  • WMF would have broader rights to temporary ban users on projects whith no arbcom, but it should still not ban users for issues that they have allready been banned for by the community, again except when the issue could be serious enough that it could be in breach of US law.--Snaevar (talk) 18:18, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

How will the results of the consultation be determined?[edit]

I'm going to be blunt. I don't trust the T&S, or the WMF at large to accurately summarize the results of this consultation. I suspect I can find a number of other editors who would feel similarly. The level of trust just is not there. I'd like to see a system where the communities are meaningfully involved in the closure of this discussion. It would get ugly if the WMF and the communities can't agree on what the consultation found, and we could wind up in the same mess all over again. I'd request that the consultation be closed and the decision on the future of these tools be made by representatives of the communities of the projects they affect. Tazerdadog (talk) 20:16, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

  • Now that's a good idea. Make a series of binding requests for comment on each of the questions suggested in this draft, to be closed by a group of crats or trusted admins from multiple projects, including the English, German and Chinese Wikipedias as they have all been directly affected. — Bilorv (talk) 00:13, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I also hope WMF will be wise enough to not force anything down the community throat here. Not holding my breath, though, considering their history.--- Darwin Ahoy! 00:39, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I absolutely agree with this. Perhaps we should in general try working on an inter-wiki committee/parliament that could close this kind of a discussion or at least make a well-heard impartial comment on the WMF decision. Daß Wölf (talk) 07:09, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi @Tazerdadog, Daß Wölf, and Bilorv:, since the consultation is public and its content defined with community input, the new policy text won't be implemented into the Office Actions Policy without the community having another opportunity to see it beforehand. T&S can offer a summary and invite the community to provide feedback on whether it thinks it is accurately reflecting what the consultation came to. Samuel (WMF) (talk) 14:53, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Hello @Samuel (WMF):, and thank you for engaging here. We're asking for essentially the opposite workflow that you describe above. Let the community offer the summary. T&S is then encouraged to engage with the community if it has any concerns. Tazerdadog (talk) 20:29, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi @Tazerdadog:, My main concern is that doing so might require the community to circle back to the summary text repeatedly. Because the Office actions policy flows, as it says in its intro, from the Foundations’ Terms of Use, its text - like all actions taken under it - always involve several departments. If the summary would be drafted by the community, it would need to be reviewed at several stages (Legal, Leadership, T&S etc). This means that community might have to review feedback provided in stages over time. If T&S does the summary first and presents it to the community for review, it would already be vetted by Legal. The community could be confident that looking at that draft summary and agreeing a version would be a final act. Best regards,. — Samuel (WMF) (talk) 11:32, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF):, it's not clear why WMF Legal (for example) would be involved in the summary of the consultation. It might make sense for WMF Legal to be involved during the consultation, to advise the WMF and the community. But I don't think that their input is particularly valuable in deciding what the community decided, at least as compared to members of the content-ful wikis that have to make these evaluations many times a day. What's more, allowing a WMF-body to 'close' the discussion risks allowing the WMF to discard views that it doesn't agree with, which kind of eliminates the point of a consultation with the community. Consulting the communities might lead to an outcome that the WMF is not comfortable with - but that's a necessary part of this reconciliation process. 2600:1017:B405:E20:69C9:F637:56F7:5A87 13:38, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
Hello @2600:1017:B405:E20:69C9:F637:56F7:5A87:, thank you for the follow-up question regarding WMF Legal’s involvement. As I mentioned above, the Office actions mandate doesn’t stem from the community, but from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Terms of Use, which have been put together and are being overseen by the Legal team. This means that individual Office action tools, such as the Temporary and Partial bans that are to be discussed with the community through this consultation as part of the Office Actions policy, will also be subject to Legal’s review because the policy relates to the Terms of Use. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 17:27, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): IPs do not receive pings, or so I've been told. — Arthur Rubin T C (en: U, T) 09:40, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): Your reply feels like a bit of a non-sequitur. (I'm the IP above.) The mandate for this consultation comes from the WMF Executive Director's letter, in which she wrote "The two new office action policy tools introduced during the last change (temporary and partial Foundation bans) ... will not be used again until community consultations to clarify their purpose and mechanisms are completed." This response was compelled by a Board statement (and ultimately, by a community revolt). This isn't the WMF choosing to exercise its authority, it's the WMF being told to consult the community.
As mentioned below, I think the mw:Talk pages consultation (2019) provides a very good model for how this consultation should occur. That means a wide ranging conversation on the many content-wikis, with members of content-wikis that choose to participate summarizing what their wikis decided. The WMF - including WMF Legal - can then engage with what the content-wikis decided, rather than substituting their own judgement as to what the result of the consultation is. The alternative is for the WMF to spend a lot of time on its own ideas, and then have a free-flowing community consultation. (See the amount of time spent on Flow for how well that worked.) 21:00, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): That is incorrect. The Terms of Use were written by the community (with some help from Legal), and its authority comes from the community, not from Legal. --Yair rand (talk) 18:51, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

Samuel (WMF) I would like to try to clarify the issue here. Community discussions involve a chaotic cacophony. An important part of our process is to convert that mess into a usable voice. The goal for a summary or closure is for it to accurately represent the discussion, in light of complex array of community policies and expectations for how to summarize a discussion. I expect that the legal department has little or no experience or expertise in that task. But more importantly, the legal department has no place in that task. If the community says "we want to execute people", the legal department can respond "that's against the law", and the community won't argue with that. What you can't do is have legal make up a fictional summary.

It's a dialog between the community and Foundation. What the community says may not be right, it may not be perfect, it is open to new information, open to correction, open to disagreement, open to change, but you can't just alter what the other side of a dialog has said. Alsee (talk) 11:03, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

  • I'd recommend that someone (preferably a steward or someone else with a hat) just go ahead and close it before the WMF does. The WMF can accept or ignore it, but we need an actual closure. --Yair rand (talk) 19:00, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

The question depends on another question[edit]

The answers to the questions asked here depend on another unresolved question: Will T&S stay within the area its legitimate authority or not?

Many editors would say that it would be completely unreasonable to allow T&S to use partial or temporary bans, as part of its actual role of dealing with things like legal issues, threats of violence, and child protection. Allowing T&S to ever use partial/temporary bans would be very dangerous, especially since it might cause T&S to try to extend its own influence beyond its role.

Many of the same editors would also say that if T&S were to seize control over regular conduct/policy enforcement, it would be unreasonable for T&S to only use permanent global bans. Whatever might remain of the projects would be worse off, if such a thing could be said, were the new authorities limited to using only permanent global bans to enforce their policies.

The question of partial/temporary bans depends on the question of restraining T&S. The former cannot be answered so long as the latter is still insufficiently certain. --Yair rand (talk) 01:24, 20 August 2019 (UTC)

Thank you, Yair rand. I would appreciate if you could elaborate on the premise of your two points a bit more. Understanding it more deeply seems important to me, given that it is publicly documented since 2017 that the Foundation follows a complex interdepartmental process for actions taken under this policy, including the two tools within the scope of this draft consultation. It is also not this policy’s objective to “seize control over regular conduct/policy enforcement” but to complement where - as stated both in the terms of use and explicitly the policy itself - actions on local community governance level are either insufficient or not possible. Hence, understanding the roots of your points better and make transparent how those relate to the status quo in language might be helpful. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 17:31, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): The community created the Wikimedia Foundation as a support structure for the community's efforts to build, manage, and maintain the Wikimedia projects. The community has delegated certain responsibilities, such as child protection issues and threats of violence, to the Trust and Safety team in particular. The Terms of Use are a legal document co-written by the WMF and the community, in order for the WMF to fulfill some of its responsibilities. The community has not authorized WMF involvement in enforcing behavioural norms, and no WMF department or team has the authority to expand T&S scope into that area. It does not matter which departments are involved in the Terms of Use, none of them have the authority to use it to try to allow any part of the WMF to override community self-governance. (I assume you've read the English Wikipedia Arbcom's letter on T&S's recent attempted overreach.) --Yair rand (talk) 20:45, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

Community Involvement[edit]

I understand that this is a draft for the RFC questions and not the RFC itself (in which I am prepared to provide my opinion, as it affects my decision to accept nomination on advanced permission due to the similar behavior between myself and some other users at my local community). Here, I would like to propose another question in items 3.

To what extent should the community be allowed to participate in the discussion about temporary Office Actions? What if the temporary Office Actions were challenged by the local community?

This question is added in order to address the concern about community participation in the temporary office action more explicitly. Thanks. --G(x) (talk) 04:42, 20 August 2019 (UTC)

+1 -- Llywrch (talk) 19:58, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi @G(x):, Question 3 was updated with your suggestion Special:Diff/19317591. Much thanks —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 16:41, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

The usual missing pieces[edit]

As with most consultations done by the Foundation, this is still lacking effective communication of the "why" to your stakeholders. Global bans, and the T&S team more generally, exist to supplement community abuse response processes and resolve issues that are best handled by paid professionals so the volunteer functionaries don't need to. So from the stakeholder perspective, why are partial/temporary bans needed? What benefit do they serve the community and the functionaries? I know the answer and I know that T&S has good reasons for this, but you are going to continue to get a hostile response from a community tired of overreach from the Foundation unless you effectively show how this concept is going to benefit the community. – Ajraddatz (talk) 15:57, 21 August 2019 (UTC)

+1. Well said. --Cohaf (talk) 16:15, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
+1 -- Llywrch (talk) 23:11, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Hello @Ajraddatz, Llywrch, and Cohaf:. Thanks for bringing up this valuable point. As of now, the consultation draft includes an introduction where it briefly mentions the rationale behind the partial and temporary Foundation bans. Per your comment, it appears that this rationale could be improved so as to explain and stress more clearly the benefits of such tools for the community by making it a separate section on top of the page to detail it a bit more in-depth. Did I understand your suggestion correctly? —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 16:26, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
The rationale explains why you (as T&S) want to have partial and temporary bans. How does this benefit me as a functionary and community member? Why should I want it, as one of your primary stakeholders? The only visible case so far has been an incredibly controversial banning of an admin who was otherwise in good standing, and the community seems to think that allowing partial/temporary bans will lead to T&S expanding the type of sanctions they make outside of their previous supplementary scope. So what benefit does the community get from allowing that scope to potentially be expanded? Edit much later: The answer to your question is yes, and the other questions I asked here are ways to think about this and frame the text in the intro. – Ajraddatz (talk) 18:59, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
@Ajraddatz:, thank you for elaborating on that. It's very helpful and noted. — Samuel (WMF) (talk) 11:36, 23 August 2019 (UTC)


The T&S process requires that the identity of accusers and their accusations remain private. This causes two issues:

  1. By preventing sanctioned editors and the community from learning what specific behavior resulted in the punishment, there is no way to learn the expected standards of behavior by which they are being judged, and;
  2. By preventing an open trial, there are no checks and balances on the abuse of frivolous or retaliatory accusations.

What effort is being made to instruct the respondents to this consultation that the proposed temporary and partial bans policy would result in these secrecy issues for sanctions which would otherwise have the benefit of an open trial? It is essential that the Foundation be up-front with the community about these trade-offs, so that editors can make a fully informed choice. EllenCT (talk) 15:45, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

Hey @EllenCT:, much thanks for your point. As with all currently standing Office actions we aim for transparency whenever possible but ultimately the safety of the reporter/affected by the reported behavior individuals has to be a priority. That said, the current discussion is aimed at deciding the content and questions of the consultation. So, I would encourage you to make suggestions as to how those questions and consultation text can be optimally formulated, in the specific detail area that you highlight (transparency & community process alternatives), in order to achieve the best informed decision by the community. We are open to suggestions. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 17:49, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): I would ask about them this way: "In what circumstances do the advantages of confidential accusations, evidence, and evaluation of sanctions outweigh the drawbacks of contributors being unable to learn the specific behavior expectations against which they are being judged, and of the checks and balances on the abuse of frivolous or retaliatory accusations inherent in open and transparent evaluation of public complaints?" EllenCT (talk) 22:00, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
Hey @EllenCT: and thank you for the efforts put in formulating that. Does it make sense if your suggestion is included under Question 3 of the consultation's text?  I think your question is related to "How" partial and temporary would be implemented, if they would. What do you think? —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 13:14, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): is it more pertinent to Question 3 or Question 2? EllenCT (talk) 17:13, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
@EllenCT: I agree that it could also match Question 2 and quite frankly fit better there visually as Question 3 already has 5 sub-questions :). —Samuel (WMF) (talk)
@Samuel (WMF): If everything gets secrete, how can people defend themselves against fraudulent accusations? Last May I knew, by a third party, that I was under a until then secrete punishment - a funding ban - based on secrete accusations by undisclosed persons, about a case I never was part of. Despite my very sound protests, specially after being aware of the obviously fraudulent nature of the case, the funding ban was never revoked and had to expire naturally, and I'm until now waiting for an explanation from the WMF on how such an obvious fraud was generated, and travelled all the way on their chain of command without any checks and balances. Some months ago, I would still maybe AGF on the WMF teams and give them the benefit of the doubt over the question of secrete evidence. But after seeing first hand such an egregious fraudulent process coming from the WMF, there's no way I will trust it any more, at least until a proper explanation is given for what happened, and any necessary measures are in place to prevent it from happening again. I would also not recommend anyone to trust WMF on these matters. Secrete accusations with secrete evidence and secrete accusers it's the Spanish Inquisition at its worst. If the WMF wants to go medieval and happily walk again into the ages of obscurity, they should walk alone and away from us. That is not wiki culture and it's directly against the Wikimedia core principles that keep us here. And, last but not the least, this kind of fraudulent and secretive accusations effectively act as harassment against the accused parts, eventually turning the Wikimedia experience into a painful thing, demotivating them, and driving them away from the projects. This kind of WMF interference, which may be anything, from legitimate stuff to personal vendettas, and there's no way to know which is what, is something we, as a community, should act against to, and work to prevent as part of the safe space and anti-harassment efforts.--- Darwin Ahoy! 09:57, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
Hey @DarwIn:, I concur that there is value in considering the proper balance between privacy and transparency. That said, I am afraid that your claim of "a funding ban [secretly placed against you]" does not fall within the scope of this discussion unless it is tied to office actions investigations. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 12:59, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): I was informed by the WMF that the "evidence" for it was gathered from a T&S intervention/investigation (started by me, actually...!) at the Portuguese Wikipedia in 2017 - an intervention which resulted in a number of Office actions, apparently including my own (?). Not sure if that counts as Office, as with the WMF everything seems to be shady and illusive, but in any case this is the reason why I do not trust the investigations behind the Office Actions Framgate-style. Despite what has been claimed by Jan and others, my personal experience is that the chain of command is very faulty, and the checks and balances are not working properly. And, consequently, that T&S cannot be trusted at face value.--- Darwin Ahoy! 13:42, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
Hey @DarwIn:, I understand your comment to be about specifics of a sanction imposed on you by a Foundation team that is not Trust & Safety and is not covered under the scope Office actions, let alone the scope of this consultation. As such, I would suggest that we keep the focus strictly on the content of this consultation. Should you have personal views or concerns regarding temporary and partial bans, you are more than welcome to share those during the consultation itself, starting early September. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 16:28, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): It is directly related to the issue of this thread, which is secrecy vs. accountacy - the case itself is a mere example. But my comments are already done, I've nothing more to add.--- Darwin Ahoy! 17:07, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
@Samuel (WMF): Hi, I understand the scope of this page is just to organize the consultation, and not to discuss its merits, so feel free to archive my comments above, if you feel they can distract from the organization effort.--- Darwin Ahoy! 05:31, 30 August 2019 (UTC)

Talk pages consultation[edit]

The mw:Talk pages consultation 2019 provides a good example of how a consultation like this can be done properly. It involved multiple discussions on multiple wikis, the WMF responding openly, and having read over the results, it seems like it'll have a good chance of producing a positive outcome, after the years wasted on Flow, which was designed on non-content wikis. I'm hoping that an consultation like this one, which is similarly important, could be conducted using the Talk pages consultation as a model for successful WMF-Community engagement.

At the very least, the Talk pages consultation shows an example of how the WMF can leverage content wiki communities to make better decisions. 02:16, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

It shouldn't be necessary, but I don't recall any previous WMF consultation which worked as well as that one. There were a few errors in the summary of the en.Wikipedia consultation, but it generally seemed to be an actual discussion of what was needed, possible, and/or desirable. — Arthur Rubin T C (en: U, T) 17:45, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

Thank you both for this interesting idea, we'll consider it. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 13:06, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

End of the pre-conversation phase[edit]

Much thanks everyone for sharing ideas here. The pre-conversation phase has come to an end as of today. During the next couple of days, I'll be working with my colleagues incorporating last standing ideas in preparation of the launch of the actual consultation. As mentioned early on in the discussion by Karen, the consultation will not start until the Fram case being currently reviewed by the En.WP ArbCom is closed. Glad you joined the conversation. —Samuel (WMF) (talk) 22:10, 30 August 2019 (UTC)

@Samuel (WMF: ArbCom case was closed on 21st September. When will the consultation start? Ferdi2005[Mail] 20:30, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

Wrong ping @Samuel (WMF): Ferdi2005[Mail] 20:31, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
@Ferdi2005: Bad ping, bad ping. — Arthur Rubin T C (en: U, T) 21:05, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
@Ferdi2005: The consultation will open on this coming Monday, 30 September. Kbrown (WMF) (talk) 21:13, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
@Kbrown (WMF): Thanks!—-Ferdi2005[Mail] 21:15, 27 September 2019 (UTC)