Talk:Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/2019 Community Conversations/Community Health

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Area of inquiry[edit]

Current situation[edit]

Conflict of languages and countries/regions[edit]

Wikipedia instances are shared by language. But often there is an overlap amongst countries and regions. Some regions for the same language are minorities: e.g. Vlaanderen and Suriname. Therefore those minorities suffer from being overruled by the major region. (local) Articles get deleted -- not known/important (?), updates get rolled back (viewpoint not understood/supported), free speech (writing) is blocked. We should have more mutual understanding, collaboration, tolerance, and patience amongst regions and variation within the same language. Geert Van Pamel (WMBE) (talk) 20:11, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

Hi Geertivp, Thanks for bringing this up. We have talked a little about challenges like this bring. We’d love to hear more. Would you be willing to talk with us during our upcoming consultation phase? Best, Jackiekoerner (talk) 22:03, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

A unified set of editing rules is needed[edit]

One of the things that surprises negatively people who enter to edit Wikipedias is that when moving from one language version to another one, you are not living on a translation from one language into another. Article contents can change (what can be quite natural at times) but it is also the rules you have to follow to edit, they change too!
And it’s annoying. An editor is ruled by a different set of rules. In some cases rules in one language are just the opposite of rules in the next one. I don’t think that’s always justified.
As many norms, tools and processes as possible have to be standardized regardless of the language of the project.
B25es (talk) 19:31, 28 March 2019 (UTC)

Hi B25es, Exactly, we need to better connect the norms, tools and processes. We are hoping that this strategy process gets more communities in the mood to reflect on their practices.
Community Health Working Group’s thoughts on this are still developing. We will be consulting with various groups inside and outside of the Wikimedia movement over the next few months. We have ideas about recommendations, but those will not be fully developed until after this consultation and analysis phase. Best, Jackiekoerner (talk) 22:00, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

Why this scope[edit]

In general, structures, processes, and tools referred to in the scope, would be considered with a specific community or a project in mind or tied into a framework that could be widely adopted by different communities (e.g., technical community)? SSethi (WMF) (talk) 21:16, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

Hi SSethi (WMF), Thanks for coming to discuss this on the talk page. The Community Health Working Group is discussing structures, processes, and tools of all sorts right now. We do hope to see some that cover the entire Wikimedia movement. One example of this is the Code of Conduct. We do not suggest that one Code of Conduct will fit all communities, but we do agree that all communities should have a Code of Conduct with certain structural and content requirements.
Additionally, we are considering structures, processes, and tools that have been successful in some communities. We are thinking about how those can be applied to other communities with similar issues. An example of this is how existing communities support each other in overwhelming or burnout situations. Best, Jackiekoerner (talk) 22:00, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

Key questions[edit]

One obvious question that may have been explored in the prior scoping phases already -- What structures, processes, tools around community health exist already and what have we learned from them? SSethi (WMF) (talk) 21:22, 26 March 2019 (UTC)

Hey SSethi (WMF), great question! We plan to connect with various groups inside and outside of the Wikimedia movement to get their thoughts about community health. A question will likely include something about the resources that are already being used or that were tried, and the success of such efforts. Today the Community Health Working Group talked about our hopes for this process moving forward. We hoped this would have been the first phase of the working together, but we are glad to have this consultation process planned for this next phase. Best, Jackiekoerner (talk) 21:35, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

Community self-governance and universally acceptable behavior[edit]

  • How can the ability of communities to govern themselves within the broad framework of the Foundation’s Terms of Use be improved while also respecting the dignity of everyone involved and their contributions towards our shared goals?
  • How can structures create, support and reinforce universally acceptable behavior across our communities?

We must reject imposition by the Foundation of civility standards without local community involvement, review, or approval. We must forbid secret trials by secret and unaccountable judges without the right of representation, defense or appeal, on secret evidence submitted by secret accusers.

I object to the Foundation imposing any non-legally necessary sanctions within the purview of established local conduct policy and community processes. T&S shouldn't be imposing temporary or local sanctions or modifying advanced permissions. They should have only the one tool that they have ever needed for their legitimate purpose of ToU enforcement of serious, legally necessary sanctions: the global permanent ban.

I agree with Jimbo Wales that all bans are appealable to him[1] and I ask that we plan our strategy to explicitly acknowledge and leverage this avenue of appeals.

I'd like to quote from Anti-Harassment Tools Team Design Researcher Claudia Lo's November 2018 "Reporting systems on English Wikipedia" written for the Community Health Initiative:

the Wikimedia community highly prizes transparency. For reporting systems, this is interpreted as publicly-viewable processes, outcomes, and the identities of the involved users. Transparency in this case is not just a design consideration put into place to achieve a certain kind of efficiency or mode of operation, but a value to be strived for in the way the entire system operates.... whatever changes we recommend, it must adhere to these values even as we change key features, otherwise it will not be trustworthy.

EllenCT (talk) 05:53, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

Challenges hindering community health[edit]

  • What are the social and technical challenges within the current administrative and decision-making systems that hinder the creation and maintenance of community health?

Wikia's Terms of Use explicitly forbid intimidation, profanity, homophobia, ethnic slurs, and religious intolerance. Why don't the Foundation's? Until such restrictions are in there, it's a mistake to act like they already are. EllenCT (talk) 04:01, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

@EllenCT: because I need to fucking swear at times. And I'm not alone. And without ethnic slurs, how could wikt:nigga exist? And citing from a historically relevant racist book wouldn't be allowed either. Not likely a big deal on Wikia, but needed on Wikimedia projects. I am mostly active at Commons and you wouldn't get away with homophobia or ethnic slurs there. If they are directed at any user, you'd be instantly blocked for harassment. If not directed at anyone, you will be blocked slightly later for disruption. Unless you never contributed anything meaningful, in which case you're blocked instantly as a vandalism-only account. No need to put any of this in the Terms of Use, imho. Alexis Jazz (talk) 00:40, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I do not find this persuasive. Profanity used against another editor is different from an article about the profane. EllenCT (talk) 22:32, 5 July 2019 (UTC)
@EllenCT: There is also a difference between profanity used to indicate dissatisfaction and profanity used against another editor. Attacking other users is afaik not allowed on any Wikimedia wiki, no matter if you use profanity or not. I'm against censoring "bad words". Alexis Jazz (ping me) 08:25, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

[edit]

Please see https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-03-13/trolls-are-winning-says-russian-troll-hunter

If this is too late to post please let me know where the correct place is. EllenCT (talk) 05:36, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Just seconding this: it's a rapidly growing problem. A troll in 2 minutes can take up 2 hours of community time, and a socking tool can increase this by another multiple. The same chaos that is draining for the community for those hours is also satisfying for the troll, further increasing their leverage. Adding in the money available to trolls, and you have a recipe for inexpensive DDOS of a community via its own bureaucracy. There are many partial solutions to the problem, including differential visibility and trust networks, which reduce troll leverage while continuing to support anonymous and newbie contributions; but very few are in use yet on the Projects. –SJ talk  00:04, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

How can access to our projects be improved as access is the first essential step towards participation in a thriving movement?[edit]

@SSethi (WMF): That's one of the questions on the project page. I'll just give a clear example of how it goes wrong for you to analyze: c:Commons:Deletion requests/File:Marienkirche Adolf Schwarz.jpg.

  • Schwarz Chronik, a fairly new user, uploaded some collages, compilations of own work.
  • User gets a warning on their talk page about missing information. ("no source", like w:WP:PROD) In response, the users adds the requested information.
  • Admin and bureaucrat Ellin Beltz deletes the files and nominates another one for deletion (like w:Wikipedia:Deletion process) that was uploaded after the first three were tagged.
  • User uploads the original photos the collage was compiled from. Commons policy does not require this, but when a new user uploads a collage it can be needed to verify authorship, especially if they upload nothing else. Has to be judged on a case-by-case basis. Originals are always preferred though.
  • Ellin refuses to undelete because [INSERT VALID REASON HERE]
  • Despite Schwarz Chronik having cooperated considerably better than average and complying with demands as good as they could, Ellin goes on about DW (not an issue for Commons as the photos were taken in a FoP country, which as an admin she should know), seems to mock the English of Schwarz Chronik who isn't a native speaker and tells me "The images which were previously deleted are not at discussion here." (hell they are! it's the same case!)
  • Schwarz Chronik gives in saying: "I give up. You can delete my pictures..."
  • Ellin accuses Schwarz Chronik of "drama". (for shame!)
  • I write another one of my famous rants.
  • Yes, they're famous. I got a legal threat once!

I consider this a big fail. The problem is two-fold: complicated systems and admins on Commons can't be held accountable for small offenses, ever. I could open a thread on c:COM:ANU about Ellin but that's just pointless. I've complained about that last one before. Because of that, I now appear to be shunned by bureaucrats. Luckily I rarely need them. Alexis Jazz (talk) 02:51, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

Feedback and Input from Wikimedia Österreich[edit]

This is feedback from WMAT's expert group for international affairs, the input was also discussed with our board and community.

  • We appreciate it that you tried to address critical issues. Consider also including thoughts about what runs well now and what can be built on. This could help strategically: when community is concerned, we can only work towards improvement and not reinvention. Besides it might be more inviting for community members to participate in this discussion if the descriptions of the status-quo don’t only include their perceived wrong-doings.
  • You seem to focus on collaboration in a strict sense. Since a great deal of our communities’ achievements for free knowledge has to do with “unsocial”, secluded working environments, this aspect (and its enabling) could be labelled as equally important for a thriving community in our context.
  • While you have clear thoughts about certain main topics, it remains unclear what we should consider as a “healthy community” in general. Is it a community that grows? Is it a community that is stable in its composition or a community which is a able to “reproduce” itself permanently? Is it a community which is open to everyone or which is able to replace “bad” with “good” elements? Is it a community that wants to attract the most suitable members in terms of skills or the most diverse and as many as possible members?
  • The perception that low participation in “community decision making processes … is due to poor culture that exists in our community” neglects that being an integral part of our communities doesn’t require to take part in these decision making processes. While no one with good faith should be excluded, using a higher amount of volunteer time for these activities is a goal which shouldn’t be pursued at the expense of the creation and sharing of free knowledge.
  • We agree with your thoughtful and detailed observation that the impact of existing guidelines is often hindered by slack enforcement and a lack of general awareness. To specify and amend these guidelines on a global level isn’t a good idea, however. As our experience with friendly space policies has shown, there are some major and contradictory differences about what is regarded as unacceptable behavior even between America and Europe, although they are culturally close world regions. Imposing detailed behavioral guidelines which are not suitable for the given cultural context could create new social barriers instead of removing them.
  • “The Wikimedia movement suffers from an over-reliance on insufficiently trained and resourced volunteer leadership:” Thank you for mentioning the important idea to offer more and better trainings and resources. Please make clear that you don’t wish to scrutinize the leadership by volunteers in our projects or bring forward some arguments why we should discuss paid staff for these roles.
  • The inclusion of “marginalised”, or perhaps better “missing voices” is an important issue, thank for considering this as crucial for a thriving community. The perspective of us in the center and the others at the margins carries the risk of drifting to a paternalistic, neocolonial attitude. So far you have mentioned examples in which we “act” and the marginalised groups “receive”. It could be beneficial to at least keep a blank space in mind, for input which derives from the voices unheard so far.
  • Similar to our feedback for diversity, we would also encourage to explicitly include staff in considerations around community health: Some staff are very exposed members of our community, they have to be present on the projects under their real names and do not have the liberty to take breaks when things get to heated. From an employer perspective, we have to make sure, that we can protect them from toxic behaviour and harassment on- and offline. Trust and Safety is an important step into the right direction, but probably needs more resources and quicker ways to act.

--Wikimedia Österreich (talk) 15:03, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

Volunteer dispute resolution[edit]

I just wanted to share this advert for dispute resolution volunteers - it splits out the roles of investigating the incident, deciding the consequences, mediating/de-escalating the conflict, and supporting the victim. It struck me that many of these roles are absent from Wikimedia movement dispute resolution processes at present. If helpful I am happy to (try to) make an introduction to some of the people involved in developing this system at the Liberal Democrats. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 19:07, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

WMF-community trust person[edit]

Please take a look at Requests for comment/WMF-community trust person. While the Fram incident could be seen as a positive for community health (everybody bonding over their hatred of the Big Bad called WMF), I don't see it as healthy and something should be done to prevent such incidents in the future. Alexis Jazz (talk) 03:15, 23 June 2019 (UTC)

@Alexis Jazz: Yes, although I don't believe that hatred is healthy in itself ;-) We have been reading the conversation and at least I personally see the need to have a some kind of trust person in order to restore the faith in these processes. Philip Kopetzky (talk) 12:03, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

Wikimedia Deutschland staff perspective[edit]

Over the last weeks WMDE's Strategy Liaisons, Moritz Rahm and Cornelius Kibelka, have conducted interviews with 13 experts among our staff on the themes of the working groups. Mostly, the qualitative interviews were done with groups of 2 or 3 people, the texts provided are summaries of the statements.

If you have any questions, please let us know. Best regards, --Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE) (talk) 14:20, 2 July 2019 (UTC)

@Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE): "Many volunteers have taken informal roles within a community, but these are rarely or never recognized within our structures. Something that is actually missing is a facilitator/moderator role, especially focusing on conflict management."
This is interesting. I've de-escalated several conflicts, but rarely get any appreciation or even recognition for that. When I de-escalate a conflict, I feel like it is seen as a community effort, when in fact, it was almost entirely me. And I never get called into conflicts because I have no special status. Sometimes I even find I'm simply too late: had I been called in, I could have prevented a conflict from escalating, but by the time I run into a conflict, everything has already been burnt to the ground. Alexis Jazz (ping me) 08:41, 7 July 2019 (UTC)