Talk:Universal Code of Conduct/Enforcement draft guidelines review

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Universal Code of Conduct/Enforcement draft guidelines review[edit]


'Overview'[edit]

The code enforcement[edit]

It states Severe systemic issues is this a spelling mistake? or what is the meaning of systemic?Yger (talk) 17:01, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

wikt:systemic. Jonesey95 (talk) 20:39, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks, but why use such an unfamiliar English word? We should strive to use simple English in our communications.Yger (talk) 19:33, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I bemoan this kind of jargon, I am not sure there is a better term. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:42, 27 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The use of "systemic" in the social sciences is fairly recent. In communities where English is not the first language it is a term that is not easily understood by many readers. For an example, see [1] To say that a Wikimedia project has a "Systemic problem" is a fancy way of saying that an entire system has a problem. One could simply say: "Severe problems that affect an entire project" to describe the Big-Endian/Little-Endian controversy that permeates all of Lilliputian/ Wikipedia for example. Vexations (talk) 11:42, 27 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Code enforcement definition – this definition would, at a minimum, exclude admins. Can I check if deliberate? Additionally, are we all not supposed to be doing so. If it is limited to parts of the Wikimedia Community, should it not be limited to parts of the WMF? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:32, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Less important, are UCOC subtitles viewed as having any authoritative power, or just convenience? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:32, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Code Enforcement is the prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement of violations of the Universal Code of Conduct." This is obviously a misleading phrase. "Enforcement of violations of the UCoC" cannot be "Code Enforcement". At best, enforcement of measures against violation of the UCoC might be Code Enforcement. Moreover, "handling" of violations of the UCoC (including handling of appeals) is totally missing. Handling most of all implies regular procedure (sadly, the word "procedure" is missing throughout the whole text!). This also means that if Code Enforcement is defined in such a broad fashion, investigating and possibly rejecting alleged violations must be a "means" of Code Enforcement, as well as reporting. Mautpreller (talk) 18:06, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I complained about this weeks ago and not only me. We were told it is correct that way. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 14:10, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Code Enforcement Officer"[edit]

I'm aware that this is just a placeholder name, but it definitely needs to be replaced. CEO as an acronym has already been taken by the ED. And the word "Officer" implies some sort of police power, rather than a position of responsibility. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 02:20, 18 August 2021 (UTC) (fixed markup for clarity 21:50, 24 August 2021 (UTC)) 74.46.254.44 21:50, 24 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree that evoking an image of formal law enforcement figures isn't ideal for several reasons, not the least of which is approachability. Something like "CoC Administrator" sounds good to me, especially because "possesses ... technical rights" sounds like it presumes having admin tools. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:28, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd probably use "moderator" if anything; its acronyms are not as confusing. Regarding Crony Pony's point, I think far more people are familiar with police than with corporate organization, although I don't think it's a good word regardless of what environment we presuppose. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:36, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

XY "Officer" is perhaps a very good (or very bad) choice here, because other than the commonly understood policing role, it more broadly designates a person with corporate responsibility. If this Code gives them none, it should be avoided. Crony Pony 2b (talk) 10:58, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What does this term mean? What are this group's powers? It's defined at the top but it seems it's never used in the draft...? (It has one usage, and that's just to say they need to 'affirm' their respect for the document). Fuller comment here ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 16:51, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Code enforcement officer definition: training and technical rights. Who is defining the training? What if the communities consider the training unsuitable or insufficient. Who gets to vet the WMF staff member’s training? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:32, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This role needs further clarifications[edit]

  • What is the role of the code enforcement officer, and where do they sit? Will every project and entity have one?
  • Is the code enforcement officer a member of the U4C? How do these two bodies relate to each other?
  • In our understanding of the enforcing guidelines, there needs to be a person at every event responsible for safety (might be staff at bigger events, or volunteers at the majority of events), are these the code enforcement officers?
  • What happens if no one wants to or is available to take this role in a small informal meeting?
  • If we want to have professional enforcement, we need professional people to take over this responsibility, and we need to pay them. Who is paying whom? --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:48, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What is the relation between code enforcement officers and local admins? --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 14:13, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How many people have reviewed this?[edit]

For the overview to begin with a sentence that includes

"Code Enforcement is the ... enforcement of violations of the Universal Code of Conduct."

says to me I need read no further. Not a typo, edit summary:

(Text written by the Universal Code of Conduct Phase 2 Drafting Committee)

It is not 'unkind' of any of us to require precision in a statement regarding enforcement. It seems obvious you didn't approach this with the correct frame of mind or care. Shenme (talk) 03:19, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Would you prefer "is defined as"? The sentence quoted is reasonable in English as a standin for "is defined as" but perhaps you have issues with that phrase instead. Since you didn't actually clarify what you think it should say. Izno (talk) 18:00, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This needs to be fixed, obviously. Taylor 49 (talk) 02:33, 7 September 2021 (UTC) (member of the committee, my personal opinion)Reply[reply]
The sentence defines Code Enforcement, that's right. And it says, I'll be forced to violate the code ("enforcement of violations") --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 20:05, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It certainly appears to say that, but in this context, the "violation" is not the original offense. The way Code Enforcement Officers work is that they issue a notice of violation to the offender (fix it or else), which can then be enforced. Of course this is the kind of legalese that no normal person using common sense can be expected to understand, so it should be reworded in plain English. Vexations (talk) 22:21, 24 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, I'm one of the drafting committee members and wanted to offer a personal suggestion (and not on behalf of the entire committee). I agree the phrasing around "enforcement of violations" is potentially confusing and could be improved. I think that changing the framing around enforcement would help address the concern. Would this revision help address the problem?:
Code Enforcement refers to the prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement actions related to violations of the Universal Code of Conduct.
I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 17:39, 1 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Much better. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 17:43, 1 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Better perhaps, but still not good. Why write "refers to" when you're trying to explain what something IS? In stead of "Code Enforcement refers to the ..." say "Code Enforcement is ..". Also not great is "related to ...". That can just be "of". The most problematic however is "Code Enforcement refers to [...] enforcement actions". It's saying that enforcement consists of (a series of) actions and that one of those action is enforcement. Vexations (talk) 20:48, 1 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Something closer to this, possibly?: Code Enforcement is the prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement against Universal Code of Conduct violations. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 04:15, 2 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Code enforcement is a process that consists of a series of escalating actions: Making sure code violations do not happen by educating people about the code and promoting adherence. That's prevention. When violations do happen, they are reported. That's detection, but I'd prefer reporting. When they are reported, the report is reviewed. That's investigation. Then the Code Enforcement Officer needs to remedy the problem. You could call that remediation in stead of enforcement, to avoid defining enforcement as something plus enforcement.
(Note: I agree with none of the proposed Enforcement draft guidelines. I'm merely pointing this out because I think people need to understand what is being proposed.) Vexations (talk) 11:56, 2 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I also guess this sentence is supposed to tell us that Code Enforcement is not only forcing actions (blocks) but also prevention, investigations, etc. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 19:31, 2 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

U4C Committee Definition[edit]

U4C – okay, the most critical first:
  1. I believe it is extremely unwise that the U4C can decide categories permitted for its own cases. It may involve little growth over time, but it could also include significant scope creep. That makes it impossible for users to do a fair assessment of whether to ratify the UCOC. This will mean a few more categories need to be added.
  2. I also feel that the U4C should take any instance of WMF employee action on-wiki or connection that would otherwise fall under the UCOC. That is, were they not an employee their actions would be handled by another function here, but they should automatically be raised here. Yes this may cause simultaneous on-wiki and off-wiki action being taken. Also an interesting consideration of vice-versa!
  3. Other than that very large BUT in point a, I actually quite like the U4C – I think both the concept and the initial scope categories are good!
  4. The U4C also needs to commit to not devolving any sanctioning authority to alternate authorities, and confirm that any individual case/appeal is to have a minimum quorum of 7 drawn directly from the U4C. Any systemic abuse case must be held by a quorum of 15. Determining rules for U4C size/size change worth doing? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:32, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree strongly with no devolving powers. This restriction should be spelled out explicitly in the document. (See enwiki ArbCom, for example, which has devolved powers to unilateral admin action through DS.) This Committee should not be allowed to single-handedly set new enforcement rules (eg giving more power to 'Code Enforcement Officers') through proclamations and delegation. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 22:50, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I agree strongly. --Ghilt (talk) 08:47, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some remarks from Wikimedia Deutschland[edit]

  • We suggest clarifying the division of power and the checks and balances, as we believe one single body cannot be responsible for all these tasks. We recommend determining which of the tasks can be fulfilled by volunteers, and which should be handled professionally by staff or contractors. Some tasks might even better be suited to be held by a different entity (from inside the project or organisation), and some should be delegated to a higher (external) authority. There should be paid positions who guarantee swift process reliability and also counter volunteer exhaustion. We believe the U4C positions should be held by paid and volunteer staff equally (not WMF staff but independent U4C staff).
  • To assure a manageable workload and good decision making, the framework in which the committee should give itself their own rules of procedure needs to be laid out more precisely.
  • Is a part of the U4C also supposed to serve as a global ArbCom? This can indeed help closing the gaps where previously the Stewards or Meta wiki admins jumped in, but it needs to be more clearly defined to avoid misunderstandings and vagueness. And although we are aware of the volunteer nature of the ArbComs, we suggest adding paid backbone support.
  • What is the responsibility of the U4C in off-wiki violations and in relation to affiliate platforms and spaces? For example, safety at affiliate events cannot be in the responsibility of a volunteer committee, but should be handled by the organising affiliate.
  • It is not explicitly stated, but we recommend that members of the U4C also adhere to the UCoC (in case that the U4C only consists of Enforcement Officers, it is stated, though). --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:51, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


On roles and responsibilities in this Overview: To support that clarity, we suggest enriching the guidelines with some visuals and diagrams to make them more tangible and clear. Suggestion to create better visibility: One central and well maintained page/space with an overview of all responsible entities and escalation pathways (like CheckUser local policies) could be created and connected/linked from each local UCoC page (with the structured data being centrally stored). --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:44, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proposal for U4C[edit]

But first the text from the draft with my comments between the lines:

When necessary, the"U4C Committee" will assist the Wikimedia Foundation in handling cases.

What is "necessary" and "assist"? This can mean anything.

Additionally, the "U4C Committee" will monitor and assess regularly the state of enforcement of the Code [How?] and may suggest suitable changes to UCoC to the Wikimedia Foundation and the community for consideration.

Once formed, the permanent committee will decide on how often it should convene,...

Ok so far.

...and the nature of the cases that can be escalated to it.

No, there should be clear rules what they are allowed to do and what not.

We recommend that this committee takes the following types of cases, although the final decision is left to them:

  • Where no local structure exists to address a complaint;
  • Where local structures are unable to handle or needs to escalate cases to this committee for final decision making;
  • Severe systemic issues.
All of them need some clarification. Esp. the last two points would mean the U4C may take any cases just by claming the locals are unable.

My proposal

  • The U4C only handles cases related to the UCOC, unless local policy specificially grants a jurisdiction. (no local policies [handled by locals], no terms of use [handled by WMF])
  • Principle of Subsidiarity: The U4C only handles cases where local projects first had the chance to take care of the problem, including all appeals where possible. Exemptions may include:
    • There is no local project (e.g. real-live meeting between persons from different projects)
    • WMF-Staff related cases
  • Right to a fair trial:
    • Right to be heard: Usually before a decision, at least before a permanent decision.
    • Cases are handled publicly. (Exemptions may include personal data)
  • It has to be public which individuals are responsible for a specific decision.
  • Members are elected by the community.
  • Cases are handled by at least 5 members. Very important cases (systemic failure of a project e.g.) by at least 10.

--Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 18:37, 24 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two committees[edit]

The draft recommends the U4C to take cases "Where no local structure exists to address a complaint; Where local structures are unable to handle or needs to escalate cases to this committee for final decision making; Severe systemic issues." I think that's a reasonable list of cases that need some sort of body that's not local to the wiki, but they call for two different committees. Cases where no local structure exists will be relatively simple, there will be lots of them, and they require a wide range of linguistic and cultural backgrounds since it's very hard to do a good job of conduct enforcement if you have no clue of the culture and have no means of communication. Systemic and escalated issues will be highly complex and require lots of community experience, there won't be many of them, and the people handling them will need to have a high level of legitimacy and community trust, otherwise they will be challenged constantly. I think this calls for two committees: a large group that's relatively easy to get into where people do "legwork" with limited complexity and discussion (similar to how global sysops deal with small-wiki abuse today) and a smaller group of very experienced Wikimedians that handles complex matters with lots of internal discussion and gains legitimacy via some kind of election process (similar to ArbCom).

(There is also a third type of issues, which get escalated, not because they are complex, but because they are risky or demoralizing. Hardcore harassment, threats of violence, child pornography etc. That would be something for the Code Enforcement Officers to deal with.) --Tgr (talk) 00:40, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'Preventive work (articles 1 and 2 UCOC)'[edit]

adhesion[edit]

"promote voluntary adhesion to the code", "Recommendations of UCoC Translation for voluntary adhesion:", Did you mean adherence? Vexations (talk) 14:05, 14 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unless the WMF has budgeted a few thousand gallons of glue for UCOC enforcement... Vermont (talk) 23:37, 16 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We shall see how long it takes to fix two words with the iterative process, continuous evaluation and evolution with community feedback. Vexations (talk) 12:46, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I fixed it. Best, Vermont (talk) 14:01, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, to clarify, the evaluation/editing of the document is not continuous. Vermont (talk) 00:45, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Training requirements[edit]

Introducing a complicated training bureaucracy, as is proposed here, is likely to be a barrier to successful implementation of the UCoC. Most of the burden of creating the proposed training material, as well as the problems introduced by not creating the material, would fall on smaller, non-English-language communities. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 02:28, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"legally binding"[edit]

Unless we're suing people over the UCOC, drop the words "legally binding". --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 02:29, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't see why ? The Terms of Use are also legally binding. As is the Copyright release statement in the editor. There are lots of things you can be sued about in every day life. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 08:37, 27 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recommendations of UCoC Training/Education amongst Community[edit]

First, I agree with AntiCompositeNumber that this section is a little concerning. Not because any of it is necessarily a bad idea, but because you're asking sometimes very small projects or organizations to do an awful lot of work just in setting up such a system, nevermind following through with execution.

Second, the "A link to the UCoC should be present on:" part takes for granted something that doesn't jibe with my (perhaps long outdated) understanding. Specifically, that the UCoC isn't supposed to supersede all other conduct-related policies and procedures, but is instead a starting point with which various groups can build their own policies. From the beginning conversations about the UCoC (I'm thinking back to the Wikimania session in Sweden, for example), it was articulated as something intended primarily for those many projects which did not have well-developed policies for dealing with harassment and other conduct issues. The idea that it should be the UCoC itself rather than the local policies the UCoC is adapted into runs contrary to this assumption. So where do things stand? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:16, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • In some ways the relative dearth of detail is absolutely right – it’s rightly avoiding too much detail in an area where that would just be difficult. Could I clarify is that local communities/affiliates can each create their own (perhaps with a “model code” for those that don’t?) The phrasing appears to intentionally have a fairly flexible inclusion, which is good, but is the U4C responsible for assessing violations? If so, given my interpretation above, I’d add that as a category. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:36, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Trainings[edit]

  • We applaud the idea and are committed to providing tailored support to community organisers and admins. But we suggest not to over-commit or over-promise in the guidelines.
  • We especially like the new approach that training is being offered on a local, regional or thematic level, and thus tailored to the needs and competences of the participants. This is also very much in line with the principles of subsidiarity and contextualisation from the 2030 Movement Strategy.
  • More clarity is needed about who will be offering these trainings, where the resources are coming from, and what incentives could be offered to encourage community members to participate (e.g. barnstars, literature, certificates...). For fulfilling certain roles, a mandatory training might even become necessary, to ensure the person in charge is well prepared and protected. This will of course be balanced against not unnecessarily restricting local self-organisation and not overestimating volunteer time commitment.
  • As a next step, it could be mapped which affiliates can provide these trainings, so that regional/thematic gaps can be identified and potentially filled by neighbouring organizations, given that the trainings are being held in the native language. This could be added to the central page/space with an overview of all responsible entities (like Local checkuser policies).
  • The training should include individual help around personally handling the task of being exposed and confronted with threats and harassment against oneself while holding a position on the U4C or code enforcement officer. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 20:07, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"who will be offering these trainings, where the resources are coming from...." We should first offer these trainings. Once they are established, we could demand from candidates for certain roles to take these trainings. Not the other way round. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 14:37, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Der-Wir-Ing:, "... we should first offer ...", who do you mean by "we"? --Mervat (WMF) (talk) 09:01, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mervat (WMF), I'm not sure: Who is supposed to offer those trainings? Local communities, Foundation and Affiliates should develop and implement training... Also, keep in mind the comment from Dutch WikipediaWiktonary "...there is little need for training about harassment and there may very well be no volunteers wanting to spend their free time this way." [2] --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 09:13, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Der-Wir-Ing: @Mervat (WMF): The remarks below are from Dutch Wiktionary. Dutch Wikipedia is a community about 50 times the size of Dutch Wiktionary, which is again about 30 times smaller than English Wikipedia. In my experience with fighting bullying in schools a key for good results is maintaining a culture that encourages those who would otherwise be bystanders to intervene in an early stage. The resulting peer pressure is also beneficial for those who would otherwise turn into bullies. Of course a Wikimedia project is clearly different from a school, but a similar mechanism could be useful, especially on smaller projects. --MarcoSwart (talk) 12:18, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The draft states that a link to the UCoC should be present on footers on Wikimedia projects and footers on the websites of recognized affiliates and user groups. This guideline should not be limited to Wikimedia projects in the narrower sense, but to any website operated by the Wikimedia Foundation that allows user-generated content. Several of these websites today do not have links to any terms of use, let alone codes of conduct (​​e.g. https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/). On the other hand, affiliates sometimes operate (several) websites, not all of which enable interaction that would make it comprehensible to mention the UCoC in the footer. These could be exempted from the footer rule. --Raimund Liebert (WMAT) (talk) 11:49, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Recommendations of UCoC Consent amongst Community and Foundation Staff: Definition and Respect[edit]

  • Contributes to online and offline Wikimedia projects and spaces
  1. I am aware of different individuals who have come to define this differently. IRC screams to attention, and members of the UCOC drafting committee know others. I am aware this gets some detail in the “transparency of process”, but that is not immediately relevant. This paragraph is therefore one that could use its own full overview subsection – preferably soon enough to ease future discussion.
  2. I also disagree that there is any right to demand more than “will comply with/adhere” the UCOC. We have it as a specific acceptance that much as no editor is forced to edit, no admin is forced “to admin”, except so far as to conclude an action (admin accountability etc).
  3. However, while we’d certainly hope that the bulk of editors will respect the documentation, I don’t believe a) that’s required b) is a legitimate demand – editors could disrespect the UCOC and still acceptably uphold it. The subtitle (if holding authority) seems to contradict its content, but then on re-reading I think it might agree. So I’m now confused – could it be clarified how it’s a recommendation of consent – it would appear to be demand? Or does it want a specific consent from Community and Foundation Staff which would seem needlessly controversial
  4. Other than those facets, it seemed to cover all the significant groups that came to mind Nosebagbear (talk) 22:36, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I assume respect is used in the meaning of 'adhering to' / 'take into consideration' not the meaning of esteem? —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 08:43, 27 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would suggest adding a class of users to require explicit consent from: those using additional technical resources such as Toolforge or the Wikimedia Cloud. (Precise phrasing can be improved, of course.) Ijon (talk) 12:33, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It is proposed that any individual who uses Wikimedia trademarks at events (such as by including them in the event's title) must explicitly commit to the UCoC. In the German-speaking countries with their highly developed culture of Wikimedia meetings, regulating these events with any kind of policy is a highly unrealistic proposition and not in line with the general understanding of our communities. At least before the pandemic, in-person meetings of Wikimedians ("Wikipedia-Stammtische" and others), often organized spontaneously in many places, took place almost every day. It has contributed significantly to the vibrancy of the Wikimedia movement that there was no need for any involvement or requirements from the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedia chapters for these meetings, unless the organizers asked for it. Therefore, we strongly propose that the trademark rule should be limited to events that are organized, funded or otherwise directly supported by the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedia affiliates. --Raimund Liebert (WMAT) (talk) 11:45, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Important note, I support this statement. The enforcement mechanisms that we develop and decide on together will ensure more sensitivity and more confidence in dealing with attacks and harassment. Vera Krick (WMDE) (talk) 15:33, 23 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Translations for voluntary adherence[edit]

This is normal phrasing for treaties, and this could be one of the more multi-lingual documents ever. However. I believe that it has some flaws. A translation has been provided to a number of communities, who will vote to ratify that copy, or not. If a difference in meaning big enough for us to actually care about the wording is found; that ratification would surely be in serious jeopardy, pending a new one? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:36, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'Responsive work (article 3 UCOC)'[edit]

'Principles for processing and filing of reported cases'[edit]

  • In regards to Cases should be forwarded or escalated where appropriate and Allow reports to be forwarded to relevant bodies, please remember that there is some element of trust in writing a private report. Please codify that consent of the person is required to forward the case to another "relevant body" (an Arbitration Committee, a public venue, or whatever else) outside of the U4C Committee. Of course, lack of consent may mean the report cannot be dealt with, but that should be up to the reporter and/or affected users. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 12:08, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • +1 although this may be presumed or common sense good practice, it's worth adding in some way. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:33, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It seems like there should be some material here talking about the relationship between this process and other processes/venues that may exist within the relevant project or organization. This could just be a matter of expanding "Cases should be forwarded or escalated where appropriate". — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:37, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • To me, U4C is just the ultimate location that UCOC might end up at. We aren't deriving our conduct-handling authority from one small body at the top, it's the other way around. In terms of formal wording Cases should be forwarded or escalated where appropriate is fine Nosebagbear (talk) 22:46, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I am somewhat surprised that an (alleged) violation of the UCoC is equated here with "harassment" ("by the target of the harassment"). I don't feel that is a good idea.Mautpreller (talk) 18:21, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Addressing the receiver of the complaint/the person under suspicion[edit]

  • It is not clear from the text how the person who has violated the UCoC is being addressed. They are not mentioned in the draft.
  • The “right to be heard” should be included in the guidelines (see comment by User:Gnom below]]); and it needs to be clarified if the guidelines adhere to the “presumption of innocence”. There might be exceptions, e.g. if protection is required.
  • In addition to that, consider that a case does not end with applying the sanctions. It should be outlined that there could be pathways for rehabilitation, resocialisation, or the right to be forgotten.
  • Add criteria for cases to be publicly handled/archived or not, taking into account legal implications as well as the need for privacy and protection of the involved parties, and how to avoid reputation damage or creating a public pillory.
  • Note that these processes will have to comply with different local and regional legal requirements with regards to privacy and data protection (like GDPR). --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:59, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I concur with this statement. This is a very important issue that absolutely must be dealt with in this draft.Mautpreller (talk) 18:18, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Currently, an office action ignores en:Audiatur et altera pars (right to be heard) and good practices and fair procedures, e.g. these. I fear similar processes here, but i expect these consultations will result in fair processes to not further demotivate our volunteers after the UCoC was forced upon them as they didn't receive an opportunity for an RfC. The accused also needs the right to name witnesses as well. --Ghilt (talk) 08:54, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Cases should be handled in public as much as possible (e.g. when both parties consent, or when the violation itself happened in public and there is no significant risk of harassment). When not, they should at least be publicly characterized and logged as much as possible. Community members must trust UCoC enforcement to be fair for it to be successful; secrecy corrodes trust. --Tgr (talk) 01:44, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'Providing resources for processing cases'[edit]

  • Here, as in some other places, it would be good to have some additional context. i.e. what "an ArbCom" is and why it is desirable. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 20:45, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If "ArbComs" are the "resources for processing cases", what is their relationship to the [tentatively named] Code of Conduct Enforcement Officers? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:03, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Shared ArbCom across projects of same language - This sounds fantastic if it can work. Projects would either need a major amount of policy unification (in my en-wiki bubble I’ve no idea if that’s practical), or arbs with major cross-wiki experience. Arbs are chosen to be among the best, which requires practical knowledge of policy, not just reading it case by case. Nosebagbear (talk)
  • Everything else here either sounds good or, again, if this works, fantastic – I’m not remotely qualified to assess viability, so let the U4C and all try. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:46, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Being active on a version (SVWP) being around no 15 in size of active editors, I am concerned of the focus on Arbcom. We are big enough to take care of complicated internal conflicts but not big enough to be able to spare good admins to form an arbcom. We are in total 64 admins but only 6-8 are really active in resolving conflicts. And our mechanism to resolve conflict is a page open for anyone to participate and usually a few non-admns are on this page also active in resolving conflicts. An arbcom work by internal discussion and would mean less transparency and also creates a we-and-them feeling and would probably mean fewer in total being active resolving conflicts. Options we discuss to meet the demands of UCoC are 1. to have a dedicated group of only 1-3 people, not necessary being admins that only handles UCoC complaints (but then the name Arbcom is not correct as it does not have the full functionality of an arbcom) 2. To create an arbcom from several language versions like us + Norwegian + Danish 3. to only use U4C which feels bad considering our size and that we know best the editors that gets complaints. A more elaborate text not only using the word Arbcom would be better.Yger (talk) 06:44, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Yger: There were provisions in an earlier draft which included provisions for the establishment of "Administrative Panels" in liue of having an Arbcom.
    Regardless, I highly encourage you to reach out to get more users from your project to comment at Talk:Universal Code of Conduct/Enforcement draft guidelines review/sv to ensure you all have a good voice in this process. –MJLTalk 16:34, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We have now several at svwp and also at nowp discussed this issue, and it seems to be a broad liking of the idea to have an Arbcom/local Code Enforcement Committee encompassing all project in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, a Scandinavian Arbcom/local CEC. I presume a set up like that would be OK.Yger (talk) 19:30, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it the point of context is important. Providing context in the document, can muddle the clarity and brevity, but without context, details and nuance easily get lost. Perhaps have a bottom section that provides examples etc ? WCAG for instance has 3 documents now: a quick reference, a technical document and a 'understanding the technical document' which teaches you how to interpret the document, so that you can apply it to all situations, even when there is no clear metric or rule that applies (and a suprising amount of effort to explain that the tech document in the reals world should not be applied black vs white but gray). —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 08:50, 27 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups'[edit]

  • Threats of physical violence should have more than just sending them to trust and safety. Yes, of course we should involve T&S, but there are other things that may be important to do in the short term: gathering information, making short-term blocks or protections, communicating with the person being threatened so they're not just in limbo until T&S can get back to them, etc. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:09, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "Cases should be promptly sent to the Wikimedia Foundation Legal team, or, when appropriate, other professionals who can appropriately evaluate the merit of the threats" - what "other professionals" does this mean? If we formally include WMF Legal here, that implies sufficient funding for the legal team to be able to reliably and promptly respond to these inquiries -- is the WMF on board with that? A legal threat would be incredibly stressful for a volunteer, so I'd like to see this part of the flow chart better developed. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:09, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "Off-wiki violations (examples such as, but not limited to: in person edit-a-thons or off-wiki instances such as on other platforms similar to: social media platforms, discussion lists)" - this conflates two very different phenomena. An edit-a-thon is typically (though not always) an event formally connected to a project or affiliate and thus should be governed by some form of the UCoC (or similar policy/system). Social media platforms, message boards, etc. aren't under the purview of the same rules, necessarily. Hence why people aren't typically sanctioned for what they say on Twitter (with exceptions). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:12, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    yeah maybe split this in events and behaviour in 'public' spaces —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 08:53, 27 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Interim acts – mentioned by Rhod. Now, in the event of a threat of harm I squash the violator while communicating the needful. Those aren’t really suited to further action. But a case of self-harm I dealt with was vastly more complicated. Without going into details, that was an instance of multiple individuals acting at the initial outset, while pouring the information into WMF Emergency, before they very rapidly could take everything over. Nosebagbear (talk)
  • Violations involving litigation or legal threats I have to ask why we’re sprinting off to Legal here. The large majority of legal threats are of the vein “block me and I’ll sue”, and the average response time to one being posted on ANI is minutes…and a block. Sure there’s lots of instances where a report (again, probably a block and report) is the right thing, but I can’t imagine a) we should start doing this for all and b) that Legal is going to get anywhere close at a 24hr response time for all languages. Nosebagbear (talk)
  • Handled by AffCom – this is obviously the usual course of affairs, but makes me think that the U4C permissible cases should specifically note systemic failure by AffCom. AffCom themselves need to clarify how they’re handling the very different cases of WMDE, regular chapters, all the way down to the smallest user groups. Nosebagbear (talk)
  • Systemic Failure – point “i” is good. Regarding point ii: Is this meaning that desysopping procedures for x-wiki abuse are falling into U4C jurisdiction? I’m not positive of what “administrative level” means here. If so, that could only be Stewards, global sysops and rare cases where someone with two local rights causes issues on both? Suspect I’m misunderstanding, cheers Nosebagbear (talk)
  • off-wiki instances such as on other platforms similar to: social media platforms, discussion lists needs clarity. Is this “any such case”, cases where someone has followed someone from off-wiki, a case where it might even have begun off-wiki, just cases where it’s local affiliates on those. These are extremely different things to have lumped together. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:46, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • off-wiki instances such as on other platforms similar to: social media platforms, discussion lists This is a delicate matter. I can understand e.g. banning a user for a certain amount of time if they have been harassing another user through their personal social media accounts, but - if this rule can be enforced at all - shouldn't it be limited to strictly wiki-related topics? De facto it would also protect anonymous users, while solely targetting those who make their names public. Wikibelgiaan (talk) 18:43, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "Violations involving threats of any sort of physical violence: Handled by Trust & Safety". Sorry, no. I don't trust that team an inch. I am reasonably sure that they are unable to decide whether anything is a threat or not. They have proven their inability in several cases. It's clear that cases of real threats are emergency cases that need fast action. But not by Trust & Safety.Mautpreller (talk) 19:34, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • +1 to Mautpreller; no trust in Trust and Safety. ...Sicherlich Post 07:04, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Threats of violence can be handled locally, by referring to local law enforcement authorities if need be. AFAIK my wiki has a working system to report people who formulate the intent to commit suicide, which AFAIK has to be reported in order to enable emergency services to interfere. Running these things via T&S (sitting across the pond?) and not via the local community seems quite odd. Nasiruddin (talk) 21:47, 22 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Serious legal threats should be handled by legal professionals, sure. Most legal threats, and even many actual lawsuits, are not serious and it would be a massive waste of movement resources and a massive bottleneck if they were required to go through WMF Legal or a similar group. Just like we don't require lawyers to be involved in most Commons license enforcement, many communities are perfectly well set-up to handle "I will sue you if if you don't remove this claim I don't like which is a factual claim taken from a reputable mainstream source" type of threats. (OTOH if the community doesn't want to deal with it and prefers to escalate to WMF Legal, it's good to support that, within capacity.) --Tgr (talk) 01:16, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I am skeptical of T&S handling threats of violence. As above, local groups shouldn't be forced to handle them, and should be able to pass them along to the WMF. But if they feel they can handle the issue more effectively (and it's hard to see why they wouldn't - they speak the language, understand better how law enforcement works in their area, usually have a better sense of which threats are serious, don't get slowed down by timezone differences etc), they should be empowered to. Not inserting arbitrary bureaucracy bottlenecks (such as, not forcing the local community to wait days or weeks with a sensitive issue just because T&S is overburdened at the moment) is a main goal of movement strategy, and should be followed here. If there is concern about the local group not having some necessary skill or knowledge, that should be solved by capacity building, not centralization. (OTOH requiring local groups to always report threats of violence, just so T&S can stay informed, might be a good idea.) --Tgr (talk) 01:16, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On-wiki UCOC violations[edit]
  1. Single-wiki is mostly fine, except for one aspect I cover during ratification section below Nosebagbear (talk)
  2. But cross-wiki here is a concern. It formalises gaming issues – let’s say my problematic behaviour is all on one wiki, but I can make a few problematic edits to drop myself into U4C direct jurisdiction if I think is better. Alternatively, someone might get yanked even when this is inappropriate. In the event that there is clear misconduct on one wiki but questionable conduct on another, will the case half proceed, and then the U4C realise they have lost any moral right to proceed with the case because one wiki’s charges turned out to be non-issues and remand it to the single-wiki? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:46, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'd like to see more on how this will interact with existing local conduct dispute resolution processes. I think the example list in Single-wiki UCoC violations: Handled by individual Wikimedia projects according to their existing guidelines (examples such as, but not limited to: vandalism, introducing bias or incorrect information, abuse of power, ban evasion) falls short of answering the important question: what do we do for issues like harassment etc? How will the U4CC interact with ArbComs? Does it offer a parallel route, should people go to ArbCom first and if that fails then go to the U4CC, does it take over ArbCom's scope in this regard, or does it have no remit in single-wiki problems? An important issue in the reporting of problems like harassment is that it's not a comfortable experience going to a highly watched noticeboard and starting a section reporting about a powerful user in the community. I could link several horror incidents but I presume that's not necessary as you know what I mean. It's hard to draw a parallel from how the Wikimedia projects function in this regard, to real-world organisations or even other online communities. Many do allow private reporting and resolution from on-top.
    I think if we're really trying to make an inclusive and safe community code, this new committee needs to be able to provide a safe way to privately report issues, even in single wiki issues. While this will be tricky to get right, fairly and, to the extent possible, transparently, current workflows fall short of what is necessary. This is a difficult problem to solve, but it is one this drafting committee will have to address. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 13:01, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There is no good reason for the U4C committee to handle all cross-wiki issues. Big complicated ones with two different wiki communities being hostile to each other, sure. But just because, say, someone is agitating on wiki A against a user of wiki B, there is no reason for the U4C committee to be involved. The people involved in local enforcement on those two wikis should work in concert to resolve the issue. If that doesn't work, it can be escalated to the committee (as then it's arguably a systemic issue). --Tgr (talk) 00:55, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Escalation and de-escalation mechanisms[edit]

(Following Wikimania discussion) It would be helpful to have well-defined processes for escalation and delegation. Some suggestions:

  • Reports that can be solved locally will be referred back to a local project community, either by pointing the complainant to relevant processes in the project, or by U4C members supporting editors to engage with local dispute resolution.
  • The U4C will investigate and mediate disputes where local dispute resolution has failed and escalation is necessary, or in cases of cross-wiki disputes that require external mediation.

--Deryck C. 12:19, 16 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Affiliate staff:[edit]

It remains unclear how the enforcement guidelines are being applied towards affiliate staff, especially how it can be connected and applied under national labor law. We suggest adding more pathways here, and routes of escalation. An example that already exists is the CoC of the technical spaces which clearly lays out ways to report WMF and affiliate staff. Including this passage would better regulate the relationships and reporting pathways.

And vice versa: whom do affiliate staff turn to if they are being harassed by community members? On first thought, this would be the responsibility of the HR departments/structures, and HR could potentially issue a report to the next escalation body, like T&S. Smaller affiliates with staff might not have HR structures and resources designed to handle such cases. For employees of such affiliates, it may be more helpful to be able to directly contact an entity that is not connected to the affiliate. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 20:14, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'Recommendations for the reporting and processing tool'[edit]

Reporting tool[edit]

What stops you mentioning a email addresss (ending up in an OTRS queue) as tool for reporting complaints, incidents of harassments? 212.182.155.232 11:15, 16 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

mediawiki extension[edit]

The requirement that the UCoC tool be implemented "as a MediaWiki extension" isn't very useful. Aside from requiring a "not invented here" approach, it doesn't convey whatever intentions the drafters may have had. If the intention was that a separate user account shouldn't be required, state that. If the intention was that the tool must be WMF operated and freely-licensed, state that. Previous requirements that something be implemented as a MediaWiki extensions have ended up with things like SecurePoll. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 02:43, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it's smart to use tried-and-tested external software, even if it's commercial. The WMF is not the first organisation to need case management. The desire to use made-in-house software, and/or FOSS software only, constantly leads to us using bad products that waste volunteer time and productivity. Use the stuff that's been used at various orgs, refined to work, and is actively maintained, rather than creating yet another tool that will join the graveyard of unmaintained tools (mw:SecurePoll, mw:FlaggedRevs, etc). And on that note, WMF Legal literally uses Zendesk (proprietary commercial software), and Design uses Figma/Sketch AFAIK; why are volunteers confined to mailing lists, private wikis, and inadequate unmaintained extensions? ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:57, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@AntiCompositeNumber and ProcrastinatingReader: I was the one who suggested this provision got added to the draft. My intention behind it is to ensure other MediaWiki-based (non-WMF) communities have easy access to this tool. With what you both have said here, I understand that steps will need to be taken to ensure its long-term viability if it is going to be a MediaWiki extension (assuming the committee doesn't go with an external commercial solution instead based on this feedback). –MJLTalk 21:41, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am unfamiliar with details of the "case SecurePoll", but here it is being "marketed" as stable. I disagree with the suggestion to buy a commercial tool. Better create a single good processing tool, and decommission all the private wikis, mailing lists and other inferior solutions used so far. If we buy a commercial reporting and processing tool, then we might have to buy a commercial LUA engine or commecial video engine soon, and eventually end up with a fully commercial wiki host owned by some company (Google? MacroSoft? Apple?) that can make all wikis unusable at any time by unilaterally changing its TOS or imposing technical access restrictions. Taylor 49 (talk) 04:31, 7 September 2021 (UTC) (member of the committee, my personal opinion)Reply[reply]

There are obvious benefits to having reporting integrated into the wiki experience ("flag this edit" and such). OTOH not all cases will refer to on-wiki events, so having the case review interface be independent from MediaWiki (and presumably some existing software) makes sense. FLOSS software has obvious benefits beyond being aligned with the mission - no risk of surprise shut-downs / price hikes / etc, no arbitrary limitations ("can't provide this service to people in Iran"), and the ability to modify the software if we feel the need. Sometimes there just isn't a viable FLOSS tool, but when one exists, and is at least remotely competitve, it should be given precedence. --Tgr (talk) 01:53, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tool Functionality nature[edit]

  • I want to know how we are guaranteeing we won’t see any of the issues we have seen with other great tools we’ve heard along these lines. That is being implemented before they’re ready, failing to handle technical debt, insufficiently quick response times, non-stressed statement of technical admin access to extremely private data, etc etc Nosebagbear (talk)
  • I certainly back there being a tool, so long as it doesn’t become compulsory. While I am aware that the WMF would probably not like to make it readily possible for individuals (or themselves) to make it link into pre-existing processes where that is viable, I suspect that while it would slow initial take-up it would increase it in the long-run. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:48, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tool Features[edit]

  • This process doesn’t state who is responsible for allocating to right body (where it’s not so clear the system can’t just do that itself) – how will this work? Nosebagbear (talk)
  • The general information that are set out are generally good for a non-exclusive list. I do think that specifically mentioning some wording of “diffs” would be beneficial. Making it so the system goes “click to insert URL of problematic edit 1” so new editors can provide evidence in a way that regulars are used to, then fantastic Nosebagbear (talk)
  • The process doesn’t seem to handle boomerangs inherently – these are a common need on en-wiki, and they can’t just be excluded Nosebagbear (talk)
  • Good principles, more on how that’s going to be ensured, not requested/urged please [happy to get it in a binding appendix!] Nosebagbear (talk) 22:48, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Privacy and Anonymity[edit]

  • So...this section is looking pretty lightweight given the scale of discussion that I’ve both seen and participated on it over the last 30 months or so and it’s not a specific open question. Now, if this is because how to handle privacy options is going to be decided by local communities (and the tool will just build all the options, with some being enabled – like userrights) then I’m completely game for that and you can skip the below. Because it’s not covered I have to mention a couple of posed options. Nosebagbear (talk)
  • Privacy in cases is sometimes a negative for the accuser – both the example given, but others as well. But it is also a massive negative for both the accused and the whole community. And I’m a little surprised that neither factor gets mentioned. Nosebagbear (talk)
  1. Community-hidden, accused-gets data. This is the form that ArbComs are often formed to handle. On en-wiki at the moment, that’s usually when handling off-wiki data, but can be others and certainly could have an expanded scope. Negatives include things like not being able to audit those we have selected to hold these positions and not knowing “where the axe will fall”. Nosebagbear (talk)
  2. Some/all data hidden from accused, all data hidden from community. Here the accused basically gets the bum-rap. Many of us know instances where context has been key to explain why you (or someone else) did something; or where the other did something in a forum the reviewers may not know about. This is especially the case for anything with off-wiki evidence. And how are they ever to make an appeal? How can one show remorse for an act they don’t know – even if they get the broadest strokes how could that be utilised? CUBlocks are already difficult, but for a harassment charge, any appeal could be the appellant: lying, believing they did nothing wrong (incorrectly), believing they did nothing wrong (rightly), accepting they did something wrong. Nosebagbear (talk)
  3. Logically, the large majority of raised cases are desiring that person to be directly sanctioned – rather than, say, mediation. As such, opting for the most-private option allowed makes sense Nosebagbear (talk)
  4. How to handle scale – this depends on exact clarity given by UCOCDC, but the type allowed in 2a usually necessitates very broad trust in the assessors – for example I respect the current en-wiki arbcom, firmly. But I wouldn’t trust, say, 1-3 admins or CEOs selected to hear cases privately because the scale grew. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:54, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree with Nosebagbear: "And how are they ever to make an appeal" if they don't know for what they are blamed/accused? There is literally nothing about the rights of the blamed/accused party. It is clear that in certain cases they mustn't get all data and some must remain hidden for reasons of protection of the user reporting the violation, but they should get as much as reasonably possible. Otherwise they can't use their rights. Mautpreller (talk) 19:45, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Some insight from our neighbor across the open movement: I find this presentation about Privacy Commons from CC Italy quite insightful on how to build a system that could balance both the needs of transparency and privacy within an open project. Slide deck. dwadieff 10:43, 21 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Processing & Transparent Documentation[edit]

  1. How are we supposed to ensure that this early-stage processing, which could be important, is done correctly? Nosebagbear (talk)
  2. Yes to filtering out bad-faith reports, but doesn’t raise how to handle boomerang cases. Without that it encourages a wave of first-mover attempts. Nosebagbear (talk)
  3. Interesting concept, but any great vagueness at all and it would struggle to give out information about UCOC enforcement. When the system will process many thousands of cases, each growing % of vagueness represents many more chances for unseen error. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:54, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'Recommendations for local enforcement structures'[edit]

  • Is there anything in here about measures to take with regards to bad-faith reports? Retaliatory/hypocritical reports are pretty common, at least on enwiki. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:58, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Indeed - it shows up, briefly, in a few other areas. It's tricky to determine what the precise good area for it is. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:56, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Assessment and adoption of local policies[edit]
  • The UCoC policy offers minimum standards which no community, project, group or organisation must fall behind. Many entities already have respective policies and structures in place, some of them consider theirs to be even stricter or much more concrete. In earlier discussions on the German Kurier there were voices who raised concerns that the new UCoC overwrites their established policies and softens them in some regards. It has been our understanding that they can continue working with their existing policies if they are falling behind the UCoC, and we recommend the enforcement guidelines specifically express this (stated here already).
  • A neutral/external body (like the U4C) should work with the respective entity/community to support the assessment of their existing policies and procedures against these minimum standards.
  • The UCoC policy contains minimal standards to be followed, but no guidelines or "laws" to be observed. The enforcement text, on the other hand, is strong in tone and sounds partly authoritarian or like police work (officer). It feels like something is missing in between, about how each entity can define how expected and non tolerated behaviour translates into their context.--Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 20:04, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Adding to Nicole’s important notes: Sometimes we use more than one code of conduct at the same time in the Wikimedia movement today without delineating them from each other (e.g. at a tech event the "friendly space policy for Wikimedia Foundation events" plus the "code of conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces"). This can be a problem when descriptions of desired and undesired behavior differ. The problem is even bigger when victims and witnesses do not know which guidelines to follow when they need help. Therefore, there needs to be a clear and understandable delineation and hierarchy between the UCoC and local guidelines. If the UCoC is emphasized when the first path to more safety and inclusion should actually be through local policies and procedures, this could end up leading to less safety and inclusion. --Raimund Liebert (WMAT) (talk) 11:42, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thank you Raimund, your statement makes it clear why it is important that rules of contribution should not contradict each other when it comes to safety and inclusion. Vera Krick (WMDE) (talk) 15:17, 23 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Training and Support[edit]

  • Cannot +1 translation support sufficiently. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:56, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Again, admins seem to fall in and out of a category with functionaries – that’s absolutely fine (indeed, it’s why we have the term!), but just checking we were meant to be excluded here Nosebagbear (talk) 22:56, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fairness[edit]

  • Obviously equivalents to en-wiki’s INVOLVED are good. But this is why any private case needs a full arbcom – it’s the only way to have both reliable enough people and enough ‘’opinions and eyeballs’’ to ensure it’s actually executed. Just having one amazingly fair person does not ensure a fair outcome. The issue here is not bad-faith errors Nosebagbear (talk) 22:56, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Fairness isn't currently a big objective in office actions, as certain fair processes and good practices are not (yet?) implemented and i personally fear, the office action procedure may rub off on the implementation of the UCoC. Alas, after i've mentioned the following points before in discussions, afaik today, nothing has been implemented so far. I hope i'm wrong on my expectations.
  • The accused side needs to be heard as well and they also need to get the opportunity to name witnesses as well (en:Audiatur et altera pars).
  • The decisions need to be appealable (even if the appeal ist handled by the same entity) in case new facts appear.
  • Current good practices in handling sensitive requests, e.g. Conflict resolution at the ETH Zurich.
  • There needs to be a transparent phase that includes more than stating that somebody was blocked or banned (transparent communication to community). If necessary, of course there can be a private phase where the accusations can be treated with discretion in the beginning.
Cheers, --Ghilt (talk) 08:34, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Community safety data[edit]
  • "We recommend that the Foundation work to create a system where contributors can safely express whether they feel safe in a particular project or not."
  • This one sentence gives a short glimpse of an opportunity to assess and improve the feeling of safety in our projects; and we encourage the committee to give it slightly more focus and add context to it.
  • We envision something like a short quarterly survey among all users which collects data about the safety of our communities and the difference between projects; results can be aggregated and published. With these short surveys, resources and links to policies and enforcement structures can also be widely distributed.
  • If the data coming out of this survey can be shared with affiliates in a way that GDPR and other data protection policies are adhered to, this data can offer a great opportunity for affiliates’s volunteer support to a) better understand the situation of each community they work with, and b) connect with other affiliates, compare the data and build upon each other’s experience to help improve the feeling of safety. This is especially interesting on a regional level where cultural similarities allow for more comparison and exchange.
  • The data coming out of the survey offers a rich resource and could also be used to initiate additional research around the topic of safety and inclusion. --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 20:10, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clear communication between local administrators[edit]

Can I check if this just means “every project with admins should have a page for them to discuss” or if there will be private spaces cut off from local editors being able to read, or comment and at least ensure those comments will be read (even if not posted into the same literal page)? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:56, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Transparency of process[edit]

  • This is really interesting – would love to see how different communities view different things of different severity. But it should also contain a “why” – perhaps some communities find mediation fails more, or IBANs especially effective. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:56, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, in German wikipedia almost everything is handled publicly. There are very few exeptions. Not in the policies, there were very few cases that were handled non-publicly. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 23:44, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Current good practices comprise two phases, a private phase (involving only accuser and decider) and a following phase, where the accused has the possibility to defend his- or herself, e.g. here. There also needs to be a transparent documentation beyond the fact that the accused was blocked and the category of offense. The current office action standards are not viewed as transparent in the de.wp-community at all, as stated in several discussions. --Ghilt (talk) 08:56, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Seconded. This might be a language-related problem, but I get an uncanny feeling about these "enforcing officers" and "committees" you're about to install without definitions, without clear responsibilities, and without voting, but with presumable serious impact on the volunteers' privileges. --MBq (talk) 08:30, 30 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hate speech and ideological abuse[edit]

  • Systematically manipulating content to favour specific interpretations of facts or points of view (also by means of unfaithful or deliberately false rendering of sources and altering the correct way of composing editorial content)
  • Hate speech in any form, or discriminatory language aimed at vilifying, humiliating, inciting hatred against individuals or groups on the basis of who they are or their personal beliefs

I would like to see the UCoC tribunal claiming jurisdiction over such matters, changing tack from current ArbCom and T&S policy of not intervening in content disputes. As many editors discussed during my Wikimania 2021 session on ideological edit wars, the global Wikimedia community should take on responsibility enforce content policies that actively promote knowledge equity, and to push back on governments and corporations who try to influence Wikipedia content while censoring us in a one-way street. Deryck C. 21:56, 4 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is a very slippery slope. Bad-faith editing (such as falsifying sources) is a conduct issue and can be handled and such. Biased editing in general should not be handled the same way. For one thing, it makes it really hard for wiki communities to defend their work (in a PR sense) as neutral and not manipulated by a shadowy cabal. For another, deciding what is and isn't biased is complicated and requires topic-specific expertise. Third, it's hard to ensure that the enforcing groups are themselves not biased on at least some topics. It would also flat-out violate a founding principle: the "wiki process" as the final decision-making mechanism for all content. Conduct enforcement should be limited to ensure that subject-matter expert and neutral, unbiased users are not excluded from the discussion by tone, tenacity or sheer volume, and wiki processes relying on the majority of editors being unbiased and reasonable can work. --Tgr (talk) 02:07, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'Recommendations for how to process appeals'[edit]

See "Regulations for appeal" and "Right to be heard" below. Deryck C. 13:53, 5 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The language in this chapter is biased, to say the least of it. "Individuals who have been found to have violated" - by whom? "The severity of the initial breach of the UCoC" - but maybe the appealer is right and there wasn't any breach of UCoC?
  • More questions: What does this phrase mean, "determination of that third-party"? Does "determination" mean who (which body) has to decide the appeal? Or does "determination" mean what they do with the appeal, whether they accept it at all, whether they accede to it?
  • Consequently, the "factors" are absolutely confusing. If "determination" means what they do with the appeal, the very first question must be: Is it true? Was there a breach of UCoC at all? Was the accused really the perpetrator? It's rather shocking that these "factors" are not even taken into consideration. Do the authors think that wrong judgment never happens in the Wikimedia sphere? I definitely hope not, but they'll have to do something to make this clear.
  • I understand it is possible that the accused is not even informed why they are sanctioned. In this case, how it is possible for them to make an appeal? It should be clarified that a) the accused has to be informed as far as reasonably possible for what action they are accused, and b) that in cases where this is difficult or impossible, at least a person trusted by the accused and the community should be informed.
  • Appeal should be a right that can only be denied in cases of imminent danger or crystal clear cases. The conditions under which an appeal cannot be "taken" at all must be defined as narrow as possible. Of course, this doesn't mean that any appeal is justified, but in any case where a wrong judgment is potentially possible, the appeal should always be dealt with.Mautpreller (talk) 20:18, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In real-world processes, appeals are costly in terms of time or money or both, which disincentivizes people from using them frivolously. An easy-to-use appeals process will result in the "losing" party using it every time, and that delegitimizes the initial handling body (why bother if the real decision will be made by the appeals body anyway?) and overburdens the appeals body. Serious limits need to placed on appeals, such as

  • the appealing party being in good standing and having already put a significant level of effort into the projects;
  • appeals requiring some significant effort from the appealing party, such as composing some kind of non-trivial document;
  • appeals being limited to identifying procedural errors in the initial process.

--Tgr (talk) 02:13, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In German Wikipedia the appeal ("Sperrprüfung") is a low entry process that is open to anyone who was blocked for any reason. The only "cost" is to write a text that outlines why one feels, the block should be modified. So the process is a cheap as it gets. Yet, only a small fraction of blocked authors actually appeal. I'd assume, the same would be true for UoC appeals. Therefore, I see no need to deliberately increase the effort necessary to appeal and/or limit appeals to procedural errors. The latter would be especially problematic as it would negate the beneficial effects that appeals might have as a check for the quality of decisions.---<(kmk)>- (talk) 22:06, 19 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The buck should stop with the established arbcoms[edit]

It should be made absolutely clear, that for projects with an established, elected arbcom their decisions are final and binding. --Count Count (talk) 10:47, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not only this. There needs to be a lot of clearification on where to start and where to stop with appeals. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 13:53, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I fully agree. In de.wp, arbcom decisions are final decisions (there are RfCs on that). If a local project has all necessary rules that resemble equivalent UCoC rules, U4C should not be applicable to that project. And please keep in mind, depending on the cultural background of a person, the same set of rules may be interpreted differently. --Ghilt (talk) 19:50, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree. Appeals to the U4C should be possible where an Arbcom has failed to follow the correct procedures, has endorsed an action that has blatantly not followed the correct procedures or has introduced procedures/restrictions that are contrary to UCoC. Martinvl (talk) 19:23, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you would need a community consensus for adding another level above of local volunteers. Please keep in mind, that arbcoms not following procedures are not reelected. And i cannot imagine a situation where an arbcom decides contrary to the UCoC. --Ghilt (talk) 19:50, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
ack Count Count and Ghilt. Nasiruddin (talk) 21:37, 22 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
May I draw to attention the Online Safety Bill, currently in draft form before the British Parliament. My reading of the draft tells me that Wikipedia would be classed as "social media" which could well put the English Wikipedia Arbcom under a legal spotlight. Since there is no route of appeal to WMF (who are legally responsible for Wikipedia), the route for appeals against perverse actions by Arbcom would be to U4C. Even if this route is never used, its existence would ensure that Arbcom keeps an eye on its legal obligations under the law. The law, if implemented, would give the British courts the right to fine the WMF for online safety infringements with the threat of Wikipedia being blocked in the UK if the WMF ignored the court's order. Martinvl (talk) 22:56, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As it would be a legal issue, it could be appealed to the WMF, as that's specifically a part of their remit if there was a genuine threat along those grounds. Using individual non-US laws, from a non-WMF lawyer interpretation of a bill, not even an act, to suggest what would be a major unwise change is also not justified. No Arbcom could keep their eye on their legal obligations if that domain is viewed as "every country", which could well happen as more and more try to designate an expansive domain. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:21, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
IMO the U4C section of the document puts it well: external (to the wiki) bodies should get involved when the local arbcom escalates to them out of their own will, or when there are systemic issues (ie. the arbcom has been repeatedly shown not to do their job). The last one is unavoidable - the entire point of the UCoC being universal is that something should be done about cases when it's not being followed by a given wiki. (It's naive to think that the wiki's normal governance processes are always enough to avoid that - sometimes the entire wiki community or a majority of it is ignoring conduct guidelines for some reason that's systemic to that language community, such as conflicts between nations or a highly partiarchal social structure; sometimes the initial "seed" community is problematic in some way and that turns away people who disagree with them; sometimes a problematic groups of users take over enforcement roles and abuse them to perpetuate their power, as we have seen e.g. in hrwiki.)
But under normal circumstances, arbcom decisions shouldn't be appealable to external bodies. It wouldn't scale; the external body, lacking familiarity with the local context, would usually be much more poorly positioned to handle the issue; and it could delegitimize and/or demoralize the arbcom. --Tgr (talk) 02:23, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Open questions for the Community[edit]

Escalation: Where do the complaints go, what instance/body/judge is supposed to process them.[edit]

  • Am I right in thinking this is “error of process”? But in non-appeal aspects? Sorry - I’m just a little lost here so am going to skip for now. The problem is that many immediate appeals are based on these grounds, so there’s major crossover with "appeals". Welcome any detail. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:07, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I’ve seen this raised before, but can we get a clearcut distinct phrasing for “appeal because I think the block was unwarranted” and “appeal because I’ve learnt my lesson”? Is that what escalation/appeal is meaning? The processes for handling the two are very different indeed, so sharing of terms is not clear. I wonder if there's a word from another language we can borrow? Nosebagbear (talk) 23:07, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Job descriptions[edit]

(Also following Wikimania UCoC roundtable)

There seems to be at least four job descriptions emerging for the UCoC. It will be helpful to have separate roles and descriptions for these, not just one "U4C membership". The different groups can have overlapping membership but the role differences need to be clear:

  • "Supreme Court Judges" who mediate or arbitrate cross-wiki disputes or disputes escalated from local projects that cannot resolve the dispute on its own;
  • "Clerks" who triage incoming reports to decide whether they should be resolved at UCoC level or delegated to local projects
  • "Mentors" or "Ambassadors" who help local projects improve their internal governance
  • "Cultural interpreters" who provide cross-cultural advice to the Judges and the Mentors, so as to understand local (both real-world and project) culture and avoid cultural pitfalls during dispute resolution.

Deryck C. 12:24, 16 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regulations for appeal (after the previous question "Where do the complaints go" has been answered).[edit]

  • I think this is going to have to be something to leave to communities to determine, so long it meets the “yes there’s an appeal, heard by a third party”. We can’t just have a “moves one step up”. On en-wiki, if any basic vandalism single-admin block could force an appeal to the Community conduct boards, we’d be overwhelmed. So, an appeal is heard by a different admin.
  • In a similar vein, something heard by the Community can only really be heard by the Community for it to have any weight at appeal. But there are cases where conduct can “step up” appeal level: e.g. if the appeal-review admin disagrees that it’s clear-cut, it goes to Community. Or something like discretionary sanctions [which is its own fun ball of connection with UCOC].

In short: Ultra basic cases (e.g. AIV) -> decided by admin -> appeal by different admin -> in event of disagreement, heard by community “Regular” complex cases -> heard by Community -> appeals held later by Community Very complex cases and cases with rare acceptable grounds for being heard away from community -> (potential prior history at other conduct routes) -> ARBCOM -> appeal route as provided for (I can well imagine some ARBCOMs devolving to U4C) Nosebagbear (talk) 23:13, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • @Nosebagbear: I think the UCoC process should not that few wikis have such a well established dispute resolution process. My suspicion is that in a significant proportion of cases the process will be: Dispute -> Local dispute resolution did not handle satisfactorily -> Escalate to UCoC tribunal -> UCoC mediator leads mediation of dispute. Deryck C. 13:52, 5 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should the U4C committee also decide individual cases or process appeals?[edit]

  • So I believe the U4C should decide (or have the right to decide) individual cases “original jurisdiction” in the following cases:
  1. where projects don’t have sufficient conduct capability to hear them;
  2. cases where projects have devolved such to the U4C
  3. all cases involving the conduct of a WMF Staffer
  4. x-wiki cases that are sufficiently mixed to not allow ready prioritisation to a single wiki and too complex for standard resolution Nosebagbear (talk)
    @Nosebagbear: with number four, is that not inherently saying the global community is incapable of processing such disputes? Don't get me wrong, I [personally] do think the global ban policy is a bit lacking in that it doesn't allow for anything less severe than a global ban. I also [still speaking personally and not as a committee member] think that RFCs are rather slow to actually see enactment. I just want to get a clear confirmation as to your motivations behind proposing number four. –MJLTalk 15:49, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @MJL: it was more my reading of the current U4C states jurisdiction over ALL x-wiki cases. Now I would be completely game for a more major re-write given things like glocks, gbans and so on. The general global policy probably needs some work - I'd certainly support a broader exemption than I added here, which is distinctly narrow. The U4C could then act as a convenient appeals body for those. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:54, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I believe the U4C should have the right to hear appeals in the following cases:
  1. All cases as above, except as specifically designated otherwise with regards to the U4C hearing its own appeals
  2. In the event of a systemically stable (in conduct terms) project losing that status, they may review appeals to a date agreed as being the start of major issues arising.
  3. WMF-imposed sanctions, except as specifically explained why a particular instance could not legally be subject to U4C review. General categorisation of a case is insufficient, the full U4C must be made aware of why a particular case is not subject to review, and may provide a public statement accepting or denying that judgement (but not revealing details). Nosebagbear (talk) 23:13, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When should someone be able to initiate an appeal for a UCoC violation?[edit]

  • If someone sees that there is a person who violates with its behaviour from the own view the Universal Code of Conduct. In this case everybody who sees it should be able to report this. To avoid duplicate appeals the reporting should be public as far as it is possible.--Hogü-456 (talk) 19:12, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In case of new facts. --Ghilt (talk) 08:46, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What kinds of behavior or evidence would we want to see before granting an appeal?[edit]

  • Correct sanction felt to be given – this is probably the 2nd strongest reason to be against totally private cases. How on earth is someone supposed to meet whatever these criteria are without knowing the case?
That aside, general criteria: understanding of what got them blocked, remorse for what they did, explanation of what they’d do differently if unblocked. We like to see helpful activity on other projects but that’s hardly required. In socks, they must assist on that. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nosebagbear (talk) 23:13, 21 August 2021
  • Sanction disputed as being correct - this needs to direct against either procedural or substantive grounds. The former is most seen in highly complex areas like Discretionary Sanctions. The latter needs to demonstrate either that there was missing information or that the judgement could not reasonably have been found from that. On that latter aspect, a lower bar is applied for a single admin blocking and a high one for Community/ArbCom. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nosebagbear (talk) 23:13, 21 August 2021

Who should handle the appeals process?[edit]

How often should someone be allowed to appeal a UCoC violation decision?[edit]

To what extent should individual Wikimedia projects be allowed to decide how they enforce the UCoC?[edit]

  • Firstly, we were repeatedly assured that the UCOC would be the minimum. The inherent corollary of that is that Communities must retain the maximum local authority, interpretation, and implementation method control as possible. Either the UCOC shouldn’t be possible to interpret differently (don’t think we can manage that), or it’s an unstated facet and therefore the principle of subsidiarity and minimalism sends it right back to the local communities.
  • However, a sense of practicality does apply in two facets here: a) communities just stating that the UCOC doesn’t clarify something when it clearly does b) communities not having sufficient size and scope to be able to viably assess such things.
  • For a) could be appealed to the U4C who would use a “clear and convincing” breach. Mediation would absolutely be an option. In the event of an established breach not being resolvable by this method, it could be overturned. In the event of established communities a single breach wouldn’t be grounds for demonstrating “systemic abuse”, but multiple breaches within the medium-term would be a major cause for concern.

I should note that in the transition year, we should expect a very high rate of good-faith disagreements here, which should be bourne in mind.

  • For b) Here I think is a good time to mention something that’s been mentioned throughout this whole tome: model documents. Who they’re made by is up for discussion, but having very core, slimline, documents and interpretations that apply unless a Community conduct page is already there seems really beneficial. Otherwise it puts a huge amount of work onto 10 editors re-inventing the wheel. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:13, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If a community has a system that enables enforcement of UCoC locally (rules comprising the same points and institutions to enforce), they should do it. That would be in line with our vision/movement strategy's subsidiarity principle. The current sentiment in de.wp is, that the board should not be forcing the UCoC on us (as we have similar rules) and respect the subsidiarity principle. --Ghilt (talk) 09:01, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How will people be chosen for the U4C committee?[edit]

Our current recommended list of users include, but are not limited to: CheckUsers, oversighters, bureaucrats, administrators of local projects, arbitration committee members, Wikimedia Foundation employees, Affiliates, etc.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation elections committee is mostly filled with Stewards and other esteemed editors. But you needn't look further than here or here to see what a fiasco that turned out to be. The same issue is reflected in the Ombuds Commission. These are not accountable bodies, and (respectfully) other discussions leave it unclear whether they're even competent bodies (sorry, I can't figure out a lighter way to put it). Compare all that to the English Wikipedia's Elections Committee, composed of editors who run for, and are elected specifically for, that position (here), or to the ArbComs themselves.
    Members of the U4C Committee should not be 'chosen' at all, as history shows that 'WMF appointment of esteemed editors to Committees' doesn't work. Candidates should be elected into the role by their peers, the editors who they will be helping and/or judging, in annual elections. In that election, they can set out their platform and why they would be effective at the job, and the community will have the option of picking those they trust for this job (conducting CU checks, determining consensus to appoint admins, preventing LTA abuse, etc, is not at all the same as deciding on conduct problems with established editors). Since this body will have even more power than stewards, they should be subject to reconfirmations (like stewards) to ensure there is still community confidence in their continued tenure. Any other method of appointment is not legitimate IMO. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 18:28, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I strongly agree. While the Foundation technically doesn't need the buy-in of local communities in order to implement this new Code, things will go a lot more smoothly if local communities are given the ability to ensure that these committees don't stray from their intended purpose. If, on the other hand, these appointments are made by the Foundation, I strongly believe that the local communities will come to resent the committees and their members as an outside governing force that is not answerable to them. Lepricavark (talk) 04:30, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @ProcrastinatingReader: In your opinion, who should organize said election? –MJLTalk 01:25, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @MJL: Interesting question, though I don't think I have a qualified answer to give. I'd probably start by looking at history: what has worked and what hasn't. As I understand, enwiki's ArbCom electoral processes system seems to work well (an RfC en:WP:ACERFC2020, followed by empanelling a commission en:WP:ELECTCOM2020). However, that's developed over two decades and probably requires a critical mass of interested editors to keep functioning, and I dunno if the U4CC will have that level of interest. In comparison, the WMF Board Elections Commission seems like a farce to me, so that clearly doesn't work. I suppose other projects probably have functioning election organisation systems, too. And, of course, there are the SE which seem to be organised by stewards and those seem to work out well too, although I don't think self-oversight is the way to go for this body. Steward oversight could also be a good idea (as they're competent, trusted, and experienced with global communities), but on closer examination this may not work really (can expand on why I think that), and of course depends on whether they'd be interested in the first place.
    The preceding paragraph assumes one big global election should be held on meta. Perhaps it shouldn't, and a series of elections should be held locally or in project groups (the current draft guidelines stipulate communities grouping together by language, for example, in shared ArbComs). An alternative approach might be making the Committee composed of current ArbCom members, which fits nicely in line with the ideas in "Providing resources for processing cases" (expansion of ArbComs), but may not necessarily be representative of the editorbase, and of course some ArbCom members may not be interested. This method would be a more indirect election, and would save time/energy spent on another set of annual elections. Lots of different ways to look at this question, I suppose. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 01:31, 21 August 2021 (UTC) e: 01:52, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree, and I hope that the U4C committee has regular elections by the communities, and not appointments. Jackattack1597 (talk) 00:07, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would firmly note that ElectCom has demonstrate that its process does not work, whereas en-wiki's electcom does work, though may not necessarily here. I have serious issues with the way Steward reconfirmations are run - unlike the above I'm not saying they can't run good elections, but I'm saying that using their current mechanism as evidence for it is not necessarily warranted. The WMF also definitely can't have any input into the process. They have demonstrated on several occasions an inability to do crucial mathematics, which makes me reticent to trust them in something they have such a vested interest in. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:07, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ː What I see emerging on the francophone wikipedia is elected members saying that they allready apply the Ucoc and there is therefore not much to do. I am concerned about the fact there is not question anywhere of the representation of underreprresented communities who are often the most targeted persons. IMO there should be a quota initiative assuring that people belonging to underrepresented communities are represented and able to have a voice in the comittee and the processes, otherwise the current situation where these people are the most targeted for harrasment will prevail. I think there should be a mix of elected and appointed representatives, because I see a lot of women for example not daring to undergo an election process by fear of being targeted. The quesiton of who will apply the Ucoc is crucial and will determine wether it will be effeective or not, and wether it will change the current situation that is not optimal of wether it will reinforce it. Nattes à chat (talk) 09:11, 9 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On one hand, the U4C committee will have to handle controversial issues, which means they will depend on having legitimacy and trust. Elections are the best tool for providing legitimacy, and for selecting trusted people. On the other hand, we have seen how the threat of retaliation at the next election has disincentivised stewards from taking on controversial cases; low-turnout elections (which are the norm in the Wikimedia world) are always vulnerable to small, strongly motivated interest groups. I think the U4C should be ultimately within a community governance framework (ie. somewhere up in their "command chain" there should be some person or group that is elected), but not directly elected. Maybe they should be selected by the Global Council, with some public preliminary process where candidates can apply and others can challenge their "good standing". --Tgr (talk) 02:34, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Removal from office[edit]

  • If a completely new body with staggering powers is going to be formed, I assume it's reasonable that while they can (and should!) have an internal impeachment process as well it clearly would be seriously odd to trust in it. There's a question about having different needs: individual issues and group issues. For the moment, I'm going to say it's the latter that needs a focus. Perhaps RfCs by at least 10 projects representing 10% of the active editors of the project should in effect force an immediate recall election, and, if appropriate, move the timing of the next UCOC review period sooner. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:07, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Should an interim committee be formed while the "U4C" committee is being created?[edit]

Should global conduct committees, such as the Technical Code of Conduct committee, be merged into the proposed U4C?[edit]

  • Could we get a list of these, to aid discussion? One specific exemption is that of the Ombuds Committee. Though that needs a rewrite. It’s needed for U4C overview (which may require them to sign the same nondisclosure agreements to be able to get absolute access for review) and would provide a route for tool users to get a route of appeal to specialists. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:13, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The only groups I can think of are the Ombuds and mw:Code of Conduct/Committee. As NBB noted, the Ombuds have a distinct role overseeing privacy-related positions.
    The TCoC predates the UCoC and differs from it in a few ways. Most notably, the TCoC is anti-transparency and prohibits the TCoCC from releasing almost any information about cases (including public disclosure of sanctions in most cases). TCoC sanctions could previously be appealed to the WMF, but appeals are now only heard by the TCoCC. The TCoCC provides subject-matter expertise on both the TCoC and the methods by which technical contributors interact. For those reasons, I don't think it would be beneficial to merge the TCoC into the U4C. I do think that TCoC sanctions should be appealable to the U4C (with the same process as any other local sanction appeal). AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 04:10, 27 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I strongly disagree with merging TCoCC into a new group. First of all, I don't think TCoCC is global group. It only has jurisdiction in the technical spaces (including but not limited to mediawiki.org, Phabricator, Gerrit, technical in-person events like Hackathon or the IRC channels). I think specificity of its jurisdiction is very similar to the one of local ArbComs, which aren't proposed to be merged. While TCoCC could in theory affect users who are not regulars in the technical community, that happens very rarely, if at all. In addition to that, I personally would rather trust a group of users selected from the community itself, rather than a global body, whose members might not have any technical experience at all. Because of lack of technical knowledge, they might easily misunderstand discussions, which would in turn make code enforcement much harder. Disclaimer: I currently serve as the chair of the TCoCC. This post is written in my personal capacity, and contains only my personal opinions. --Martin Urbanec (talk) 23:23, 29 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The Technical Code of Conduct should be replaced by the Universal Code of Conduct. Subjecting users to pages of pseudo-legalese is not something to be overdone. The Technical Code of Conduct could be seen as the local enforcement group for technical spaces (basically an arbcomÖ; there might be chances to reduce the bureaucracy around it a bit, but having such a body makes perfect sense. --Tgr (talk) 02:39, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

General comments[edit]

Appeals[edit]

I think the rules must clearly establish "Yes, the accused is allowed to file an appeal based on 'I did not perform the action in question and here is evidence that I did not" OR "No, the accused is not allowed to file an appeal based on the idea that they did not perform the action in question; doing so is a sanctionable offense" with a possible "No, the accused is not allowed to file an appeal based on the idea that they did perform the action in question but said action should not be considered bad; doing so is a sanctionable offense." The second scenario is very counterintuitive and it may not be obvious that it's not allowed. It is best to tell people ahead of time that they are not allowed to do this (or that they are). The third scenario is somewhat counterintuitive and many people have filed appeals like that and been surprised when the result was negative. This will save everyone time and aggravation. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:46, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"...many people have filed appeals like that..." On what project, against what decisions? --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 16:15, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Timelines[edit]

I see more than one reference to "We must handle complaints in a timely manner." This is good. However, I feel it would be best to add some acknowledgement that we have to give the accused person time to read and compose a response to the accusations, ideally before they're presented to the people who are going to make the decision. Perhaps a day and a half for every 500 words of accusing text. So if someone files a 3000 word complaint, the accused would be given a copy and nine days to write a reply, and then the complaint and reply would be presented to the community or committee at the same time. At the very least, the accused should have a chance to read and respond to the complaint before the decision is made or sanctions imposed. Otherwise, we leave open a loophole for abusive complaints. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:55, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We have two conflicting problems in the setting of timelines. On the one hand, we cannot expect people to see an accusation against them as soon as it has been published. There have been cases where an accusation is lifted against somebody who has gone on holiday and who has not logged onto their account for two weeks. When they get back, they find that they have been blocked without even knowing that an accusation has been made against them. On the other hand, if the timeframe is too long, a vandal who uses one of the more subtle forms of vandalism can continue while the clock is ticking. One way to counter such a situation is as follows:
  • An accusation is made against an editor
  • Evidence is presented in response to the case
  • After 48 hours, the evidence against the accused is strong enough for sanctions to be applied, but they have not responded, nor is there evidence that they have logged into any Wikimedia project.
  • A closing administrator will issue a pre-emptive block which will prevent the accused from making any edits.
  • When the accused next logs on, they will see the pre-emptive block. They will have the ability to cancel the pre-emptive block and defend themselves.
  • As soon as they cancel the pre-emptive block, everybody who has made a comment concerning the case will be notified that the accused as returned and the case can continue.
Since such a procedure might well require some software changes to the Wiki code itself, it is probably best handled at the WMF level rather than at individual project level. Martinvl (talk) 21:13, 28 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This would be extremely difficult to do - we don't have anything like that level of parsing capability.
Per @Darkfrog24:'s reasonable thoughts, it would make more sense to phrase in the style of "the longer of X days, or Y days/500 words" (I would note here that the slow part of reviewing allegations is not base words but diffs - factor them in). Nosebagbear (talk) 15:53, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reason for sanctions[edit]

Until 2011, the English Wikipedia had a rule--I think it was for AE--saying "Every sanctioned person has the right to be told exactly what they were sanctioned for." I do not know why that rule was taken down; it strikes me as a very good idea, but there may have been a good reason for the change. Perhaps someone who knows why it was removed could comment on whether "Always tell the sanctioned person exactly what they did" backfired on the English Wikipedia or created any problems there. Publicly stating what action merited what sanction doesn't only tell the sanctioned person what they need to work on; it proactively establishes to anyone watching that a given action counts as violation of the UCoC, and then they'll know in advance not to do it. Darkfrog24 (talk) 14:55, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would imagine it was for the reason that if you said to an editor, in your capacity as a volunteer, you have been banned from the Wikipedia projects for [insert criminal act of your choice here], you were leaving yourself open to being sued as an individual if that person vehemently disagreed, and considered it a matter of defamation. Likewise if said by an Officer of the WMF, leaving the WMF open to being sued. We now know, at least in the latter case, and perhaps in the former, there is no such risk, not since the WMF successfully argued before a Californian judge that you can be banned from Wikipedia for any reason, including no reason at all (so who would care what the reason given was?). Crony Pony 2b (talk) 11:05, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One needs to consider the practicalities of suing another editor or a WMF official. You first of all need to know their real name and their real address. You then need to check what the law is in the jurisdiction where they live. If they live in another continent, forget it, it will probably cost too much but if they live in the same jurisdiction as yourself you might be able to sue them. You would of course have to argue that the Californian judgement does not hold water in your jurisdiction. In short, it would be a long haul. Martinvl (talk) 17:07, 26 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think there are two different issues here:
  • You should have a right to be told (not necessarily in public) what you are accused of.
  • You should have a right to make the accusation public so you can "defend in the court of public opinion" (at least, so you can prove you haven't been sanctioned for something worse).
There are some legal concerns around the second, but I imagine the sanctioned person could sign some sort of waiver that they consent to making their accusation public, in a way that would prevent them from suing. Safety concerns might be more complicated: if the sanctioned user is popular, the presumed accuser (typically, the victim of whatever misconduct the sanction was given for) might face harassment or more subtle retaliation. It's a tough call, but I would still like us to default to being public in cases where that doesn't seem to be a concern. --Tgr (talk) 02:48, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Right to be heard[edit]

I also tried to argue on numerous occasions that we should include the principle of audi alteram partem in the UCoC enforcement guidelines, along the following lines:

Allow all individuals involved in a case tell their side of the matter before making an enforcement decision. In urgent cases, a preliminary decision may be made before that, but only if an appeal is possible.

I would like to understand why this was not included. --Gnom (talk) 17:33, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I fully agree with this. The current T&S phenomenon of flip-flopping between complete inaction and WMF-wide ban without opportunity for appeal is, to put it lightly, less than optimal. Anecdotal case evidence (there was a lot of it at Wikimania 2021) seems to suggest which way a complaint goes is dictated by how many friends a side of a harassment report has amongst WMF T&S staff, rather than the merits of the case itself. Deryck C. 22:03, 4 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Me, too.Mautpreller (talk) 19:50, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Why was this clause not included? I'd rather like to get an answer to this question. Maybe the draft comitee members could provide such an answer? Mautpreller (talk) 18:49, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I strongly support Gnom's suggestion to include this principle. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 23:00, 15 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support Gnom's point as well: the person who is accused of having violated the UCoC should (a) be precisely told what he/she is accused of and (b) be given the opportunity to defend her/himself. --Qcomp (talk) 21:31, 24 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --MBq (talk) 08:32, 30 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --ɱ 17:14, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Ghilt (talk) 17:24, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
1 Nasiruddin (talk) 17:24, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also strongly support Gnom's proposal. And I would like to add that taking part in a Wikimedia project is an aspect of your human right to the Freedom of speech. Within Europe, the ECHR applies even between private parties, within the EU there also is the CFR. Procedural rights, that also are human rights, matter. Could you please reconsider your decision. Thank you in advance. Regards, Aschmidt (talk) 17:52, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1. Hierbei handelt es sich eigentlich um einen zivilisatorischen Mindeststandard. Wie sagt man das auf Englisch? --Gardini (talk) 17:58, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Gardini, I think, you mean to say that procedural rights are among what you would expect to find in a fair community. Regards, Aschmidt (talk) 18:30, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A closer translation of Gardinis words is: "This is actually a minimum standard of civilization.". DBarthel (WMF) (talk) 16:46, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 It's essential for the rule of law. --Schlesinger (talk) 18:25, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 Andim (talk) 18:28, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --voyager (talk) 19:07, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 Chaddy (talk) 19:19, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 Tkarcher (talk) 19:20, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 Alice Wiegand (talk) 19:34, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 19:42, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 - and not just in this case. In ALL CASES, the WMF thinks, she can at without ANY hearing. And there are a lot of these. -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 19:52, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 -- Lesless (talk) 19:54, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 There are a few exceptions, such as when genuine off-wiki blowback could be assumed (say, the job is a charge of contacting someone's employer), but outside those limited areas, they must be able to hear all evidence and respond Nosebagbear (talk) 20:18, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As an imporatnt follow-up to this, I should note that very clearcut cases, such as those that are a) very simple cases, like vandalism blocks or b) brightline cases (legal threats, actual threats etc etc) can reasonable avoid this. It would in fact be chaos if every AIV block had to be postponed for a "right to be heard", but I'd want very cautious language used to avoid this being widely interpreted. The right to appeal is not synonymous with this, as appealing is harder Nosebagbear (talk) 19:54, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Alexander (talk) 22:20, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Holder (talk) 04:26, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Don-kun (talk) 07:20, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Túrelio (talk) 07:21, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Bubo 07:51, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Ca$e (talk) 08:45, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Millbart (talk) 08:51, 14 October 2021 (UTC) To be honest, I don't know what I find more depressing about all this: That people have no say in whether this gets created in the first place or that they have to beg to be heard.Reply[reply]
Maximum support! Greets, Bernhard Wallisch 09:37, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
en:Star chambers must never ever happen here in the Wikiverse, they are the completely incompatible with the core principles of our community. Something like FRAMBAN, or currently Krassotkin, must never happen, such decisions have to be made in open and transparent procedures with possibilities for the accused to have a word in it, and other involved persons as well. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 13:12, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --A.Savin (talk) 14:04, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 the world should be fair -Uranus95 (talk) 15:04, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Fano (talk) 16:42, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This shouldn't only need to be part of an "Enforcement guidelines". It is part of the universal code of conduct (explicitly written in lowercase letters). Habitator terrae (talk) 17:06, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --DaizY (talk) 19:54, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Luke081515 20:19, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 I strongly support the point raised by Gnom Groetjes --Neozoon (talk) 20:28, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 I support that. As wrote I think talking to and with a person before making a decision is important.--Hogü-456 (talk) 20:33, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 but I'd like to emphasize that I do not consider "right to make counter-accusations" to be the same thing. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 08:08, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --Niki.L (talk) 09:26, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 --CennoxX (talk) 21:57, 20 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Speaking as an individual, I don't believe a blanket rule like this is necessary. In nearly all instances of volunteer-implemented on-wiki sanctions, it is necessary to have avenues of appeal, and to permit opportunity for explanation by the accused party. This helps guarantee that actions aren't taken without proper merit, and if they are, that it can be sorted by other trusted community members.
However, whereas in real-world courts of law the actions of the accused need to be proven to a set criteria or level of acceptable doubt, in the world of conduct enforcement on Wikimedia projects we tend to have much clearer cases. There is no argument, with the exception of the "my little brother did it" defense, whether a user made an edit. We have diffs, we have CU logs, we have AbuseFilter logs, etc. Everything on-wiki is logged.
Let's take an example of an editor who made uncivil comments on-wiki. It would be unheard of to ask them if they had made the edit. Instead, admins would leave a warning or block, depending on severity. The user may disagree that their statements had been uncivil, which is common, and in that case they generally have the ability to appeal and rightfully should, again depending on severity. And though arguing that the statements were not uncivil or that the admin response was disproportionate is often an acceptable method of appeal, arguing that the comments were never made is not, as there is no doubt that the editor who made the comments is the editor who was subject to admin action. As such, appeal and being able to contest actions is necessary and important for a just system of conduct enforcement, but consultation with the editors at fault prior to admin action is not necessary in areas where the abuse in question is directly tied without a doubt to a user, like where diffs or other logs exist. ​
This is of course different in the situation of off-wiki evidence. There is a not-insigniciant number of LTAs who are known for impersonating Wikimedia contributors on non-Wikimedia projects or websites. And we don't have anywhere near the level of certainty about connecting a user's off-wiki activities that we do for logged on-wiki actions. It's also a much larger argument about what constitutes violations of certain policies when it comes to off-wiki issues, and always has been.
I would support adding a sentence similar to the one proposed, with a few modifications. In instances of bright-line violations of the UCOC, where there is no doubt that the action was a violation and no doubt that the user in question is the user who committed the action, it would be detrimental to allow the user to continue editing. However, if there is uncertainty about either if the actions in question were UCOC violations or that the user in question is the user who committed the action, I believe that the accused user should have the opportunity to speak their side. Appealing a hastily-taken or poorly-investigated action is much more difficult than giving one's opinion while actions are still being considered, and putting people who may not be in violation of the UCOC through an appeals process that they would clearly be in the right for is massively unhelpful.
On the topic of appeals, the ability to appeal should optimally be offered in nearly all cases with a handful of exceptions, mainly child protection or cases of serious harassment and stalking. In such cases, it would be pertinent to skip both the stage of asking the user their opinions and the stage of offering an avenue of appeal; those are bright-line, urgent cases where actions are required.
My intention with this comment is to note that there's a lot more nuance involved than just allowing everyone to give their case before action may be considered. On-wiki enforcement of community consensus is not comparable to government enforcement of laws, and involves fundamentally different principles and potential actions. We are dealing with the access of individuals to a collaborative community, not people's lives.
Blanket statements stating that individuals have a right to speak their case before action is considered is, as I hope has been explained sufficiently, often not practical in the environment we operate in on Wikimedia projects. In other words, I agree with the basic principles expressed by those who have supported the addition of Gnom's suggestion, but believe it could be modified to better fit the specific issues of online community-based conduct enforcement. Best regards, and thank you all for your feedback and participation, Vermont (talk) 19:59, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I concur with @Vermont: that both ultra-brightline (and I'm confident I draw a higher line on what is brightline than Vermont does) and off-wiki retaliation cases need not have this stage, I do believe there is a fairly fundamental third category beyond those he lists as valid for right to be heard. That of "was a siteblock the correct response" (which is perhaps what this is most concerned about - I believe the concerns on, say, a pageban are less significant). Someone could have committed something that is a clear UCOC violation and it is clearly them. I posit the following example "User X saying that user Y is a moron, who shouldn't edit". Now that would certainly meet the two criteria he gives. But context and interpretation could both apply different outcomes to the severity of response. I've seen users provoked to a level that I would likely have responded as virulently in their shoes, even if it's obviously not how we want our issues handled. On the flipside, perhaps they have a history of similar marginal calls, without provocation.
In short, I would say that only clear-cut simple cases (primarily vandalism and similar), and extremely clear-cut brightline cases (e.g. threats, legal threats, rants), should not have this right applied - with "brightline" also applying to the sanction applied. Additionally good case for any off-wiki evidence case to fall into this basket (but with provisional injunctive blocks remaining, of course). Nosebagbear (talk) 20:26, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, but I don't agree at all with Vermont's statement. There is no such difference between on-wiki and off-wiki actions. Very often in off-wiki actions, it is totally clear beyond doubt who did something (but it is not clear whether this was against the law or else it is not clear which kind of sanction is adequate). Moreover, on-wiki actions are real-world actions in themselves and may be subject to penal law according to exactly the same standards as off-wiki actions. The fundamental difference stated by Vermont simply doesn't exist. - There is a just reason for sanctions before the incriminated users could plead their cause. But this reason has nothing to do with the question whether anyone thinks it's a "clear-cut case". This reason is impending danger. If there is real danger that, say, a user will do something very harmful if not stopped immediately, he or she has to be blocked immediately. However, in this case the option of appeal and review must be present. Any lawful state, organization, or community follows this rule. Even mass murderers, in real life, are entitled to a right to be heard.--Mautpreller (talk) 21:12, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Mautpreller, thanks for your comment! I want to clarify that the fundamental difference between on and off-wiki actions I refer to is the ease of tying actions to a single user, not the applicability of policy or law. On-wiki actions are logged in MediaWiki as being done by a specific user, off-wiki actions would need to be investigated and properly looked into to ensure it isn't impersonation or unrelated. And when it comes to taking actions before the accused user has made a statement, I think we agree for the most part. Blocks and sanctions are made to prevent abuse, and if abuse is ongoing, especially if it involves danger, action needs to be immediate. I didn't discuss that very much in my comments as it wasn't the direct focus of my issues with the proposed addition. On the topic of a right to appeal, yes, mass murders in real life have a right to appeal. That's because the imposed punishment could very well be imprisonment for the rest of their life, or the end of their life. We are a collaborative community building an encyclopedia, not a government. If someone has done incredibly terrible things, such as harassment/stalking, child protection issues, threats, etc., we have no obligation to continue supporting their presence in the Wikimedia community. The vast majority of globally banned and foundation banned users are people who I hope never return to editing (and/or stop trying to return to editing), and their presence alone can be stressful or traumatizing for many good volunteers. There are people for whom appeals will never be entertained. Vermont (talk) 21:42, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Vermont: If a blocked user sees a posting in Wikipedia which he reasonably believes might threaten the lives of others if it is not immediately removed, do you think that he is justified in taking action even if it means breaking his block? If so, why should he be denied the opportunity to explain his actions? Martinvl (talk) 09:54, 16 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
May I draw to attention three different structures which illustrate that the right to be heard is currently not well implemented in the English Wikipedia.

  • Sockpuppet Investigations (WP:SPI)
This is located at [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_investigations WP:SPI]. Complainants using this service enter details of their complaint into a template which gives the hearing structure and greatly simplifies the administrator's job. My only complaint against this system is that if User:A is already blocked and User:B is accused of being a sockpuppet, then only User: B has to defend himself, while User:A might not even know about the investigation. The failure to allow User:A a voice allows trolls to improperly impersonate User:A.
  • Arbcom Requests (WP:RFAR)
This is located at WP:RFAR. Appeals to Arbcom are only permitted as a last resort. As with SPI motions, complainants are presented with a template where they are required to fill in the details of their complaint. If a complaint gets this far, the hearing is generally fair, but the number of hurdles placed in a complainant’s path can make it difficult to get that far. In particular, if a user is the victim of a group of trolls and a bad administrator, the appeal procedure goes round and round in circle without getting to Arbcom.
  • The Administrator' noticeboard/Incidents (WP:ANI)
This is located at at WP:ANI. The procedure here is a "free-for-all" which makes it a troll’s paradise and often results in poor decisions by administrators.
As an example of the ANI procedure gone wrong, may I present this case study. In 2014 User: Brian Josephson was blocked for supposedly "making legal threats". He had said that somebody else's comments were "libellous", but did not actually threaten court action. In most cases, a user in this situation would have had a very difficult time but Josephson, who was an emeritus Cambridge professor, Nobel laureate and discoverer of the Josephson effect threatened to go to the press. What happened next was not made public, but Josephson's block was lifted. The full case can be studied at

Martinvl (talk) 22:48, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Martinvl:: this is a very odd point that doesn't really have any bearing. Firstly, any 7 year old example is automatically extremely suspect for any point you're trying to make. Secondly, you seem to be raising examples in a "right for complainant to be heard", that's not in anyway an unreasonable topic of discussion, but has no bearing on this specific section which is very clearly "right to be heard as an accused"; thirdly, ANI actually has some significant precautions on right to be heard, some of which are recent improvements - the accused must be notified, and recently we've added binding minimum times, thus making it far more likely they'll see the case before the block; fourthly, ANI is certainly drama prone but neither a troll paradise (too many admins) nor, as you are no doubt well aware, do admins really make the decisions on it. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:03, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@User:Vermont: Sorry, I disagree. The "ease of tying actions to a single user" is not at all a "fundamental difference". This is neither true (since you can only identify an account) nor unusual (since "tying actions to a single person" without any doubt is very often possible off-wiki). Moreove, on-wiki actions are in fact real-life actions and can be judged by law courts. If the WMF fails to apply fundamental standards for fair procedure, it is very probable that this will indeed happen some time. Again, you say, "If someone has done incredibly terrible things, such as harassment/stalking, child protection issues, threats, etc., we have no obligation to continue supporting their presence in the Wikimedia community." I object to the wording ("incredible terrible things" seems to me over the top since these things happen all the time), but not to the consequence: no, we have no obligation supporting the presence of some people in the community. But if someone is accused of violations of the rules (be it "incredibly terrible things" or minor actions) they must have the opportunity to defend themselves. This does not mean that they must be permitted to edit in any project. And a trial, review, appeal or the like can (and will often) have the result that the global lock is justified. It is simply a question of lawful procedure. You may call it formal, but sticking to forms is the very essence of fairness.--Mautpreller (talk) 10:31, 16 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

+1 to having a right to be heard absent exceptional circumstances, but I think this should only apply to users with a sizeable contribution history behind them ("wiki citizens" if you like). In an environment where anonymity can easily be abused, and even absent that, there is a huge flow of short-lived accounts, we need to avoid investing more effort into users than they invest into the wiki, otherwise we'll end up with an unsustainable system. --Tgr (talk) 02:55, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Tgr: If anybody making a complaint on en:WP:ANI were required to fill in a template as happens elsewhere on the English Wikipedia, we could satisfy this criteria with little or no extra effort. The fields in the template would be:
  • Outline complaint (max 128 characters)
  • Name Complainant
  • Names of the defendants
  • Details of the complaint
  • Defence by defendants
  • Defence by <name1>
  • Defence by <name2>
  • etc
  • Comments by aggrieved party
  • Comments by <editor A>
  • Comments by <editor B>
  • etc
  • Comments by others
  • Comments by <Editor P>
  • Comments by <Editor Q>
  • etc
  • Statement by closing administrator.
Such a template would simplify the closing administrator's work as the criteria against which they would be working would be clearly defined> It would simplify appeals, both against the initial ruling and requests for reinstatement following a valid block as everybody would have the same frame of reference from which to work. Martinvl (talk) 15:01, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Raised on the current version talk page as the RTBH is currently missing, despite its heavily requested form. Should we manage to get a dedicated meeting on the topic, I'll ping both supporters and detractors of the concept (and the myriad nuances in between) who have commented on it on this page. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:07, 22 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Right of counsel[edit]

The current draft of the UCoC guidelines fails to grant the right to counsel] to the defendant. Just like the right to be heard, the right to get represented by a trusted person is generally regarded as a constituent of the right to a fair trial. ---<(kmk)>- (talk) 18:24, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is more dubious - lawyers are necessary because of the ultra-firm complexity of the law (and however bureaucratic say, en-wiki, might have become, we don't even approach an actual legal code) and the cast-iron nature of it. Whereas if someone provides evidence in a slightly different way for us, it's not a big deal.
We also don't have the capability to work it this way - while I'm glad that lawyers will defend those they find guilty, it's not something most of the limited corps of experienced editors would be willing to take up Nosebagbear (talk) 19:29, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Avoid unnecessary abbreviations[edit]

Please replace "ArbCom" with "arbitration committee or similar conflict resolution body", and "U4C Committee" with a more telling name. We need clear language for this to work, and to be inclusive. Thanks, --Gnom (talk) 17:39, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. I've looked all over and can't find what the other 2 C's are (presuming Code of Conduct are 2 of the 4). Abbreviations and acronyms are easier to remember when one knows (or once knew) what they stand for. — JohnFromPinckney (talk / edits) 23:11, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Parking Enforcement Officers are on patrol in this area! Have you Paid and Displayed?"
I think it's meant to be Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee. But then the Committee is repeated. It's probably easier to just call it the "UCOC Committee" or something.
Additionally, I suppose local sysops/etc are all "Code Enforcement Officer"s. I suppose the term is meant to make you think of en:Law enforcement officers, but personally it reminds me of parking tickets (not that I'd know what those are). Both aren't great connotations IMO ('Wiki Police Force' has a better ring to it, though). ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 00:10, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What does U4C even mean? --Gereon K. (talk) 19:53, 13 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Gereon K.: - as said above, it is the abbreviation for Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (see 3.2). The name is preliminary though. DBarthel (WMF) (talk) 08:56, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@DBarthel (WMF): I cannot find 3.2 resp. your explanation there, but thank you for the translation. --Gereon K. (talk) 09:20, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, I should have served a link right away: here you are. Lieben Gruß, DBarthel (WMF) (talk) 09:24, 14 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Dear [Code Enforcement] Officer"... Habitator terrae (talk) 17:44, 17 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Criteria for recusal[edit]

I wonder if "anyone named in a dispute should recuse themselves from the case" would be better as "anyone with any conflict of interest in the case should recuse themselves."

Let's say two people are dating and they want to keep it private or business partners or cousins or friends. (It's a community and people meet each other.) One of them files a complaint, and the other one is on a committee. Maybe we should add an "all judges are expected to abstain in any case in which they have a conflict of interest" and "any judge may recuse themselves for any reason" so no one has to reveal private information to bow out. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:58, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That makes sense, rather than may recuse for any reason, it is reasonable to say that you don't have to explain who your conflict of interest is provided you have recused. WereSpielChequers (talk) 20:35, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this will lead to a lot of argument about what a conflict of interest is. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:00, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think you're talking about "What if the admin is someone's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate?" Yes, that might turn up as an issue, but I'm talking about giving admins the maximum opportunity possible to do the job well. It would be better to err on the side of avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. Creating a tradition of "Admins can recuse themselves and they don't have to say why; they're probably just being extra careful" would be a plus for everyone.Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:54, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would go further and state that "Should any admin find themselves in a position where a conflict of interest MIGHT be suspected or where they have in the past interacted with one of the parties in a manner that suggests that they MIGHT have exercised their judgement as to circumstances surrounding the earlier incident, then they are expected to recuse themselves". Martinvl (talk) 21:29, 25 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hm, I agree in spirit but I'd like to be a bit more cautious with the actual wording. I think if we say what is proposed above, we run the risk of people gaming the system by trying to selectively disqualify adjudicators. (see the joke at w:en:Wikipedia:The best way to avoid ever being blocked) Instead, the standard should be: "does the adjudicator have an actual or apparent conflict of interest with regard to the resolution of the dispute?". Nothing more complex than that.
Also, we shouldn't say "you can recuse for any reason"; w:en:WP:VOLUNTEER and the similar spirit on other projects says it for us in a more general sense. KevinL (aka L235 · t) 00:54, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unable to handle[edit]

  • "...Where local structures are unable..."

This is rather broad latitude. Does this even need to be included? If they are "unable to handle", they should be able to request assistance. So this seems unnecessary. - Jc37 (talk) 20:14, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mm. I'm a bit confused here because Once formed, the permanent committee will decide on how often it should convene, and the nature of the cases that can be escalated to it. seems weird in combination with the "Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups" section. Does this mean the Committee can change its scope, or that of the cases allocated to it under article 3, it can choose which it will take and which it won't? Both interpretations seem in need of refinement, so perhaps there's a third. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 21:08, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

enforcement of violations[edit]

" enforcement of violations " might be neater as enforcement of the UCOC or enforcement against violations. Maybe this is an English v American English thing, but do we really want to enforce the violations? WereSpielChequers (talk) 20:40, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I also rise to speak against defining enforcement as "enforcement". The tautology is too tautological. Perhaps instead of "...and enforcement of violations...", we might say "...and sanctions (or 'punishment', maybe) for infractions of...". JohnFromPinckney (talk) 22:55, 17 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, what does "enforcement" mean? Blocking? Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 09:39, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Presumably they would have power for bans, removal of user rights, etc., just like Trust and Safety's Office actions. But I agree there should be a definition on methods of "enforcement". ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 11:55, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Addressing certain legal realities[edit]

I find this all very fascinating and it certainly does look like a lot of effort has gone into it. Can I just ask though, how much awareness is there among the people involved, of the basic legal reality, as confirmed by a recent Californian judgement where the WMF pressed this very argument, and succeeded: you can be banned from Wikimedia for any reason, including no reason at all. There doesn't need to be a reason, and any and all reasons for an enforcement given in the pursuance of this Code, can be nullified post-hoc, should the aggrieved party not be satisfied and wish to pursue their case externally. I suppose people might still want to pursue this Code in good faith regardless, but to me, it does rather still show that ultimately, it is all rather pointless, and if you get the sense your face just doesn't fit, or your complaint is valid but unpopular, you're probably wasting your time. Which was of course the problem with the previous way of doing things which has apparently led to this new Code. A cold hard legal reality that should be made clear to all parties (including Enforcement Officers) at the outset of any nominal proceeding. Although it has always been in the Terms, I am guessing nobody in the movement really thought it was true, until they saw the WMF Legal department hire very expensive lawyers to turn it into a precedent. Unless I am mistaken course, in which case, by all means, enlighten a sceptical soul. Crony Pony 2b (talk) 10:51, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Crony Pony 2b: ...confirmed by a recent Californian judgement .... Which one? I assume you can offer some links. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 16:48, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am curious about this as well. Wiki projects punishing anyone for any reason is one thing, but I think the point of the UCoC is to make it easier to have a functional community with a non-toxic culture. "Edit in the knowledge that you can be sanctioned at any time for any reaosn or no reason at all" does not foster a functional community of volunteer contributors.
You know, I think this ties in with "tell the party exactly what they did ...even if it was nothing at all." Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:52, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Crony Pony 2b, Der-Wir-Ing, and Darkfrog24: I would also be interested to see the case, and in particular to see how it and the case Pinsker v. Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (https://law.justia.com/cases/california/supreme-court/3d/12/541.html) match up to each other. In the Pinkser case, the second sentence of the court's conclusions read "In our present decision we have explained that under the common law, one obligation flowing from this "public service" status is that defendant organizations may not reject an application without affording the applicant a fair opportunity to answer the charges against him." The crucial question is whether or not Wikipedia offers a "public service". Martinvl (talk) 21:51, 25 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In a world in which propaganda is free but the truth is behind a paywall? Darn straight free encyclopedias with published sources and no ads offer a service. Whether that amounts to the same obligations you cite is another question. Darkfrog24 (talk) 23:51, 25 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On training[edit]

I see a lot of mentions of training, but no details on how trained persons are to be assessed? If there are no mechanisms to ensure the trained person has taken on board their training, and indeed no mechanisms to review whether their training is still effective down the line, perhaps this word should be downgraded to the more usual "guidance". As in, Johnny was provided with all the guidance he would have needed to effectively discharge this duty, so it's not really our fault if he didn't follow it, or never even understood it. Crony Pony 2b (talk) 11:13, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do we need a new 'enforcement process' at all?[edit]

It doesn't seem to me that there is anything in the UCOC that isn't covered by WP:Civility already, and any 'violations' would have otherwise been reportable and actionable via the existing structures in Wikipedia for handling and resolving complaints within the community. Why do we need to invent a whole new layer of processes and 'enforcers' over what we already have? JeffUK (talk) 12:46, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@JeffUK: I understand your confusion as to why this process is needed, but I do have to point out that the Universal Code of Conduct (and its subsequent enforcement) is meant to be applied to communities outside of English Wikipedia. While WP:Civility exists, you'll notice that it doesn't exist on every WMF-hosted site: Wikipedia:Civility (Q4654593). Beyond that, not every community has a particularly great track record with enforcing their own conduct policy. –MJLTalk 22:07, 19 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Weird phrasing and ambiguities[edit]

  • legally binding
  • Article 1/Article 2/Article 3 UCOC
  • Code Enforcement Officer
  • individuals charged with enforcing the Universal Code of Conduct must be fully acquainted with the regulations they enforce

etc...

The whole document reads like the drafters were writing a constitution for a state or establishing a police force. And more generally speaking, the structure and prose overall is not very polished and not precise.

Various parts are also ambiguous, inconsistent, or redundant. eg:

  • Systematic failure to follow the UCoC
    • Handled by "U4C Committee";
    • Cross-wiki violations of the UCoC at the administrative level will be handled by "U4C Committee"

Surely the second sub-bullet (cross-wiki systematic failures at the 'administrative level' [unclear meaning of term?]) is already included in the broader first sub-bullet (systematic failures to follow the UCOC)

  • Off-wiki violations (examples such as, but not limited to: in person edit-a-thons or off-wiki instances such as on other platforms similar to: social media platforms, discussion lists)
    • Handled by "U4C Committee", if the case is referred to them by event organizers or local affiliate groups

This sounds like it would include Discord groups as well (as 'social media platforms'). I don't know who the 'event organiser' would be in that case, but is this trying to say that the incident can only be investigated if the admins of the Discord server refer the incident? Either way, it's confusing when combined with For Wikimedia-specific conversations occurring off-project in unofficial or semi-official spaces (e.g. Discord, Telegram, etc.), Wikimedia’s Terms of Use may not apply. ... Nevertheless, the behavior of Wikimedians on these networks and platforms can be accepted as additional evidence in reports of UCoC violations. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 17:58, 18 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Oooh, good point. "Legally binding" implies we're dealing with law. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:19, 24 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The term "legally binding" is meaningless. It is up to the courts, not the WMF to determine what is "legally binding" and what is not "legally binding".Martinvl (talk) 21:25, 28 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Support after violation of the UCOC[edit]

From my point of view it is important to understand reasons for the behaviour of people and try to help them to change their behaviour if that was not compliant with the UCOC in the past. This is something where I wish support. From my point of view it can help to talk to the people in a video conference system like Jitsi. It can help to know the person better.--Hogü-456 (talk) 19:29, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the German arbcom, I and my succesors made good experiences with this idea. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 23:39, 20 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this ties in with the idea of "everyone should be told what they did." Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:50, 22 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Punishments"?[edit]

I am not sure whether the following wording is the most appropriate

Enforcement of the UCoC is applied by means of preventive work and campaigns, issuing warnings and notices to persuade people with signs of problematic behaviour to comply, imposing technical restrictions and punishments, or taking additional steps that may be necessary and appropriate.

I am not convinced that measures implemented as a response to UCoC violations should be viewed as "punishments". In the policies of many Wikimedia projects, sanctions against users, including blocking, are viewed as means to prevent further disruption to the project and not as punishments (see e.g. w:WP:Blocking policy#Purpose_and_goals). I think an alternative wording such as "imposing technical restrictions and other measures preventing disruption" or similar might be more in line with these existing policies and would also indicate that the UCoC enforcement should be focused on prevention rather than retribution. Sintakso (talk) 09:40, 23 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Sanction" isn't ideal either, because it is an auto-antonymn and a synonym for punishment. What we mean is a measure to ensure compliance. Measure is neutral. Vexations (talk) 12:07, 23 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it is appropriate to call them punishments. Call a spade a spade. The disciplinary systems I've seen on Wikis sometimes pay lip service to being antidisruptive and sometimes sincerely aspire to be antidisruptive, but it just isn't possible to block or ban someone without it being a punishment. The goal is for it to be antidisruptive in addition to being a punishment, but I know of no way to remove the punitive element, and acting as if it isn't there might put people on both sides of the event in the wrong frame of mind. Darkfrog24 (talk) 01:18, 24 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Say that I want to rob the local Quik-E-Mart, but I abstain, because I might go to jail (or gaol). That's prevention (deterrence), through fear of punishment. Say I give in to temptation, get caught, and am given a suspended sentence. Being charged, remanded, and tried may impress on me that what I did was wrong and carries real risks, if I wasn't already convinced. Having to go through the legal process of being tried might itself be a form of punishment, enough for me to mend my ways. Or maybe I have a perverse personality and think the whole process was a fun game where I could troll the system and feel more powerful. So I go out and rob a couple more convenience stores. This time I get banged up good and proper, and end up in prison. That's a punishment, but it's also an enforced prevention: society is protected from my depredations by having me removed from society. But the punishment/prevention is still time-limited. I might get parole for good behaviour and showing remorse, but I don't have to. I could remain convinced that I did nothing wrong, be lacking in remorse, and still be allowed to return to society after a determinate period. And what if it wasn't me who robbed the stores, but I was stitched up by a local gang who manufactured false witnesses? I might not get out of prison early, but I can at least maintain the dignity of asserting my innocence. Compare that to English Wikipedia, where “preventative not punitive” indeff blocks are common, and the subject has to not only take a time-out, but they also must eat their hat, admit wrongdoing, demonstrate remorse, demonstrate understanding of what they did wrong (even if they were in the right), and show deference to those who not-punished them, to even have a chance of being re-admitted to the community. Pelagic (talk) 22:59, 11 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Apart from ostracism, there are other sanctions. Compare a wiki “interaction ban” (IBan on w:en) or a real-life “apprehended violence order” (that's the Australian term, but I imagine there are similar things elsewhere). They are more preventative than punitive, though they can be weaponised by gaming the system. To me, those are sanctions but not punishments. Now consider page bans and topic bans. Both are sanctions, but only page bans can be enforced by technical means. I-bans and T-bans are enforced via social means. So it could help if a document about enforcement acknowledged the possibility of both technical and social enforcement. Pelagic (talk) 23:08, 11 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Going back to Vexations' point, yes although I used the terms “sanctions” above, it's not great. Both approved good actions and approved penalties for bad actions are sanctioned. But in English we say that a bad action was sanctioned, as a shortcut. I imagine that could cause headaches for translators, and the translation may end up being “punishment” or “penalty” in many non-English languages anyway. Pelagic (talk) 23:22, 11 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ratification[edit]

As a “meta”-topic, and an absolutely vital one at that, I’ve split ratification into its own section. [Followup: T&S Policy has indicated that they will make decision on ratification directly, factoring in community discussion etc only in the near future - exact timeline unknown]

Ratification splits into three main questions: who gets a say; what are we getting a say on; and methodology

I’ve created a couple of proposals in the past which I know have actually been looked at, but now we can see it, here’s my summary idea to get the discussion started.


1) “Who gets a say?” – voting groups (VGs) I’m going to use the term “voting groups” for which a sufficient majority of each is needed in order to ratify the UCOC:

  1. VG1 – local projects (e.g. en-wikipedia, fr-wikinews)
  2. VG2 – active editors across all projects
  3. VG3 – recognised affiliates
  4. VG4 – WMF Board of Trustees

2) What are we getting a say on? Talks with members of the drafting committee have indicated that by-section ratification comes with significant issues that may outweigh its positives. As such, I believe dividing just once, with a ratification vote on each, is the best route:

  1. Content of the UCOC “Phase 1”
  2. Enforcement of the UCOC “Phase 2”

3) Methodology This is a set of critical details and a bunch of small ones. Some are like “should every local project count, or just those with 5+ active editors?”, is a sufficient majority of a VG 50%+1, or more? What definition of an active editor are we using?

They’re important, but can be settled once the first two questions have been.

Reasoning[edit]

1) These are the core groups who get affected by the UCOC. All will go through significant change. But the logical question is why I’ve separated VG1 and VG2 – after all, projects would go like how their editors supported. That’s true, and for a single local project is enough. But en-wiki has a huge % of the total editor base, but is just one project. Projects with fewer than 100 editors make up a huge % of all local projects. If just editors counted, small and medium projects would be disenfranchised. If just local-projects, huge numbers of editors at a couple of large projects would be. Neither is acceptable
2) The reasoning for not doing by-article is included, but I’ll gladly discuss with anyone with an interest (pro or anti). However, that “Phase 1” is key. Phase 1 never received community-wide consensus of any type. As such, multiple editors have raised a valid concern that it has no mandate. If its supporters think it is good as it is written then why should a separate ratification vote be an issue?
Do you support its inclusion? Yes? Then Defend It.
Phase 1 gave most communities less time than they should have, failed to answer questions raised, and continued to include strange points (for example, “introducing bias or incorrect information” has somehow become a UCOC violation every one of us is guilty of).
3) Methodology includes things that absolutely need to be settled before we get the ball rolling on any actual process or even process discussion, but would be good for a month’s time if we’ve settled down on ratification ideas and preferences.

Nosebagbear (talk) 23:15, 21 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


@Nosebagbear, is there a place where T&S indicated that they'd be making decisions on ratification? Thank you. TomDotGov (talk) 17:18, 25 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@TomDotGov: - it was mentioned in the conversation roundtable hours today. I don't know whether it's T&S specifically, or the WMF, and the scale of interaction with the UCOCDC. I will check with the facilitators if the session was recorded, otherwise I'll ask for a confirmation of position from the staff member, or one of the session facilitators. Nosebagbear (talk) 01:04, 26 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion[edit]

I think it's wise to remember the last time the WMF was permitted to decide if ratification of a Code of Conduct was necessary. That was the Technical Code of Conduct. Some reading: mw:Code of Conduct drafting process/Wikimedia Developer Summit 2016, phab:T90908, mw:Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Archive_2#Process, mw:Talk:Code of Conduct/Archive 3. The full TCoC never was voted on, ratified, or achieved consensus among contributors. Most sections were finalized based on the votes of WMF staff. And it was that same WMF staff that decided no further discussion was necessary. Overall, the TCoC, both as a document and as a means for dealing with problematic behavior, ended up worse off as a result of the implementation process. To answer the question posed by a WMF staffer then: How will the CoC be approved? [A] public vote would be a bad process. For example, what happens if the vote is no? You need the votes; you need to convince more folks. Find a compromise; convince them otherwise. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 04:49, 27 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed. A top-down imposition has a harder time gaining legitimacy, and in the end the decision is less effective because people do not believe in it. Finding consensus is a way to increase familiarity with the rules too. Sure, brute force can be used to a certain extent to make sure you get it your way, but we've seen how it goes when one tries to "export democracy".
The so-called code of conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces was a total failure: it has inspired absolutely nobody to behave better. Some people became bitter or more arrogant. Others were just pushed to a corner or in the shadows with various threats. Minorities and new people are afraid to become too visible in case they end up to disagree with the powers that be.
It's hard to believe in the seriousness of new efforts in this department when there was no attempt to learn from past mistakes. (Or did I miss a report and reflection on the failures of the previous attempts?) Nemo 06:44, 16 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Nosebagbear, just a point of clarity regarding your note here. T&S Policy is working with communities on the UCoC based on this request and mandate from the Board of Trustees, and their initial directions for ratification. As such, the Policy team won't unilaterally be making decisions about ratification; the Board and the communities' opinions will guide how the process goes after the enforcement guidelines have progressed to a generally acceptable state.

We will be having discussions with functionaries, including ArbComs, about the enforcement guidelines in early October: implementation, as well as ratification, will be a topic of discussion there as well. We are also planning to use a survey as part of those calls and will create space for the topic of ratification there. Notes from the meetings and results of the survey will be published here on Meta, and the conversation can continue there.

Currently, the focus has been on what enforcement guidelines for the UCoC should look like, and how they can work with existing structures. However, ratification of these enforcement guidelines is an important issue, and finding a solution that works for the Board, community admins and functionaries, and all contributors is a priority. Xeno (WMF) (talk) 00:45, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Xeno (WMF): thank you for your reply, apologies it's taken a few days to reply. While it's good that it indicates we aren't on the verge of just having a ratification method announced, which calms things, I do have some major queries to raise. While talking to the functionaries and ARBCOMs about implementation is obviously fundamental, I'm at a loss (not a "rhetorical to make a point" loss, I'm genuinely confused) why ratification discussion is a topic for those discussions. No functionary groups, possibly excepting the Stewards in a technical sense, have anything in their remit that would make ratification something they should have it raised with them rather than fully publicly from the off. The conversation should start on meta, though I've certainly no objections to things like the surveys as well. One key facet is that of getting an affirmative consensus from the Community that the ratification method is fine - just talking to people, then making a decision that is not backed by both the WMF and the Community, doesn't really count. To avoid an endless "it's ratifications all the way down", something like a meta-RfC, as an already agreed structure, would be a quick and lightweight way of checking this on the Community side. In general, end-conditions are a good thing to do first, not last, because it avoids project momentum issues. With the MCDC, for example, ratification methodology should be one of the first things discussed and considered. Nosebagbear (talk) 23:33, 17 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

hard to read[edit]

Providing feedback when a text has low readability can be difficult. The original text has is written for a reader with a post-graduate degree. It is not appropriate for a broad group of contributors.

Code Enforcement is the prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement of violations of the Universal Code of Conduct. Code enforcement is a responsibility of designated functionaries, the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee ["U4C Committee" - Final name to be determined], and the Wikimedia Foundation. This should be done in a proper, timely fashion, consistently across the entire Wikimedia Movement. Consequently, individuals charged with enforcing the Universal Code of Conduct must be fully acquainted with the regulations they enforce.

can be rewritten as:

Code Enforcement is making people follow the Universal Code of Conduct. Code enforcement is the responsibility of the new Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C) and the Wikimedia Foundation. Enforcing the code in a consistent and timely manner is important. People who enforce the Universal Code of Conduct must know the code really well.

And

Enforcement of the UCoC is applied by means of preventive work and campaigns, issuing warnings and notices to persuade people with signs of problematic behaviour to comply, imposing technical restrictions and punishments, or taking additional steps that may be necessary and appropriate. Local and global functionaries who implement policies, codes, rules, and regulations on the Wikimedia spaces, both online and offline, are supposed to understand the management of the code enforcement function and the process.

can be rewritten as:

Enforcing the code involves prevention and campaigning to encourage compliance. Enforcement also involves warning or issuing notifications to people who have problems complying. Imposing restrictions, punishments or taking other steps may be necessary and appropriate. Functionaries who put policies into effect must understand the management and the process of code enforcement.

Isn't that a little easier? Vexations (talk) 15:08, 28 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Incompatibilities with stated aims[edit]

The expressed intention of the UCoC was to be a "minimal baseline" behind existing conduct policy standards. However, the proposed enforcement guidelines here are clearly pushing the UCoC itself front-and-center, mandating direct links to it (rather than to the actual local project policies) in places such as site footers and registration pages, and requiring affirmation by those with enhanced userrights, and establishing training on the UCoC itself. --Yair rand (talk) 17:03, 30 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sprachmix[edit]

Wenn ich meine Sprachpräferenz von Englisch auf Deutsch ändere, werden auf dieser Diskussionsseite die Überschriften übersetzt, die Kommentare nicht. Ich finde das sehr verwirrend. Gerne würde ich den deutschen Titel des zweiten Absatzes von "Überblock" auf "Übersicht" oder "Überblick" ändern, verstehe aber nicht, wo. Ein Hinweis auf die richtige Stelle würde mich sehr freuen. Alice Wiegand (talk) 14:24, 31 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On Universal Code of Conduct/Enforcement draft guidelines review, click on Deutsch, which takes you to Universal_Code_of_Conduct/Enforcement_draft_guidelines_review/de, then click on Translate which takes you to [3] where you can make the change you want to make. Vexations (talk) 20:53, 31 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks! I still don't understand why those titles pop up here on the talk page as well, but now I know where to fix the strange term. Alice Wiegand (talk) 21:03, 31 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note[edit]

If it wasn't obvious already, I check in to read all the comments every few days. That's just something I personally find rather rewarding considering the diversity of perspectives put on display here.

Regardless, if I may personally call people's attention to this question for a moment; it hasn't gotten any answers so far. One of the biggest open questions for me (and I do mean me- 100% not the committee) is where do local project enforcement cases get appealed to in the end: the local project, the U4C, or a mixture (like maybe community decisions are appealable but not arbcom, or the reverse, etc.)? –MJLTalk 17:24, 5 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

When comes the summaries[edit]

In the top a biweekly summary of the discussion was promised. It is now passed more than three weeks!Yger (talk) 17:04, 9 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Yger: See here. –MJLTalk 17:41, 9 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remarks from Wikimedia Deutschland[edit]

First of all, in the name of Wikimedia Deutschland, a huge thank you to the drafting committee and to those who already provided valuable feedback here. We wholeheartedly support the Movement Strategy recommendations and principles, and consider Providing for Safety and Inclusion to be an important pillar for our movement to expand and thrive. So it is very good to see this is moving forward and being handled as a movement wide priority. We also very much appreciate that this draft is being shared in such an early phase, and thank you for the good ideas you all brought forward! Opening the writing process up for feedback increases the trust that the guidelines are really being developed along the needs of the movement.

Wikimedia Deutschland and long-established Wikimedia projects like the German language Wikipedia both have processes and structures in place and some in-house expertise in the fields of safety and inclusion. It is our understanding that WMDE and the German language projects have the chance and are responsible for assessing and adjusting their own guidelines to meet the minimum standards that the UCoC provides.

Some general feedback

We have some general feedback, and will share more detailed remarks under some of the sections above. We will also respond to the questions to the community in the coming weeks. Many issues have already been brought up on the talk page, and if we repeat feedback, it is because we would like to put extra emphasis on it.

The language is at times inconsistent or difficult to understand and assess for non-experts – aside from using simpler and more concise language, a “commented version” could help to better understand the context behind each point/step. Examples have been shared on the talk page already, like the lack of the definition of “systematic failure”, the phrase “enforcement of violations”, or this suggestion here.  

We worry that the affiliate perspective is often lacking from the draft. We would like to encourage the committee to mark more clearly the difference between on-wiki and off-wiki enforcement as well as between cases with volunteer community or affiliate/organisations (board, staff) involvement. As their interactions and responsibilities differ tremendously in nature, it is often not clear what is being referred to in different parts of the document. If the committee thinks it’s helpful to dig deeper, we’d be happy to share more of our perspectives and experiences in a meeting. One example: “Recommendations of UCoC Consent amongst Community and Foundation Staff” → This needs to be more inclusive: Community members as well as Board and Staff members of Affiliates and the Wikimedia Foundation. And “The coverage of Wikimedia projects by ArbComs” does not include off-Wiki and Affiliate cases.

More clarity is needed on affiliates’ responsibilities and mandates, on- and off-wiki spaces and platforms, and in relationship with their stakeholders (board, members, staff, communities, partners, participants in events, etc). We also recommend you to keep in mind that "affiliates" is a very broad term and reaches from organisations with 160 staff members to loosely organised user groups without staff or a board. That means that the preconditions vary tremendously, but this also leaves opportunities for the more established organizations to provide resources and support to their peers.

Detailed feedback

While putting together these remarks from Wikimedia Deutschland’s perspective, we have been in a fruitful exchange with Wikimedia Österreich and a couple of other Chapters, and know that comments and additions will be coming from them as well. We hope all this is helpful and we are available to further elaborate, discuss, and expand on our perspective and to develop it further.

--Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 19:35, 13 September 2021 (UTC) in the name of Wikimedia DeutschlandReply[reply]

Remarks from Wikimedia Österreich[edit]

We fully support Wikimedia Deutschland's remarks, thank you for the inspiring exchange and to everyone involved in this process.

Here are some additional notes from Wikimedia Österreich:

--Raimund Liebert (WMAT) (talk) 11:55, 14 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remarks from Wikimedia UK[edit]

Thank you for all the work involved in this process to get to this point. Staff and Trustees at Wikimedia UK have reviewed the draft enforcement guidelines, and the extensive and thoughtful comments from Wikimedia Deutschland. We fully support the latter and echo the observations and comments made by WMDE as well as the concerns raised. We would particularly like to emphasise the different processes required for face to face events (over which WMUK and other event organisers have significant control) and on wiki activities/behaviours. We remain somewhat unclear on the relationship between the Code and existing ArbCom responsibilities (e.g. on English Wikipedia), as well as the primacy question in terms of local policies and the Code. LucyCrompton-Reid (WMUK) (talk) 13:35, 21 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remarks and proposal Dutch Wiktionary[edit]

The discussion at our Village Pump and the Conversation Hours have resulted in a few thoughts and a proposal that for the sake of consistency are presented as a whole and not divided according to the boilerplate format. Maybe the connection between scale and appropriate approach mentioned below even touches on the consultation process itself.

General remarks[edit]

We all want to promote positive conduct because that will stimulate volunteers to contribute their free time.

There are significant differences between projects:

-scale (anonimity, diverse backgrounds)
-subject matter (urgency, controversial subjects)
-history of the project.

These differences are very relevant for the best way to improve the conduct of editors.

The proposal suggests a "one size fits all" approach that doesn't do justice to these differences.

The procedures and institutions we require should fit the actual needs of a community, not just abstract legalistic principles.

Specific remarks[edit]

  1. Requiring affirmation of the UCoC by sysops and bureaucrats creates a difference with other editors that is counter-productive.
  2. The style in which the UCoC has been written is not suitable for an informal group cooperating in their free time.
  3. In a small project where decency and civility are cherished, there is little need for training about harassment and there may very well be no volunteers wanting to spend their free time this way.
  4. A general procedure allowing anything that should be improved to be discussed and decided upon by the community as a whole, has the advantage that it invites all community members to get involved. If it is desirable to appoint a smaller group, it is possible to do so in a way that fits the problem. Of course this approach doesn't scale up when a community gets a lot bigger, but the reverse also holds: the formal solutions of big communities don't scale down very well.
  5. Problem solving in an informal way is hampered by requiring recusal. It has the unintended effect of diminishing the responsibility of someone to contribute to a solution. On a big project with lots of volunteers the benefits of perceived impartiality may outweigh this disadvantage, but within a group where most active contributors know one another, not so much.
  6. In a small project it is feasible that maintaining good conduct is a shared responsibility of all members. Making this the task of a special officer is not an improvement.
  7. Having an arbcom or an appeals process is counter-productive as long as more informal solutions work well. These solutions work because everyone involved understands "We need to solve this ourselves." and acts accordingly. When external support could be useful, it may very well depend on those involved whether we should look for projects in the same language or for similar projects in other languages.

Proposal[edit]

It's fair to acknowledge that being small and informal does not by itself guarantee decency and civility. There is a possibility that a project that has had no major problems for decades gradually derails and grows a toxic culture. Of course we don't want that to happen.

This is where the Foundation could play a constructive part, that could be considered a kind of extension of the Community Insights Survey.

a. Every editor who contributes more than incidentally gets a personal page (probably off wiki) with a small list of structured questions on the perceived behavior on the project.
b. The editor in question can see and edit this page at any time. No one else can.
c. Editors who haven't edited this page for at least a year get a reminder they can do so and if they don't, the reminder is repeated every year, just to insure the data remain current.
d. The WMF provides the project (on wiki) with a dashboard page showing the results for the community as a whole on a monthly basis.
e. It is primarily up to a project to act upon the results if necessary. When a more formal approach becomes necessary, the community can decide to do so.
f. The Wikimedia-wide efforts to maintain the UCoC in any year could be focused on a limited number (e.g. 3) of projects with the largest room for improvement. This might provide an added incentive for other projects that like to solve problems by themselves, to do so.

This approach has four major advantages:

I. It respects and strengthens the role of communities who are showing positive conduct.
II. A better fit between measures and actual problems.
III. Instead of just focusing on violations, data like these can help us to identify and spread best practices by comparisons between projects.
IV. The required workload is easier to manage than an open invitation for appeals.

During the Conversation Hour on Sept. 7th the question was raised whether the "personal survey page" could be replaced by questions asked before or after randomly selected edits. This approach may be valuable on larger projects, but again also highlights the importance of scale when applying solutions. On a small project a limited number of users can be responsible for a large part of the edits. So we might end up missing disappointed users with only a few edits and annoying users with many edits. The act of offering a "personal survey page" to all users by itself shows we value everyone equally and contributes to the desired culture. The fact that an incident could result in a sudden drop in the overall score is not a bug, but a feature: it could trigger a discussion that apparently is necessary.

We appreciate the possibility to make our voice heard and are of course prepared to answer questions or contribute to the further development of our proposal. --MarcoSwart (talk) 21:21, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More participation[edit]

Probably there would be more participants on this page, if the board hadn't forced the UCoC on us without a RfC. Maybe keep that in mind, especially considering the subsidiarity principle in the movement strategy. --Ghilt (talk) 09:38, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Representation of minorities within future Ucoc enforcement committe[edit]

How are we going to ensure that the current situation is not reproduced with a situation of gate keeping for enforcement of the code of conduct ? A recent conversation on the French village pump associated with the current Arbitration committee election voiced concerns that the decisions to block could possibly come from one member of the future committe and be applied from the top without notifications. I have also seen this ː Open Letter from Arbcoms to the Board of Trustees. On the other side other people are concerned about the fact that some minorities communities (for example women, LGBTIQ and trans and non binary persons, and other underrepresented regions and groups of people) are not well represented within elected community members such as sysops or arbitrators. If the future enforcing committee relies on these same groups allready active on the projects and enforcing the rules, are we not going to just copy and paste the current situation and problems ? In this conversation, when I referred to the climate of micro agression an elected arbitrator of the french communnity has termed this a violation of the code of the conduct and asked for a sanction. If complaining about micro aggresssion is viewed as an aggression itself and the very same people who do not take into account how people feel and the reality of these continued micro aggressions are the ones who will be taking part in the code of conduct enforcement with the committe we have a problem. If we are going to have to deal with the same persons on the committee that stop us from voicing concerns on wikipedia, calling us pov pushers when we ask that people not be misgendered, or when we ask for a more respectful way of communicating with each other, there is ground for skepticism.

To adrress this could there not be a way to ensure to have members of user groups/projects reprensenting thematic issues being appointed or elected to the committe and could there be some kind of quota applied to the construction of the committee to make sure this is not just another gate keeping construction ?

I hope these considerations will be taken into account. Nattes à chat (talk) 09:55, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thoughts by L235[edit]

Hi. As an English Wikipedia ArbCom member, I was pleasantly surprised by the progress made in this draft but still concerned about a number of its provisions. It's very unclear to me where to post comments (there is no well-formatted consultation), so please allow me to write here. @Xeno (WMF): would you let me know if there is a better or more effective place to post these thoughts? Also, let me know if I can format or condense this in a way that will ensure its maximum consideration.

  • Simple cases such as, but not limited to, simple vandalism should be resolved through editing and the regular processes that exist on a wiki to handle disruption – There should be a broad understanding of "simple case". Cases that are currently well and routinely handled by the community on any particular project should not be altered by the operation of the UCoC.
    • The UCoC processes have the potential to be good, but shifting routine disputes that are currently handled well (even if not "simple") onto new untested UCoC enforcement processes will doom the new processes before they have a chance to shine, simply because there will be far too many disputes.
  • Appeals should be possible, and handled by a body different from the one that issued the appealed decision – This is good as a general statement, but perhaps not possible or desirable in certain cases heard directly by an ArbCom or ArbCom-equivalent. On the English Wikipedia, when the ArbCom itself makes a decision, there is no appeals process from that decision (except to ArbCom itself), because ArbCom is the highest level of community review. And that must not change: the only reason ArbCom can possibly be successful is that it is absolutely final, from which there is not ordinarily any further appeal. It otherwise could not be the best alternative to a negotiated agreement that must exist for all our other processes to exist.
    • Long story short: when the highest community body renders a decision, we shouldn't mandate the existence of a further appeal (in ordinary circumstances).
  • A shared ArbCom among projects of different types in the same language is an option the committee encourages projects to consider as a means to create a more effective UCoC project enforcement system – I do not think this would work for the English Wikipedia, which is already far overworked, but if this is an opt-in system I guess this could work in other contexts.
  • Systematic failure to follow the UCoC – Conferring authority on the U4C Committee for this kind of event should be exceptional especially for large projects. I propose that any involuntary transfer of authority from an established representative ArbCom require at least a two-thirds vote of the U4C Committee and should (except in truly exceptional circumstances) only be made on the recommendation of the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • However, I do really like the idea of conferring authority on the U4C Committee by referral from local community bodies. If an ArbCom and the U4C Committee both agree to have the U4C Committee hear and decide a case, it should be able to.
  • I'm ambivalent about the usefulness of a MediaWiki extension reporting tool, but if that's what others want I'm not that opposed.
  • I am skeptical that we could recruit enough qualified talented Wikimedians to staff a new reporting tool. It sounds like a lonely, heartbreaking, sad job where you're overworked and underappreciated. Jobs like that tend not to be filled by volunteers, especially not the highly respected and influential volunteers we need to fix messes. (see, e.g., the massive backlogs on the paid-en-wp queue for English Wikipedia: private reporting tool that has not been well enough designed)
    • By the same token, I am skeptical that U4C Committee will be well-enough staffed. English Wikipedia ArbCom barely makes it with our workload, and by the looks of it, the U4C Committee will have 20x as much work.
  • Private reports should only be admissible in the event that privacy is warranted. This principle should hold not just because transparency is a core Wikimedia value but also because trust in the content on our projects relies on the process being open whenever possible. Current guidelines about what disputes can be privately decided should be respected unless there is very good reason to deviate from them.
  • I think this system severely underestimates the likely volume of abuse of process that any new system like this will receive. Any new processes must be very carefully designed not to incentivize people to abuse it.

Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t) 01:57, 30 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree with all of the above. -- Euryalus (talk) 02:06, 10 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Would further like to support all of the above, with a specific note that no private hearing should take place with less than 5 "judges" (whether that be locally with admins, arbs, U4C members etc etc). Nosebagbear (talk) 15:25, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding "I'm ambivalent about the usefulness of a MediaWiki extension reporting tool, but if that's what others want I'm not that opposed." I'd actually be wary of this - too often there does not seem to be communication between developers and end-users [or it is disregarded] on what the technical requirements are. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 10:32, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree with the concept that Arbcom is the highest level of community review. The Wikimedia Foundation submits to the law of the State of California and they are legally responsible should any Wikipedia breach thet Law. As such, they have a legal respnsibility for ensuring that Arbcom adhere to the law. It follows therefore that WMF (working through the U4C Committee) has not only a right, but an obligation to over-rule Arbcom should Arbcom breach the law. Martinvl (talk) 14:06, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Réduire le code à une seule page.[edit]

Bonjour. Il me semblerait souhaitable de réduire ce code à une seule page, de manière à ce qu'il soit facile, simple et pratique tout en restant aussi pertinent que possible sans se perdre dans les détails. Entrer dans les détails, c'est la certitude d'en oublier. Le "législateur" a toujours un train de retard sur les usages. Merci de votre attention. Très cordialement. - Paul.schrepfer (talk) 14:35, 6 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Different enforcement groups[edit]

To enforce the Code, there should be one group consulting communities of English-language projects, one or more groups consulting communities of popular non-English-language projects (e.g. Western European projects), and one group consulting smaller communities of other non-English languages. That's my idea, of course. George Ho (talk) 23:34, 6 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

And what should these groups do after consultation? --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 00:47, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll rephrase "consulting" part. The groups should either guide or become last resorts, especially if ArbComs' remedies to resolve issues haven't worked as they hoped for. That's my thinking. Or maybe the groups should make sure that WMF doesn't interfere especially a lot. George Ho (talk) 03:30, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do I understand you correctly? You want to establish a new group (body) of functionaries that can override the English Wikipedia's Arbitration committee? Vexations (talk) 13:08, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Vexations: I think what George Ho is suggesting is a "liaison group" of sorts. Is that right? (And the "last resort" would be of the "systemic failure" kind?) There have been suggestions for such "working groups" to be available to help provide appropriate local context and implementation as needed. I can refer to one such community-proposed model: sv:Wikipedia:UCoC enforcement group for Scandinavian projects. Xeno (WMF) (talk) 13:25, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think some additional clarity in the proposal would be helpful. Which projects are we talking about? en.wikibooks.org, en.wikinews.org, en.wikinews.org, en.wikipedia.org, en.wikiquote.org, en.wikisource.org, en.wikiversity.org, en.wikivoyage.org, en.wiktionary.org? Or does it also include commons.wikimedia.org, mediawiki.org, meta.wikimedia.org, species.wikimedia.org, wikidata.org? Also, the smaller projects don't have Arbitration committees. Vexations (talk) 14:31, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, "smaller projects don't have Arbitration committees" but in this draft, it doesn't make a difference if a project has one or not. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 15:39, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
George proposed that these groups should guide or become last resorts, especially if ArbComs' remedies to resolve issues haven't worked but only wikibooks, wikinews and English Wikipedia have an Arbcom. Vexations (talk) 19:58, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
┌───────────────────┘
For clarity, any project is fine, regardless of whether or not it has an ArbCom, but there should be groups handling certain communities separately. George Ho (talk) 12:08, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Feedback on U4C jurisdiction from October 2021 functionary consultations[edit]

At the Universal Code of Conduct/Functionary consultations/October 2021, there were several overarching themes agreed to by a substantial share of participants. The notes from the meeting don't list specific names, so if anyone wishes to provide their explicit support for those thoughts, please feel free to sign below. KevinL (aka L235 · t) 19:53, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Requirements for U4C to overrule local ArbCom[edit]

The U4C should not involuntarily assume jurisdiction over a community with an established ArbCom unless the U4C finds by 2/3 vote that the ArbCom has systemically failed to follow the UCoC, and should generally do so only on the recommendation of the Wikimedia Foundation.

  1. KevinL (aka L235 · t) 19:53, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. Katietalk 19:54, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:57, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  4. --Ghilt (talk) 20:04, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  5. And fwiw, nor should the U4C fall for the tired old claim of "oh I didn't even ask the local Arbcom to resolve my dispute before coming here: I just knew they wouldn't follow the UCoC in my case." If there's an established local Arbcom and established community dispute resolution process, then that should be respected for that wiki. -- Euryalus (talk) 01:58, 10 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  6. I agree with this--Ymblanter (talk) 10:04, 10 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ratification for UCOC phases[edit]

There should be separate ratification votes for both phase 1 (the text) and phase 2 (enforcement) of the UCOC Nosebagbear (talk) 19:55, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:55, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  2. --Ghilt (talk) 20:04, 7 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  3. We discussed this during the meeting. My personal preference is having two separate votes, but the sentiment might be different across communities, I would be fine with for example the English Wikipedia having two votes but some other projects choosing to have one.--Ymblanter (talk) 10:06, 10 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thoughts by Nosebagbear[edit]

While I gave individual sub-section by sub-section review above 6 weeks back, since it's now kind of blended, I thought I'd follow in L235's methodology and highlight a few key points:

  1. U4C should have no grounds to review conduct cases from a local community that has an ArbCom (or equivalent) in good standing, except if: i) the local community and the U4C have agreed such - I'd love to see lots of that ii) the U4C is doing a full systemic failure review of an ArbCom/community, and as L235 proposes, this should require a 2/3 majority, rounding up of the entire U4C.
  2. Except where there is clear evidence that off-wiki retaliation is likely, any accused individual must be able to see all evidence made against them.
  3. Currently, the phrasing would allow private-cases whenever the accuser would prefer one. As well as being negative for several reasons, this is beyond our capacity to viably handle and would require a near-flawless mediawiki tool (even if we did have the numbers). Some editors have suggested that an initial contact could be done private, and then routed to the right place (or kept private, if applicable). That would be okay, but I'd need to see detailed wording well before the consultation finished to review.
  4. Any private review that does happen must have at least 5 people - it would not be okay for, say, harassment cases to be being privately reviewed by 1 or even 3 individuals. We trust Arbcoms to hear conduct cases in private, but there are 11-15 of them, and they are hand-selected from our best. Expanding their volume heavily must not be allowed to constantly dilute both numbers of reviewers and skill levels.
  5. I actually am in favour of a mediawiki tool so long as it was capable of easy customisation to drop cases into appropriate local forums (e.g. en:WP:ANI).
  6. Case categorisation should go from bottom-up, rather than all cases spitting into some gargantuam U4C corps, and then trickling back down. To do so would be a grave breach of subsidiarity
  7. Ratification should be of the 4 core groups affected: editors, projects, affiliates, Board (a majority of those who participate within each). This should consist of a Phase 1 ratification and and a Phase 2 ratification, though with questions asked at same time. T&S have indicated there would be a review of Phase 1 prior to coming into affect, once a draft phase 2 was concluded - this is fine, and hopefully should resolve some issues in it and make at least that phase easy to support.
  8. I have still not seen have the mechanisms proposed will prevent 1st-mover advantage and handle warranted boomerang blocks.
  9. While I think that Arbcom should be able to hear its own appeals, what I'm really concerned about is ensuring that Communities can hear their own appeals. Several notable cases have led to individuals on en-wiki being both blocked by ArbCom and banned by the Community. U4C should not, one year later, be able to force a Community to take such a person back in without their concurrence.

Nosebagbear (talk) 15:49, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One additional note that comes to mind:

10. The U4C should not be able to self-designate the categories of cases it is permitted to hear - to do so is seriously risking a scope that will expand over time. The original scope categories are good, but a couple more should be added. As a facet of this, the authority granted to the U4C in the UCOC are theirs, and as such must not be devolved. This will presumably lead to a largish (30?) U4C, of which panels can be drawn: 7 for normal cases/appeals, either the full group for systemic, or 15+

Nosebagbear (talk)

  • I totally disagree with User:Nosebagbear in respect of the community hearing appeals in connection with its own bans (Note 9 above). The process by which community bans are implemented, namely the :en:WP:ANI noticeboard, is in my view fundementally flawed in that it lacks structure and can easily be manipulated leading to en:Mob rule. What you are asking is that if a community ban is the result of mob rule, then the U4C is unable to undo the damage caused by the mob. Martinvl (talk) 22:19, 24 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Martinvl: And the vast majority of ANI judgements are not, in fact, anything approaching "mob rule", and even fewer of AN community appeals fall into that camp (and those that are are almost always cases where a community appeal is heard very shortly after the ban). So will the U4C be determing which ones are mob-call judgements, or just assuming that all community judgements are made by mobs? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:30, 24 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @Nosebagbear: I agree that the vast majority of ANI judgements are not mob rule, but a small minority are and it is that small minority that cause problems. In answer to your question then, the U4C will be determining which judgement are mob rule and in the longer term should be identifying the underlying structural defects and will then be highlighting these to Arbcom with an instruction to Arbcom to get its house into order. Martinvl (talk) 22:40, 24 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Martinvl:, so where it decides the decision was not mob-rule, they will not handle the appeal and return it for the Community to consider, if that's the reasoning for them to not be able to handle their own appeals? Nosebagbear (talk) 23:19, 24 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Nosebagbear: In any dispute-handling system, the body that handles the appeals needs to look at the facts behind the complaint, whether the complaint was handled in accordance with the rules of the organisation and whether the rules of the organisation were compliant with expected standards including, where applicable, en:Natural justice, en:Due process or en:Procedural justice. Given that the WMF adheres to the Law of California, it is appropriate that in the circumstances you describe, Due Process be followed. Martinvl (talk) 16:55, 27 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Martinvl: that doesn't answer my question at all. Where the U4C finds that the Community acted in line with its procedure, including the UCOC (assuming phase 1 ever actually gets a community ratification to give it a mandate that makes it ethical to enforce), would it then stop and return the appeal to the Community, or would it process the appeal even where the Community has not had any fault in its judgement(s)? Nosebagbear (talk) 22:48, 27 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
@Nosebagbear:In any dispute procedure, an appeal must include the grounds for the appeal. The body that handles the appeal will then make a decision as to whether or not the grounds were sound. If the grounds were not sound, the appeal would be rejected and the original decision would stand. The difficult part in the WMF scenario is providing a means of filtering out frivilous appeals. One of the most common techniques is to require the person or organisation that is making the appeal to face a financial or some other penalty if they lose. In WMF-land this is very difficult. Martinvl (talk) 11:07, 28 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Martinvl: Not sure why that didn't ping, it may be because it didn't have both the ping and your signature added in the same edit. While you are, of course, right about the difficulty filtering frivilous appeals (an issue that affects every level of conduct review), your wording I think indicates that the U4C would hear all community appeals. The reason I'm querying that is that your reasoning on why the community couldn't hear its own appeals was because it was vulnerable to mob rule, and then agreed that it was only a small minority that were. "All appeals > small minority of mob rule CBAN appeals". The three options would appear to be: 1) the local Community hears all CBAN appeals (subject to any local policy variants) 2) the U4C (or, say, an arbcom) hears all CBAN appeals 3) The U4C can check if there was a clear "mob rule" issue. If not, then it is remanded back to the Community to hear, with the U4C's apologies for the lack of trust. Your position seems to be 2, but your reasoning seems to suggest that 3 would be more suitable - that's what I'm asking about. Nosebagbear (talk) 14:14, 28 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Nosebagbear: The sequence that I see is that an appeal against an administrator would first of all go to CBAN. If the appelant is unhappy with the outcome, it would go to Arbcom (which is not always possible at the moment in English Wikipedia) and thereafter could be appealed to U4C. Appeals higher up the chain will usually centre on whether or not the correct procedures were followed rather than the detail of what the case was about in the first place. Martinvl (talk) 19:05, 28 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why is this called iterative? We aren't able to review any updates[edit]

@Xeno (WMF): - could I ask why this process is prominently noted as being iterative?

[...] outlined in this document are iterative, and will continuously be evaluated and evolve with community feedback

From that, I'd assumed that at one or more moments within the consultation process, the UCOC drafting committee would make significant changes in response to the consultation. At that stage we could see if the changes were moving us in the right direction.

This is particularly key for those aspects that were not contained in draft 1 - the open questions, primarily.

However, with the timeline now running out I've talked to 2 drafting members and they don't meet for another week or so (at the end of the consultation), will make a major update, and send to Board.

That's not iterative, that's a consultation and response set - it has no iterative steps.

I'm very concerned that if any issues arise from the update, the actual Community has no formal response ability other than voting no (or waiting a year to review period). The open questions are obviously fundamental, and will add in methodology that should be considered as actual text - where there isn't draft documentation as it is now, the discussion is inherently more conceptual, rather than being able to state specific methods as being good, bad, improvable by X tweak and so on. Nosebagbear (talk) 20:08, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is indeed a real concern. KevinL (aka L235 · t) 21:40, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I share this concern as well. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 03:06, 12 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The drafting committee will be sitting again this upcoming week to discuss the process for the updates to be reviewed by the community. After that, we can provide more details on the next steps for community feedback. Xeno (WMF) (talk) 17:04, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree the process is unfortunate, given the current draft is unfinished and far from being a viable policy document, so a significant amount of work will have to happen with no subsequent review cycle. I'm sure there are capacity limits and everyone is doing the best they can, but it limits the legitimacy of the new policy.
But then, the UCoC suffers from a legitimacy deficit anyway, being created via a parallel process outside the movement strategy umbrelly, for no good reason. IMO the goal should be seen as coming up with a good enough initial policy until a generic community governance framework (Global Council etc) is set up. Improvements to the UCoC policies can then happen via that framework. Tgr (talk) 03:06, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Amendment process[edit]

There've been relatively little discussion about the requirements to amend these guidelines going forward, but that's actually one of the most important things to decide. Making it too hard to amend the guidelines will prevent the guidelines from maintaining buy-in. The community has a voice in writing these guidelines now because WMF has guaranteed a ratification process, but in a year, if the community wants to amend the guidelines but the WMF disagrees, there will be no "reverse ratification" process to move along the amendment – by then, the UCoC will be the status quo, whether or not it's broken or functions well.

I think many implicitly assume that the UCoC should be amended in the same way that it was ratified, presumably with a majority vote by editors, projects, affiliates, and the board of trustees. In practice, this would be a ludicrously high bar. On the English Wikipedia, the Arbitration Policy requires a much lower bar to amend: either a majority vote of the committee and a majority vote of the community (with at least 100 editors supporting), or a petition by 100 editors and a majority vote of the community (with at least 100 editors supporting). Nonetheless, despite serious changes being advisable, there has only been one amendment in the decade since the policy was enacted in 2011 – and that amendment was a trivial change to the method of counting votes on the question of removing arbitrators from the committee which has never been used. If we require four groups of stakeholders each to agree to a change, the guidelines will never change even if there is a dire need for it.

I propose the following two-step mechanism for amendments as an opening statement designed to spur conversation (not a final proposal):

  1. Amendments may be proposed by any of the following processes:
    • The U4C, by majority vote,
    • A petition signed by 200 editors in good standing (eligible to vote in WMF elections),
    • A majority of the affiliates, or
    • The Wikimedia Foundation.
  2. A proposed amendment is adopted if the primarily affected stakeholder group(s)[1] agrees to it, and no other stakeholder group affirmatively vetos it. Vetos should be exceptional and involve a notion that the amendment infringes on the prerogatives of the veto-er.
    • For example, a change to the U4C's powers with regard to the editing community should be adopted by the editing community.[2] This would include adding or removing the U4C's ability to hear certain types of cases arising from the projects.
    • Similarly, a change to the U4C's powers over affiliates should be adopted by the affiliates. A change to U4C-WMF relations should be adopted by the WMF through whatever mechanism it internally requires (e.g. signoff by the executive director).
    • For an primarily unaffected stakeholder group to veto an amendment, it should justify the veto by reference to substantial negative effects it will experience as a result of the change. For example, the WMF could justify a veto of a proposal by saying that the proposal would expose the Foundation to unacceptable litigation risk.

I'm very open to feedback; I'm simply starting this discussion because I'm quite nervous about the guidelines being adopted without thought to the amendment process.

References

  1. By "stakeholder group", I mean each of the following three groups: the editing community, the affiliates, and the Wikimedia Foundation. The editing community should be represented by majorities of both the editors and the projects.
  2. "Adopted by the editing community" should mean majority adoption by both editors and projects.

Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t) 23:41, 11 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I'd like to propose three changes: one to make it easier and one that may be assumed, as well as one question.
Change 1: don't require 51% of affiliates - many are somewhat inactive, and could be hard to manage. I'd suggest, say, 1/3.
Change 2: Clarify that changes can (and indeed, often will) have more than 1 significantly affected stakeholder. This may warrant a phrasing change, as "primarily affected" suggests that only one will fall in (and as such gets the strongest status).
Question: How will vetos be assessed? - will we run a process similar to ratification (that is, for all parties), just with different stresses? That seems a little onerous, and because votes don't have to be justified, effectively void your restrictions on vetos. Perhaps we should have a minimum level to indicate that a group wants to try and utilise a veto. That might be 75 editors or 10 affiliates (the WMF can obviously just do it directly). If they get that, then there'd be a proper election/process. That stops a handful of ardent souls vetoing by dint of being the only ones to show up. Thoughts?
Change 3: Amendment proposals must be translated into at least 10 languages, and be open for at least 1 month discussion, with the timer starting after the 10th translation is completed. That stops the issue of 1 month being more like 2 weeks for the vast bulk of editors.
Nosebagbear (talk) 00:03, 12 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for these thoughts! They're really helpful.
  • Change 1: allowing 1/3 of the affiliates to propose amendments works for me.
  • Change 2: "significantly affected" also works for me.
  • Question: That's a good idea. I like the idea of requiring 75 editors/10 affiliates sign onto a veto proposal statement that sets out the basis for the veto before the voting process on the veto can happen. I'm also happy with a higher threshold – 200 editors signing on to start the veto process sounds fair to me too.
  • Change 3: That's fine by me.
Best, KevinL (aka L235 · t) 00:19, 12 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remarks from Wikimedia Nederland[edit]

Our own alignment process re:UCOC[edit]

On behalf of Wikimedia Netherlands, thanks so much to the drafting committee for gathering feedback in an early stage. At Wikimedia Nederland, we have a Friendly Space Policy in place for meetings and events. To better align this to the worldwide movement, we have been actively working to renew our existing guidelines with the Universal Code of Conduct as the starting point, keeping in mind our own needs as an affiliate, for our activities, events, platforms and online channels. We are doing this, because inclusion and safety is key to the worldwide sustainability of the movement.

Our next step is working out the enforcement of the ‘localised’ Code of Conduct for our chapter, which we again want to align as much as possible with the Enforcement Guidelines now available as a draft. Thus, we are following the review process with keen interest, and hope our input and feedback will contribute to the further improvement of this important development.

EDGR feedback[edit]

We wholeheartedly support the general feedback provided by Wikimedia Deutschland, regarding the need to simplify and clarify the language used. This is in line with the Movement Communication Insight to ‘speak human’. We are also concerned about the lack of the affiliate perspective. Regarding the latter, we have found that there are important differences in on-wiki and off-wiki enforcement.

For instance: how is enforcement possible in cases where a partner is the main organiser of a meeting? If someone that has violated the UCoC in such a way that they are banned from WMNL activities, events, platforms and online channels shows up, what can and will the partner do? We suggest to always discuss the UCoC with the partners and take stock of what they are willing and able to do, in case there is an escalation.

Good and clear guidelines and examples are needed for all affiliates to get a grip on these kinds of complex questions, bearing in mind that the legality of the approach may vary depending on the jurisdiction of the affiliate and also cultural differences between and within countries. Also, many affiliates have existing policies in place that they consider more apt for their specific situation, we would like a clear statement on that they can continue working with them.

We are happy to see the encouragement of using existing enforcement structures on the local level, both regarding existing on-wiki guidelines and in-person meetings. There are specific nl-wp guidelines, and it is important that our community can assess whether or to what degree they can be replaced by the global guidelines.

Regarding our own affiliate platforms, channels, activities and events, we have an existing Friendly Space Policy. Our board of directors is responsible for this Friendly Space Policy and its enforcement. Also, votes on appeals of suspensions are handled through the General Members Meeting, which is a statutory provision. Only then, the U4C Committee would handle a consequent escalation. We recommend appeals should then be allowed once for a single specific case.

Regarding more detailed feedback: the points provided by Wikimedia Deutschland perfectly sum up our own thoughts and questions, so we gladly refer to them.

--Lottebelice (talk) 10:35, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remarks from Wikimedia Italia[edit]

I am posting the following remarks on behalf of Wikimedia Italia board.

Wikimedia Italia has welcomed the UCoC because she feels that wiki communities should apply the principles of equity and respect not only when writing articles but also in any performed act. She also thinks that the introduction of recommendations is an appropriate means to drive the community worldwide to enforce UCoC.

Under the above view, Wikimedia Italia deems that the proposed guidelines leaves a too much large degree of freedom to local communities about how to organize themselves (to a certain extent we can say that these guidelines do not guide): this may jeopardize the entire mission to enforce UCoC due to the possible uneven approach among different communities. The guidelines should rather set a clear and unambiguous hierarchical model that defines where possible violations are judged: with a simple way to understand which is the next higher level to appeal to against decisions taken at any given level.

In general, the approach for on-line and off-line cases should be better differentiated.

For on-line, the “power users” (admins, steward…), who are designated by definition to respect the UCoC, should be the officers who grant UCoC (any violation done by a power user should immediately lead to power revocation).

For off-line, the officers should be the board (or equivalent leading group) of the affiliates (chapter, user group, whatever else recognized by WMF). They can delegate the role to committees or individuals for any event organized with affiliate sponsorship. Any affiliate should ban offenders from leading positions both within the affiliate and in sponsored events. WMF should revoke the affiliate status if the ban is not applied by the affiliate.

For both on-line and off-line the next level should be either the Wikimedia Foundation or, where communities agree upon, an intermediate level with delegated officers from the different communities (e.g. an intermediate level for all projects in Scandinavian languages).

As illustrative example, Wikimedia Italia adopted a “3 yellow cards” policy and set an Ombudspersons Committee. When a minor violation occurs, the Board formalizes the yellow card with a written letter to the offender also informing the Ombudspersons Committee. The yellow card causes some consequences on the offender for a period of 3 months (e.g. no access to grants). After 3 yellow cards, or for a severe violation, the Board can expel the offender. The offender can appeal against Board decisions with a request to the Ombudspersons Committee that decides “ex aequo et bono” in a definitive way. --Marta Arosio (WMIT) (talk) 13:09, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Marta Arosio (WMIT) This sentence: For on-line, the “power users” (admins, steward…), who are designated by definition to respect the UCoC, should be the officers who grant UCoC (any violation done by a power user should immediately lead to power revocation). is difficult to understand. What does it mean to "grant UCoC"? Vexations (talk) 16:20, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Vexations The sentence can be rephrased as "For on-line, the “power users” (admins, steward…), who are designated by definition to respect the UCoC, should be the Officers who enforce the UCoC among the community (abviuosly any violation done by a Power User, and judged by the higher level in the hierarchy, should immediately lead to power revocation). --Marta Arosio (WMIT) (talk) 07:48, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That makes me so sad. I've said i before, but I'll try one more time: Because this code of conduct (supposedly) represents our shared norms and values, EVERYONE should be able to hold ANYONE to account for violating them. If you need an officer to uphold the community's codified norms, they're not truly your norms. If only the people who are required respect it "by definition", then nobody REALLY respects it. To truly respect our shared norms means to act in accordance, and that ought to mean that anyone can take action to correct antisocial behavior with the means at their disposal. Simply reverting an insult is faster, more effective than waiting for someone to launch an investigation. Vexations (talk) 12:00, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remarks from Wikimedia Poland[edit]

Code Enforcement Officer & general problems with enforcement on the local chapter level: Please note that affiliates have very different approaches to the policing element of community support, from non-existent to extremely hands off, to quite hands on. Also note that due to the very different models of disconnectedness and relationships between an affiliate and local Wikimedia communities, enforcement can be a fairly easy or an extremely contentious task.

Office actions taken on the English Wikipedia by WMF staff sometimes cause major crises and result in the lack of trust between a group of users and WMF.

Now consider that on a chapter level, a similar situation may develop, with the following key differences:

  1. an affiliate may not have the resources to deal with the conflict (which may spill over to social media, national media, etc.),
  2. an affiliate may be held legally responsible for the actions of its staff by a user (which does not happen to WMF due to the prohibitive costs of litigation in the US AND having a large legal team),
  3. an affiliate is governed by members, and affiliate staff taking an "office action" against a member may result in an internal political conflict, which can severely impact the ability of the affiliate to fulfill the Wikimedia mission (see also the Note on independent governance of affiliates below).

Recommendations based on this observation:

  • reach out to Volunteer Supporters Network and ask them to prepare a cost-benefit analysis of affiliates taking on enforcement,
  • invest heavily in communications, so that the enforcement role of an affiliate does not make them "the bad guys",
  • create support processes and build capacity, in order to enable WMF community support staff to help and actively support local enforcement officers.

Not feasable to require formal UCoC commitment from GLAM and educational partners: It is a very bad idea to require any 3rd party partners – especially in the GLAM and education space – to formally agree, i.e. sign, the UCoC. These institutional environments are highly structured and reaching any form of formal agreement often takes a lot of time and effort, including going through legal review on the side of the partner. This happens when we initiate very simple and de facto non-binding, mostly symbolic partnership agreements. We expect the process to be much more difficult if a non-Wikimedia staff lawyer at a school or cultural institution reads the rules set out in the UCoC.

Our fear is that adding UCoC signing as a formal step in establishing a new partnership will greatly slow down any efforts in GLAM and education, and possibly even make some partnerships impossible.

Recommendations based on this observation:

  • do not require non-affiliate, 3rd party partners to agree to UCoC as a separate step in all cases, instead rely on Terms of Use and a UCoC compliance

Off-wiki violations need wise limits: The phrasing of this part in its current form is, in our opinion, very broad and subject to abuse.

Wikipedians are social creatures, and by virtue of the mass nature of our movement will, on occasion, interact with each other off-wiki in contexts that have little to nothing to do with the Wikimedia movement. The rules need to take that into account and specify that these rules will be applied in activity and conflicts related to Wikimedia activities of participating wikimedians.

However, at the same time, we need to ensure that rules can be applied in cases of harassment which, while not on its face related to Wikimedia activities, is a form of retaliation or attack intended to impact actions and activity on Wikimedia projects.

In other words, the rules need to, simultaneously:

  • leave two wikimedians alone if they get into a non-Wikimedia related but very ugly political fight on Twitter, because they happen to be activists or politicians outside of the movement, AND
  • intervene if a wikimedian cyberstalks another wikimedian and starts an ugly political fight in order to impact their willingness to continue engaging in Wikimedia projects.

Whoever gets to solve this problem, we do not envy you, 'cause it's not going to be easy – but we strongly feel this needs a solution.

Note on independent governance of affiliates & their membership decisions: Consider that:

  • democratic and collective governance structures are an important feature of Wikimedia Affiliate organizations, which are incorporated as associations or using similar legal structured, AND
  • an important form of engaging with the mission of the Wikimedia movement is joining an affiliate membership organization, AND
  • it makes sense for persons who commit major violations of the rules set out in the UCoC to be excluded from all forms of activity within the movement, BUT
  • in many jurisdictions it is not possible for an authority external to the association to make decisions about the membership of the association.

As an example, the polish Associations Act (pol. Prawo o Stowarzyszeniach) requires that (1) the highest authority in an association is vested in the General Members' Assembly, i.e. all members acting together and making decisions through majority voting, and that (2) the General Members' Assembly acts on the basis of the organization's Statute (a written document describing the internal governance rules and structures of the association).

Within this system, it is not possible for a decision made by any body outside of Wikimedia Poland to remove the membership status of a member.

In fact, since the removal of a member must be based on the rules set out in the statute, even the General Members' Assembly cannot legally remove a member for violating UCoC.

Changing this requires that the members amend the Statute to include a new potential reason for removing a member, and a procedure to make that decision.

It is legally impossible to "eject" a member for a UCoC violation without first implementing needed governance changes AND following a separate internal procedure in each case. That is to say: even once UCoC violations are added to relevant internal rules as a valid reason for membership termination, it will likely still be necessary to conduct a separate and fully internal trial-like process to remove a member.

We suspect the situation is similar in many other jurisdictions.

Recommendations based on these observations:

  • ask AffComm to conduct a global affiliate audit/survey of the legal possibilities to remove members based on UCoC violations AND the existence of internal codes of conduct or other rules,
  • provide legal and communication support to affiliates wishing to amend their governing documents,
  • wherever possible, respect the independence of affiliates as separate organizations with their own internal rules,
  • establish processes to communicate UCoC-related sanctions to affiliates in order to trigger relevant internal processes.

Kind regards,

Lucas Garczewski aka Łukasz Garczewski (WMPL) (talk) 22:17, 15 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

COO of Wikimedia Poland

Limits of direct application of Enforcement guidelines[edit]

In many Wikis there is a good working system in place. So it would be helpful to only apply the enforcement in the abscence of such a system or if a major problem is identified. Habitator terrae (talk) 09:17, 27 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Invitation to a conversation about the ratification of the enforcement guidelines[edit]

Thank you for your continued comments and ideas on the Universal Code of Conduct enforcement guidelines. Your responses have helped to build a stronger Universal Code of Conduct.

If you have not already provided your comments, now is the time as the drafting committee has been meeting to update the enforcement guidelines. The drafting committee wants to consider all comments as they make their updates. Please submit any comments by the end of November. The Committee hopes to finish its revisions before the end of the year, and the revised guidelines will be published as soon as they have been completed.

The next steps for the Universal Code of Conduct include conversations about ratification of the enforcement guidelines. There will be a conversation about ratification on Nov 29.

The Wikimedia Foundation will make recommendations to the Board of Trustees about the ratification of the guidelines in December. The recommendations will inform the next steps in the Universal Code of Conduct process.

Xeno (WMF) (talk) 02:44, 25 November 2021 (UTC)Reply