Talk:Universal Code of Conduct/Policy text

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page is for discussions related to the Universal Code of Conduct/Policy text.

  Please remember to:

  Discussion navigation:

UCoC as an initiative of a Movement priority[edit]

For those who have commented on the UCoC, please feel free to input at "Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Transition/Discuss/Provide for Safety and Inclusion". George Ho (talk) 06:59, 24 November 2020 (UTC)

Independent review of complaints required[edit]

On several wikis there is an arbcom that reviews cases. The key thing what happens there is that independent arbiters are reviewing the cases. Harassment and bullying can happen everywhere in every organisation, team or group. Stating that such is not allowed nor accepted is not enough. Yes, it is needed that it is written down, that is a good start. But as so important is the way how the review of complaints is organised. Such review must be in any case independent from every person involved in a complaint. And if a complaint is made by/about a team member, nobody from that team should be reviewing the complaint. Just like the Ombuds commission, the members of the review team should be independent, and be outside any organisation/team/etc. Having a Universal Code of Conduct is only half what we need, as the way how rules are enforced decides the success or failure of the code of conduct for our movement. Romaine (talk) 22:28, 1 February 2021 (UTC)

In some ArbitrationCommissions I know of, there's no basic rule that arbiters have to be independent. Accounts are allowed to become ArbCom member when from that account a certain amount of editting has been done over a certain period. No knowledge or experience in law, mediation needed, no need for knowledge about official rules and policies governing their Wikimedia project. Agree fully with Romaine, when discussing enforcement, independent enforcing methods should be on (top of) the agenda. Preferably executed by wise people with know-how and experience in legal decision making along arbitration - & mediation principles, Preferably not belonging to the local user group with extra technical rights. JustB 2001:16B8:1151:B800:4431:8CF8:4436:9C47 11:36, 16 February 2021 (UTC)
I heartily endorse that proposal. This does however bring in the problem of language, particularly where smaller Wiki's are concerned. Consider for example the Scots language or sco:Scots leid. If a dispute within that Wikipedia had to be referred to an outside arbitration team, what language would they use. In that particular example, it can be assumed that everyone who edits in Scots can also edit in English, but what about other minority languages? As a solution, I propose that the default language should be English unless the independent team, after looking at the facts in front of them, decide otherwise. Martinvl (talk) 12:31, 16 February 2021 (UTC)
In the deWP we have elected admins, with the possibility to force them to an re-election, if the community wants it, and separate, with higher requirements for suitability, elections for Schiedsrichter (arbs). Arbs have a defined legislative period of 2 years, with election half of them every year. I think this works quite fine (although others think otherwise). Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 13:14, 16 February 2021 (UTC)
I am sure that it works well for 99% of the time, as does the system of the EngWP. In the case of EngWP, when procedures go wrong, they go badly wrong and as things are at the moment, if somebody has been wrongly blocked from editing, it is impossible for them to go back because they have to acknowledge a fault that does not exist. An external appeal system should help sort that problem out. Martinvl (talk) 23:22, 16 February 2021 (UTC)


PEarley (WMF), you just entered twice the phrase "or in situations where consent cannot be communicated", right after each other. Eissink (talk) 12:20, 2 February 2021 (UTC).

Thanks, Eissink. Just trying to work around an issue with a page move - will fix as soon as the page is editable! Patrick Earley (WMF) (talk) 12:25, 2 February 2021 (UTC)

missing link[edit]

In section 2.1 [link: of different backgrounds] is not linking to anything. That phrase was introduced in this diff by User:PEarley (WMF) on 13 October 2020. Vexations (talk) 15:24, 2 February 2021 (UTC)

Fixed - that was a remnant from the old draft. Thanks for flagging, Vexations. Patrick Earley (WMF) (talk) 15:48, 2 February 2021 (UTC)

and revisiting for updates as needed[edit]

The section Why We Have a Universal Code of Conduct contains the phrase "We are committed to ensuring that it remains so, including by embracing this Code of Conduct and revisiting for updates as needed." (emphasis mine). What is the process for making such changes? Vexations (talk) 16:23, 2 February 2021 (UTC)

Vexations: I have reproduced the English text currently at Special:MyLanguage/Universal Code of Conduct/FAQ#Periodic reviews below:

10. Will there be periodic reviews and amendments of the UCoC once it is formed? If yes, who will be responsible for doing that?
Yes. The Foundation’s Legal Department will host a review of the UCoC one year after the completed version of it is accepted by the Board. Succeeding reviews may be facilitated by emerging governance structures such as those recommended by the Movement Strategy process.
11. Who will review the policies in the future if an urgent need for change arises?
Like other Foundation-hosted policies, requests for urgent changes can be submitted to the Foundation’s Legal Department. The Legal Department has led community-driven amendment conversations in the past (for example, the [[<tvar|Paid>Special:MyLanguage/Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment</>|2014 Terms of use/Paid contributions amendment]]) and has a structure and process for facilitating these situations.

If you have additional questions, please let me know. Xeno (WMF) (talk) 17:01, 4 February 2021 (UTC)


From the text: "In all Wikimedia projects, spaces and events, behaviour will be founded in respect, civility, collegiality, solidarity and good citizenship. This applies to all contributors and participants in their interaction with all contributors and participants, without expectations based on age, mental or physical disabilities, physical appearance, national, religious, ethnic and cultural background, caste, social class, language fluency, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex or career field". Isn't "expectations" supposed to be "distinction"? it was changed from distinction to expectations in this edit. Vexations (talk) 22:13, 4 February 2021 (UTC)

Vexations: Thank you for your question. That edit corrects a missing change from the Universal Code of Conduct/Board ratification change log: see Preamble change 2 for the explanation of the change from "distinction" to "expectations". Xeno (WMF) (talk) 05:04, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
I was trying to translate it into Dutch. To say "Dit is van toepassing op alle deelnemers, zonder verwachtingen gebaseerd op leeftijd ..." is no longer a sentence that has any discernible meaning. We would typically use "onderscheid" (distinction). For example, a similar phrase from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "without distinction of any kind, such as race ..." is translated as "zonder enig onderscheid van welke aard ook, zoals ras". Not sure if this is also a problem in other languages. Vexations (talk) 12:19, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
Same in german. I changed it, because I don't understand the english meaning of expecting sth because of someones age (maybe I expect an eldery person to move slower than a child?) but it does not make much sense. --Christoph Jackel (WMDE) 13:06, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
I think they put this very meaning, but I agree that it sounds non-trivial. Something like: "do not expect the child that he does not understand what you are talking about". Iniquity (talk) 13:18, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

Anglocentric text[edit]

Considering that this rule was mainly developed for non-English communities, it is very strange to see in it very narrow terms that are used only in English. Iniquity (talk) 11:22, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

@SPoore (WMF), Hey! When can I get some kind of answer? :) Iniquity (talk) 12:32, 12 February 2021 (UTC)

Don't use a 'Harassment' word in heading[edit]

In Russian, I think that in other languages too, items from the harassment list are difficult to conceptualize under the word harassment. Is it possible to generalize this list under a different term? Iniquity (talk) 10:02, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

Good citizenship[edit]

This is the most difficult term, which in most countries and languages is used only for the country and state. I think that it just needs to be replaced or expanded. At least for translators. I understand correctly that Good citizenship = Solidarism? Iniquity (talk) 10:15, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

I can confirm that. It's even almost unclear for me, not to mention translation of this term to Russian. Красныйwanna talk? 12:09, 7 February 2021 (UTC)
I'll point out that this phrase -- "good citizenship" -- was uniformly objected to at an earlier draft of this code. (I am shocked -- shocked I tell you! -- to find that the Foundation has ignored input from the volunteers here!) Especially by native English speakers, who felt it imposed unwelcome duties upon volunteers. (I'm not familiar with the term "Solidarism", but if that is similar to democratic centralism, then I suspect it denotes the concept objected to here.) -- Llywrch (talk) 07:36, 8 February 2021 (UTC)
Back translation from the German text would be Good Cooperation. The translation of Citizenship would be nationality or something along that lines. This is a very good example of the detachment of the monolingual anglocentrics from the real world. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:56, 8 February 2021 (UTC)
I thing there's meant a requirement for WMF-movement member (citizen) to strictly follow (without any exceptions, whether you are the Jimmy Wales or unregistered contributor or even just a viewer) their rights and responsibilities according to [WMF] 'law' policies. But I approve that's quite difficult to understand as WMF[-movement] is not a country (however I would like to have a WMF passport that have no limits $) I'd migrate to such 'country' - a multilingual and with no any borders worldwide - if it'd exists officially) and do not grant a citizenship in 'as usual' (for wordlwide majority) meaning of that word. Good to be rephrased to eradicate ambiguity (for UCoC readers not to be confused). 19:22, 9 February 2021 (UTC)


In Russian, there is no term for insulting a group of participants on a specific basis. I think most languages don't have it either. Is it possible to use another word or turn this word into a phrase? Iniquity (talk) 11:19, 5 February 2021 (UTC)

en:List_of_ethnic_slurs has several examples of ethic slurs related to Russia. Does презрительное прозвище come close? Vexations (talk) 18:52, 7 February 2021 (UTC)
Relatively yes, but it doesn't necessarily apply to a group of people. But if we are trying with such difficulty to come up with an analogue for Russian, can you imagine how difficult it can be in other languages? Iniquity (talk) 20:06, 7 February 2021 (UTC)
Why not to offer own word replacement options? "Slandering"/"calumny" is much more specific and wide-meaning enough, imho. 19:35, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
Do you mean an alternative in English? It seems to me that this term should simply be expanded with text. Iniquity (talk) 15:18, 12 February 2021 (UTC)


Is this concept widely used and interpreted in all languages? Is such a mention obligatory in the document? Iniquity (talk) 12:30, 9 February 2021 (UTC)


"This includes any behaviour intended primarily to intimidate, outrage or upset a person, or any behaviour where this would reasonably be considered the most likely main outcome."

In my experience, some users who insist on publishing badly sourced and badly written content will go into a rage after even the kindest of critical remarks. So upsetting them can be considered the most likely outcome of any such remark, and by the logic of this quoted sentence anyone making such a remark would thus be guilty of harassment.

"Behaviour can be considered harassment if it is beyond what a reasonable person would be expected to tolerate in a global, intercultural environment."

So if behaviour is beyond what a reasonable person would be expected to tolerate in a restricted, monocultural environment, it may not be considered harassment? If not, what is the point of specifying 'in a global, intercultural environment? Marrakech (talk) 10:56, 5 February 2021 (UTC)
I think the main problem in that is much more global: people in the WMF try to apply their reality to all the world, and not only in social and cultural sphere: during zoom calls I also understood that different Wikimedia communities are now in different levels of development and face different levels and types of problems. And this policy text represents mostly Northern America communities view, so it was specified for "global intercultural" environment, as they want to see the world. They also specified sexual harrasment, but there are other, non-sexual forms of unwanted attention that don't even specified in this text. So in my opinion it's too raw and ratification of it by the Board was ahead of time; that drew a line between the Board and a community. Красныйwanna talk? 12:04, 7 February 2021 (UTC)
@Красный:Not agreed. Reality of human relationships is global thing. Trying to censorship (have a number of examples) some local project only because "you are powered" there and (most of cases while such activity) not wishing for someone (globally, neutral, who can oversee your actions) to knock you down (for example withdraw your addional rights you abuse other contributors with use of or at least warn you about your initial movement policy violating activity and restrict you to continue such activity) - that way doing anything uncontrolled - is the bad idea as "[unlimited, and therefore undisputed, for decades] power [obviously] corrupts". No guaranteed content and activity neutrality at local projects possible that case.
Other question you told os "that's too raw". It is. But that's ok, because that's:
  • still unapproved (if you'll tell about what you mean under "there are other, non-sexual forms of unwanted attention" it can be discussed and, if it's not monocultured and really global, and not covered by already mentioned text, can be still added there.
  • that's a baseline (every community can add anything they want not violationg baseline told there). 18:24, 9 February 2021 (UTC) For creating an unique local policies (if needed). 19:46, 9 February 2021 (UTC)

Disclosure of personal data - phrase meaning[edit]

> or sharing information concerning their Wikimedia activity outside the projects.

  • What is this piece of the policy about? What should it prevent and how should it be interpreted correctly? Do chats and mailings fall under this rule? Iniquity (talk) 12:32, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
  • If a court of law requires that a Wikipedian give the personal details of another Wikipedian, which takes precedence - the court of law or the Wikimedia UCoC? May I suggest that the words "unless required to do so by a court of law" be appended to this phrase as this will clarify that the Wikimedia Foundation does not consider itself above the courts of law. Martinvl (talk) 18:19, 9 February 2021 (UTC)
    • Ideally, no UCOC would expect a user to prioritize its terms over the law of any user's country. No matter how virtuous the terms nor how unjust the country. However, lacking any statement to the contrary we cannot be sure of these expectations here. -- Llywrch (talk) 23:30, 10 February 2021 (UTC)
      • May I put this into perspective - suppose that User:Eve libels User:Alice and as a result User:Alice incurs a financial loss outside Wikimedia's control (for example, she loses her job). User:Alice, knowing who User:Eve is, then sues User:Eve for libel setting a figure based on her loss of earnings. In order to do so, User:Alice will have to publicise User:Eve's real life name and address as such a case will be held in open court. As the draft UCoC stands, User:Alice can be penalised by Wikimedia projects for revealing User:Eve's personal details in public. Martinvl (talk) 17:44, 12 February 2021 (UTC)

You really want to have forced use of special gender pronouns in the UCoC?[edit]

Moved to Talk:Universal Code of Conduct#You really want to have forced use of special gender pronouns in the UCoC?. Iniquity (talk) 12:25, 12 February 2021 (UTC)

Draft review results[edit]

Hello. Around September/October 2020 there was a call for review of the UCoC draft. Lots of people voiced their opinions in different languages: click. What happened to these reviews? Were they summarized, is there any report available or anything? Were these opinions taken into consideration or was it just making noises into the void? Yours, tufor (talk) 01:18, 13 February 2021 (UTC)

Please replace the GAFAM survey by a survey on an ethically acceptable server[edit]

Moved to Talk:Universal Code of Conduct#Please replace the GAFAM survey by a survey on an ethically acceptable server. Iniquity (talk) 11:02, 13 February 2021 (UTC)


> Abuse of office by functionaries, officials and staff:
Are you talking about en:Wikipedia:Functionaries? Or all Functionaries with admins, interface-admins etc? Iniquity (talk) 18:12, 13 February 2021 (UTC)

Copyedits to policy text[edit]

I made some edits to the policy text just now. They do not change its meaning. I made some phrases into sentences to achieve parallelism. I added commas between some elements of lists. This was bold of me but I was advised in the first of the Feb 20-21 SWAN meetings that it would be okay to go ahead with such edits. If someone finds it necessary to revert them, okay. This was the first chance I was aware of to see the text. -- econterms (talk) 04:21, 21 February 2021 (UTC)

Econterms, the text was ratified by the board. I don't think that the ratified version should be changed. The UCoC itself should be changed a great deal, by making incremental and occasionally bold changes, until we arrive at a version that has community consensus. Vexations (talk) 15:59, 21 February 2021 (UTC)
Vexations As declared by the Board on December 9th 2020, the text adopted is binding and enforceable for all Wikimedia projects (WMF Resolution: Approval Universal Code of Conduct. How do you see a method or process like community consensus could change this policy and how much time you estimate, will this take? Thanks JustB EU (talk) 16:10, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
@JustB EU: Isn't the right question the opposite of this one... since when can the Board create policy by fiat, without community support? They're entitled to create policy for the WMF and WMF employees, but that doesn't extend to the community as a whole, unless the community had delegated that to the WMF.
As a thought experiment, would the WMF Board be able to create content policy by similar fiat? TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 16:29, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
@TomDotGov: WMF believes when they do not touch content, they can not be held responsible as publisher. For the rest, WMF as owner legally is allowed and competent to design all rules they think appropriate for running the corporation and it's projects. No legal obligation to ask community first, no mandate needed. There however is an interesting co-dependency. Without servers no Wikipedia for volunteers - without volunteers no Wikipedia for Foundation & affiliates (no fame, no wages for their employees).JustB EU (talk) 17:44, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
@JustB EU: They're legally allowed to do a lot of things - they could replace the front page with a licensed copy of the "Honey Badger Don't Care" video, and they'd probably be fine as a charity with a educational purpose. That being said, support of the community is necessary for the mission - this isn't like facebook, where most of the content is produced for self-interested reason. This is why it's important that the community remain in control of policy, and why it's important to not accept the WMF's attempts to overstep its mandate. Just because the WMF employees or the mostly-unelected board say something is a policy, doesn't mean it is. That's not how policies are ratified, and so the community should work to make a policy we can accept. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 19:15, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
@TomDotGov: The Board cannot create policy by fiat. The UCoC is, of course, neither binding nor enforceable, and is not Wikimedia policy in any real sense, whatever the Board may say. --Yair rand (talk) 23:54, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
JustB EU How do you see a method or process like community consensus could change this policy and how much time you estimate, will this take? I think it will be difficult. Some simple copy-edits can easily be agreed upon. The changes that Econterms made are straightforward. Those changes should be uncontroversial. Additionally, we should improve the readability of the Code. The policy text page has a Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease score of 35.8. We should not have a code that is best understood by university graduates. It should have been written in plain English that can be understood by a 13-year old. We are already having discussions about enforcement. Some elements of the Code may turn out to be unenforceable. Those will have to be revised or removed. The code itself contains a clause that refers to updates: We are committed to ensuring that it remains so, including by embracing this Code of Conduct and revisiting for updates as needed.(emphasis mine) The sooner we propose the needed changes, the better. The way to do that is to rewrite the code using our own wiki editing process. I don't think we should do that in the policy text, because that has already been ratified. We ought to set up an alternative page and start editing. Vexations (talk) 23:19, 23 February 2021 (UTC)
I don't believe the text has been ratifed, from the community's perspective. As I wrote below, I'd suggest we move the WMF-Only version to its own page, and resume editing here. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 00:29, 24 February 2021 (UTC)
TomDotGov & Vexations From the official WMF Board Resolution is clear, the UCoC is enforceable as of the 9th of December 2020. When content creators and other volunteer workers in the communities do not agree on policing the UCoC for the WMF, it's up to the WMF to enforce, right? See 1 - Introduction,: "Actions that contradict the Universal Code of Conduct can result in sanctions. These may be imposed by designated functionaries (as appropriate in their local context) and/or by the Wikimedia Foundation as the legal owner of the platforms. JustB EU (talk) 17:30, 26 February 2021 (UTC)
@JustB EU: Sure, that's what the board resolution says. Now the question is, does the board resolution have any meaning? Wikimedia isn't Facebook, where the legal owner can just do whatever they want - or at least, I'm hoping that it hasn't gotten so bad that the Foundation sees itself as another Facebook. At least traditionally, the community has had the ability to veto Foundation actions that didn't benefit the movement - see en:WP:FRAM for a still-recent example of what happened when the Foundation tried to impose sanctions without the community's consent.
A far better approach will be for the community to update the policy, and then for the Board to accept an updated policy that the community is willing to abide by and enforce. This isn't that policy, as I think that everyone agrees there are easily-addressable flaws in the policy. Best to set aside the WMF-only curiosity, and work on something useful to the movement. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 19:35, 26 February 2021 (UTC)

Help request to sync en and hu text[edit]

Hello! The HUngarian text blocks (paragraphs) are completely misaligned to the EN text (work weeks now) and since I don't seem to be able to directly edit the section numbering I cannot even start updating. Could someone either put them back in sync or tell me how could I edit the raw text to fix up the paragraph markers? Doing it in the click-click-click UI would be a nightmare. Thanks! --grin 08:03, 22 February 2021 (UTC)

Copy edits - original text - official policy[edit]

Copy edits make unclear, what the original and official text is as approved by the WMF Board of Trustees on December 9, 2020 (Resolution Approval Universal Code of Conduct). It would be good for clarity, when the original text will be published here as PDF and audiofile. Thanks JustB EU (talk) 15:48, 23 February 2021 (UTC)

Translations as Page Protection[edit]

We're kind of at a crossroads when it comes to this page, as WMF staff is using the need to translate the version of this page that the Board ratified as a way of instituting page protection, out of policy. This is preventing the community from doing the work of creating a code of conduct policy using the usual consensus process.

What I'd suggest doing is to copy this page to the something like [[Talk:Universal Code of Conduct/Policy text/WMF-Only], and then work here to see if we could develop a version that applies to the community. I believe that what User:BChoo (WMF) is doing is to use the need for translation of the obsolete version to prevent needed improvements, like the ones that User:Econterms provided. That's not really useful for developing a version of this policy that would apply to the entire community, and not just the WMF.

I fundamentally think it's wrong for WMF staff to use the translation system as a way to institute a form of page protection for a page that hasn't achieved community consensus. TomDotGov (talk) (hold the election) 00:28, 24 February 2021 (UTC)

Translating from one legal system into another[edit]

To translate a legal text, enforceable worldwide, it needs not only be transferred from one language to another, but also from one legal system into another. The wordings and concepts as being drafted by the WMF Board need to be reviewed for any other jurisduction it is meant to be enforced in. What for instance is being meant with without expectations in a legal sense?

Furthermore does the EU has a different approach to privacy than the US, due to massive historical experiences with dictatorial and authoritarian regimes in many countries, from Germany and Greece, to Poland and Portugal. So enforcement, conflict-handling and dispute-solving probably needs a basically different structure in the EU than in the US.

To make the UCoC work in as many projects as possible, for as many people as possible, imho translations should therefore not only be handled by engaged volunteers, WMF Staffers and translation machines. Collaboration should be set up with professional legal translators / interpreters and legal experts in all separate jurisdictions. That ofcourse can be Wikipedians.

Last but ot least translations in the legal field should only be done from the official, approved unchangeable policy text and not from this page. The official text seems to be published here: Cheers JustB EU (talk) 08:48, 25 February 2021 (UTC) FYI: @Iniquity: @PEarley (WMF): @NahidSultan (WMF):


This is probably covered somewhere else, but hopefully someone can help me understand: what does "problems" refer to in the subheading "hounding"? Does it refer to the immediate cause that triggers someone to check their colleagues' edits (e.g. user A finds three copyright violations by user B, then the "problems" would be copyright violations) or is it following around (e.g. user B told user A that they don't like it when every upload is debated on copyright grounds, and the "problems" would be the debating of copyright status)? I can very well imagine a scenario where user A thinks that they are just checking legitimate concerns while user B is convinced that user A only does this to upset them. It's ambivalent to me which of the two is being referred to. I'm also at a loss why this specific bullet has the reference to communication first and established procedures later, and for example not 'trolling'. Effeietsanders (talk) 23:40, 25 February 2021 (UTC)

"behaviour" or "behavior"[edit]

I noticed that we use "behaviour" 13 times and "behavior" twice, including once in a heading. Which variety of English is the UCoC written in? Vexations (talk) 14:13, 26 February 2021 (UTC)