Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/May 2020 - Board of Trustees on Healthy Community Culture, Inclusivity, and Safe Spaces

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Support from Wikimedia Nigeria[edit]

Yes, we agree in totality with the board for this initiative. It is long overdue. We cant wait to see the policies that will be put in place to fight the mentioned community vices in the movement. Regards Wikimedia Nigeria (talk)

Thank you, Wikimedia Nigeria. We truly appreciate your support and look forward to your engagement in the process. Best, Shani (WMF) (talk) 13:21, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

The time has come for a UCoC[edit]

I commend the WMF Board for their May Resolution Board Statement on Community Health (2020) that takes the first, public, concrete step to begin implementing the Movement Strategy Recommendations. In many ways, this is a direct recommendation that came out of several years of work, and I am happy that the very first step is to help the members of our communities to be more safe. As a Wikimedian who was also one of the Writers of the 10 Recommendations, I firmly believe that none of them can be implemented without establishing a safer place in which to contribute, along with processes to enforce this. It is amazing that we have organically gotten this far as a global community without have a Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC), and having one created for the Board to approve within 3 months, and then processes and feedback for enforcement within 4 months, is ambitious in the best of times and circumstances. However, I think it speaks to the great need for this, and how none of the Recommendations can really be implemented without this in place. That you (the WMF Board) called for it as a "binding minimum set of standards across all Wikimedia projects" lays the pathway forward, especially when the Movement Strategy Recommendations includes 10 Principles upon which everything else can be built. While we have long developed the foundation of these efforts, along with building a solid business case for how a UCoC is needed, moving this to the first concrete action indicates how we must prioritize our efforts.

It makes sense that this work, with its ambitious timeline, should directly involve the Trust & Safety team, whose efforts can very much be increased with additional capacity building, as you indicated. This team has often been perceived as being impactful within their structure and resources, yet under-funded and under-sourced for the magnitude of the issues that our communities face. That there is not a UCoC to guide global efforts has always been a challenge, so it is fitting that this team in place becomes the hub for leading this timely effort.

The one ask I have for this involves how your (WMF Board) Statement ends, "The above efforts will be undertaken in coordination and collaboration with appropriate partners from across the movement, seek to increase effective community governance of conduct and behavioral standards, and reduce the long-term need of the Foundation to act. It is the shared goal of the Board and Foundation that these efforts advance a sustainable Wikimedia movement and support, rather than substitute, effective models of community governance." As this creation of a UCoC will be binding across the various Movement Projects, something that has never happened before and must account for at least minimum standards across many languages, cultures, and contexts, there should be some formal representation of Movement actors, including volunteers and Affiliates, in this process for it to be truly a community binding effort. I believe the Trust and Safety team, along with the WMF itself, has the best interest of our communities at heart in their work, though few things take the place of speaking on behalf of communities than having some representation of those communities in the decision-making process. 3 months is an incredibly ambitious schedule for this to happen, yet this first step to implementing the Movement Strategy Recommendations will set the stage for how the remainder of them will be implemented. It is imperative that some members of our communities be included and involved in some way in this process, as it is unimaginable that communities will be subject to enforceable codes of behavior without some input into their development.

I personally thought this effort would come after the creation of a Global Council, yet it seems that the need for a UCoC may be so great that we cannot wait for this council to be established as nothing can effectively be done without a safe space in which to contribute. Given how some can be concerned for the process or interests related to establishing global rules, the opposite is also true--without having trust and safety in place, it is difficult to even speak about having a global community in anything beyond name alone. --- FULBERT (talk) 12:54, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

Dear FULBERT, thank you for this message of support, as well as for your overall work and contribution to the strategic process. Relating to two points you raised, I'd like to stress that: 1) you are absolutely right in your assumption -- the Board sees the creation of a UCoC as a necessary and critical first step, one that should precede any further implementation of the movement strategy. But more importantly, 2) your ask, that the process will include the community, is already part of the statement (under each phase, it is stated that it will be "developed in collaboration with the international Wikimedia communities"), and part of how the board envisioned this process. The idea is for T & S to work closely with our communities to develop the UCoC, and more importantly, its enforcement. Actually, that work has already begun, but will get expanded and become more inclusive and formalized now. I look forward to following these conversations (no matter how tough they get) and hope that since it is simply the right thing to do, it will have broad support from various functionaries, affiliates, individuals and other partners that make our movement what it is. Thank you again for all your work for our movement. Shani (WMF) (talk) 13:21, 23 May 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for your reply and feedback Shani (WMF). I am very happy that our years of efforts toward Recommendations are now moving into direct action and implementation. A UCoC is a fitting first step. --- FULBERT (talk) 13:25, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

A great initiative[edit]

This indeed is a great initiative. I think it will help bring the idea that all Wikimedia projects belongs to everyone who edit them regardless whether they are long standing Wikimanians or newbies.Bobbyshabangu (talk) 14:20, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

Thank you for your support, Bobbyshabangu! I look forward to your continued engagement in this process. Shani (WMF) (talk) 18:18, 23 May 2020 (UTC)

Does the WMF learn from its mistakes?[edit]

While that question is not intended to be rhetorical, it any more seems to be. A few years back it was repeated disasters in software deployments. Now we move into attempts at behavior control. You folks remember what happened when you tried that with Fram? Well, here, let me refresh your memory: w:Wikipedia:FRAM. "Ended very badly" would be rather an understatement. When will WMF learn to keep their noses out, and that they are here to serve the communities, not to dictate to them? No "universal code of conduct" is going to be accepted; each project has their own. And if you think any attempt by WMF at enforcement will be tolerated, well...see previous link. Seraphimblade (talk) 05:05, 24 May 2020 (UTC)

I believe that a clear code of conduct, introduced with measures and clear procedures of community oversight over the process is exactly what we missed in the past to be able to avoid clashes. Pundit (talk) 11:16, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
Pundit, that's what I mean by not learning the actual lesson. The issue with Fram wasn't that WMF did it wrong. The issue was that WMF did it at all. Imposing sanctions on community members, outside of child protection, threats of violence, or cross-wiki abuse, is not a role the WMF is wanted in. Period. This isn't a "Next time we'll do it right" scenario; the only winning move is not to play. If WMF attempts to usurp, it doesn't matter how you do it, it matters that you do it. Seraphimblade (talk) 12:09, 24 May 2020 (UTC)
you do not have a consensus among editors for "not wanted", when the community shirks its responsibility to moderate civility, it should expect adult supervision. you can either collaborate in moderation of behavior, or you can get it crammed down, it is your choice. Slowking4 (talk) 11:32, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
The appropriate response to getting banned on your home wiki is not to spend years criticizing it in every place that will still let you in. (That goes similarly for the banned sockpuppeteers who went to the mailing list to praise the UCoC.)
There is an extremely broad consensus among editors that WMF intervention is not acceptable. It's shown up in every discussion of the issue, and the main cause of the WP:FRAM crisis on the English Wikipedia was that the WMF didn't seem to understand that its involvement is not permitted. Enforcing civility is none of the WMF's business. --Yair rand (talk) 17:02, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
Yair rand, one request for the sake of a proper discussion here -- anyone here is entitled to their opinions of course, and we'd like to hear them. But please stick to sharing your own POV and refrain from speaking for others and making unsubstantiated general statements, as it is unproductive to the discussion. To give an example, you wrote there is "extremely broad consensus", but the strategic process, affiliates seeking to grow their capacity for conflict resolution, and community members continuously approaching the T&S team for help and support and asking for tools, suggest a more complex picture than the one your are presenting here. In other words, this is not about any specific case from the past, but rather about people's lives and well-being in general from now on and into the future. I therefore suggest that we continue with care and thoughtfulness, acknowledging that there are things community members might not be aware of and cannot be revealed for safety reasons. We would very much appreciate your personal view on the actual issue -- not whether WMF should interfere; but rather, how such a global process, of WMF working with the community to create and enforce a UCoC, should happen. What you think are steps our community needs to take / consider in order to get healthier. That will be very helpful for the discussion and your POV would be useful and appreciated. Thanks in advance for your consideration, Shani (WMF) (talk)
I don't believe that this is a fair request to make of Yair, as he is just pointing out that the community has already achieved a consensus on what should be in the purview of Trust and Safety. That happened in a discussion that took place last year, with consensus having been evaluated by a WMF employee. The results of that movement process included that Foundation should support local community governance. If that governance is so broken that the Foundation feels it must step in, it should be working to help the community fix its governance rather than focusing on individual problem users. and The Foundation should go through community processes if it wants to sanction someone in that community under office action policy. Insofar as Yair is describing the broad consensus determined by that community process, I think it's a fair comment, and so I ask that you consider striking out your request. TomDotGov (talk) 21:54, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
(Edit conflict.) @Shani (WMF): I'm sorry, I'm used to "consensus" referring specifically to "consensus among the participating on-wiki contributors". (Also, "consensus" in the sense that is used around the English-language projects, which isn't the same as "universal agreement", which I admit is confusing.) Of course, many of the affiliate groups and those in the WMF hold different positions. However, the discussion here, with >50 editors from many projects and languages (majority German, though), was unanimous in its support for permanently preventing the WMF from ever instituting a UCoC. The consultations that the WMF started, such as this one (in Russian), similarly opposed the creation of a UCoC. And of course, we have the many local discussions (eg discussions on enwiki, Meta), and all those that I've seen had pretty much the same results. I hear that many in the Swedish Wikipedia support a UCoC, though, and there are probably others I don't know about. I admit that I don't know for certain that there is broad consensus even among the editors against a UCoC, but it very much looks that way to me. I had assumed that the positions of the community were clear to all, and that that was why the resolution specifically called for the UCoC to be enforced by the staff (with no mention of community oversight), and why nothing was mentioned about any community approval process. --Yair rand (talk) 22:01, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
Thank you both for your notes, TomDotGov & Yair rand. To clarify, I was indeed referring to the need to have a more global discussion on this, one that is not necessarily focused on EnWiki, but rather one that includes affiliates, functionaries and individuals from all over the movement, as well as the recommendations that came out of the Movement Strategy. Yair, your message clarified that point to me. Shani (WMF) (talk) 03:16, 26 May 2020 (UTC)
"We would very much appreciate your personal view on the actual issue -- not whether WMF should interfere; but rather, how such a global process, of WMF working with the community to create and enforce a UCoC, should happen." Thank you Shani for engaging in the discussion but this phrasing is problematic: it sounds like you think 1) that the WMF board gets to decide what's "the actual issue", 2) that the community is not supposed to comment on what the WMF's role is, 3) that individual users may participate in the discussion only within specific boundaries predetermined by the WMF, 4) that the creation of a certain policy is already a given and people must just give up and support it. Nemo 06:52, 26 May 2020 (UTC)

I can't say, how unsafe I feel with this all. The communities are mainly grown up persons, we don't need the WMF or the board to educate, train, raise or re-educate us. Together with the results of the movement strategy this all shows under the mantle of democratic development in reality a deeply undemocratic and authoritarian behavior. -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 12:18, 25 May 2020 (UTC)

Marcus CyronTo clarify, the training/education part is meant mainly for willing functionaries. I can assure you that many of them would welcome an opportunity to get the resources in terms of skill improvement and workshop abilities. Pundit (talk) 19:42, 25 May 2020 (UTC)
Well, of course something voluntary is fine. Are you saying all of this is voluntary? If that's the case, I may have misunderstood. If not, though, we got some pretty serious problems. Seraphimblade (talk) 07:01, 26 May 2020 (UTC)
Pundit - OK, this was not that good comunicated. I still feel not good with all this, but it is less worse. -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 13:20, 26 May 2020 (UTC)

I wonder, how this initiative will be factored in this enterprise. The problem in the last years was often enough some unwanted and not helpful interference by the WMF in matters, that are clearly none of their business. On the other hand there seems to be next to no help with the problem of Paid editing, thus the scroungers from the marketing world are not really dealt with properly. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:32, 27 May 2020 (UTC)

About a Universal Code of Conduct[edit]

This may come as a surprise to those who bother to read what I've written on this topic, but I'm not in complete opposition to formulating a Universal Code of Conduct (UCC). If constructed in a careful way, I can honestly believe it could be a good thing for all -- &, as the saying goes, the Devil is in the details.

I believe a UCC would work best if:

  • It limits WMF's involvement to specific incidents. Namely, those areas it is involved with at present: threats of violence, copyright issues, derogatory language concerning living people, & cross-project issues.
  • To the existing areas, three more should be considered:
    • If the given project has no functioning governance mechanisms (an example of a functioning system would be the ArbCom on en.wikipedia). There has been concerns that some projects lack these, & have been hijacked by people for purposes opposed to the movement's goals; IIRC, the Foundation has refused to take action because they have no explicit remit to do so.
    • Harassment of Foundation employees. (Which would need to be defined; I believe volunteers have the right to criticize Foundation employee behavior & performance within reasonable bounds.)
    • A draft Code of Conduct for those projects lacking these, which individual projects could then modify to fit their needs.
  • However, even in these areas the Foundation must explain why it acted as it did. To claim that "individual confidentiality" prohibits it from saying more than "sanctions were applied" only leads to resentment from both those involved & the disinterested.
  • Lastly, I believe Raystorm must be excluded from this process due to conflict of interest. Based on recent events, I simply don't trust her to act disinterestedly. It would be even better if adoption of any UCC be postponed until after elections for the Foundation Board be held; the fact there were no elections last year, & that no elections will be held this year, does not convince volunteers to trust our interests will be foremost.

There is also the issue how a UCC would related to project Codes of Conduct, whether existing or subsequent: does it supplement those provisions, or override them? (I would hope the UCC would not override any project Code of Conduct.) -- Llywrch (talk) 18:03, 26 May 2020 (UTC)

These are all very reasonable proposals. I would be interested to hear what either Pundit or Shani (WMF) would have to say about them. Seraphimblade (talk) 21:03, 26 May 2020 (UTC)
I think there are a lot of useful ideas in the proposals, but I think that there is going to be a more detailed community discussion about it and I'd be reluctant to jump to a shortlist. What I think is quite important is also a principle - sometimes it may be important to act fast, but it is also important to have community oversight available. I don't have a problem with policing prerogatives being given to paid staff, as long as there is a recourse and the community's control (and such sometimes cannot be public, but even then we nevertheless have trusted functionaries, etc. who should be involved). Pundit (talk) 17:34, 27 May 2020 (UTC)

Summary of the current state of affairs[edit]

  • Conduct enforcement
    • On wiki projects, conduct policies are enforced by our ~7000 local volunteer administrators across 300 languages. These are elected by local communities, and act in accordance with local community consensus.
    • On 846 very small wikis, these efforts are assisted by the 22 global sysops. (The global sysops user group was established by community RFC in 2010.)
    • On large wiki projects, there are well-established systems, often including Arbitration Committees (present on Wikipedias representing ~65% of Wikipedia editors) that (typically) can handle serious conduct disputes as well as matters unsuitable for public discussion. The WMF has put forth the position that these systems are inadequate in certain areas. Many communities, including the English Wikipedia, agree with this, and want to work on improving the situation. (After last year's crisis, ENWP was planning a project-wide ArbCom-run RFC on harassment, which has taken a while to get started. It took until July for the Board to stop the crisis, until September for ArbCom to finish up the case that T&S left it with, until November before T&S could really establish by RFC the community's expectations of them, and then until March for ArbCom's work on setting up the RfC to get underway. My guess is that it would have been launched some time in the next bunch of weeks, but presumably that all goes out the window now, assuming the WMF is starting up a new crisis.)
    • The Wikimedia communities have delegated certain responsibilities to the Wikimedia Foundation Trust and Safety team, including child protection issues, legal matters, and threats of violence. The scope of the team's activities was briefly in contention, but after the 2019 consultation, the team agreed that it would limit its activities to the agreed-upon severe issues, following the Board directive.
    • At real-life events, conduct policy enforcement is handled by the event organizers, sometimes with assistance from T&S.
    • Inside Wikimedia's support organizations, their codes of conduct are enforced by...? (I don't know the answer to this, actually.)
  • Conduct policy
    • On wikis, each community writes its own local set of conduct policies. There are established conduct policies on wikis representing over 94% of Wikipedians.
    • On certain small wikis, there are no conduct policies. Additionally, global sysops have no guidance regarding when it is appropriate to institute a block. (Note: A few months ago, I suggested to Doc James that I could organize efforts to try to fix this, if he thought it would prevent the WMF from imposing an unwanted policy on Wikimedia. I want to say that that offer is still open.)
    • With the exception of the community-written Terms of Use, and the Global ban/block/lock policies, there are no global policies relating to conduct. The volunteer communities generally do not recognize the authority of any group other than the Wikimedia community to establish such policies, and will actively resist any efforts by an external entity to force changes. Our support organizations are generally not permitted to have a say in the creation of conduct policies that apply to the communities.
    • There are no existing procedures for what to do when an entire wiki "goes rogue", where administrators collectively act in an inappropriate manner.
    • At off-wiki events, conduct is generally regulated by the Friendly space policies.
    • Wikimedia's support organizations (including the WMF and many affiliates) have their own codes of conduct.
  • Recent history
    • During the FRAM crisis on ENWP, dozens of admins resigned, several of which never returned, many other editors went on strike, and half of ArbCom expressed their intention to resign unless the WMF committed "to leaving behavioural complaints pertaining solely to the English Wikipedia to established local processes". Around the same time, the German and Chinese Wikipedias were similarly placed in such situations of distress. The crises were resolved by the Board directive limiting T&S's scope.
    • The Board resolution, approved five days ago, explicitly orders enforcement of conduct issues by WMF staff, specifically including those outside the "most severe cases" that were previously established as the limits of T&S's scope, thereby rescinding the arrangement that resolved the previous crisis.

(The following is commentary, and not part of the summary.)

In general, relations between the communities and the WMF are very strained at best, actively hostile at worst. In the area of community health, public interaction has basically only happened when the WMF was attempting to seize power. To the best of my knowledge, neither the Board, nor the WMF leadership, nor the Trust and Safety team has ever gone over to a Wikimedia community and asked, "how can we help?" (I suspect that the answer, by the way, would be that there are plenty of ways they can help, particularly in the area of development of useful software. Unless they bring along the giant hammer of wiki-destruction, in which case the priorities shift from "how to use this opportunity to improve things?" to "how can we get them to stop swinging that thing around?")

I believe that it's possible to salvage this situation, and let everyone get much of what they want without causing the kind of conflicts we've had in the past. We can improve the situation on the big projects, give the small projects some help with policies, deal with some broader issues, and collaboratively improve community health. But, we can't make progress if one side is saying, "we want to hear from you, but if we disagree, we're going to force our position anyway". I'd like it if the board were to state that the relevant previous commitments will be upheld, that the WMF will not attempt to use force in order to push this over community objections, and that they're asking the WMF to provide assistance where it is wanted, to communities led by volunteer editors. --Yair rand (talk) 19:53, 27 May 2020 (UTC)

You bring up some very good points. I think another issue has been the way that this has been conducted, and you can even see it above, where it's asserted that someone, somewhere, said that WMF ought to do this. Yet when asked "Who said that and what did they say?", that's apparently confidential. Wikimedia projects have generally been allergic to that type of backchanneling and whispering in ears. You have something to contribute to a discussion, you say it publicly and be prepared for it to be discussed. While there are a few circumstances requiring private handling (such as an editor reporting outing where reporting it publicly would magnify the effect), those should be the exception, not the rule. If you want to contribute something to a discussion, contribute it in public. That is especially true on Wikimedia where there is no requirement to reveal one's real-life identity. Given that, there is no reason that we should not be seeing the details of the feedback the WMF and their groups supposedly received, rather than just "Oh trust us, people really did say that." When the public feedback is directly counter to that, such an assertion is insufficient. Seraphimblade (talk) 20:20, 28 May 2020 (UTC)
did you miss your opportunity to give feedback at the Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20 backchannel? that is a shame. Slowking4 (talk) 21:25, 29 May 2020 (UTC)
I gave plenty of feedback there, as did many other editors. It was clearly ignored. But I said it with all five Ws, whereas what we're getting here generally has zero of them. To evaluate statements, we need to know those. What exactly was said? Who said it? Where was it said? When did they say so? Why did they say it? In these cases, we only have a general, aggregate synopsis of the comments from parties with a clear conflict of interest. That's not enough. Seraphimblade (talk) 19:33, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
@Yair rand: Just a quick note on your assumption that (probably besides Community Wishlist Survey which is likely known to you) WMF never asks community what they need: In 2015, I was one of the Stewards who was invited to the WMF for capacity building, getting to know each other, etc. For backing up this visit, we were asked questions what kind of support we would need; you can find the summary here. It's mostly technical wishes but also some social ones. As you can see, a lot of them aren't solved yet but, e.g., a (over some years bi-)monthly call between Stewards and T&S could be established. With closer interactions there and on mailinglists, other issues could also be raised. Just recently, some of us were asked again what kind of support we need. I don't want to comment on all the things that worked out well or not in this cooperation but it was at least mutual if not many driven by WMF. All stewards are elected by the global community. I know that at least the Ombudsman commission was also invited to the WMF (see the blog post) but is elected differently, and communications between OTRS admins and WMF does also exist who are community members, too, but election process is different there as well. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 15:02, 3 June 2020 (UTC)
So the Foundation reached out a few times to ask one specific group what they needed. Based on my own experience of someone who focuses on writing Wikipedia articles (a.k.a., the reason so many people visit our websites; a.k.a the actual, tangible product of the Foundation), I have never been asked what I need to be more productive. If anything, the impression I routinely got was that unless I wanted to help with the MLM aspect of the movement (i.e., "recruit people; recruit more people to recruit people; get headlines about the people you've recruited"), I was on my own. Until only a few years ago there was little help with gaining access to information (which has been limited to The Wikipedia Library which, although valuable, is the only WMF-backed resource). Except for GLAM, nothing to help individual editors to connect with experts in given fields -- & GLAM seems to be more of a marketing tool for the Foundation than help finding information. Nothing to help editors to understand better ways to present information. Unless an editor has been active for a long time, it is easy for her or him to be ignorant of these resources. Even these are targeted to only a small group of projects that the WMF is supposed to work with & support. Usually, the average editor learns about the existence of the Foundation only when it has some negative effect on her or his activities, such as unannounced software changes or enforces a new policy without warning. The body of contributors is a dispersed group, often ignored because trying to involve them is apparently too much work, & cuts into the time thought to be better spent in meetings with "important people". -- Llywrch (talk) 20:27, 3 June 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for that information, DerHexer. I didn't know about those interactions. I'm surprised it involved an in-person meeting, which is a strange way to handle things in an online movement. --Yair rand (talk) 22:29, 3 June 2020 (UTC)

What means "community functionaries" ?[edit]

Part me, but I don't understand what means exactly "community functionaries" ? In some translations it's just "community", in others "responsible of the community". Are "functionaries" paid people (by the Wmf, by a chapter) ? Volunteers of the movement ? Administrators on Wikipedia ? Thanks for an answer. --Waltercolor (talk) 20:15, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

Hello, Waltercolor. Please check here: Wikipedia:Functionaries. Best, Shani (WMF) (talk) 20:59, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

I see that an interim review process involving community functionaries. Seems that neither the Board nor the WMF has disclosed or elaborated what the "interim review" [on current ArbCom members, ex-ArbCom members still having access to ArbCom mailing list, and those with CheckUser and/or Oversight permissions] entail. I also don't see the statement explaining reasons for the review other than as precursor to the August 2020 ratification process. George Ho (talk) 02:08, 31 May 2020 (UTC)

The specific process of interim review will have to be established in discussion with the functionaries (ideally, highly trusted Wikimedians, already serving high-access roles across projects, such as stewards or ombudsman commission, but possibly also Arbcom members or ovesighters - TBD). Pundit (talk) 14:58, 31 May 2020 (UTC)

Proposal: de-Toxxing communications[edit]

I propose that future Wikimedia (Foundation and Movement) communications carefully avoid the word “toxic”. At best it is a base form of name-calling, at worst it is a dog-whistle call to exclude and denigrate people who are not part of the writer's social group.

  • “Harassment” has various definitions, and may carry specific legal implications in certain jurisdictions, but I hope there would be some common kernel of an idea of what it means for most people. Pinning down a definition for harassment – or some more specific, less loaded replacement terms – will be a difficult but necessary part of defining actionable misbehaviour. In contrast, what does “toxic” mean, beyond “I don’t like it”? Is it toxic when someone repeatedly disagrees with you, organises opposition to your proposed actions, or fails to respect your authoritay?
  • Soandso is a toxic influence and should be indefinitely banned. No I’m not, you are. You are, I called it first! Prove it. Because I said so.
  • Labelling someone as toxic is a personal attack. I thought some of us had standards against that?
  • Bandying about the term “toxic” seems to originate from a certain US subculture and reflect a particular mindset. I get the impression that its use is not met with approval even in parts of the USA(?), let alone elsewhere in the world. You say you want the Wikimedia Movement to be global and inclusive, yet you promote US-centric terminology in way that smacks of cultural imperialism?
  • When I was was at university decades ago, one could pick the young socialists and feminists by their frequent use of words like “dialectic” and “empowerment” respectively as positives, or “capitalist” and “patriarchy” as negatives. More recently, decrying the “elites” seems to be a mark of the right-wing. Crying “toxic” similarly marks you as a member of an in-group. A group that many of your readers might not feel they belong to. And you’re not just creating a feeling of unbelonging. The out-groups, the elites and toxics, must be opposed, crushed or banished.
  • When a a billionaire refers to comparatively underpaid professors as “elite”, that's not just a lack of self-awareness, it’s a blatant ploy to exploit the resentment and hurt of those who couldn’t afford a better education. So if you’ve ever been picked on or found yourself in a hurtful social environment, and somebody comes along promising to address “toxic” behaviour, are they just trying to manipulate you? Maybe they do care, but with rhetoric like that, can you trust their motives?

So please, leave Toxic to Britney, and avoid a term that risks alienating your readers.

Regards, Pelagic (talk) 16:37, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

yeah, the The Recent Unpleasantness works for me. Slowking4 (talk) 21:19, 29 May 2020 (UTC)
I prefer the term "incivility" which is also in the document. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:53, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
"cultural buzzsaw" also works What Wikipedia Must Do Wikiconference USA 2015. Slowking4 (talk) 13:13, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
There is a balance to be struck, between avoiding using language that will be perceived by many as deliberately alienating, and allowing everyone to use the type of language they're comfortable with, regardless of their social/cultural background. There is also the need for communication to be clearly understood, a metric by which the term "toxic" doesn't do very well. I agree that the Board should try to avoid using it in official communications. We want to reduce or eliminate incivility, personal attacks, disruption, harassment, and outing, and maintain an atmosphere of collegiality, camaraderie, and mutual respect among contributors. These concepts can be best explained without resorting to divisive language. --Yair rand (talk) 18:24, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
Aren't we asking the Board to either rewrite or retract its own recent statement? George Ho (talk) 18:48, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
I agree with Yair rand that "toxic" is too vague and that more specific words should be used to prevent misunderstandings. Buidhe (talk) 10:01, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
I completely agree with the word "toxic" because there is such a thing as toxic behaviors, and this has emmerged from the consultation within the strategy process. One has to name a cat a cat, and even if the tendency in the american anglo saxon culture is to smooth wording in communication and use soft terms for depicting dramatic siutuations, you have to think that for other cultures, using a word like "uncivility" might not bring the necessary awareness that we need. We need wording that makes absolutely no room for elusiveness and takes a firm stand. Calling a behavior toxic is definitely not labelling somebody toxic, if a clear difference is made between the behaviors and the persons. Incivility does not cover what some women and minorities are experiencing on some of the projects, and that is being permitted by allowing toxic behaviors to emmerge and stay, shuning away good faith contributors. A code of conduct is a first step, A lot of us know that enforcing a code of conduct is difficult and that ressources are needed, especially human ressources. Nattes à chat (talk) 20:38, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
I agree that toxic behavior can be strictly 'civil'. Nattes à chat: I presume you meant 'experiencing' rather than experimenting? Effeietsanders (talk) 20:42, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, I corrected Nattes à chat (talk) 20:45, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, Nattes à chat, "toxic" behaviours go beyond the tone-deaf, biased, or even outright abusive. To me, toxic, when used properly, would denote a spreading poisonous effect on the social or intellectual environment. One example, persistently ignoring others' input disrupts collaborative discourse. Another example, when an organised group of activists piles on against someone they see as impeding the spread of their ideology. That's toxic, but when the group labels stuff they don’t like as "toxic" to implement their own toxicity, then the word loses value. Pelagic (talk) 20:53, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
If I may bring a important point, you would be surely more convincing in refusing the US cultural imperialism (or rather, what is left after last 3 years) if your comment was translated in more than english. It is not very inclusive for all the people who do not speak the language (which is a lot of people in the movement, as you surely know if you are really caring about inclusivity beyond english speaking website).
Also, can you explain in more details what in the term Toxic is alienating to you ? Or, if not you, who exactly would be alienated exactly, as I think it is a best practice to tell for whom you are speaking if not you ? --Misc (talk) 20:57, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
Negative terms associated with use by particular social/cultural/political/religious groups often quickly become alienating to non-members of said group, as they are associated with group hostility to those outside the group. Avoiding such terms can make for a more open, welcoming environment. Hope this helps make things clearer. :) --Yair rand (talk) 21:19, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
Да, конечно, мы можем тут перейти на другие языки, и я сейчас вам сделаю в каждом слове по паре опечаток, так что никакой гуглтранслейт не посожет. Вапро с тольтко в том, будет ликому-нибуть польза оттого, что мы тут используем разные яыуки вмксто того, чтобы писатб н одном, которцй все поймкт.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:29, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Misc I'm monolingual, so I couldn't offer more than a machine translation. Which raises an important point. I’m saying that toxic doesn’t convey the desired intent with many English-language audiences; how do non-English speakers feel when they read it translated into their languages? Does it make more sense or go further off-base?
I am speaking for myself, as someone who is not a member of what I perceive to be a subculture that wields words like "toxic" as a badge of honour (mixing metaphors, but I hope that makes sense anyway). Consider this: if I was to go public as a representative of the Wiki(m/p)edia movement and say that we need to eliminate "social-justice-warrior behaviour" or the "activities of deplorables" would you feel that I was speaking for you?
— Pelagic (talk) 21:22, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
Well, I know a person in the Wikipedia movement who calls "toxic" everybody who disagrees with him, and "toxic behavior" the behavior of a "toxic" opponent which led to this opponent to disagree with this person.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:23, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
And of course a bunch of comments during the FRAM affair explaining that the whole problem is that the commuunity is mysogynist (some of which were later retracted, and others were not) is not really encouraging.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:26, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
  • All official WMF announcements should try to discuss only the environment they want to have and NOT making any statements regarding what kind of environment exists. Doing so is self-harm. For example during Sue Gartner's tenure, every time a WMF press release would mention gender-bias, I'd see a series of news articles in the media talking about how male-dominated Wikipedia is and how bad the coverage of women is, etc. I personally witnessed how this press coverage negatively shaped the public's opinion of the project. And I've come across people in my own life who were against Wikipedia because of what they'd read in the media. It functioned as self-slander. The WMF's role is to make sure everyone can edit, they can edit safely and without harassment, and everyone's contributions are welcome and welcome to stay proportional to merit. That single sentence is pretty much the only thing we ever need. Having specific statements heavily worded with buzzwords by an offended community is divisive. And non-specific lingo like "toxic" is so easily abused rhetorically. Jason Quinn (talk) 02:22, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
I think what we may disagree on, is what it takes to "[...] make sure everyone can edit, they can edit safely and without harassment [...]" (the second part is even harder to nail down). I am pretty confident that this board statement/decision is exactly with the intent to "make sure everyone can edit, they can edit safely and without harassment". Your statement confusingly seems to suggest that this is a straight forward goal, while I would consider it a huge and super complicated challenge that requires a multi-pronged approach and focused attention from many people, new policies and perhaps a cultural overhaul. Effeietsanders (talk) 04:07, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I agree with Pelagic that the term "toxic" is useful for hyperbolic purposes but unhelpful in any attempt at constructive discourse. It's an especially pernicious metaphor in that it tries to make people think that there are certain elements which can be isolated and chemically separated from the others, after which the organism containing them will be healed. This is a typical degeneration of (sociological) positivism, or if you want an allopathic theory of community management, which naturally leads to a technocracy as an obvious consequence of the exaltation of technê. You see it all the time with contemporary politicians who ask to "nerd harder", but we're supposed to do better. Nemo 14:03, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
    @Nemo: pernicious metaphor in that it tries to make people think that there are certain elements which can be isolated and chemically separated from the others – well put.
    And nerd harder – priceless! Now I want a Nerd harder! poster for my desk at work. If we rebrand WMF as the Nerd Harder Foundation, will we get more software improvements?
    — Pelagic (talk) 10:05, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
    Even better idea: the Wipeout Toxicity Foundation (WTF). Pelagic (talk) 10:05, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
Bandying about the term “toxic” seems to originate from a certain US subculture and reflect a particular mindset. To which US subculture are you referring, Pelagic? 08:56, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
Please don't answer that. Wikimedia is broadly welcoming to people from different cultures, including whichever one was indirectly referenced, and it should not be explicitly singled out in association to a problem regarding effective communications. We will not turn this into "everyone vs specific subculture X". We are all on the same side. --Yair rand (talk) 19:15, 11 June 2020 (UTC)
  • I agree with the OP that toxic is a useless and needlessly inflammatory word and should never be used in policy or guidelines or anywhere else. If by toxic, you mean harassment, say harassment. If by toxic you mean uncivil, say uncivil. If by toxic you mean "A user nominated many of my articles for deletion and people agreed with them and I don't like it because I put effort in those articles and they are righting great wrongs", that should never fly because then you're legislating opinion. Headbomb (talk) 18:13, 2 July 2020 (UTC)

Draft UCoC[edit]

If I recall correctly, we already have about four Codes of Conduct pertaining to various Foundation-sponsored events. Why doesn't someone try to make a uniform version out of those and put it in a draft page somewhere (e.g. here) we can do the usual arguing about? EllenCT (talk) 22:59, 1 June 2020 (UTC)

Proposal: A rule against people accusing other of bias/racism without proof (especially in a way that suggests the victim(s) intend(s) to damage Wikimedia’s credibility)[edit]

I was considering proposing a rule against people accusing other of bias, especially political, or alleging racism/communalism without any legitimate proof (for example, in many articles/talk pages relating to Indian politics (especially involving Hindu-Muslim relations) like w:en:Talk:2020 Delhi riots, a few users (possibly right-wingers?) were acting like pro-Modi Twitterati (except that a true pro-Modi Twitterati would go so far as to call us "Congress ke chamche" or "Bootlickers of the (Indian National) Congress") and accusing Wikipedia of bias, when the problem lay in the fact that mainstream media covered whatever they disliked, and blatantly biased media sites (some of which were banned from being used as sources due to doxing) were covering what they liked). I would like some suggestions on whether this rule is viable, whether any other proposed rules cover it or if not viable, why. RedBulbBlueBlood9911 (talk) 02:59, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

how about a rule against racist comments? and "That's a systematic disadvantage but no specific group except for new users who have no patients to learn." or even "Once again, do you have any examples of institutional racism through "prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping" " Slowking4 (talk) 14:39, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
By this rule, I mean something prohibiting people from calling others controversial stuff like Nazi, racist, libtard (common term in India), "biased against the truth" or anything with intention to insult. Come to think of it, maybe accusing people of violating Wikimedia Policy without proof should itself be disallowed to cover for the rest of the issues. After all, if it makes an editor look bad and is false, it shouldn’t be allowed. Besides, accusing people with malicious intent is itself very unethical almost everywhere. RedBulbBlueBlood9911 (talk) 16:31, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
we agree, how about C***? precedent here [1] ; not enforced here [2] and it would have saved a block later. but what evidence do you want? video at a proud boys free speech rally? -- Slowking4 (talk) 22:14, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

Similar issue not quite as easy to define for inclusion in UCoC[edit]

Bad behavior doesn't discriminate and occasionally manifests itself in the form of abuse by prejudiced administrators, perceived or otherwise (we are only human), and that includes hounding and abuse of the tools under the guise of acting in one's normal administrative duties. Most admins do not fall in this category but even a few is far too many and worth WMF's time to at least review it. What else do we call the actions of an administrator who follows an editor around (can range from a month to years) in a controversial topic area, evaluates their comments, then makes threats in the form of friendly reminders while using their perception of what the editor said to prejudicially describe it as disruption - the definition of which is highly subjective - in order to justify an indef t-ban or block in a unilateral action at their sole discretion?

There's no doubt that hounding strips the happy out of one's time on WP, but when an admin does it, the chilling effect is glacial, and a huge disincentive to contribute to the project for fear of saying something that doesn't align with that of the admin's POV. What message does that send? It is abuse because they are using their adminship to control the narrative in that topic area by silencing editors with opposing views. Imagine one of your detractors being an admin hovering in the shadows in a single controversial topic area, thinking they know you well enough to anticipate what you will say and do, so they block or t-ban you to avoid disruption, not because you actually caused the disruption. How would you feel? For me, battered wife syndrome comes to mind.

Once a POV railroading has occurred and is successful, that branding stays with the editor for life. Nobody bothers to do the research to see if it was deserved - they take what their allies/trusted colleagues say at face long as it aligns with their own POV. Several veteran editors have left the project as a result. A while back, I suggested the clearing of block logs after a set period of time and wrote an OP-ED in the February 2018 edition of The Signpost. Keep in mind that one small group of POV warriors with an admin or two who share the same POV can systematically take out 20 veteran editors from a single topic area in a relatively short period of time, despite the behavior being equal on both sides of the argument. See my Op-Ed in this month's Signpost about some of the issues that confront us.

I just hope the WMF is not considering adding even more flavors of the same tainted KoolAid to the rather useless and bureaucratic entanglements we already suffer because of the ambiguities. If WMF is truly interested in protecting an individual editor's right to contribute and express their views in a collegial manner without the fear of being t-banned or blocked or harrassed and hounded, then please consider the issues I've brought to your attention today. The gaming that goes on in an effort to "brand" an editor, as in Alinsky's Rule 13: target-personalize-polarize, is beyond the pale, and that doesn't take into account WP:POV railroad, WP:Gaslighting and WP:Baiting. Left unchecked, the latter will eventually lead to the creation of a homogenized community with editors of the same mind rather than a diverse community working towards NPOV. The WMF recognizes that we have an issue but perhaps they have not fully recognized how far the root of the problem reaches...until the plumbing starts backing up. Atsme📞📧 17:42, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

+1 when you fail to moderate hounding behavior, then talk becomes the dark forest [3] -- Slowking4 (talk) 14:43, 5 June 2020 (UTC)

WMF non-changing concurrence[edit]

One issue that causes flare-ups, both intra-community, but also Local Community/WMF is a changing of goalposts in projects and consideration. A specific aspect where this comes to mind is changing interpretation of UCOC, and with it, deciding that certain community policy is no longer in sync with (or doesn't cover) aspects required by a UCOC. I remember one specific Fram-shock was that the WMF felt en-wiki had ongoing failures to handle an issue but had never stated this and worked to resolve in advance.

As such, since we are on a rare project that will cover every single lingual variant, the WMF are obliged to act across every one of those (one assumes T&S will ask for some additional translating budget).

I would say that once a UCOC is signed off by a majority in each of meta-Community, T&S, Board (and I would state that all three are non-negotiable), the WMF needs to state, if requested by a local community, whether their current policy covers everything within the UCOC. At that point, only a change in policy or an ongoing issue with non-enactment of local policy, could cause a contradiction or breach. This should mitigate certain after the fact controversy. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:32, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

Evidentiary Rights[edit]

During the recommendations discussions, one discussion that was interesting and concerning regarded the right of those accused to see any and all evidence against them, rather than either nothing or general categories. The recommendations archives aren't very searachable, but I will attempt to find the full thread.

I would like us to specifically include a statement that it is a requirement "to provide full evidence logs to the accused, with sufficient time to read and respond, except where evidence would pose either a physical threat or other significant offline risk (e.g. contacting employers etc) and there is a view that such a risk was appreciable."

The above isn't out of any view that it is legally required, but that I view it as morally required, and a particularly key safeguard both from any rogue local action and for concerns with any WMF actions. There are other bits that could be discussed (such as designating which aspects within the evidence are offline logs, not to be shared by the accused at various penalties & OS), but the above is the key component. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:32, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

Silencing critics, of course. --MZMcBride (talk) 10:40, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
Nosebagbear, and if shining a light on the evidence means the accused and their supporters further target the complainer? Have you seen how often someone on the drama boards yells "Boomerang!" ? Anyone willing to complain hard enough about a popular editor to get that editor banned better be ready to leave the project themselves if their evidence is going to be public. Valereee (talk) 11:45, 6 June 2020 (UTC)
Valereee, confidentiality does not work in this Wiki world, for reasons I explained here. -- Llywrch (talk) 08:31, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
Boomerang calls are, usually, warranted so I'm not sure how much I consider that particular point persuasive. In terms of additional online harassment, for off-wiki evidence, releasing it by the accused would be a functional route to an indef. For on-wiki evidence, we should probably improve additional cases being fired for knock-on harassment - obviously it isn't going to be perfect, but even a straightforward release of onwiki evidence should be not too damaging as that could always be found in the logs. Non-release of evidence ties accused's arms behind their back, removes any ability to give context, potentially provide relevant off-wiki evidence, encourages a first-mover behaviour and so-on. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:17, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure boomerang calls are usually warranted. Boomerangs that actually happen usually are, but I see calls for boomerang that other editors reject. My point is that some wikipedians hang around the drama boards hoping to see a boomerang. They like to see complainers get punished for complaining. Valereee (talk) 10:35, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
Llywrch keeping those issues confidential may very well have worked to protect the original complainer if the original complainer wasn't Q. What you seem to be saying is, "If we don't all know who to punish, WP will punish someone, so it ought to be the person who actually made the complaint who gets the punishment." I agree that it sucks for Q, and it especially sucks for Q if Q wasn't the original complainant, but outing the actual complainant isn't necessarily the answer. Valereee (talk) 10:35, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
Valereee no I'm not saying that, although I can see how you could think that. My point is that if you withhold information from Wiki[p|m]edians, & you give them a reason to know it, & they insist on knowing it out, they will ferret it out. And the Foundation gave ample reason for the community to want to know. If the Foundation had been more forthcoming over the reasons concerning FRAM, I expect the community outrage over this incident would have been far less, perhaps by as much as half. Maybe not have been motivated to find Q, or someone to serve for her. That is the reason confidentiality doesn't work. And that the Foundation has given many of us numerous reasons not to trust them -- Llywrch (talk) 18:10, 7 June 2020 (UTC)
Llywrch I understand your point, but I just disagree. You're correct that we can't stop wikipedians from trying to hunt complainants down. IMO that doesn't mean we should just say 'oh, well, we might as well just throw them the red meat they're howling for since they're just going to come to their own conclusions otherwise." I disagree that anyone can say the outrage might have been less; neither you nor I can know that. Confidentiality may not work well, but IMO the possibility of confidentiality may be the only reason a complainant will come forward. And we need complainants to come forward. Valereee (talk) 18:28, 7 June 2020 (UTC)

@MZMcBride: - concerning regarded the right of those accused to see any and all evidence against them - I can tell you actually from my case, that the WMF undermines every legal norm, makes no accusations and doesn't say who exactly accuses you of what. You only get an judgement you can not do anything against it. Dictators acto this way. All of this has only one goal: to eliminate uncomfortable people. That's how Romaine got it and meanwhile me. -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 15:34, 15 June 2020 (UTC)

Wo bist Du denn gebannt und von wem? Mich hat das geheime Hinterzimmertribunal aus dem Phab und aus MW geworfen, ohne jegliches faire Verfahren. Ich habe bis heute keine Idee, was dafür tatsächluich verantwortlich war, außer dass ich einigen Devs die Lügen, die sie aufgetischt hatten, auch als solche benannt hatte, nachdem sie auf den Falschaussagen bestanden. Die wurden für ihre Falschaussagen nie belangt. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 15:38, 15 June 2020 (UTC)

Carrot and stick[edit]

It seems to me that there is a lot lot of emphasis on punishing inappropriate behavior. Quote from the BoT statement on healthy community culture: “Take actions to ban, sanction, or otherwise limit the access of Wikimedia movement participants who do not comply with these policies and the Terms of Use”. I wonder if there are any thoughts about positive actions to prevent misconduct, to correct inappropriate behaviour in an early stage and include possible reintegration after the execution of a sanction. See also Carrot and stick approach. Grijz (talk) 14:26, 8 June 2020 (UTC)

@Grijz: Very good point. Dispute resolution is much more intricate and - if done right - subtle than just removing users. I'd argue that model led to the class of unblockables: users in high regard cannot be removed, thus making them exempt from certain rules. The recent introduction of partial blocks was a step in the right direction towards a healthy community, which should be built upon and the applicable sanctions defined in more detail with processes for reintegration. —AronM🍂 edits🌾 15:23, 8 June 2020 (UTC)
The BoT statement is written as if we volunteers are the enemy, & must be dominated. -- Llywrch (talk) 17:29, 9 June 2020 (UTC)
Right on. "Good" conduct is the responsibility of all of us as a community. To decide what is good and what bad as well, not just 'the happy (read: powerful) few'.
Wikimedia projects are not (yet?) oligarchies, are they? Let everybody stay ' on speaking terms ' with everybody, right?
Best regards, Klaas `Z4␟` V:  12:29, 26 June 2020 (UTC)

"community functionaries" definition[edit]

@GVarnum-WMF and NTymkiv (WMF): Could you define the term "community functionaries"? By context it should be something about local communities but guessing variants differ: w:ru:Википедия:Форум/Общий#ВП:Функционеры --NeoLexx (talk) 15:09, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

@Neolexx: See #What_means_"community_functionaries"_?. --Yair rand (talk) 18:51, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
I think the real question is whether arbitrators in the Russian Wikipedia are functionaries. Unlike in the English Wikipedia, they do not have CU/OS flags (unless they had the flags before the election) and do not sign a non-disclosure agreement.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:55, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
"whether arbitrators in the Russian Wikipedia are functionaries" - sure they are, a rather strange question. ArbCom is ArbCom: after legitimate office actions it is the highest subproject authority in deciding allow/limit/stop participation of any subproject member. Hopefully no one is planning to introduce some meta-level interwiki ArbComs' gradation ("true ArbComs", "lesser true ArbComs", "untrue ArbComs").
Back to the question - I see at the linked page "highly trusted Wikimedians, already serving high-access roles across projects, such as stewards or ombudsman commission, but possibly also Arbcom members or ovesighters". I don't know though how much official this definition is. Because and upon some excplicit mutual agreements after the Fram events - the words "possibly also" before the "ArbCom" seem superfluous. --NeoLexx (talk) 19:35, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
@NeoLexx: I have read the discussion in Russian using automatic translation, so I am not sure how useful this answer will be. :) It is also not an official answer, I am just trying to help clarifying confusion. The paragraph quoted basically makes a reference to what today is the Case Review Committee. In this page the word "functionary" is not used. Your discussion is related to the UCoC. The current draft uses the word "functionaries" in several instances, but always to include them in a list of various roles. Therefore, I don't think the detail of who exactly is or is not a functionary makes a difference because those sentences come to say that "functionaries" are obligated to respect the UCoC just like everybody else. Specific responsibilities of the "functionaries" in relation to the UCoC haven't been proposed at this point. Therefore, maybe the exact definition of "functionary" today is not as relevant for your discussion? Does this help? (Needless to say, a precise definition of "functionary" equally valid across the movement would be great, we just seem not to have one. Also, see a definition here). Qgil-WMF (talk) 16:00, 15 September 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer. I need to read more before answering, the linked docs inclusive. To side readers if any: "the discussion in Russian" that led to this topic actually is at the Russian Common forum (=~ Village pump): w:ru:Википедия:Форум/Общий#ВП:Функционеры --NeoLexx (talk) 16:09, 16 September 2020 (UTC)