Jump to content

Universal Code of Conduct/2021 consultations/Enforcement/Korean community

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Universal Code of Conduct


The Korean Wikipedia was created on October 10, 2002. Korean Wikipedia is currently the 24th largest Wikipedia (by the article side), and the second-largest Korean wiki community, next to Namuwiki. As of April 10th, 2021, there are 537,300 articles and 2.9 billion edits were made in total. There are 675,610 registered users, 22 administrators (10 of them are identified as active administrators [1]), 2,407 active users. Also there are about 1,900 users registered each month.[2]

All sister projects but Wikivoyage are currently available in the Korean language. There are no significant amount of activities in the Korean sister projects[3].

To promote the Wikimedia movement and support related activities in South Korea, an affiliate Wikimedia Korea was established in 2014. In April 2019, the Foundation recognized Wikimedia Korea as a local chapter in South Korea.

Unique properties in Korean Community[edit]

Number of edits that made per month in Korean Wikipedia
Number of active users that made per month in Korean Wikipedia

There are 22 administrators in the Korean Wikipedia, but the active administrators are only 7~11 administrators in each month, about 20% of active administrators did not perform any or very few administrative activities. Therefore, there is a high tendency in administrators to avoid administrative activities (especially dealing with conflicts between users). It is because of the burden of having to deal with unethical behaviours as an administrator. This creates the concerns from the community that Korean Wikipedia does not have enough administrators.

Number of contributions and active users by month tend to have a constant range, going up and down by each month, but numbers tend to increase on average[4].

In December 2019 Korean Wikipedia re-designed their main page based on “community-centralized model”. In the new main page, the community exposes the information about the collaborative nature of the project directly in the main page. This introduces the community, and a guide to edit in order throws the message to viewers that “Everyone can contribute to Korean Wikipedia”. At the same time the new main page provided better accessibility on the mobile interface.

At the same time, one of new features introduced in ZEM, the smartphone control application for teenagers developed by SK Telecom. In the one of features while on restricted mode[5], they allow access to wikipedia to search the information they might need.

It made a large number of younger age users join the community rapidly. It is interesting to note that while they join and learn how to contribute to Wikipedia, new behavioural problems arise within the community. These problems are somehow different than cases from the existing users.

Status of Behavioural Policy[edit]

We conducted research of the existing behavioural policies on Korean Wiki projects before starting consultation. We found that the behavioural policies here are well developed, at least quantity wise. All behavioural violations are dealt with on the 사용자 관리 요청 page. Administration requests are run in separate locations for each type of request, you may refer to this page (in Korean).

During the consultation process, we learned from the community that these policies are hard to understand since the policy documents are lengthy. We also discovered the problem of low effectiveness during the enforcement process.

The responses that came from consultation were almost evenly divided in the survey question that asks to evaluate the effectiveness of Korean Wikipedia’s local behaviour policy. Some said policies worked well, some said soso, and some said not effective.

The unique culture in Korean known as “spinning (돌려까기) / euphemism (완곡어법)[6] creates the challenges to control the users who violate the policy. As there are cases where people are publicly specified and slandered by returning to other words without harassing them. Also, administrators are hesitating to deal with violation of behavioural policy.

The reason why we cannot say the current system is not perfect is that even though we have behavioural policies, Users do not fully understand the policy or try to use it to defend it by interpreting it in a way that is in their favor.

— Community member who joined 2020

In the Korean Wikipedia, there was an Arbcom committee that ran between December 2011 to March 2017. However, the arbitration committee system was abolished as the operation of the arbitration committee was not effective in coping with disputes or inappropriate behaviour, and there were considerable opinions that it was inefficient.

Unlike Korean Wikipedia, the Korean sister projects have only a few or no behaviour policies, which were built a long time ago. The conditions of policies are minorly different in each wiki.

Facilitation process[edit]

The Korean community consultation lasted about 8 weeks, began on January 18 and ended on March 1. We reached to Korean Wikimedia community by various approaches during the consultation process.

  • We created a dedicated consultation talk page to listen to each individual’s comments and concerns, and ask the key questions prepared by the UCoC team.
  • We conducted a survey so that we can hear the opinions of various community members. We also conducted private consultations through email, Discord and KakaoTalk to get some comments which cannot be expressed in public.
  • To encourage the community to participate in the consultation, we made the announcements in the local village pump and sitenotice, and reached out to community members by mass-messaging on their user talk page. We also informed the consultation at Korean Wikipedia’s KakaoTalk and Discord channel during the consultation.
  • We held a Zoom presentation session in the beginning of consultation to introduce the UCoC project and inform how you can participate in the consultation.
  • We interviewed with various groups of users to hear their detailed thoughts.
    • The interviewees selected based on following categories: new user, student user (Teenage user), experienced user, administrator and rarely contributing user.
  • We also encouraged community members from sister projects to participate in the consultation, however responses from users in the sister projects could not be confirmed[7].

Consultation Timeline[edit]

  • Jan 18 - Launching the consultation
  • Jan 24 - First individual consultation (interview) was conducted
  • Jan 26 - Zoom information session
  • Jan 28 - launch on wiki key questions in the consultation talk page
  • Feb 7 - Survey Launched
  • Feb 8 - MessMessaging to the various users. (once again on Feb 11)
  • Feb 22 - Final reminder to community, individual consultation closes.
  • March 1 - Last day of consultation, consultation is closed on the following day.

Community’s feedback[edit]

The community is supportive of the implementation of UCoC through the Wikimedia movement.

Some key ideas that made during the this Korean consultation were include: “Needs to make a welcome and supportive environment”, “Provide more support for the victims from harassment or other kinds of threats”,“Needs quick and immediate action while enforcement process”, "Implement the private reporting pathways” and “Wikimedia Foundation has a responsibilities to intervene in the serious situation and take a immediate response”.Also there were additional comments that said we should deal in a careful manner in every case of UCoC enforcement process, create the summary of the unexpected behaviours, detailed the situation when we will use the UCoC.

You may also refer to the report from the survey conducted as a part of the consultation process. (view the Survey Report)

Past Experience[edit]

Type of unethical behaviours that respondents experienced/witnessed within Wikimedia movement.
  • In the survey about a quarter of users answered that they hesitated to contribute to the Wikimedia project due to harassment or other threats.
  • About 54.2% of participants from the survey experienced or witnessed unethical behaviour within the Wikimedia movement.
    • The top 4 types of unethical behaviours that experienced or witnessed were: Personal attack, harassment, personal information leakage, and legal attack.

Those who disclose their identity and actively contribute often become victims, and the perpetrators hide their identities and rely on anonymity.

— Experienced community member

Enforcement body[edit]

Protection pathways for vulnerable demographics and cases of violence[edit]

We asked the question directly about “What is the best pathways to deal with the following situations”

  1. safe adjudication for cases involving vulnerable people
  2. serious harassment, and threats of violence against contributors

Here are the responses made by community members during consultation.

  • ~70% of responses[8] demanded that there should be quick and reasonable actions (by whoever is responsible for enforcement) about unethical behaviours involving continuous harassment and criminal threats, attacks on the socially underprivileged and threats to others.
  • A community member reminded us that Our movement should have a welcoming and friendly environment to everyone, even those who want to hurt the atmosphere could have serious consequences for the future of Wikimedia. There should be clear policy that prohibition of discriminate against minority groups[9].

If a user is not willing to comply with the policies and guidelines, then should be subject to the same sanctions as other users, even if the user identifies themself as a teenager.

— Experienced community member

Way to run the reporting pathways[edit]

How enforcing system and report pathways should be operated in order to take action against behaviours such as harassment or personal attacks? Community members responded that pathways should be conducted in a way to protect the person who is victimized. The majority of people said should be alternative reporting pathways including implementing the private (protected) reporting system. In the survey, ~65.9% of users are supporting the idea that there should be the private reporting pathways.

The enforcement process of UCoC should be run in the pathways to protect the victims of harassment.

— Multiple community members

Need of global standard[edit]

Many participants from the on-wiki consultation and interview said that there should be a global standard on enforcement processes of UCoC, since there are lack of behavioural policies in some sister projects. When the UCoC enforcement is running different by each project since various problems may arise. However, it is important to note that each community has a different culture and issues. So that the enforcement should be dealt with in a flexible manner to match with the local standards.

violation of the Code of Conduct outside of the Wikimedia project, and related to members of the community, how do we have to deal?[edit]

If violation of UCoC outside of the on-wiki site, but within direct connection within movement, then enforcement should be in place when the situation is evident. But the cases that violate UCoC outside of the Wikimedia project should be dealt with carefully. Since its unclarity of details, there was no clear consensus about when and how we can enforce the violation from off-wiki.

Enforcement process (Reporting pathways)[edit]

Several users expressed the concern that existing Korean Wikipedia’s behaviour policies are very lengthy and sometimes not easy to understand by the new users.

  • Some users from interview suggested to make a summarization document of UCoC policy and its enforcement process including:
    • Indication which cases violate the UCoC, list of unacceptable behaviours within the movement
    • Creation of the summarization of the policy and enforcement process.

The following ideas are agreed by the majority of users who participated the consultation:

  • Administrators are mainly responsible for enforcing the UCoC, but it will be more effective when both local and global level of enforcement committees of the UCoC are running.
  • There should be quick and immediate action since violation of UCoC can have a huge negative impact on victims.
  • Should be dealt on a case-by-case basis.
  • Implement the new private reporting pathways in the case of serious harassment, assault, threat and any kind of violence against contributors.
    • ~65% of users supported this argument, while only 4% opposed and the rest (31%) were neutral.
    • Private reporting pathways should be used only in critical situations such as harassment, personal attacks and intimidation, dissemination of personal information, legal threats, death threats, and sexual harassment, which are very serious and require immediate action.
    • Suggesting other types of private reporting systems other than email reporting system, such as 1:1 chatbot.
  • There is a limitation on local administrators to handle all harassment stuff. So the foundation's intervention is necessary. (see next section)

Involvement by Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

  • The WMF’s not taking action in cases of serious harassment/sexual assault/murder threat/privacy leakage is not appropriate. Foundation should intervene quickly when the case including of bullying, harassment, stalking, sexual assault, leakage of personal information, dissemination of false facts (with personal information), or any other cases including serious unethical behaviours.
  • There were concerns that some behaviours cannot be stopped within the volunteer level, even when the administrator takes an administrative action, still they tend to engage in inappropriate behavior beyond that. Therefore, administrators cannot handle every case that violates UCoC.
  • The comments below shows how Foundation should help the community by intervene in the situation
    • Easy pathways to report the case to Foundation.
    • Quick and immediate action (global ban, temporary action)
    • Communication in their native language, not English
  • There should be a clear distinction when the Foundation should intervene or not.

During the process of dealing with the unethical users, there were many cases where the solution could not be solved within the line blocked by the administrator. There are many cases of personal attacks on admins who process administration requests to deal with harassment, which can cause admins to not tend to perform these kinds of administrative actions.

— Admin

The Foundation shall protect Wikipedia's policies and users who want to comply with it within the Wikimedia movement.

— Experienced community member

Support for targets for harassment[edit]

  • The peer supporting network could help if it is well-organized, however there is a risk of another bullying. For example, if the perpetrator is included, it may be a problem that causes secondary harassment. There is also a concern that members of a peer support network may make biased decisions. (In particular, when conclusions are drawn based on interests of individual/network)
  • There should be pathways to get help from Foundation or local affiliates. However the detailed comments about this were mixed. Below are some of the comments.
    • Legal advice, mental health support
    • Cooperate and support criminal charges for inappropriate words and actions.
    • local affiliates can help, however there are limitations that local affiliates cannot intervene in the operation of wiki, therefore there was also negative comments about they can provide legal support.

“Outlier” responses (Minority ideas)[edit]

  • There are some participants who are not in favour of the majority of users of the idea that WMF should take action.
    • Rather than the Foundation's involvement, it can be solved by increasing the number of admins within the community, there may be limits to the Foundation's intervention.
  • As UCoC is being enforced, there should be audit personnel picked by the Foundation for each language(hired or volunteer bases) to make sure UCoC is properly enforced, and provide support to the community.
    • It was also suggested that it will be better to have hired personal by Foundation who will responsible for enforcing the UCoC
  • There was opinion from several user that there is a need to break the 법적 위협 금지 (No legal threat) policy in the serious cases including harassment or any kinds of threats.
  • The Foundation needs to cooperate with requests from investigative agencies due to serious words and actions (murder threats, etc.) targeting specific users.
    • To punish users who commit criminal acts that damage the Wikipedia community, there should be strong action against the users who are banned by the Foundation.
  • There was a comment that expanded the use of private reporting pathways to other kinds of request, however this doesn’t reach any consensus of majority of users.

A statistical representation of the data[edit]

Grand Total: 159

We tried to remove all redundancies from the data, but due to privacy reasons it is possible that some users are counted twice. This is especially the case for users who took part in the anonymous survey. It seems there are no contributions from users who are only active in sister projects[10] and take part in consultation.

Consultation Method Site # of responses
On-wiki Consultation page 22
Other discussion page 1
Sub-total 23
Off-wiki KakaoTalk/Discord 1
Zoom information session 10
Sub-total 11
Private Interview 11
Private message response 2
Email response 2
Sub-total 15
Surveys 118


Out of 118 entrees of survey:

  • 71 (60.2%) Male
  • 24 (20.3%) Female
  • 1 (0.8%) Other
  • 22 (18.6%) Not want to identify their gender

If not counting the response entries that do not identify their gender (22 entries), 74.0% are male, and 25.0% are female out of 96 entrees that identified their gender in the survey. It is important to note that we cannot identify gender for the other methods of consultation.


On/off wiki/1:1 Survey
New user 8 45
Anonymous user 4 48
Experienced user 16 21
Admin 5 4

Participation of Teenage user[edit]

Due to the recent influx of teenage users in Korean Wikipedia, we would like to distinguish whether it is a student user who joined the Korean Wikipedia community through ZEM.


As we observe the comments and concerns from the Korean community, there are structured behaviour policy and most words in UCoC policy text are already covered by existing policies. But the current local behaviour policies are hard to understand since the wording in the policy text is very complex, and many participants said current enforcement pathways should improve since the current process is slow and ineffective when dealing with unethical users. Thus, we can conclude that in the UCoC enforcement process, the Korean community demands to provide a standard pathway to respond effectively against unethical users.

There is discontentment from the Korean community that the Foundation doesn't listen and help out to the Korean community. Also, there was a negative perception that "The Wikimedia Foundation is not responsible for the damage caused by contributing to Wikipedia or other Wikimedia projects.". So many users demanded that the Wikimedia Foundation should take immediate treatment as well as provide mental health support and legal assistants.

Thus, it is necessary to have a systematic enforcement plan that applies cross Wikimedia movement globally[11], and operate a reporting system of various means for violations of the UCoC, and finally, before the damage spreads to the community or specific user the party who are performing enforcement process must have prompt and proactive action, no matter who is in charge of the implementation of the universal code of conduct.


  1. https://meta.toolforge.org/stewardry/kowiki?sysop=1
  2. Per Meta-wiki statics “List of wikis” and Special:Statistics, on 2021-04-10. “Active users” are those users who have performed at least one action in the 30 days prior to 2021-04-10.
  3. In particular, some sister projects are neglected without active contributors.
  4. Statics data from Wikimedia Statics
  5. In the restricted mode, application block the access to applications other than assigned by their parents,
  6. The use of a word or phrase to replace another with one that is considered less offensive, blunt or vulgar than the word or phrase which it replaces.
  7. This number does not count community members who are also active in Korean Wikipedia, so participation from sister projects could be higher.
  8. Including ~ 75% of users from the survey
  9. Minority group” persons having disability, LGBTQ+, and more
  10. The sister project contributors who are not active in Korean WIkipedia. Those who are active in both Korean Wikipedia and sister projects are counted as contributors in Korean Wikipedia.
  11. But there should be some flexibility considering the conditions and issues in each project.