Universal Code of Conduct/2021 consultations/Enforcement/Yoruba community
The Yoruba language Wikipedia was created in April 2004. As of March 2021, there were fifty-four (54) active users and three (3) administrators on this Wikimedia project. Since its advent, more than 33,000 articles have been created on this Wikipedia which have more than 530,000 edits. The Yoruba language Wikipedia records an average of 3 million views every month.
On the 1st of August 2019, The Yoruba Wikimedians User Group was officially recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation. This affiliate actively runs several community programmes in Nigeria, including outreach campaigns, workshops, and edit-a-thons. The Yoruba Wikimedians User Group currently has about 20 active members.
Behavioural Policies of the Yoruba Wikipedia
The Yoruba Wikipedia doesn’t exactly have standard major policies that guide behaviours or even contributions to the project. While there are some policy pages on the project, these pages are often exact replicas of old English language Wikipedia policies. Moreover, many of these policies have also not been translated to the Yoruba language.
Based on the one-to-one communications we had during this consultation, some users highlighted that this situation can often be problematic in the sense that administrators' actions are often taken based on the personal judgments of such administrators (typically backdropped by English Wikipedia rules) rather than on well-established and known policies that have been created through local consensus.
Furthermore, as a result of this lack of local policies, users who came into the Wikimedia movement through one of the bigger projects (typically English Wikipedia) often import the rules and policies of their home projects into their contributions on Yoruba Wikipedia.
The Yoruba community consultation officially kicked off on the 18th of January and ended on 3rd March 2021, spanning a period of more than seven weeks. During this period, we reached out to the community through the various platforms that are dedicated to regular community communications. These include:
- Village Pump: A discussion thread was started on the Yoruba Wikipedia Village pump on the 18th January 2021. Generally, no major discussions have happened on this local village pump before, and this page had always served as a portal for announcements. Hence, even this time no major engagement took place on the portal.
- Social media channels: Core communication in the Yoruba community, especially the Yoruba Wikimedians User Group, happens on social media channels. Almost all of the community discussions and announcements pass through the community social media chat groups. Throughout the consultation period, a total of 13 announcements were posted on such groups to steer discussions at different points.
- Online meetups: A call was organized during the consultation, as a means to allow community members to express themselves and explain their points on how they believe that the Universal Code of Conduct policy should be enforced. This meeting also served as a means to properly present the UCoC to the community and educate the members who might have never heard of the policy.
- One-on-One Discussions: Community leads and very active contributors to the community were also contacted for their opinions on the subject of enforcement. This was done to provide a safe space for people who did not feel comfortable sharing their opinions publicly.
- Survey: A survey was also conducted so that we could also hear the opinions of community members who would love to maintain their privacy/anonymity and would not want to participate in any of the above-mentioned platforms. This survey was shared mainly through the central notice, and it ran from the middle of February till the conclusion of the community consultation.
Overall, 49 people responded to our calls and contributed through various platforms during the course of this consultation. 19 responses were received from the survey, and there were 18 female participants overall.
Generally, there was overwhelming support for the Universal Code of Conduct and its enforcement within the Yoruba language community. Only one concern was recorded throughout the discussion and this was about the Yoruba community not being included in the initial consultations of 2020.
From the survey, the following statistics were gathered:
- 47.4% of participants either do not know or are not sure of the behavioural policies of the Yoruba Wikipedia.
- 15.78% claim to have been harassed by a user with extended rights, while 5.26% claim to have been harassed offline due to their Wikimedia activities.
- None of these respondents has actually ever reported their incidents on-wiki.
Feedback on enforcement body
In the various community discussions, conversations were around setting up a dedicated panel or committee to deal with harassment issues. It was argued that this panel (and the people on it) should have autonomy from the existing administrators’ structure, in order to ensure fair arbitration of incidents involving an administrator and a normal user.
There were some opinions against the Wikimedia Foundation coordinating the enforcement committee or having its staff on it. The justification for this was that many harassment problems also involve content matters, so it doesn’t seem rational to have the Foundation get involved since it has constantly claimed that it doesn’t interfere with the content of Wikipedia.
Furthermore, there were supports around setting up a global UCoC enforcement committee to work like an appeal panel, where cases are taken to after exhausting local community processes and reaching a dead-end. Meanwhile, this panel can also serve as the first point of call for communities where there are no established processes in place.
There was a bit of contrast to this in the survey, where 57.89% of the respondents think that the UCoC enforcement body should consist of one or more combinations of experienced users, administrators, and Wikimedia Foundation staff. However, 36.84% of respondents still think that this enforcement body should solely consist of a locally elected committee of volunteers, while only 5.26% think that the enforcement should be handled through an administrator’s noticeboard.
According to the results from the survey, 57.89% of respondents think that volunteers who participate in the UCoC enforcement body should get some form of remuneration for their work, while the other 42.11% were neutral. There was no opposition to this question, indicating a consensus for such a structure.
Feedback about enforcement pathway and escalation channels
During community discussions, there was a clear consensus for prioritising privacy and anonymity, both for incidents’ reporting and investigations. In the survey, 94.74% of the responses agree that there should be a private reporting system for incidents, while 84.21% also think that privacy should be prioritised over transparent proceedings. Confidentiality is also a common theme in the additional comments given on the survey.
Examples shared on how this could be done include- setting up an official mail through which people can report incidents privately. The issue reported can then be investigated and tracked internally. A chat/direct message feature on Wikipedia’s sidebar, through which people can speak to someone (preferable in real-time and anonymously) was also a popular suggestion.
Meanwhile, during community discussions, there was also a clear consensus to refer unmanageable situations to Wikimedia Foundation’s Trust and Safety team. In other words, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Trust and Safety team should be the last resort, if a resolution can’t be reached through the primary UCoC enforcement committee. There was a bit more of a balance in the survey where 57.89% of respondents think that the Wikimedia Foundation’s Trust and Safety should be the next point of contact if a resolution can’t be reached by the primary committee, while 42.11% of respondents think that a higher level global committee should be set up to handle such escalations. Thus, all in all, there was a suggestion of a three-tier system the first being a local body, the second being the global body and third would be the T&S team.
Feedback on enforcement timeline
In the survey, 63.16% of responses to this question gave specific times/periods on the timeline that they believe the enforcement process should take, while the rest gave general or vague comments about how a timeline should be decided upon.
According to the survey results, 83.33% of respondents who gave a specific timeline agree that resolution of issues should not take more than one month, with the earliest resolution timeline stated in this category of responses being one week. 8.33% stated that the process should take 3 to 5 working days, while another 8.33% stated that it should take 6 to 12 months.
Of the 36.84% of respondents who didn’t give a specific timeline, 62.50% think that the timeline should vary based on the intensity and severity of the case at hand, as well as the level of investigation that needs to be carried out. The other 37.5% think that investigation should carry on until a suitable, fair and relatively transparent resolution can be reached.
During community discussions, some suggestions given towards ensuring independence and transparency of the UCoC enforcement committee included: forbidding members from handling incidents from their own communities, as well as having a policy against appointing or electing past and present local administrators on the committee.
It was also mentioned during the discussions that diversity should be properly considered when setting up an enforcement committee, and that the committee shouldn’t be made up of just one group of people, gender, race, etc, in order to prevent bias in the enforcement process.
Feedback on supporting targets of harassment
The Yoruba community thinks that a peer support group or a network that victims of harassment can be part of would be a good idea. This structure was recognized as a good way to support the mental health of the community members, and consequently, the overall health of the community.
However, they also cautioned that such networks or groups should be properly moderated to prevent abuse and ensure that it properly serves this purpose that it has been set up to serve.
During community discussions, a user shared their experience on what they termed as a targeted attack against them on the English language Wikipedia by a group of administrators years ago. According to them, the administrators ganged up on their case, bullied and harassed them on all fronts, including outing their profession and place of work.
The instigation for this gang-up was actively happening outside of Wikipedia, while its impact was being transferred to the administrators’ noticeboard on the English Wikipedia. This user specifically mentioned a website called “Wikipediocracy”, which was a blog through which they were being publicly attacked and humiliated, away from Wikipedia’s rules and policies. Users from that platform then continued to show up under their case on the English Wikipedia administrators’ noticeboard to stoke additional fires until they were banned from the project.
This experience was shared in relation to the question concerning how to handle harassment incidents happening outside of the Wikimedia environment but directly related to the Wikimedia movement.
The community consultation with the Yoruba community was very successful, as the response rate is commendable, especially taking the size of the community into account. Moreover, being a community from the global south where internet connection can be quite expensive due to data caps, it’s very remarkable that the community still chose to spare some of their resources to participate in this process. We are very grateful for that!
During the consultation, there were no major oppositions to the universal code of conduct or its enforcement from the community, even though some members wished that they could still make changes to the policy itself (as they were not consulted during the first phase of the process). However, the community still thinks that this policy as it currently is, is a welcome development that would have a positive impact on the local community if enforced properly.
In summary, the community leans in the direction of having a locally elected committee of experienced volunteers enforce the UCoC, but there’s a wide consensus on letting the Wikimedia Foundation’s trust and safety team handle escalations. Cases are generally expected to be treated promptly, with a resolution turnaround generally pegged at less than one month.
Furthermore, there’s strong support for ensuring the anonymity of victims, as well investigating cases with strict confidentiality. The community also leans towards remunerating volunteers for their work on the committee, and it is not opposed to setting up a well-moderated peer support network for the victims of harassment.