Universal Code of Conduct/Affiliates consultation/Report
In February 2021, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board approved a Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC) that covers all movement spaces, including wiki-projects, Foundation staff, and Affiliate members; both online and offline. It sets a minimum set of expected and unacceptable behavior that movement stakeholders can build upon in setting their own policies and guidelines but not fall below. The enforcement and implementation process of the Universal Code of Conduct is an important factor in creating a safe, inclusive environment in our Affiliates and wiki-workplaces.
In this phase of the project, which aims to create clear definitions of enforcement pathways and reporting processes, Wikimedia communities and Affiliates of all sizes, types and experience backgrounds were invited to participate in discussions to share their ideas, thoughts and concerns related to the UCoC’s implementation, reporting and enforcement pathways.
Overall Affiliates believe that Wikimedia Foundation should actively cooperate with local Chapters and User Groups, assisting them in efforts to resolve behavioral problems locally where possible; this cooperation could be improved effectively by the development and implementation of a Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC), and the existence of rules for the conduct and conflict resolution between participants in the internal regulations of local groups. Affiliates also recognize that it is impossible to rule out the emergence of different types of problems during activities that involve many participants, which poses a challenge to the enforcement process. Many good ideas were suggested during the discussions, and a lot of proposals were received from different Affiliates after discussing the main objectives of the consultation process internally.
With appreciation to the hosts, it is worth noting that the UCoC project team got the chance to present the consultation process and other related activities in some global Affiliate events, including ESEAP regular meetings and SWAN monthly meetings.
Invitations were sent to all Affiliates during March and April 2021, starting with the Affiliates that showed interest in the “Safety and Inclusion Requirement” of the Movement Strategy, and ending with the newly recognized Affiliates. Many Affiliates, focusing on well-structured and experienced ones, were invited to direct open discussions. Meetings were conducted with 23 affiliates of different sizes; mostly the directors of these Affiliates attended the meetings, but some also invited different members to participate.
In addition, a survey was sent out to most of the Affiliates in 8 languages, either to the contact persons, directors, mailing lists, meta page, or through an official communication channel. The total respondents were 147 from 24 different Chapters/Thematic Organizations and 27 different User Groups. Both the discussions and the survey were useful tools to get feedback from participants; Affiliates shared their experience in implementing local procedures, policies and code. Learning about the Affiliates’ experiences and the extent to which their experience can be applied and replicated through the emerging UCoC enforcement outline is of great importance. Some Affiliates conducted internal discussions and included the UCoC text in the agendas of their regular official meetings and provided collective feedback.
Every Affiliate should have a conflict resolution policy. Most of the consulted Affiliates state they have local procedures, bylaws, and policies. However, some Affiliates know whether everyone is aware of them and knows exactly how to use them.
- Well-established Chapters explained that they rarely receive complaints about unacceptable behavior, or at least incidents were happening but not being reported. So current procedures are often untested and Affiliates require more clarity on how to deal with issues. Issues include who incidents should be reported to internally, and what the requirements are in terms of wider escalation. On the other hand, three Affiliates explained that they developed and enforced local code of conduct after they faced internal interpersonal conflicts and problems. Some Affiliates reported that they are not very satisfied with the policies they have. They believe they need to enhance the rules. The processes need to be formalized in case they need to refer to these bylaws and policies in front of a court for example. Others need to provide appropriate translations because they usually face challenges in communication in other languages.
Role in online conflicts
- Affiliates also believe that abuse or harassment is significantly less likely to happen during an event (whether in person or online) compared to asynchronous online communications or projects. Affiliates shouldn’t be involved, let alone be the “judge and jury” in on-wiki situations. Adjudicating such conflicts is the responsibility, and often burden, of the administrators’, who usually face more challenges governing behavior and implementing local policies. However, in some cases, participants refer to Affiliate leaders to report or seek advice about cases that happen online such as banning or blocking. Affiliates usually try to avoid interfering in content-related issues. Affiliates which focus on online content haven’t seen the need to create any type of code because it’s mostly online activity. On one occasion, the talk page of the Affiliate became the anti-harassment tool and space for reporting cases.
- Almost all participating Affiliates don’t think that UCoC enforcement will or may conflict with the implementation of local procedures or policies. Many participants said that once the enforcement pathways for the UCoC have been agreed and this has been codified into Wikimedia Foundation policy then they will review their own internal policies and procedures and make any changes necessary to ensure alignment.
- Participants said that there needs to be an affirmative moment whereby a participant agrees to be bound by the Code of Conduct if they are to be held to it. So Affiliates follow different approaches to enforcing their local policies and informing members about them. For example, one user group adds a link to the policy in the talk page of any project they initiate or host, along with a section for signatures where participants have to sign in acknowledging that they have read that friendly space policy. Other groups provide access to the guidelines to each member in advance before joining a project. By doing so, it becomes the invitee’s responsibility to read the policy and know that the rules are effective and will apply.
- An interesting mechanism one Chapter applies to enforce the Friendly Space Policy is using a system that mimics a traffic light. Members who violate the policy receive a warning (yellow), repeating the violation is another warning (orange). When it turns red on the third strike, the organization decides a penalty, which could be withdrawing membership – which will not limit people’s participation in events but will limit the person from benefiting from grants.
- Some well-structured Chapters think that if the Chapter has a successful process, they may not replace it with the UCoC, and at the same time, they will not ignore the UCoC, but rather will educate their members on how to refer to it to assess any situations they may face.
- It is worth mentioning that the consultations gave some groups an opportunity to look at the UCoC policy, educate their Affiliate members about it and translate the related pages on Meta. This is a useful side effect of the process.
The major challenge the enforcement outline drafting process will face is the difficulty of producing a policy that truly represents needs and values from around the world, due to the global nature of the UCoC. Following are the major challenges and concerns related to UCoC, gathered from the Affiliates consultations:
Relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation
- There were some concerns that given the current relationship between the community and Wikimedia Foundation, some communities/groups and many members of the communities could simply refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Foundation as an enforcer and in general some stakeholders won’t welcome whatever comes from them. Relations with WMF teams, specifically the Trust & Safety team (T&S) and the Legal Department, are often not well established.
- For example, one of the attendees explained that when he faced legal threats, it was hard to explain to the legal team, due to language and cultural barriers. The legal team was not prepared to support them.
- Another case was that volunteers couldn't obtain legal support against legal threats that they faced once, because they are not staff, but only volunteers.
- A few participants mentioned that they are not happy with how complaints are handled, investigations about harassment cases are done in an unacceptable way, some volunteers claimed they were accused for problems that they already knew nothing about or were not involved in; investigations don’t fairly balance between trying to protect users against false allegations and trying to satisfy complainants; there are concerns that users are now encouraged to report false cases to T&S because there isn’t a balanced mechanism nor transparency in place in the view of participants.
- In addition, sometimes, there are problems with hypothetical scenarios, including that people report directly to WMF because they cannot assess the situations locally. T&S should investigate these issues considering local perspectives, there is a gap in communication, and there has to be a known mechanism of investigations and communications with all parties.
The possibility of the code creating a structure where local conduct decisions by administrators and elected arbitrators could be overturned unilaterally by the Trust & Safety Operations team was opposed; desire for that team not to function as an effective “court of appeals” for local decisions— an Affiliate member
Low trust among community members
- People find it difficult to deal with the allies of users they have concerns about in communities, because communities tend to protect some people who break the rules.
UCoC implementation in social media conversation
- How will the UCoC be implemented when it comes to communications in social media? This was a concern that some small-sized Affiliates raised because they depend on social media for communication. However, while many are strongly against the usage of WhatsApp and Telegram, they often recommend using Signal instead.
Integration of local policies with UCoC
- For the benefit of the wiki community, local Wikimedia Chapters and user groups can also support conflict resolution in online Wiki projects. However, here, organizations can act as advisors or facilitators but not directly interfere in the internal discussions of online wiki projects. Still, some Chapters explained that the integration of their local policies will not contradict the UCoC and the implementation will be easy. When it comes to the online language communities, where most of the violations happen and where volunteers usually reach out to the Affiliate directors or members for support related to their on-wiki participation, such as banning/unbanning, etc., it will not be easy to integrate the local policies with the UCoC. This challenge is especially important when Wikipedia and its sister projects are not limited to a single-country but cover languages spoken in several countries; such as Portuguese and Spanish projects.
Concerns of discrimination
- In the multilingual Chapters, the problems of discrimination are very probable, but they find it difficult to apply the policies specially that there is some type of integration with other Chapters. For example, Chapters that have members of different languages, and on the other hand, some languages are handled by different Affiliates, such as Arabic Wikipedia and Spanish Wikipedia. The problems arise when the conflicts happen on-wiki and Affiliates are requested to engage in managing such conflicts.
Legal dispute concerns
- Under the UCoC, how will staff of Affiliates be managed in case they are involved in legal issues that relate to their work or to other members? For example, if an Affiliate staff member is being sued in front of the court for a decision that he took against a member or as a witness. There is a need for more conversation about this.
- Sometimes individuals or certain groups perceive local Wikimedia organizations as the owner of Wikipedia and send a request for information about editors. It is important that the local Wikimedia organizations maintain the principle of confidentiality, thus protecting editors from possible harassment. Of course, in smaller countries the staff of the organization often knows most of the online editors, because they entered the Wikimedia movement through the organization's projects and programs. From this point of view, the reputation of Wikimedia in that country and the professionalism of the Affiliate staff are important in order to be able to protect the right of editors to privacy.
Handling of criminal cases
- In the event of serious criminal elements (physical threats, sexual harassment, blackmail, slander, etc.) in conflicts arising in online wiki projects, some Affiliates advise victims to report to law enforcement agencies. This work can be done by both the victim and other editors familiar with the issue. Yet it’s not clear how the victim can collect evidence, present the case to the intended agency, or even how local laws may apply to wiki-related issues, neither the support the Affiliate provides is clear.
Content creators versus community organizers
- Currently there is a big divide between community-centric Wikimedians and content-only, online -only Wikipedians. Help bridging that gap is needed; restarting conversations about dispute resolution, Women contributors – micro-aggressions, cliques, “tribalism” how can these issues be addressed?
Lost in translation
- Wikimedia behavioral regulations are mostly written in complex English that is not understood by many non-English-speaking contributors. On the other side, the Wikimedia Foundation has a limited number of non-English speaking staffers (for example Chinese) that could understand reports and reply emails from non-English speakers.
- Contributions by IP address editors have been one of the major contention points---a lot of projects saw confrontation and harassment from IP address editors, which can be nearly impossible to trace if using proxy services.
- Affiliates in Europe need to comply with the regulations of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), especially when it relates to revealing personal information. However an Affiliate clarified that GDPR is only for databases. There is a need to consider if this will contradict the UCoC.
- Members of the WikiWomen's User Group did not want to attend the meeting the project team offered because they were expecting some help from the Wikimedia Foundation regarding notability criteria on Wikipedia, a major barrier to some gender-centric initiatives. However, such help did not come as hoped-for and so they don't think their opinions on the UCoC will be listened to either. The UCoC community facilitators are mentioning this scenario to illustrate one of the reasons why Affiliates/communities may refuse to participate in the UCoC conversations.
- Contentious political situations between Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China has led to several behavioral and safety issues, some of which have also implicated the Affiliates in that region.
- One facilitator had several discussions with two leaders of the Wikimedia Russia and Russian-speaking user groups. The focal point was about the lack of participation by their community. The two leaders explained that many people appear to be upset and unwilling to fill in the survey, criticising it instead of filling it in. They themselves thought the survey looked like nonsense because it’s uncommon to them, questions seem to be hardly understandable and of little relevance. They hesitated to answer some questions because they felt that it was somehow dishonest if they did. According to them, most of their members tried to say the same thing and that is one of the reasons why their attitude to the Code is neutral to negative: ”much of useless side activity spreading community resources thinly”. However, they are planning to make their own Trust and Safety team of one person and want to propose the role to the group soon. They asked the facilitator if that’s a good solution. The main complaint has been that Russian community gets little attention from WMF, which has made many surveys and requests and many people were answering it for years, but almost nothing is getting done in response. There were many discussions at Meta about how to translate UCoC text properly into Russian. Many users provided feedback. Their feedback was ignored and WMF keeps proposing the erroneous versions.
Requests and thoughts for effective enforcement and reporting
Reporting behavioral issues that may occur in the wikimedia projects and user groups is one of the most important pillars of this Code of Conduct. The code must clearly identify all possible practical reporting pathways making use of the successful processes that some Affiliates currently apply, considering all challenges and requirements of the different communities and groups, such as safety and protection. Another important consideration is to recognize the different sizes and abilities of organized groups in the movement in terms of their capacity to receive reports and action them. In addition, enforcement outlines should consider the differing abilities of community members to communicate and interact in social groups.
Most of the Affiliates that participated in this consultation didn’t clarify specific reporting pathways, yet most of them agreed on that problems arise within the Affiliate’s activities must be addressed by the relevant structure of the Affiliate and severe cases must be addressed by the foundation and in case of conflicts with criminal elements, the victims can apply to the law enforcement bodies in their countries; however, more than one Affiliate requested that if a complaint is immediately addressed to the Wikimedia Foundation, then the local Wikimedia organization must be actively involved in the process of addressing the issue. Not only that, but Affiliates also need to know when they are obligated to report conduct issues to the Foundation under a new reporting environment.
Where we need support is to jointly clarify in which cases it will be the Chapter’s responsibility to respond to UCoC violations, and in which cases this responsibility lies with the Wikimedia Foundation
People need to know whom to return to, this means roles and responsibilities in the Affiliate have to be clarified in regards to the new code, specially that some communities are very diverse and it’s difficult to see who should be in charge. At least one Chapter expressed concerns that, if written into grant agreements with insufficient clarity, it would expose the Chapter to new avenues of litigation by people the Chapter has asked to leave events or the membership group.
In this context, the Affiliate’s chairman, a supervisory committee and the staff should be considered problem-solving platforms and hence they have to be able to identify conflicts and provide constructive solutions, considering public safety and solidarity. Smaller Affiliates think that there is a need for a committee of specialized people including a consultant from Wikimedia Foundation who would be responsible for enforcing the rules and remind people about the policy.
Enforcement requires some proportionate sanction – there has to be a meaningful downside to infractions, but the punishment has to be seen to fit the violation. But the goal should not only be to find and punish the culprits, to protect the victims, but also to reconcile them in that process, to bring them to a constructive field. However, sometimes it is not possible to deescalate the situation and to eliminate the mistakes without an administrative sanction. In that case, the administrators must be strictly guided by the regulations.
Arbcom has been mentioned as well as a successful model in some communities; but it didn’t work in others. Some claimed that it’s not easy to find volunteers who are willing to join Arbcom teams, and at the same time, it may fail due to the nature of the community.
In the case when a member faces a behavior problem, in an event, they report to the organizers of the event; there may be a need to identify the considerations to be taken when wikimedians participate in an event that is organized by external organizations.
One Affiliate mentioned that they think the majority is silent because they don’t know they can report or because the rules are not there; this is a big challenge that can be solved by education and awareness programs. There is a need to better define the types of harassment and how participants can be aware of these types including defining the types that can be or should be reported. What’s important is to define how harassment can be prevented before happening. One Affiliate is in favor of a global enforcement plan that could be adapted and contextualized within the interests of local communities, and supports the idea of a localized enforcement within appropriate local authorities.
The procedures of accepting complaints should maintain confidentiality, and each event and program has to have rules which are mandatory for all participants. Many Affiliates think training is needed for Affiliates to direct them on how to solve different types of situations; also training is required for volunteers to educate and guide them on how they should react if they face problems. Also, training was requested on topics that could help them prevent the non-accepted behavior before it occurs. A need to educate people, especially more experienced members who may have to commit to the implementation; not only that, but as some Chapters will use the UCoC as a reference, they need to educate their members about it and how to refer to it.
Currently, the most commonly used reporting tool is emails. It’s good that many groups designated an official email to report through, but the challenge is that people don’t report or detail the situation the same way and this needs to be enhanced, possibly using a unified template. Moreover, it’s been clarified that only staff can access this email, and staff are committed to protect the details of the members according to the contracts they sign.
Discussing safety of reporting, some participants envision a tool that provides three options (or levels) of reporting: report that can be published to the public, report that can be handled privately, but can still be shared with some people, and reports that should always be managed privately and securely. The tool should be accessible online in the Wikipedia pages, talk pages, village pumps and in the meta pages of the Affiliates. Contrary to that, others believe that reports should never be made publicly, but ideally, there must be as many channels as possible that are low-threshold and protected/private so that people can contact their Affiliate confidentially via their preferred channel.
We believe that the safety of the complainant is of great importance and of the highest priority, but not highest priority, Highest priority is to clarify and solve the case.
There is a need to enhance the communication ways in order to guarantee a successful implementation of the UCoC. There is a need to educate the directors how to be responsible for implementation then they will be responsible for teaching other members and newcomers regularly. For non-responsible members, there is a need to produce visual teaching materials like animation and videos.
Requested support from WMF
Almost all user groups will require support to build a system for implementation. The support needed is categorized as follows:
Guidance and awareness
- To enforce the UCoC, many groups will need support from Wikimedia Foundation to define the easiest ways of implementation, especially in the political and legal influenced issued; and helping the on-wiki victims to provide evidence on the cases they faced more easily, because they hold the entire burden of the problems.
- Chapters and user groups which feel responsible for smaller local language communities usually require support to support these isolated communities to boost their participation, which is vulnerable to stop and withdraw because they don’t feel welcomed and may face bullying; Wikimedia South Africa, for example, raised this concern.
Supporting harassment victims
- Locally, this can be limited to a certain level, but groups need to learn how to provide this support. Of the good practices some Chapters do, that can be taken as lessons: in Wikimedia South Africa, they do campaigns sometimes on social media, but that's not sufficient according to them. Wikimedia CH (Switzerland) apply a program for mediation, where they are willing to pay for mediation for any member who may need it when facing problems, especially threats or harassment; and even for members who violate rules, if that would help reduce conflicts. This is similar somehow to the psychological help program that Wikimédia France applies.
- Some User Groups and Chapters mentioned the need for legal support. This includes supporting members who face external threats or course suits; such members usually need guidance and counselling; a designated legal expert can be appointed to guide people on what they can do considering the social aspects. Wikimedia CH is willing to pay for these members and for lawyers in case they need that support. In addition, this type of support is required for the entire group/chapter, especially if they lack sufficient experience (take the case of banning the Turkish Wikipedia and the support that Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey needed as an example). This support could be from local entities or from the WMF’s legal team. Hiring lawyers by the foundation for the benefit of the Affiliates is also a request; however, these hires may not be safe doing their job under certain political tension (for example, the Chinese-speaking community).
- WMF should support in building better relations with governmental entities; for example, participants may face problems when initiating projects like photo contests, which cause frustration. Such support will help create a healthier environment.
Wikimedia Foundation has resources, and relationships; they can form diplomatic channels with entities that can provide protection (i.e. safety net) and formal allies like Human Rights Watch— an Affiliate member
- Financial support may be needed to hire consultants, and to build the required tools (e.g. for reporting). User groups would be open to receive additional funding to invest in T&S, maybe by hiring specialists or lawyers. Currently, the financial support Affiliates receive from Wikimedia Foundation to invest in community health is insufficient.
A user group like Wikimedia Indonesia technically handles a country the size of Europe with a shoe-string budget!
- To build the required tools, visual aids and educational material.
In May 2020, the WMF Board of Trustees posted a Statement on Healthy Community Culture, Inclusivity, and Safe Spaces, in which the Board, among others, instruct the Foundation to “significantly increase support for and collaboration with community functionaries primarily enforcing such compliance in a way that prioritizes the personal safety of these functionaries”. In addition, the Board explicitly directed the Foundation to “make additional investments in Trust & Safety capacity” and undertake it “in coordination and collaboration with appropriate partners from across the movement”. The Affiliates could be one of the targets of this mandate, owing to its strategic position within the Movement; perhaps through more target-specific funding as part of the Grants.
The survey was sent in 8 languages to many of the Affiliates to share with their members; it was also sent directly to many other affiliate members directly using mass messages, on talk pages, and using Affiliates’ official communication channels including mailing lists. The total respondents were 147 from 24 different Chapters/Thematic Organizations and 27 different User Groups.
The questions of the survey aimed at measuring the members’ knowledge of the local procedures and policies of their Affiliates using suggested pre-defined statements that guide the participant; in addition, other questions encouraged the participants to provide thought on the best enforcement and reporting practices based on their experience.
|Who did respond?|
|1. What is your role in the affiliate?||2. How long have you been involved with this affiliate?|
Local policies and reporting system
|Status of local policies|
|1. Do you think that your affiliate has and follows a local code of conduct, rules or sufficient policies to prevent and/or handle situations of conflict or bad behavior between the members?||2. At what degree do you feel your affiliate’s policies/bylaws are sufficiently comprehensive to effectively prevent bad behavior against contributors/participants/organizers or other staff members, in any event the affiliate organizes, such as conferences, gatherings, meetings, workshops, etc: (1=Not at all adequate, 5=Fully adequate)|
When asked about the degree of effectiveness of the local policies in preventing bad behaviour, the average value is 3.65 and it does not vary depending from the length of the involvement in the affiliate but looking at the values for the different roles the average of confidence in the local policies is slightly lower for board members (avg=3.49).
|Status of local reporting system|
1. Does your affiliate have a clear reporting system that all members can use smoothly?
As concerns the existence of a reporting system there are sometimes contradictory answers within the same affiliate meaning that probably even if reporting pathways are existing not everybody among members, staff and sometimes also board members is aware of their existence.
There were different comments about reporting systems. Some respondents share the opinion that no formal system is needed within small communities where everybody knows each other and informal methods are supposed to work, on the other hand it appears that some bigger Affiliates with staff have a formal reporting pathway for participants and members but sometimes forget about their employees who do not have or are not aware of a structured and clear reporting system. There are different suggestions, like the appointment of an experienced single person qualified in conflict resolution and arbitrage or the creation of a dedicated channel for these reports.
How did you learn about the reporting system of your affiliate?
|Self-taught through documentation on-wiki||41|
|Shown by an affiliate leader or staff||37|
|Shown by a community member||21|
|Other reported tools were emails sent by the affiliate in some cases during joining procedure, conferences or off-wiki events.|
Besides telling that "if you have any issues, turn to person X", we have none.— Survey response
I am really not sure there is a proper reporting system within the association. In our CoC page there is only one sentence saying "in case of violations refer to this CoC by sending a public or private message", but it doesn't indicate where to send the message.— Survey response
The main tools where respondents expect to make a report are via Email (121), in-person (64) and 54 would make them via social media, meaning some communication app like Whatsapp or Telegram. Only a few respondents referred to IRC (12) or other ways like noticeboards or affiliate specific tools like internal mailing lists or private wikis.
As privacy of the reports and their outcomes concerns the two main questions were about:
Who should see the details and outcome of a report?
- Directly involved parties: 93
- Affiliate directors, board and staff: 89
- Wikimedia Foundation: 70
- General public, through the Affiliates official portals: 37
Many respondents answered that this depends on the sensitivity of the issue and on the details, transparency and accountability are considered important but not if it compromises the safety of the involved parties.
There is a thin line between the right to privacy and the need for transparency.— Survey response
In which circumstances do you think a report should be private?
- Reports involving potentially identifying information: 64
- All reports: 51
- Reports involving personal abuse: 55
- Reports involving long-term abusers: 20
- No private reports: 15
Anything that is not resolved should remain private. Only summary information should be made public for evaluation purposes after resolution.— Survey response
|Status of reporting system|
How comfortable are you with the reporting system and process defined and followed in your affiliate
What are the reasons why members would not report an inappropriate or unethical behavior in your affiliate? Please select all that apply.
- There is no clear protocol or process. They would not know what to do: 62
- Lack of support by affiliate management and/or other members: 22
- Lack of confidence that reported issues will be addressed fairly and fear of retaliation: 48
- Fear of retaliation: 50
- Concern about their reputation; they would not want to be considered as a person connected to trouble: 61
- Concern about the reputation of the affiliate: 27
- The reporting process is not transparent; hence not trusted: 22
- They would know how to respond appropriately if an adverse event occurs to them or to a colleague, without referring to the affiliate management: 27
(Please answer this question if you are a board member or a staff member. If you are not a board or staff member, please SKIP the question.) Which of the following statements do you AGREE WITH regarding the conduct processes at your affiliate? Please choose all that apply.
- Our local code of conduct is accessible to be viewed by all members: 44
- Our local code of conduct and bylaws are always consulted (as a main reference) in investigating any behavior-related complaints impartially and objectively: 31
- Complainants can follow up on the complaints they report and can ask for updates: 34
- Local code of conduct and bylaws are reviewed regularly, and updated whenever needed: 23
- Our internal laws are flexible to adapt modifications and amendments, and to address any deficiencies that may exist: 28
- The universal code of conduct will not conflict with our local code of conduct, but will complement and add up to it: 42
- We as affiliate leaders/staff usually outline expectations and clarity around confidentiality, and what the complainant may expect during the investigation process: 22
- We as affiliate leaders/staff are keen to listen more if complainants are not satisfied with results: 31
- We as affiliate leaders/staff keep records of details and resolutions for each case or complaint: 26
- Lessons learned from investigations are communicated to staff and members: 20
- We as affiliate leaders/staff consider that the safety of the complainant is of great importance and a top priority: 39
- We as affiliate leaders/staff usually evaluate our reporting systems, and promote them to guarantee that complainants safely report incidents and bad-behavior: 18
- We as affiliate leaders/staff are satisfied with the reporting process we have. We will continue to use the same system for the time-being: 16
(Please answer this ONLY question if you are involved in handling reported incidents) How frequently do you inform the complainants of the outcome of the reports they have made, or are involved in?
- Always: 14
- Frequently: 7
- Sometimes: 6
- Rarely: 3
- Never: 2
Some Affiliates do not have a local code of conduct. When asked about the references upon which reported conflicts and inappropriate behavior are investigated and solved the answers vary depending on the dimension of the affiliate. Some of these have a local code of conduct or have adopted already existing ones like the mediawiki CoC, some have bylaws, some have policies about events and would refer to Wikipedia behavioural policies if needed, smaller groups would refer to “common” sense or report to their leaders or coordinators.
Impact of the UCoC
|Status of local policies|
|1. To what degree do you think enforcement of the new UCoC may conflict with the existing bylaws or local CoC in your affiliate? (1=Low, 5=High) ,||2. How much help do you think your affiliate would need help to implement the new UCoC, especially in the absence of local bylaws and internal codes? (1=No help, 5=lots of help)|
If you marked that your affiliate would need help implementing the UCoC, what type of help would be needed?
- Reporting system and training to explain how the reporting system can be used.
- Casebook and best practices, training, workshops in local language.
- If we need to draft bylaws and such, we would need help with that.
- We currently just refer to the Friendly Space Policy.
- Knowing the policies and what other Chapters do would be helpful.
Which of the following do you think your affiliate needs to do or have to effectively implement the UCoC?
- Written, accessible guidelines: 99
- Training of affiliate members on how to report incidents: 95
- Guidance for staff on how to implement the UCoC whenever a new board is elected or new staff is hired: 75
- Periodic reminders of the existence and importance of the UCoC, as well as how to use it: 79
- Periodic review of how UCoC is being used to govern behavior throughout your affiliate: 75
What are some ways that affiliate leaders can help spread awareness about the UCoC among their members?
- Communication before offline events, adding it to the invite to events, in the website, in ML
- Through social media, small video or flyers and the different communication forms used by Affiliates.
- Important to inform new members and to have clear and accessible guidelines.
(Please answer ONLY if you are an affiliate board or staff member) What additional steps can affiliate leaders take to ensure a smoother implementation of the UCoC?
- Support the UCoC, training on UCoC matters for volunteers, create clear communication within the affiliate members about UCoC issues.
- Organize training for staff and volunteers, dissemination, awareness, periodical reminders and surveys, update internal codes and guidelines.
- Supporting victims.
How could compliance with the UCoC in your affiliate be measured and monitored?
- Anonymous surveys (once per year) to our members and volunteers
- Periodic reports about the related issues to the UCOC like complaints and their resolution.
- Create a monitoring committee from the Trust and Safety staff in Wikimedia Foundation for all the Affiliates and ask for reports regularly
- Members should also be able to submit complaints about the local Affiliates' handling of the situation to a global body overseeing the implementation of the UCoC.
- There should be a community member responsible for UCoC.
- Analysis of willingness to accept investigations, outcome of investigations, number of reports, etc.
[...] pay attention to its follow-up and educate the community that the goal is not to suppress freedom of expression, but to work within a framework of general global behavior, protect all people, support all ideas, and prevent bullying or mockery.— Survey response
Dedicated staff who are tasked with this. Aided by external reviews every couple of years, like an audit.— Survey response
As concerns the contribution of UCoC to the long term sustainability of the affiliate, despite some criticism about the process generally the respondents think that UCoC and the awareness about its goals will have a positive impact on activities, retention and the working environment. The effectiveness of this will depend on the implementation and enforcement and on how much the process is seen as "coming from above".
It should help in keeping a friendly environment (which is a good thing), but I do not expect it to greatly aid in the sustainability of the affiliate. Sustainability requires much more than a friendly environment.— Survey response
Following are some references that some Affiliates provided during the discussions:
- Collective feedback from Art+Feminism User Group
- From Wikimedia UK:
- Policies, guidelines, and procedures of Wikimedia Österreich:
- (French) Events Policy of Les sans pagEs
- Code of Conduct of Wikimedia Taiwan
- (Arabic) Code of Conduct of Wikimedians of the Levant User Group
- Code of Conduct of Wiki Movement Brazil User Group
- Respectful Behavior Space Policy of Wikimedia CH
Considerations for the future
- In a discussion with a user group, a participant objected that the discussion took place in another language than the group’s official language: “I would just like to add something: if the topic of the meeting is really important for the Wikimedia Foundation, I think the first thing to do would be to allow this exchange to take place in the language of the participants of the group.”
- Objections to using Google forms came from many groups and individuals; even Qualtrics was not a solution for them; data of people are usually imposed using these tools. At the same time, Wikimedia Foundation is not encouraged to use open source platforms because they host data externally and that's not the solution. Suggestions are that Wikimedia Foundation should have worked on tools and platforms since people had complained about it a long time ago, especially if they have money to do it. The change cannot be done on a day, but participants would accept it if the foundation shared a real plan with the groups that includes dates.
- Many responses we received included complains about the timing of the consultation process as it conflicts with too many other open discussions; this processes intersected with the discussions about the outcomes of the Movement Strategy Recommendations, discussions about the board governance and elections; “we can consider throwing off some of the issues to trigger people on thinking about more focused items”; In addition, the process started with other annual projects such as WikiGap, Women’s International month, etc. in which many groups participate. Not only that, but our processes were confusing to some groups/individuals; for example, we sent the “Targets of Harassment” survey to Affiliates at the same time they were requested to take the Affiliates consultations survey.
- Increase direct communication with the smaller groups. This increases engagement and encourages them to provide input and feedback. This has been raised previously in phase 1 and another time in phase two, and both comments came from African user groups, who expressed their excitement about someone from the foundation consulting with them and asking for their opinions.
- AffCom: Should Affcom be more involved in facilitating some communications specifically with Affiliates that don’t respond?