Universal Code of Conduct/Coordinating Committee/Charter
The Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C) draft charter outlines the policies, procedures and processes that will guide the U4C’s work.
The initial sections of the draft outline the organization of the Committee, including the purpose and scope of the Committee’s work, its responsibilities and eligibility and election processes for Committee members.
Following sections cover the internal expectations around conduct, recusal and the transparency and confidentiality of the Committee’s work. The remaining sections cover the processes to monitor, review and support the UCoC and Enforcement Guidelines. They also cover providing tools and training for the community to use with the UCoC and Enforcement Guidelines as well as how the U4C will engage and interact with the Wikimedia Foundation and other movement government structures.
This is the early draft, additional content will be added when the community feedback process begins.
Purpose and Scope
The U4C supports the following functions:
- Monitoring reports of UCoC breaches. At which point, the U4C may conduct additional investigations and take actions where appropriate.
- Observing the state of UCoC enforcement across all Wikimedia online and offline spaces, as ratified by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees in 2020.
- It may suggest suitable changes to UCoC and the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines for the Wikimedia Foundation and the community to consider as part of the annual review the U4C organizes, but may not change either document on its own.
- When requested, the U4C will assist the Wikimedia Foundation and other stakeholders in handling cases under their jurisdiction, as requested.
The U4C has the following responsibilities:
- Handles complaints and appeals in the circumstances as outlined in the Enforcement Guidelines, including but not limited to:
- Lack of local self-governance capacity to enforce the UCoC;
- Consistent local decisions that conflict with the UCoC;
- Refusal of local self-governance structures and teams to enforce the UCoC;
- Lack of resources or lack of will to address issues that prevent the adequate enforcement of the UCoC through local self-governance processes;
- Performs any investigations necessary to resolve said complaints and appeals;
- Provide resources for communities on UCoC best practices, such as mandatory training material, quality assurances for training resources created by movement members and organizations that go beyond the basic UCoC training material the U4C itself oversees, and other resources as needed;
- Provides a final interpretation of the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines and the UCoC if the need arises, in collaboration with community members enforcement structures;
- Assesses the effectiveness of UCoC enforcement and provides recommendations for improvement.
The U4C will not take cases that do not primarily involve violations of the UCoC, or its enforcement. The U4C may delegate its final decision making authority except in instances of severe systemic issues. The U4C’s responsibilities are explained in the context of other enforcement structures in 3.1.2 of the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines.
This section covers the membership composition of the U4C and how such membership will be distributed to align with the diversity of the movement.
The U4C will consist of 16 community members. Each member fulfills a two-year term.
Wikimedia Foundation may appoint up to two non-voting members and provide a facilitator to support the Committee.
Each member must:
- Comply with the UCoC.
- Need to be over the age of 18 and sign the Confidentiality agreement for nonpublic information (NDA) with the Wikimedia Foundation once they are elected.
- Not been blocked in any Wikimedia project or have an event ban the past 1 year.
- Meet any other eligibility requirements determined during the election process.
- Be a registered member of at least one Wiki project for at least X days and have Y edits.
To ensure the U4C represents diversity of the movement, two representatives from each region will be elected. According to the Wikimedia Foundation's regional approach the regional distribution will be follows:
- North America (USA and Canada)
- West Europe
- Latin America and Caribbean
- Central and East Europe (CEE)
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Middle East and North Africa
- East, South East Asia and Pacific (ESEAP)
- South Asia
Conflict of Interest
This section covers the Conflict of Interest as seen at the time of the Charter drafting as conflict of interest pertains to the U4C membership.
The identified conflicts of interest are explained below:
Individual voting members of the U4C do not have to resign from other positions (eg. local administrator (sysop), member of ArbCom, event safety coordinator) but cannot be employed as staff or contractors by the Wikimedia Foundation nor participate on its Board of Trustees, nor on the boards or as staff and contractors of Foundation-affiliated organizations while participating on the U4C.
Elections and Terms
Annual elections, overseen and coordinated by the U4C itself, will select voting members of the U4C. Candidates may be any person who satisfies the membership requirements stated in the Membership section. The inaugural election of the U4C will be held as soon as practical following the successful completion of the U4C Charter ratification process. The first election will be overseen and coordinated by the U4CBC, supported by the Elections Committee, the Wikimedia Foundation and additional people as needed.
The Election Process follows the timeline below:
- Nomination period (two weeks) – Nominations are accepted during this time.
- Question and Answer period (one week) – Candidates answer questions from the community.
- Verification period (one week) – The qualifications of the candidates are verified.
- Voting period (15 days) - The community has the opportunity to share their opinions on the candidates via Support/Neutral/Oppose voting.
The election for the U4C is a two-year term for each member except the first election. In the first election the first selected candidate for each region will serve a two-year term and the second selected candidate for each region will serve a one-year term. This staggering of terms will reduce the onboarding challenges following election cycles.
After the inaugural election, the expiring seats (8 out of 16 per year) and appointed seats by vacancy will be subject to election for a two year term.
In case of resignation, the U4C can appoint a temporary member of the same region to fulfill the role until the next election. The member appointed should meet the other requirements indicated in the membership section below and had at least 50% support in the most recent election.
- Voting is conducted by leaving support or oppose votes for each candidate. Voters are able to vote for candidates from all regions.
- Neutral votes will not count when counting the percentage of support.
- The voter eligibility follows the 2023 ratification vote for the Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines.
- The candidate must have 60% or higher support votes versus opposed votes to be selected. Neutral votes are not counted when calculating the percentage. After this qualification:
- Top two candidates from each region will be elected, as determined by the percentage of support.
- If two candidates have the same percentage of support, then the number of support votes will be used as a tiebreaker.
- If the tiebreaker method stated above does not determine a winner, the committee in charge of the election will set additional rules.
After the election, the U4C will begin work as soon as possible after a preparation period.
UCoC and enforcement training resources
The U4C will oversee the creation and maintenance of training resources, as well as coordinating with the Wikimedia Foundation on translation of such training resources.
Three basic training modules shall cover orientation, identification and reporting, and complex cases and appeals as mandated in the Enforcement Guidelines.
These modules will be publicly accessible, on platforms such as on learn.wiki, and must be translated in cooperation with the Wikimedia Foundation into as many languages as possible. The list or number of languages will be determined by the U4C with the criteria as they see fit.
Alongside providing training modules, the U4C can explore and support other ways of training, collaborating with various community stakeholders such as but not limited to the Wikimedia Foundation and affiliates.
At its sole discretion, the U4C can also share the best practices of UCoC violations and related matters and offer quality assurance and certification of UCoC training resources created by other movement stakeholders upon request.
Just like the UCoC itself defines minimums, and invites and encourages communities to build upon those minimum standards for behavior, movement stakeholders are welcome to build upon and improve the basic training resources.
This section covers how and when the U4C can modify its internal procedures as well as the opportunity for engaging with the community for feedback on the recommended changes.
The U4C may create or modify their internal procedures as long as it is within their scope. Whenever appropriate, the U4C should invite community feedback on intended changes prior to implementing them.
Some work may necessitate certain structured support. The U4C may form subcommittees or designate individuals for particular tasks or roles as appropriate to address the work of the U4C.
The U4C Building Committee suggests that at least two subcommittees are created within the U4C at the time of formation. One subcommittee for the prevention, training and reports pertaining to the U4C work and the second subcommittee for the review and handling of cases.
This section covers the times in which it is appropriate and expected for a member of the U4C to recuse themselves from the work, which may include related decision making discussions and committee votes.
A U4C member may recuse themselves from any work, or from any aspect of the work, with or without explanation, and is expected to do so where they have a conflict of interest. This situation may result in a member of the U4C participating in the discussions about the work, but not the voting process.
Any U4C member participating in their U4C member capacity regarding work from a project or affiliate they participate in has the responsibility of the decision to recuse themselves or not to keep impartiality of the U4C. Members of the U4C will not participate in the work if they have been directly involved with the work as a result of their other positions or other activities. This decision is still subject to a vote by the whole membership of the U4C. Any U4C member may choose to withdraw from the recusal vote, but still participate in discussions of recusals from the work.
Typically, a conflict of interest regarding U4C work includes personal involvement in the substance of the dispute or significant personal involvement with one of the parties involved in the work. Previous interactions with the parties as routine editor, administrator or U4C interactions are not usually grounds for recusal.
- Process and procedures regarding requesting member recusal
If a person believes a U4C member should recuse themselves from certain work of the U4C, the person has to send their request to the U4C asking for the person to recuse themselves and identify the work and state their rationale. A member of the U4C may comply with the request to recuse themselves or a vote of the membership of the U4C will happen, excluding the affected member or members.
The U4C should reply to the request before starting to vote on the work. Requests for recusal after the work has entered the voting stage will not be granted, except in extraordinary circumstances.
Conduct of U4C members
This section outlines the expectations of U4C members regarding their conduct and how conduct concerns will be handled within the U4C.
U4C members should:
- Actively engage in the U4C work, and inform the U4C at the start of any absence from U4C participation.
- Respond in a timely and suitable manner to concerns about their conduct.
- Maintain the confidentiality of private information shared with the U4C, including private correspondence and non-public personal information.
- Maintain collegial relations with their fellow U4C members and work to productively resolve interpersonal conflicts.
- Strive to act in a transparent manner, providing explanations for their decisions whenever possible while maintaining appropriate confidentiality.
- Be knowledgeable about global policies, including the Universal Code of Conduct, and should work to gain knowledge of local policies and culture for any work the U4C handles.
Any U4C member who repeatedly or grossly fails to meet the expectations outlined above may be suspended or removed by public committee resolution. This public committee resolution must be supported by two-thirds of all U4C members, excluding the following from the voting process:
- The U4C member facing suspension or removal, and;
- Any U4C member who does not respond within 30 days to any attempts to solicit their feedback on the resolution through all known methods of written communication.
Internal Policy and Precedent
This section covers how the U4C applies and manages the UCoC and Enforcement Guidelines and involves movement precedent.
The U4C does not create new policy and may not amend or change the UCoC and its Enforcement Guidelines. The U4C instead applies and enforces the UCoC as defined by its scope.
Previous decisions may be taken into account only to the extent that they remain relevant in the current context, as community policies, guidelines and norms evolve over time.
The U4C may, however, suggest changes to the UCoC and Enforcement Guidelines for the Wikimedia Foundation and the community to consider as part of the annual review process organized by the U4C.
Transparency and Confidentiality
This section covers the expectations for a good balance between transparency and respect for privacy for U4C processes.
Complaints accepted shall be reported publicly on-wiki with at least minimal information.
Work decided shall be reported publicly on-wiki, stating account names, projects, dates and a rudimentary case description. If any information is unsuitable for public reports due to privacy or legal reasons, reports shall anonymize it by broadening details or even omit the respective information as appropriate.
If a U4C member breaches confidentiality agreements, it is important to address the issue through appropriate internal disciplinary actions, if necessary. The Committee should conduct an investigation to determine whether the breach was an error or intentional. The committee may recommend to the Wikimedia Foundation to revoke a confidentiality agreement if an investigation determines this is warranted.
This section focuses on how the U4C monitors trends, challenges, and comments on the enforcement of the UCoC on global communities and how these various situations should be addressed.
The U4C shall closely monitor the regular Foundation safety perception surveys, its own caseload trends, and feedback from co-equal self-governance institutions to identify challenges to the effective self-governance of communities to enforce the UCoC. Concerns identified shall be publicly documented on the U4C’s noticeboard, addressed as merited, or tabled during the annual UCoC & EG review.
Preceding the annual review, the U4C will complete the following:
- Contact functionaries in our global community, including:
- ArbCom members
- Provide reports of any observations requiring the U4C to look into UCoC or EG-related challenges in communities. The U4C is obligated to discuss these reports for inclusion in their proposal.
- Open a comment page on Meta-wiki available for everyone. It contains a section for any community member to report matters about how the U4C, the EG and the UCoC work as enforced. The comment page is linked in U4C communications about the annual review. The U4C shall look into comments and questions placed on that page, but is not obligated to follow-up in depth.
- The above mentioned Meta-wiki comment page contains a second dedicated section allowing community members to share ideas for improvement and amendments. This is helpful to collect ideas from individuals and aims to be open to all voices in the community. U4C is required to read and decide if they want to adopt these ideas when drafting a proposal during the annual process.
- The U4C should actively search if new or unusual trends of unacceptable behaviors occur in the movement. They may observe the trends, the comments of the community and consider academic research.
Ratification, amendment, annual UCOC and Enforcement Guideline review
This section highlights a path/process for improving and making amendments to this Charter over time.It also clarifies the U4C’s role in the Annual Review process for the UCoC and EGs.
The U4C can amend its internal procedures. Internal procedures can be amended through regular reviews and validated by a consensus method or a preferred method for closing up decisions, e.g polls/votes, prioritization, etc.
Changes to the Charter, the Enforcement Guidelines or the UCoC
Changes to the Charter, the Enforcement Guidelines or the UCoC require community approval. The U4C will organize at its sole discretion the annual review of the UCoC, the Enforcement Guidelines and the Charter. It comprises at least:
- A feedback evaluation phase
- Call for comment globally
- An evaluation of comments and accumulated community sentiment from all channels
- A knowledge from the actual state of research about our movement and Internet in general
- A drafting phase
- Inclusion of evaluated functionaries and community comments, internal notes from the noticeboard and knowledge from the actual state of research about our movement and Internet in general.
- During the drafting phase there are at least three open community conversations, for timezone coverage.
- The changed draft is published regularly during the drafting phase, depending on the U4C’s workflow either after every session or weekly.
- The final draft is reviewed by the Wikimedia Foundations Legal Department on-wiki.
- A voting phase
- Votes will be cast by community members with > 60% or > 66% approval
- The translation of the final draft preceding the vote and running and promoting the poll according to the specifications of the U4C is ensured by the Wikimedia Foundation.
- The ballot must allow voters to vote separately on individual substantive sections.
This section covers the relationships the U4C will have with other stakeholders within the Wikimedia movement.
The U4C may issue formal or informal advice and interpretation of the UCoC. When possible, the U4C should respond to requests from other high level decision-making bodies, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, or the Wikimedia Foundation for advice or interpretation. Other groups or individuals may also request advice and interpretation from the U4C. Where appropriate, the U4C should publicly document their formal advice and interpretation.
Relationship with other movement government structures
According to the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines, depending on the situation, the U4C can act as a high level decision-making body about the UCoC and as a peer group to other high level decision making bodies. The Committee's role is to provide resources for communities on UCoC best practices and act as the final recourse in situations where there are systemic failures by local groups to enforce the UCoC. For cases involving Affiliate staff, the U4C should handle the case jointly with the Affiliate and/or AffCom. The U4C may take actions regarding staff in Wikimedia movement spaces and may recommend other action to the Affiliate.
Movement government structures may also refer UCoC enforcement cases or appeals, even those which would not normally be in the scope of the U4C, to the U4C. The U4C may decide whether or not to hear those cases or appeals according to its typical procedures.
Requests for advice or interpretation or case referrals should generally be made on Meta-wiki, except when not appropriate for privacy reasons. For situations involving privacy, use of the dedicated email address for the U4C is expected.
This section covers the use of tools and other technical resources by the U4C to fulfill the work.
The Committee can take all measures it deems appropriate and proportionate to adhere to its mandate and address systemic failures to adequately enforce the UCoC in line with the enforcement guideline and this policy. This includes creating or requesting user rights for committee members or its delegates for administration (local/global Wiki and MediaWiki tools), supporting tools like mailing lists and private wiki, and other tools like the Private Incident Reporting System to support operations of the U4C, to be created and administered by the Wikimedia Foundation and the stewards during the term of U4C members.
Any rights granted for U4C committee purposes must be used only for U4C actions, investigations and emergency cases unless they have other administrative rights granted from local or global processes.
Jurisdiction, proceedings, adjudication, appeals
The U4C has jurisdiction within all Wikimedia-related online and offline spaces within the scope of its mandate as defined by the Enforcement Guidelines. The U4C will not take cases that do not primarily involve violations of the UCoC, or its enforcement. The U4C may delegate its final decision-making authority except in instances of severe systemic issues.
The U4C has no jurisdiction, except as noted in the relationship sections above, over: (i) official actions of the Wikimedia Foundation or its staff; (ii) Wikimedia affiliate employment relations issues governed by laws and regulations of the affiliate’s jurisdiction.
Except in instances of systemic issues, the U4C will not have jurisdiction when a NDA-signed, high-level decision-making body exists, warranting effective self-governance. The U4C should also respect the movement principle of decentralization, understanding that the UCoC should be enforced at the most relevant local level possible.
The U4C retains jurisdiction over all matters heard by it, including associated enforcement processes, and may, at its sole discretion, revisit any proceeding at any time unless the issue is handed over to the Wikimedia Foundation in its capacity as platform provider due to legal issues.
In line with the community-approved enforcement guidelines, the U4C can take all measures it deems appropriate and proportionate to address systemic failures (e.g. project-capture) to adequately enforce the UCoC. The U4C may rely on reports by the Wikimedia Foundation and other movement groups or may request its own external report when making its decision. Sanctions for systemic failure to enforce the UCoC includes the full range of measures, up to and including the closure of wikis. A report should be published for the global community’s consideration after the adjudication.
Requesting adjudication review
Requests for adjudication review must be presented in the manner designated by the U4C. The U4C may accept or decline any matter at its sole discretion; it will take into account, but will not be bound by, the views of the parties to the request and other informed users.
Forms of proceeding
- Standard proceedings: By default, hearings are public and follow the procedures published on the relevant U4C pages. Proceedings can be private if the U4C takes the view that a public proceeding might cause disproportionate harm - typically where significant privacy, harassment, or legal issues are involved - to proceeding participants, third parties, or could adversely affect the Wikimedia Foundation’s legal, technical, and public policy-related platform provider obligations. The parties will be notified of the private hearing and be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them before a decision is made.
- Expedited proceeding: Where the facts of a matter are substantially undisputed, the U4C may resolve the dispute by a vote without a standard proceeding.
A member whose term expires while a case is pending may remain active on that case until its conclusion. Newly appointed members may become active on any matter before the U4C with immediate effect from the date of their appointment.
Statements may be added to case pages by any informed and interested user. The U4C may further set rules as needed for the submission of statements. Users may respond to statements about themselves and the U4C will make a good faith effort to contact any user who is the subject of a case; failure to do so may result in decisions being made without their participation. All editors are required to act according to the UCoC on U4C case pages, and may face sanctions if they fail to do so.
Admissibility of evidence
In all proceedings, admissible evidence includes:
- All edits and log entries, including deleted or otherwise hidden edits and log entries from online projects, platforms, and services within the U4C’s scope;
- Testimony and evidence from offline incidents as deemed appropriate by the U4C.
Evidence is admissible in all languages supported by Wikimedia Foundation platforms and services. If the U4C requires additional resources processing material received, it can coordinate with the Wikimedia Foundation as other community self-governance committees collaborating with the platform provider do. Evidence based on private communications (including, but not limited to, other websites, forums, chat rooms, IRC logs, email correspondence) is admissible only by prior consent of the U4C.
Evidence may be submitted privately, but the U4C normally expects evidence to be posted publicly in all public proceedings unless there are compelling reasons not to do so, or it has been determined the proceeding will be private. The U4C will decide whether to admit each submission of private evidence on its own merits and, if admitted, the evidence will be considered at a private hearing.
At any time between the request for a case being made and the closure of the case, the U4C may issue temporary injunctions, restricting the conduct of the parties, or users generally, for the duration of the case.
Format of decisions
Decisions are written in clear, concise standard English and the primary language(s) relevant to the case at hand; usually including: (i) outline the salient principles, (ii) make findings of fact, (iii) set out remedies and rulings, and (iv) specify any enforcement arrangements. Where the meaning of any provision is unclear to any U4C member, the parties, or other interested editors, it may be clarified upon request.
Admissibility of appeals
Appeals by blocked, banned, or similarly restricted individual users are usually conducted by email.
Appeal of decisions
Any party to the case may ask the U4C to reconsider or amend a ruling, which the U4C may accept or decline at its discretion. The U4C may require a minimum time to have elapsed since the enactment of the ruling, or since any prior request for reconsideration, before reviewing it.
This section covers some key words you may find throughout the document.
UCoC: refers to the Universal Code of Conduct
EG: refers to the Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines
U4C: refers to the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee, as set by the Enforcement Guidelines.
Charter: refers to the Charter of the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee.
Foundation: refers to the Wikimedia Foundation
Foundation-affiliated organizations: [to be added]