Universal Code of Conduct/Draft review

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Welcome to the Community UCoC Draft Review! Thank you for participating in creating a Universal Code of Conduct for the Wikimedia Movement. This process is designed to give the UCoC Drafting Committee useful information as they continue to refine the content. This process will be open for 30 days, after which a final draft will be submitted to the Board of Trustees. For more information, see the FAQ and the UCoC main page.

Important points:

  • This is a draft! The Drafting Committee will be reviewing comments, and making improvements where needed as the review progresses.
  • This part of the UCoC project is focused on standards of conduct. Enforcement and application of the UCoC will be part of Phase 2, which begins after this part is completed. There will be facilitated conversations on this topic starting soon. If you have thoughts about enforcement and application now, please use the UCoC main page and your thoughts will be recorded for the next phase.

How to participate:

  • If you have thoughts, concerns or suggestions for a specific section or wording in the document, use the link below the relevant section to add your comments.
  • If you want to talk about the UCoC Draft generally, use the general comments section.

Dear Wikimedia Communities,

The Universal Code of Conduct Drafting Committee thanks you for reviewing and commenting on the draft as it is so far. The committee is addressing feedback it has received from at least 11 translations of the document; we will update the Meta draft as soon as we have aligned on revisions.

Please note that the last date for community feedback on the original draft is Wednesday October 7, 2020.

We have already started discussing your comments and are considering how to improve the text. We will continue to monitor the discussions and take aboard comments and integrate into the new draft. To date we have already identified and are addressing the following major areas of concern from multiple Wikimedia communities:

  • Acceptable versus expected behavior & Mandatory versus encouraged behavior. Communities have asked which behaviors will be “compulsory” and / or lead to sanctions. For example, is kindness “compulsory”, and a lack of kindness a violation of the code? We are discussing these issues and how to more clearly describe what are the behaviors that we would like Wikimedians to engage in, behaviors that all Wikimedians must comply with, and behaviors that we do not want to see in Wikimedia spaces.
  • Respect, politeness, friendliness, formal / informal address. We have learned that some cultures differentiate between friendliness and politeness. Politeness is an behavioral expectation that most WIkimedia communities agree upon, while friendliness could be a behavior that we would like to see Wikimedians engage in, but that no one can enforce. We will be revising the next version of the Code of Conduct to address these concepts with more clarity.
  • Concerns about terms / concepts that are not universally recognized or practiced. Based on communities’ feedback, we have reviewed and reworded several sections to use language or concepts that would be accepted by multiple non-English speaking Wikimedia communities. At the same time, we decided to keep many of the original terms and concepts from the first draft, and qualify them.
  • Questions about definitions, limitations, and overlap of terms such as Respect, Empathy, Solidarity, Citizenship, Civility, Collegiality, Stalking, Doxxing, Gender / Sex / Sexual Orientation / Gender Identity. We have reviewed and reworded several sections to use language or concepts that would be accepted by multiple non-English speaking Wikimedia communities.
  • Content vandalism and abuse of the projects. Some concerns have been raised that the Code of Conduct will be used to facilitate censorship and limit freedom of expression. We are reviewing the Content Vandalism section to stress that unacceptable behavior in this area includes hampering progress on projects and promoting hate speech.
  • Sexual harassment. The wording of this section came in for criticism as it was considered to be unclear and not addressing the heart of the issue. We are developing alternative wording.

Please keep us posted with further questions and concerns about the UCOC draft. If you would like to join us for work on Phase II (Application and Enforcement), please contact Patrick for more information.

Sincerely, RachelWex (talk) 16:26, 28 September 2020 (UTC) and the Universal Code of Conduct Committee

0 – Introduction[edit]

This Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC) defines a baseline of acceptable and unacceptable behavior. It applies to everyone who interacts with and contributes to online and offline Wikimedia projects and spaces. This includes new and experienced contributors, functionaries within the projects, event organizers and participants, employees and board members of affiliates and Wikimedia Foundation employees and board members. It applies to all in-person and virtual events, technical spaces, and all Wikimedia projects and wikis.

This includes:

  • public and semi public interactions
  • discussions of disagreement and expression of solidarity across community members
  • issues of technical development
  • aspects of content contribution
  • cases of representing affiliates/communities with external partners
  • spaces of public interaction and events, press conferences and professional convenings

The UCoC provides a baseline of behavior for collaboration on Wikimedia projects worldwide. Communities may add to this to develop policies that take account of local and cultural context, while maintaining the baselines listed here as a minimum standard.

1 – Why We Have a UCoC[edit]

We believe in empowering as many people as possible to actively participate in Wikimedia projects and spaces, to reach our vision of a world in which we all can share in the sum of all human knowledge. We believe our communities of contributors should be as diverse, inclusive, and accessible as possible.

We want these communities to be positive, safe and healthy environments for anyone who joins them. Also, we wish to protect our projects against those who damage or distort their content.

The UCoC applies equally to all Wikimedians without any exceptions. Acting in contradiction with the UCoC can result in sanctions being imposed by the community representatives and functionaries of the platforms (as per the local communities endorsement and contextualisation) or the Wikimedia Foundation as the legal owner of the platforms.

In line with the Wikimedia mission, all who engage in Wikimedia projects and spaces will:

  • help create a world in which everyone can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.
  • participate in a global community that will avoid bias and prejudice, and
  • strive towards accuracy and verifiability in all its work.

2 – Expected behavior[edit]

Every Wikimedian, whether they are a new or experienced editor, a community functionary, an affiliate or WMF board member or employee, is responsible for their own behavior.

In all Wikimedia projects, spaces and events behavior will be founded in respect, civility, collegiality, solidarity and good citizenship. This applies to all contributors and participants in their interaction with all contributors and participants, without distinction based on age, mental or physical disabilities, physical appearance, national, religious, ethnic, and cultural background or caste, social class, language fluency, sexual orientation, gender identities, or career field. Nor will we distinguish based on accomplishments, skills or standing in the Wikimedia-projects or movement.

2.1 – Respect[edit]

Respect is showing regard for others. In communicating with people, whether in online or offline Wikimedia environments, we will treat them with the same respect as we would want them to show to us.

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Practice empathy. Listen and try to understand what any Wikimedians have to tell you. Be ready to challenge and adapt your own understanding, expectations and behaviour as a Wikimedian.
  • Always assume good faith, and engage in constructive, positive editing. Provide and receive feedback kindly and in good faith. Criticism should be delivered in a sensitive, constructive manner, and include concrete, measurable strategies for improvement.
  • Respect the way that contributors name and describe themselves. People may use specific terms to describe themselves. As a sign of respect, use these terms when communicating with or about these people. Examples include:
    • Ethnic groups may use a specific name to describe themselves, rather than the name historically used by others to describe them
    • People with names that use distinct letters, sounds, or words from their language which may be unfamiliar to you;
    • People who identify with a certain sexual orientation or gender identity using distinct names or pronouns;
    • People who identify as having a particular physical or mental disability may use particular terms to describe themselves
  • When meeting in person, we will strive to be welcoming to everyone and we will be mindful and respectful of each others’ preferences, sensibilities, traditions and requirements.

2.2 – Civility, collegiality, solidarity and good citizenship[edit]

Civility is a high standard of politeness in behaviour and speech amongst people, including strangers. Collegiality is the friendly support that people engaged in a common effort extend to each other. Good citizenship means taking active responsibility for ensuring that the Wikimedia projects are productive, pleasant and safe places to be, and contribute to the Wikimedia Mission.

This includes but is not limited to

  • Mentorship and coaching: Helping newcomers to find their way and acquire essential skills
  • Show solidarity: Look out for fellow contributors, lend them a hand when they need support, and speak up for them when they are treated in a way that falls short of our standards
  • Recognize and credit the work done by contributors: Thank them for the help they have given you. Appreciate their efforts and give credit where it is due.

3 – Unacceptable behavior[edit]

The Universal Code of Conduct aims to help community members identify situations of bad behavior and harassment. The following behaviors are considered unacceptable within the Wikimedia movement:

3.1 – Harassment[edit]

This includes any behavior designed primarily to intimidate, outrage or upset a person. Behavior can be considered harassment if it is beyond what a reasonable person would be expected to tolerate (given the cultural context and expectations of the people involved). Harassment often takes the form of emotional abuse, especially towards people who are in a vulnerable position.

In some cases, behavior that would not rise to the level of harassment in a single case can become harassment through repetition. Harassment includes but is not limited to:

  • Insults: This includes name calling, using slurs or stereotypes, and any attacks based on personal characteristics. Insults may refer to perceived characteristics like intelligence, appearance, ethnicity, race, religion, culture, caste, sexual orientation, gender, disability, age, nationality, political affiliation, or other characteristics. In some cases, repeated mockery, sarcasm, or aggression may qualify as insults collectively, even if individual statements would not.
  • Sexual harassment: Unsolicited sexual attention or advances of any kind towards others.
  • Threats: Using the possibility of physical violence, legal action, unfair embarrassment, or reputational harm to win an argument or force someone to behave the way you want.
  • Encouraging harm to others: This includes encouraging someone else to commit self-harm or suicide as well as encouraging someone to conduct violent attacks on a third party.
  • Doxing: publishing others' private information, such as name, a place of employment, a physical or email address, without their explicit permission. As a minimum standard, one should never publish information that a person has tried to keep private and not published online. Many communities will have a higher standard than this and prefer to prohibit the publication of information published elsewhere on the internet but not shared on a Wikimedia project.
  • Stalking: following a person across the project and repeatedly critiquing their work with the intent to upset or discourage them.
  • Trolling: Deliberately disrupting conversations or posting in bad-faith to intentionally provoke someone

3.2 – Abuse of power, privilege, or influence[edit]

Abuse occurs when someone in a real or perceived position of power, privilege, or influence engages in disrespectful, cruel, and/or violent behavior toward other people. In Wikimedia environments it most frequently takes the form of emotional abuse (verbal, mental, psychological abuse) and may overlap with harassment.

  • Abuse of office by functionaries, officials and staff: misuse of authorities, knowledge or resources at the disposal of (elected) project functionaries, as well as officials and staff of the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedia affiliates to intimidate or threaten others, or for their own material or immaterial benefit.
  • Abuse of seniority and connections: Using one’s position and reputation to intimidate others. We ask people with significant experience and connections in the movement to behave with special care because hostile comments may carry an unintended implication of creating threats from friends and supporters.
  • Gaslighting (Psychological manipulation): Working (alone or with a group) to cause someone to doubt their own perceptions, senses, or understanding. People with community authority have a particular privilege to be viewed as reliable and should not abuse this to attack others who disagree with them.

3.3 – Content vandalism and abuse of the projects[edit]

Deliberately introducing incorrect or biased content to the Wikimedia projects or hindering the creation of content. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Repeated removal of Wikimedia content without appropriate peer review or constructive feedback for improvement
  • Systematically manipulating content to favour specific interpretations of facts or points of view
  • Hate speech in any form of expression which intends to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin
  • Unwarranted, unjustified addition of symbols, images, or content with the intent to intimidate or harm others.