Universal Code of Conduct/Drafting committee/Digests/Phase 2/ru

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Универсальный кодекс поведения

This page contains summaries, or "digests", of feedback on the Universal Code of Conduct draft guidelines review. The summaries have been prepared for the Universal Code of Conduct Drafting committee for phase 2 (UCoCDC 2 or “the committee”) by the Universal Code of Conduct facilitation team.

Digest 3: 17 September 2021 – 17 October 2021


  • Not about EDGR directly: Users of the Russian Wikipedia and Wikinews were not happy about the news about the EGDR. They wondered why the WMF started working on a project to enforce UCoC if many were against it. They also pointed out that the Russian Wikipedia community was opposed to UCoC during the Phase I consultation. On the other hand, users of the Wikivoyage greeted the news about the EGDR with great enthusiasm and started a discussion about it. It was noted that the UCoC will refer directly to this project, since the local policy is not developed.
  • Russian WikiVoyage: The problems indicated in the text are also rather one-sided and are more characteristic of Western communities, from which other communities are very different.
  • Wikimedia Indonesia : supports 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. South Asia communities support the same idea where they think the Policy guidelines should be the same in every community; can still take local context; no need to change at document-level; should be standardized and centralized for all. But regional concerns and legitimate grievances must be taken into account, and changes should only be made after mutual agreement by the U4C committee and the community/project.

Question: Will there be grants available for people to translate, create awareness and implement UCoC in their communities?

  • West African Communities: A delayed, but high quality resolution is much better than a rushed, but very problematic resolution.
  • Some online communities still face problems with contributors who don’t register but use IP. consequences could be that these may violate the code without being traced or prohibited, at the time some participants prefer to use IP when it comes to editing critical content.
  • Korean Community: Need to clarify the relationship between UCOC and the friendly space policy.
  • Functionaries Meeting: every UCoC provision has a theoretical enwiki reporting/adjudication path, and the existence of the UCoC might better spur functional enforcement.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Many complaints are just not being processed in any way - acted upon, rejected, or getting any feedback. Most of these probably do not need to be acted upon, but the few which do may result in really problematic actions such as editors leaving because they feel they are being intimidated and nobody cares.
  • Wikimedia Italia: Wikimedia Italia has welcomed the UCoC because it feels that wiki communities should apply the principles of equity and respect not only when writing articles but also in any performed act. They think that the introduction of recommendations is an appropriate means to drive the community worldwide to enforce UCoC.
  • More support for the idea of simplifying and clarifying the language used in EDG .. “Speak Human”. For example, Arabic community mentioned that the code has vague terminology that can be understood differently from one community to another, which can be used by some to attack.
  • WikiCon German community: Questions: how should UCoC and guidelines deal with local rules (if they exist), Do we have to take care of it? At what point should the UCoC take effect? What if there is no checkuser/arbitration in a community?

On this, a comment is added to the English Meta Discussion Page that links to the UCOC shouldn't be present if local behaviour policies exceed the minimum standards. And UCoC wouldn't need to be widely referenced on a project that already upheld the minimum requirements

  • Spanish Meta Discussion Page: What about the repercussions of WMF being a foundation that is beholden to American law when it comes to enforcing and implementing the UCOC?
  • EDGR Meta Discussion Page: In many Wikis there is a good working system in place. So it would be helpful to only apply the enforcement in the absence of such a system or if a major problem is identified.


Code Enforcement Definition

  • Wikimedia Italia: Wikimedia Italia deems that the proposed guidelines leaves a too much large degree of freedom to local communities about how to organize themselves (to a certain extent we can say that these guidelines do not guide): this may jeopardize the entire mission to enforce UCoC due to the possible uneven approach among different communities. The guidelines should rather set a clear and unambiguous hierarchical model that defines where possible violations are judged: with a simple way to understand which is the next higher level to appeal to against decisions taken at any given level.
  • Polish Wikipedia: Need to make sure no project will only have one conduct officer. The same way that there always have to be at least 2 Checkusers, this rule should also apply to people in this role.
  • Norwegian Community: some disagreement: 1) the underlying concept of the UCoC and the structure of the EDGR being an “anglocentric” concept, 2) It is not a given that a small wiki and a small language community like ours have the same needs as they might have in the anglicized wiki world 3) The overwhelming workload for midsize and small projects, 4) The bureaucratic process, 5) Well working local policies being destroyed by the EDGR draft.
  • Wikimedia Indonesia: Recommendation: enforcement of UCoC should be focused on registered users rather than readers, whenever possible.
  • Wikimedia Indonesia: Inquiry: would UCoC be binding to organizations receiving WMF grants (e.g. Equity Fund)?
  • Wikimedia Indonesia: Who and how would monitoring of the local implementation be? E.g. will it be the responsibility of U4C? Affcom for affiliates?
  • Wikimedia Indonesia: how the centralized enforcement structure would work?
  • Wikimedia Switzerland: Need more clarification on how the whole procedure rolls up to Wikimedia Foundation, as there should be a legal entity that enforces the committee or the other instances to be created.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland: Independency will be critical in order to enforce things; we should be very clear on how we will ensure independence of committee or Council members.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland: Compliance and enforcement of the code should allow for the flexibility of local rules and laws that prevail in any case.
  • Staff Meeting: For places to list/display UCoC - event registration pages are important (letting people know before they sign up).
    Linking the UCoC on pages: Are wikimedia tech spaces included?
    because then... phabricator, etc. Some tech spaces are just part of larger platforms
  • Arabic Community: Community cannot handle complaints not related to editing or articles; such complaints need to be reported to the foundation. The community is not qualified enough to solve conflicts among wikimedians, especially what happens outside wikipedia. Types of conflicts require special knowledge and skills that most volunteers lack, specially to handle harassment and privacy breaching cases.
  • Staff Meeting: Enforcement action under the UCoC can't violate local employment labour requirements - e.g. constructive dismissal rules in the U.K., or e.g. a staff member losing access to an account required for their job
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: in the “Code Enforcement Definition”, they suggest replacing “permanent committee” with “U4C”.
  • Spanish Meta Discussion Page: Does WMF have "functions" in enforcing the UCOC, or if, on the contrary, it is a sort of "legatee" that puts its resources in favor of UCOC compliance. In this second case, U4C is "in charge", and in any case the legal/ community/ whomever department of the WMF would have an executive function. The second scenario is preferred; U4C has the mandate to enforce UCoC and the particular WMF department that merely follows this mandate.

Code Enforcement Officer Definition

  • Wikimedia Italia: For on-line, the “power users” (admins, steward…), who are designated by definition to respect the UCoC, should be the officers who enforce the UCoC (any violation done by a power user should immediately lead to power revocation). While off-line, the officers should be the board (or equivalent leading group) of the affiliates (chapter, user group, whatever else recognized by WMF). They can delegate the role to committees or individuals for any event organized with affiliate sponsorship. Any affiliate should ban offenders from leading positions both within the affiliate and in sponsored events. WMF should revoke the affiliate status if the ban is not applied by the affiliate.
  • Staff Meeting: Questions:
    • What happens when a CEO has a case brought against them?
    • Should CEOs be able to act unilaterally, or should there be a second sign-off/quorum etc.? Single-actor would put a lot of weight on the person.
    • potential where a CEO is actively allowing bad behaviour, so a second voice would be good
    • How should a CEO be selected, elected?
    • Transparency - how to protect CEO from retribution for their actions - e.g. currently, a bad actor knows which account has blocked them.
    • Can CEOs only apply sanctions relative to where the offense happens? E.g. could they block a wikipedia account solely based on harassment at an event?
    • Could a CEO apply a global sanction based on a localized problem if it is severe enough?
    • Are there small events or forums where having a CEO would not be necessary?
    • How much autonomy would a Code Enforcement Officer have in their work?
    • Arabic Community: CEO should be from the local community, but they need to be specialized or qualified in conflict resolution; although the definition of “Specialized” or “Qualified” varies; for example, a person can be considered qualified to someone but not to others.
  • Staff Meeting: People that receive these reports and/or handle them regularly may suffer secondary traumatic stress, and some thought needs to be given to that. a simple "take care of yourself" instruction is not going to suffice.

There needs to be a level of oversight over CEOs - warnings or blocks given to staff without a clear disciplinary process. Absent that training structures/process, authority could be abused.

  • CH Affiliate - by email:
    • commenting on this paragraph: A code of conduct officer is a volunteer or staff member …., they think it would be better to be full-time staff members.
    • At the end of the first paragraph in the “Code Enforcement Committee Definition section, they suggest adding: “A member of the legal department of the Wikimedia Foundation will be a member of the U4C Compliance Committee (“U4C Committee”).
    • They are suggesting to add a statement to the third paragraph in the “Code Enforcement Committee Definition section, to read: “When a case involves a request for information from law enforcement or potential legal action either against the Wikimedia Foundation or a user, the "U4C Committee" will involve the Legal Department of the Wikimedia Foundation and may request support and education materials from the Wikimedia Foundation to assist the relevant community volunteers or legal parties about the relevant UCoC section.”

Preventive work (articles 1 and 2 UCOC)

  • English Meta Discussion Page: preventive work should also encourage behavioral changes, and not just focus on observing the letter of the rules without reference to the spirit

Recommendations of UCoC Translation for voluntary adherence

  • English Meta Discussion Page: 'voluntary adherence' appears to be a contradictory term.
  • Russian WikiVoyage: In general, the text is extremely anglocentric. That is, it uses a large number of concepts and idioms that are characteristic not only of the ‘ٍ English. It is difficult to translate.

Recommendations of UCoC Consent amongst Community and Foundation Staff

  • Polish Wikipedia: How can you enforce adding additional responsibilities for volunteers? Those who do not conform will have their permissions revoked?
  • Polish Wikipedia: What are the pros for users signing such a document (the rule should be deleted as this creates an uneven difference between normal users and admins? How do you expect people to sign anything? The same way that OTRS members sign their NDAs? Most administrators wish to remain anonymous. How can this be satisfied with the requirement of signing anything? For people who do not commit to the EDGR in writing, does it mean they don’t need to comply with it? People who will not sign them could argue that they never agreed to "go by the rules" and wiki users value their privacy and the fact that they do not have to sign anything and provide their identity to anyone; several prominent people may resign for this.
  • Ukrainian WikiConference: Question: There is a clause in EDGR where it's written that admins and other functionaries with extended rights will have to declare their respect and commitment to UCoC. Does this apply to all admins of all language wikis? In what form should the functionaries declare that they are committed to the UCoC and will comply with it. If it's in writing and if some don't want to disclose their identity, will their rights be taken away from them?
  • Polish Wikipedia: There needs to be a process set-up for the current functionaires. The people who got their permissions a long time ago must be given several months to decide whether they want to commit to the guidelines (maybe some of them wouldn’t like the new responsibilities).
  • Polish Wikipedia: What would happen if one user has signed the provision saying that he will adhere to the EDGR, but doesn’t act when she/he sees the violation? They are volunteers and nobody could ask them to act if they don’t have time for this. What action would be taken against this officer for disaction?
  • Wikimedia Indonesia: The consent statement needs to be clarified, to be simple and concise, using the opt-in mechanism. Registered users must be familiar with the UCoC text and are required to sign their consent. Possible mechanism: sending MassMessages containing consent statements.
  • Wikimedia Poland: Not feasible to require formal UCoC commitment from GLAM and educational partners: It is a very bad idea to require any 3rd party partners – especially in the GLAM and education space – to formally agree, i.e. sign the UCoC. These institutional environments are highly structured and reaching any form of formal agreement often takes a lot of time and effort, including going through legal review on the side of the partner. This happens when we initiate very simple and de facto non-binding, mostly symbolic partnership agreements. We expect the process to be much more difficult if a non-Wikimedia staff lawyer at a school or cultural institution reads the rules set out in the UCoC. Our fear is that adding UCoC signing as a formal step in establishing a new partnership will greatly slow down any efforts in GLAM and education, and possibly even make some partnerships impossible.
Recommendations based on this observation: do not require non-affiliate, 3rd party partners to agree to UCoC as a separate step in all cases, instead rely on Terms of Use and a UCoC compliance.

Recommendations of UCoC Training/Education amongst Community

  • English Meta Discussion Page:
    • A comment expressing concern about the training requirements for basic knowledge
    • A comment that the training recommendations may unduly strain community capacities
    • A comment that the support (#4) should be earlier in the training / skills ordering
  • Staff Meeting: Have some people trained specifically on sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination - everyone should have some training on these issues, but a small group should be trained to a higher level.
  • Australia Meeting: Regional hubs model (ESEAP, in the context of WMAU) could be given responsibility to conduct UCoC training and capacity development workshops, in the spirit of shared capacity building.
  • Wikimedia Indonesia: UCoC training is recommended to be made compulsory for WMF/Affiliates staff and WMF grant recipients. The training must be supported by the WMF, as most Affiliates don’t have the capacity to do it locally. Staff that have been trained in UCoC response and enforcement would be able to better deal with UCoC-related violations and issues, and/or while working with the community members.
  • South Asia conversation hour: Extensive training and skill development opportunities should be ArbCom members to effectively deal with harassment and violations.
  • South Asia conversation hour: Consensus-building and empathetic communication should be part of the training module
  • Staff Meeting: Scope of training is challenging - mentors and train-the-trainers programs may be necessary
  • Staff Meeting:
    • Question: EDGR says orgs "should develop training. Can we make that more of a commitment?
    • Most communicates agreed on the need for training, different training for all levels of participants. Communities are encouraged to design their own training, but they will need support and assistance from the Foundation, especially inexperienced communities.
    • Smaller orgs haven't had much ability to do training on conduct issues. People need to be prepared for dealing with conflict
    • Easier to use paid people to develop training hand-in-hand with the community - if everyone develops their own training, lots of duplicated work.
    • Who will be responsible for developing and conducting the training? (for each part?)
  • Other:
    • Need to build an education material around UCoC and EDG. Conduct sessions during conferences to educate the Wikimedia community members, e.g. Wikimania
    • Beside training, communities need financial support in the field of community health.

Responsive work (article 3 UCOC)

Principles for processing and filing of reported cases

  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: for the item: “Obviously unjustified reports (such as, but not limited to: bad faith reporting) in which there is a lack of need for investigation should be discarded (keeping the case ID valid)”, suggestion to add “after a retention of five years” right before the brackets.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: For the item: “Cases should be forwarded or escalated where appropriate”, suggestion to append this statement: “including use of the WhistleBlower Procedures”.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: Need to explain what “Legitimate Sanctions” are. Sanctions can include suspension or termination of certain rights, termination of employment or financial indemnities, payment of legal fees and expenses, etc.
  • English Meta Discussion Page: A concern that a 3rd party reporting without the obtaining consent of the target of harassment could be unwelcome.
  • English Meta Discussion Page: A concern that the principles do not outline due process or address the right of reply for the accused

Providing resources for processing cases

Support of Arbcoms

  • Russian Wikivoyage: the creation of an Arbitration Committee for different compositions is good and specifically suggested creating a single ArbCom for the Wikivoyage.
  • Polish sister projects: Support the idea of cross-wiki arbcoms.
  • Turkic Languages UG: Supports creating Arbitration Committees at the local level according to two principles: language (to serve the entire language community) and project-based (e.g. arbcom for wikivoyage). The first type is ideal but does not help people from different projects to interact with each other, and doesn’t fit small language communities. For the 2nd model, communities of specific projects differ greatly, including in terms of linguistic, cultural and mentally principles.
  • South Asia conversation hour: South Asia communities also support one Arbcom for the entire region rather than language-specific ones, specially that smaller communities don’t have the capacity to form arbcoms. Turkic Language UG also suggests creating a single Arbitration Committee for sister language communities and projects, e.g. one ArbCom for Turkic communities; for this model, less resources needed, more understanding and interconnection.
  • Functionaries Meeting: communities that don’t currently have an ARBCOM (or equivalent), should either create one (local or shared with other projects), or, if unviable, should utilise the U4C, to ensure everyone has a top-tier private reporting method of some sort.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Any community making a new ARBCOM could do this in reverse - the U4C could confirm the project has a reliable methodology.
  • Conversation Hour - Oct 15: transitions to arbcoms - it will be language based instead of project based (especially for smaller languages)
  • Arabic Community: agree with the idea of an elected arbitration committee that can make binding decisions and which works with the U4C as a “constitutional court”, to ensure the decisions conform with the CoC and that the procedures are sound.

Objections to Arbcoms

  • Functionaries Meeting: Some smaller communities have another approach, not focusing on repression of harmful conduct but on the promotion of productive conduct. Forcing Arbcoms and procedures upon them is counterproductive.
  • Norwegian Community: disagreeing with a proposal to establish a regional arbitration committee. They may ignore the EDGR recommendations, or wait a while (years) before deciding on the proposal of establishing an arbcom with other regional communities proposed by Sweden. This is a monitoring period to evaluate how often they receive complaints that require a global level. Meanwhile, they can rely on the global committee.
    (PS: The proposal to establish a Trans-Scandinavian arbitration committee may take up to a year before it becomes necessary to take a position, or at least until EDGR becomes a fact.)
  • Polish Wikipedia: EDGR must show the possible punishments, e.g. Block, Ban, event ban, global ban etc. Additionally, the EDGR must stand with all this “blockade is for protection, no punishment” nonsense. Toxic users need to be punished/blocked even if they give “valuable contributions, which admins don’t usually do. Support for this idea from the WikiCon Germany, as they mentioned UCoC does not specify details about what will be sanctioned or how long banning could be and meaning Leeway for local communities remains. Also South Asia communities focused on the need to mention the consequences of violation of UCoC.
  • supported by WMF staff: potential sanctions should be clearly laid out. E.g. for employees around the world, lots of difficult requirements for official workplace actions)
  • English Meta Discussion Page: Multiple users suggested removing the word "punishments", as such is not appropriate in a volunteer context.
  • English Meta Discussion Page: users who express understanding and agreement to improve their behaviour should be given an opportunity to request the lifting of sanctions, but this is different than an appeal on the grounds of an error in policy application.
  • Functionaries Meeting: lots of processes being stood up that wont find the staffing, as too many undesirable tasks are asked, a top-down reporting system may simply create too many reports and will overwhelm the system
  • Functionaries Meeting: Mid and smaller-size projects have done well without arbcoms. Just monitor by anonymous survey that contributors on those projects feel the conduct is OK. The community can act itself when things take a turn for the worse. They have the opportunity to solve the problem themselves and if they fail to do so, there is hard evidence for systemic failure.
  • Arabic community: Need to find a solution to frivolous complaints. The current policy is full of issues. For example, the target of a complaint is not given the true reason for the complaint or the name of the complainant in many cases. The investigation is secret, thus reducing its credibility. The committee looking into complaints is also not always aware of cultural norms that could affect the outcome of the investigation. Additionally, some people are experts at using keywords in their complaints that attract the interest of the committee. The main issue with this is that this can be a way to push active volunteers away from volunteering either through outright bans or by losing the motivation in an unhealthy environment.
Some participants use the T&S team to attack anyone who does not agree with them, and send all sorts of accusations, especially in areas that are bound to attract solidarity, i.e. they know which buttons to push. The idea of the T&S team is a good one and it has good intentions, but some ill-intentioned people abuse it, and the Foundation should be more careful about those.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Concern: It is dangerous to usurp authority from arbcoms as it will nullify the authority of that body.
  • Functionaries Special Comment - by email: As it stands now, it looks like the U4C will have the ability to overrule ArbComs in at least some cases – for example, if the U4C determines that we or enwiki are systemically failing to follow the UCoC. Yet, the Committee hasn't ruled out allowing appeals to the U4C in all cases. This would be a pretty bad outcome – it'd rather undermine our authority if people get the sense they can ignore us and complain to the other parent. Preferred solution is that the U4C should only intervene on wikis with established ArbComs only in cases where 2/3 of U4C agrees that the ArbCom systemically fails to enforce the UCOC, and with a norm that that vote only happens upon the recommendation of WMF T&S.

Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups

  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: for the statement “This section will detail a non-exhaustive list of the different types of violations (noted in bold), along with the enforcement mechanism pertaining to it.”, a suggestion to add “and sanctions” right after the word “enforcement”.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: Under “Violations involving threats of any sort of physical violence”, a suggestion to add “with involvement of Wikimedia Foundation Legal Team” to the end of “Handled by Trust and Safety”.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: for the title “Violations involving litigation or legal threat”, a suggestion to add “dispute” before “litigation”.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: Under the title “Violations involving litigation or legal threats”, a suggestion to modify this sentence “Cases should be promptly sent to the Wikimedia Foundation Legal team, or, when appropriate, other professionals who can appropriately evaluate the merit of the threats” to “Cases should be promptly sent to the Wikimedia Foundation Legal team. As appropriate, other professionals who can appropriately evaluate the merit of the threats should be involved by the Legal Team”
  • Staff meeting: Social media space are really tough to figure out how enforcement should work
  • Wikimedia Italia: In general, the approach for on-line and off-line cases should be better differentiated.
  • Indonesian Wikipedia: Off-wiki cases should not be within remit of the WMF bodies, and preferred for serious cases to be deferred to the local law enforcement authorities.
  • South Asia conversation hour: Violation in off-wiki/in-person spaces should be emphasized more in draft guidelines, because the response time needs to be very short during such cases. The guidelines should lay out how to effectively deal with violations with the required response time being short.
  • Indonesian Wikipedia + Wikimedia Indonesia Staff (in different meetings): Community should handle cases and disputes in-house.
  • Korean Community: enforcement of UCoC on chatting channels (e.g. KakaoTalk and discord) is not clear. A related concern was expressed in the English Meta Discussion Page, that enforcing the UCOC on platforms outside the Foundation's jurisdiction (e.g. Facebook) may not be possible or effective and could increase rather than decrease harassment
  • Functionaries Meeting: In en-wiki, there is currently a robust private handling route for off-wiki evidence cases, in the form of ArbCom. There is (deliberately) no set-up to enable what could be a majority of cases handled privately, as most conduct cases are assessed by the Community as a whole, and could not safely be done by, say, 3 admins in private.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Regarding Public and Private reporting: Allow private pathways, but in the end, the result should be public and so should the decision. The accused should always be able to understand the behaviour that led to the enforcement. Reports that will stay private won’t allow certain outcomes, such as sanctions [details need to be worked out]. Things are different for on-wiki and cases involving affiliates, which are usually involving real names and in-person, during activities, etc., so these situations are usually handled more privately/sensitively. The person (reporting user) should be asked if it's okay to be disclosed publicly, and to the accused. Maximum reporter safety is a laudable goal, however rules of fairness means that the accused should be able to see the charge against them and be able to challenge the evidence.
  • WikiCon German: Local vandalism report pages are more transparent than reporting to WMF via UCoC.
  • Wikimedia Poland: Off-wiki violations need wise limits: The phrasing of this part in its current form is, in our opinion, very broad and subject to abuse. Wikipedians are social creatures, and by virtue of the mass nature of our movement will, on occasion, interact with each other off-wiki in contexts that have little to nothing to do with the Wikimedia movement. The rules need to take that into account and specify that these rules will be applied in activity and conflicts related to Wikimedia activities of participating wikimedians. However, at the same time, we need to ensure that rules can be applied in cases of harassment which, while not on its face related to Wikimedia activities, is a form of retaliation or attack intended to impact actions and activity on Wikimedia projects.
In other words, the rules need to, simultaneously:
  • leave two wikimedians alone if they get into a non-Wikimedia related but very ugly political fight on Twitter, because they happen to be activists or politicians outside of the movement, AND
  • intervene if a wikimedian cyberstalks another wikimedian and starts an ugly political fight in order to impact their willingness to continue engaging in Wikimedia projects.
Functionaries Special Comment by email: The draft guidelines propose to mandate that every project allow users to submit cases privately. The guidelines allow every kind of UCoC case, from "this person is vandalizing" to "this person is harassing", to be heard through a private reporting system – the draft text does not limit the eligible cases to ones that involve private information. In order to maintain trust in the system, private adjudication should only occur in the cases that most require it, and with as many safeguards as possible; it shouldn't be an automatic entitlement in most cases.

Recommendations for the reporting and processing tool

  • Staff Meeting: Compelling reporting can create an unsafe feeling/environment - forced actions can create the wrong environment for marginalized groups.
  • Staff Meeting: Concerned about the problem of people not reporting issues, out of fatigue or other reasons.
  • West Africa Community: First, there should be effective awareness efforts to ensure that users know that they can actually report any harassment problems that they face while volunteering or working within the movement.
  • Australia Meeting 10-13: No confidence in the enwiki arbitration committee to handle sexual harassment issues; there is a need for a private/confidential reporting tool to be the standard procedure for sexual harassment and other serious cases of harassment.
Same idea is supported by (Wikimedia Indonesia and West African Communities), where a system of private reporting of violations is preferable, or at least a hybrid system where both transparency and protection of privacy needs are fulfilled.
Fears of retaliation remain the biggest drawback for reporting violations. One possible recommendation is to strengthen the urge of registering new accounts under pseudonyms, which would make it easier for the reporting system to accommodate private reports without having to identify or cross-link certain accounts into certain individuals in real-life.
  • Indonesian Wikipedia: 1) Use emails for reporting and a privatized reporting system in general. 2) Need a dispute resolution body with a good tracking system. 3) WMFs power should be reserved to intervene in the most special cases with immediate impact or clear and present danger.
  • Polish Wikipedia: Any reporting mechanism will surely be used for trolling, but we need an expressis verbis rule that we assume good faith of a person reporting any behaviour. Every report deserves to be read and none of them should be simply deleted/rejected. I would like to see some “ban” on studying the motivation of a person that is filing a report. That way we can guarantee that even disliked contributors have a right to a fair hearing.
  • Wikimedia Indonesia: suggestion: Separate the reporting of cases based on its severity: sexual harassment or misappropriation of funds, for example, should be accommodated in a private reporting system; public reporting should be reserved for low-level cases such as vandalism and edit wars.
  • West African Communities: Methods and pathways for reporting incidents should be very straightforward, and better designed than the current state of things on the English Wikipedia for instance. This would allow accessibility to newbies especially.
Reporting platforms should be centralized to prevent fragmentation of the process and/or confusing and overloading volunteers with too many links.
  • Functionaries Meeting: a tool that lets simply paste the urls to all the violations.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Mandating certain kinds of reporting processes could place a large staffing burden on hard roles to fill. Wikimedia is a volunteer movement. Our best qualified and competent volunteers will not choose to handle difficult cases in difficult-to-use structures.
  • Functionaries Meeting: All projects should have an internal process for handling complaints about enforcement, except where their enforcement is generally not handled locally. Projects with established conduct processes, could have **systematic** failure complaints reviewed by the U4C, but not individual complaints. Medium projects could have an intermediate system.
  • Arabic community: for processing reports, investigation needs to be done by people from the region of the defendant, or neutral people, or elected members. More importantly is that there are region-specific rules agreed upon by groups in that region.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by Email: for the 1st sentence under this section a suggestion that “copy of such cases or reports to the legal department at least monthly.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by Email: for this paragraph “Reports should include enough information to be actionable or provide a useful record of the case at hand.”, a suggestion to add “If more details are needed, the legal department will contact the reporter”.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by Email: suggestion to expand this paragraph “The tool should operate under the principles of ease-of-use, privacy and anonymity, flexibility in processing, and transparent documentation:” to “The tool should operate under the principles of ease-of-use, privacy, confidentiality and anonymity, flexibility in processing, attorney-client communications (material prepared in anticipation of litigation) and transparent documentation:”

Recommendations for local enforcement structures

Please read about the experience of the Wikimedia Netherland of renewing their local procedures by adapting the UCoC and about their next step to form enforcement guidelines, in the meta talk page of EDGR.

  • Reporting and processing incidents should ideally always start at the local project/community level before graduating into higher levels, based on the need. An ideal local committee should have representatives from affiliate groups and administrators; who should then pass their recommendations on cases to a global committee (like the U4C) or Wikimedia Foundation.
  • Supportive thought from the Arabic community: The defendant should understand that the process is lengthy and time consuming, especially since volunteers are looking into it. Second, approach the local community’s body responsible for complaints and enforcing a code of conduct. Next, escalate to a higher authority by communicating with or consulting with people concerned with the code of conduct, such as Mervat or someone from that team.
Supportive thought from WikiCon German community: All projects are treated the same: conflicts should be solved locally if possible, but it is not generally specified what falls under it.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by Email: suggestion to expand this paragraph: “Where possible we encourage existing enforcement structures to take up the responsibility of receiving and dealing with UCoC violations, in accordance with the guidelines stated above….” to read “Where possible we encourage existing Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedia local country enforcement structures to take up the responsibility of receiving and dealing with UCoC violations, in accordance with the guidelines stated above….”
Question on the same statement: what’s meant by “existing enforcement structures? Local courts?
  • West Africa Communities/East & South Africa Communities: A three-level committee setup is suggested, to ensure a fair and quality process. Reporting and processing incidents should ideally always start at the local project/community level before graduating into higher levels, based on the need.
  • East & South Africa Communities: Some prefer a committee for each language project to process complaints while others suggest a regional committee (something similar to the new grants regional committees) will be much more realistic, because small communities won’t be able to afford local committees, as same contributors will be responsible for editing and processing complaints, which may lead to biased decisions.
  • East & South Africa Communities: Provide an option for people to decide which committee they want to process or submit their complaints to; whether the global U4C committee or a local level U4C committee.
  • Korean Community: Need a system with “admin peer-evaluation”, no decisions made or taken by a single individual, and methods to fairly apply the enforcement mechanism to administrators and others who enforce UCoC.
  • Wikimedia Italia: Practical Example: Wikimedia Italia adopted a “3 yellow cards” policy and set an Ombudspersons Committee. When a minor violation occurs, the Board formalizes the yellow card with a written letter to the offender also informing the Ombudspersons Committee. The yellow card causes some consequences on the offender for a period of 3 months (e.g. no access to grants). After 3 yellow cards, or for a severe violation, the Board can expel the offender. The offender can appeal against Board decisions with a request to the Ombudspersons Committee that decides “ex aequo et bono” in a definitive way.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: under the “Transparency of Process” sub-section, question on why should off-wiki project spaces have different guidelines, or principles from U4C?

Recommendations for how to process appeals

  • South Asia Conversation/East & South African Communities: There should be a multi-level approach to appeals, it should be first at the regional level and then special cases can be forwarded to the global committee.
  • Turkic Languages UG: it's necessary to create an instance where you can appeal the decisions of both local Arbitration Committees and the "U4C" committee.
  • West Africa Communities: Appeals should not be handled by the same committee that is handling initial reports and escalations. A separation of roles and power should exist, to check excesses quickly when they happen. If at all appeals would be handled by the same committee, the case should be processed by a different team (or group of people) within the committee.
  • Korean Community: The appeal process should be processed in the High level of body (U4C).
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: for the item: “Appeals should be possible, and handled by a body different from the one that issued the appealed decision”; a suggestion to indicate a mechanism like an arbitration or mediation procedure.
  • Korean Community: For an appeal case to be accepted, the complainant needs to provide clear evidence. The Appeal process should be carried out only on the parts that are not clearly violated by evidence.
  • If appeal is claimed even though the matter has been objectively confirmed, it should be dismissed.
  • Functionaries Meeting: U4C overriding projects with established conduct & ArbComs should only happen in a systemic-failure review case (or a local community chooses to devolve authority). Therefore, they shouldn't hear cases/appeals from a local project, except as part of any systematic review.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Actions of well-functioning arbitration committees shouldn't be overruled by an appeal without a 2/3 vote and a recommendation from the Foundation that there has been a systemic failure.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Any case should have a stated appeal route: individual admin blocks get heard by other admins, community cases get heard by the community (but usually different groups), ARBCOM hears its own appeals
  • Wikimedia Netherlands: appeals of suspensions should be handled through the General Members Meeting, which is a statutory provision. Only then, the U4C Committee would handle a consequent escalation. We recommend appeals should then be allowed once for a single specific case.
  • Arabic Community: What recourse does the target of a complaint have to appeal or escalate? For example if a frivolous complaint is raised that was not looked into. Also, before investigating an issue, there should be an attempt to minimize the number of complaints, and to find a way to prevent two people with personal conflict from complaining about one another.
  • Functionaries Special Comment by Email: The draft guidelines propose to require that every enforcement decision be appealable to some body "that was not involved in the initial process of enforcement". It’s not clear if this includes ArbCom (we'd have to allow appeals to some non-ArbCom body?) but the text doesn't seem to distinguish. The guidelines should not require that decisions by ArbCom or an equivalent highest elected community body be further appealable to another adjudicator.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: Commenting of “third-party” in this statement “Appeals should be handled by a third-party that was not involved in the initial process of enforcement, and determination of that third-party should be based on the following factors:”, a suggestion that a formal appeal process would need to be included, whether mediation or arbitration, senior level escalation; it’s not appropriate to refer to a “third party”. Also, suggestion to add “appeal procedure” in this same sentence, to be “and determination of that third-party appeal procedure should be based on the following factors”
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: Concern about why appeals are only being allowed based on severity… even the decision about severity can be challenged- if we really want to be introducing an appeal mechanism. Suggestion to introduce two -levels of appeal procedures; type 1 serious xxx procedure, or type 2 all other plus a different quick appeal so as not to take the same time and resources since deemed to be less serious.
  • English Meta Discussion Page: the principle of subsidiarity suggests handling issues where they occur, so always allowing a series of appeals to be exhausted from local up to global is undesirable. If the outcome [of a decision] at AN/I is a procedural error, or because there is an issue with the interpretation of the relevant policy, then [the party] should be able to ask for a review of the decision at Arbcom.


The Board of Trustees has been thinking about the topic, and participants and communities have been asking about a way to ratify the draft guidelines. The T&S Policy has been exploring the idea with the Community Affairs Subcommittee and has been asked to look into the community ratification process.

  • Functionaries Meeting: Assumption added to meta with 3 votes: There should be separate ratification votes for both phase 1 (the text) and phase 2 (enforcement) of the UCOC.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Answering if having the ratification is important, Yes, since the Moment Strategy subsidiary principle says the projects should govern themselves locally, so that the board ratified the first portion seemed not to reflect that recommendation.
  • Some larger communities would likely decline to approve the thing, since they were not asked in the first place about the policy text. Better explain the rationale behind the UCOC to skeptical users.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Implementation suggestion:
Pre-ratification approach: for the document to be sent back to committee based on the concerns. This would help to quantify the concerns, and give the drafting committee better direction. A stepwise approach would also help to ask the questions to the different-sized group.
Since the guidelines have to integrate with the larger communities, those communities are finding it more complicated and will take longer to adopt the UCoC. Also have to figure out how the local and global groups will work together. The local groups should be consulted to see if they can work with those guidelines, and then later on the community can be asked if they find it acceptable. Meanwhile, the smaller communities are being "more impacted" by the imposition of a larger ruleset.
Voting Process: Voting should come with an optional explanation box for (both) questions - "why did you vote yes/no? If not, what would it take to change your mind?"
Have 4 voting groups: editors, local projects, affiliates, Board of Trustees. Voting editors would have a home-wiki (could be self-selected from any project they meet minimum voting requirements), and that would allow a "project vote" count to be identified. This is designed to prevent small and large wikis from being able to be unfair towards the other and handle the concerns of each.
Concerns: Will it be voting without allowing commenting or moderating? Should it be a secret voting?
  • One important factor will be doing the ratification in many languages
  • How to ensure the vote is reliable and safe? (e.g. SecurePoll)
  • What question should be asked?
  • Separate votes (at same time) on "phase 1 - text" and "phase 2 - enforcement"??? Any amendment RfC could take place before, but an ultimate yes/no vote is necessary.
  • How can we determine what the concern was for those who are rejecting the draft, so the drafting committee can make more acceptable guidelines?
  • Arabic community: The enforcement guidelines must not be ratified unless communities approve it. Each community and affiliates individually can be asked to provide a clear statement if they agree with the UCoC or not with comments about their concerns of specific terms. Discussions around that can be opened in village pumps Discussions and voting around that can be opened in village pumps and/or meta pages, but all communities and affiliates have to vote.
  • English Meta Discussion Page: A comment that discussing enforcement prior to the formal acceptance of the policy text by the community seems premature, and that the policy text may become subject to frivolous or abusive reports

Open questions for the Community

Escalation: Where do the complaints go, what instance/body/judge is supposed to process them?

  • South Asia Conversation: We need to have a first response committee that decides where a certain complaint should go, either U4C, AffCom, T&S or something else. It acts as a sorting and filtering space. Some reports might also be hoaxes, having a first response committee will avoid the time of U4C or other committees from being wasted.
  • West Africa Communities: A process should be in place to ensure that not every case eventually ends up at the higher-level (U4C) committee, as this would defeat the entire purpose of having an escalation/appeal system and would only lead to unnecessary duplicity of work. However, a three-level committee setup is suggested, to ensure a fair and quality process.
  • Ukrainian WikiConference: Question: Where will T&S be in this new structure with all these new committees?
  • Functionaries Meeting: central clearing-house, with a mix of automated and local experienced editors who could tell the complainant "this is X, go to Y", perhaps with some auto-filling for basic issues.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Basic issues (vandalism, etc.) handled by a lone admin. More significant issues are handled by the Community. Small areas handled by a group of admins (AE) or ArbCom.
  • Functionaries Meeting: The workflow should differ greatly between (a) large projects with ArbCom (b) large projects without ArbCom such as Commons or the Arabic Wikipedia (c) medium- and small-size projects with active community; (d) dead projects (no active community); (e) failed projects with the community.
  • Wikimedia Italia: For both on-line and off-line the next level should be either the Wikimedia Foundation or, where communities agree upon, an intermediate level with delegated officers from the different communities (e.g. an intermediate level for all projects in Scandinavian languages).
  • Arabic Community: Create an executive committee (with elected and appointed members), and a third higher committee for appeals.
  • Arabic Community: Currently, there is no escalation beyond the Trust and Safety team (no higher authority), and that the team does not give out any information, making it highly mistrusted.
  • English Meta Discussion Page: Escalation may be necessary when an incident changes in gravity or urgency where not responding adequately will result in harmful impacts on community members; noting that clear criteria for escalation is needed due to the voluntary nature of work on the project; in conclusion: consider impact, define what needs to happen, by when, and set expectations of who will act.

Regulations for appeal (after the previous question "Where do the complaints go" has been answered)

  • Indonesian Wikipedia: the ability to appeal be granted to users that felt that their first sanction is unfair or excessive; for the appellate body to allow a statement of promising not to repeat such violation again as consideration before granting an appeal to an user; and for the appellate body to at least allow three opportunity to appeal a case only if there are different evidences.
  • Functionaries Meeting: Risk of local mistrust with the multiplication of appeals to the U4C, the appeal to the local instances becoming a step to be able to make an appeal meta and/or to the foundation.

Should the U4C committee also decide individual cases or process appeals?

  • English Meta Discussion Page: the U4C committee should not handle its own appeals. And that U4C committee should not hear appeals where local policies override the UCOC

Who should handle the appeals process?

  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: Would we need to create an Appeal Board?

How often should someone be allowed to appeal a UCoC violation decision?

  • English Meta Discussion Page: Users should be allowed to appeal as many times as is valid (if frivolous or abusive appeals are filed, they can be restricted from appeals)

To what extent should individual Wikimedia projects be allowed to decide how they enforce the UCoC?

(PS: maybe these comments are not answers to this question)

  • West African Communities: Setting up committees or coordinators at the local project level is ideal, to serve as the first point of call during harassment problems. This would only apply to project specific violations, and cross-wiki violations may have to go directly to the higher level global committee (U4C perhaps).
  • West African Communities: Local admins may be allowed to enforce UCoC policies, before escalation to any other committee(s).
  • West African Communities: UCoC rules for individual projects should also be localized as much as possible, to allow easy handling of violations, as well as, quick and easy resolution at local committee levels.
  • East & South African Communities: individual projects should be allowed to decide how they enforce the UCoC based on their local policies although there will be a problem for projects which do not have local policies.
This idea is supported by three participants through the English Meta Discussion Page, where they stated the local communities should be afforded full latitude for application; since local users tasked to carry out enforcement are usually only willing to implement consensus-based measures. However, UCoC could be applicable if a community failed to act on a violation
  • East & South African Communities: Some autonomy should be given to the individual projects to come up with their own policies but these policies should be built on the baseline, the UCoC.
  • Arabic Community: it wouldn't be "universal" if it's not universally enforced. However it’s impossible to enforce it equally.. but that should be the ultimate goal, but UCoC should be the baseline. If a Wikimedia project wants to add to it, they can
  • Korean Community: For small-sized wikis, usually things are handled by specific individual(s) with high power. These wikies need to be processed at a higher level rather than within the local community for fairness.
  • Functionaries Meeting: If there is a well-established community, does the UCoC even need to apply there? The more self-governance, the better, that should be a fall-back option.
  • Poland Chapter: Note on independent governance of affiliates & their membership decisions: Recommendations:
    • ask AffComm to conduct a global affiliate audit/survey of the legal possibilities to remove members based on UCoC violations AND the existence of internal codes of conduct or other rules,
    • provide legal and communication support to affiliates wishing to amend their governing documents,
    • wherever possible, respect the independence of affiliates as separate organizations with their own internal rules,
    • establish processes to communicate UCoC-related sanctions to affiliates in order to trigger relevant internal processes.

Please read the entire observations that led to these recommendations, here.

How will people be chosen for the U4C committee?

  • Answers from South Asia Conversation:
    • There should be guidelines about who is eligible, who is not, and terms of service, for U4C committee
    • The current list of recommended users is adequate.
    • Members with double hats: people who are serving in different committees might find it hard to give adequate service since they have other commitments. This is a sensitive role, and it will impact the pace at which reports are violated.
  • Suggestions made by West African Communities:
    • Limiting the membership of this committee to only users with extended rights was strongly opposed, as this would further heighten the existing power imbalance and may promote the abuse of power by these users, as accusations against them may never be handled fairly. This position should be open to normal users as well, to ensure that cases are treated fairly.
    • Having only volunteer users, admins, checkusers, etc on the enforcement set-up may create the existing problems on Wikimedia projects, with cases taking too long to conclude. **Also having only WMF or affiliate staff may lead to local contexts of projects not taken into consideration. Hence, a blended composition was suggested.
    • Skills necessary for becoming a member of this committee (and that of the code enforcement officer) need to be clearly defined.
    • It's important to carefully design a process that will ensure that selecting members onto this committee doesn’t end up biased or skewed.
    • An election process or an appointment process can be followed (from recommendations/ nominations/ applications), but both may be unfair for its potential to easily get cumbersome and skewed. A hybrid system can be followed, which would involve community members reviewing applications/nominations, then the Wikimedia Foundation or a selection group can make final appointments based on the reviews of the community.
  • Suggestions made by East and South Africa Communities:
    • U4C committee members should be competent enough to be able to judge a situation whether there has been a violation of the UCoC or not. One way to ensure this is by setting in place minimum eligibility requirements for members. Members should have enough knowledge about the Wikimedia movement, the different roles (rights), by-laws and policies that govern the movement.
    • Intensive training should be given to committee members to enable them to become capable of processing all kinds of complaints and resolving conflicts.
  • Arabic Community: committee members should not have user privileges and roles in their communities, for example admins in Wikipedia.

Should an interim committee be formed while the "U4C" committee is being created?

  • Wikimedia Indonesia: form an Interim Committee before creating the U4C Committee
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: We just waited this long; it would be great to get it settled and then start. It can always be improved going forward; an interim situation creates some confusion, and may conflict with the final rules agreed, thereby invalidating certain actions taken by the interim committee.
  • English Meta Discussion Page: It would not be useful, as the due diligence in standing up an interim committee may as well be directed towards the actual committee.

Should global conduct committees, such as the Technical Code of Conduct committee, be merged into the proposed U4C?

  • South Asia Conversation: Several community members felt that all the committees should be merged into the U4C structure to avoid confusion among community members and create a single point of entry, but some objected to the merge idea, especially for the TCoCC because it is already working on technical issues and people without technical backgrounds may struggle to understand TCoCC cases and U4C may not be able to handle such cases. Suggestion: maybe TCoCC should be made a subcommittee about UCoC, keeping its current structure and processes intact.
  • Wikimedia Switzerland - by email: The use of “universal” is the answer. There should be a global or universal approach, not fragmented “silos” here and there; good moments to restructure as needed.
  • English Meta Discussion Page: More voices oppose this idea

Digest 2: 4 September 2021 – 16 September 2021

Code Enforcement Definition

Code Enforcement Officer Definition

(Feedback from Wikimedia Deutschland

This role needs clarification:

  • What's the role and where do they sit?
  • Will every project and entity have one?
  • Will the officer be a member of the U4C? How do these two bodies relate to each other?
  • There needs to be a person at every event responsible for safety (might be staff at bigger events, or volunteers at the majority of events), are these the code enforcement officers?
  • What happens if no one wants to or is unavailable to take this role in a small informal meeting?
  • If we want to have professional enforcement, we need professional people and we need to pay them. Who is paying whom?
  • What is the relation between code enforcement officers and local admins?

The Code Enforcement Committee - "U4C Committee" Definition

Spanish Community Discussion - Sep 11: Models and mechanisms similar to the ones of a social platform are being adopted without understanding. Ex: Facebook has this committee of 10 experts around the world but after that committee of experts, it has 5,000 people behind the implementation guidelines.

Spanish Community Discussion - Sep 11: Re: glossary and characterization, in order to avoid positive discrimination, we should not go as far as to characterize each user. It is better to generalize all users on Wiki.

Spanish Community Discussion -Sep 11: How will the committee be integrated? there should be gender diversity (a feminist perspective)

Discussion Hour - Sep. 7th: How big will the U4C committee be? Maybe the size of the committee will depend on the scope of duties , especially if they are able to handle appeals

Discussion Hour - Sep. 7th: will the committee be just volunteers, or also paid persons? What kind of resilience training might be needed? If the committee will be a mix of volunteers and staff, How would they interact in such a process? Would affiliates like to be involved in the staffing?

Discussion Hour - Sep. 7th: There would need to be subcommittees or working groups.

Discussion Hour - Aug 31: If U4C will include stewards, they shouldn’t be given more workload to working on this issue, violation of enforcement mechanism

Francophone Community Discussions
  • Under the "U4C Committee" Definition section, The term ‘Severe systemic issues’ needs to be clarified with some examples. Does it refer to ‘Structural dysfunctioning of local structures’ or when the report is about members of local structures?
  • Instead of a global committee could be one per linguistic project for cultural differences and to reduce the workload for the committee.
  • The committee will be overflowed with a lot of cases; hence if a case is not processed quickly, the complainant may come back to ArbComs.
  • What is the interest of having a committee above ArbCom to process cases instead of giving necessary tools to the ArbComs to do it
  • The committee should be inclusive (women, racialized people, LGBTIQ people). It is important that the committee is made of active contributors nominated from different spaces.
  • The committee should handle only appeals. The reporter should first contact local structures.
  • The committee should be created at a regional level so that its members grasp the specificities and take them into account while processing/investigating cases. This should also be a way to reduce the workload for the committee.
  • What will be the relationship between U4C and T&S?
  • How many people will be in the committee?
  • What is the duration of their term?
Wikimedia Deutschland Feedback
  • Clarify the division of power and the checks and balances, because one single body cannot be responsible for all these tasks. What tasks can be fulfilled by volunteers, and which should be handled professionally by staff or contractors. Some tasks may be better suited to be held by a different entity (from inside the project or organisation), and some should be delegated to a higher (external) authority. There should be paid positions who guarantee swift process. The U4C positions should be held by paid and volunteer staff equally (not WMF staff.) To assure a manageable workload and good decision making, the framework in which the committee should give itself their own rules of procedure needs to be laid out precisely.
  • Is a part of the U4C also supposed to serve as a global ArbCom?More clearly define to avoid misunderstandings and vagueness. Although the volunteer nature of the ArbComs is understood, adding paid backbone support is suggested.
  • What is the responsibility of the U4C in off-wiki violations and in relation to affiliate platforms and spaces? For example, safety at affiliate events should be handled by the organising affiliate.Should explicitly state that members of the U4C also adhere to the UCoC (in case that the U4C only consists of Enforcement Officers, it is stated, though).

Preventive work (articles 1 and 2 UCOC)

Recommendations of UCoC Translation for voluntary adherence:

  • Include e a flowchart that defines the responsibilities based on the report type and source. I -Mervat- would extend this suggestion to include a chart for the reporters, that would clarify whom to report to based on the problem type. (Related Feedback from Wikimedia Deutschland: to support clarity, enrich the guidelines with some visuals and diagrams. One central and well maintained page/space with an overview of all responsible entities and escalation pathways (like CheckUser local policies) could be created and connected/linked from each local UCoC page (with the structured data being centrally stored)
  • Suggestion: Training is good. . ”how can we make it clear for newbies especially what is part of the model behaviour? do we just have one "model" behaviour for solving conflict? Consider that there are a lot of bad models too in day to day goings on.
    • Suggesting by Taylor: The verb ADHERE is fine for me.

Recommendations of UCoC Consent amongst Community and Foundation Staff:

  • Conversation Hour - Aug 24, 2021: section “Recommendations of UCoC Consent amongst Community and Foundation Staff” sounds like a “confession of faith” or “oath of allegiance” and it doesn’t feel effective. The text currently reads as “you are required to do this, or else!”;
  • Add a class of users to require explicit consent from: those using additional technical resources such as Toolforge or the Wikimedia Cloud. (Precise phrasing can be improved, of course.)

(Wikimedia Austrech) It is proposed that any individual who uses Wikimedia trademarks at events (such as by including them in the event's title) must explicitly commit to the UCoC. Regulating these events is an unrealistic proposition. In-person meetings of Wikimedians often organized spontaneously in many places.. We strongly propose that the trademark rule should be limited to events that are organized, funded or otherwise directly supported by the Wikimedia Foundation or Wikimedia affiliates.

Recommendations of UCoC Training/Education amongst Community:

  • Conversation Hour - Sep 7th: Maybe there is no need for formal training in smaller projects like Wikitionary, due to less level of harassment.
  • (Spanish Community Discussion - Sep 11, 2021: Sysops should have workshops on awareness, bullying, and harassment as part of their training.
  • Conversation Hour -Aug 24, 2021: Relevant section for the training to deal with harassment and training?

(Feedback of Wikimedia Deutschland)

  • Are committed to providing tailored support to community organisers and admins. Suggest not to over-commit or over-promise in the guidelines.
  • Like the approach that training is being offered on a local, regional or thematic level, and thus tailored to the needs and competences of the participants. This is also very much inline with the 2030 Movement Strategy.
  • Who will be offering these trainings, where the resources are coming from, and what incentives could be offered to encourage community members to participate ?(e.g. barnstars, literature, certificates...). For certain roles, mandatory training might be necessary, to ensure the person is well prepared and protected. This will be balanced against not unnecessarily restricting local self-organisation and not overestimating volunteer time commitment.
    • Comment: We should offer these trainings. Once established, we could demand from candidates for certain roles to take these trainings. Not the other way round.
  • Who is supposed to offer those trainings? Local communities, Foundation and Affiliates should develop and implement training. Which affiliates can provide these trainings, so that regional/thematic gaps can be identified and potentially filled by neighboring organizations, given that the trainings are being held in the native language? This could be added to the central page/space with an overview of all responsible (like Local checkuser policies).
  • The training should include individual help around handling being exposed and confronted with threats and harassment against oneself while holding a position on the U4C or code enforcement officer.
  • Affcom Discussion: Discussed the training needs that may be needed for the U4C; will present lots of opportunities for our global communities, Especially as the Movement Charter drafting will take some time.

Responsive work (article 3 UCOC)

Spanish Community Discussion - Sep 11, 2021: Should include accompanying the person who reports, due to emotional difficulty, should humanize the process.

The issue of reparation of damages; there will be people who want to make their case public, but others will not even want it to be known. Necessary to work in a system in which people have trust, without trust it will not be possible to establish a useful UCoC.

Discussion Hour - Aug 31: Need to clarify this term “Systematic failure to follow the UCoC”.

Is it referring to a dysfunctional project with a non-functioning admin corps (á la m:Requests for comment/Site-wide administrator abuse and WP:PILLARS violations on the Croatian Wikipedia) or an individual persistent offender?

Principles for processing and filing of reported cases

Addressing the receiver of the complaint/the person under suspicion

(Feedback from Deutschland Chapter)

Clarify text - not mentioned how the person who has violated the UCoC is being addressed.

The “right to be heard” should be included and clarified if the guidelines adhere to the “presumption of innocence”. There might be exceptions. .

  • Fear the ignorance of “the right to be heard, hoping that the consultations will result in fair processes to not further demotivate our volunteers after the UCoC was forced upon them as they didn't receive an opportunity for an RfC. The accused also needs the right to name witnesses as well
  • If a case does not end with applying the sanctions, it should be outlined that there could be pathways for rehabilitation, resocialization, or the right to be forgotten.

Add criteria for cases to be publicly handled/archived or not, taking into account legal implications as well as the need for privacy and protection of the involved parties, and how to avoid reputation damage or creating a public pillory.

Providing resources for processing cases

Under “Types of violations and enforcement mechanism”, physical violence should have more than sending them to trust and safety. Important things to do short term along with T&S process, such as: gathering information, making short-term blocks or protections, communicating with the person being threatened so they're not just in limbo until T&S can get back to them, etc.

If we formally include WMF Legal here, that implies sufficient funding for the legal team to be able to reliably and promptly respond to these inquiries; is the WMF on board with that? A legal threat would be incredibly stressful for a volunteer.

Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups

Under the “Types of violations and enforcement mechanism” section, in the paragraph: “Cases should be promptly sent to the Wikimedia Foundation Legal team, or, when appropriate, other professionals who can appropriately evaluate the merit of the threats"; the term "other professionals" is not clear. What does this mean? (Affcom discussion: The only support affcom is taking on is conflict resolution to affiliates that cannot resolve conflicts themselves, and a conflict may or may not relate with the UCoC. As the only voice to specifically help with Affiliates, we should have some involvement in this.

Affcom does not appear to have clear roles and responsibilities related to reports they receive. They refer to T&S in many cases. Yet, they explained that there are cases that involve intersected areas (e.g. online and affiliate-relates conflicts), cross-wikis vs. affiliates. Would like “Gray Areas to be defined by UCoC.

Off-Wiki UCoC Violations
  • Social media platforms/discussion lists Vs in-person events such as edit-a-thons. An edit-a-thon is typically an event formally connected to a project or affiliate and thus should be governed by some form of the UCoC. Social media platforms, message boards, etc. aren't under the purview of the same rules, necessarily. Hence why people aren't typically sanctioned for what they say on social media (with exceptions). Suggestion: maybe split this in events and behaviour in 'public' spaces.
  • Interim acts – in the event of a threat of harm, I squash the violator while communicating the needful. Those aren’t really suited to further action. A complicated case could be that multiple individuals acting at the initial outset, while pouring the information into WMF Emergency, before they very rapidly could take everything over.
  • Violations involving litigation or legal threats: why we’re sprinting off to Legal here. The large majority of legal threats are of the vein “block me and I’ll sue”, and the average response time is minutes…and a block. Sure there’s lots of instances where a report (again, probably a block and report) is the right thing. we shouldn’t start doing this for all and it’s impossible that Legal is going to get a 24hr response time for all languages.
  • Handled by AffCom – this is obviously the usual course of affairs, but the U4C permissible cases should specifically note systemic failure by AffCom. AffCom themselves need to clarify how they’re handling the very different cases of advanced and regular chapters, all the way down to the smallest user groups.
  • Systemic Failure – point “i” is good. Regarding point ii: Is this meaning that desysopping procedures for x-wiki abuse are falling into U4C jurisdiction? what does “administrative level” mean here? If so, that could only be Stewards, global sysops and rare cases where someone with two local rights causes issues on both?
  • off-wiki instances such as on other platforms similar to: social media platforms, discussion lists need clarity. Is this “any such case”, cases where someone has followed someone from off-wiki, a case where it might even have begun off-wiki, just cases where it’s local affiliates on those. These are extremely different things to have lumped together.
  • Conversation hour: August 24: For Wikimedia-specific conversations occurring off-project in unofficial or semi-official spaces ), Wikimedia’s Terms of Use may not apply. They are covered by that specific platform's Terms of Use and conduct policies. The behavior of Wikimedians on these networks and platforms can be accepted as additional evidence in reports of UCoC violations. However, the Enforcement Guidelines recommends "off-project spaces create guidelines that discourage exporting on-wiki conflicts to 3rd-party platforms". This might be explored further after this phase was completed.
  • UCoC could cover everything even a Wikimedian's personal space. Some wikimedians started to use the coverage of UCoC and Wikimedia to make troubles. Now, they are retaliating through Wikimedia. Using UCoC and other Wikimedia policy to play as victims of harassment etc. It only happens we are Wikimedians. Well, only because they got invited to Wikimedia.
  • Hope for a Committee who could investigate issues in parallel to the reports being handled by committees where these people reported.
  • Spanish Community Discussion - Sep 11, 2021: What will be the process for reporting harassment? We’d like to see something that exists in other digital platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, where the person reports a content for something severe and in one day the social network bans the account.
  • Francophone Community Discussion -Sep 8, 2021: It is important to have direct contact with external platforms like youtube to report cases if wiki contributors are subject to any kind of bad behavior.
On-wiki UCOC violations
  • What happens if there is clear misconduct on one wiki but questionable conduct on another? Could the case be turned down because one wiki’s charges turned out to be non-issues and remand it to the single-wiki?
  • How will this interact with existing local conduct dispute resolution processes? What do we do for issues like harassment?
  • How will the U4C interact with ArbComs? Reporting of problems like harassment is that it's not a comfortable experience going to a highly watched noticeboard and starting a section reporting about a powerful user in the community. It's hard to draw a parallel from how the Wikimedia projects function in this regard, to real-world organisations or even other online communities. Many do allow private reporting and resolution from on-top.
  • Spanish Community Discussion - Sep 11, 2021: What will happen to online communities where neither the Foundation nor the chapters are considered legitimate spokespersons. Will the Foundation take over and bypass the community?
  • Conversation Hour - Aug 31: how should content conflict be dealt with: Will UCOC be really used for this?

Recommendations for the reporting and processing tool

Reporting tool

  • An email address as a tool for reporting complaints including harassment, ending up in an OTRS queue.
  • Why implement the UCoC tool as “a MediaWiki Extension”? Is the intention that a separate user account shouldn't be required? Or is the intention that the tool must be WMF operated and freely-licensed?
  • It’s smart to use tried-and-tested external software, even if it's commercial (case management), because the use of made-in-house software, and/or FOSS software only leads to use of bad products hence wate time and productivity (e.g. mw:SecurePoll, mw:FlaggedRevs, etc). How are we guaranteeing we won’t see any issues we experienced with other great tools, such as accessing private data, insufficient quick response time, etc.?
  • The intention of adding the “mediawiki extension” is to ensure other MediaWiki-based (non-WMF) communities have easy access to this tool. However, it seems that some steps need to be taken to ensure its long-term viability if it is going to be a MediaWiki extension (assuming the committee doesn't go with an external commercial solution instead based on this feedback). WMF would probably not like to make it readily possible for individuals (or themselves) to make it link into pre-existing processes where that is viable; however, while it would slow initial take-up, it would increase it in the long run.
  • Discussion Hour - Aug 31: How do we distribute the report, which level? And to whom?
  • Conversation Hour - Aug 31: There are concerns about formal reporting and appeals being exploited by trolls, i.e. abusing the reporting tool for public denunciation. Define what can be resolved. How can we deal with the bad report, how can we forgive the mistakes in a the report?

Reporting tool - Suggestions to enhance the context and required clarification

  • For an inclusive and safe community code, the new committee needs to provide a safe way to privately report issues, even in single wiki issues.  
  • This process doesn’t state who is responsible for allocating to the right body (where it’s not so clear the system can’t just do that itself) – how will this work?
  • The general information that is set out is good for a non-exclusive list. Mentioning some wording of “diffs” specifically would be beneficial. Making it so the system goes “click to insert URL of problematic edit 1” so new editors can provide evidence.
  • The process doesn’t seem to handle boomerangs inherently – these are a common need on en-wiki, and they can’t just be excluded.
  • Good principles, more on how that’s going to be ensured, not requested/urged. This could be added to a binding appendix.
Privacy and Anonymity
  • Privacy in cases is sometimes negative for the accuser. But it is also a massive negative for both the accused and the whole community. BUT neither factor gets mentioned.
  • Options of how to handle data related to cases:
    • Community-hidden, accused-gets data. Negatives include things like not being able to audit those we have selected to hold these positions and not knowing “where the axe will fall”.
    • Some/all data hidden from the accused, all data hidden from the community. Context may be very important to judge a case. This is especially important for anything with off-wiki evidence. How can an accused make an appeal?
    • Logically, the large majority of raised cases are desiring that person to be directly sanctioned – rather than, say, mediation. As such, opting for the most-private option allowed makes sense
    • How to handle scale – this depends on exact clarity given by UCOCDC, but the type allowed in the 2nd point above usually necessitates very broad trust in the assessors.

Processing & Transparent Documentation

  • How are we supposed to ensure that this early-stage processing is done correctly?
  • This section doesn’t mention how to handle boomerang cases.
  • When the system processes many thousands of cases, each growing % of vagueness represents many more chances for unseen error.

Recommendations for local enforcement structures

Is there anything in here about measures to take with regards to bad-faith reports?


Obviously equivalents to en-wiki’s INVOLVED are good. But this is why any private case needs a full arbcom.

Mervat >> from different conversations, there is support on Language arbcoms proposal.

Spanish Community Discussion - Sep 11, 2021: What will the procedure be for filtering bad faith complaints? How are bad faith complaints named within the EDGR?

Spanish Community Discussion Sep 11, 2021 - : the burden of proof must be established in the UCoC. If a person places a complaint, it must be proven that harassment is happening, and there is the protection that the accused must have to its moral integrity if it is ultimately being accused of something that is not true.

Francophone Community Discussion - Sep 8, 2021:

  • Local structures don’t have the necessary means to investigate cases.
  • It is important to document all reported cases and draw insights to focus on priority areas.
  • Local structures like Admins need to be restructured to open it to more diversity and to increase their number.

Swedish Wiki: Big groups should take care of complicated internal conflicts (being aware that in some communities) active admins are few. Suggest resolving conflict in open pages where there is: guaranteed transparency - managing conflicts by arbcom is less transparent as discussions take place inside the group, and creates a we-them feeling.

To meet the demand of UCoC, a local group should be dedicated (1-3 people), not necessarily being admins. To only handle UCoC complaints (not an arbcom, does not have full functionality), and create a regional arbcom for several languages (communities in Scandinavia for example). There is a need for a more elaborate text not only using the word Arbcom.

Clear communication between local administrators

Does this mean “every project with admins should have a page for them to discuss” or if there will be private spaces cut off from local editors being able to read, comment or ensure those comments will be read?

Transparency of process

How will different communities view different things of different severity? it should also contain a “why” – to address community specific issues

Assessment and adoption of local policies

Feedback of Wikimedia Deutschland + Wikimedia Österreich:

  • The UCoC policy offers minimum standards which no community, project, group or organisation must fall behind. Many entities already have policies and structures in place. Can we continue working on our existing policies if they are falling behind the UCoC? We recommend the enforcement guidelines specifically express this (stated here already). A neutral/external body (like the U4C) should work with the respective entity/community to support the assessment of their existing policies and procedures against these minimum standards.
  • The UCoC policy contains minimal standards, but no guidelines or "laws". The enforcement text, on the other hand, is strong in tone. Need an in between, about how each entity can define how expected and non tolerated behaviour translates into their context.
  • Sometimes we use more than one code of conduct at the same time in the Wikimedia movement today without delineating them from each other (e.g. at a tech event the "friendly space policy for Wikimedia Foundation events" plus the "code of conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces"). This is a problem when descriptions of desired and undesired behavior differ. Victims and witnesses might not know which guidelines to follow when they need help. There needs to be a clear and understandable delineation and hierarchy between the UCoC and local guidelines. If the UCoC is emphasized when the first path to more safety and inclusion should actually be through local policies and procedures, this could end up leading to less safety and inclusion.

Recommendations for how to process appeals

The rules must establish

  • "Yes, the accused is allowed to file an appeal based on 'I did not perform the action in question and here is evidence that I did not"


  • "No, the accused is not allowed to file an appeal based on the idea that they did not perform the action in question; doing so is a sanctionable offense" with a possible "No, the accused is not allowed to file an appeal based on the idea that they did perform the action in question but said action should not be considered bad; doing so is a sanctionable offense."

The second scenario is very counterintuitive and it may not be obvious that it's not allowed. It is best to tell people ahead of time that they are not allowed to do this (or that they are). The third scenario is somewhat counterintuitive and many people have filed appeals like that and been surprised when the result was negative. This will save everyone time and aggravation.

"...many people have filed appeals like that..." On what project, against what decisions?

Conversation Hour - Aug 24th: Preempt the action of reporting actual victims of harassment by the one who is actually harassing somebody.

  • Appealing process
  • Committee recommendation - Handling by separate body to process appeals.

Conversation Hour - Sep 7th: Agree with basic right of appeal, but where does the line get drawn? How to sort appeals from bad faith complaints? How to prevent the “abuse” of appeals? Wouldn't it be good to have that neutral party to help defuse the situation?

Conversation Hour - Aug 24th: Which one is above the other? Is it UCoC or AffCom?

Conversation Hour -August 24th: UCOC has assured us repeatedly that it's the minimum needed. If an ARBCOM is trusted, then the U4C shouldn't need appeal authority over it. The text claims U4C has the authority to handle appeals and this needs to be specifically discussed.

Addressing certain legal realities

How much awareness is there among the people involved, of the basic legal reality: you can be banned from Wikimedia for any reason, including no reason at all. There doesn't need to be a reason, and any and all reasons for an enforcement given in the pursuance of this Code, can be nullified post-hoc, should the aggrieved party not be satisfied and wish to pursue their case externally. A cold hard legal reality that should be made clear to all parties (including Enforcement Officers) at the outset of any nominal proceeding. Although it has always been in the Terms,

Please read the conversation under this section. There are references to legal cases that don’t directly relate to UCoC.

  • Processes have to comply with different local and regional legal requirements with regards to privacy and data protection (like GDPR).
  • Please read the 2nd comment under Providing resources for processing cases.

Open questions for the Community

To what extent should individual Wikimedia projects be allowed to decide how they enforce the UCoC?

  • Firstly, we were repeatedly assured that the UCOC would be the minimum. The inherent corollary of that is that Communities must retain the maximum local authority, interpretation, and implementation method control as possible. Either the UCOC shouldn’t be possible to interpret differently or it’s an unstated facet and therefore the principle of subsidiarity and minimalism. Two arguments: a) communities just stating that the UCOC doesn’t clarify something when it clearly does b) communities not having sufficient size and scope to be able to viably assess such things.
    • For a) could be appealed to the U4C who would use a “clear and convincing” breach. Mediation would absolutely be an option. In the event of an established breach not being resolvable by this method, it could be overturned. In the event of established communities a single breach wouldn’t be grounds for demonstrating “systemic abuse”, but multiple breaches within the medium-term would be a major cause for concern.
    • For b) Here I think is a good time to mention something that’s been mentioned throughout this whole time: model documents. Who they’re made by is up for discussion, but having very core, slimline, documents and interpretations that apply unless a Community conduct page is already there seems really beneficial. Otherwise it puts a huge amount of work onto 10 editors re-inventing the wheel.

How will people be chosen for the U4C committee?

Francophone Wiki: elected members say that they already apply the Ucoc and there is therefore not much to do.

Big Concern: Representation of underrepresented communities who are often the most targeted persons. There should be a quota assuring that people belonging to underrepresented communities are represented and able to have a voice in the committee and the processes.

Should be a mix of elected and appointed representatives. Question of who will apply the UCoC is crucial and will determine whether it will be effective or not, and whether it will change the current situation that is not optimal or whether it will reinforce it.

Francophone Community Discussion -Sep 10, 2021: Perhaps a mix for U4C - experts (selected by the foundation) and people selected by the community. It’s important to have diversity, geographical, linguistic representation. Maybe a mix of people selected by affiliates and others nominated by the foundation.

What would be the selection criteria? Selection criteria could also generate some kind of exclusion

Should an interim committee be formed while the "U4C" committee is being created?

Francophone Community Discussion -Sep 10, 2021: Some participants suggest an interim committee first. That way, the community can learn from their experience before creating the permanent committee.

What would be the duration of the term of the committee members?

Should global conduct committees, such as the Technical Code of Conduct committee, be merged into the proposed U4C?

Francophone Community Discussion -Sep 10, 2021: A list of those global committees and their roles are needed (repeated comment)

Don’t merge them, a clear separation of roles of each committee, while in another discussion with the same community, keeping the existing committees and defining the roles and the scope of each of them.

Escalation: Where do the complaints go, what instance/body/judge is supposed to process them?

  • Is this “error of process”? But in non-appeal aspects?
  • More clear phrasing for “appeal because I think the block was unwarranted” and “appeal because I’ve learnt my lesson”? Is that what escalation/appeal is meaning? The processes for handling the two are very different.
  • Conversation Hour – Aug 31: Escalation system should be very clear. If some things could be handled locally, solved locally could be escalated to another place, and the report tool. Agree to solve the conflict or violation into local first. Should be clear about which step should be taken first. However, there are concerns about the small groups which may survey users to anonymously evaluate the conflict case, and concerns about formal reporting and appeals being exploited by trolls.

When should someone be able to initiate an appeal for a UCoC violation?

If someone sees that there is a person who violates its behaviour from their own view the Universal Code of Conduct. In this case everybody who sees it should be able to report this. To avoid duplicates the reporting should be public.

What kinds of behavior or evidence would we want to see before granting an appeal?

Correct sanction is a given – this is probably the 2nd strongest reason to be against totally private cases. How is someone supposed to meet whatever these criteria are without knowing the case?

General criteria: understanding of what got them blocked, remorse for what they did, explanation of what they’d do differently if unblocked. We like to see helpful activity on other projects but that’s hardly required. In socks, they must assist on that.

  • Sanction disputed as being correct – this needs to direct against either procedural or substantive grounds. The former is most seen in highly complex areas like Discretionary Sanctions. The latter needs to demonstrate either that there was missing information or that the judgement could not reasonably have been found from that. On that latter aspect, a lower bar is applied for a single admin blocking and a high one for Community/ArbCom.

Should the U4C committee also decide individual cases or process appeals?

The U4C should decide (or have the right to decide) individual cases “original jurisdiction” in the following cases:

  1. where projects don’t have sufficient conduct capability to hear them;
  2. where projects have devolved such to the U4C
  3. all cases involving the conduct of a WMF Staffer
  4. x-wiki cases that are sufficiently mixed to not allow ready prioritization to a single wiki and too complex for standard resolution.
Opposing opinion: The motivation behind the proposal of the 4th point is not clear. It inherently says that the global community is incapable of processing such disputes. The global ban policy is lacking that it doesn’t allow for anything less severe than a global ban. RFCs are slow to actually see enactment.
maybe, the U4C should be re-written to include glocks and gbans, then the U4C could act as a convenient appeals body.

The U4C should have the right to hear appeals in the following cases:

  1. All cases as above, except as specifically designated otherwise with regards to the U4C hearing its own appeals
  2. In the event of a systemically stable (in conduct terms) project losing that status, they may review appeals to a date agreed as being the start of major issues arising.
  3. WMF-imposed sanctions, except as specifically explained why a particular instance could not legally be subject to U4C review. General categorisation of a case is insufficient, the full U4C must be made aware of why a particular case is not subject to review, and may provide a public statement accepting or denying that judgement (but not revealing details).

Regulations for appeal (after the previous question "Where do the complaints go" has been answered)

In short: Ultra basic cases (e.g. AIV) → decided by admin → appeal by different admin → in event of disagreement, heard by community “Regular” complex cases → heard by Community → appeals held later by Community Very complex cases and cases with rare acceptable grounds for being heard away from community → (potential prior history at other conduct routes) → ARBCOM → appeal route as provided for (I can well imagine some ARBCOMs devolving to U4C)


No community consensus (~60% on English Wikipedia) on UCOC means it would be hard to enforce.

PS. Please notice that a volunteer proposed thoughts on a way of classifying ratification on the talk page of meta. Please have a look.

Thoughts, Questions and Concerns about the Project in general

  • The expressed intention of the UCoC was to be a "minimal baseline" behind existing conduct policy standards. However, the proposed enforcement guidelines are clearly pushing the UCoC itself front-and-center, mandating direct links to it (rather than to the actual local project policies) in places such as site footers and registration pages, and requiring affirmation by those with enhanced user rights, and establishing training on the UCoC itself.

Please see the first comment under this section.

Please see also the first answer to this Question.

  • Why do we need UCoC, while everything is covered by WP:Civility, and any 'violations' would have otherwise been reportable and actionable via the existing structures in Wikipedia for handling and resolving complaints within the community. Why do we need to invent a whole new layer of processes and 'enforcers' over what we already have?

Reply by a DC member: the Universal Code of Conduct (and its subsequent enforcement) is meant to be applied to communities outside of English Wikipedia. While “WP:Civility” exists, it doesn't exist on every WMF-hosted site: Wikipedia:Civility (Q4654593). Beyond that, not every community has a particularly great track record with enforcing their own conduct policy.

Предложение (автор Mervat): давайте добавим это в ЧЗВ.

  • Conversation Hour - Sep 7th: Need to decide how much the communities can interpret the UCOC? How do we make sure that marginalized people on the outside feel comfortable
  • Conversation Hour -August 24th: When scenarios that may not be answered, it’s recommended that every question should be tagged with "not answerable due to X, Y, Z" if not answered
  • Conversation Hour -August 24th: The limited timeframe has no reason, should be expandable.
  • Conversation Hour -August 24th: Suggestion: Split communities into two groups: sufficient conduct processes, and without conduct processes. In this case U4C will handle systemic-failure issues for communities of the first category and broader for the second.
  • Conversation Hour -August 31th: The whole idea of enforcement seems to enroll unneeded formal steps and bureaucracy. Some projects (e.g. smaller sister projects value the informal way they follow and they try to avoid this formalism because they tend to elicit behavior.)
  • Conversation Hour - Sep 7th: A survey where to put how the community is doing.
  • Francophone Community Discussions:
    • For some participants there is a misunderstanding of the scope of the UCoC
    • Does the UCoC cover cases of legal actions (from a government for example against a contributor?
    • Does the UCoC cover leadership conflict in a user group?
  • Feedback of Wikimedia Österreich: The draft states that a link to the UCoC should be present on footers on Wikimedia projects and footers on the websites of recognized affiliates and user groups. This guideline should not be limited to Wikimedia projects in the narrower sense, but to any website operated by the Wikimedia Foundation that allows user-generated content. (e.g. https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/). On the other hand, affiliates sometimes operate (several) websites.

Mervat >>> This is a point that has been discussed with affcom several times, they would like to make this as a rule, that a link to the UCoC and guidelines will need to be added to the official meta pages of the recognized affiliates. Yet, we don’t know what the suggested design will be.

  • Francophone Community Discussion: the French translation of this text is written in the universal masculine

Digest 1: 17 August 2021 - 3 September 2021

For this first digest, input was collated from the Meta-Wiki talk page. Future digests will include input from specific communities (see list of discussions here). Input has been roughly sorted into themes.

Suggestions for Content Changes


Code Enforcement Officer:

Make sure "Code Enforcement Officer" is replaced. CEO as an acronym has already been taken, and “officer” implies some sort of police power, rather than a position of responsibility. Officer broadly designates a person with corporate responsibility, so if the code gives them none, it should be avoided. Evoking an image of formal law enforcement figures isn't ideal for several reasons, not the least of which is approachability.

  • Suggestion 1: something like "CoC Administrator" is positive, especially because "possesses ... technical rights" sounds like it presumes having admin tools.
  • Suggestion 2: use “moderator” definition of CoC administrator.

In the definition of “Code Enforcement Officer”: What does this term mean? What are this group's powers? It's defined at the top but it seems it's never used in the draft...?


Trust a group of users selected from the community itself, rather than a global body, whose members might not have any technical experience at all

It is extremely unwise that the U4C can decide categories permitted for its own cases. It may involve little growth over time, but it could also include significant scope creep. That makes it impossible for users to do a fair assessment of whether to ratify the UCOC. This will mean a few more categories need to be added.

The U4C also needs to commit to not devolving any sanctioning authority to alternate authorities, and confirm that any individual case/appeal is to have a minimum quorum of 7 drawn directly from the U4C. Any systemic abuse case must be held by a quorum of 15. Determining rules for U4C size/size change worth doing?

  • Suggestion: This restriction “no devolving powers” should be spelled out explicitly in the document. This Committee should not be allowed to single-handedly set new enforcement rules (e.g. giving more power to 'Code Enforcement Officers') through proclamations and delegation.

The U4C should take any instance of WMF employee action on-wiki or connection that would otherwise fall under the UCOC. That is, were they not an employee their actions would be handled by another function here, but they should automatically be raised here. Yes this may cause simultaneous on-wiki and off-wiki action being taken. Also an interesting consideration of vice-versa!

Prefer a group of users selected from the community itself, rather than a global body, whose members might not have any technical experience at all.

Answering the question of How will people be chosen for the U4C committee: reviewers suggested different thoughts, and thought there are lots of different ways to look at this question including:

  • Members of the U4C Committee should not be 'chosen' at all. Candidates should be elected into the role by their peers, the editors who they will be helping and/or judging, in annual elections. In that election, they can set out their platform and why they would be effective at the job, and the community will have the option of picking those they trust for this job (conducting CU checks, determining consensus to appoint admins, preventing LTA abuse, etc. is not at all the same as deciding on conduct problems with established editors).
  • Since this body will have even more power than stewards, they should be subject to reconfirmations (like stewards) to ensure there is still community confidence in their continued tenure. Any other method of appointment is not legitimate IMO
  • While the Foundation technically doesn't need the buy-in of local communities in order to implement this new Code, things will go a lot more smoothly if local communities are given the ability to ensure that these committees don't stray from their intended purpose. If, on the other hand, these appointments are made by the Foundation, I strongly believe that the local communities will come to resent the committees and their members as an outside governing force that is not answerable to them.
  • There is an assumption of one big global election should be held on meta. Perhaps it shouldn't, and a series of elections should be held locally or in project groups (the current draft guidelines stipulate communities grouping together by language, for example, in shared ArbComs). An alternative approach might be making the Committee composed of current ArbCom members, which fits nicely in line with the ideas in "Providing resources for processing cases" (expansion of ArbComs), but may not necessarily be representative of the editorbase, and of course some ArbCom members may not be interested. This method would be a more indirect election, and would save time/energy spent on another set of annual elections.
  • The U4C committee should have regular elections by the communities, and not appointments.
  • The WMF also definitely can't have any input into the process. They have demonstrated on several occasions an inability to do crucial mathematics.
  • If a completely new body with staggering powers is going to be formed, I assume it's reasonable that while they can (and should!) have an internal impeachment process as well it clearly would be seriously odd to trust in it. There's a question about having different needs: individual issues and group issues. For the moment, I'm going to say it's the latter that needs a focus. Perhaps RfCs by at least 10 projects representing 10% of the active editors of the project should in effect force an immediate recall election, and, if appropriate, move the timing of the next UCOC review period sooner.

Answering the question if other code committees should be merged with U4C, participants need a list of examples of such committees; it seems that the most known ones are “Ombuds” and mw:Code of Conduct/Committee. However, there are two opinions about merging the TCoC; the first thinks that do think that TCoC sanctions should be appealable to the U4C (with the same process as any other local sanction appeal), while the second disagrees with the merge because TCoC is not a global group and only has jurisdiction in the technical spaces, which is similar to the one of local ArbComs.

Answering the question if the U4C committee should also decide individual cases or process appeals; please refer to Digest 2 for the answers, which are accompanied with the comments related to “appealing cases”.

Definition of Roles and Job Descriptions

There seems to be at least four job descriptions emerging for the UCoC, including the 4 listed categories below. It will be helpful to have separate roles and descriptions for these, not just one "U4C membership". The different groups can have overlapping membership but the role differences need to be clear:

  • "Supreme Court Judges" who mediate or arbitrate cross-wiki disputes or disputes escalated from local projects that cannot resolve the dispute on its own;
  • "Clerks" who triage incoming reports to decide whether they should be resolved at UCoC level or delegated to local projects
  • "Mentors" or "Ambassadors" who help local projects improve their internal governance
  • "Cultural interpreters" who provide cross-cultural advice to the Judges and the Mentors, so as to understand local (both real-world and project) culture and avoid cultural pitfalls during dispute resolution.

Preventive work (articles 1 and 2 UCOC)

UCoC Training/Education amongst Community

This section is a bit concerning, because it sometimes asks very small projects or organizations to do an awful lot of work just in setting up such a system, nevermind following through with execution.

The section “A link to the UCoC should be present on:” takes things for granted, while the UCoC isn't supposed to supersede all other conduct-related policies and procedures, but is instead a starting point with which various groups can build their own policies and projects that did not have well-developed policies for dealing with harassment and other conduct issues.

Training is mentioned frequently, but no details on how trained persons are to be assessed. If there are no mechanisms to ensure the trained person has taken on board their training, and indeed no mechanisms to review whether their training is still effective down the line, perhaps this word should be downgraded to the more usual "guidance". As in, Johnny was provided with all the guidance he would have needed to effectively discharge this duty, so it's not really our fault if he didn't follow it, or never even understood it.

Introducing a complicated training bureaucracy, as is proposed here, is likely to be a barrier to successful implementation of the UCoC. Most of the burden of creating the proposed training material, as well as the problems introduced by not creating the material, would fall on smaller, non-English-language communities.

Why was this rule “Every sanctioned person has the right to be told exactly what they were sanctioned for” taken down? (rule in English Wikipedia).

  • Suggestion: Include the principle of audi alteram partem in the UCoC enforcement guidelines, along the following lines: Allow all individuals involved in a case tell their side of the matter before making an enforcement decision. In urgent cases, a preliminary decision may be made before that, but only if an appeal is possible. (PS: people want to know why!)

Regarding "handling complaints in a timely manner":

  • Suggestion 1: add some acknowledgement that we have to give the accused person time to read and compose a response to the accusations, ideally before they're presented to the people who are going to make the decision. Perhaps a day and a half for every 500 words of accusing text. So if someone files a 3000 word complaint, the accused would be given a copy and nine days to write a reply, and then the complaint and reply would be presented to the community or committee at the same time. At the very least, the accused should have a chance to read and respond to the complaint before the decision is made or sanctions imposed. Otherwise, we leave open a loophole for abusive complaints.
  • Situation: You cannot expect people to see an accusation against them as soon as it has been published. There have been cases where an accusation is lifted against somebody who has gone on holiday and who has not logged onto their account for two weeks. When they get back, they find that they have been blocked without even knowing that an accusation has been made against them. On the other hand, if the time frame is too long, a vandal who uses one of the more subtle forms of vandalism can continue while the clock is ticking.
  • Suggestion for the situation: An accusation is made against an editor, Evidence is presented in response to the case; after 48 hours, the evidence against the accused is strong enough for sanctions to be applied, but they have not responded, nor is there evidence that they have logged into any Wikimedia project. A closing administrator will issue a pre-emptive block which will prevent the accused from making any edits. When the accused next logs on, they will see the pre-emptive block. They will have the ability to cancel the pre-emptive block and defend themselves. As soon as they cancel the pre-emptive block, everybody who has made a comment concerning the case will be notified that the accused has returned and the case can continue. Since such a procedure might well require some software changes to the Wiki code itself, it is probably best handled at the WMF level rather than at individual project level

Recommendations of UCoC Consent amongst Community and Foundation Staff

The statement “Contributes to online and offline Wikimedia projects and spaces” could use its own full overview subsection, to ease further discussion.

The subtitle (if holding authority) seems to contradict its content; it appears to be a demand rather than a recommendation.

A reviewer disagrees that there is any right to demand more than “will comply with/adhere” the UCOC. We have it as a specific acceptance that much as no editor is forced to edit, no admin is forced “to admin”, except so far as to conclude an action (admin accountability etc.)

Responsive work (article 3 UCOC)

Principles for processing and filing of reported cases:

For the two statements: “Cases should be forwarded or escalated where appropriate” and “Allow reports to be forwarded to relevant bodies”, please remember that there is some element of trust in writing a private report. Please codify that consent of the person is required to forward the case to another "relevant body" (an Arbitration Committee, a public venue, or whatever else) outside of the U4C Committee. Of course, lack of consent may mean the report cannot be dealt with, but that should be up to the reporter and/or affected users.

The first statement can be expanded to mention something about the relationship between this process and other processes/venues that may exist within the relevant project or organization.

Providing resources for processing cases

Add some additional context. i.e. what "an ArbCom" is and why it is desirable

Define the relationship between ArbCom and the Code of Conduct Enforcement Officers.

Recommend that in case there are shared ArbCom across projects, the projects need a major amount of policy unification, and that Arbs require practical knowledge of policy.

Maybe you would want to add a section at the end of the document to provide examples or references; or quick guidelines that help interpret the original guidelines easily.

Suggestions for words/tone/readability/ambiguity

Overall Opinion: Text has low readability. The original text is written for a reader with a postgraduate degree. It is not appropriate for a broad group of contributors


Objection to the use of "enforcement of violations" might be neater as “enforcement of the UCOC” or “enforcement against violations”; do we really want to enforce the violations?

This sentence is supposed to tell us that Code Enforcement is not only forcing actions (blocks) but also prevention, investigations, etc.

Suggestion: Rephrase this as "Code Enforcement is the prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement against Universal Code of Conduct violations”

  • What does “enforcement” mean? Blocking? Presumably they would have power for bans, removal of user rights, etc., just like Trust and Safety's Office actions. But there should be a definition on methods of "enforcement".
  • Against defining enforcement as "enforcement". Perhaps instead of "...and enforcement of violations...", we might say "...and sanctions (or 'punishment', maybe) for infractions of..."

Objection to the use of “Punishment” in this statement: Enforcement of the UCoC is applied by means of preventive work and campaigns, issuing warnings and notices to persuade people with signs of problematic behaviour to comply, imposing technical restrictions and punishments, or taking additional steps that may be necessary and appropriate.

Measures implemented as a response to UCoC violations should not be viewed as "punishments".

  • Suggestion 1: "imposing technical restrictions and other measures preventing disruption" or similar might be more in line with these existing policies and would also indicate that the UCoC enforcement should be focused on prevention rather than retribution.
  • Suggestion 2: What we mean is a measure to ensure compliance. Measure is neutral.
  • Suggestion 3: It’s OK to use “punishment”; the goal is for it to be anti disruptive in addition to being a punishment; maybe there is no way to remove the punitive element, and acting as if it isn't there might put people on both sides of the event in the wrong frame of mind.
    • Under “The Code Enforcement Committee - "U4C Committee" Definition” → Where local structures are unable to handle or need to escalate cases to this committee for final decision making: This is rather broad latitude. Does this even need to be included? If they are "unable to handle", they should be able to request assistance. So this seems unnecessary.
    • Under “The Code Enforcement Committee - "U4C Committee" Definition”, the sentence “Once formed, the permanent committee will decide on how often it should convene, etc.”, seems weird in combination with the "Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups" section. Does this mean the Committee can change its scope, or that of the cases allocated to it under article 3, it can choose which it will take and which it won't? Both interpretations seem in need of refinement, so perhaps there's a third.
    • Under “Recommendations for local enforcement structures” → “Fairness in process”: this sentence "anyone named in a dispute should recuse themselves from the case" would be better as "anyone with any conflict of interest in the case should recuse themselves." Maybe the following should be added: "all judges are expected to abstain in any case in which they have a conflict of interest" and "any judge may recuse themselves for any reason" so no one has to reveal private information to bow out; they don't have to explain who the conflict of interest is provided that the judge has recused. To avoid arguments about definition of “conflict of interest”, add a clarification that admins can rescue themselves from interfering and they don’t have to tell why; such as "Should any admin find themselves in a position where a conflict of interest MIGHT be suspected or where they have in the past interacted with one of the parties in a manner that suggests that they MIGHT have exercised their judgement as to circumstances surrounding the earlier incident, then they are expected to recuse themselves".

Opinion2: The whole document reads like the drafters were writing a constitution for a state or establishing a police force. And more generally speaking, the structure and prose overall is not very polished and not precise.

Consider the following suggestions to enhance readability:

  • Change: “Code Enforcement is the prevention, detection, investigation, and enforcement of violations of the Universal Code of Conduct. Code enforcement is a responsibility of designated functionaries, the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee ["U4C Committee" - Final name to be determined], and the Wikimedia Foundation. This should be done in a proper, timely fashion, consistently across the entire Wikimedia Movement. Consequently, individuals charged with enforcing the Universal Code of Conduct must be fully acquainted with the regulations they enforce.”
To: “Code Enforcement is making people follow the Universal Code of Conduct. Code enforcement is the responsibility of the new Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C) and the Wikimedia Foundation. Enforcing the code in a consistent and timely manner is important. People who enforce the Universal Code of Conduct must know the code really well.”
  • Change: “Enforcement of the UCoC is applied by means of preventive work and campaigns, issuing warnings and notices to persuade people with signs of problematic behaviour to comply, imposing technical restrictions and punishments, or taking additional steps that may be necessary and appropriate. Local and global functionaries who implement policies, codes, rules, and regulations on the Wikimedia spaces, both online and offline, are supposed to understand the management of the code enforcement function and the process.”
To: Enforcing the code involves prevention and campaigning to encourage compliance. Enforcement also involves warning or issuing notifications to people who have problems complying. Imposing restrictions, punishments or taking other steps may be necessary and appropriate. Functionaries who put policies into effect must understand the management and the process of code enforcement.
  • Avoid unnecessary abbreviations: this includes: ArbCom, U4C Committee, etc.

The definition of “Code enforcement” excludes admins. are we all not supposed to be doing so. If it is limited to parts of the Wikimedia Community, should it not be limited to parts of the WMF?

In the definition of “Code Enforcement Officer”: training and technical rights. Who is defining the training? What if the communities consider the training unsuitable or insufficient. Who gets to vet the WMF staff member’s training?

Preventive work (articles 1 and 2 UCOC)

The term “legally binding” is ambiguous and meaningless; it implies we're dealing with law. It is up to the courts, not the WMF, to determine what is "legally binding" and what is not "legally binding". (Drop “legally binding”, unless we’ll be suing people over the UCoC)

Responsive work (article 3 UCOC)

Types of Violation

  1. Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups → Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups: surely the second sub-bullet (cross-wiki systematic failures at the 'administrative level' [unclear meaning of term?]) is already included in the broader first sub-bullet (systematic failures to follow the UCOC).
  2. Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups → Off-wiki violations (the examples: This sounds like it would include Discord groups as well (as 'social media platforms'); who the 'event organiser' would be in that case, but is this trying to say that the incident can only be investigated if the admins of the Discord server refer the incident? Either way, it's confusing when combined with For Wikimedia-specific conversations occurring off-project in unofficial or semi-official spaces (e.g. Discord, Telegram, etc.), Wikimedia’s Terms of Use may not apply. ... Nevertheless, the behavior of Wikimedians on these networks and platforms can be accepted as additional evidence in reports of UCoC violations.
  3. What’s meant by “adhesion”? In the following statements: "promote voluntary adhesion to the code", "Recommendations of UCoC Translation for voluntary adhesion:". Did you mean adherence. (see a related comment in section 5). [Note - this term has been changed by DC member Vermont in the draft text]

Escalation and de-escalation mechanisms

It would be helpful to have well-defined processes for escalation and delegation. Some suggestions:

  • Reports that can be solved locally will be referred back to a local project community, either by pointing the complainant to relevant processes in the project, or by U4C members supporting editors to engage with local dispute resolution.
  • The U4C will investigate and mediate disputes where local dispute resolution has failed and escalation is necessary, or in cases of cross-wiki disputes that require external mediation.

Suggestions for Translatability and Cultural Context


Translation for “voluntary adherence”: This is normal phrasing for treaties, and this could be one of the more multilingual documents ever. However, this has some flaws. A translation has been provided to a number of communities, who will vote to ratify that copy, or not. If a difference in meaning big enough for us to actually care about the wording is found; that ratification would surely be in serious jeopardy, pending a new one?

People are recommending that it’s important to understand reasons for the behaviour of people and try to help them to change their behaviour if that was not compliant with the UCOC in the past. The guidelines may include a recommendation for enforcers to speak to the individuals directly to understand the cause of the unaccepted behavior; “Everyone should be told what they did”; The German arbcom has experience in this regard.

There is currently a need for some clarity around terminology such as:

  • Severe systemic issues: What does “Systemic” mean? Why use unfamiliar English words?