These are the enforcement guidelines produced by the Universal Code of Conduct Phase 2 drafting committee. The text has been approved by the community. Comments can be made on the talk page and at local discussions. Please do not edit this section directly.
Enforcement guidelines summary
In this table, you can find a summary of the full Enforcement guidelines. It was created to ensure that every member of the community can understand the new guidelines.
WHO is responsible for enforcing the UCoC?
- Designated community functionaries and bodies
- The Wikimedia Foundation
- Event safety team members and people in similar roles
- A new committee called the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (aka the U4C)
- The U4C will monitor enforcement of the UCoC. The composition of the U4C will be decided by the U4C Building Committee. The building committee will be selected in the same way as the previous UCoC committees. The outline prepared by the Building Committee will be voted on by the community
Local and global functionaries should understand how UCoC enforcement works even if they are not part of the U4C
- such as, but not limited to administrators or Arbitration Committees
HOW will this be done?
- The UCoC should be visible in as many places as possible
- Certain individuals will have to declare their regard for and adherence to the UCoC
- Local communities, affiliates, and the Wikimedia Foundation should develop and conduct training for community members so they can better address harassment and other UCoC violations
- The guidelines also lay out recommendations for which parties should address what types of UCoC violations
- The guidelines suggest certain principles for processing and filing cases to ensure UCoC violations are addressed similarly across all projects
- The Enforcement Guidelines represent the boundaries of the kinds of behaviour communities should engage in to enforce and follow the UCoC
WHAT additional things need to be in place for this to happen?
- The Enforcement Guidelines recommend the creation of a centralized reporting system
- Communities are free to continue to use their existing enforcement systems as long as they do not contradict the Enforcement Guidelines
- The Enforcement Guidelines note that appeals should be possible and practically available to individuals who were sanctioned for UCoC violations
Code enforcement definition
Code enforcement is the set of prevention, detection, investigation, and other actions taken to address violations of the Universal Code of Conduct.
Code enforcement is a responsibility of designated functionaries and bodies with technical or decision-making power, such as, but not limited to: local sysops, stewards, Arbitration Committees (ArbComs) and their members, event safety coordinators, the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C), and the Wikimedia Foundation.
Designating functionaries will be done, whenever possible, by local communities, following the principle of subsidiarity that online and offline communities across the world should make decisions for themselves whenever possible.
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.
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 and social restrictions, 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.
Preventive work (articles 1 and 2 UCoC)
The goal of preventive work is to make users of public Wikimedia Foundation wikis and others under the UCoC aware that it exists, and promote voluntary adherence to the code.
Handling translations of the UCoC enforcement guidelines
The original version of UCoC Enforcement Guidelines is in English. It will be translated into other languages used on Wikimedia projects. In the event of any differences in meaning between the original English version and a translation, the original English version should take precedence and be the one decisions are based on.
Affirmation of the UCoC among certain groups
The UCoC applies to everyone who interacts and contributes to Wikimedia projects, official in-person events, and related spaces hosted on third party platforms. The following individuals should be required to affirm (through signed declaration or other format to be decided) they will acknowledge and adhere to the Universal Code of Conduct:
- All Wikimedia Foundation staff, Board members, Wikimedia affiliate board members, staff and contractors;
- All advanced rights holders;
- All members of any project’s high-level decision-making body;
- Any individual who wants to use the Wikimedia Foundation trademark in an event; this includes, but is not limited to, events branded with Wikimedia trademarks (such as by including them in the event's title), and representation of the Wikimedia organization, community, or project at an event (such as, but not limited to, a presenter or a booth operator);
- Any officer of a Wikimedia affiliate or aspiring Wikimedia affiliate (such as, but not limited to: an individual, or group of individuals, who is seeking to promote and/or collaborate a Wikimedia sponsored event, group, study, either on or off-wiki in a research setting).
The users listed above should accomplish the affirmation at the occasion of acquiring the right or role, as well as every re-election, renewal or prolongation, the existing ones do so within a short time after the ratification of these guidelines, with exception of current advanced rights holders with rights that are not up for renewal who will not have a set timeframe to accomplish these affirmations. This may be changed on review after a year following the ratification of these guidelines. Once formed, the U4C will create procedures to facilitate these affirmations.
Recommendations for UCoC training for community members
The Wikimedia Foundation should develop and implement training for community members, with guidance from local communities and affiliates, to be able to identify, address, and mitigate the harms caused by UCoC violations, in particular harassment and similar conduct issues.
Individuals required to acknowledge and adhere to the Universal Code of Conduct will be required to attend training to ensure a common understanding of implementation. Other members of the community will be able to attend this training if they wish to do so.
Training for users should include, at a minimum, guidelines and tools for identification of what is considered unethical behaviour and a manual for how to respond when targeted by harassing behaviour.
Training should consist at minimum of the following levels of certification:
- Level 1: Overall basic knowledge of the UCoC
- Level 2: The ability to handle UCoC violations including appeals
- Level 3: Appropriate support for targets of harassment
Completing a level of certified training should not be construed as holding the position or the level of community trust required to perform the actions covered under the training.
- We recommend resources for translation be provided by the Wikimedia Foundation when reports are provided in languages that designated individuals are unfamiliar with
- A training process for users and staff, developed by the Wikimedia Foundation with the input from the functionaries, to learn how to apply due processes and understand the UCoC in practice
Promoting UCoC awareness
In order to promote its visibility, a link to the UCoC should be present on:
- User registration pages
- Footers on Wikimedia projects and edit confirmation pages for logged-out users (where appropriate, considering usability, formfactor limitations, and other technical issues)
- Footers on the websites of recognized affiliates and user groups
- Prominently displayed at in person events
- Anywhere else deemed appropriate by local projects
Responsive work (article 3 UCoC)
The goal of responsive work is to provide pathways for the processing and filing of reported cases, providing resources for processing cases, definitions for different types of violations and enforcement mechanisms, as well as suggestions for the reporting tools, and pathways for appeals.
Principles for filing and processing of reported violation
- Reporting of UCoC violations should be possible by the target of the violation, as well as by an uninvolved third party that observes the incident;
- Certain cases should be forwarded or escalated where appropriate according to the Types of violations and enforcement mechanism / groups section;
- Cases may be prioritized as needed.
Guidance for processing
- Cases, especially minor violations, should be resolved by warning and notification about the UCoC rather than an administrative sanction when possible and appropriate.
- Cases should be judged in an informed and contextually aware way.
- Cases should be resolved in a consistent time frame
- The deciding body should give regular updates to the participants if the processing is prolonged.
- Eventual sanctions are applied according to the roles and responsibilities of the person who has violated the UCoC (paid staff, elected or selected user, volunteer, etc.), the nature of the breach and its seriousness
- The privacy of a case should be determined not only by those charged with resolving the case, but also with input from those who raised the initial report.
Special cases and exceptions
- Users engaged in bad faith reporting and persistent unjustified reports risk facing sanctions such as, but not limited to: loss of reporting privileges and/or sanctions to limit or block their access to the reporting interface.
- Simple cases such as, but not limited to, ordinary vandalism should be resolved through editing and the regular processes that exist on a wiki to handle disruption;
Providing resources for processing cases
Local enforcement of the UCoC may be supported in multiple ways, and communities will be able to choose from different mechanisms or approaches based on several factors at their discretion, such as their capacity, approach to governance, and general community preferences. Some of these approaches can include:
- An Arbitration Committee (ArbCom) for a specific Wikimedia project;
- An ArbCom shared amongst multiple Wikimedia projects;
- Advanced rights holders enforcing local policies consistent with the UCoC in a decentralized manner;
- Panels of local administrators enforcing policies for a Wikimedia project; and
- Local contributors enforcing local policies through community discussion and agreement.
Communities should continue to handle enforcement through existing means where they do not conflict with the other recommendations in these guidelines.
Enforcement by types of violations
This section will detail a non-exhaustive list of the different types of violations, along with the potential enforcement mechanism pertaining to it.
- Violations involving threats of any sort of physical violence:
- Handled by Trust & Safety
- Violations involving litigation or legal threats
- 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
- Violations involving the nonconsenting disclosure of personally identifying information
- Generally handled by users with oversight or edit suppression permissions
- Occasionally handled by Trust & Safety
- If the violation invokes a legal obligation, the case will be promptly sent to the Wikimedia Foundation Legal team or, when appropriate, other professionals who can appropriately evaluate the merits of the case
- Violations related to affiliate governance
- Handled by the Affiliations Committee
- Systematic failure to follow the UCoC
- Handled by U4C;
- Some examples of systematic failure include:
- Lack of local capacity to enforce the UCoC;
- Consistent local decisions that conflict with the UCoC;
- Refusal to enforce the UCoC;
- Lack of resources or community or lack of will to address issues.
- Cross-wiki violations of the UCoC at the administrative level will be handled by U4C
- Off-wiki violations
(examples such as, but not limited to: in person edit-a-thons or off-wiki instances such as discussion lists or related space hosted on third-party platforms)
- Existing local and global enforcement mechanisms like but not limited to : friendly space policies, rules of conferences, give the rules of behaviour and act in cases of off-wiki violations.
- Handled by the U4C where no local structure (eg. ArbCom) exists, or if the case is referred to them by event organizers, local affiliate groups, or the bodies that handle single-wiki UCoC violations. In some cases, it may be helpful to report the off-wiki violations to enforcement structures of the relevant off-wiki space. This should not be construed so as to imply that existing local and global enforcement mechanisms cannot act in cases of off-wiki violations.
- In instances of Foundation-hosted events, Trust & Safety provides event policy enforcement
- On-wiki UCoC violations
- Cross-wiki UCoC violations: Handled by the U4C if referred from or not handled by global sysops and stewards and the bodies that handle single-wiki UCoC violations;
- Single-wiki UCoC violations: Handled by individual Wikimedia projects according to their existing guidelines (examples such as, but not limited to: vandalism, introducing bias or incorrect information, abuse of power, ban evasion)
- Violations in technical spaces
- Technical Code of Conduct Committee.
Recommendations for the reporting and processing tool
In order to lower the technical barrier for reporting and processing UCoC violations, a centralized reporting and processing tool for UCoC violations shall be developed and maintained by the Wikimedia Foundation as a MediaWiki extension.
Reports should include enough information to be actionable or provide a useful record of the case at hand. The reporting interface should allow the complainant to provide such details to whoever is responsible for processing that particular case. This includes information such as, but not limited to:
- The way in which the reported behaviour violates the UCoC
- Who or what has been harmed by this violation of the UCoC
- The date and time at which this incident, or incidents, occurred
- The location(s) where this incident occurred
- Other pertinent information to allow enforcement bodies to best adjudicate the matter
The tool should operate under the principles of ease-of-use, privacy and anonymity, flexibility in processing, and transparent documentation.
Privacy and anonymity
- Allow reports to be made either publicly (where all details of the case are viewable by the general public), or with varying degrees of privacy (for example, where the name of the reporter is hidden to the public; where the username of any individuals involved in the reported behaviour are hidden to the public; and other potential examples)
- Permit reports to be made whether logged in or logged out
- Allow reports to be processed privately by whoever is charged with resolving UCoC violations
- Allow reports to be forwarded to relevant bodies; Link current cases to previous cases involving the same recipient of a complaint, including allowing reports made in-person or off-wiki to be linked to ongoing reports of UCoC violations
- Provide a way to integrate or document an in-person report into this same reporting system
- Allow those who are processing cases to filter out bad-faith reports
- Provide a way to publicly archive all cases in a searchable manner, while preserving privacy and security in non-public cases
- Assign each case a unique public identifier for the purpose of public visibility
- Allow limited data collection on basic statistics about the use of this tool, for the purposes of reporting out information about UCoC enforcement to the general public, in keeping with our principles of minimal data collection and respect for the privacy of our community members
Individuals charged with enforcing the UCoC are not required to use this tool and may continue to work with whatever tools they deem necessary or most appropriate, provided that they allow cases to be handled or created according to the same principles of ease-of-use, privacy and anonymity, flexibility in processing, and transparent documentation.
Recommendations for local enforcement structures
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. If the local enforcement structure is stricter than the following baseline in a particular case, we recommend following the existing local enforcement structure over this guideline. In order to make sure that enforcement of the UCoC remains consistent across the movement, we recommend the following baseline principles are applied when handling UCoC violations on the scale of an individual project.
Fairness in process
- Supportive conflict-of-interest policies that help admins or others determine when to abstain or disengage from a report when they are closely involved in the issue. In keeping with existing Wikimedia arbitration processes, arbitrators named in a dispute should recuse themselves from the case.
Transparency of process
- Existing communities and/or the Wikimedia Foundation should provide documentation on the severity of different, common kinds of harassment that can be used to map onto different outcomes. This would aid in supporting administrators or other enforcement bodies to use these recommendations to self-determine appropriate severity
Wikimedia projects and affiliates, when possible, should maintain pages outlining policies and enforcement mechanisms in line with the UCoC policy text. Projects and affiliates with existing guidelines or policies in contradiction to the UCoC policy text should discuss changes to conform with global community standards. Updating or creating new local policies should be done in a way that does not conflict with the UCoC. Projects and affiliates may request advisory opinions from the U4C about potential new policies or guidelines.
Individuals who have been found to have violated the UCoC should have the possibility of appeal.
An action by an individual advanced rights holder should be appealable to a local or shared collective decision body other than U4C (such as an ArbCom). If no such collective decision-making body exists, then an appeal to the U4C can be permissible. Aside from this arrangement, local communities may allow appeals to a different individual advanced rights holder.
Appeals are not possible in following cases:
- for vandalizing IPs, spam-only accounts, and similar cases
- for light sanctions (under 2 weeks ban)
- against a decision made by a Project’s community except if there is a suspicion of abuse of power or a systematic issue;
- against a decision of a high level decision making body except if referred by that body
- against certain decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation Legal Team based on conflicting legal obligations
Deciding appeals by U4C and community bodies
The decision should be based on following factors:
- The severity of the initial breach of the UCoC;
- Any prior history of UCoC violations on the part of the individuals involved;
- The severity of sanctions against the person engaging in a UCoC violation;
- The impact and harm caused by the UCoC violation to specific individuals, classes of editors, and to the project as a whole;
- The length of time since the breach occurred;
- Contextual analysis of the breach as well as current state may be considered on a case by case basis;
- The suspicion of an abuse of power; and
- The suspicion of a systemic issue.
UCoC Coordinating Committee (U4C)
A new global committee called the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C) will be formed. This committee will be a peer body with other high level decision making bodies (e.g. ArbComs and AffCom), and intended to be a final alternative in the case of systematic failures by local bodies to enforce the Universal Code of Conduct.
The Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee monitors reports of breaches of the UCoC, may engage in additional investigations and will take actions to where appropriate. The U4C will regularly monitor and assess the state of enforcement of the Code and may suggest suitable changes to UCoC to the Wikimedia Foundation and the community for consideration. When necessary, the U4C will assist the Wikimedia Foundation in handling cases.
The Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee:
- handles complaints and appeals in certain circumstances as outlined below, as well as performs any investigations necessary to resolve them;
- provides resources for best practices for community adherence to the UCoC, such as but not limited to training materials and clarifying escalatory pathways;
- together with high level decision making bodies and communities, provides a final interpretation of this document "UCoC Enforcement Guidelines" and the UCoC itself whenever ambiguity arises;
- develop a self-evaluation / reflective process on decisions and procedures to support better decision making and processing of cases;
- monitors and assesses the effectiveness of UCoC enforcement in practice and suggests changes amendments to the UCoC enforcement guidelines to align with future needs and concerns, with input from the Wikimedia Foundation and the broader community – makes suggestions to the Wikimedia Foundation and the community for changes to this document "UCoC Enforcement Guidelines" and the UCoC itself.
The U4C may not on its own:
- change this document "UCoC Enforcement Guidelines" or the UCoC itself;
- create regulations that contradict this document "UCoC Enforcement Guidelines" or the UCoC itself, or circumvent those in any way;
The U4C will not take cases that involve employer-employee relations disputes, general disagreements between the WMF and its affiliates, or any matter that does not relate to the violations of the Universal Code of Conduct, and its enforcement.
There are some limitations on the cases that can be escalated to the U4C for review.
The U4C shall have jurisdiction for final decision making:
- Where no local structure exists to address a complaint;
- Where local structures are unable to handle a case;
- Where local structures themselves decide to escalate a case to the U4C committee for final decision making;
- For severe systematic issues, that cannot be handled by existing enforcement structures, such as, but not limited to, cases of local structures counteracting the UCoC, UCoC violations spanning multiple Wikimedia communities or projects, or cases involving a large number of individuals. The U4C itself or the U4C building committee will impose detailed rules for acceptance of such cases.
- Where the case is referred to the U4C by the Wikimedia Foundation and accepted at the U4C’s discretion
The U4C may delegate its final decision making authority except in instances of severe system issues.
The U4C will also:
- Help local structures with the Universal Code of Conduct. This may include
- suggestion of best practices
- advice and consultation
- assisting a local structure in setting up a high level decision making body
- Provide reports to the global community and the WMF Board, no less than once a year, on UCoC enforcement, details of reporting will be decided by the U4C Building committee
- Suggest changes to the UCoC and to UCoC enforcement
- Act as non-exclusive community liaison with the Wikimedia Foundation on the Universal Code of Conduct.
- Provide advice to local structures high level decision making bodies and communities when asked
Selection, membership, and roles
Voting members of the committee will be selected annually in elections organized and run by the community. Candidates must:
- Meet the Wikimedia Foundation's criteria for access to nonpublic personal data and confirm in their election statement they will fully comply with the criteria; and
- Not be sanctioned in any Wikimedia project or have an event ban;
- Comply with the UCoC; and
- Meet any other eligibility requirements determined by the election process.
Members of the U4C will sign a non-disclosure agreement to provide them access to nonpublic information.
In exceptional circumstances, the U4C may call interim elections, in a format similar to that of the regular annual elections, if it determines that resignations or inactivity have created an immediate need for additional members.
The Wikimedia Foundation may appoint up to two non-voting members of the Committee.
The U4C may form subcommittees or designate individuals for particular tasks or roles as appropriate.
Membership in the U4C shall be open to any Wikimedia Movement community member in good standing. The U4C’s membership should be reflective of the global and diverse makeup of our global community.
Individual members of the U4C do not have to resign from other mandates (eg. local sysop, member of ArbCom, event safety coordinator), but they may not participate in processing cases they have been involved in as result of their other mandates.
The U4C will decide on how often it should convene and on other procedures. The U4C may create or modify their procedures as long as it is with-in their scope. Where appropriate, the Committee should invite community comment on intended changes prior to implementing them.
Policy and precedent
The U4C does not create new policy and may not amend or change the Universal Code of Conduct. The U4C instead applies and enforces the UCoC as defined by its scope.
While the Committee will typically take into account its earlier decisions when deciding new cases, previous decisions do not create precedent. As community policies, guidelines and norms evolve over time, previous decisions will be taken into account only to the extent that they remain relevant in the current context.
U4C Building Committee
Following ratification of the UCoC enforcement guidelines, the Wikimedia Foundation will facilitate a process to draft, in the form of a constitution, the remainder of the U4C process, handle any other logistics necessary to establish the U4C, and help facilitate the initial election procedures.
The Building committee will consist of volunteer movement members brought in through an open application process, affiliate staff volunteering for it and qualified Foundation staff based on specific skills (including legal experience, diversity & inclusion experience, and translatability expertise). Members will be selected by the Vice President of Community Resilience and Sustainability of the Wikimedia Foundation. Volunteer members for the committee will be respected community members with at least two of the following skills or traits:
- experience in policy drafting
- experience with the application of existing rules and policies on Wikimedia projects
- experience in cooperating online
- experience in collaborating in an international team
- participatory decision making
They will be selected as much as possible to also represent the diversity of our movement in respect to languages spoken, geography, gender, age, project size of their home wiki, and their roles within the Wikimedia movement.
The work of the U4C Building Committee will be ratified either by the Global Council or by a community process similar to the ratification of this document.
- Administrator (sysop or admin)
- See definition on Meta.
- Advanced rights holder
- user who holds administrative rights above typical editing permissions, generally elected through community processes or appointed by Arbitration Committees. This includes, as a non-exhaustive list: local sysops / administrators, functionaries, global sysops, stewards.
- Affiliations Committee or Affcom
- See definition on Meta.
- Arbitration Committee or ArbCom
- group of trusted users who serve as the final decision making body for some disputes. Each ArbCom's scope is defined by its community. An ArbCom may serve more than one project (e.g. Wikinews and Wikivoyage) and/or more than one language. For the purposes of these guidelines, this includes the Code of Conduct Committee for Wikimedia Technical Spaces and administrative panels.
- Refers to a project’s community. Decisions made by a project’s community are generally determined by consensus. See also: Project.
- Community body
- Any collective decision body other than the U4C (for example a local or shared ArbCom, or a panel of local sysops).
- Affecting more than one project. See also: Global.
- Event safety coordinator
- a person designated by the organizers of an in-person Wikimedia-affiliated event as responsible for that event’s safety and security.
- Referring to all Wikimedia projects.
- Global sysops
- See definition on Meta.
- High level decision making body
- A group (i.e. U4C, ArbCom, Affcom) beyond which there can be no appeal. Different issues may have different high level decision making bodies. This term does not include a body of users participating in a discussion organized at a noticeboard and resulting in a decision, even if the results of that discussion cannot be appealed.
- Referring to a single Wikimedia project.
- A formal process led by a mediator that attempts to resolve an issue without formal sanctions. The structure for mediation may be different in different places.
- Officer of a Wikimedia affiliate
- Any person in a decision-making role for any Wikimedia affiliate or who represents that affiliate.
- Private wiki
- A wiki not hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation.
- Project (Wikimedia project)
- A wiki operated by the WMF.
- Systematic issue
- An issue for which there is a pattern of failing to follow the Universal Code of Conduct with participation of several people, particularly such with advanced rights.
- See definition on Meta.
- Related space hosted on third party platforms
- Websites, including private wikis, not operated by the WMF but where users discuss project matters relevant to Wikimedia. Often moderated by Wikimedia volunteers.