- 1. How is the UCoC related to other Movement Strategy initiatives and consultations, for example the Movement Charter?
- The UCoC is a key initiative from the Wikimedia 2030 community conversations and strategy process. The third recommendation from the Movement Strategy discussions was to provide for safety and inclusion within the communities and creating a code of conduct was rated the highest-priority initiative of this recommendation. There have been Global Conversations being held in parallel with the Universal Code of Conduct consultations for other Movement Strategy initiatives such as the Movement Charter.
- 2. On what basis were the communities selected for local consultations?
- The communities for the Phase 1 local language consultations were selected based on several factors, including the rate of growth and the state of local conduct policies. More information on the process for Phase 1 is available here. The availability of qualified local language facilitators was also a practical consideration.
- Like Phase 1, numerous factors guided the selection of communities for Phase 2. The first was data on the existing enforcement infrastructure of different language Wikimedia projects with respect to local policies. The facilitators have been chosen to represent communities with varied levels of existing enforcement, so as to bring in diverse perspectives. The availability of qualified facilitators and aspirations of wide geographic coverage also played a part.
- 3. Has the Wikimedia Foundation announced that the UCoC will apply to all Wikimedia projects and spaces?
- 4. Will the UCoC and its supporting documentation be available in all languages?
- The UCoC project team will work to translate all major documentation and announcements into as many languages as possible using a combination of agency and volunteer translation. This is a large effort that will take time, and we cannot do it alone. We encourage volunteers who would like to translate materials, or who would like translations made available in a new language, to email ucocprojectwikimedia.org. While it is not possible to translate all materials into all languages, we are committed to enabling broad participation in the UCoC process across languages.
- 5. In case of translation discrepancies or conflicts of interpretation, which language version of the draft will be considered the official version?
- The UCoC team has been working to publish as many translations of the UCoC policy, enforcement guidelines, and related pages, as possible. However, translations are imperfect, and we use a number of strategies (paid agency, volunteer, staff, etc.) to complete translations, which each have their own challenges with accuracy. Communities are encouraged to help us identify and correct the discrepancies, and asked to be understanding that fixing discrepancies takes time. Until the process is complete, the English version will be the official version.
- 6. What are the plans for the enforcement of the UCoC, such as who is responsible for enforcing it?
- As per the directives from the Foundation’s Board of Trustees (Board, or BoT), enforcement is the focus of the second phase of the project, which began after the final draft version of the UCoC was approved by the Board and announced on 2 February, 2021. This means that Wikimedia communities will determine how the UCoC will be applied, interpreted, and enforced at the local level. All affected parties and communities are encouraged to actively participate in the discussion to seek compatibility with existing community practices, policies, and procedures. Finally, the UCoC and its enforcement strategies are meant to serve as a baseline across the movement. Individual project communities are still encouraged to develop their own behavior codes on top of this effort.
- 7. How would a UCoC violation be handled in real life, for example, at Foundation or Wikimedia affiliate events where the Friendly Space Policy is also applicable? Which policy would take precedence?
- As the UCoC provides a minimal set of guidelines, local policies should always be consulted first and enacted as they apply. This is true for events the same way it is true for behavior on any Wikimedia project. The UCoC is only meant to be applied in cases where local policies or enforcement mechanisms are not sufficient to address the issues at hand.
- 8. Would private reporting of UCoC violations be contrary to the free and transparent Wikimedia community culture (where everyone, for example, can see the page history)?
- It is already the case that reports are accepted in private for a number of reasons, such as those that require the disclosure or suppression of personally-identifying information, threats of harm, and other sensitive issues. Such reports are regularly submitted to Trust and Safety/Legal, Stewards, CheckUsers, Oversighters, Arbitration Committees, and other functionaries. A significant number of participants have expressed reluctance to report harassment in public venues, as this may result in further hostility. An important consideration in Phase 2 was exploring the need to balance transparency with the duty to protect victims of harassment.
- 9. What kind of support would the Foundation provide to those responsible for enforcing the UCoC?
- The Foundation is committed to supporting the UCoC through all stages of its development: policy drafting, consultations on enforcement, and then ensuring enforcement pathways operate well. There are already some steps being taken to make sure the implementation of the UCoC is successful. This includes providing support for those who could be responsible for enforcing the UCoC. For example, the Foundation’s Community Development team has launched online training pilot programs. As we better understand community needs through our Phase 2 consultations, we will have a better understanding of the types of support to prioritize.
- 10. Will there be periodic reviews and amendments of the UCoC once it is formed? If yes, who will be responsible for doing that?
- Yes. The Foundation’s Legal Department will host a review of the UCoC and the Enforcement Guidelines one year after ratification of the Enforcement Guidelines. Succeeding reviews may be facilitated by emerging governance structures such as those recommended by the Movement Strategy process.
- 11. Who will review the policies in the future if an urgent need for change arises?
Conflict with local policies
- 12. What happens if local policies are in conflict with the UCoC?
- After the acceptance of the UCoC by the Board, all Wikimedia communities will be encouraged to look at their existing policies to ensure they fulfill the UCoC expectations. Communities can go beyond the UCoC and develop more elaborate policies, but they should ensure that their local policies do not fall below the basic standard set by the UCoC. If needed, communities and the Foundation can work together to harmonize policies. The Foundation will be available to assist until the project is completed.
- 13. Will the UCoC also apply to projects that already have local policies and guidelines?
- The UCoC aims to create the most basic standards for conduct across the movement. Projects with well-developed policies typically meet or exceed the UCoC expectations and in general will not have to make many changes to local policies in order to adhere to the global policy.
- 14. Each Wikimedia project has its own behavioral guidelines and policies written by the users of that project based on their needs. Is the UCoC going to change these guidelines and policies?
- The UCoC is not meant to replace existing, effective behavioral standards. Rather, the UCoC will work as a basic standard for all projects, particularly those projects that have few or no existing behavioral standards. Communities can use the UCoC to develop more culturally appropriate norms or to adjust existing guidelines as needed.
- 15. What if UCoC does not 100% meet our community needs?
- The UCoC will most certainly not meet all community needs. Also, the UCoC is very likely to evolve in the future. Communities are encouraged to build their own policies on top of it. For example, the UCoC may say, “You should focus on what is best not only for you as an individual editor, but also for the Wikimedia community as a whole.” This is very broad. Many Wikimedia projects already have much more detailed policies on how to handle issues like this, such as Conflicts of Interest. If your project does not have one, such a sentence in the UCoC would be the fallback rule for any conflicts arising on this topic. But the UCoC could also be a good reminder to develop a more detailed policy around this or other topics.
- 16. How is the UCoC going to fit into all cultural contexts?
- The UCoC may not fit into all cultural contexts, but the drafters have worked to make it as inclusive as possible. The UCoC team did outreach to communities with different cultures and took their feedback. The drafting committee considered those inputs while creating the draft. If you see more cultural gaps in the draft, kindly bring that to our attention on the main talk page of the Universal Code of Conduct, and these issues may be included in the first or subsequent annual reviews.
Involvement of the Wikimedia Foundation
- 19. Why is the Wikimedia Foundation involved in this policy?
- The Wikimedia Foundation was requested by the Board of Trustees to support the process. On the recommendations advanced by community members in the Movement Strategy process, the UCoC was written by a committee comprised of both volunteers and Foundation staff.
- 20. What would be the ‘actual’ action from the Wikimedia Foundation if someone has violated the UCoC?
- 21. Will the UCoC be subject to a vote?
- The main policy text of the UCoC was ratified by the Board of Trustees in February 2021, and is an active policy. The Enforcement Guidelines for the UCoC will go through a ratification process in 2023, reflecting requests for such a process in an open letter to the Board of Trustees by Wikimedia project Arbitrators in April of 2021.
- 22. What do the UCoC Enforcement guidelines consist of?
- The UCoC Enforcement guidelines consist of preventive work (promoting UCoC awareness, recommending UCoC training, among others) and responsive work (detailing a process for filing, processing reported violations, providing resources for reported violations, designating enforcement actions for violations…) that are intended to help community members coordinate well together with processes that are fair and equitable across communities to provide the safest working environment for all.
- 23. How often will the guidelines be updated with changes?
- Both the policy text and guidelines will have periodic reviews, including within a year of implementation.
- 24. Who will oversee the UCoC?
- The Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee, known as the U4C. The U4C will monitor reports of breaches of the UCoC and may engage in additional investigations and will take actions 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 U4C can’t change the UCoC, handle disagreements between the Foundation and its affiliates, create rules that circumvent or disregard the UCoC, or act on any matter that doesn’t relate to the UCoC or its enforcement.
- 25. How will the U4C interact with other decision-making bodies such as arbitration committees?
- The U4C is meant to stand in as a final decision-making body where no higher level decision-making body exists (such as communities without an arbitration committee or other similar process), or a place where higher decision-making bodies forward cases. The U4C will also function as a decision making body for severe systematic issues that cannot be handled by existing enforcement structures.
- 26. How will the U4C be formed?
- The Drafting Committee has advocated for the creation of the U4C Building Committee. The U4C Building Committee will be comprised of community members that will work with the Foundation to create a process to establish the U4C.