Jump to content

Universal Code of Conduct/Functionary consultations/October 2021

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Universal Code of Conduct


The enforcement draft guidelines review is scheduled to end 17 October 2021. Following the community input period, the drafting committee will make further changes. This meeting is for arbitration committee members, functionaries, administrators, and community members of all projects to discuss the next steps in the Universal Code of Conduct process. The agenda will include a discussion about processes for practical implementation and community ratification or approval of the outlined enforcement pathways. Those unable to attend can participate in other formats.

Meeting details[edit]

The meeting is scheduled for 7 October 2021 18:00 UTC.

The meeting is expected to last between 90 and 120 minutes.

The meeting link is here.

Post-meeting summary[edit]

These notes were prepared using the public Etherpad, so some thoughts and opinions that were shared may be missing. Please feel free to comment on the talk page with any additions or clarifications.

The meeting was attended by around 25 participants who provided insights and perspectives from over a dozen different projects and languages. Constructive discussions were held in three separate breakout rooms and the highlights of those discussions were shared among the group.

Detailed input will be included in digests for use by the drafting committee, which has resumed regular meetings.

Participants provided input on the escalation pathways, practical considerations of the work or actions the "U4C" may reasonably undertake, and how local projects should be allowed to decide how they enforce the UCoC. Input was provided on potential ways to improve reporting pathways (such as a central handling facility with automated and experienced editors helping users navigate dispute resolution pathways, and a tool to help generate useful reports), while a concern was raised about the potential for an overwhelming number of reports or processes that would overwhelm capacity.

Many participants felt the principle of subsidiarity should be observed wherever possible, except in bright-line instances, while the concern was expressed that some reports simply do not get handled in any meaningful way such that contributors who submit reports that do not get handled appropriately will feel excluded from participating due to the harassment not being addressed. The belief was shared by numerous participants that overriding local processes would render them ineffective and discourage volunteer participation.

A participant felt that the body would lack effective enforcement mechanisms, and wondered where their duties would begin and end. Concerns were raised about the potential for private reporting pathways to affect transparency, and a reported user's right to be heard. There was some agreement that a report that may have traditionally been required to start in public could start in private, though unless it warranted private handling, the reporting user would be given the choice to either engage the usual pathway or understand that if they wish the report to remain private that it may not result in any sanction being applied to the actor.

A participant felt that some of the guidelines seemed inspired by English Wikipedia and wondered how it could be implemented in other platforms that work differently. It was pointed out that not all projects and potential venues where the UCoC is applied are alike, so practical application would look different on a large project with an arbcom versus one without, as well as differently on medium- and small-sized projects, less active projects, and in-person and online spaces, especially in regards to in-person and affiliate engagements. It was felt that the global body should only intervene on established communities where there has been a case of systemic failure, or if the local community requests intervention.

A concern was shared from the perspective of smaller communities that already have participants actively modelling the appropriate behaviour expected of participants: in such projects, adding rigid bureaucratic processes may be counterproductive or even harmful to community functioning. A participant felt that medium-sized communities lack ways and means to solve complex problems. Another participant felt that communities without an arbcom or equivalent should either create one (perhaps shared with other projects) or utilize the new global body so that everyone has a functional private reporting method.

From a larger project perspective, a participant felt it would be easy to adapt the previously uncovered UCoC expectations to be covered by local policy, and another that most of the expectations were already present and covered by an arbitration committee. A concern was expressed that some of the expectations would generate abusive reports that sought to advance a political objective, rather than resolve an actual dispute. Another concern was that most conduct complaints have traditionally been handled by the community as a whole, so moving to a private system would not be possible to do at scale responsibly (for example, even a panel of 3 admins handling a complaint in private is not equivalent to having a complaint heard by a well-functioning arbitration committee).

One suggestion was to monitor anonymous surveys from contributors on projects to see if they are comfortable with the conduct on the project. Publishing aggregate data would then allow the community to act when they see participant safety suffering, and if the situation worsens and remains unaddressed, would provide evidence of potential systemic failure.

The participants also had the opportunity to discuss possible approaches to ratification. The Board of Trustees has asked Foundation staff to explore this topic, and participants and communities have been asking about a way to ratify the guidelines. There was a suggestion for a "pre-ratification", a lighter weight process that would return the document for further changes. A participant suggested that communities could be asked to adapt to the new guidelines, and then later reflect on whether the guidelines are acceptable.

Most participants seemed to think ratification was a necessary step. A participant felt contributors from communities that were not locally consulted in earlier phases may still be reluctant to support or enforce a universal code at this point (instead relying on the existing local policies). It was pointed out the impact on smaller communities of the new guidelines may feel more impactful than on projects where similar processes were already in place. To help with this, it was suggested to ensure any ratification was held in as many languages as possible. A participant suggested separate votes could be held on both sections of the code. There was a suggestion that participants could explain why they supported or did not support the guidelines during a vote.

Information about signing up[edit]

This is an open meeting that any community member in good standing is welcome to attend.

Former rights holders are welcome to provide input as well.


Please sign up below. You can add your projects, languages spoken/preferred, and other current or former user groups beside your signature.

Stewards and Global Sysops
Small Wiki Monitoring Team

Unable to attend[edit]

If you are unable to attend as scheduled, you can specify your preferences below.

Able to attend a meeting at a different time (specify timings)
Available to respond in another format
Decline (other reason)