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Universal Code of Conduct/Initial 2020 Consultations/Japanese

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Universal Code of Conduct


Japanese Wikipedia was created on May 11, 2001. It has 1,629,728 editors of which 15,024 are active (Total: 11,770/896,749 in 2014). The number of admins is 37 (52 in 2014);

The total number of articles in Japanese Wikipedia is 1,204,352. And the depth of the projects is 83.

The Japanese community usually works in isolation without much interaction from either the Foundation or with other communities. They don’t like to be bothered by peer responses when they post on Village Pumps. To be earmarked as a supporter of WMF is not considered to be an advantage in the community and it attracts unwanted attention by opponents and admins alike.

Those who comment publicly on Jawp Village Pump are predominantly male with longer editing experience. It was brought to my attention that new editors do not usually engage in discussions on the Village pump. If they need to be approached, it is best done through the Teahouse. No Arbitration Committee exists on Jawp which could advise where to find outliers.

  • WMF needs to prepare relevant links on Meta translated into ja _before_ announcing RfC. Whereas facilitator has translated 70% of those pages to encourage the community to participate, members of the Japanese community found unsatisfactory that they expect 100% of linked documents available in the Japanese language.
  • Community members did not talk about their concerns over harassment cases from how you protect the victim, but on how you can judge correctly if an editor claiming as a harassed is telling the truth, or not trying to manipulate and gain support from higher-ups (WMF), whenever they are accused of spamming Jawp. There are editors who seek a better system for Anti-vandalism measures.
  • No response from those who think they were harassed and wish to change the situation. Instead, a commenter noted at least those who frequent Village Pump on Jawp are survivors of such adverse experience.

Status of behavioural policies in the community

Jawp has two categories for behavioural policies as Code of Conduct Category:利用者の行動のルール (Q18722403) (14 items), and Building Consensus Category:ウィキペディアでの合意形成 (Q4654763) (8 items). There is a set of ten (10) Code of user conducts guidelines (Category:利用者の行動についてのガイドライン) (Q7664648).

Facilitation process

I reached out to the community through multiple mediums. Including but not limited to:

  • Jawp: RfC at Village Pump;
  • Commons, Wikisource: Announcement on Village Pump at invited to Meta main discussion page;
  • Wikidata: Wikimailed to editors, who are generally active on the Village Pump;
  • Twitter and Facebook: Social network message via contact, Tweeted to admins/active editors: Facebook post on private board for admins via a contact;
  • Facebook Messenger: Non-Wikimedians, announcement to facilitator’s private acquaintances.

Response Rate

The response rate varied according to the channel of communication used. The response rates were:

  • Village Pump: 10
  • WikiGap contacts: 3; response: 2
  • Art+Feminism contacts: 2 (organisers), reply 0 via wikimail
  • Commons, contacts: 1; response: 1
  • Wikisource contacts: 1; response: 1
  • Wikidata contacts: 1 via wikimail; response 0
  • Non-Wikipedians on Facebook: contacts: 12; response:1

Since the number of responses was not satisfactory, I tried the following additional methods to engage more community members in the conversation-

  • Jawp Village Pump: paraphrased each commenter’s input and posted to confirm; updated with due date;
  • Jawp Village Pump: Non-native speakers were invited to Meta and a subpage, meta: Discussions/Japanese language/en;
  • Commons, Wikisource: Announced on VP included a sentence noting they can reply via Wikimail privately, followed up with updated note informing due date at:
  • Twitter hashtag #jawp; requested a contact to announce UCoC consultation needs more response; 2 likes, 3 shares;
  • Facebook private group: posted on the group via a contact and announced to admins UCoC consultation needs more response;
  • Facebook Messenger: contacted non-Wikipedian academics, shifted to e-mail and requested to introduce the facilitator (me) to someone who edits Wikipedia from personal contacts.

Outreach to Affiliates/ other groups

  • Jawp: Asking for thoughts on Village Pump, followed up with WP: Announce and updated with due date; discussion continued; invited non-native Japanese users in general to Meta at a subpage, meta: Discussions/Japanese language/en;
  • Commons: announcement on VP and invited to Meta discussion page; Wikimailed to editors but they preferred to comment on jawp instead;
  • Wikisource: Made announcement on Village Pump, updated with due date; one commenter noted they are from Wikisource;
  • Wikidata: Wikimailed to an editor frequently advising on Village Pump; no reply:
  • Twitter and Facebook: Tweeted to admins/active editors and Facebook post on private board for admins via WikiGLAM contact;
  • Facebook: announcement to facilitator’s private acquaintances via Messenger.

Community’s feedback

Jawp and UCoC: Jawp community holds satisfactory sets of behavioural codes, and thinks that the idea of UCoc will be good for non-Japanese communities. But some community members gave useful suggestions for UCoC. One user said that UCoC should not have a very long list of rules. They said “minimize the number/definition of codes applied universally. Thinking about how varied our projects on the Movement have become, it would be wise not to elaborate too much, or local projects will have a hard time localizing them.”

Another user said that UCoC should not have any policy that can be misunderstood in different cultural settings. The user said, “When any code is OK in the Japanese culture, it does not mean it is universally acceptable, or you have to bend the default policies and guidelines local communities have established.”

In addition to the feedback listed above, there were some outlier responses:

  • Legal support for court petitions: When UCoC is implemented, WMF could support Japanese speaking community or admins in particular better, so that legal actions will be an option to ban very long term vandals; under Japanese court law, Jawp is not classified as an entity to file a damage claim against vandals itself.
  • Masking privacy of ex-offenders: When UCoC is discussed, it is advised that the Jawp community would rethink their policy for masking private data of ex-offenders; the current Jawp policy supports a particular Japan’s Supreme Court case.
  • Community feedback
    Gender fairness should be noted in the UCoC, while cultural context needs to be respected/handled with care or communities might backfire and would say they don’t have anything to do with gender gap/sexist attitude. For example, “Maiden release/voyage” is a term which is imported into many cultures. One gender-conscious user pointed out discomfort/sensitivity against such terms as "virgin" or "maiden", that in general tends to be used in sexist points of view.

Positive feedback on UCoC

The Japanese community believes that language communities that do not have good conduct policies or are struggling to manage harassment, without a full set of CoCs of their own, might benefit from a universal code of conduct. Any such strategy of harassment cases can be shared with all language communities.

Concerns about UCoC

The idea of a UCoC bothers Ja Village Pump frequenters that they will end up reviewing all those Policies and Guidelines to study and “mend” any mismatch between Jawp and UCoC. They are dreadful to imagine the workload that UCoC would force on the Jawp community. (Jawp VP community doesn’t feel they lack any conduct policies nor thinks that the local CoC needs to be influenced by that universal standard.) Thus they advise that UCoC will not be detailed.

Stories that stand out:

1.) Articles for Deletion (AfD) saw a biography article deleted per Point of View/Neutrality, and a voting editor commented that they might expand the subject and restart the article from bio to the history of a town. The case was an unfortunate example in two folds: #1 AfD made the community lose new editors and #2 how AfD cases can channel beginner editors/fair intended users to learn CoC of that community. On the bright side, that AfD made it possible to:

  • Have the first author of the article discover reliable sources, while it was believed anything had survived the 1995 major earthquake which burnt down libraries and private archives in the area;
  • Shared the idea there is a town which actually played a significant economic/industrial role to back up the success of Kobe city since 1910s-, which heritage has almost extinct with 1995 Kobe Quake;
  • The voting editor shares the first author’s urge that the local heritage/memory be lost very soon, as weak economy well into the 2010s forced extensive renovation of the town; demolished were those visual icons survived 1995 big fire during Kobe Quake, such as old red lantern quarters or old shoe factories.  
  • The AfD case shows us how a beginner author was not supported by jawp community. Wiki jargons were used which is handy for longtime users of jawp, but not helpful for the first author, thus needed to ask many more questions. Discussion prolonged and made voting editors get irritated.
  • The beginner author has not learnt enough of jawp before posting an article for the first time. On the other hand, jawp lacks a Teahouse-type of the page where any question is handled with respect so that active beginners will be retained and they will learn and support more editors in the future.

2.) Privacy protection for ex-convicts: the Supreme Court of Japan supports the privacy of sentenced criminals, and which Jawp applies so that such writing is a target to be deleted. On the other hand, in manga articles on non-ja Wikipedia, if a manga artist sourced imagination/ motives to create their work per an actual criminal case, editors will add details of the crime, and when the manga is by a Japanese artist, Enwp editors show up on Talk_article page to inter-language linked pages. Their discussion to consult if any reliable source is available for discussion turns out not productive.

A statistical representation of the data

On-Wiki Discussion Off-Wiki (Other platforms) discussion One to one discussion
Places of on-wiki discussions No. of people participated Links/names of the off-wiki disc (Facebook/ Telegram/Others) No. of people participated medium (Calls/chat/personal meetup) No. of ppl contacted: No. of ppl responded
jawp Village Pump {{ja}} 7 GLAM editathon, Japanese novelist: 0 Wikimail 7 : 3
Meta: UCoc_Discussions/Japanese community 2 Facebook closed group for admins and Check Users/Bureaus: NA Facebook Messenger: private connections 12: 1
Ppl at 2019 WikiGap, Yokohama {{ja}} 0 Twitter hashtag #jawp: Retweet 2, Likes 3. Editors reached out to wikimail address NA: 2
total 9 total 0 total 6
Grand total 15


Jawp community thinks that UCoC will affect their existing policies and they are not quite motivated to advise what set of codes the newer language community, including non-Wikipedia community of Japanese language speakers, would benefit from.

However, there is a knowledge gap in the community. A number of new users are either often banned or leave Wikipedia as a result being accused of how they don’t follow/know of the Codes of Conduct (in terminology, Policy and Guideline as they are used at jawp). In my observation, it is partly because Jawp does not have a distinct page for beginners to learn good/bad conducts.

For harassment issues, outliers including novice editors have no place to ask for help or get oriented to. Even when they receive advice for the community it’s not in a simple form which confuses them more causing them to make mistakes leading to multiple reverts of their edits. A landing dashboard for beginners is worth a discussion, where they can learn both editing skills as well as codes of conduct. Admins could join the dashboard to hone their skills to evaluate user’s skills/comprehension of local CoC.  

For non-Wikipedia circles of editors among Japanese speakers, their hands are tied with maintenance works. It would be difficult for them to set CoC. It was noted that the Japanese community expects WMF to translate all the relevant material to the Japanese before announcing discussions. At the time of the facilitation, close to 70% of all the UCoC material was available in Japanese, however, the jawp community was not satisfied.

The initial negative reactions pointed out the proposal page is too theoretical and weak. Some members said that the available material does not give any focal point toward discussion. That might reflect a general frustration that the Japanese community holds against WMF with respect to any RFC/discussion. WMF needs to put in more efforts to effectively engage the Japanese community in discussions. This will happen when the Foundation will make an attempt to talk to the community in its local language as it did this time.

Other issues

The community pointed out that more tools are needed to pull out policy/guideline discussions from projects/languages. Cross-referencing policy/guideline discussions take time, and there needs to be more technical support. “Very few pages are translated into ja related to Coc, on MediaWiki or meta; I am translating some using my volunteer account.”