Universal Code of Conduct/Initial 2020 Consultations/Russian, Bashkir, and Tatar

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Universal Code of Conduct

About the community[edit]

Russian Wikipedia was created in 2001, but active work in it began in 2003 when 100 articles were written in the project. From that moment, the active involvement of volunteers in the project began.

In total, over 2 million 700 thousand users are registered in the Russian Wikipedia, from which approximately 13 thousand users are active editors of the project. The project is controlled by 83 administrators. Despite the greater number of active editors and administrators, there are only 4 bureaucrats in Russian Wikipedia.

In total, there are more than 6 million pages in Russian Wikipedia out of which, a million and 620 thousand pages are articles that are in the main space of the project. The total number of edits is approximately 106.5 million. The depth (or editing depth of Wikipedia; is one of several possible rough indicators of the encyclopedia's collaborative quality, showing how frequently its articles are updated) of the project is 137.

In terms of the growth rate of articles on Russian Wikipedia, the first ten years were fast, but in recent years, the rate has slowed down.


In the largest Russian-language Wikimedia project, Russian Wikipedia, the rules are periodically reviewed for improvement. The discussions about the proposed changes take place on the policy discussion page and the existing policies are then updated accordingly. In many aspects, all policies relating to behavioural match to the English Wiki version, but some of them have strong differences: for example, there is no separate article on sexual harassment in the policy of ethical behaviour, which is in the English version of this policy.

Participation on the basis of gender identities

In general, all Russian Wikipedia policies are well developed and comply with all ethical behaviour standards. If we compare the rules of Russian Wikipedia with the rules of English Wikipedia, we can identify that the rules are sufficiently developed so that the community can quickly respond and block problems. These rules can be actively used to eliminate unacceptable acts that are contrary to community rules. All behavioural policies were created and adopted in 2004-2008 when the Russian Wikipedia and the Russian WikiCommunity began to actively develop. Comparing the policy of English Wikipedia and the policy of Russian Wikipedia, we can conclude that the policies of Russian Wikipedia were largely rewritten from the English Wikipedia, but with strong changes. In Russian Wikipedia, all the rules are adopted, including behavioural. For example, we will not see a separate mention of sexual harassment, or attacks on newcomers.

Policies were mostly created and written by administrators of RuWiki. But the discussions regarding the same also involved active editors of Russian Wikipedia and editors with special rights, these include patrollers, administrators and etc.

The situations in the Bashkir and Tatar Wikipedia, the two Wikipedias that relate to the Russian-speaking community (autonomous republics of Russia), are quite different.  There are no specific behaviour policies in these Wikipedias. Existing general rules are translated from Russian Wikipedia, but I couldn’t find information about their adoption and implementation, as well as about how often they are used.

Facilitation process[edit]

The consultation process about the universal code of conduct (UCoC) with the Russian community began on March 17, when I posted a message about the project in village pump of Russian, Tatar, Bashkir Wikipedia, as well as on village pump of Russian Wikinews. In addition, I wrote about the process in the Telegram chat of Wikimedia Russia (https://t.me/wikimediaru) and encouraged everyone to take part in it.

Participation on the basis of rights

In the first two weeks, the Russian community actively discussed and left feedback on the UCoC, but by the end of March, the activities had subsided; in just two weeks, approximately 35 feedbacks had been collected. The main discussion platform was a special Meta-Wiki page.

In addition to writing a message about the UCoC on local Wikipedias and calling for discussion there, I did it on different social networking platforms, including Telegram chat and Facebook. In addition, I called on some individuals and affiliate members to participate in the discussion in personal correspondence, which ultimately increased the number of feedbacks.

After we were given extra time to collect feedback, in the last week I began to directly contact representatives (leaders) of affiliates, representing the Russian community. I contacted representatives of 8 affiliates and received a response from 7 affiliates (WMRU, Don Wikimedians, St. Petersburg UG, Tatar UG, Bashkir UG, North-West Russian Wiki-Historian UG, North Caucasus UG).

Community’s feedback[edit]

The majority of those participating in discussions on Wikimedia platforms are against creating a UCoC. Out of 44 feedbacks, 16 are against creation, 8 support the creation of code, 2 are neutral on the issue and all the others gave evasive answers, but it can be assumed from their answers that they are also against creation. It should be noted that all users who were against the creation of the code wrote this in discussions on Wikimedia platforms. Only three people wrote in these discussions that they supported the creation of a code of conduct. Most of those who support the creation of UCoC expressed their opinion through surveys, and these people are not only active editors of Wikimedia projects but also representatives of user groups and Wikimedia chapters. By this, we can say that people who support the creation of the code didn’t want to conflict with people who don’t want it and thereby harm their activities on Wikimedia platforms.

Community Feedback

The main arguments of the people who support the idea of creating a Universal Code of Conduct are:

  • Minority protection (LGBT community and black people)
  • To protect users, it is also necessary to create a body that will control this.
  • Protection of newbies.
  • Protecting users from the arbitrariness of administrators.

The main arguments of opposers of the creation of the code are:

  • Inadmissibility of total control by WMF.
  • Fram case.
  • Inadmissibility of majority\minority management. (means supervising employees of WMF (minority) over the community (majority))
  • No trust in the T&S team.
  • There are local rules and there is no need for UCoC.
  • Low competence of WMF managers.
  • Lack of transparency in UCoC preparation.
  • They think that people from Western (meaning Europe) countries and from the United States attack the cultural values of others and how the WMF risks losing the strata of participants.
  • This will give rise to prosecution of editors, and contribute to the loss of editors from prosecution.
  • Fear that the creators of the code include non-universal principles in the code.

Important stories[edit]

During my facilitation, I encountered two problems, specifically representatives of some affiliations didn’t write their position despite my appeals and officials and leaders of some groups (chapter) didn’t want to participate in public discussions or didn’t participate in discussions at all (even using confidential surveys).

Some leaders of User Groups (and Wikimedia Russia) refused to publicly leave feedback on the UCoC, and some didn’t respond to my request to do so with the help of a confidential survey. In the case of the leaders of Wikimedia Russia, the reason is clear for this, representatives of Wikimedia Ru don't want to conflict with the admin majority of Russian Wikipedia, who are against this initiative since Russian Wikipedia is the main area of the organization’s work. But despite this, one of the leaders of affiliation nevertheless filled out a confidential survey and provided us with the organization’s position on the issue of the code, where they supported the idea of creating a code of conduct. By this, we can assume that people who support the idea of creating a code, because of the pressure of the admin corps of Wikipedia, cannot publicly fix their position freely, because of a possible conflict.


Most of the participants in the discussions and surveys on the code of conduct were men, which is about 70.5 percent of all participants, which is 31 people. 10 users were not identified by gender.

Unfortunately, the female representatives were the least active in the discussions, only 3 women took part in the process. Most participants had at least one right on Wikimedia projects. So out of 44 participants, 11 were administrators (in Russian Wikipedia, Wikinews or in Wikivoyage), and 28 others with other rights (patrol, trusted and etc.).

The whole process went without serious problems, but it should be noted that the Russian community, and in particular the community of Russian Wikipedia, is sometimes critical of the Wikimedia Foundation, and its employees and representatives.

Comments indicate that some members of the Russian Wikipedia community are not supportive of sexual minorities and are somewhat homophobic, as indicated by their attitude to the mention of minority protection in the code of conduct.

At the moment, we can say that part of the Russian Wikipedia community doesn't want to see a code of conduct, but part of the community and affiliates support and want to see a code of conduct.