The Spanish Wikipedia was launched online on May 20th 2001. According to the statistics, Spanish Wikipedia has around 225 very active contributors (with 10 edits a day on average or more) and about 1050 sporadic contributors (2 edits a day on average or more). It receives some 35.7 million visits a day, which is around 413 per second and the 500 most visited articles receive more than 96,000 visits per month.
Among 209 languages, the Spanish Wikipedia occupies the number 9 position with more than 1,600,000 articles
Within the Spanish Wikipedia, the consultation on universal code of conduct was focussed on 2 sub-communities:
- Wikimedia Chile, a Wikimedia Chapter based in Chile. It was established in 2011.
- Iberocoop, a project aimed at linking together the local chapters and working groups looking to establish a chapter in the region, thus fostering collaboration and experience sharing. It was established in 2010.
Status of behavioural policies in the Spanish community
Spanish Wikipedia has a good number of policies for local governance. It has policies against making any personal attacks on fellow editors and policies on protecting new users. It has a combination of policies directly adopted from English Wikipedia and original Spanish Wikipedia policies. Compared to many other similar sized Wikipedia’s, Spanish Wikipedia has a fairly developed set of policies. The community doesn’t have bylaws about harassment, but Spanish Wikipedia uses its Village Pump to tell other users about harassment incidents. When a user writes something about harassment, administrators react depending on the severity of the matter. For example, there are users banned forever because their harassment was very rude over other users. There are some general “rules” written frequently in Villagepump: no personal attacks, be friendly, don’t bite the newbies and others like that.
Also, some Wikimedia regional chapters have “tools” for fighting harassment, for example, Wikimedia Chile has:
- Secure spaces training
- Collaboration with local authorities when they are doing big meetings like conferences
I reached out to the Spanish Wikipedia community through the Spanish Wikipedia Village Pump. From the Village pump, I found links to an IRC channel and a telegram group. Later, when I joined these groups (basically IRC and telegram) I contacted regional chapters like Wikimedia Chile, Wikipedia Venezuela and Iberocoop. I used the Village Pump page to write about UCoC. Unfortunately, few people participated in the discussion on the Village pump. I also used surveys to reach out to and engage more community members. Using surveys was a great way to get a lot of opinions about UCoC.
I also conducted meetings using google meetings with Wikimedia Chile along with some participants of Iberocoop from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, España, Venezuela and México.
Though only a few community members participated in the discussion through Village Pump post, the response from the Telegram channel was considerably good. Therefore, I tried to engage people from Telegram public channels more and scheduled more meetings. The approach was successful and resulted in me having a meeting with Wikimedia Chile and Ibercoop.
There was a good amount of positive feedback for the universal code of conduct with some of the community members outrightly saying that “We need it”, “It’s a great project” and “We congratulate these efforts, a CoC is an old longing”. But in addition to expressing support, some community members noted that UCoC needs to recognize different cultural contexts in any discussion. One participating member said UCoC needs to be like a “Constitution” so it needs to reflect principles and not details and another user said that it needs to recognize indigenous people.
Other suggestions included:
- UCoC needs to differentiate between digital harassment and physical harassment
- Wikipedia users don't know who to turn to in case of harassment. Thus, a UCoC should come with proper instructions on the process to be followed.
- UCoC needs people with knowledge about gender gap issues in the movement and harassment
Some community members highlighted that the Spanish community has not made any directed efforts to involve more women in the community. They demanded that the code of conduct must be feminist to be useful, it cannot be produced by people who do not have even a theoretical notion of such issues. Another outlier response highlighted that decisions about harassment need to be discussed by groups not with individuals.
Stories that stand out
- In a public event organized by a Wikimedia regional chapter, a woman activist was harassed and this situation required a big reflection by all the groups about what harassment was. Bylaws were developed as a result, women now know these tools to fight harassment and feel safer. New female editors in the community don’t always know about them. But generally, this helped to make women feel safer.
- One user said that the UCoC needs to talk in the same language where the incident is being originated. A Wikipedia activist talked about their participation in a Wikimania and how they felt “mute” because they could not speak English in a discussion on harassment. There was a translator involved, but this person did not translate all the nuances and only summarized very broadly what the input of the Spanish speaker was. A limited help of this kind will not help solve large problems.
Trying to generate a code of conduct in a project like Wikipedia is a very difficult task. It is necessary to start from the recognition of regional differences and how the same fact may have different connotations depending on the perspective that analyzes it.
During my work on this project, I was able to learn about the wishes of a large part of the Hispanic community regarding the code of conduct and one of the most important is the need to have a direct communication bridge between the Foundation and the communities.