Universal Code of Conduct/Newsletter/2
Welcome to the second issue of Universal Code of Conduct News! This newsletter will help Wikimedians stay involved with the development of the new code, and will distribute relevant news, research, and upcoming events related to the UCoC. Feedback or ideas for the next issue can be left on the UCoC News talk page. You can also help us by translating the newsletter issues in your languages and sharing the newsletter in your community portals and platforms.
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Enforcement Draft Guidelines Review
Currently, the drafting committee for phase 2 is hard at work. Initial meetings helped them connect and align on topics like the impact of biases and intersectionality on enforcement of policies and informed them about prior work and research conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation around existing enforcement processes and gaps of enforcement within our movement. They are now busy with the actual drafting and revising of the enforcement guidelines for the UCoC. To date they have held 10 committee meetings and worked asynchronously in the times between meetings, preparing the draft for community review.
The Movement Strategy and Governance team will perform and seek wide translation of the draft guidelines, and we welcome volunteer support in this effort. This will be presented to the communities for a comprehensive review involving a combination of local consultation, language consultation, and a central review of the enforcement draft guidelines, allowing for participation in any language or context.
Targets of Harassment Research
In order to support the Universal Code of Conduct’s phase 2 drafting committee, the Wikimedia Foundation has conducted a research project focused on experiences of harassment on Wikimedia projects. This took the form of a survey and several in-depth interviews.
The survey, primarily distributed to Wikimedia affiliates, focused on respondents’ perceptions, knowledge and engagement with existing enforcement and reporting systems. The interviews, held with community members who had contacted Trust and Safety in the past for harassment-related cases, focused on the experiences of users who had been the target of serious, sustained harassment.
We discovered that there are several key obstacles limiting engagement with these systems, key among them the confusing reporting system and a fear of public backlash. However, overall sentiment still remains positive and community members want to continue engaging with community and WMF enforcement systems, despite these setbacks. The executive summary is available on Meta Wiki. At this time, the detailed report has been limited to the UCoC drafting committee only.
The Functionaries meetings are gatherings of arbitrators, advanced rights holders, and monitors from across the wikis to discuss what the future will look like in a global context with the UCoC. The June/July meetings are follow ups to an initial meeting in April, focused on sharing ideas, opinions, and information about how to set up global processes for UCoC enforcement.
The meetings from this round of discussions were more lightly attended than the first discussion, as many had the opportunity to participate in April. Additionally, the meeting on 27 June partly overlapped with Movement Charter conversations. Regardless, the participants who attended the functionaries meetings provided new information and insights that will be helpful in the next round of talks.
Topics included potential paths for community ratification of UCoC enforcement, the potential challenges in setting up new local policies where there are none, challenges in staffing community needs, ways to process UCoC complaints in a global context and do so in a timely manner, and other related issues. These initial meetings mainly focused on ideas and brainstorming. The next round of meetings will be after the publication of the first draft of the UCoC enforcement, and participants will have the opportunity to work more with their ideas and experiences to discuss how to build upon the draft.
The UCoC facilitation team hosted another roundtable discussion for Wikimedians to discuss the enforcement of the Universal Code of Conduct on 12 June 2021. This call facilitated discussion with Korean-speaking community members and participants of other ESEAP projects in the global session. The calls each lasted for at least 90 minutes, with a total attendance of about 20 participants.
Highlights from the roundtable include the findings of the Targets of harassment research, proposal of the cross-wiki arbitration committee, needs of user training, discussions about a "neutral court system" or overseeing body, and moderation of the Wikimedia-specific conversations off-project. The next roundtable session is scheduled on 17 July 2021 at 15:00 UTC. We will host roundtable sessions for the German, French and Spanish sessions alongside the global section.
Early Adoption of UCoC by Communities
Since its ratification by the Board of Trustees in February 2021, the Universal Code of Conduct has been applied by the wider Wikimedia community in different ways. Several projects, affiliates, and events have been adopting the Code as guiding principles of expected conduct.
Notable examples include this year's iteration of Arctic Knot Conference, the Wikimedia Language Conference, which was held virtually on 24 and 25 June by five Affiliates in collaboration with the Arctic University of Norway. Some Affiliates, such as Wikimedia Nederland and Wikimedia UK, have also explicitly mentioned the Code as part of their Simple or Annual Plan Grants work in 2021, either by full adoption or integrating it with their existing conduct policy.
From the project communities, all Telegram groups of the Italian language projects are gathered under the WikiNetwork group, which observes the UCoC.
New Timeline for the Interim Trust & Safety Case Review Committee
The Interim Trust & Safety Case Review Committee (CRC) was created to review appeals by users directly involved in cases closed by the Wikimedia Foundation under its office actions policy for harassment. It is composed of 10 experienced volunteers from the Wikimedia community. The CRC is intended to function until the Universal Code of Conduct is fully operable.
Although the CRC was originally expected to conclude by July 1, 2021, the UCoC is now expected to be in development until December 2021. The members of the CRC have agreed to continue serving on the committee until this time.
The facilitation team submitted a proposal to hold a moderated discussion featuring representatives from the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia affiliates, and the UCoC Drafting Committee members during Wikimania 2021, which will be held from 13 to 17 August. It also plans to have a presence at the conference’s Community Village, which would allow community members to ask questions and discuss their concerns on the Code with appropriate facilitators. Details about how you could participate will be provided soon.
Here are some new publications on Wikimedia Diff blog about the Universal Code of Conduct, please check them out: