Universal Code of Conduct/Revised enforcement guidelines/Comparison

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Universal Code of Conduct


The Universal Code of Conduct Enforcement Guidelines revisions committee is requesting comments regarding the Revised Enforcement Draft Guidelines for the Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC). This review period will be open from 8 September 2022 until 8 October 2022.

The committee collaborated to revise these draft guidelines based on input gathered from the community discussion period from May through July, as well as the community vote that concluded in March 2022.

The revisions are focused on the following four areas:

  1. To identify the type, purpose, and applicability of the UCoC training;
  2. To simplify the language for more accessible translation and comprehension by non-experts;
  3. To explore the concept of affirmation, including its pros and cons;
  4. To review the balancing of the privacy of the accuser and the accused

The committee requests comments and suggestions about these revisions by 8 October 2022. From there, the revisions committee anticipates further revising the guidelines based on community input.

The Revisions Committee appreciates your time in reviewing and commenting on these changes.

Major changes[edit]

2.1 - Notification and Affirmation
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Affirmation of the UCoC among certain groups

The UCoC applies to everyone who interacts and contributes to Wikimedia projects, official in-person events, and related spaces hosted on third party platforms. The following individuals should be required to affirm (through signed declaration or other format to be decided) they will acknowledge and adhere to the Universal Code of Conduct:

  • All Wikimedia Foundation staff, Board members, Wikimedia affiliate board members, staffand contractors;
  • All advanced rights holders;
  • All members of any project’s high-level decision-making body;
  • Any individual who wants to use the Wikimedia Foundation trademark in an event; this includes, but is not limited to, events branded with Wikimedia trademarks (such as by including them in the event's title), and representation of the Wikimedia organization, community, or project at an event (such as, but not limited to, a presenter or a booth operator);
  • Any officer of a Wikimedia affiliate or aspiring Wikimedia affiliate (such as, but not limited to: an individual, or group of individuals, who is seeking to promote and/or collaborate a Wikimedia sponsored event, group, study, either on or off-wiki in a research setting).

The users listed above should accomplish the affirmation at the occasion of acquiring the right or role, as well as every re-election, renewal or prolongation, the existing ones do so within a short time after the ratification of these guidelines, with exception of current advanced rights holders with rights that are not up for renewal who will not have a set timeframe to accomplish these affirmations. This may be changed on review after a year following the ratification of these guidelines. Once formed, the U4C will create procedures to facilitate these affirmations.

Notification and confirmation of the UCoC

The UCoC applies to everyone who interacts and contributes to Wikimedia projects. It also applies to official in-person events, and related spaces hosted on third party platforms as a baseline of behavior for collaboration on Wikimedia projects worldwide. We recommend that the UCoC be added to Wikimedia Terms of Use. Additionally, the following individuals need to confirm their adherence to the UCoC:

  • All Wikimedia Foundation staff, Board of Trustee members, Wikimedia affiliate board members and staff;
  • Any representative of a Wikimedia affiliate or aspiring Wikimedia affiliate (such as, but not limited to: an individual, or group of individuals who is seeking to promote and/or collaborate a Wikimedia sponsored event, group, study, either on or off-wiki in a research setting); and
  • Any individual who wants to use the Wikimedia Foundation trademark in an event such as, but not limited to: events branded with Wikimedia trademarks (such as by including them in the event's title) and representation of the Wikimedia organization, community, or project at an event (such as, but not limited to, a presenter or a booth operator).

Discuss "2.1" Changes

2.2 - Training
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Recommendations for UCoC training for community members

The Wikimedia Foundation should develop and implement training for community members, with guidance from local communities and affiliates, to be able to identify, address, and mitigate the harms caused by UCoC violations, in particular harassment and similar conduct issues.

Individuals required to acknowledge and adhere to the Universal Code of Conduct will be required to attend training to ensure a common understanding of implementation. Other members of the community will be able to attend this training if they wish to do so.

Training for users should include, at a minimum, guidelines and tools for identification of what is considered unethical behaviour and a manual for how to respond when targeted by harassing behaviour.

Training should consist at minimum of the following levels of certification:

  • Level 1: Overall basic knowledge of the UCoC
  • Level 2: The ability to handle UCoC violations including appeals
  • Level 3: Appropriate support for targets of harassment

Completing a level of certified training should not be construed as holding the position or the level of community trust required to perform the actions covered under the training.

  • We recommend resources for translation be provided by the Wikimedia Foundation when reports are provided in languages that designated individuals are unfamiliar with
  • A training process for users and staff, developed by the Wikimedia Foundation with the input from the functionaries, to learn how to apply due processes and understand the UCoC in practice

Recommendations for UCoC training

The U4C Building Committee, with support from the Wikimedia Foundation, should develop and implement training to provide a common understanding of the UCoC and skills for its implementation. Relevant stakeholders should be consulted in the development of training, including, but not limited to: Affiliates, the Affiliations Committee, Arbitration Committees, Stewards and other Advanced Rights Holders, T&S and legal, and others as it deems beneficial to providing a complete view of the UCoC.

These trainings are intended for people who want to be part of UCoC enforcement processes, or those who want to be informed about the UCoC.

The training will be set up in independent modules covering general information, identification of violations and support, and complex cases and appeals. After the first U4C is onboarded, they should maintain and update the training modules as needed.

Local communities and Wikimedia Affiliates who want to provide training at their community level will get financial support from the Wikimedia Foundation to implement training.

Training modules should be made available in different formats and on different platforms for easy access.

Participants who complete a module should have the option of having their completion publicly acknowledged.

The following sets of trainings should be available:

Module A - Orientation (UCoC - General)

  • This module will help to ensure a common understanding of the UCoC and its implementation
  • It will explain concisely what the UCoC is and what kind of enforcement will be expected, as well as what tools are available to help report violations

Module B - Identification and Reporting (UCoC - Violations)

  • This module will give people the ability to identify UCoC violations, understand reporting processes and learn how to use reporting tools
  • It will detail the type of violation, how to identify reportable instances in their local context, how and where to make reports, and optimal handling of cases within UCoC processes
  • Where applicable, training will also focus on specific parts of the UCoC, such as harassment and abuses of power

Modules C - Complex cases, Appeals (UCoC - Multiple Violations, Appeals)

  • These modules are a prerequisite to joining the U4C, and are recommended for prospective U4C applicants and advanced rights holders
  • This module should cover two specific topics:
    • C1- Handling complex cases (UCoC - Multiple Violations): This will cover cross-wiki cases, long term harassment, identifying credibility of threats, effective and sensitive communication, and protecting the safety of victims and other vulnerable people
    • C2 - Handling appeals, closing cases (UCoC - Appeals): This will cover handling UCoC appeals
  • These modules will be instructor-led and tailored trainings, provided to U4C members and applicants, and community-elected functionaries who have signed the Access to Nonpublic Personal Data Policy
  • The materials for these instructor-led trainings, such as individual modules, slides, questions, etc., should be available publicly

Discuss 2.2 Changes

3.3 - Principles and recommendations for enforcement structures
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Recommendations for local enforcement structures

Where possible we encourage existing enforcement structures to take up the responsibility of receiving and dealing with UCoC violations, in accordance with the guidelines stated above. If the local enforcement structure is stricter than the following baseline in a particular case, we recommend following the existing local enforcement structure over this guideline. In order to make sure that enforcement of the UCoC remains consistent across the movement, we recommend the following baseline principles are applied when handling UCoC violations on the scale of an individual project.

Fairness in process

  • Supportive conflict-of-interest policies that help admins or others determine when to abstain or disengage from a report when they are closely involved in the issue. In keeping with existing Wikimedia arbitration processes, arbitrators named in a dispute should recuse themselves from the case.
  • When more information is needed to support a decision by the U4C and by staying within the expectation of the privacy policy and while minimizing undue harm to the accuser or the accusee while continuing due process, high level decision making bodies and communities will invite perspectives from the accused.

Transparency of process

  • Existing communities and/or the Wikimedia Foundation should provide documentation on the severity of different, common kinds of harassment that can be used to map onto different outcomes. This would aid in supporting administrators or other enforcement bodies to use these recommendations to self-determine appropriate severity.

Wikimedia projects and affiliates, when possible, should maintain pages outlining policies and enforcement mechanisms in line with the UCoC policy text. Projects and affiliates with existing guidelines or policies in contradiction to the UCoC policy text should discuss changes to conform with global community standards. Updating or creating new local policies should be done in a way that does not conflict with the UCoC. Projects and affiliates may request advisory opinions from the U4C about potential new policies or guidelines.

For Wikimedia-specific conversations occurring on related space hosted on third party platforms (e.g. Discord, Telegram, etc.), Wikimedia’s Terms of Use may not apply. They are covered by that specific website's Terms of Use and conduct policies. Nevertheless, the behavior of Wikimedians on related space hosted on third party platforms can be accepted as additional evidence in reports of UCoC violations. Wikimedia Foundation should seek cooperation (where feasible) with such third-party platforms and encourage them to add guidelines that discourage exporting of on-wiki conflicts to their spaces.

Processing appeals

Individuals who have been found to have violated the UCoC should have the possibility of appeal.

Appeal pathways

An action by an individual advanced rights holder should be appealable to a local or shared collective decision body other than U4C (such as an ArbCom). If no such collective decision-making body exists, then an appeal to the U4C can be permissible. Aside from this arrangement, local communities may allow appeals to a different individual advanced rights holder.

Appeals are not possible in following cases:

  • for vandalizing IPs, spam-only accounts, and similar cases
  • for light sanctions (under 2 weeks ban)
  • against a decision made by a Project’s community except if there is a suspicion of abuse of power or a systematic issue;
  • against a decision of a high level decision making body except if referred by that body
  • against certain decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation Legal Team based on conflicting legal obligations

Deciding appeals by U4C and community bodies

The decision should be based on following factors:

  • The severity of the initial breach of the UCoC;
  • Any prior history of UCoC violations on the part of the individuals involved;
  • The severity of sanctions against the person engaging in a UCoC violation;
  • The impact and harm caused by the UCoC violation to specific individuals, classes of editors, and to the project as a whole;
  • The length of time since the breach occurred;
  • Contextual analysis of the breach as well as current state may be considered on a case by case basis;
  • The suspicion of an abuse of power; and
  • The suspicion of a systemic issue.

Principles and recommendations for enforcement structures

Where possible, we encourage existing enforcement structures to take up the responsibility of receiving reports of and dealing with UCoC violations, in accordance with the guidelines stated here. To ensure that enforcement of the UCoC remains consistent across the movement, we recommend that the following baseline principles should be applied when handling UCoC violations.

3.3.1 Fairness in process

We encourage enforcement structures in developing and maintaining supportive conflict-of-interest policies. These should help admins or others determine when to abstain or disengage from a report when they are closely involved in the issue.

All parties should have the opportunity to give their perspective, but this may be limited to protect privacy and safety. Feedback from others can also be invited to help provide more information, perspective, and context.

3.3.2 Transparency of process

The U4C, in line with its purpose and scope as defined in 4.1, should provide documentation on the effectiveness of UCoC enforcement actions and their relation to common violations throughout the movement. They should be supported by the Wikimedia Foundation in conducting this research. The goal of this documentation is to aid enforcement structures in developing best practices for enforcing the UCoC.

Wikimedia projects and affiliates, when possible, should maintain pages outlining policies and enforcement mechanisms in line with the UCoC policy text. Projects and affiliates with existing guidelines or policies in contradiction to the UCoC policy text should discuss changes to conform with global community standards. Updating or creating new local policies should be done in a way that does not conflict with the UCoC. Projects and affiliates may request advisory opinions from the U4C about potential new policies or guidelines.

For Wikimedia-specific conversations occurring on related space hosted on third party platforms (e.g. Discord, Telegram, etc.), Wikimedia’s Terms of Use may not apply. They are covered by that specific website's Terms of Use and conduct policies. Nevertheless, the behavior of Wikimedians on related space hosted on third party platforms can be accepted as evidence in reports of UCoC violations. We encourage Wikimedia community members who moderate Wikimedia-related spaces on third party platforms to incorporate respect of the UCoC into their policies. The Wikimedia Foundation should seek to encourage best practices for third-party platforms that discourage the continuation of on-wiki conflicts to their spaces.

3.3.3 Appeals

An action taken by an individual advanced rights holder should be appealable to a local or shared enforcement structure other than the U4C. If no such enforcement structure exists, then an appeal to the U4C can be permissible. Aside from this arrangement, local communities may allow appeals to a different individual advanced rights holder.

Enforcement structures should set standards for accepting and considering appeals based on relevant contextual information and mitigating factors. These factors include, but are not limited to: verifiability of the accusations, the length and effect of the sanction, and whether there is a suspicion of abuse of power or other systemic issues. The acceptance of an appeal is not guaranteed.

Appeals are not possible against certain decisions made by the Wikimedia Foundation Legal department.

Enforcement structures should seek informed perspectives on cases in order to establish a basis to grant or decline an appeal. Information should be handled sensitively, with care for the privacy of the people involved and the decision making process.

To achieve this goal, we recommend that enforcement structures should consider different factors when reviewing appeals. These may include, but not be limited to:

  • The severity and harm caused by the violation
  • Prior histories of violations
  • Severity of sanctions being appealed
  • Length of time since the violation
  • Analysis of the violation in contact
  • Suspicions of a possible abuse of power or other systemic issue

Discuss 3.3 Changes