Statement by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees on Healthy Community Culture, Inclusivity, and Safe Spaces approved at their Board meeting on November 13, 2016.
At our Board meeting on November 13, and in Board meetings in September and June, we spent considerable time discussing the issues of harassment and hostility on the internet generally, and more specifically on the Wikimedia projects.
This is an important issue. Approximately 40% of internet users, and as many as 70% of younger users have personally experienced harassment, with regional studies showing rates as high as 76% for young women. Of people who have reported experiencing harassment on Wikimedia projects, more than 50% reported decreasing their participation in our community. Based on this and other research, we conclude that harassment and toxic behavior on the Wikimedia projects negatively impacts the ability of the Wikimedia projects to collect, share, and disseminate free knowledge. This behavior is contrary to our vision and mission.
Our communities deserve safe spaces in which they can contribute productively and debate constructively. It is our belief that the Wikimedia Foundation should be proactively engaged in eliminating harassment, promoting inclusivity, ensuring a healthier culture of discourse, and improving the safety of Wikimedia spaces. We request management to dedicate appropriate resources to this end.
We urge every member of the Wikimedia communities to collaborate in a way that models the Wikimedia values of openness and diversity, step forward to do their part to stop hostile and toxic behavior, support people who have been targeted by such behavior, and help set clear expectations for all contributors.