Code of Conduct/Committee

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The Code of Conduct Committee is a team of five trusted individuals with diverse affiliations responsible for general enforcement of the Code of conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces. Committee members are in charge of processing complaints, discussing with the parties affected, agreeing on resolutions, and following up on their enforcement.

The Committee determines its own procedures, subject to the duty to act fairly.

Incident reports to the Committee should go through the official email for record-keeping and proper handling. Direct communication with individual Committee members is highly discouraged - please remember these conversations are also covered under the Code of Conduct and any violation will be strictly enforced.

Diversity[edit]

Diversity among Committee members is encouraged, as a way to promote fairness and independence in their decisions. Members need not be formally part of any organization, and the Committee cannot have all members affiliated to the same employer. Members are expected to have complementary backgrounds, and the selection process should ensure that the Committee has a good knowledge of our technical community.

Conflict of interest[edit]

Neither members of the Committee nor members of the appeals body are permitted to participate in a decision, if doing so would place them in a conflict of interest. Auxiliary members will join as needed, to replace recused members.

Potential types of conflict of interest may include, but are not limited to:

  • Professional - Employee/manager relationship, members of the same team or people whose jobs or professions are directly affected by the other person.
  • Financial - Having financial ties to a person involved in a case.
  • Family and personal - Family member or close personal relationship.

The process for recusal is:

  • Recusals before hearing case: Members of the Committee must recuse themselves if a Conflict of Interest arises. If they recuse, they will not participate in the case in any way; they must not discuss it or participate in the process. If a member with an alleged conflict does not recuse, the decision is referred to an external body (see “Cases of refusing to recuse” below.)
  • Replacements: One or more auxiliary members will join as needed, when there are recusals (for any reason, including COI) by the regular members.
  • Cases of refusing to recuse: The auxiliary members also oversee recusals. If a member of the Committee refuses to recuse themselves after a conflict is alleged, the decision is examined by the members of the auxiliary group. They have the same level of trust as the Committee members (they have signed the same agreement and participated in training).

Confidentiality[edit]

Committee members and anyone else joining the Committee's deliberations on a case may not disclose private information, except when required by procedures of the Code of Conduct or the Law.

If a WMF employee or contractor is accused of wrongdoing, or a WMF employee or contractor is reported as being subjected to wrongdoing, the Committee will forward the report to the employee's or contractor’s manager, and to WMF HR in writing. If the Committee becomes aware of threatened or actual violence/self-harm, child protection issues, or major cross-wiki abuse, they must notify the WMF Support and Safety team. These types of reports will be forwarded as soon as they are received.

Confidential information (including their identity) about a reporter, target of unacceptable behavior, or witness will not be revealed during an investigation, unless:

  • One of the above exceptions applies, or
  • The person agrees to it as part of the investigation

The Committee will maintain a private log of reports received, their related discussions, and their resolutions. A Committee member must not access the log for a case if they are not participating in that decision.

Creation and renewal of the Committee[edit]

Selection of new members[edit]

If you are interested in serving, you can tell the group choosing the Committee, by emailing techconductcandidates@wikimedia.org at any time. You can also suggest qualified candidates to be on the Committee, using the same email address.

The first Committee will be chosen by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Collaboration team. Subsequent members and auxiliary members of the Committee will be chosen by the current regular members through a majority vote.

The group doing the selection will research and discuss candidates. Six weeks before the beginning of the next Committee term, they will publish their candidate slate (a list of candidates) on-wiki. The community can provide feedback on these candidates, via private email to the group choosing the next Committee. The feedback period will be two weeks. The group choosing the Committee will then either finalize the slate, or update the candidate slate in response to concerns raised. If the candidate slate changes, there will be another two week feedback period covering the newly proposed members. After the selections are finalized, there will be a training period, after which the new Committee is appointed. The current Committee continues to serve until the feedback, selection, and training process is complete.

Before beginning their term, Committee members and auxiliary members must identify themselves to the Wikimedia Foundation, sign the Confidentiality agreement for nonpublic information to ensure confidentiality of reports handled, commit to comply with and enforce the full Code of Conduct, and be trained.

When the regular Committee members are selected, the responsible group must also select five auxiliary members of the Committee. The auxiliary members step in temporarily in case of recusals, or can become regular Committee members in case of a resignation or removal. In either case, the auxiliary members of the Committee determine by their own procedures which auxiliary member will change roles. Auxiliary members are selected through the same process as regular Committee members. The auxiliary members will have the same training as the Committee. However, they will not have continuous access to the ongoing cases while in their auxiliary role.

After new Committee members are chosen, the Committee selects a chair.

Term of Committee[edit]

The Committee selects their new members every six months, using the above process.

As an exception, the initial Committee term lasts one year.

Up to four regular Committee members, and four auxiliary members, can be re-selected for their existing role during a cycle.

Resignation and removal[edit]

Committee members can resign at any time. In severe cases, a member not meeting their obligations can be removed through a majority vote by regular members of the Committee. In case of a vacancy, one of the auxiliary members will become a regular member. The Committee continues to fully function when there are vacancies in any part.