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Code of Conduct/FAQ

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Frequent Arguments and Questions related to the Code of Conduct for technical spaces. Replies must conform to the policy. Please keep the entries concise and neutral, linking to the policy and discussions for details.


What are "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups"?[edit]

An underrepresented group is any demographic group that makes up a smaller percentage of the Wikimedia technical community than it does of the world. This Code of Conduct does not provide a definition of a marginalized group. The Code of Conduct Committee will decide if a report received is related to groups fitting in these two categories.

People related to these groups are more likely to become targets of discrimination[1], explicitly or as a consequence of unconscious bias[2], both in the societies where they live and online. This is why we are stressing explicitly this risk as unacceptable behavior.


Isn't this CoC placing excessive responsibility on volunteers?[edit]

Candidates to join the Committee may be volunteers or employees of a related organization. They are self-nominated, and they assume the responsibility voluntarily. The Committee may request support from experts and reviewers external to the Committee and unrelated to the case.

How much work are Committee members expected to put?[edit]

As of March 2017, this is hard to predict. For what is worth, the Technical Collaboration's Community Health group (who handles conduct reports submitted to them) processes between one to ten incidents every quarter, the majority of them being equivalent to immediate response cases resolved quickly and without major controversy. About once every quarter there is one case requiring the equivalent of a longer-term response, sometimes connected to one of our major developer events.

We asked the Django project's Code of Conduct Committee, and their answer was ~2 hours a month on average. It varies from zero to many more when there are matters at hand. People also vary in the time they have available so it's not uniform across all members.

Are Committee members required to disclose their legal identity publicly?[edit]

No, in the same way that e.g. Stewards are not required to publish their real names either. If a person is known by their username only, they can just keep this identification when they join the Committee. All Committee members need to be identified to the Wikimedia Foundation, following the Access to nonpublic information policy.

Are Committee members risking to become targets of harassment?[edit]

In general, people who work on harassment complaints can become targets themselves. According to the information gathered in the past years by the people involved in the Technical Collaboration's Community Health group, retaliation and harassment targeted to people handling conduct incidents in the Wikimedia technical community are very rare, partly due to the number of incidents, the size of the community, the high percentage of identified contributors, and peer community support. That said, the Technical Collaboration and Support and Safety teams at the Wikimedia Foundation are committed to provide training to all Committee members, as well as advice and direct support in case of incidents. See for instance Communication: Keeping yourself safe.


  1. Discrimination#Types has a list of types of discrimination and references to groups suffering them frequently.
  2. For a good introduction to unconscious bias and discrimination, see Stereotypes and Performance Bias and related videos.