Talk:Code of Conduct

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Doc James (talkcontribs)

Wondering if I can suggest the adding of legal threats to the list of unacceptable behavior. We have policies prohibiting it across many languages and projects. Doc James (talk) 01:31, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

Huji (talkcontribs)

I think it is obviously covered, and I agree that making it explicit is a good idea.

Ziko (talkcontribs)

Indeed you find a rule in many Wikimedia wikis. I sometimes wonder about the relationship to the "normal" legal world.Usually, offwiki, you are allowed to mention that you consider taking legal advice, but you are not allowed to do that in a threatening manner (this is a simplification of the German situation, and I am sure that there are notable differences from country to country).

In general, I am not against such a rule in Wikimedia policies, but I am interested about possible complications.

Bluerasberry (talkcontribs)

@Ziko I am sure when the discussion happens in publicly that the LGBT+ community will have complications to add which other communities are not expecting.

Ziko (talkcontribs)

I am interested to see that.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

can we add a proviso that arguing for following a software license is not a legal threat. Unless the person is like super threatening about it against an individual.

Doc James (talkcontribs)

It comments like "I am going to sue you" or "you should be sued for what you did" that are harmful to conversations and in my opinion should not be permitted.

Saying "we do not allow fair use content" or "we do not permit NC licensed images" is obviously perfectly appropriate. As is saying "here is the license that this is under and you are required to follow it, here are the steps required to be compliant".

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

Notifying or reminding a user of terms of use is not a legal threat. Nor is informing them of the consequences of contravening the terms of use. These should be done in a civil manner, without threatening language or personal attack.

I do not see that mentioning that you will be taking legal advice is necessarily threatening. It is quite reasonable to take legal advice if you are in doubt of the legality of a situation, particularly as we have a lot of cross-cultural communication. Taking legal advice is a thing one does for oneself, and does not imply action against another party will ensue.

Pointing out that something may or does contravene a law in a specific jurisdiction is also not a threat, though some evidence should be provided to support the claim.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

my main part is i want that to be clear in whatever documentation we adopt, to avoid any chilling effect on ensuring license compliance.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

Enforcing license compliance is necessary, but can and should be done politely, until if necessary we politely indefinitely block for persistent non-compliance.

Doc James (talkcontribs)

Agree with Pbsouthwood. We block a lot of people for repeated copyright violations. We never threaten to sue them, or at least we shouldn't.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

I don't see why threats of legal action need to be covered. Rules that make sense on a website don't necessarily make sense in other circumstances. Would this apply to, for example, an event organizer warning attendees not to go beyond a certain point or they might get arrested for trespassing?

If the legal threat is done in order to harass or intimidate, those are already covered by the code of conduct.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

An event organizer warning attendees not to go beyond a certain point or they might get arrested for trespassing is not a legal threat, so no.

A person who is not welcome at an event threatening to sue the organisers for refusing them entry would be a legal threat in that context.

2601:5CD:C200:9BE0:240B:8987:DB96:DF62 (talkcontribs)

It really says something about our legal system that people can threaten to misuse it, and people will fear that because the legal system doesn't contain any safeguards or deterrents against such misuse; so that we have to create a rule here to regulate that behavior.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

There are some safeguards, but they don't always work the way intended.

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

My biggest problem with adding "legal threats" is that while there is literally a legal definition for what "legal" means, the definition for what individuals might consider a "threat" is very different. This creates a huge gap and potential for misunderstanding that can easily lead to people being banned for asking questions in an unfortunate way. For example, I'm easily offended if somebody just tells me there is a law that says the opposite of what I believe should be common sense. And heck, there is an insane amount of "legal" stuff out there that is far from being common sense, and even further away from being morally right. LGBT right probably being the most obvious example. So tell me, what does it mean to ban legal topics that are a threat for certain people? Will it be forbidden to say, I don't know, "you might go to jail for this in your country", even if this sentence speaks the absolute truth?

I don't get it.

Some comments above say such an example doesn't count. But how do we know? What is the definition of "threat" in this context?

Some comments above even create the impression that actions (e.g. blocking) are fine, but announcing actions is not. Is it just me, or does this sound fucked up?

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

I think its pretty clear in context, that "legal threat" in this context means an ultimatum that one party will engage in legal proceedings (i.e. Sue someone) if they don't get their way.

Edit: Re-reading, i guess its less clear. I suppose the context is that its mostly people from english wikipedia proposing that the CoC embed a well known cultural norm from en wikipedia.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

You may well be right.I think we are having a failure to communicate because of different interpretations of the meaning of a "legal threat"

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

I don't think anything is "clear" here. Which "legal proceedings" are covered by this, and which are not? What is the definition of "threat" in this context?

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

I am taking the meaning of "threat" as is commonly defined in dictionaries, or in the English Wikipedia article on the topic - "a communicated intent to inflict harm or loss on another person"

The legal proceedings referenced are generally civil actions. In criminal actions it is the state which intends to inflict harm or loss on the person. Does your country's law work differently?

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

You prefer we should allow threats of legal action against members of the communities? This is a common form of harassment and bullying made against people who are judged by the perpetrator as likely to back down in the face of what could be a very expensive inconvenience, in an arena where money and influence often win out against fairness and reason.

The example " Will it be forbidden to say, I don't know, "you might go to jail for this in your country", even if this sentence speaks the absolute truth?" does not illustrate a legal threat. No-one is threatening someone with legal action. "No legal threats" refers to threats of civil action by the threatener against the threatened person. Criminal prosecution is done by the public prosecutor or local equivalent.

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

"You prefer we should allow threats of legal action against members of the communities"? Are you fucking serious? Dear CoC committee, I do have something to report.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

That is what I understood you to be saying, It seemed unlikely, so I posed it as a question in the hope of clarification. Your response does not clarify your intended meaning at all.

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

You are implying the opposite of what was said. That's not acceptable. Just because I don't want us to enforce one extreme doesn't mean I want us to enforce the opposite.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

The profanity is unnecessary here.

MarcoAurelio (talkcontribs)

I think the CoC already covers this making the proposed amendment unnecesary. The CoC lists as unnaceptable behaviour making "[p]ersonal attacks, violence, threats of violence, or deliberate intimidation", and also "[h]arming the discussion or community with methods such as sustained disruption, interruption, or blocking of community collaboration (i.e. trolling)." Most legal threats will already fall into those two criterions, and I doubt adding "legal threats" to the wording of the CoC will be any positive as what can be perceived as a threat is very subjective. I oppose the proposed amendment.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

I agree with this comment.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

Would you consider that informing an organiser that you intend to sue them for having you evicted from a meeting because you are blacklisted is covered by the current CoC? If not, is it behaviour we wish to accept?

Would you consider that informing another participant that you intend to sue them for defamation is acceptable? Is it covered by the current CoC?

One might argue that these are deliberate intimidation,disruption or trolling. If so, is this sufficiently clear?

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

if someone is already blacklisted, what else are we going to do to them? Double-blacklist them?

For the defamation case, it would depend on the context and specifics, as all things should.

DCDuring (talkcontribs)

This seems like a terrible idea to me. A user who is vulnerable to a threat of legal action may well be someone who has actually broken a law. And many laws are, after all, necessary for the functioning of society. Strongly reminding someone about what is against the law should not ''per se'' be a violation of the CoC. Most users here already enjoy the protection of anonymity, which they regularly exploit, sometimes in completely unfair ways. The CoC already seems to have a great deal of opaqueness due to the privacy protections granted to accusers/victims and the peesumptive acceptance of the accuser's/victim's claims to have been harmed. Extending the realm of this kind of protection seems likely to further damage the loyalty of many to the movement.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

It is not clear to me exactly what you think is a terrible idea. Could you clarify?

DCDuring (talkcontribs)

See top of the thread: "adding of legal threats to the list of unacceptable behavior" Or is that already off-topic. ~~~~

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

Thanks, this format is not always clear about what someone is replying to.

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Let me put my concern this way: Our CoC already creates a kind of legal system. It defines conditions that might lead to specified actions, and the actors within this system. However, it does not specify exactly how this will be executed in a specific situation. It's not code. You can not run it and expect it to always create the same result. It's something trusted human beings are asked to perform. And even if we might argue about certain decisions, we as a community are expected to accept the committee's decisions. And that's neither good or bad, that's just something that needs to be done.

Here is the problem: What do we win when we add terminology and definitions from another legal system? I think the two do work better independent from each other.

Threatening somebody should already be covered by the CoC, as far as I understand it. Isn't this enough?

Doc James (talkcontribs)

So do not see it as being covered... So even though it should be enough it does not appear it is.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

when was the last time that legal threats were an issue in (online) tech spaces? I understand its a common problem on wikipedia, but we aren't wikipedia, and if it is not an issue that affects us, lets avoid rule creep.

I excluded offline stuff because i cant really speak to those having only attended but never organized. Personally i think it was a mistake to make one policy for those two very different contexts, but i digress.

Reply to "Legal threats"
Summary last edited by Wladek92 13:30, 8 May 2019 8 months ago

ok, thanks. Done by the wonderful Shirayuki.

Wladek92 (talkcontribs)

Ive added a missing anchor in the EN page; please sent for translation to propagate the correction. Thank you.

Christian Wia (talk) 18:39, 6 May 2019 (UTC)

Wladek92 (talkcontribs)
Wargo (talkcontribs)
Wladek92 (talkcontribs)

anchor is to be declared in the english page not the french one !

Shirayuki (talkcontribs)

Yes Done by marking the English page for translation

4nn1l2 (talkcontribs)

Text from the Contributor Covenant is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license, rather than the MIT license.

CKoerner (WMF) (talkcontribs)
4nn1l2 (talkcontribs)

That is true. Can we change it now to CC BY 4.0?

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)
Tgr (talkcontribs)

Stack Overflow (or to be more precise the Stack Exchange network) just created their Code of Conduct. It's quite well done, IMO (of course very specific to what they are doing). The expectations part (ie. starting with something positive) is something I miss from ours.

Huji (talkcontribs)

I like that Expectations section very much too. I also like the general presentation of their CoC. Looks more easy to consume, and less like a legal document.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

I agree, it is friendly, positive and easy to understand.

JHernandez (WMF) (talkcontribs)

👍, we should take inspiration and make our page better.

Seth Finkelstein (talkcontribs)

I see a profound problem when the aspirational (to cite a common example - "A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, ...") is conflated with quasi-judicial concepts along the lines of "misconduct". This can lead to broad and vague speech codes, which may be selectively enforced in capricious ways. Serious question to those who find the prohibitions clear: Would you say any of the controversial tweets of a recently hired New York Times editorial board member, are in violation of this CoC's provision of "No bigotry. We don't tolerate any language likely to offend or alienate people based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ..."? Would she be expelled for "display[ing] a pattern of harmful destructive behavior toward our community"?

Huji (talkcontribs)

Seth, respectfully, I don't think your comment has to do with this topic and should be discussed in a separate topic.

Seth Finkelstein (talkcontribs)

@Huji, what it has to do with this topic is my assessment is different from the views above, which say, "quite well done" "easy to understand", and so on. I don't think it's well-done or easy to understand all all, from the crucial perspective of what is a violation as opposed to an aspiration. Hence, I ask, if it is well done, or easy to understand, please tell me if the case I give above is overall a violation.

Huji (talkcontribs)

Oh, I see.

So let me clarify my opinion then: I don't know if their CoC is something I would approve or not. But for what it is, the mothod of delivery is appealing to me. I think we could/should try to take our own CoC and make it more appealing like that as well. My opinion has not to do with the content of their CoC. Yours, apparently, does. And that's okay, but I wanted to clarify that we might be talking about different things.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

Anyone to take the lead on turning good parts of StackOverflow 's CoC to amendments of or CoC?

Reply to "StackOverflow Code of Conduct"

Recommendation to modify the appeals process

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

task T199086

Hi, the Technical Collaboration’s Community Health group wants to share some thoughts about the appeal process that we are currently handling. The text describing the appeal process itself is fine. The problematic part is to have an appeals team other than the CoC Committee itself without defining the relationship and governance between both teams.

The core of the problem is that it is not defined who has the ultimate decision on the resolution of an appeal. This is fine when both teams agree on a resolution, but what if they don’t? The options are

  • They have to keep discussing until there is consensus. This would put both teams on equal foot, which is fine but needs to be documented.
  • The Committee has the last word. This means that the Appeals team has an advisory function, which is fine but needs to be documented.
  • The Appeals team has the last word. This might even be the default expectation (?), but it is actually the most problematic one because it means that the Appeals team has more power than the Committee itself.

If we want to go for the third option anyway, then that Appeals body cannot be a team like we have now, formed by Wikimedia Foundation members by design. There were good reasons to make this choice (leaving tough situations to paid professionals, saving some trouble to volunteers), but having a team of WMF employees having more power than the Committee is a setup that we don’t want to have.

Strainu (talkcontribs)

The current text states: "These [appeals] will be considered by the Committee, which may alter the outcome." This suggests to me that the Committee has the last word. I believe this makes perfect sense, since the foundation should only override community-elected structures for legal reasons (in which case the Community Health group doesn't sound like the right group to make a decision anyway).

Bluerasberry (talkcontribs)

Can you link to the pages for each of these two committees or teams? I want to see a page for each, listing who the members are, and stating how anyone comes to be on these teams.

Based on what you say here and my browsing around I cannot quickly come to understand the differences in the nature of these two teams.

Huji (talkcontribs)

Can the auxiliary members of the CoC be the Appeals team? In which case I think option 1 above makes the most sense.

ArielGlenn (talkcontribs)

I'm not excited by having the auxiliary members be the Appeals team. Said as a former auxiliary member, I'd prefer to keep the function strictly as fallback in case of conflict of interest of active CoC committee members.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

An additional factor to be considered. The Technical Collaboration team doesn't exist as such anymore. The people who form the Community Health group are all active, so if we receive a new appeal we can still handle it. However, we would welcome a decision on our proposal.

Tracked: task T199086

MarcoAurelio (talkcontribs)

I think the Appeals team should have the final word on cases submitted to their consideration. Thank you.

Duesentrieb (talkcontribs)

Giving a non-elected (wmf appointed) team power to veto and repeal decisions my a community committee seems contrary to being a community driven organization. WMF staff should not have "benevolent dictator" powers in social processes.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

In order to help the discussion, I think two aspects should be considered:

  • Should the Appeals team be nominated by the Wikimedia Foundation or not? (and if not, how is this team nominated)
  • Who should have the last word, the Committee or the Appeals team?

The combination of these points offer four scenarios. A fifth would be that there is no Appeals team.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

So far there are two things that can be seen here:

  • Slight majority believe a WMF-based team should not have power to overrule CoCC remedies. If there is no strong objections towards this by the next 7 days, I will make it clear in the CoC.
  • We don't have a "Community Health group" at WMF anymore. The functionality needs to be given to another body. I don't know WMF internal structure to suggest an alternative body in these cases. I reach out to people for suggestions.
MarcoAurelio (talkcontribs)

I still think that an appeals body should exist and be able to overturn a decision submitted to their consideration. Otherwise, what'd be the point on having one? It'd be bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy and a false appearance on the existance of an appeal process. If the problem is that we don't want to grant such power to a WMF Team for whatever reason, then I suggest that the appeals body be formed by community members instead in the same way the COCC is elected. Thank you.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

I don't have any better proposal but making a committee just to check appeals seems too much overhead to me. There are several committees/group/teams we can delegate this responsibility.

Tgr (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The WMF operates most technical spaces, sponsors most development etc. so ultimately it is the WMF's responsibility to ensure technical spaces have a healthy culture. Having it as the decisionmaker of last resort makes sense.

OTOH if most decisions get appealed and some WMF team has to secondguess the CoC committee all the time, that seems like a bad situation. Rather than setting up another committee, I think it might be better to restrict appeals to situations where the committee made some objectively identifiable mistake (and then the WMF team's involvement would be limited to verifying that the mistake indeed happened).

Reply to "Recommendation to modify the appeals process"

Dead link: 'Open Code of Conduct' at

Wladek92 (talkcontribs)
AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Thanks, I've made it point to their Github repository for their CoC instead.

Wladek92 (talkcontribs)

In spite of my work I still have not the rights: can you still push the page for translation to propagate the correction ? Thanks.

Jdforrester (WMF) (talkcontribs)


Proposal amendment: Committee should serve for one year

Summary by Ladsgroup

Accepted and added: Special:Diff/2881383

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

In the hackathon we (Committee members) are talking about having the term extended to one year because it takes a rather a long time for the committee to learn how to work together and thus makes sense to work together for a longer period of time.

Bluerasberry (talkcontribs)

Even a year seems short to me. If the term is one year then I hope that it happens that people stay longer if their committee service is working.

BDavis (WMF) (talkcontribs)

+1 from me for terms of 1-2 years. My only fear in longer terms is the extra stress placed on the committee members.

Frimelle (talkcontribs)

I agree on one year, would however disagree on 2 years. I believe the committee should have some dynamic to exchange members. It seems likely that after 2 years, it will be hard to change things up and add new people to a group that has been working together this long. I think there should be an incentive to add new members from time to time.

ArielGlenn (talkcontribs)

A year is fine. More than that should only be based on re-election to the position. I'd rather have more people from the community that are interested in keeping our spaces welcoming, rotate through, then have it turn into the same folks year after year.

Duesentrieb (talkcontribs)

In the name of knowledge sharing and continuity, I propose an "interleafed" mode: only re-elect half the committee every year. That way, half the committee stays on and can onboard the other half. IIRC KDE's board operates this way. In any case, re-electing an entire body is always extremely disruptive, and should be avoided.

Strainu (talkcontribs)

+1 for 1 year. The members have underlined often that membership takes a toll on them and we wouldn't want to see any burn-outs.

Proposal amendment: Make WMDE receive a notification when targets of reports are WMDE employees

Summary by Ladsgroup

This proposal has been rejected.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

In Code of Conduct/Committee#Confidentiality we report to WMF HR and their managers when target of the report is an employee of WMF and since WMDE is the only other organization that has software engineering department, it makes sense to have a similar policy.

Bluerasberry (talkcontribs)

I cannot say how to execute this but thanks for posting the note.

I cannot say how often it happens, but it seems like having an affiliation with a Wiki organization makes people more likely to be the targets of reports. I know that this process is for software engineering but I appreciate the precedent and foundation of discussion that this process is setting.

Legoktm (talkcontribs)

Previous discussion about the requirement about reporting to WMF HR: Talk:Code of Conduct/Archive 2#Confidentiality

If you re-read that section, I think you'll find nearly everyone in opposition to it, except that it was forced in by WMF Legal.

Krenair (talkcontribs)

I suggest we reject this proposal and instead propose an amendment that completely removes that sentence.

Neil Shah-Quinn (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I went back through the archive and I found a couple relevant points made by WMF Legal:

"The Wikimedia Foundation has an interest in being informed of potential misconduct by its employees and contractors in the workspace and faces legal risks if HR is not informed about matters related to employee/contractor harassment in its workspaces. These workspaces include not only physical but also virtual spaces. The Wikimedia Foundation has this interest uniquely as a host of the website whose employees are using these technical spaces as their workspace."

"This section isn't us trying to say that having a WMF reporting exception makes this CoC policy better in the ideal. Rather, it's that we looked at the policy, at how the technical spaces are used (in particular the combination of lots of WMF employees and WMF as the host of the space) and concluded that the legal risk under HR law is too high for the WMF to do this without having the reporting exception."

So, in my non-lawyer understanding: because of its unique position as the host of these technical spaces, the WMF has a unique legal obligation to its employees and contractors who participate in these sites. Even the WMF Legal department sees the downsides of this obligation, but that doesn't change the legal position.

To me, that explains why the provision applies to the WMF only and why it's not something that we the technical community can change. Obviously, you're free to disagree—but we should keep in mind that none of us are lawyers.

As far as I know, there's no legal obstacle to us adding a similar provision regarding WMDE. But I think that would have all the downsides of the WMF provision (the potential to break confidentiality against the reporter's wishes), but without the legal requirement to force its inclusion.

MarcoAurelio (talkcontribs)

It is in the interest of WM(F|DE) to know misconduct cases of their employees (hopefully none!). It's what we call in law culpa in eligendo (and, sometimes, in vigilando).

Code of conduct committee call for new members

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

Hello all,

It's coming close to time for annual appointments of community members to serve on the Code of Conduct (CoC) committee. The Code of Conduct Committee is a team of five trusted individuals plus five auxiliary members 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. For more on their duties and roles, see

This is a call for community members interested in volunteering for appointment to this committee. Volunteers serving in this role should be experienced Wikimedians or have had experience serving in a similar position before.

The current committee is doing the selection and will research and discuss candidates. Six weeks before the beginning of the next Committee term, meaning 8th of April 2018, 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 current 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.

If you are interested in serving on this committee or like to nominate a candidate, please write an email to techconductcandidates AT with details of your experience on the projects, your thoughts on the code of conduct and the committee and what you hope to bring to the role and whether you have a preference in being auxiliary or constant member of the committee. The committee consists of five members plus five auxiliary members and they will serve for six months; all applications are appreciated and will be carefully considered. The deadline for applications is end of day on 5th of April, 2018.

Please feel free to pass this invitation along to any users who you think may be qualified and interested.

Best, Amir on behalf of the CoC committee

Chicocvenancio (talkcontribs)

Suggested amendment: Public logging of bans made by CoC

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

Given the discussion happened in the past couple of days, here's my proposal to amend to CoC, part of cases:

Any ban made by the code of conduct committee will be logged publicly in Code of Conduct/Cases/Log/2018 with user name, space of ban (phabricator,, etc.), duration, and if not private reasoning. Unless any of these two conditions apply:

  • The reporter asks that ban not to be public.
  • Or the code of conduct committee decides not to disclose anything as it might disclose private information. For example, logging harassment cases in Wikimedia events can lead to real-world identity of users being disclosed.

It goes without saying that this is not applicable retrospectively.

DBarratt (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Just to clarify, this would apply to bans specifically, not cases themselves?

Siebrand (talkcontribs)

I’m against this. Even with the on wikitech-l suggested option of only making it public while the ban is in effect, if the log is kept on a wiki, the (history of) the ban list can (and will) be used for naming and shaming, long after punishment has been dealt and served.

If any transparency is required, I would counter propose that an aggregate report is published periodically (quarterly/bi-annually, yearly —- depending on the number of expected cases —- max 10 or so per period would be nice), which report on the number of actions per platform and the duration of the actions, where applicable.

DBarratt (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Also, the ban might be worn as a badge of honor, which would encourage further abuse. :(

Peachey88 (talkcontribs)

Is having a list of bans performed by CoC any different than a wiki having Special:BlockList?

DBarratt (WMF) (talkcontribs)

No, but perhaps that shouldn't exist either. Most websites don't list all of the users who have been banned, and I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing.

Smalyshev (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Most websites are not collaborative projects supported by a huge community.

DBarratt (WMF) (talkcontribs)

That's true, but as an example: GitHub, Stack Overflow, or any an all Open Source projects (including projects much much larger than ours). I can't think of a website/project (other than Wikimedia's) that publicly lists bans. I think the public log is an assumed virtue, when the existence of the list, may in fact, encourage more harassment. I have no evidence to suggest this, my point is only that the existence of such a list may have unintended consequences.

Smalyshev (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Not existence of such list is already having consequences. And bans on the wiki had been public since forever, as far as I know, without any evidence this did encourage anyone for more harassment.

DBarratt (WMF) (talkcontribs)
MusikAnimal (talkcontribs)

At least on enwiki, I don't think many people use Special:BlockList unless they're looking up a block ID to investigate an autoblock. It chiefly consists of drive-by vandals, so it doesn't really serve as a wall of shame or badges of honour, as you'll quickly be buried in there and forgotten. The block log itself obviously is necessary to see prior abuse. At any rate, admins can redact the log entries, but on the English Wikipedia this practice is prohibited.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

Yes, Not even warnings neither any mention of reporter will be logged. Hope that helps.

Krinkle (talkcontribs)

I'd propose one additional clause that requires:

  • In the first month of each year, last year's log is amended one final time to disclose the number of non-public bans by space of ban. This number cannot be opted out of by the reporter, the committee, or anyone else. And this statistic would not contain any start date, duration, user, or reasoning. Just the numbers by space of ban. (Bans affecting multiple spaces could be counted multiple times, or we could decide that "Multiple spaces" be one of the counted spaces.)
  • In the first month of each year, last year's log should be linked to from a public announcement. I have no preference for which platform this post would be on, but it should be decided ahead of time and included in the policy. Perhaps Wikitech-l, or another public list, or a newsletter, or a Phabricator Phame post, etc.

Lastly, I would recommend that this clause does apply retroactively, treating all prior cases as non-public. Thus disclosing this year's complete counts by January 2019.

EDIT: I wrote this comment at the same time as @Siebrand wrote his. I did not see his until after I submitted mine. I would support doing only aggregated reports.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

I would prefer that this applies not just to bans but all sanctions by the committee (e.g. asking someone to apologize doesn't need to be logged, but doing something to someone against their will does. e.g. deleting a phab comment does require logging).

I even wonder if maybe the enforcement role of the committee should be separated from the judgment roles of the committee. Right now I feel like the CoC committee is judge, jury and executioner and lacks any effective oversight due to secrecy. I consider this state of affairs dangerous

I would also like to suggest that for any sanction, the person being sanctioned must be notified of the action, length, rationale and how to appeal. I've heard complaints that in some cases when comments were deleted the commenter was never notified, and only found out by accident (which is supposed to deter them how?). In the recent MZMcbride case, the notification was rather lacking (Assuming the email posted by Mzmcbride is accurate) as it failed to disclose length, how to appeal and the rationale while not totally missing was lacking imo (that's more debatable though).

Smalyshev (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I agree with the publishing of the bans, but I am not sure Wiki (and specifically Mediawiki) is the best place because, as correctly noted, the wiki infrastructure ensures the information is preserved forever. While in theory everything public on the internet is forever, in practice there might be benefits to not carrying old grudges around.

The problem to solve here is not statistics though. It's nice, but it's a different case. What is really needed is when action is in force, I (as a participant of the collaborative platform) can see that it is, and adjust workflows accordingly. It is a collaborative environment, so the ban would affect collaboration. Aggregated report is useless for this case - if I worked with X and their account suddenly shows up as "disabled", it won't help me any that in 2 months time I'd see in aggregated report "number of bans: 7". What I need to know is: a) was X banned? and b) for how long. Most community members, I suspect, would also want c) by whom and d) for what.

I am not sure how it can be possible that the ban won't be public - account being disabled on Phabricator is pretty public, and we'd be kidding ourselves if we ignore the fact that this is what people would assume (especially now). If we do it in non-transparent way, people would just assume more and create a narrative in their heads which might not necessary be even true, but is inevitable. I do not think the fact of the ban in a public collaborative platform can be hidden. Or should be. We might not disclose any details about it beyond the duration (I think this is a must), though I would advise in general case not involving sensitive matters to opt to more disclosure (again, secrecy breeds mistrust, and mistrust makes people construct narratives that we'd want to avoid). But I do not see how hiding bans is practical, or desirable.

MusikAnimal (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I would discourage using wikitech-l to publish ban reports. This mailing list is read by newbies and other developers who just want to stay informed about technical matters. It is not very welcoming to see such drama and it might incite more lengthy and toxic discussion. I think an on-wiki page is fine, or somewhere that's not as "in your face". I should not be forced into seeing this side of the technical community.

Edit -- I meant to post under my volunteer account, for the record!

Smalyshev (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I think using wikitech-l is a consequence of a lack of pre-designated forum for such discussions. When there's a need for discussion and community does not have a Schelling point for it, the next best thing is taken to be it. To avoid it, we need to arrange such space in advance, and specify it when CoC decision is communicated, and maybe also in CoC pages where we establish the rules.

Psychoslave (talkcontribs)

I join Bawolff on the lake of separation of powers. I would add that it would be good to have well defined processes and publicly documented rules stating for which cases what kind of sanction can be applied or not. That doesn't mean absolute transparency on each details of execution of this processes, which is certainly not a required or desirable level of transparency permitting trust to foster, and can itself be a source of legitimate concerns for people safety, as it was pointed. Although I am not sure that this is the most appropriate place to talk about this aspect of the issue.

As there is a collaboration aspect that have been indicated, I think Meta would be a more appropriate place to publish a report, if any.

Regarding the feedback of status of collaborators when they are banned, I don't have a perfect idea so far. My first thought would be something like integrate a feature in Phabricator itself, showing in the user page that "this account as been (temporally) disabled (for 3 eons), for more information consult this page/contact that referent".

Strainu (talkcontribs)

I support the original amendment. I don't care much about the venue for publishing the bans, but it is tremendously important that they are visible at least for the duration of the ban. Not everyone who needs to be aware is in the CoC committee ( and wiki admins, event organizers etc)