Talk:Code of Conduct

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Your experiences with CoC enforcement

6
JustB EU (talkcontribs)

Please, for what community does have this Code of Conduct effect? Is it binding, enforceable and when yes, how and by whom? What were the biggest (most challenging) problems, issues you had to deal with? How will you adapt the new Universal Code of Conduct? Thanks!

Malyacko (talkcontribs)

@JustB EU The first two questions are already answered on the wiki pages, I'd say. Who is "you" in your last question?

JustB EU (talkcontribs)

You = the community that did develop and now controls and executes this CoC. Can you be so kind to give more specific links to "the wiki pages". When not, no prob!

JustB EU (talkcontribs)
Reply to "Your experiences with CoC enforcement"

Recommendation to modify the appeals process

39
Summary by Ladsgroup

This amendment is implemented.

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).

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

We have cases review committee in WMF now which is reviewing T&S cases, would that work? I need to ask legal if that's okay with them. The team is also temporary and will be replaced by another team but something will replace it so we won't lose it. The problem that should it have the authority to override or not still stands. @Tgr: I disagree, I think delegating low-level cases to them would cause issues. There are cases that WMF needs to handle like T&S cases but they are on another league compared to cases we have with CoCC.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

I quite like the compromise of these two bodies being peers (the first bullet point). What do you think?

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

what is the point of having an appeals body that is not allowed to hear appeals?

Martin Urbanec (talkcontribs)

It is allowed to hear them, it's however not allowed to overrule them. It's like senate's role in some countries - it is allowed to veto a law, but the lower chamber can overrule it - and force a law it wishes.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

Or a similar case is FDC, they don't have the authority, they can recommand the board on fund distribution but they don't have the authority.

MarcoAurelio (talkcontribs)

I think the term appeal implies the existence of a superior entity with powers to review and confirm or overturn or vacate a previous decision, or remand the case back from where it came from asking them to re-examine. Reading Code_of_Conduct/Cases#Appealing_a_resolution I concurr with Quim that it looks like this might've been the original expectation although limited to the most serious of cases. If this is not what actually happens, I personally find the word "appeal" confusing and problematic because it won't be a real appeal but an advisory council to the CoCC. If the technical community feels the appeals body or process should be only advisory in nature, and not a real appeals body as IRL, I'd suggest to move away from the term "appeal" to remove the impresion that whichever groups fullfils that role can actually change the outcome of a decision by the CoCC, and clearly document that the CoCC has the last word. Thanks.

Martin Urbanec (talkcontribs)

Well, if those two bodies would be peers, then no one would have last word - both would be able to veto each other's decision.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

And veto each other's vetos!

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

In paper yes, in reality I expect both bodies be reasonable enough to handle a disagreement.

MarcoAurelio (talkcontribs)

I feel terminology is important, that's all. If the two bodies are peers or expected to be peers (I am not saying this is good or bad), then no appeals process exist and the process should not be called as such IMHO. We could change it to 'review', 'advisor', 'dialogue' or any other word that more accurately describes the actual process.

> both would be able to veto each other's decision

That reminds me of the old it:Intercessio, but doesn't look like it's happening? I mean, if the CoCC has the last word, as the participants above seems to agree to (not arguing this is good or bad either), where exactly the so-called appeals body have veto powers? They could recommend but the ultimate decision would be yours so that's hardly an appeal, and hardly a veto either.

Regards.

Tgr (WMF) (talkcontribs)

The Universal Code of Conduct (expected to be out this year) will have its own enforcement and appeals mechanism. It's not clear to me what the status of the technical CoC is supposed to be at that point. Will it be replaced by the UCoC wholesale? Will they exist in parallel, with occasionally overlapping authority? Will they share appeal infrastructure?

I imagine these cannot really be answered before the UCoC gets finalized, so this might not be the best time for this amendment.

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

Hi, nobody knows today how these pieces will play together, but a basic principle is that the UCoC exists to provide a baseline. Then specific projects can use / build their own structures on top of this baseline. This means that if the TCoC is compatible with the UCoC and it defines its own appeal process, then whatever UCoC structures won't interfere.

We have a very tangible problem with the TCoC appeal process, as I reported two years ago. On top of this, the Technical Collaboration doesn't exist as such since July 2019, and it is just a coincidence that the five original members of the former Community Health group are still working at the Foundation. The UCoC is in a very early stage, and there haven't been any discussions or decisions about enforcement and appeals yet. For these reasons, I would really welcome an amendment of this Appeals section in the TCoC, at least to reflect the current reality.

Tgr (WMF) (talkcontribs)

I would really welcome an amendment of this Appeals section in the TCoC, at least to reflect the current reality.

That's a fair point. So maybe go with that and state there is no appeals process? In your experience as part of the appeals team, was there ever a need for it? (As in, was there any appeal where the appeals team disagreed or found problems with the original committee's decisionmaking process?)

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

In all this time we have received only two appeal requests. In the first one we disagreed with the appeal request and we agreed with the Committee. The second one is being processed right now.

The lack of appeals (a good sign) has been a reason for me to almost forget about this proposal during this time.

Martin Urbanec (talkcontribs)

I guess we (TCoC) would have the same position & authority as local arbitration committees - it is something T&S definitely needs to count with :).

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

But what is the point of this "appeals ls" process? Its hard to evaluate what to do here if we don't even agree on what role this process is supposed to play.

I strongly agree with Marco that the terminology is very problematic here. In my view it undermines the legitamacy of the CoC as an appeal is a well understood concept and outside of show-trials this is very much not what is meant by the word appeal.

Martin Urbanec (talkcontribs)

The intention is to allow for a review, since the decision is ultimate & binding for everybody (bypassing a CoCC decision is even violation of CoC per se). On the other hand, Arbitration Committees (which is the comparable body on [some] content projects) have no appeal body, and their decision can be only appealed to themselves (which is not really an appeal, right). So, we can also remove the appeals thing for good too?

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

If you think this is on par with local ArbComs, You can use their policy here too, for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Appeal_of_decisions

> Any editor may ask the Committee to reconsider or amend a ruling, which the Committee may accept or decline at its discretion. The Committee may require a minimum time to have elapsed since the enactment of the ruling, or since any prior request for reconsideration, before reviewing it. Remedies may be appealed to, and amended by, Jimbo Wales, unless the case involves Jimbo Wales' own actions.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

Okay, I'd say let's rewrite the appeal section to make it like English Wikipedia's ArbCom:

Replacing:

After being notified of the outcome, the reporter or any people sanctioned may raise objections to the resolution. These will be considered by the Committee, which may alter the outcome. If the outcome is altered, the new outcome will be logged. When the Committee begins enforcing a decision, that is also logged.

Only resolutions (such as bans) that last more than one week may be appealed by people who were sanctioned. Reported victims can always appeal. To appeal a decision of the Committee, the reported offender or reported victim may contact the Technical Collaboration team's Community Health group at techconductappealswikimedia.org and they will review the case. Until an appeal is resolved, the prior resolution remains fully in effect.

To:

After being notified of the outcome, the reporter or any people sanctioned may raise objections to the resolution. These will be considered by the Committee, which may alter the outcome. If the outcome is altered, the new outcome will be logged. When the Committee begins enforcing a decision, that is also logged.

(Simply, removing the second paragraph). Does this sound good?

Tgr (WMF) (talkcontribs)
AKlapper (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Sounds good to me too.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

Okay, it seems there is an agreement here, I will change it if there's no objection by the next seven days.

Nemo bis (talkcontribs)

Removing that paragraph sounds fine.

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

Done. Hereby this amendment is implemented.

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?

Converted to Structured Discussions

2
Jdforrester (talkcontribs)
Huji (talkcontribs)

Great!

Are women-only meetings allowed?

35
Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Are women-only meetings allowed under this Code of Conduct? There was recently a meeting at a Wikimedia Foundation-sanctioned event that was billed as women-only - or more specifically, open only to anyone who is not "cis male". (I'm not naming it here because I have no interest in repercussions for the people who organized it.)

I don't know if this is the first overtly exclusionary event in Wikimedia history. There have been certainly been "WikiWomen's Lunch" meetings at Wikimania and that sort of thing, but the phrasing this time seemed a little more explicit that certain groups are not welcome.

The Code of Conduct lists the following under "Unacceptable behavior":

Discrimination, particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged.

The exception for "targeted outreach" is clearly meant to allow for programs like Outreachy. But this recent meeting was not an outreach event, just a way for a subset of participants to get together and talk. And since I think everyone would agree that women are an underrepresented group, it seems to follow that such a meeting, while not particularly unacceptable, is still unacceptable. At least, that's my interpretation.

Again, I have no desire to see anyone involved be penalized; I just want it to be clear what the rules are going forward.

Bluerasberry (talkcontribs)
(talkcontribs)

Hi - yes - as far as I found by looking into their event pages and documentation, there’s no evidence of true exclusion of any gender, and it’s not in any requirements for their individual events, it’s likely just encouraged to be mostly all women. Some particularly have stated "People of all gender identities and expressions are welcome, particularly trans and cisgender women." As far as I've found, neither this Code of Conduct nor the 2006-2017 non-discrimination policy were ever cited to counter a productive project like it.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Thanks for your replies. Leaving aside the specifics of any one event, if a meeting truly did exclude men or "cis men", would that be forbidden?

(talkcontribs)

I think the current language is a little unclear, but I think this group of events shows the success of a woman-oriented event, without a necessity to truly push any people away. I also don't know of any Wikimedians who would want to join while violating the spirit of a woman-only event, especially as their editing subject relates to feminism. I might also note that women can be included in the definition of "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups", but I don't think 'cis men' qualifies as one of those groups.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

I don't think that really answered the question, but anyway, I'm also looking forward to hearing what other people have to say.

41.13.196.88 (talkcontribs)

Everyone can define a minority or marginalised group that includes any specific person, and plead special circumstances. There is no black and white, just shades of grey. There will be wikilawyering.

(talkcontribs)

Well to answer your question more directly, this Code of Conduct doesn't expressly forbid it, nor does any other I've found. If there were a specific complaint raised, which I still doubt, we would have to further analyze this.

Adamw (talkcontribs)

@Yaron Koren there's a long history of discussion around this question, you might start by looking at parallels such as [black-only https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/30/white-people-black-women-feminist-festival] spaces to see another perspective: for some types of organizing, this is actually more inclusive than inviting "everybody".

To make a less analogous comparison in case it might help clarify, consider programming events for young people. If these weren't explicitly targeted towards young people, then you would get the usual crowd of moderately- to highly-experienced adults attending, who feel comfortable taking up a lot of air time, and relatively few young people. It's not "overtly exclusionary" to specifically invite young people, it's part of building a diverse movement. Let me know if that helps?

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Adamw - my question isn't whether women-only meetings are a good idea, it's whether they're allowed. It seems pretty clear to me that the answer is "no", but I look forward to hearing other people's thoughts.

Adamw (talkcontribs)

My response was addressing the judgments like "overtly exclusionary event", and the assumption that a targeted event is a type of discrimination. My point is, this is a well-trodden discussion and the consensus as I understand it is that targeted approaches can help build a diverse community. This very thread is an excellent example of why this is the case--how many discussions about discrimination have been hijacked by allegations of so-called reverse racism, which is not one of the problems needing to be solved right now.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

I don't understand - are you saying that an event that excludes men is not discriminatory?

Mooeypoo (talkcontribs)

"Discrimination, particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged."

Men are not a marginalized group, and "targeted outreach" seems to encompass having a targeted event that is aimed (and targeting) marginalized groups, like women and non-binary in tech.

Most events such as these do allow "all genders" but have the caveat that requires all people that are of groups that are not underrepresented (such as cis men in tech, or such as cis white women in a meetup that aims to represent latinx/etc women and non binary groups) to be respectful of the space and the opportunity that is given to the underrepresented groups to be represented.


So yes. It is allowed, and seems to be encouraged, as an outreach device.

Kaldari (talkcontribs)

I've honestly never heard of any strictly "women-only" events related to Wikimedia. I've been to several events for women and non-binary folks and have never witnessed anyone turned away from such an event regardless of their gender presentation. If someone was actually turned away, I imagine it would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Mooeypoo - well, I think we can all agree that the "Discrimination" entry could have been worded better - as it, it requires some guesswork as to meaning.

Yes, men are not marginalized or underrepresented. And any event that discriminates against one group is, by definition, targeted at whoever's left. So I'll grant you that this event was "targeted" as well. Is it "outreach", though? I think the word "outreach" implies that the people being invited are not members of the Wikimedia technical community already - and for this event, they were. So it doesn't seem like "targeted outreach" to me.

If you're right, though, and any technical event run by the WMF that excludes men is by definition "targeted outreach", then we could simplify and clarify that line of the CoC considerably. It could be instead be written as "Discrimination against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups [is not allowed]. Discrimination against any other group is allowed and encouraged." Would you agree that that's an accurate restatement of what you think the CoC says?

Mooeypoo (talkcontribs)

This isn't the first time this subject has been raised; in fact, I'm fairly sure that a stroll through the CoC archives will show this discussion in several flavors several times, answered by multiple people, including actual lawyers and other community members.


It seems most readers don't consider it as "guesswork" as you make it seem; there are equivalent uses of these type of concepts in multiple legal codes in multiple countries, as well, defining what is, and isn't "marginalized" and "underrepresented" minority. Some examples of this also happened fairly recently in American politics, and around the world, trying to define whether discrimination against an ideological group is considered legal discrimination. It does not.


I'm not sure what else you're asking here, though. It's fairly clear that these type of events are supported by the Code of Conduct, and pretty clearly labeled as outreach events, for the purpose of increasing both diversity in the movement as well as opportunities to make sure these underrepresented groups have an opportunity to safely be included.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Mooeypoo - I don't see what lawyers have to do with this. The CoC is not a legal document; it's a set of guidelines that doesn't refer in any way to any actual laws. There's no precedent to be consulted, etc.

Again, I'm not arguing that men are marginalized or underrepresented. They're not, which means, as I noted in the beginning, that the CoC considers discriminating against them unacceptable, although not particularly unacceptable - just regularly unacceptable.

The meeting I originally talked about was not labeled as an outreach event.

Mooeypoo (talkcontribs)

The reason I mentioned "lawyers" and "laws" is to (once again) show that the concepts brought up in this principle are not new, or invented here, or unfamiliar in the general social world-wide perspective, including the definitions of 'marginalized' and 'underrepresented'. But anyways, that was an aside.

What is it that you're actually asking here, though? Are you disappointed you felt you couldn't participate in these meetings? Are you saying they shouldn't happen at all? Are you saying that we should rephrase them? I'm trying to understand what the objection actually is?

I'm not sure I understand what you're raising as an actual issue, considering several people (now and previously, multiple times already) have answered the original question at the title of this topic, and explained it.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Thanks for asking. I'm generally against discrimination in the context of software development, and I find the idea of a Wikimedia event which certain people are not allowed to attend, simply because of their demographic attributes, repulsive. Thankfully, it seems like the Code of Conduct agrees with me - other than specific outreach programs like Outreachy, such a thing is considered "unacceptable".

Mooeypoo (talkcontribs)

I'm a little confused here. The Code of Conduct clearly allows for events that are targeting minorities and underrepresented groups, recognizing that such events are meant for outreach. The idea that this means "only outreachy" is an outreach program is your interpretation, and judging from the responses to this thread (and multiple other previous conversations) this interpretation is not shared by others.


You've received answers here that the Code of Conduct allows for these meetings, that they have a specific goal for inclusion that is missing specifically by these underrepresented groups, and that the definition of "underrepresented minorities" exists in the technical universe outside of Wikimedia's Code of Conduct.


I am not quite sure why you suggest that it seems like the Code of Conduct agrees with you, given the above.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

I'm surprised that you think any part of this phrasing in the Code of Conduct is "clear". :) I didn't say that only Outreachy is an outreach program, although I would bet that if Outreachy didn't exist, that sentence wouldn't have been added. I'm still not sure what you think counts as "outreach". Is it your view that any women-only event can be considered outreach? If so, you're the only one making that claim.

Mooeypoo (talkcontribs)

You keep moving the goalpost, here, though.

You asked a question: Are these groups allowed. Fairly quickly you've received several answers showing that it seems to be allowed, and perhaps even encouraged.

You seem to have taken this into an angle where it agrees with you.


I am asking again, then: What, exactly, is your goal here? If your goal was to ask the question in the thread, it seemed to have been answered previous to my participation -- and in multiple threads we both participated in, in the past, in previous Code of Conduct discussions in the archive.


So, again, what is the goal? Is your intent to offer that you should participate in such events yourself? Is it that we need to never have these type of events except outreachy? Is that what the discussion is about?

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

I'm not moving any goalposts. Yes, I did get several answers. Fortunately for me, this is not the kind of question that's decided by a majority vote. It's a fairly simple yes-or-no question, and hopefully by discussing it here we can reach clarity on what the answer is. Your repeated questions about my intent are starting to feel like harassment. If you don't think this is a conversation worth having, you don't need to be involved.

Mooeypoo (talkcontribs)

I am here to discuss a topic that I care about, just like you.

The reason why I repeatedly asked for your intent here, is because I want to make sure we are on the same page when we discuss a delicate issue of supporting the efforts of diversity and representation to underrepresented minorities.

I wanted to make sure that there are no misunderstandings as we discuss definitions and whether things are "yes-or-no" questions.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Well, maybe that's part of the problem: you see this as a delicate issue, and I don't. I'd say that maybe 80% of the responses so far have been on the order of "women-only gatherings are important". Maybe they are, but that's not what I'm asking about: I'm just asking about whether they're allowed under this Code of Conduct. It's a bloodless question that should only involve reading comprehension; there's no moral aspect to it. Obviously I have my own views on the underlying issue, as does seemingly everyone else here, but they're irrelevant here, and hopefully all future discussion will focus on just the text.

Adamw (talkcontribs)

It looks like nothing more can be done to move this thread forward. I would probably summarize the outcome with exactly the quote used by the OP,

Discrimination [is unacceptable], particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged.

The other confusions proliferating here circle around the question of whether a vaguely-specified meeting was a legitimate outreach event or not, but without naming the event, or giving the exact wording that is supposedly problematic, nobody will be able to diagnose your issue.

(talkcontribs)

Yes, agreed, speculation without specifics isn't very helpful, and the language of this CoC is somewhat dependent on the scenario.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Adamw - I can name the event, but I'm not sure it would help that much, because I'm asking in general terms here - not just for this event but for any future events. Let's say that there's a Wikimedia-affiliated event in the future that's billed as women-only, that it's not intended to bring in new developers, and that a man tries to enter and is turned away (which is pretty easy to do for online-only events, by the way). Would that be acceptable under the CoC, or not? Or would you still need more information than that to know for sure?

Varnent (talkcontribs)

This same argument that supporting minorities is unfair to the majority has come up within this movement dozens of times before in discussions around movement affiliates, grant funding, and non-technical events (which are usually covered by a similar Friendly Space policy). I have served on volunteer committees that were asked this same question in regards to affiliates and Wikimania events, and it was dismissed each time. It has also unsuccessfully been used to try and argue that Boards and committees should note be allowed to have private meetings either. Women are hardly the only ones having private gatherings at events, and this is hardly a new question.

This has come up so many times, I am surprised that it has once again come up. Each time, we have reasonably come to the same conclusion as governments and other movements (including ones who we framed our CoC in part after) that of course these events should be allowed. I see nothing in the CoC that suggests the approach we take with affiliates and non-tech events should not apply here as well. Similar to arguments that we should fund "Straight Pride" and "White Pride" events because of the "Wiki Loves Pride" efforts - this falls flat for me. There are recognized differences between events which cultivate healthy relationships among minority groups and events which are just trying to make a counterpoint or argument around identity politics.

Disrupting private spaces is arguably more discriminatory (as it does not recognize their unique needs or our privilege as outsiders) than their attempts to make the events safe and private. I continue to applaud efforts by minority groups in our movement to find ways to come together and support each other - which is hard enough to do without never-ending philosophical debates on if these groups should even be allowed to meet or be recognized. The arguments against them appear as weak to me as the arguments against many other well established things in our movement such as Gender Gap work and outreach to developing nations.

Would an event for female developers that does not allow male identified developers into the space be discriminatory under the CoC? No more than some regional meetings, private Board meetings, private CoC meetings, or any other private gathering that has been taking place in our movement for over a decade. The only outcome of these debates that I have seen is making things more stressful and difficult for minorities than they already have it. Surely there are more important, legit, and less already drudged out issues to address than if men can crash a women's tea party or luncheon. Do we really need to have this argument for the umpteenth time yet again and stress out a bunch of folks trying to create a safe space? Let the female identified participants have their beverages and discussions in safe privacy and decide for themselves what guests, if any, to allow to attend. Frankly wanting to barge into their events feels rather creepy and voyeuristic to me personally (not speaking to motives of others - just speaking to how it makes me feel). I have heard this argument dozens of times, but still do not understand what secrets people believe are held within these meetings that they have an obligation to intervene into. Our movement respects reasonable privacy, let's respect each other's here.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Varnent - I would classify most of what you wrote as interesting but irrelevant to the original question. That's fine - anyone is free to share their opinions. But if I can summarize your relevant points, you seem to be basically saying that the Code of Conduct does not outlaw any discrimination. All private meetings are a form of discrimination, the CoC does not outlaw private meetings, ergo the CoC can't be interpreted to outlaw discrimination. That's a valid reading, actually, and I think it points again to the poor wording of that part of the Code of Conduct. But it seems to me that "discrimination" there has to mean specifically "discrimination based on demographic attributes like race, gender, etc." Otherwise, as you note, it's an absurd statement.

Varnent (talkcontribs)

@Yaron Koren: Unsurprisingly, you offered an inaccurate summary of what I said. Your assessment of my input as irrelevant I feel suggests nothing more you say warrants any reply from me. I wish you well, but your reply makes me increasingly confident your arguments will once again fail.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Well, I said mostly irrelevant.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Adamw - you may have lost interest in this conversation, which is fine. I'm still curious, though, if you're willing to answer: is there any kind of women-only event that you would agree falls under (banned) discrimination, rather than (encouraged) outreach?

Yair rand (talkcontribs)

I'm finding this thread hard to follow. The original question is whether the language of the document would prohibit events that specifically excluded men. Certain responses seemed to deal with whether such events would be harmful or not, which confused the OP. I suspect that the point of confusion came over different definitions of discrimination, of whether or not things must be harmful to count as discrimination. If one uses a definition such that there's no such thing as harmless/beneficial discrimination, then points about the benefits of women-only events is not a non sequitur, but a relevant point to determining the answer to the original question.

Am I close? (I'm guessing here, I've never heard the word used like that, but certain groups shift definitions around quickly enough that it wouldn't surprise me if many here understood the word that way.)

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Yair rand - I think you're on to something here. I figured that a lot of this discussion would come down to the meaning of words like "discrimination" and "outreach", which can have multiple definitions. Somehow, though, I didn't think of the possibility that it could be defined as, essentially, something that can only be done by the "privileged". That would actually explain a lot of the previous discussion - like Varnent's seemingly bizarre claim that men trying to enter a women-only meeting (i.e, "disrupting private spaces") are themselves engaging in discrimination. If you define discrimination as something like "giving different people different opportunities, based on their demographics", this makes no sense. If, on the other hand, you define it as something like "being rude to women and minorities", then it makes perfect sense.

Reply to "Are women-only meetings allowed?"

Protocol for changing the Code of Conduct?

6
Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

The Code of Conduct was changed yesterday (you can no longer threaten someone with legal action). Leaving aside the wisdom of this particular change, what are the rules for changing the Code of Conduct? Who is allowed to change it, and when? I don't see this explained anywhere.

Jdforrester (WMF) (talkcontribs)
Tgr (WMF) (talkcontribs)

Although saying that the community has achieved consensus seems like a bit of a stretch this time.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

@Jdforrester - ah, I missed the link before; thanks.

@Tgr - yes, it doesn't seem like the process was followed for this change.

MusikAnimal (talkcontribs)

Hello and thank you for raising this issue. Opinions in the discussion seemed to go back and forth, mostly revolving around how such an amendment could be misconstrued to include any legal commentary such as informing others about licensing. At least to some, our change was more of a clarification than a true amendment. The CoC already included the phrasing "deliberate intimidation" which a legal threat could fall under. For instance, a comment such as "I'm going to sue you if you don't merge my patch" is clearly inappropriate. However, a comment like "there could be legal problems if you don't license this properly" is not really a personal threat and wouldn't violate the CoC. In the same vein a comment could be seen as "offensive, derogatory, or discriminatory" but only when taken out of context, or say if there was an innocent language barrier. I think much of the CoC can't be taken literally and reports are always handled on a case-by-case basis. As for this amendment, we felt the wording "threats of legal action" was a balance between being comprehensive and not too explicit.

The proposed amendment was advertised on wikitech and the discussion was open for over a month. We recognize the consensus here is debatable. If you feel this amendment needs to be revisited, say so and we are happy to engage a new discussion. We did not mean to bypass community input or ignore consensus, and in reality we do not believe the scope of the CoC has notably changed as a result of the amendment.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

Thanks for clarifying. I just went through the talk page discussion and counted - I see three people supporting this change (Doc James, Huji and Pbsouthwood - sorry for singling anyone out), and seven people either disagreeing with the change or at least wanting it amended in some way. So maybe consensus went the other way?

I'm also now very curious about which parts of the CoC you think shouldn't be taken literally, but maybe that's a topic for another discussion...

Reply to "Protocol for changing the Code of Conduct?"
Summary by Ladsgroup

The CoCC concludes this proposal as accepted while making sure the wording is explicit enough to not be confused with other things like informing others about license laws:

> "Personal attacks, violence, threats of violence, threats of legal action, or deliberate intimidation."

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.

send to translation

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Summary last edited by Wladek92 13:30, 8 May 2019 1 year 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.