Talk:Code of Conduct

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Some people will recall the prior requirement that WMF Legal raised earlier. I've updated the draft to handle this. Trust and Safety also required an additional change here, which only addresses the most serious of serious matters, where they are already involved today. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:28, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

I don't think we should accept a code with this in it. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 20:46, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
We did not reach consensus on this issue, to say the least. The full discussion is here: Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_1#Conduct_Committee_v_Legal_Counsel and Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_1#Reports_involving_WMF_employees. @VBaranetsky (WMF): dumped the conclusion on us, but unfortunately did not elaborate on the WMFs position in the further discussion. Quoting myself:
Why can't we just ask the victim whether they are OK with it? See Geek Feminism: Responding to reports and 'Why didn't you report it'. If the report is always sent to HR, it is very likely it will dissuade people from responding -- WMF HR is not generally seen as a neutral entity, and many people will assume HR and Legal will act to reduce liabilities for the Foundation rather than trying to solve the issue at hand, which triggers all the fears listed in the 'Why didn't you report it' post. Valhallasw (talk) 14:39, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Valhallasw (talk) 21:28, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
This does not appear thought out. What does "the Law" mean, just U.S. Law, or UK Law because the accused or accuser live in the UK and the UK has much stricter laws for on-line harassment? How can "the Law" apply to an international Committee of mixed WMF employees and unpaid volunteers as opposed to applying to the WMF (which seems far more likely) yet the Committee is under no particular obligation to behave as if it were under contract to the WMF? There are too many questions here for this to be understood by the people who are mandated to comply with it, just reading the words added. The longer this document becomes, the more holes seem to be fundamentally written into it. -- (talk) 21:31, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
Just noting here that Ms. Baranetsky no longer works for the Wikimedia Foundation. It looks like she left in January 2016. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:42, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
Looking at the archive linked to above reminds me why I came to the conclusion last September that there was no point in my continuing to contribute to this discussion. I made these points in September and there was no response to them from WMF Legal. It transpired that a member of WMF staff, in the course of reorganising the discussions, had taken it upon himself to tell WMF Legal that no response was required at that stage (nor, it would seem at any subsequent stage either). However, whether or not the WMF Legal have considered these points, and whether or not they choose to share their reliberations with the community, the fact remains that this Code has been determined almost entirely by WMF staff and their confidential consultants, parts of it have been dictated directly by the WMF corporately, and it will be imposed on the volunteer community by WMF fiat. If it transpires that the Code is legally defective, and exposes volunteers to legal risk due from issues of conflict of law that might have been, but were not, foreseen, then the WMF corporately will be responsible. In a way that's reassuring. How the WMF will react when (not if, but when) something goes amiss, and whether they will accept the consequences of their actions and inactions, remains to be seen. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:43, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi all. We took another look at this section of the policy and wanted to clarify a previous statement made by WMF Legal. Given the participation by WMF employees and contractors in the technical community, it is likely for them to be a part of the Committee. Accordingly, we do think HR has an interest in knowing about the conduct of WMF staff, both if they are victims as well as if they are harassing others. The employees may in some instances be obligated to report allegations against or by staff to HR, so a policy prohibiting this would preempt WMF employee participation. We understand the concern that such a requirement holds the risk of deterring reporting with every exception to confidentiality. However, the HR team would be better positioned to act on the complaint and respond to any wrongdoing. Additionally, we hope that through actions like supporting this Code of Conduct policy, we will gain the trust of the community that we are dedicated to creating safe spaces for people on Wikimedia sites and are not interested in retaliating against good-faith complainants. Also, we want to apologize for the delay in responding to this discussion. As was mentioned above, Victoria Baranetsky left the Foundation shortly after posting her message and missed the discussion. Thank you for your patience here. MBrar (WMF) (talk) 23:50, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
What was the answer to my point of last September, repeated here, about potentially conflicting legal requirements in other jurisdictions? Have they been considered; is WMF Legal satisfied that these issues have been resolved; and what is that resolution? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:32, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi @Rogol Domedonfors: We understand this is a concern. Unfortunately, it’s one that’s difficult to respond to because the answer to what law applies to a given case can vary a lot. For example, some places apply the law of wherever an incident happened, while others apply the law of where the people involved lived, and others apply law if they think their state has a “significant interest” in the case. Because this is not a policy that applies strictly to the Wikimedia Foundation (since the committee will be run by volunteers) one can’t rely on using U.S. law because of the Foundation’s location either. Volunteers will need to ensure they follow the laws that are applicable to them, which most often means the place where you live. While we are not aware of any jurisdiction with any mandatory reporting requirements for a position like this, there might be some out there, so we understand why this provision is written as it is. We do want to emphasize that this isn’t a new issue. Arbcom, admins, and others who help keep the projects running all occasionally face this question, but the projects have been very successful over many years with systems of community management in place. Volunteers understand the laws in their jurisdiction, just as they do in relation to copyright and similar issues when they engage in editing the Wikimedia projects. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MBrar (WMF) (talkcontribs)
I realise it is complicated, which is why I suggested seven months ago that the issue be looked into by the Legal team. As I understand it, the volunteers are expected to abide by the requirements of the Code and to obey the laws of their own jurisdiction (of course). So far I have seen no discussion of what WMF Legal, or staff, want to happen when these requirements are incomptible, and what support they will give to volunteers in that event. It seems likely that the answer is none. There was a discussion of this last September and it seems that no progress has been made and that the issue remains unresolved. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 05:33, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
If this was true, it would prohibit other companies' employees in the same jurisdiction as WMF from contributing as well as they are not named in the proposed amendment. But in reality, WMF employees happily contribute to other software projects and attend (or even organize) in-person conferences where no such reporting obligations exist or are forbidden by local law, so this does not seem to be preempting WMF employee participation. --Tim Landscheidt 10:48, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
I'm still quite unhappy with this. I understand the WMF has a legal obligation to prevent harassment by employees, and has an obligation to protect employees from harassment. At the same time, WMF HR and Legal have an obligation to protect the WMF itself. These goals and the goals of someone who has been harassed do not necessarily align. I believe in the good intentions of the WMF, but I'd rather not base policy on my current beliefs on other peoples' intentions.
To move this forward, I would like to suggest a possible solution: Make the non-WMF members of the committee the initial point of contact for complaints involving WMF employees (or even for all complaints -- other issues can then be forwarded to WMF members). These members have no legal obligation to report to HR and Legal, and can therefore advise the victim to escalate the issue to WMF HR/Legal, but cannot (and will not) force this. Valhallasw (talk) 10:31, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
An alternative is [1]. Nemo 13:14, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
Hi all, I just want to clarify a few things from MBrar's comments. The complexity with these kind of international law issues isn't one that we can research and answer. One might be able to come up with several legal doctrines that could apply, but without more details about the facts of a specific case, it's simply an impossible to answer question. I really want to emphasize that this isn't a new issue though. Any activity on the Internet, or any activity at all that can reach multiple people in different places can create the risk of different laws applying. If someone lives in a place that has particularly strict laws, it's possible that it could create a conflict with this code of conduct and that person might have to withdraw from the committee to obey the law. But we're not aware of any such requirements or restrictions. If something does happen, either due to an unusual law or a misunderstanding, we have the Legal Fees Assistance Program that could help because we do want to support users who are providing their time to help manage the projects. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 20:40, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
In general, I think we can give a vote of confidence to this process as defined in the draft, and be open for improvements if specific problems arise. I also think we can give a vote of confidence to the first Committee to polish processes based on their actual experiences. Otherwise we can discuss the perfect theoretical scenario forever, presumably none of us having run into these types of legal/process situations before. I'm not talking about this section about confidentiality only, but in general for all our remaining discussions about this draft. We work on open wikis and free software, and we are used to the notion of release and improve based on practice. Ultimately what will prevail is the good criteria of a competent and trusted Committee.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:00, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
I do not know exactly who we refers to in this vote of confidence. I do not regard this Code has having the confidence of anyone but a handful of members of the WMF staff. If the intention of this assertion is to declare the Code finished, then it is a WMF staff policy imposed on the volunteer community by WMF authority. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:17, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
If I understand you correctly, this was brought up already and you received a reply in --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 06:42, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, and the way you frame your response supports my point. There are two classes of people, WMF staff and volunteers, to whom this Code will apply, and the proposed Code treats them differently, at the insistence of WMF Legal. The majority of contributors to the Code are members of staff and the consensus among them appears to be that they approve the Code and a senior member of staff is taking it upon himself to declare the Code agreed. The minority of contributors are volunteers and the weight of opinion among them is that they are not happy with the process by which the Code is being implemented. Your response is that when a volunteer expresses an opinion they have been "answered" by a member of staff: the clear implication being that a point is settled once a member of staff has given their opinion on the subject, and that the member of staff's opinion is somehow binding. This does not look like a discussion among equals seeking to develop a consensus -- it looks like a mere volunteer raising a point which is then dismissed by the authority of a staff member, a one-way conversation in which volunteers propose and staff members dispose. This is why I call the Code a WMF Staff Policy -- it is a policy which for all practical purposes has been developed by WMF staff members as a formal WMF team goal and which will be imposed on volunteers by the authority of the WMF acting through a WMF approved committee backed by a WMF Staff team. It seems important to staff members not to accept this view and I do not understand why. Why the reluctance to admit that the Code is imposed by WMF authority and accept the consequences of doing so, for better or worse? Why the effort to make it appear, against the evidence, that this is a consensus across both classes of the community? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 09:10, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
I do not see how my personal response implied "that the member of staff's opinion is somehow binding" - my sole intention was pointing to a previous comment that looked like a potential answer to your question, without me necessarily endorsing anything. If you think that it "does not look like a discussion among equals", what is your proposal to get more equality and involvement? --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:43, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
I made various suggestions for wider involvement several months ago. They were not taken up and it is too late to rectify the situation, which is regrettable. I note that you do not dispute my assessment of the present status of this Code. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:28, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
If you have specific past comments you're referring to, feel free to explicitly point to them for the sake of a focused discussion. Regarding your last sentence, I note that I neither dispute nor endorse your assessment. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 12:40, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
The comments are in the archived pages and the links are in an earlier posting in this thread, if you wish to look at the history. There seems little point in revisiting them as the work here has taken a different track over the last eight months or so: I have already said that I see no point in trying to rewind those discussions and I can hardly suppose that anyone else does either. The irony of a staff member apparently giving permission to a volunteer to do something in the context of a discussion about whether or not they should be regarded as equals is not lost on me. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:45, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Let's keep this section on-topic, please. I have created #Wider_participation.2C_still and you can continue this discussion there. Thank you.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:47, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I just want to get back to the original point about WMF reducing its own liabilities; I understand the concern, and, beyond what legal has already pointed out about this (and the fact that this is not a new requirement in any space, including WMF projects) -- I just wanted to raise the point that this is in addition to the committee's own handling of the report, and this concept is crucial. If a WMF employee is involved in a report, WMF HR and Legal will be notified - but that notification does not impact the work of the committee, who will still follow the process as usual and decide on whatever steps necessary with the people involved. If, for example, a report is discussed in the committee and the committee then decides to ban a person for a week from some mailing lists, then they will do that, whether the person is an employee of the WMF or not. The only difference is that if that person is a WMF employee, WMF HR and Legal should know about it.
That, however, also makes sense. As employees, the WMF technical spaces is our expected workplace; if we misbehave, or if we get banned, or if we were subjected to any wrongdoing or harassment, it is quite logical for our workplace HR and Legal to be aware of it. There are employment and labor laws, for example, that, while the community is not obligated to follow, WMF HR is obligated to follow when it comes to people who are its employees. This is not only an expected (and not new) term and request to have, it makes total sense given the status of the people involved. And it does not influence or change the process by which the committee decides what to do with a case. It simply says to additionally notify those two bodies, who are, quite clearly and practically, responsible for their employees' workplace conduct, and providing a safe workplace environment. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 23:48, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
As I wrote above, this does not make sense. If there were any such legal requirements, they would apply to all employers, yet the proposal only mentions one, so there do not seem to be any such legal requirements. If a WMF employee is banned from his workspace by a third party or harassed there and this should be reported to WMF HR, this obligation can (and should be) be made part of the contracts between WMF and its employees.
In addition, I would be very surprised if the committee would not be biased by this difference that you pointed out: If a volunteer is the alleged offender, for example banning them would have little effect on them and can be handed out freely. WMF employees on the other hand would be unable to fulfill their contractual obligations and – as was repeatedly asserted during the ED mobbing – could face unemployment or deportation as a consequence. --Tim Landscheidt 02:43, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

There seem to be multiple discussions here in parallel:

  1. The legal requirement of employers to act in case of harassment,
  2. The freedom of the CoC to make decisions without interference from WMF HR/Legal,
  3. Whether the committee needs to/will take into account the effect of their decisions on employment etc. of the offender,
  4. The chilling effect of requiring reports to be forwarded WMF HR/Legal, and finally
  5. Potential legal issues for members of the committee

I would like to suggest to split the discussion into those topics explicitly, even though they (at least partially) affect the same text in the proposal. Valhallasw (talk) 14:25, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

I support the idea of splitting discussions. As this section is today (including links to previous discussions), I barely know where to start in order to have an opinion, and I bet any newcomers to this specific discussion will feel the same x 10. If someone has the knowledge and the time, it would be good to start new sections for each of the discussions that remain open, suggesting a specific change to the current draft. From there, digesting information and seeking consensus (or at least isolating the hardest nuts to crack) should be simpler.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 06:18, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
Splitting per request of Valhallasw and Qgil-WMF. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:03, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

WMF is requesting that complaints involving WMF staff be forwarded to the Talent and Culture team which handles human resources responsibilities on behalf of the Foundation. WMF has a legal obligation as an employer to investigate complaints of harassment involving staff and, where appropriate, to take corrective action. In order to protect WMF staff members who make complaints and participate in investigations, U.S. laws also prohibit retaliation and WMF has a specific non-retaliation policy. The T&C team recognizes that the CoC is intended for individuals participating in technical spaces and that the CoC will be enforced by the CoC Committee. While the CoC Committee may be both the initial and primary point of contact for incidents occurring in technical spaces, the T&C team must also be alerted about incidents involving staff in order to take necessary steps to comply with U.S. and California employment laws. --ALewis (WMF) (talk) 17:16, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

As I have written multiple times, if this was true, it would prohibit other companies' employees in the same jurisdiction as WMF from contributing as well as they are not named in the proposed amendment. But in reality, WMF employees happily contribute to other software projects and attend (or even organize) in-person conferences where no such reporting obligations exist or are forbidden by local law, so this does not seem to be requested by WMF. --Tim Landscheidt 18:19, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
The above is in regards to this change to the draft. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:03, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Tim. While you can certainly request it, it's our decision. All employers of technical contributors should get the same rights over this area or none of them should, and I'm leaning towards the latter. I'll be removing the problematic text from the draft shortly, I cannot support the draft in it's current form, especially with this. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 19:40, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Apparently after I posted this some people accidentally misunderstood me or it was perceived differently to how I intended (this is my fault, I wasn't very clear) - I feel the need to clarify that I do not oppose the idea of a CoC, nor am I trying to weaken it or make it impossible to enforce. The idea is good and I will support it if we can get the implementation and language fair. My position in this particular part of the document is that if we grant some employers of our contributors rights to view their cases, we need to do the same for all such employers, not just specific ones and not just affiliated ones. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 19:23, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
The difference is that WMF and users of Wikimedia projects such as Phabricator and, agreed to the Terms of Use (which includes the Privacy Policy). That means WMF mostly lets the communities self-manage, but imposes certain key requirements. One of these is given in foundation:Privacy policy#To Protect You, Ourselves & Others: "We, or particular users with certain administrative rights as described below, may need to share your personal information if it is reasonably believed to be necessary to enforce or investigate potential violations of our Terms of Use, this Privacy Policy, or any Foundation or user community-based policies." WMF HR policies are "Foundation [...] policies". There is no analogous policy that all MediaWiki developers agreed to with, e.g. a hypothetical FooCorp that contributes to MediaWiki. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:34, 6 July 2016 (UTC)"
You are missing the point. Of course WMF has the legal and technical means to require whatever it wants. But there is no logic to posit that WMF is legally required to be informed about alleged incidents with its staff, and other companies in the same jurisdiction would not be required in the same way, and even more WMF's staff has actively organized and participated in events where no such requirement was in place, demonstrating that it does not seem to be required (or WMF has violated the law in the past). --Tim Landscheidt 09:00, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Legal requirement of employers to act in case of harassment[edit]

See ALewis's comment above. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:03, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Freedom of the Code of Conduct Committee[edit]

For this point, regardless of whether the committee makes any disclosures to the WMF, it would be able to act freely. The CoC committee gets to determine how it wants to respond to issues that come to it in technical spaces and will not be consulting with WMF Legal or HR about what to do. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 20:50, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Committee taking into account employment?[edit]

There is nothing in the Code of Conduct requiring that the Committee take this into account. This goes for all employers. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:03, 15 June 2016 (UTC) Yeah,nothing code of conduct but rules.Committee need take into account employment with rules the best.

Effect of requiring particular reports to be forwarded[edit]

Potential legal issues for members[edit]

See my comment above. We are not aware of any jurisdictions where being a member of the CoC committee would create legal problems for members. It's not a risk that can be 100% eliminated, but we have the Legal Fees Assistance Program in part to account for some sort of strange occurrence that could arise from people doing their best to help support the projects in an administrative or functionary role like this one. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 20:54, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Reporter's consent[edit]

I see the draft currently has wording that "the Committee must get consent from the reporter before revealing any confidential information (including the reporter's identity) as part of the investigation." So if the committee has confidential information about someone other than the reporter, such as a witness to the event, it has to ask the reporter but not the person the confidential information is actually about? Anomie (talk) 13:20, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

@Anomie: This is a good point. I've added some wording to try to take that into account. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 12:43, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

Renewed addition of section on HR reporting[edit]

In [2], Mattflaschen-WMF added the same text that was added earlier. It would be very helpful if WMF Legal could take a more active part in this dicussion, which then hopefully leads to a text that both has community consensus and is OK with WMF legal at the same time. Valhallasw (talk) 14:50, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Suggested rewording[edit]

Starting from the essential principle the reporter is in control, the following is my suggestion. I've tried to come up with a phrasing that takes into account that:

  • WMF employees are required to report to HR/Legal,
  • This is likely to also be the case for other companies,
  • This is problematic because it forces the issue out of the reporters' hands (see e.g. [3])
    • There should be a way to provide support to victims without this being an issue.
      (The link was very confusing to me. Those who want a quick and clear recap can read the Forbes article instead. Knowing the jargon is also needed. Nemo 19:39, 7 August 2016 (UTC))

(names have been randomly generated)

Some of the committee's members have the obligation to report harassment to their HR or Legal departments. For example, WMF employees are required to report harassment involving WMF employees (either as victim or as harasser) to HR. The email address is handled by Khorshid Nosek, who has no reporting obligations, except in the case of immediate danger or child protection issues. If your report would trigger reporting obligations, Khorshid Nosek will discuss these with you before forwarding the case to other members of the committee. If you decide to not share your case with the rest of the committee, you will still be provided with assistance and support, but the committee will be unable to take further action.

The members of the committee and their reporting obligations are listed below:

Name Employer Obligations
Katlego MacChruim Wikimedia Foundation Must report all events involving WMF employees to that employees' manager and HR
Khayrat McWilliam Evil Corp Must report all events involving their competitors to their employer
Khorshid Nosek Student no reporting obligations

There are two more points that need to be incorporated:

  • WMF has no say in the outcome of the committee,
  • the committee may take employment into account, but is not required to.

but I think those should be elsewhere (not under 'confidentiality'). Valhallasw (talk) 19:02, 7 August 2016 (UTC)

September 22, 2016 revision by WMF Legal[edit]

Hi all, After having a chance to review this section, we’ve re-inserted a sentence regarding reporting to WMF and made a couple of other small changes. We removed the language about reporter’s consent at the very beginning because it’s redundant with the bullet point section below it (just cleaning up). We also removed the line about a report submitted by a WMF employee or contractor where neither offender nor target of harassment is a WMF employee or contractor not being forwarded because it conflicts with the section on safety issues that might need to be forwarded. The policy will still allow the Committee to keep reports confidential unless one of these two exceptions applies (safety reasons, or if WMF employee/contractor is offender or target of harassment). We have concluded that the remaining reporting requirements do need to be there, and we want to explain why we came to that conclusion and address some of the concerns you have all raised in this post. We want to be clear that this doesn’t address every issue surrounding this topic and we may never be able to resolve every possible concern, but we want to explain the key issues that caused us to determine that this section is necessary for the CoC.

  • The Wikimedia Foundation has a unique interest in hearing about issues related to its staff and contractors in their workspaces regardless of the composition of the Committee. As was described earlier, the CoC governs actions that are happening on Wikimedia technical spaces that may involve Wikimedia Foundation employees and contractors. 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.
  • The reporting requirement will not change any of the decisions or processes of the CoC Committee and should not deter volunteers from making a report. As we stated earlier, the reporting will allow the Wikimedia Foundation to address any issues of harassment using internal processes that apply to all Foundation staff and contractors. Accordingly, the Foundation will not even be in a position to retaliate against non-employees or affect the decisions or process of the CoC Committee. We want to reiterate that the Wikimedia Foundation has an interest in stopping harassment on the projects. That is why staff, as part of the technical community, are among those working hard to develop this CoC. The interests of the Foundation will not be served by retaliating against victims of harassment.
  • This reporting requirement also should not deter employees and contractors from reporting incidents to the Committee because the Wikimedia Foundation may not use any information reported to retaliate against employees or contractors involved in the case. As ALewis (Angel) mentioned above, the Wikimedia Foundation is obligated by law to not retaliate against WMF employees or contractors who report incidents or participate in the investigation of incidents. What this requirement will do is help the Foundation address issues of harassment internally.
  • The requirement of reporting to relevant parties when there is a need is consistent with the types of information disclosure covered in our pre-existing Access to nonpublic information policy that governs Foundation conduct as well as community groups that act on the sites. We think the exception to require reporting to the Foundation when an employee or contractor is involved in a CoC case, like the other disclosure exceptions in those policies, is important to reduce risk to the Foundation and Wikimedia movement.
  • The Committee is uniquely situated to report any incidents involving staff to HR. It would be onerous or unfair to place the burden on the reporter or target of harassment to report to the Committee as well as HR and the perpetrator would obviously not be incentivized to report the issue themselves.

For these reasons, we feel after reviewing the reporting requirement that it is necessary. MBrar (WMF) (talk) 22:20, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

I have reverted your change again. Please address the points brought forward in the discussion, then check for consensus, then add the relevant text to the proposal. To add one more point (I'll try to respond to the rest of your post this weekend) -- "The Wikimedia Foundation is obligated by law to not retaliate against WMF employees or contractors who report incidents or participate in the investigation of incidents.": a) this is an obligation that has been broken by many companies before, and b) does not include volunteers, who are left hung out to dry. Valhallasw (talk) 06:14, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
Hi Valhallasw. We tried to address the concern you raise in the second bullet point above. To put it in different words, volunteers are protected by the structure of this CoC: the CoC committee makes decisions and the Foundation being told about it when an employee or contractor is involved doesn't give the Foundation any special power to change things or affect the CoC committee. More broadly, what we're saying in total is that we concluded that the legal risk of HR not knowing about these employee/contractor issues isn't an acceptable one and therefore we need the reporting language. But we also read over the whole policy and we think that we can have that reporting without creating new risk for volunteers, without opening up the CoC Committee to demands from other parties, and without discouraging people from reporting incidents. Lastly, while we all know that companies don't always comply with the requirements of the law, I can say as a Foundation lawyer that I intend to do everything I can to make sure we comply with the law and to fix mistakes if somebody messes up in the future. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 18:52, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
@Jrogers (WMF): Is the WMF somehow a special case, because it hosts some crucial infrastructure used by the Wikimedia community? Could there be a more general description about the CoC committee reporting to employers of individuals getting paid for working in the Wikimedia community? I'm asking this as I'm wondering why the WMF needs to be explicitly named and why other entities like Wikimedia Deutschland (random example) are not named, assuming (I do not know) that there were similar legal requirements in German law when it comes to reporting employees' behavior. Could or would we end up having potentially dozens of legal entities mentioned in the text and WMF is just the first one requesting to be mentioned? That's my personal concern here. --Malyacko (talk) 20:00, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
Hi Malyacko, we do think that the WMF is somehow a special case here. From the explanation by MBrar (WMF) above in the first bullet "The Wikimedia Foundation has this interest uniquely as a host of the website whose employees are using these technical spaces as their workspace." So we don't see this language opening the CoC committee up to disclosure requests from anyone else. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 21:10, 23 September 2016 (UTC)
@Jrogers (WMF): Apart from maybe hosting of the website, I still miss any arguments that make the WMF so special that they'd have to be explicitly mentioned in the CoC (instead of having a generic sentence about employers of people being active in Wikimedia's technical spaces). It's unrelated whether the language opens the CoC committee up to requests from anyone else or not; I simply oppose picking and mentioning the names of any employers (though admittedly probably the biggest) in the Wikimedia community. --Malyacko (talk) 12:47, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
This effectively would mean that other companies in the same jurisdiction whose employees are using these technical spaces as their workspace would need to ban participation. It also (still) does not address why WMF lets its employees attend physical conferences where no such mandatory reporting rules exist. But it (again) points out the power dynamics here: If you're WMF, your arguments do not need to convince someone, so why bother. --Tim Landscheidt 06:47, 23 October 2016 (UTC)
For the version of the Confidentiality section with this change, see this permalink. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:14, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
@Malyacko: @Valhallasw: I want to check if you have any further thoughts. We remain of the opinion that the reporting requirement is necessary to have because of the legal risk otherwise, and I'm hoping we've addressed the concerns about how we can have it without it unfairly impacting volunteers or opening up the CoC to requests from other organizations. I'd like to add the language back in tomorrow (September 30th). -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 16:51, 29 September 2016 (UTC)
My general point (as I have brought forward in earlier discussions multiple times, but you may not have been involved in the discussion back then) is that the reporter should be in control. Essentially, the committee serves two purposes: 1) a first point of contact for when anything bad happens (i.e. a role supporting the victim), and 2) a 'judicial' (for lack of a better word) organ that investigates and hands out punishments (i.e. a role to prevent new victims). I think it's reasonable for the WMF to be notified when we reach stage 2, but if the WMF is already informed in stage 1, this will likely be a huge blocker for victims to receive support when WMF employees are involved. The well-being of the current victim is priority number one, preventing new victims is priority number two. Hence my suggestion in the section above. Does that help to clarify my position, and does it clarify why the current wording does not sufficiently address the risks for the victim? Valhallasw (talk) 19:02, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

One further point that came up in a private discussion: why is there an interest from WMF Legal in CoC cases, but not in, for example, arbcom cases? Valhallasw (talk) 20:32, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Refer to #Implication_of_September_22.2C_2016_revision_by_WMF_Legal. I do not see how the text and explanations have "addressed the concerns about how we can have it without it unfairly impacting volunteers". If WMF Legal were to formally agree to waive all future legal action against whistleblowers, including all volunteers with no contract or agreement with the WMF required, that would be comforting. Until then, there seems little doubt that by defending the WMF from all risks, this puts volunteers under a threat of personal risk if they attempt to, say, expose harassment from WMF employees, misuse of data, or any other matter that may be perceived by WMF managers or board members to potentially harm the WMF's reputation or damage fundraising if not suppressed. At the same time the changes give WMF legal access to information from non-WMF employees (whether an alleged victim or harasser) that ought to stay confidential, and there are no provisions for WMF legal to be forced to respect that confidentiality, to never use it to threaten legal action, or publish it, if doing so would help the WMF prevent exposure of a perceived risk to themselves. -- (talk) 10:07, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

@Valhallasw: @:: Couple more responses. First, I think Valhallasw is coming from the right place. In an ideal world, we could offer complete confidentiality because that is the best way to encourage reporters to raise their concerns and to help support people who have been the subject of harassment. 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. All the explanation above from us is about how adding this language deals with the legal risk and, we think, still minimizes the impact on reporters. This is also why arbcom is different. They're not dealing with a space that is small and consists heavily of WMF employees, and it's that special factor that makes the legal risk here one that needs a reporting exception. With regard to Fae's point, I think it's actually confusing something else. If someone does something that merits legal action from the Foundation, we have the tools to do that whether this reporting language is in the CoC or not. We have the tools to do it whether there is a CoC or not for that matter, it's just a different thing entirely. The WMF taking legal action against a volunteer is a high bar though. There is no legal cause of action (in other words, no right to sue someone) for whistleblowing or reporting harassment, and the CoC doesn't affect that at all. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 18:11, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

With respect to "[WMF Legal] have the tools to do it", this missed the point that the objection is to WMF Legal having privileged access to confidential information related to harassment complaints. This information may then be used by the WMF to threaten or take legal action which otherwise would not have occurred. No other organization is being granted these privileges to compromise these confidential cases. Even the parties to a case are not given any automatic right to see all the information provided to the CoC committee, yet WMF legal are forcing the committee to provide all records and reports to WMF legal, with no guarantees about how WMF legal may choose to use that information in the future, or how long they will retain these records for potential future action.
With regard to the statement that the WMF is not claiming a right to sue a volunteer for whistleblowing, that is a complete tangent and not being put forward. There is no comfort in anything written here that a non-employee volunteer would not suffer legal threats or action from the WMF dependent on information provided to the CoC committee in confidence. The fact that WMF legal has access to everything, will and should put off non-employee volunteers from using this process, especially someone who wishes to assert that a WMF employee has harassed others, and may legitimately fear that getting involved with the CoC committee may lead to WMF legal selectively using information provided by them or other parties to the case to threaten legal action in order to "minimize risk" to the WMF without regard to the long term distress or damage this may cause to non-WMF employees named in the case.
At no point in this discussion has WMF legal made any commitment to respect confidentiality, such as never publishing the legal identities and other details of parties to a harassment case without their permission. -- (talk) 21:35, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
@:: The exception is more narrow than that. This is not all materials from the CoC, it's the report they receive if a WMF employee or contractor is involved. It's a limited exception that tells WMF HR "here's a report for a WMF employee harassing someone or being harassed" so that HR can look into these issues internally within the Foundation if required to do so by employment law. I'm also at a loss as to what sort of legal action you think would even be possible. The reason I said there was no ability to sue someone for reporting an incident is that I just can't come up with any reason we could threaten someone based on a report to the CoC being shared. Lastly, there is a guarantee of confidentiality. This kind of report is covered by our privacy policy and by the data retention guidelines. Those do leave some exceptions (such as disclosure in response to a valid court order, or to protect people), but they offer a strong set of protections and we do our utmost to defend the privacy and confidentiality of non-public information provided to us. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 22:51, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
I understand the WMF privacy policy and data retention guidelines. They offer no protection for non-Employees that the WMF wish to hold their own reports and analysis for, as there is no right of access, nor any right to know that the WMF's reports exist. My experience of WMF legal publicly and formally denying me any access or information about the reports that the WMF holds about me, even actively refusing to state whether reports exist or whether you hold secret reports and analysis indefinitely, gives volunteers no comfort whatsoever. I can imagine scenarios where the committee sharing confidential case information with the WMF would result in threats or actual legal action against non-Employees in these circumstances, it's not all that unlikely in my view considering that such cases are highly likely to relate to contentious or even unlawful material that WMF legal may not otherwise be notified about.
With regard to "the report" could you specific exactly what this is, and whether it includes the full details of parties to a case, not just the employees. Thanks -- (talk) 08:00, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Confidentiality language finalized[edit]

Hi all. After review, as explained in our previous posts on this page, WMF Legal determined that the reporting language in the confidentiality section is required. I've updated the main CoC page to include this language. As a requirement from Legal, this change is not up for community discussion because we don't have a choice about whether to have it or not. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 20:52, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

How interesting that Jrogers (WMF) believes that he has the authority to forbid the Community to discuss something. I wonder where he believes that authority comes from. Does he have some personal, inherent, elective or even persuasive authority over citizens of every country in the world, such as being Governor of California and President of the European Commission and Chair of the Chinese Communist Party and Secretary-General of the United Nations? No. Is it because he personally has been selected or accepted by the Community as holding some position of power, influence or responsibility within the Community? No. Is it being "Legal Counsel, Wikimedia Foundation" a post accepted by the community as having some degree of power, influence or responsibility within that community? No. Is it that the Foundation (for which he does not expressly state himself to be speaking) has that authority? No. Has the Foundation determined that such a disussion violates its Terms of Use or any other binding agreement with the members of the community? No. Does he wish to convey that the Foundation owns the servers and is threatening those who disagree with this determination that the Foundation will exercise their technical ability to delete such discussions and prevent people who do so from logging in? Perhaps. Would that course of action be proportionate, justified or productive? Certainly not.
Next, let us consider why the WMF Legal team wish this wording to be inserted without further discussion. They clearly believe that there is something the Foundation is required to do that it cannot do without these words. But this Code of Conduct is not currently in force, and so those words are not in any code currently in force. That is, matters are currently proceeding without the benefit of this wording. Has something changed? No.
Thirdly, let us suppose that these words remain in the draft, and that for that, or some other reason, the Community declines to endorse this Code and it continues not to be in force. Will the situation change? No.
Finally, let us suppose that these words are in the Code and that the Code is ensdorsed by the Community. How will the Foundation enforce the requirement they have imposed on members of the Community? How will they act to derive the benefits they wish to obtain from it? What will they do to a community member in a dispute physically located in, and involving citizens of, a jurisdiction in which the WMF desires are not only unenforceable but actually contrary to the requirements of pevailing law? Do the WMF really believe the pronouncements of its Legal Counsel override all other considerations throughout the world? Let us hope not. 22:07, 21 December 2016 (UTC)
As my concerns remained unanswered I oppose the latest changes made by Jrogers (WMF). Note that I don't challenge WMF's internal handling of situations; I just don't see sufficient reasons to explicitly make it part of the CoC. --Malyacko (talk) 09:50, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

Changing the Code once enacted[edit]

In the course of another discussion, the assertion was made "The CoC is a living document, if any sentence in it proves to be problematic in real cases, we will be able to contest it and amend it." It is not clear to me that this is correct, since the Code as written has no provision for changes. It is also not clear who "we" refers to in this assertion: is it anyone discussing it at this page, the Committee, the DevRel team, the WMF Board, ... . So who has this ultimate authority over the Code and how will they exercise it? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 05:23, 6 May 2016 (UTC)

@Rogol Domedonfors: I agree with you that the amendment process is something that needs to be spelled out. It's one of the things I've been thinking about. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:04, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
As people have noted, over time, it may be necessary to amend the Code of Conduct, in response to lessons learned or changing circumstances. It might be necessary to clarify certain points or improve procedures.
I think the Code of Conduct should be fairly stable, so there are not frequent changes, but amendments should be allowed. To make this possible, a super-majority (4/5) of the Committee could approve changes. Community members could suggest ideas at any time for Committee discussion.
What do people think? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:41, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
+1 to your suggestion of having a super-majority vote of the committee to approve changes. It might make sense to have a suggestion drop-box page on which people can leave proposed amendments (or send them to the committee email if they want to be anonymous) which are then evaluated on a monthly/bi-monthly basis by the committee to avoid over-burdening committee members' time. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 09:11, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
@NKohli (WMF): I agree. There definitely need to be formal or informal ways of suggesting amendments to the Committee. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 14:02, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Support Support--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:17, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
It seems reasonable; we'd probably want a two-week notice for community participation, like with elections. A somewhat related topic: if the committee somehow goes astray (makes weird decisions, or rewrites its own code in weird ways), would somebody have authority to replace them? --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 09:49, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
We can cross that bridge when we come to it. However, it is safe to say that the WMF Board would certainly have that authority. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 14:38, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
I think there are two different 'classes' of amendments. One is in, for example, the reporting steps or the handling of cases. Those are, essentially, internal to the committee, and I think it's reasonable that the committee can change these parts. However, I don't think it's reasonable to let the committee change all parts of the CoC -- that would essentially mean the committee can overrule all the consensus building that has happened here. I would therefore prefer a process where amendments are proposed and voted on on the CoC talk page. Valhallasw (talk) 10:13, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
I think I largely agree with Valhallasw. The authority of this code of conduct (if it has any) derives from the community, not from the committee, as I understand it. This means that the initial code of conduct would be community-endorsed presumably, but then any subsequent version of the code of conduct would be subject to the whims of whoever's currently sitting on this committee? And, of course, the committee could decide to simply do away with or dramatically alter the amendments process.
It seems like a valid concern that this talk page has become too insular and overloaded with Wikimedia Foundation staff. I imagine a similar concern spreads to whatever committee is formed. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:29, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Agreed that we shouldn't allow the committee to amend the code. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 02:50, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Might make sense to combine both approaches- have a community discussion for the amendments with a 4/5 veto option for the board or something similar the other way round. I assume amendments should be exceptional, therefore a complex process (not complicated though) should be okay. Either way, I support having a clear, transparent process that is defined before the CoC is applied. --Frimelle (talk) 12:54, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

New proposal for amendments[edit]

Many good ideas have been presented, and here is a proposal that tries to accommodate all the concerns raised. Maybe it is too detailed for the CoC draft? Anyway, I think this could work well, and the wording for the draft could be simplified if needed:

The draft proposed has been moved to Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Page:_Code_of_Conduct.2FAmendments.

Please discuss.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:50, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Several people commented above asking for more community involvement. I think this addresses this pretty well. Suggested changes:
  • "changes made don't affect its essence and efficacy" -> "changes made are not expected to reduce its effectiveness". Increased effectiveness would be a good thing.
  • 'willing' -> 'wishing'
  • Define "qualified majority", or just say that there has to be consensus, and two or more Committee members together can veto.
  • Instead of "They can be proposed again after one year" (which almost encourages that), "Promoters should not perennially submit the same amendment after it has been rejected." or "If a rejected amendment is proposed less than a year later, it may be rejected." Do we need to spell this out explicitly? Regarding length, I think we should not put this on the main Code of Conduct page. None of the other two pages fit either, so I suggest Code of Conduct/Amendments (but still drafted here, like the other three pages). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:45, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Thank you Mattflaschen-WMF, points taken. I think agreement within the Committee is just part of the definition of consensus. Wikimedia's usual practices don't require unanimity for consensus, and therefore I don't think that unanimity in the Committee should be required either. If one Committee member objects to a change but the rest of Committee members and the overall participation in the discussion agrees, that could be still called consensus. Two or more members of the Committee disagreeing to a change is a different story, that doesn't look like consensus, and when that happens it is probably better to be conservative and keep the writing of the CoC. Having the process for amending the CoC in its own page makes sense, yes. As soon as this discussion shows a basic agreement, I will move the proposal above to the Draft page for better editing and discussion.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:04, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
  • The new formulation ("A proposal is accepted and integrated to the Code of Conduct by the Committee when its discussion reaches consensus and no more than one Committee member opposes to it.") suggests it is accepted if the Committee's discussion reaches consensus (i.e. the committee agrees), rather than requiring community consensus. I suggest formulating it as "A proposal is accepted and integrated to the Code of Conduct by the Committee when the community reaches consensus and no more than one Committee member opposes to it.".
Valhallasw (talk) 16:28, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
    • @Valhallasw: Ah, good point. My intended meaning was "the community" meaning you are proposing. Change made.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 17:44, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

I have moved the draft proposal to Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Page:_Code_of_Conduct.2FAmendments.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:17, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

I've put back the text, "and no more than one Committee member opposes it", which Krenair took out. This was discussed above, and I think it is still a good idea. The Committee will have experience with how the CoC works in practice, which will help them evaluate amendments. Although amendments should have community consensus, it also doesn't make sense to push them through when there's strong opposition on the Committee. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:32, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, that's not going to stick as long as I have any say in this. The community has the ability to amend and delete these policies and nothing you write in this one will change that, but the fact that you tried to limit community consensus is outrageous. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 14:10, 10 December 2016 (UTC)
If the CoC is approved via community consensus, it needs to be possible to change it via community consensus, as well. If it is approved by some other means, it should not be possible to effectively revert or disable it merely by community consensus. I think those both stand to reason. Since the process of approval still seems to be an open question (cf. #Final approval of CoC), that should be decided first.
In any case, I don't think specifying "more than one" makes sense. The CoC says "The Committee determines its own procedures, subject to the duty to act fairly", and there is no good reason to make an exception here. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 21:34, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
Community and Committee must be able to control each other in order to assure the stability of the CoC. There is no mathematical definition of "community consensus" in Wikimedia, and sometimes "a majority of expressed opinions" will do. The CoC and its committee stand for the minorities and for those who might be in weaker positions at public debates. If there is a nasty debate where one vocal and strong side obtains a majority of expressed opinions while others give up or stay aside, the committee must be able to stop it if they believe that such amendment go against the spirit and efficiency of the CoC. Needless to say, they should provide a good argumentation to veto any proposals.
If what happens is that the committee has gone mad and won't listen to what is a perfectly valid point with wide community support only to protect their interests, then the problem is deeper than the specific amendment proposed, and what needs to be discussed is the resignation of the current committee.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:32, 12 December 2016 (UTC)
@Tgr (WMF): There are reasons the amendment process is different from the approval process. We don’t yet have a Committee, so they can’t be involved in the initial approval process. Once we do, it makes sense to use them and take advantage of their skills and real-world experience. Also, we want the policy to be changeable but relatively stable. So this is a compromise with that goal in mind. Regarding "The Committee determines its own procedures, subject to the duty to act fairly", that is about internal procedures consistent with the policy; basically, those are implementation details. "Amendments" is about actual changes to the policy, which can have a substantive impact. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:06, 13 December 2016 (UTC)
I think that if we're going to have a committee veto for amendments, it should at least require a majority of the committee, not just one or two members. To address Tgr (WMF)'s point that the policy shouldn't specify too many details about how the committee should run itself, 1) there's also a rule that says that removals must be unanimous (not including the removed member's vote), and 2) perhaps this could be phrased as "unless the committee decides to veto it" in the assumption that the committee wouldn't make rules for itself that allow a minority to take such a drastic action. I'm undecided about whether I think a committee veto should be in the policy, but I do think the fact that the committee cannot by itself amend the policy (nor does it have a special position for initiating amendments) already does a lot to limit the potential for abuse of power by committee members, so giving them veto power is less of a concern to me than it would be without those things. --Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talk) 00:07, 14 December 2016 (UTC)
@Roan Kattouw (WMF), Tgr (WMF): I've proposed a change to address some of your concerns above. It now says, "A proposal is accepted and integrated to the Code of Conduct by the Committee when the community reaches consensus, unless a majority of the regular Committee members oppose it.", which makes it more difficult for the Committee to veto. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:42, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

Decadent, deceased, decayed[edit]

Oh dear. Many talk, no code. Why trying so hard to kill this? I am Mister Thrapostibongles (talk) 17:52, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

Clearly code will never appear. Why was this code killed? I am Mister Thrapostibongles (talk) 18:59, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Finalize "Diversity" section?[edit]

Should the "Diversity" section be considered done? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:12, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Consensus reached. Although a couple people would have preferred different text regarding the employer, most people either approve the current text or think it is still too restrictive. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:47, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support as proposer. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:12, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support Valhallasw (talk) 07:59, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 10:09, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support NKohli (WMF) (talk) 11:34, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 15:21, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Neutral Neutral --EGalvez (WMF) (talk) 17:01, 23 August 2016 (UTC) Comment: Would it be possible to specify what you mean by "diversity"; is it diversity of work experience? diversity of geography? race? religion? gender? All the above?
    @EGalvez (WMF): In addition to the specific requirements given in the section, we want to promote diversity in general. In my opinion, it's all of the above plus more (e.g. linguistic diversity would also be very helpful when taking reports from our multilingual community). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:59, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose This vote highlights the issue this section should address, one which has unfortunately been raised and "managed" into the archive of this talk page several times. "Committee cannot have all members affiliated to the same employer" could easily lead to 80%+ of the Committee being under contract to the WMF, so long as there are one or two token non-employees/contractors/ex-employees. This would make it virtually impossible, for example, for the Committee to take on any complaint involving a senior manager of the WMF, or a board member, as by the terms of their contract no employee should touch a controversial case that risks bringing the WMF into disrepute. From an independent perspective if over 50% of the Committee were WMF employees, then votes and consensus decisions by the Committee would have little credibility in the "real world". -- (talk) 06:04, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
    @: Most importantly, Quim has made clear that he will avoid having a WMF majority on the first committee (the only one his team chooses under the draft). The question is whether we should permanently limit any employer (including WMF) to at most 2/5. I have seen a case for preferring that where possible. I haven't seen any convincing case for mandating it for all future committees, regardless of difficulty in recruiting candidates. The claim that there could somehow be over 80% (80%+) affiliated to a single employer is clearly false under the current text. There is no way it it can be over 80% with the current text. Contractors are affiliated, so that is also not a possible scenario. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:56, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I have not been allowed to see what you have seen. Why you want to justify making Quim an effective king rather than attempting to apply open and transparent processes is beyond me. I have no idea what you are frightened of. -- (talk) 20:09, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
@: The draft says (in other sections) that the community health part of the Technical Collaboration team (of which Quim is 1/3 members) will jump-start the first Committee, after which the Committee will sustain itself. That is a far cry from a "king". Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:40, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
True but the rhetoric is not far from the mark. What you are lobbying for is nothing like an open and transparent processes. If the few WMF employees "managing" this process had made serious attempts to stay open and transparent in their actions, we might have had a chance of creating a positive consensus for a meaningful Code of Conduct. The community issues you are seeing are caused by you, not the handful of unpaid volunteers who have not been driven off this discussion through exhaustion and lobbying from the limited world-view of the super-majority who have signed WMF contracts. There has been no good excuse made for why open elections are impossible and appear to be feared by the WMF. It is possible and it is how a respectable conduct Committee should be formed, rather than another cliquey friends-of-friends system which will have no meaningful external governance. -- (talk) 10:41, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
@: If the Committee were selected through open elections, it would just end up being another ArbCom and we all know how effective ArbCom is at dealing with conduct issues. Kaldari (talk) 02:41, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I proposed #Diversity of affiliations in the Committee and I was convinced by Matt and Moriel that diversity goes well beyond affiliation, and that today we don't know how hard it will be to find a good pool of diverse committee members. Avoiding a majority of WMF committee members is still a goal, but having a quite homogeneous committee where the only significant factor of diversity is affiliation wouldn't be any better.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:16, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Per Fae. "Avoiding a majority of WMF committee members is still a goal" is not reassuring enough unless it's in writing. ^demon[omg plz] 18:13, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Neutral Neutral I don't think there is any point to a rule saying all members cannot have the same employer. If we are worried about the employer taking control somehow, or the shared culture of some workplace overwhelming the discussions, then 4 out of 5 does not seem much better than all of them. Personally I'm not worried; I would care more about the majority not being from the same city/country than not being paid by the same entity. IMO just drop that half sentence. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 21:09, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose: I remain unconvinced that expanding the "Arbitration Committee" model is prudent. --MZMcBride (talk) 14:32, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support I think this is good enough for a starting point. Considering some concerns with the pool of available diverse (culture/language/etc) people for the committee, I think adjustments for this can be done as an amendment if needs be. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 17:29, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support Although I would like to see more emphasis on cultural diversity, this seems like a decent start. Kaldari (talk) 02:33, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- this entire COC. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:21, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
    I struck two votes due to them being (months) late. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:23, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Finalize "Conflict of interest" section?[edit]

Should the "Conflict of interest" section be considered done? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:12, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Consensus not reached. There were a few main issues people felt were blockers:
-- Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:19, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
I've updated the draft re conflicts of interest (but also including one related part in "Creation and renewal of the Committee"), based mainly on the text suggested here on talk. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:57, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support as proposer. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:12, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose. I think WereSpielChequers' comment makes sense, and this section can be improved. Valhallasw (talk) 09:52, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
    • Originally; Neutral Neutral. I feel Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Decision_by_1_person.3F has not received the response it deserves. Valhallasw (talk) 07:59, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
      @Valhallasw: Sorry. I agreed with your position ("I disagree. Judges often make decisions by themselves, and there is always the option of appeal."), and didn't take the time to comment. In the future, I'll try to post my opinion even on less-trafficked sections. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:49, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 10:10, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support NKohli (WMF) (talk) 11:34, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Neutral Neutral --EGalvez (WMF) (talk) 17:09, 23 August 2016 (UTC) Comment: What defines a conflict of interest? Are there one or two examples? I would imagine that conflict of interest changes on the context, so its important to specify what falls in and out of COI for the committee. For example: what if the person being reported is a close friend? Or someone who is part of your organization? etc. Perhaps you can offer a link here as well to somewhere that explains conflict of interest.
    @EGalvez (WMF): It really depends on the case. E.g. a case involving someone from a member's organization who they have never even met or worked with is quite different from a member's business partner in a two-person company. Trying to write out a line in the sand ahead of time would become intractable. How big does the organization have to be? Is it based on their current working relationship, their past teams, going how far back? What makes a friend "close"? I'm glad we're addressing this, since many codes of conduct don't at all. Some of those that do, e.g. jQuery's take a similar approach to ours. But I think the details have to be left to the Committee. I think the Wikipedia article on Conflict of interest is a good starting point, but it's a concept many people and organizations have written about. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:26, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 19:18, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose The trivial one sentence in the CoC does not say anything about governance, so this has no process for implementation apart from committee members might think about recusing if they feel like it. If this is going to basically be left empty, then there should be a large marker saying this will be written by the Committee and we'll just leave the CoC in draft (which it factually is). Note, if I remove all the WMF employees from this vote, then this section is not considered done. When the consensus of the few, and decreasing, handful of unpaid volunteers left contributing here are the opposite of the consensus of those under contract to the WMF, that ought to mean more than nothing. -- (talk) 05:53, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
    • : This page is a pretty clear demonstration of a small and vocal faction slowly pushing through its own agenda. The lack of community support (read: support from people who don't work for the Wikimedia Foundation or a Wikimedia affiliate) in any of these sections is indeed telling and troubling. What we've seen here is that it clearly helps to have millions of donor dollars to spend on full-time staff who can devote time to drafting and supporting this pet project. --MZMcBride (talk) 14:38, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support. I have left a comment at #Decision by 1 person.3F about this specific scenario.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:52, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
    Sure, I see the comment. It's clear that you are so intent on getting this document finished by "managing" this page, that you are ignoring fundamental governance problems raised several times by volunteers. WSC is highly experienced on governance, as am I as it happens, both in our professional careers and our volunteer work. The apparent process being followed on this page is that your opinion is final, and issues can be buried as soon as troublesome unpaid volunteers are exhausted from attempting to stop the bulldozer. This is a long way from a consensus process and you are responsible for building in governance problems that will cause later challenges to the committee's credibility, and may result in the committee publicly unravelling later on in ways that are avoidable at this stage if governance is taken seriously, rather than something that the super majority of WMF employees can vote to ignore. -- (talk) 11:04, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose This section is so vague as to be useless, as it relies solely on the best judgement of the committee members. Also, I disagree with the proposed answer above in the situation where all but one committee member recuses themselves.... sorry, but a committee of one is not a committee and the analogy to judges is unfair as they are professionals who are trained in what they do whereas here we're working (mostly) laypeople exercising their best judgement. ^demon[omg plz] 18:18, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
    @^demon: Other major codes of conduct like jQuery's also do not attempt to list every possible kind of conflict (financial, family, etc.). We expect that the committee members here will also receive specific training before starting. True, they're not required to go to law school for 3 years, but that's because the consequences of their decisions, while significant, are not in the same league as actual judges. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:51, August 25, 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Too vague. What exactly counts as "conflict of interest" is hopeless to pin down, but the process could be defined better. Who makes the call about whether it is a conflict of interest? Each committee/appeals body member individually? The committee/appeals body as a whole? Are people with a COI barred from participating in the discussion, or just the decision? --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 21:01, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Alternatively, just roll it up into the introduction: "The Committee determines its own procedures, subject to the duty to act fairly and avoid conflict of interest". It's not any less specific and makes it clear that working out the details is the Committee's responsibility. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 21:18, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
@Tgr: Why does it need to be in the intro? Either way, the Committee has an explicit binding duty to avoid conflicts of interest, and must create fair procedures consistent with that text. Also, that intro version does not make it as clear that the appeals body must also avoid conflicts of interest. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:13, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
@Mattflaschen-WMF: it does not need to, but it would be less text with no loss in meaning. (Or almost none; fair point about the appeals body. Although the appeals body is left so unspecified by the current text that it makes little difference. Is TC the appeals body? A subset of TC? Some group appointed by TC? Who exactly needs to not have a COI there?) I feel if you have language about committee members being "not permitted to" participate in a case but then what actually happens is that each member decides whether they participate or not, that is only good for generating charges of impropriety, and either the process or the language should be changed to be more in sync. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 23:10, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose: I remain unconvinced that expanding the "Arbitration Committee" model is prudent. --MZMcBride (talk) 14:32, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Specificity on what conflicts of interest are[edit]

Should we add more specificity, and potentially an incomplete list of examples, on what constitute conflicts of interest? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:19, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Being allegedly involved in a case reported is a clear reason for CoI. Common affiliation seems to be also a clear reason reason, either as co-workers for the same employer or as co-maintainers of the same project. Also close friendship, whenever it can be demonstrated.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:55, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
@Qgil-WMF: I agree with "allegedly involved in a case", of course. "co-workers for the same employer" is not consistent with best practice, and is too broad. "co-maintainers of the same project" is also too broad. For example, many people help maintain MW core. Being someone's co-maintainer might lead to a conflict, e.g. if they are close friends, but it depends. Regarding close relationships in general, these definitely may be conflicts. Regarding "whenever it can be demonstrated", it's important to remember the member has an obligation to recuse themselves in such cases (among others), regardless of whether there is public evidence. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:07, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
No, refer to an external standard. -- (talk) 13:16, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Or not external, see m:Conflict of interest guide for Wikimedia movement organizations and m:Code of conduct and conflict of interest policies, including m:Conflict of interest policy.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:30, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
@, Qgil-WMF: I agree with learning from external standards. I don't agree with incorporating them by reference. That is over-complicated, and means readers need to refer to an external document just to understand what policy to follow. It also means we would need to refer to a specific version of the external standard, or risk it changing without our agreement. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 18:52, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Specifying exactly what constitutes conflicts of interest seems to be unrealistic, since it depends on the context and the case involved. We can, however, define general categories of potential conflicts of interest:

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

MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 23:09, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

@: do you have a specific external standard in mind? --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 05:28, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

I suggest finding a U.S. focused variation of, as these define all types of financial and "loyalty" interests, and the Committee members may wish to have a month after creation, before accepting their first case, to review the list at m:Code of conduct and conflict of interest policies in order to reach their own conclusions if any can be adopted as is, or whether it is worth adding some procedural specifics of the type at en:Wikipedia:Arbitration/Policy#Conduct_of_arbitrators which clarifies how there should be transparency for recusals for a fairly similar committee. My professional experience of corporate standards is not encouraging, it's too easy to drive a truck through them, so I would stick to the ones for charities.
However, the proposed governance of this Committee remains flawed, especially after WMF Legal's clarification this month. COI standards require a credible independent reporting, an appeal process and meaningful external governance. Without this I don't see how volunteers independent of the WMF can put their trust in the CoC procedures when it comes to transparency, expectations of natural justice or the capacity to respect the private lives or private data of parties to a case. -- (talk) 13:23, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
After reading a bit of literature... Most of it refers to financial CoI, which is not that relevant in the case of a Code of Conduct. Conflicts of loyalty is the type of CoI that applies here. Conflicts of interest: a guide for charity trustees has a section (without anchor) about Conflicts of loyalty and there is no clear cut definition there either. It boils down to having a conflict of loyalty to: whoever appointed you, organizations you work for, relatives, friends. Wouldn't this be enough level of detail for the CoC draft?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:38, 7 November 2016 (UTC)

Process of recusal[edit]

Can we clarify how people are recused? I think part of this can also address Tgr's question, "Are people with a COI barred from participating in the discussion, or just the decision?" Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:19, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Reporters could be encouraged to specify whether they believe any Committee member is in a CoI when they submit their report. The encouragement could be extended to anyone being contacted for the investigation of a report. The chair of the Committee could ask routinely whether a new report puts any Committee member in a situation of CoI, providing time and space for members to declare their CoI or allow others to point out and discuss possible CoI of a colleague.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:59, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
How about not making this up on the spur of the moment? It's bog standard governance for running boards or high level committees where interests are likely, many of the volunteers that have attempted to improve this text and got nowhere, have sat on such boards. Take it from a textbook, or use one of the WMF trusted experts to propose changes. -- (talk) 13:14, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
m:Conflict of interest guide for Wikimedia movement organizations looks like a good starting point.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:32, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

There are already ways other organizations deal with these issues, and we can take a few ideas from them while adjusting to our own unique case. Here are a couple of ideas that could be adjusted into our process:

  • Recusals before hearing case: Members of the Committee must recuse themselves if a Conflict of Interest arises. If they recuse, they will not participate in the case in any way; they will not discuss it or access the case logs. If a member with an alleged conflict does not recuse, the decision is referred to an external body (see “Cases of refusing to recuse” below.)
  • Replacements: When the regular Committee members are selected, the responsible group must also select five “auxiliary” members of the Committee, in case of recusals. The auxiliary members will have the same training as the Committee, though they will not have continuous access to the ongoing cases. Rather, one or more auxiliary members will join as needed, when there are recusals (for any reason, including CoI) by the regular members.
  • Cases of refusing to recuse: The auxiliary members also oversee recusals. If a member of the Committee refuses to recuse themselves after a conflict is alleged, the decision is examined by the members of the auxiliary group. They have the same level of trust as the Committee members (they have signed the same agreement and participated in training). They are also removed enough from day-to-day business that they can view the case, the Committee, and potential conflicts with fresh eyes. This will serve as a strong counter-balance to the Committee overseeing its own process when dealing with conflicts of interest.

MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 23:10, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

That sounds like a reasonable process, assuming we don't think that finding twice as many qualified members would be difficult. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 05:27, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

Proposal for the CoC draft: "Before the processing of a report, Committee members must declare and discuss any conflicts of interest, proceeding to disqualifying members if needed. These disqualifications will be documented, and the involved parties informed." If you think more details should be added, please specify which ones. I don't think we need to embed a whole CoI policy in the CoC. If any party involved suspects that a CoI has been omitted, they can complain.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:54, 7 November 2016 (UTC)

Implication of September 22, 2016 revision by WMF Legal[edit]

The above #September_22.2C_2016_revision_by_WMF_Legal means that though WMF legal say that "should not deter volunteers from making a report", the fact that WMF legal are in the loop may easily put volunteers and others not under contract to the WMF at risk, and so can and in fact should deter non-WMF employees from taking part in a case where the reputation of WMF may be perceived by WMF legal to be potentially damaged. There is now a fundamental conflict of interest for employees and contractors taking part in the CoC processes as they absolutely cannot guarantee to control later actions of WMF legal, or what may occur "in private" should WMF legal wish to keep their actions and discussions with Committee members or parties to the case a secret from other parties to a case.

As previously stated, though the "Wikimedia Foundation is obligated by law to not retaliate against WMF employees or contractors", this nicely leaves out volunteers or employees of affiliates. Consequently WMF legal is free to consider making threats of action or taking legal action against non-WMF employees related to a case, or even approach their employers, based on reports and any other information passed to them by Committee members or case parties. Should WMF legal believe that taking action outside of the CoC committee's defined procedures be a way of reducing or eliminating risks to the WMF, I do not see how they would ever agree to not taking their own actions.

These weaknesses unravel governance policies, especially any attempt to have a convincing conflict of interest policy. -- (talk) 04:47, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

Are you saying that the WMF would use the Code of Conduct process to threat volunteers when they report WMF employees for harassment?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:30, 7 November 2016 (UTC)
That would be a parody. My words are as written, please avoid emotive arguments. -- (talk) 17:04, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
The three paragraphs above have a complex narrative, and I was checking whether I was understanding them correctly (being descriptive, not emotive). I have read them again and I still interpret them meaning (in short) that the WMF Legal team would use this CoC to threat non-WMF employees in order to defend the WMF's reputation.
Following the argument above, it looks like this example would be likely to happen: A volunteer reports a WMF employee privately for harassment in a case where the private proof shows that the reporter is right. The WMF Legal team takes advantage of their access to the private information about the case in order to retaliate, threatening the volunteer reporting in order to silence or distort the case.
I don't think the WMF or its Legal team would ever act in such a horrible way. Even if that would happen, I don't see how such situation would not explode with a whistle blow from any Committee member or any other party involved (WMF member or not), constituting a much higher risk of damaging WMF's reputation.
As I see it, the revision from WMF Legal has actually an opposite effect in WMF and non-WMF members than the suggested above: when a volunteer reports a WMF member about harassment in any Wikimedia technical space, both will know that the WMF will not be able to avoid any liabilities or other legal responsibilities arguing some lack of awareness about the events. The reporter has more guarantees, no less, that their case of harassment will be adequately handled with all its consequences.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:24, 28 November 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't see the point of your personal speculation. You are not part of WMF legal, you do not speak for them, neither do you have the experience I have of being seen by WMF legal as a threat, and treated as their adversary (I'm not speaking about current employees of the WMF, but I don't see any evidence of those processes changing). WMF legal take action to protect the WMF, they are not paid to protect individual volunteers when it is not in the WMF's direct interest, and will never make a commitment to do so.
WMF legal have made no promises as to limiting their use of data, neither do they commit to ever deleting data or analysis of it that may be part of a case if they feel it might be useful to the WMF to keep it. The Committee defined in this code has absolutely no control over the actions of WMF legal, nor can they offer any protection to parties to a case from actions by WMF legal in the future. Unlike charites in Europe, volunteers have no way to force transparency on the WMF, so no way to see if records and analysis about them are being held indefinitely by WMF legal, and it's a sure bet that is what goes on as WMF legal have directly refused to confirm that they do not. -- (talk) 12:57, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Finalize new version of "Conflict of interest" section?[edit]

Changes have been made to the "Conflict of interest" section to address the concerns listed earlier.

Should the section be considered done?

Consensus reached. Clear consensus for the new version. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:37, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support as proposer. This resolves all the concerns raised earlier:
    • There is no longer a risk of the Committee making a decision with 1 or 2 people. Auxiliary members will step in.
    • Potential examples of conflict of interest are now listed.
    • The process is explained in more depth. One relevant note here: If someone refuses to recuse, "the decision is referred to an external body". That body (the auxiliary Committee) then decides whether they will be recused anyway. As MSchottlender-WMF wrote, "They are also removed enough from day-to-day business that they can view the case, the Committee, and potential conflicts with fresh eyes. This will serve as a strong counter-balance to the Committee overseeing its own process when dealing with conflicts of interest." There are now checks and balances.
    • It makes clear people who recuse are excluded from discussion and the whole process, not just the final decision.
    • -- Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:12, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
  • It doesn't seem to recognise the conflict of interest of when you have the same employer/affiliation as someone involved. It also doesn't appear to limit the number of auxiliary people joining a case. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 04:36, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
    @Krenair: Simply working at a (perhaps large) organization is not enough to create a conflict. If it's your manager/subordinate/direct teammate or similar/close friend/someone who controls your projects or changes your pay/etc. that would probably create a conflict, and it's listed. In a very small organization, you might always work very closely with everyone, in which case that would be a conflict similar to a teammate.
    It says, "to replace recused members". Members of the auxiliary Committee can't join except for recusals, and they can only replace recused members. Therefore, they can't say, "1 person is recused. Therefore all 5 of us are joining"; that's not a replacement. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 05:08, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support resolves the concerns I had. Maybe it could be phrased more clearly that recused appeals body members are also replaced with auxiliary members (I assume that's the intent but most of the text talks about the Committee). --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 05:17, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support Appears to address the concerns raised. Kaldari (talk) 05:36, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:55, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose There is no independent governance, which is needed if a party to a case challenges interests. The "auxiliary members" are not independent, nor are they intended to be a governance mechanism, or selected for that purpose, in the current document. A more general issue is the piecemeal agreeing of small sections of this code, which the history of committee decisions tells us guarantees a Curate's egg outcome. -- (talk) 13:16, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support Valhallasw (talk) 21:31, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support Looks good to me. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 02:36, 25 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:38, 28 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support -- MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 20:18, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose this entire COC The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:23, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
    Struck due to being posted months after the discussion was resolved. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:08, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Finalize introduction to "Committee" section?[edit]

Should the introduction to the "Committee" section be considered done? (This is the part after the "Page: Code of Conduct/Committee" heading and before the "Diversity" heading.) Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 16:00, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Consensus reached. Almost unanimous support. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:42, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
I struck some comments that were posted 2 weeks late. These discussions do not stay open permanently. That wouldn't allow us to make progress. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:21, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
Dude, are you serious? You cannot judge what the consensus is, who is allowed to speak and when the discussion should end. You are obviously not neutral. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:18, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support as proposer. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 16:00, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support Looks good to me. Kaldari (talk) 19:26, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support I see no problems ^demon[omg plz] 19:46, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support Even though I personally don't like the fact, direct communication is discouraged, I do see why it's necessary. Therefore the section looks good to me. --Frimelle (talk) 20:27, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I think the idea was to avoid cases where the committee members are bombarded or harassed for their decisions privately (or generally directly). There is room to allow for personal communication if needs be, but it should be balanced with giving the committee room to not feel threatened to make their decisions, which is why it's "just" discouraged rather than disallowed. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 17:50, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 21:20, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support--Qgil-WMF (talk) 05:51, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support -Sylvain WMFr (talk) 08:12, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose: I remain unconvinced that expanding the "Arbitration Committee" model is prudent. --MZMcBride (talk) 14:32, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support Looks good to me. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 17:50, 6 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose I seem to be too late to this party but I didn't had time to read this policy properly earlier. Badly formatted, facilitates harassment by misusing the civil card and some phrases are way too vague. (Since when does WMF staff vote for community related policies?) Natuur12 (talk) 14:36, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
    • There are very few community votes where WMF staff should stay away. However this Code of Conduct stands out for being 75% to, at times, 100% WMF staff votes (esp. if added to paid WMF affiliate employees). Often in opposition to the majority of votes from volunteers. It also stands out for using a process for agreement that failed to establish a consensus before being enforced by WMF management. For these reasons the end document is unlikely to be seen by many volunteers as a valid community policy. -- (talk) 15:02, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
      • Well, I guess we agree on those points :). Natuur12 (talk) 16:40, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
    • All the staff members who participated in this section are active participants in the MW technical community, and have every right to participate in drafting and approving a policy for this community. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:00, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose per Natuur12. --Steinsplitter (talk) 14:47, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose per Natuur12. --DCB (talk) 16:46, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose this entire COC. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:23, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Striking votes[edit]

I see that User:Mattflaschen-WMF has struck the votes here of 3 non-WMF employees. @Natuur12, Steinsplitter, DCB: do you agree with your votes being removed, or would you prefer this section to be re-opened? If Mattflaschen is forcing the issue, then perhaps it will be necessary to start a clean new vote on the section.

@Mattflaschen-WMF: You are acting as if you are the owner this page, by your action of striking the votes and comments from volunteers without checking with them first. Is this your intention? -- (talk) 05:34, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

@: thank you for your ping. I do have a problem with my vote being removed since this is a form of wikipolitical censorship. Everyone could have seen that we - as busy volunteers who spend hours maintaining the projects - where a little late but that doesn't make our opinions invalid. Likely the section should be reopened and perhaps we should inform every local community that they can vote for the final, most crucial and most undemocratic part of this policy. (And yes, the section Creation and renewal of the Committee would be a good second.) Natuur12 (talk) 10:23, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Also, there was no deadline in the first place and it is bad practice when the person who initiates a proposal also closes it. Natuur12 (talk) 10:28, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
@Natuur12: There are no grounds to reopen it. The discussion ran its course, about 2 weeks, as is standard on this page, and there was solid participation. Every part of the technical community (see where this draft will apply to) has already been informed. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 18:23, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Glad to hear that the community members who aren't core tech members aren't considered to be part of the technical community. When dealing with shared project spaces every Wikimedian is at least a stakeholder and if they sporadically use one of those spaces they are an actor. (Last time I checked we are all stuck with Phabricator, tech IRC-channels and the mailing list if we want to report technical issue's) When creating a valid community policy you have to involve the stakeholders and actors who don't belong to your core. This didn't happen.
But instead of sticking with the bottom three layers of Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement, could you please respond to the arguments I brought up? Natuur12 (talk) 18:49, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
@: As you know, it had nothing to do with whether they are WMF employees. The discussion ran for about 2 weeks, and multiple non-WMF people participated (along with WMF people). None of their votes were struck, and all were considered when closing the discussion. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 18:23, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
No there are not "multiple non-WMF people". One non-WMF employee/non-WMF affiliate employee, is just one, not multiple.
Could you please point to where the Community agreed the process you are following for closing the vote and where the deadline of two weeks was agreed? And could you try to answer the question I asked rather than defending yourself from tangential questions I did not ask. Thanks -- (talk) 19:26, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Another problem I see in Natuur12's comment and therefore in the additional ones that came "per Natuur12" is that they don't mention anything specific about the introduction to "Committee" section, which is the topic being discussed here. It is a general criticism about the whole CoC draft, and there is nothing that could be used to improve the CoC section discussed. If this situation would happen in an RfC in any Wikimedia project, where someone skips the specific topic of the RfC and leaves a generic criticism, it would probably be considered invalid as well.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 06:54, 29 September 2016 (UTC)
The problem you see is non existing since I was talking about this specific section but I did take the section "Unacceptable behaviour" into account since you cannot see them as separate entities. One of the many problems with this section is that the scope isn't S.M.A.R.T. and if you take into account that the section Unacceptable behaviour also isn't formulated S.M.A.R.T. it should be obvious. You are merely creating an entity with no separation of power whose final word is absolute while "everything" can be seen as "unacceptable". Natuur12 (talk) 14:58, 29 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Sorry, a straw poll of WMF staff informed about this section does not equal community consensus. I oppose as well, for what it's worth, because I'm not convinced that additional arbcom-style bureaucracy is really useful in terms of coming to quick and appropriate responses to harassment/naughty behaviour. Ajraddatz (Talk) 01:39, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
    @Ajraddatz: sorry but hat comparison is completely ridiculous. The en:wp arbcom has a 15-page process manual. Code of Conduct/Cases fits on a page and most of it is not about process (really the only part that could be called bureaucracy is that decisions can be appealed). It specifically has a section about immediate response.
    Also, please avoid phrasing which implies that the WMF-affiliated participants of this discussion would be meatpuppets. The vote about the committee section was announced on wikitech-l, engineering, design, wiki-research-l, analytics, hackathonorganizers and labs-l - all open mailing lists with a pretty good coverage of the technical community. As a WMF staffer who has been active on this page, I have not received any other notification which would not have been visible to other community members. --Tgr (talk) 08:51, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
Tgr, inference is not proof of someone else making implications. This would require the skills of a mind-reader. Please avoid inflammatory allegations like "WMF-affiliated participants of this discussion would be meatpuppets", nobody has said anything like this apart from you. I am aware of the popularity of post-factual rhetoric in the political world, but writing offensive parodies of the views of volunteers which happen to run counter to the WMF employee majority, is not the way to improve relationships. Thanks -- (talk) 10:26, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Final approval of CoC[edit]

"I appreciate you creating this header. But it is not a good place to discuss procedure, or to link my idea from 11 months ago out of context. That was never final. Many things have changed since then, and it is no longer my approach." -- Mattflaschen-WMF, 24 August 2016.

This is a community code of conduct, and (as far as I can tell) there was community consensus that the proposed process (vote on seperate sections to form a draft, then a final call for consensus on the final draft). I see no reason to deviate from that process. Valhallasw (talk) 08:48, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Refer to #Advice provided by consultants Valerie Aurora and Ashe Dryden, where I propose a 3 month review period after the WMF-eyes-only professional advice given on prior versions of the document is published paraphrased by a WMF employee; when one has some time. -- (talk) 11:07, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
If I may ask, what is this section about exactly? About the process of how the code of conduct will be finalized? About general disapproval on how the procedure works? Would be helpful to me to clarify that. --Frimelle (talk) 20:56, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, that indeed wasn't very clear. At the beginning of the CoC process, the following process was proposed: first there are votes for consensus on each section, those sections together form a final draft. At this point, the draft is no longer changed, and there is a final call for consensus on the whole CoC. There was general consensus that this was a reasonable process to follow. At some point, it was suddenly announced that this process was changed (Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_2#Process), even though there was clearly no consensus to do so.
I have added the original process to the header on the top of this page, but have been reverted by Mattflaschen-WMF twice now. I'm not interested in an edit war, so I've opened this section instead. Valhallasw (talk) 09:51, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't understand edits such as this. Mattflaschen-WMF: Can you please clarify what you're now proposing be done after a final draft is complete? --MZMcBride (talk) 14:30, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
The process has ensured (and will continue to ensure) that the community carefully decides the text of the Code of Conduct, and whether to approve it, section-by-section. The community has been widely notified about every discussion and decision to be made. Awareness among members of the technical community has been very high.
You can see a detailed history of the community consensus process at Code of Conduct/Draft/Consensus summary. does not have an established process for this kind of social policy, so we need to look to other Wikimedia projects for guidance. This type of policy generally starts as a draft, then evolves through discussion and/or voting on the talk page, exactly as here. An example is the process that established the English Wikipedia Civility policy. Similar to the Code of Conduct process, there was extensive consensus-building on the content of the Civility policy, but no final vote.
Most importantly, an independent vote would override the many voices who have already approved this policy by careful, step-by-step consensus on each section, over the past year and a half. It would encourage people to come in at the very end, unaware of the issues discussed earlier, and make a shallow, lightly-informed vote. That’s unfair to the earlier participants, and would invalidate the lengthy, thoughtful process this document has gone through. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:01, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
Your proposed process invalidates the consensus that there was going to be a final vote. That is unfair to earlier participants, and to those who have not participated knowing that they would have a say during the a final vote. Valhallasw (talk) 19:04, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
In the header, you linked to a preliminary informal discussion where 3 people floated the idea of a final vote. That's not a consensus.
Since then, there have also been many people diligently participating here. Together, over a long period, we have approved each piece as we resolved difficult issues with the text.
That experience, combined with checking precedent, makes clear that a final vote would be counter-productive here too. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:11, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm confused here. Looking at past discussions, there are comments from Mattflaschen-WMF that state: "There will be a separate procedure to approve the CoC." In a section to seek consensus for specific sections of the draft, there's a comment from Mattflaschen-WMF that reads: "There will be separate procedure later to decide whether to approve the Code of Conduct."
Others, including Ironholds ("There will be a wider opportunity to approve the entire thing and that's a good place to expect more people.") and Valhallasw (cf. this talk page section) seem to have interpreted the previous comments in the same way: there would be a final vote on the entire document.
Is Mattflaschen-WMF now saying that he's taking a different approach ("it is no longer my approach") and these previous statements by him are no longer valid?
I want to make sure I fully understand what Mattflaschen-WMF is trying to do here before drawing a conclusion about the validity of these actions. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:07, 5 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, there were some early ideas to have a final discussion or vote, and there was an informal discussion (among 3 people, including Ironholds who you mention) about this. Since then, it’s become clear that this method is not consistent with precedent, it’s not fair to earlier participants who’ve been working on this draft for well over a year, and in fact the process we’ve been going with has worked with section-by-section consensus after much deliberation, editing, revising, and reworking. This change was made clear and was well-communicated since April. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 20:38, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
Hi MSchottlender-WMF. I'm not sure why you're referring to explicit commitments as "early ideas." I quoted the exact comments that were made.
Some users participated and supported sections with the knowledge and understanding that there would be a final vote later. In this case, you and Matt want to change the previous terms to no longer have a final vote. I don't necessarily object to a good-faith move to back out of a previous agreement, but in order to be fair and legitimate, that must apply in both directions. If previous sections were approved with the agreement of holding a later final vote and now you and Matt would like to cancel that final vote, those previous sections must re-opened and re-discussed based on this new understanding. --MZMcBride (talk) 04:42, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

GitHub Community Guidelines[edit]

GitHub is not a free software project but is an interesting initiative in any case. They have published a draft about their Community Guidelines.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:31, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

More on GitHub (and beyond): What GitHub did to kill its trolls. It's a long piece, yet I found it very interesting. Thanks to it I have also learned something about Coraline Ada Ehmke, the main author of the Contributor Covenant, which is a seed of this Code of Conduct.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:01, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

The standard offer[edit]

In cases of blocks and bans, the English Wikipedia has the concept of "The standard offer". This gives a sense of reasonableness to sanctions, in that after a reasonable time limit anyone with bans or blocks can appeal. Consequently when you see sanctions by the English Wikipedia Arbcom, they always include a right to appeal after a certain period and when you see blocks against accounts, the blocks are always time-limited, normally to a maximum of 1 year and appeals may occur before that limit.

Though the section "Appealing a resolution" gives an explanation, there is no sense of time limits, or indeed that a relevant amount of time should pass between appeal attempts. I propose that this is amended to incorporate these well established limits to sanctions, so there is an expectation that indefinite does not mean infinite, and unless there are extreme issues, a normal maximum is presumed of six months between legitimate appeals. Without the hope of appeal, we lose both a claim to natural justice and our shared aim of reform for those that have misbehaved in the past. -- (talk) 17:19, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

"These well established limits to sanctions" may be well-established on enwiki, but certainly are not well-established wikimedia-wide, so I do not see a pressing need to include this right now -- we already voted on the 'Cases' page a while ago. I do think the idea is worthwile, so I would suggest to process this as an amendment once the committee has been set up. Valhallasw (talk) 19:12, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

"Creation and renewal of the Committee" section[edit]

I've updated this section to better handle vacancies (using the auxiliaries), provide time for training, and address some other issues. Let me know what you think. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:01, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

  • Support Support Ckoerner (talk) 16:53, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
    Noted, but we're not deciding whether to approve this section yet. I will start a separate discussion for that soon. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:10, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Looks reasonable. Some of the wording could be improved: The Committee selects their new members every six months, using the above process. The initial Committee term lasts one year. confused me at first, and some of the text talks about regular and auxiliary members of the Committee while the rest about a regular and an auxiliary Committee. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 19:52, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, there shouldn't be anything that hints there's an "auxiliary committee" - the idea of the text as I understand it is to supply auxiliary "potential members" that go through the same training and are ready to fill gaps in the actual (only) committee. The committee selects members for active committee work, but a group of members that serve as auxiliary are also selected at the same time as the committee replaces itself, and they have similar restrictions/rules as the selection of the committee, because they may have to jump in and serve in the committee in case something happens. I think the confusion is how to describe this type of behavior considering every person on either "piece" of the selection (committee or auxiliary force) should have the same rigor and get the same skills, but only the members that were selected for the active committee actually have access to ongoing cases. Tgr (WMF), do you have any ideas on how to make this explanation simpler? I'm not entirely sure how to simplify but still keep the important details in? MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 19:12, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
@MSchottlender-WMF: I tried to make it more consistent (diff). Not quite sure about The regular Committee and auxiliary Committee continue to fully function when there are vacancies. - was that intended to mean that even if all auxiliary members are "used up" and there is a further vacancy, the Committee continues to function?
The document does not mention how the auxiliary member who steps in gets selected. Are they in a queue? Does the Committee chose? Probably worth to spell out. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 20:44, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
@Tgr (WMF):I'll go over your changes in depth in a bit, but just to answer regarding the way auxiliary is chosen -- I don't think we need to specify it in the Code of Conduct, as it's an internal process. That is - if we agree that all auxiliary members are valid to act as Committee members at any given time (which should be the case if they are chosen the same way and go through the same skill training) then defining specifics may actually have potential of making things complicated for the process rather than help. They are all valid members who were vetted, so we shouldn't really care about which one of them actually participates. To be more practical, I'm mostly concerned about the fact that people are busy in real life and have other obligations - if a case arises where you need an auxiliary member to "cover" for a regular committee member, then whatever official process we set up (a queue or something like that) may actually not work in practice (someone can be on vacation, or not be available at that specific time, etc) and in that case the group will still have to pick someone, so they'll go on to other means (toss of a dice, sending an email to see who's available, etc) - Whatever works for them is probably the best way to go at it. I don't see a reason to specify something that will bind them to a process. Does that makes sense? MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 20:53, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
@MSchottlender-WMF: Leaving the details for the Committe to work makes sense in general, it's just that in this case it's less clear who the Committee is (especially given that the auxiliary members can "vote out" a regular member when there is a disagreement about what constitutes a conflict of interest). So it's fine if the decision is left to the remaining regular members but it might be worth to spell out that that's the case.
(That reminds me that I missed If a member of the Committee refuses to recuse themselves after a conflict is alleged, the decision is examined by the members of the auxiliary group when removing mentions of the auxiliary Committee. In that one case the auxiliary members actually do act as a separate group; not sure how that should be framed.) --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 21:55, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
@Tgr (WMF), MSchottlender-WMF: Thank you. The changes look good. I just made a few minor clarifications. Re "The regular Committee and auxiliary Committee continue to fully function when there are vacancies", this means that any time there is a temporary or permanent vacancy, the Committee still fully functions. If it's a temporary vacancy, they will function normally while the vacancy is being filled. If there's a permanent vacancy (this can only happen the auxiliary members are "used up" as you mention), they will still function normally until the end of term (when everything is refreshed anyway).
Which auxiliary member moves is decided by the auxiliary members of the Committee. This was already pretty clear for vacancies ("In case of a vacancy, the auxiliary Committee will move one of its members to the regular Committee") indicates that the auxiliary Committee takes the action/decides. I've clarified it for both cases by adding, "In either case, the auxiliary members of the Committee determine by their own procedures which auxiliary member will change roles."
I've clarified "The initial Committee term lasts one year" by explicitly noting that is an exception. Does that address your concern about that part? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 16:48, 26 January 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, thanks. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 22:34, 26 January 2017 (UTC)

@Mattflaschen-WMF: Maybe this could be clarified as well: "The community can provide feedback on these candidates, via private email to the group choosing the next Committee. The feedback period will be two weeks. The group choosing the Committee will then either finalize the slate, or update the candidate slate in response to concerns raised. If the candidate slate changes, there will be another two week feedback period covering the newly proposed members. After the selections are finalized, there will be a training period, after which the new Committee is appointed. The current Committee continues to serve until the feedback, selection, and training process is complete." - is this intended to mean that in case of slate change the process restarts (two weeks for comments, possibly another slate change, in that case two more weeks for comment etc.) with the term of the current Committee pushed out if necessary, or is it initial slate -> two weeks for comments -> (maybe) changed slate -> two more weeks -> the changed slate gets selected no matter what? Tgr (WMF) (talk) 00:43, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

@Tgr (WMF): "If the candidate slate changes, there will be another two week feedback period covering the newly proposed members." always applies. The slate change/feedback process can continue as many times as needed (though doing this repeatedly is definitely not the preferred case). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 05:48, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Finalize "Creation and renewal of the Committee" section?[edit]

Should the "Creation and renewal of the Committee" section be considered done? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:22, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

Consensus reached. Thanks to everyone for their participation. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 05:27, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support as proposer. This does a good job handling various issues (community involvement, training, handling resignations, circulation of new people on the Committee). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:22, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose: I remain unconvinced that expanding the "Arbitration Committee" model is prudent. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:09, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Looks good to me. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 12:35, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 12:48, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Ckoerner (talk) 16:08, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support --PrakashAdhikari (talk) 17:14, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose you guys should really focus on producing code not documents. that is waste. --ThurnerRupert (talk) 19:00, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Valhallasw (talk) 19:07, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 23:18, 1 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:26, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Gamaliel (talk) 18:47, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose There is no need for another/expanded Arbitration committee on the WMF projects. The current one on EnWP already has too much power and control and the lack of oversight assures that this one wil be even worse. Reguyla (talk) 21:19, 2 February 2017 (UTC)
    • There is oversight through the appeals process. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:50, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
      • In principle perhaps but functionally it will have the same effect as the appeals process within Arbcom. The same people will vote and deny the appeal. Since there are so few people "trusted" enough to be in these positions, you'll just have the same people. No thank you.Reguyla (talk) 03:26, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
        • Unlike the Arbitration Committee, the Committee does not review its own appeals. That is done by separate people. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:34, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
          • You are not listening. Separate is not independent and nobody has claimed the set up is identical. As Reguyla just wrote, the outcome is "the same effect". -- (talk) 13:11, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
            • I may be misreading, but Reguyla literally said "The same people will vote and deny the appeal.". Should I read that as 'The same [kind] of people ...'? Because as far as I can see, the groups (i.e., the committee and the technical collaboration team) are independent, both in terms of people and in terms of governance. Valhallasw (talk) 18:43, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
              • Yes, you should read the paragraph and its obvious intention, rather than literally each word. The committee, auxiliary members and the technical collaboration team are not elected, they are not independent either of each other or WMF legal. If WMF legal had put a potential candidate on the blacklist of Wikimedians who pose a PR risk to the WMF, say me, perhaps because I started a community vote that forced a trustee to resign from the WMF board, then I don't see any way that the behind-closed-doors appointment process would ever allow a "critical friend" to become a member of the Committee. That's common-sense real-life politics and human behaviour. If we actually wanted a Committee to be independent of the WMF and its internal politics, then it has to remain credibly independent of WMF legal. Even if WMF legal are not sitting in live committee discussions, the fact that they will keep an indefinite record of every item of correspondence and document relating to any case that involves the WMF in some way, means it is not realistic to expect Committee members to be critical of the WMF, its management or its decisions. Even worse it means that no party in a case can feel comfortable being critical of the WMF or its decisions knowing that in years to come, that WMF legal may still be referring to those written complaints to advise the WMF board and WMF management about the risks those parties may pose to the WMF. WMF legal have no requirements to be transparent about the records they keep and they have no interest in confirming who they retain records for. -- (talk) 11:36, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support KATMAKROFAN (talk) 02:52, 3 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose per MZMcBride & ThurnerRupert. --Steinsplitter (talk) 11:03, 4 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose per all the archived and overruled comments and questions. -- (talk) 09:53, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Before starting the approval discussion, I first emailed people asking them to look at this section and referred them to #"Creation and renewal of the Committee" section. We diligently worked together to improve the section, and I only started the approval discussion when the concerns there were resolved. No one has gotten 100% of what they wanted, but nothing was ignored either, and a lot made it into the text. That goes for earlier discussions related to this section too, e.g. Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_2#Decision_by_1_person.3F (this key concern was solved with the auxiliary Committee, which also ties directly into this section), the feedback period, etc. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:34, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
      • The non-standard process being followed was never agreed with the community and has backpedalled on original expectations. The breaking of case confidentiality by allowing WMF legal to have full access to all case material where a WMF employee may be involved, and even worse with no guarantee from legal that they will ever destroy those records or never use them to support a prosecution or to make threats of prosecution, makes a mockery of the alleged independence of this committee. The piecemeal driving through of sub-sections, with no final review of the document itself, and then presuming that the end outcome will result in good governance makes no sense. It's like treating someone with influenza by painting their nails, then claiming that it's helping to cure them because everyone agrees their nails look better. Your ignoring votes of volunteers (i.e. not under a contract to the WMF or its affiliates) was both improper and insulting. I am still waiting for the information that WMF employees have access to, but volunteers do not, to be published, but as it has already been A FULL YEAR and all WMF employees have been too busy with more urgent and important jobs to find a day to publish the paid-for external consultancy review/advice, despite your CEO's commitment to transparency and good governance, I have little doubt that whatever finally is published will be carefully summarized and redacted into being pointless. As an example of how the WMF treats its volunteers and supports community involvement in its own governance, this process has backfired in terms of consensus, visibly resulting in WMF employees repeatedly voting down and then ignoring the views of unpaid volunteers. I have no idea why you are unable to admit that these problems are real, and your responsibility to put right as the person that has put yourself in place as the unelected ruler of "consensus". Consensus has never been defined by anyone as a 50%+ majority vote which sweeps away significant minority views. What this un-agreed process has delivered is increasingly entrenched and unhappy opposition. -- (talk) 13:05, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
        • Respectfully, many of the above statements are not accurate, and none have anything to do with the section under discussion. I'm not going to speak for Legal, but I also note that you are assuming the worst without any evidence. This is the final review of this section; it (and related issues) have been discussed for a long time, and changes have been made. I have never ignored a valid vote from anyone, volunteer or staff. A post weeks after the discussion is closed is not a valid vote regardless of who it comes from. Would you say an admin was "ignoring votes of volunteers" if they struck a misplaced Articles for Deletion "vote" weeks after the discussion was over and the page had been deleted?
        • The information about the consulting review was published at T141791. I reject the false "us" vs. "them" narrative, the false claim that volunteer views have been ignored, and the false narrative that WMF engineers/designers/researchers/etc. are not members of the technical community or have less of a right to express their views. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:31, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
          • Basic numbers are accurate. Why don't you tot up the numbers of votes in this section from people with contracts with the WMF and its affliates and compare the support/oppose percentage to the votes from those who are not under an enforcable contract? This pattern has been consistent, and is down to the process you have forced in place without consensus. Unpaid volunteers are not weirdly all against the WMF and its initiatives, there is problem here that you created.
          • With regard to the other points, WMF legal has made no case for why the confidential and behind-closed-doors records of the Committee must be possessed indefinitely by WMF legal, they have not even given assurance that they will ever destroy the records that they take. When basic questions of "why" are not answered, this is not good governance, it is not even ethical behaviour. WMF legal exists to protect the interests of the WMF, nothing else. Anyone who goes to this committee with harassment complaints that WMF might be interested in, should never go near it for this reason. By passively letting WMF legal put themselves in the middle of this Committee, you have undone any claim that the Committee might make that it exists in the interests of those who feel harassed, certainly the Committee will never be able to claim that it acts transparently or independently.
          • With respect to publishing the reports from paid consultancy in January 2016, T141791 has managed to only repeat what was requested from the consultants, rather than any of the consultancy advice, then been closed. Please publish the actual, real, advice given. In particular the summary of "legal issues relating to reporting requirements and the approval of the CoC" raises flags, as these are hot potatoes now, so comparing the WMF's actions and the original consultancy advice would be very illuminating to us unpaid volunteers who have been denied any access to this external advice, without ever having an explanation of why this has been kept secret for the last year. -- (talk) 13:35, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose having this new committee be self contained and governed - especially restricting selection of its membership to itself this is disengaging from the larger community as a whole. Xaosflux (talk) 12:24, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Endangers the projects. Natuur12 (talk) 21:53, 6 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support All the specific details in this section seem quite reasonable. And, although this discussion is not about whether there should be a committee in the first place, I think one is sorely needed.—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 02:54, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support per Neil Tgr (talk) 03:27, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose per MZMcBride, but mostly Fae. ^demon[omg plz] 04:18, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I see substantial arguments that this will be entirely different from the Arbitration Committee in scope and operation. Milimetric (WMF) (talk) 14:34, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Weak support I'm a bit concerned about the committee being self-perpetuating; there's little to prevent the same committee members from selecting themselves/each other over and over again apart from the requirement that at least one member must change each time. I would prefer the TC team reappoint the committee each time, but that creates a level of WMF dependence that others seem to be uncomfortable with. --Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talk) 15:16, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Frimelle (talk) 17:25, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose per MZMcBride et al. Yaron Koren (talk) 18:02, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Weak support I share Roan's concerns about the possible self-perpetuating nature of the committee, though I don't know that having the TC team appoint members forever is a better approach. I do believe we'll have a large enough pool of people to avoid ArbCom-like appeal issues. -- ArielGlenn (talk) 10:24, 8 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I think this is good. Probably will be tweaked over time. Thanks to Mattflaschen-WMF for coordinating this effort. -- Miriya52 (talk) 00:04, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I don't understand the argument that this process is "expanding the Arbitration Committee model". The Arbitration Committee is chosen by the community, this committee isn't. Hopefully that will avoid the problem of the Committee being a "tyranny of the majority" or a popularity contest. We need a carefully selected, diverse group of people on this committee, not just a slate of the usual suspects. The proposed process seems like a reasonable way to try to achieve that and I don't see any objections above that actually offer any better ideas. Kaldari (talk) 01:33, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Hi Kaldari. I would say that having a committee at all is expanding the model. The implementation details are less relevant, though it's pretty weird to use "the committee not being chosen by the community" as a selling point. That's certainly not the process we use for most on-wiki positions.

      When asked for specific examples (Gerrit links, links, etc.) where a committee like this would be helpful, there have been almost no answers. To me, this suggests a solution in search of a problem. Perhaps if you or others could provide specific examples where you think a committee like this would be helpful, other discussion participants might be able to offer "better ideas." --MZMcBride (talk) 05:05, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

      • A committee like this would be helpful to receive private reports from victims of harassment and disrespect, and act upon them.Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:15, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
        • There are already help channels that receive reports of harassment and are free to take action, having another channel may be helpful but is not of itself reason to set up a bureaucratic and unelected Committee which is required to send correspondence to WMF legal. Please note that "disrespect" is not actually part of this CoC, it is, and should remain, focused on harassment. -- (talk) 12:10, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
          • @: What "channels that receive reports of harassment" are you referring to, and what does "and are free to take action" mean? How are these channels better in preventing harassment and in protecting the victims suffering it?Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:17, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
            • All the safe space and harassment policies have associated points of contact and there are plenty of cases where action has been taken in the past. As for being better, there has been no evidence presented that this committee approach would be better at "preventing harassment" (there is nothing in the CoC to support a claim that the Committee does anything about prevention) or "protecting the victims suffering" (there is nothing in the CoC about protection or victim support, only acting against an alleged harasser which quite specifically may stop a specific on-wiki issue but does not take responsibility for protection against harassment, nor does it handle emotional distress for the party being labelled a victim). -- (talk) 13:22, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
      • Technical Collaboration has publicly released counts of incidents handled. It was already clear there was a problem before those numbers were compiled, but that is additional evidence. Publicly linking to and discussing individual cases is an unnecessary distraction and would allow individual people involved to be targeted. I don't know any of those April-June reports, but it is likely not everything is linkable even if that were a good idea (which it's not). Some may have happened in private or in person, others may have been deleted. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:14, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
    • There are differences between Arbcom and this Committee. This Committee is not elected, it will be a self perpetuating group of 100% internally appointed friends, there is no external governance to avoid this happening. This Committee has no ability to act independently of WMF legal, in this regard it may as well be a supplier to the WMF as the Committee members will be unable to even discuss a case of any interest to the WMF without immediately turning over all their records to WMF legal, who themselves have provided no assurances as to keeping records confidential or even protecting the interests of parties where the interests of the WMF might be seen by WMF legal as counter to those interests. It is disturbing to see arguments from WMF employees that this is somehow good, it's like the argument that it's okay for the police to tap your phone and your email and keep records of your personal correspondence forever, because "you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide". In this context having a committee identical to Arbcom is a better option, certainly in terms of confidentiality, accountability and good better governance; bizarre. -- (talk) 12:31, 9 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose I'm sorry but this model doesn't convince me "one bit". --QEDK (talk) 06:28, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. I understand and sympathize with the Roan concern, but without any convicing alternative solution, self-appointment is a model we can try. --Dereckson (talk) 03:43, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose the entire COC. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
    Struck a position that was posted after the discussion was resolved. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:08, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Propriety of discussion closure[edit]

On the English Wikipedia and perhaps on other Wikimedia wikis as well, it would never be appropriate for the person who began a discussion to then also close that discussion. It violates the basic principle of a neutral and impartial discussion closure by an uninvolved party. In this case, the same person who started this discussion and voted to support it also closed the discussion. This lacks propriety in my opinion. --MZMcBride (talk) 05:55, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

All of my closures have been fair, and when there was not consensus I said so (e.g. here). English Wikipedia policies do not apply here. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:31, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
True, like the Wild West, you are the law. Shame that results are being put ahead of everything else, community consensus is obviously not going to survive if this is the new strategic way for the WMF. -- (talk) 08:49, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Closing the committee due to lack of demand[edit]

The document says nothing about the criteria for disbanding the committee should it be proved it has nothing to do. I propose that the Committee should automatically table a vote to disband itself whenever six months has passed with no cases being presented for its review and the fact of the vote be a matter of public record. No committee should persist indefinitely if there is insufficient for it to do beyond its own administration. Thanks -- (talk) 12:45, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

We already know the Committee will have things to do, from Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_2#Summary_of_conduct_reports_handled_in_April-June_2016 (though we knew even before that too). It is essentially impossible that in a community as large as ours there would be zero reports in six months (remember, anyone can report any violation, regardless of severity). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:25, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
This sounds like disbanding a Fire Brigade after six months without fires reported. Would that be a good idea? Even in the hypothetical case where there was a period without conduct reports in Wikimedia technical spaces, if a new report is submitted (where and to whom?), the community needs to be ready to handle it. The dissolution of the committee would play against the potential victims, in favor of the potential offenders.Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:11, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Fæ, contains a section 'Enforcing the Contributor Covenant'. A code of conduct isn't effective if there is nobody to report issues to. --Dereckson (talk) 03:45, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Er, that's not actually a consensus agreed policy, it's just an external document. Anyway, there's nothing there than forces us to keep running a bureaucratic Committee if it's not doing anything, it just says that there should be someone to take reports. The normal emergency emails will exist and people can still report harassment via the previously recommended channels such as breaches of the Terms of Use being reported to WMF legal (and as WMF legal have forced the Committee to copy anything of interest to them, it may as well be the same thing). -- (talk) 12:52, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

This sounds reasonable to me, although six months is a bit too short. OTOH I wouldn't limit it to inactivity - maybe there could be a review one year in, to decide whether the committee actually improved the situation. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 06:10, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Finalize "Amendments" section?[edit]

Should the "Amendments" section be considered done? This is the last section under consideration, so after it is approved, the Code of Conduct will become policy. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:20, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

This is just a reminder, since there is related discussion below. This is a draft policy of the Wikimedia technical spaces, and decisions about the draft are made by participants in these spaces. This is the same as all the other sections, and normal procedure on and the other Wikimedia wikis. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:06, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Consensus reached. Thank you for participating. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:44, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Some of the opposes offered suggestions that could be offered for future amendments, e.g. clarifying when the veto power is intended to be used. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:55, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support as proposer. I think we reached a reasonable compromise in response to the feedback about the Committee veto. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:22, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support NRuiz (WMF) (talk) 00:39, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support This process seems fair to me. Rfarrand (WMF) (talk) 01:50, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Gamaliel (talk) 02:00, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose: The concerns raised in the Final approval of CoC section have not been addressed. --MZMcBride (talk) 05:52, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 10:41, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Per previous issues unaddressed, such as Committee confidentiality compromised by copying all interesting correspondence to WMF Legal in an ungoverned way, the fact that volunteers have had no sight of the advice given from paid experts and have waited for a year for it to appear, and that the promised final review will, apparently, not happen and instead we have a Frankensteinian review process of 'agreeing' a significant policy one body part at a time and with no serious attempt to build a consensus rather than relying on majority votes. Consensus never has been achieved by popularity votes. -- (talk) 15:26, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose concerns. --Steinsplitter (talk) 18:11, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support no concerns. Ckoerner (talk) 19:58, 16 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose The COC included some very basic mistakes (I fixed a couple of them). It should never be policy anywhere. It is very easy to improve it in its current form, so I would consider it far from stable. There is no consensus for this COC. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 17:17, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
    [moved from top of section] That is incorrect, you need consensus in order to make it policy, and there is no consensus for any of it. The way you've handled this is so bad that you would need to start over if you wanted to get consensus. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:26, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose By now I'm afraid to voice my opinion. Natuur12 (talk) 18:14, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Mompati Dikunwane (talk) 11:26, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose as other editors have concerns. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:55, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Miriya52 (talk) 23:40, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Looks good. --brion (talk) 23:47, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Amendments section looks good to me. Kaldari (talk) 00:15, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Good work. Milimetric (WMF) (talk) 03:26, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Looks OK. --Vladimirrizov20 (talk) 14:14, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I think this section provides a good way to improve the CoC if needed, as we learn from experience.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:52, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I previously objected when any committee member could veto an amendment, but now that this has been changed to require a majority of the committee, that satisfies my concern. --Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talk) 18:32, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support This will make it possible to improve the Code of Conduct as we learn and progress. Looks good to me. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 22:42, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support, the time has come. Max Semenik (talk) 22:46, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Weak Oppose, I'm still not loving the committee members' veto power. I don't have a better proposal which is why this is a weak oppose. -- ArielGlenn (talk) 01:13, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose any sort of ArbCom being founded here, and also oppose the removal of comments from past discussions by WMF under the guise of the discussion being "resolved". Clearly it isn't. Ajraddatz (Talk) 08:01, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
    @Ajraddatz: I didn't remove any comment, so I ask that you retract your false allegation. Since you're active on multiple wikis, on what wiki do discussions stay open forever, allowing people to comment literally weeks or months late at their leisure, with the outcome forever in flux? Several people have mentioned striking the late votes (some of which themselves acknowledged being late!), but no one has explained how and where the other policy works. Many discussions use time-based closures, as you know. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:32, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
    I would say that striking comments is a removal of those comments from the discussion, so I'll keep it right where it is. Ajraddatz (Talk) 01:41, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
    Note how Ajraddatz ignored the question. There is no such wiki where weeks-late comments would be considered in (re-)making a decision. What I did is standard practice. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:53, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
    If this entire discussion had been closed for weeks or months, then yes. But requests for comment on Meta tend to stay open for easily that period of time, and during that time all comments are welcome. That's what happens when you're dealing with a broad community that uses something (for example, these technical spaces) but this isn't their "home" project. I disagree with closing sub-discussions, especially when people obviously still have comments to add. Ajraddatz (Talk) 02:18, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose. This sets up a self-perpetuating organization that cannot be amended by the powers that created it. --Tim Landscheidt 00:21, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
    That is not accurate. Like some other policies (on-wiki and elsewhere), the document can be amended by the community, but a threshold is defined. In this case, the threshold is straightforwarad to cross: The community can amend it, unless a majority of the Committee affirmatively decide to veto because the amendment would make the policy less effective/ineffective. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 07:37, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    You see that word "but" in your sentence? --Tim Landscheidt 17:18, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support. Code of Conduct/Amendments section looks good to me. KavithaMuthu 22:23, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I think this proposal is a good compromise between fairness and practicability. Physikerwelt (talk)--
  • Oppose Oppose Per User:Steinsplitter, User:Fæ, and User:MZMcBride. Also the issue immediately above my comment is troubling. —Justin (koavf)TCM 09:39, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Though assuming the good faith of the proposers, I believe the process has gone severely astray. There are many items which could be analyzed - e.g. too small participation, bad advice from perhaps poor sources, incomplete consideration of failure modes - but even if each could be defended as the best possible for the time, the overall result strikes me as simply too flawed to proceed with it. Moreover, a full community discussion is essential to any final policy. I would suggest incorporating some of the recent experience which came out of "lambdaconf" and subsequent consideration of a "Code of Professionalism". -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 17:27, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support weak oppose I think the current wording makes it to easy for the Committee to block proposals (and as a consequence it burdens them with having to decide when to use that power, without clear guidelines). More specifically,
    • I'd like the sixth bullet point to make it clear that a Committee veto is reserved for exceptional circumstances (ie. when a proposal would endanger the safety or effectiveness of the CoC). The current wording suggests that an amendment can only pass if both the majority of the community and the majority of the Committee supports it. I think the Committee should accept community consensus unless they feel that puts them in an untenable position. (Proposal: replace the bullet point with A proposal is accepted and integrated to the Code of Conduct by the Committee when the community reaches consensus. A majority of the regular Committee members can veto proposals in exceptional cases to protect the integrity of the Code.)
    • (I would prefer vetos to require unanimity but wouldn't insist on that.)
    • I find the wording "can be amended under the condition that changes made are not expected to reduce its effectiveness" too ambiguous. That seems to say the Committee can only get more power (and a bigger scope of what to police), never less. If the intent was to say that amendments should not leave the CoC ineffective (so e.g. no one should be able to suggest an amendment that makes the enforcement completely voluntary), I agree with that but it should be phrased better. (Proposal: replace "reduce" with "endanger".)
    • I think the last bullet point should be dropped. I agree with the spirit but the freshness of a discussion cannot be quantified (consensus can change over time) and I can't see any productive enforcement mechanism. Lots of people simply commenting "oppose per last time" is still the best way to handle dead horse abusers.
    Unrelated nitpick: "in the related Discussion page" should link somewhere. I suppose the related page is Talk:Code of Conduct/Amendments but never hurts to spell it out. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 23:43, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    @Tgr (WMF): I think the text already handles your main points, just with minor difference in wording. And in one, I think there may be a misunderstanding. There is no requirement that a majority of the Committee vote "yes" on a proposal. It just says, "unless a majority of the regular Committee members oppose it.", so they have to affirmatively say "No" because it might "reduce its effectiveness". If everyone abstained, for example, they're not opposing, so that is not a veto. "reduce its effectiveness" is not the same as "reduce its jurisdiction". For example, an amendment could make it less effective by shrinking the Committee, or requiring burdensome case procedures. On the opposite side, an amendment could improve case procedures, increasing effectiveness, without increasing scope. Since these are mainly questions of emphasis (you said you don't consider the unanimity change a requirement), I think we could consider these as an amendment (meta, I know). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 10:19, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
    I still have mixed feelings about fixing the amendment process via amendments. On the other hand, with the amount of quality trolling going on around here, I have even more mixed feelings about dragging this process out any more than necessary, so let's go with that. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 18:08, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Thanks for all the work. I am looking forward to have a working and adjustable CoC for this community. --Frimelle (talk) 14:55, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I overall can support this version —TheDJ (Not WMF) (talkcontribs) 15:25, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support I like the balance it strikes. Greg (WMF) (talk) 00:37, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Looks good and am excited to have a functioning CoC in place soon. --Charlie Kritschmar (WMDE) (talk) 19:39, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support Important policy. Thanks for working on this! (It'll surely evolve...! I think the main concerns raised can be addressed as we go.) —AndyRussG (talk) (participating in personal capacity)
  • Support Support Thanks for all the work on this, seems fair to me -- MViswanathan (WMF) (talk)
  • Support Support appreciate the effort behind this CoC, and that it can be fluid as we learn from putting it in practice. Dchen (WMF) (talk) 17:28, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support Support The amendments process seems reasonable to me. Thank you! --ARipstra (WMF) (talk) 22:20, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Bad ideas[edit]

  • Offensive comments are, will be and should be allowed. Almost everything is offensive to someone, for example your stupidity is offensive to me. Offensiveness is incredibly subjective. The words "fuck nazi scum" are probably offensive to nazi scum. Does anyone (who is not nazi scum) really think I should not be allowed to say "fuck nazi scum"? BTW, many good jokes are offensive, and we should all be allowed to make jokes (within certain limits of course). Whiners who complain about stuff they consider offensive should not be given carte blanche to block/ban everyone they dislike.
If I had a large amount of money I should certainly found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases and yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily about our ears.
—Stephen Fry
It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?
—Stephen Fry
  • Quote: "Harming the discussion or community with methods such as sustained disruption, interruption, or blocking of community collaboration (i.e. trolling)". -- This will be abused as an excuse to block people who disagree with other people. We do not need a sentence in a CoC about trolls, everyone agrees that they should be blocked (and no one cares when they are).
  • Quote: "Discrimination (unless required by law), particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups." -- No, people are equal and should be treated equally. People like myself ("white" heterosexual male born in a rich country) deserve the same protection against discrimination as those who actually experience discrimination on a regular basis. We won't need/use it anyway. I cannot recall ever being discriminated against, but if I would be then I deserve the same protection as everyone else, not more and not less. Treat me and others like me the same way as you would treat for example LGBTQ+ people and other minorities. And treat them the same way you would treat me. That is the entire point.

It is kinda bizarre that you guys seem to want to take the opinion of one person and make it into policy without gaining any form of consensus. I would recommend getting input from all the communities, because important decisions like this one should not be taken by an tiny group of likeminded people. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 17:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

@Sänger: See [4] and the text above. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 17:49, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

I reverted most of your edits as inappropriate. If you disagree with the concept of a CoC, I would suggest you follow the lead by other people who agree with you by participating in discussions as they are. Legoktm (talk) 19:56, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Same here. If you disagree with my improvements then you can use the talkpage to discuss them. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 21:20, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Those sections have already been approved, after extensive discussion. Thus, I am not going to (re-)debate your specific points now, and changes to the draft, on already-approved sections (ignoring consensus) will be reverted. I don't think the above is at all a constructive proposal, but if someone had a constructive proposal for these sections, they could propose an amendment after the CoC is in place. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:49, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
None of the sections of this draft have been approved by the community. None of the discussions have been extensive. If you are not willing to debate the draft then others will. But it will not be policy until it gets community consensus, and you are being counterproductive. If you want this draft to become policy then I would recommend that you step back and let someone who is more experienced take over. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 22:51, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
We should ask the people who are affected by this draft if they support it. That means a widespread discussion that can take weeks. That way we can perhaps turn this into something useful. But having a handful of people make decisions like this and pretend that there is consensus is not going to work. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 22:54, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@Mattflaschen-WMF: Please look at some RfC's about controversial topics on For example the recent Daily Mail RfC. For this COC we need a discussion (or perhaps multiple, splitting it up by section) that is larger than that one. I have tried to help you by fixing some of the worst problems, but the draft is still far from perfect. Please ask User:Fæ to help you, User:Fæ has experience setting up RfC's. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 22:55, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@Mattflaschen-WMF: Have you read the RfC I linked to above? We need a discussion that involves many people. A handful of people are simply not enough. Do you have experience creating RfCs and WP:CONSENSUS on a large scale? If not then I recommend asking someone for help. You are not able to decide when we should stop asking for people's opinions. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 23:21, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
@Mattflaschen-WMF: We are on a talkpage, please use it to discuss. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 23:25, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Mattflaschen-WMF's actions[edit]

Mattflaschen-WMF does not seem to understand how consensus (and communities in general) work(s). Mattflaschen-WMF has sabotaged this COC by closing discussions way too early without inviting the affected communities to provide input and has struck through many opinions Mattflaschen-WMF disagreed with. Therefore it would be best if Mattflaschen-WMF would voluntarily stop editing this page, and that someone who is more neutral and experienced can start this process again. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:30, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

These personal remarks are out of place and more importantly grossly misinformed as many have pointed below. NRuiz (WMF) (talk) 20:55, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Typically RfCs and proposals are driven by someone who is in support of them and have an interest in seeing them succeed - I don't think there's any need for Matt to step back. Legoktm (talk) 19:58, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Then I can safely assume you haven't read this talkpage. Please do. Typically RfCs on for example are driven by someone who is an experienced member of the community, and people demand that it is done fairly. Matt has handled this incredibly badly (for example read the section about striking votes above (a diff before I started editing)-- and check which votes he struck and why). We need someone who is experienced who can start over. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 21:21, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Looking at user contributions on, Matt is clearly an experienced member of the community. --Malyacko (talk) 22:01, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
Then he should know better. I haven't found any evidence of him having experience with consensus building. This page indicates he is not an experienced member of any community other than maybe (1500 edits), and of course this draft affects many communities, not just The Quixotic Potato (talk) 22:27, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
This page might look a little better. ;-) --Vogone talk 01:37, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
@Malyacko: Please use the talkpage instead of simply reverting with an editsummary. It is unclear to me what your edisummary means; I have not made any incorrect assumptions as far as I am aware. Collapsing misleading and incorrect comments like I did is generally considered a good idea. Would you prefer it if I struck through them? If not, then how do you propose dealing with those comments? Simply removing them? Thank you, The Quixotic Potato (talk) 22:46, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
This policy will only affect the technical spaces. I have been a member of the technical community since at least 2012 (probably earlier depending how you define it), and the broader Wikimedia community years before that. I have carefully built consensus every step of the way. Everyone affected has been invited (by email, banner, Phabricator notice, and more), and awareness in the technical community about this process is extremely high. You came from outside the community to unilaterally disrupt things by edit-warring to call things "silly", re-wrote much of the CoC (including the parts where consensus was carefully established after long discussion), and tried to take control of a process you had no involvement in (claiming "the process of getting consensus hasnt even started yet" when it has been going for a year and a half).
It's very telling that you repeatedly cited enwiki, even pushing to start an RFC on enwiki, despite this being completely outside of enwiki's scope (per their own policy, "Some matters that may seem subject to the consensus of the community at the English-language Wikipedia ( are, in fact, in a separate domain. In particular, the community of MediaWiki software developers, including both paid Wikimedia Foundation staff and volunteers [...] These independent, co-equal communities operate however they deem necessary or appropriate [..] This does not constitute an exhaustive list as much as a reminder that the decisions taken under this project apply only to the workings of the self-governing community of English Wikipedia." [emphasis added]. That is because the community here has reached consensus on the resolved sections. You were not happy with the result, so you tried to override it with the opinion of a different community this policy does not govern. That is blatant attempted disruption.
That is also not how consensus-building works, and is unacceptable, particularly when combined with blatant and disruptive edit-warring.
I didn't strike anything, except positions posted after the discussion was resolved (sometimes months after). I never considered the viewpoint in doing so. Period. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:18, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

[moved from header to here] There is currently no consensus for any part of this draft. One WMF member seems to be unaware of how WP:CONSENSUS works and has tried to create policy that affects many people from many communities by asking a tiny group of people for their opinion (and striking through opinions that he disagreed with). It would be best if Mattflaschen-WMF would voluntarily stop editing this page, and that someone who is more neutral and experienced can start this process again. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 18:40, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

  • Being forthcoming and aggressive with your idea is good but to strike votes to achieve your desired, so-called unanimous result is absolutely toxic and I do not find why people are condoning the act. It's only my 2 cents and I very much doubt it'll matter at all to WMF. --QEDK (talk) 17:46, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
    • The votes were struck because they were weeks late to the party, not because they were opposing votes. Valhallasw (talk) 21:43, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
      • How many supporting votes have been struck? Note that the two-week deadline was something made up by the same person enforcing the procedure. This exceptional review procedure was never agreed by consensus of any kind. -- (talk) 18:12, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I don't understand why striking any comments is necessary. This entire thing is obviously still under discussion - let discussion happen. If people have objections that didn't raise them before, let them. And finally, I'm not concerned with Matt being involved here, but I do have issues with him deciding which comments are allowed and which aren't in this manner. Ajraddatz (Talk) 08:03, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

improvements are not disruptive, none of the sections have community consensus (although they may have been approved by a handful of WMF staffers)[edit]

If the WMF keeps editwarring then I am not going to help you anymore. We need a discussion that involves many people. A handful of people are simply not enough. Do you have experience creating RfCs and WP:CONSENSUS on a large scale? If not then I recommend asking someone for help.

WP:CONSENSUS has widespread support. I do not understand why the WMF keeps antagonizing the various communities by ensuring that they do not get a say. Maybe you have a tiny group of people (most of whom work for the WMF) who think that that draft is awesome. But I can introduce you to the enwiki community, which has many members that will disagree with the draft as I found it and will be displeased about the way the WMF treated members of the community.

A tiny group of people has been talking about this draft for a very long time. The result was very bad (I made many improvements and it is still quite bad). You should've asked the communities for input.

WMF staffers should stop reverting, and if you do not want those misleading and incorrect comments to be put in collapse templates then you can remove them or strike through them. Do you have a better suggestion?

You guys don't mind striking through someone else's posts, but when misleading and incorrect posts made by someone who works for the WMF get collapsed then it is a big problem? The Quixotic Potato (talk) 00:40, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

@Mattflaschen-WMF:@MSchottlender-WMF: How do you think the enwiki community (for example) is going to react when they hear how non-WMF users get treated on this page? The Quixotic Potato (talk) 00:42, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

This discussion has been widely communicated to the technical spaces (email, Phabricator, banner, etc.). See my post in Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Mattflaschen-WMF.27s_actions, particularly regarding openly seeking disruption from enwiki, which would be in violation of enwiki's own policy. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:23, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

More opinions are better[edit]

I haven't seen anyone point out any problems with the improvements I made, and I do not understand why having more opinions would not be better. The discussion has fragmented, some of it is here, some of it is on my talkpage, some of it is over at User talk:MSchottlender-WMF and User talk:Mattflaschen-WMF. The Quixotic Potato (talk) 01:22, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

We have constantly sought more opinions. This discussion has been widely communicated to the technical spaces (email, Phabricator, banner, etc.). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:24, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
This has not been publicized very well on en-wiki where most of your audience is. Chris Troutman (talk) 17:57, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
How is enwiki most of the audience? I see the audience as developers and sysadmins. Chico Venancio (talk) 18:25, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
All bug reporters & Co. will have to submit to the Code of Conduct as well, and with enwiki accounting for 50 % of the traffic, this is at least a major chunk of the audience. --Tim Landscheidt 18:41, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
That does not make much sense. If a bug reporter participates in the technical spaces enough to be affected by the CoC then he will know about mediawiki, mailing lists and Phabricator. I fail to see how enwiki is the main audience. Chico Venancio (talk) 18:47, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
There is no requirement on participating "enough" to be affected by this; if you encounter a bug or want to propose a new feature, you'll have to abide by these rules if you want to share your observation or suggestion. If you have someone else to do that for you at his own risk, then this will not affect you, I agree. --Tim Landscheidt 19:09, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
That is also true for policies on commons, and we don't expect the commons community to consult enwiki for every policy they enact. Valhallasw (talk) 20:49, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
You don't have to use Commons. You can always enable local uploads as a community. But if Commons would do something major like this, yes. Local communities like en-wiki and de-wiki should be informed. Natuur12 (talk) 16:13, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
I agree that major wikis like en-wiki and de-wiki should be informed. The few votings here (including a lot of votings by staffers) can't be considered community consensus imho. --Steinsplitter (talk) 19:35, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Any participant in the technical spaces can participate in the decision here. The question of whether they are staff or volunteer is not even relevant. As for other wikis, the participants on those wikis decide those wikis' policies. But they do not decide the policies of the Wikimedia technical community, unless they are also participants here. Visitors to a city do not vote for mayor. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:01, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Being publicly critical of the WMF or its employees ensures you stay an outsider to the WMF political inner circle, to think otherwise would be to ignore the last 400 years of corporate history. For anyone under contract, doing so would be career limitingly stupid. So yes, how many people voting here who are under contract, or want future WMF employment, is highly relevant to understanding why the votes of unaffiliated volunteers are diametrically opposed to those who are under contract and still choose to express a public opinion. -- (talk) 10:23, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
If you had actually taken a look at previous votes you could have spotted some "Oppose" votes by community members who are also WMF employees or contractors. --Malyacko (talk) 10:51, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Unfortunately it's almost impossible to check as so many WMF employees are using sock accounts which are hard to verify connections for without doing lots of hunting around. For example "Malyacko" bears no obvious resemblance to "AKlapper (WMF)" even though you own both accounts. Even more confusingly you are actively contributing to these discussions using both accounts, giving the impression to most casual readers that you are two people with your opinions. Please stop doing that, it undermines confidence in any process with a vote, and on other projects such as the English Wikipedia is specifically against policy as it would be considered misuse of sock accounts. -- (talk) 12:23, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
As you mention English Wikipedia policies, you may want to refresh your knowledge about what you call "sock accounts" by checking the "Designated roles" item of w:Wikipedia:Sock_puppetry#Legitimate_uses before spreading further misleading information. --Malyacko (talk) 13:10, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Perfectly aware, thanks. Using multiple accounts during any consensus process is against policy as it is misleading and not legitimate use of socks. Stop doing it. -- (talk) 13:33, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Feel free to link to the policy for you're referring to and I'll happily refrain from putting efforts into separating my personal and my professional activities during a "consensus process". Thanks in advance! --Malyacko (talk) 14:43, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Fæ first claimed, falsely, that "For anyone under contract, doing so would be career limitingly stupid." and "the votes of unaffiliated volunteers are diametrically opposed to those who are under contract". After it was noted that staff members have voted oppose (and I would add, many volunteers have supported), he then suddenly changed the subject to distract attention. There is no way anyone could miss that a user voting {{Oppose}} with a username ending in "(WMF)" (as there have been) is a WMF employee. Hence, Fæ's sudden change in subject. I will bring it back to the actual subject: It is completely unacceptable to try to exclude some members of the technical community because they are employed (regardless of employer). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 07:24, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
What I wrote started with "Being publicly critical of the WMF or its employees ensures you stay an outsider to the WMF political inner circle". Don't twist my words into something I never said. There are millions of ways to twist my words, please stick to what others actually write rather than creating false reasons to polarize views. -- (talk) 08:09, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

WMF employees confusingly using personal and staff accounts in the same consensus building discussion[edit]

To close out this tangent, Project:Sock puppetry applies on Mediawiki. This states that "editors to any Wikimedia Foundation wiki, including this one, should each use only one account". While WMF employees should use their WMF accounts for WMF business, it is against this policy to use both personal and WMF accounts in the same discussion in a way that would confuse other contributors. The Mediawiki policy points to en:Wikipedia:Sock puppetry for further information.

Should anyone persistently use their sock accounts on Mediawiki in a confusing way, it would be a reasonable step to ask for administrator action to ensure the misuse stops, regardless of whether the sock accounts include WMF employee accounts. Thanks -- (talk) 22:14, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the link and for confirming that splitting personal and professional activity is in compliance, as that page says "Wikimedia Foundation staff may operate official staff accounts and non-official accounts for normal editing" (which you unfortunately omitted from your quote above for unknown reasons). I do not share your personal policy interpretation, so I'm afraid there's nothing to add here. Cheers! :) --Malyacko (talk) 14:10, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Just to clarify, because I have difficulty matching your actions to your words, you are using your WMF employee account to engage with discussion on this page and vote in proposals. You have then swapped, apparently arbitrarily to using another account which does not comply with WMF naming policy for staff accounts and casual participants here would presume is not the same person. Are you saying that you were fulfilling your necessary contracted role within the WMF, as required by your WMF manager, for every edit you have made on this discussion page under the account User:AKlapper (WMF)? Please reply using your WMF employee account, or ask your manager to do so, as this is a question for you as a WMF employee, not an unpaid volunteer speaking for themselves alone. Thanks -- (talk) 14:38, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
People can have personal views as community members, and also professional views in their work role. I'd not call that "arbitrary". --Malyacko (talk) 15:01, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Arbitrarily swapping between personal accounts and official WMF employee accounts is by definition arbitrary and in this case misleading for other contributors during a consensus building process. You are in breach of the sockpuppet policy for this project.
Please provide a direct official answer to the above question using your WMF employee account, or ask your manager to do so. Thanks -- (talk) 15:16, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Currently I personally do not plan to spend time on this discussion thread as part of my professional role, sorry. --Malyacko (talk) 15:30, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Summary of criticisms[edit]

In the most cynical outlook, this is a Wikimedia Foundation-imposed policy. The revision history of the page and activity on the related Phabricator tasks make this pretty clear: <> and <>.

All of the statements in the original post are false.
First, your attempt to exclude members of the community because they are employed (regardless of employer) is unacceptable. You have been around long enough to know that staff of various organizations are part of this community. The query you show is not for the right pages, but only for the draft. You excluded the talk page, where many people have proposed and commented on draft text (with many suggestions making it into the approved text). If people are interested in the real query, it's at and shows hundreds of edits by volunteers. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
I think your reply pretty much perfectly illustrates one of the issues I have with your refusal to discuss what types of behavior you find acceptable or expected. You're characterizing my comment here as unacceptable, and yet I think it's completely appropriate to correctly point out that a significant number of edits to the subject-space page have come from Wikimedia Foundation staff. Nobody, including me, is suggesting that members of the Wikimedia community such as yourself should be excluded. I am suggesting that you and your colleagues from the Wikimedia Foundation have had an outsized influence in both the drafting and attempted implementation of this code of conduct. Your suggestion that your modified query, which shows you and Quim Gil with almost 400 edits each ahead of the next non-staffer, is somehow "better" is pretty laughable. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:40, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

The draft text regarding initial committee membership reads: "The first Committee will be chosen by the Wikimedia Foundation's Technical Collaboration team."

Yep, and this text has been approved by clear community consensus. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

As I pointed out to Pine, there's been a decent amount of discussion regarding whether this proposed committee or this entire document can even apply to Wikimedia Foundation staff. The Wikimedia Foundation Human Resources and Legal teams have weighed in and seem to have attempted to carve out an exemption for employees, since they're (probably rightfully) concerned that this proposed policy and its committee will create HR and Legal headaches.

This is an outrageous and false statement. The policy is clear that it applies to everyone ("Technical skills and community status make no difference to the right to be respected and the obligation to respect others."). Perhaps you are confusing this with the unrelated Confidentiality text. Legal has made it crystal clear that the Committee has absolute freedom ("For this point, regardless of whether the committee makes any disclosures to the WMF, it would be able to act freely. The CoC committee gets to determine how it wants to respond to issues that come to it in technical spaces and will not be consulting with WMF Legal or HR about what to do."), and this is backed by the policy. The committee is not restrained in any way from imposing consequences on staff. I believe you know this already, because you posted in that talk page section. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

When asked about specific examples that this code of conduct is attempting to address, there has been extreme evasiveness. Problematic behavior in technical spaces (for example, spammers in IRC channels, Phabricator, and Gerrit) are typically quickly resolved. What is this committee intending to work on, exactly? Getting a simple answer to that question has been nearly impossible.

This is again completely false. On multiple occasions, you have transparently attempted to divert a policy discussion into a debate about past incidents. There have been past incidents, and this is not the place to drag people's names in by discussing specific incidents. For other people that are interested, statistics are available. Categories that have been a problem are quite clearly listed. It is not true that problems "are typically quickly resolved". In some cases, problems are never resolved, and in others offenders repeat their misbehavior over and over again. That is why there is such strong support for this policy. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Should I be apologizing for being so transparent about wanting clear examples of what you find to be problematic behavior? I thought we valued transparency. :-) I think it's pretty reasonable to have clear use-cases ("user stories," if you must) before attempting to solve a problem. Isarra explains this in a mailing list post. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:45, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

And the previous explicit agreements to have a final vote on the document have now been changed by one side. Instead of having a final vote, Matthew and the rest of the people pushing this document forward are trying to claim the ability to use per-section consensus as a basis for overall consensus, even though they specifically told people there would be a final vote and people supported specific sections with this understanding.

You quoted an extremely old (the first in fact) consensus discussion, and even in that, I did not say there would be a final vote. I said there would be a "separate procedure to approve the CoC", because already by that time, I didn't know what that procedure would be. It became clear that a good (and consistent with precedent, e.g. Wikipedia:Civility) procedure was to do it by section. And I publicly announced that almost a year ago (and on this talk page too). Your attempt to characterize this as unfair or a last-minute change is completely false. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
I suppose readers of this page can decide what to make of this discussion, started in August 2016 by Valhallasw, in which he calls you out for unilaterally changing the final approval process. As I explain in that section, I don't necessarily have an issue with one party wanting to change the previous agreement, but it would then mean needing to re-open and re-discuss those past sections, since people participating in the past per-section discussions clearly did so with the understanding that there would be a final vote. I had this understanding, Valhallasw had this understanding, Ironholds apparently had this understanding.
Also, I think it's worth pointing out that the discussion that Valhallasw started was the same day as it became clear, from edits to this talk page, that you were attempting to change the final approval process. There was a short discussion, you were specifically pinged, and then you waited five months to reply. People noticed and objected to your change and were met with months of silence. (It's true that nobody seems to have read your March 31, 2016 e-mails.) After you finally replied, in February 2017, Valhallasw replied again on the same day. Volunteer response time looks a lot better than staff response time in that section. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:10, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it is a cynical outlook to be sure, but if you examine what's happening here, this a proposed policy from Wikimedia Foundation staffers that puts the Wikimedia Foundation in charge of creating a code of conduct committee. That's already a huge red flag. Add to it that the Wikimedia Foundation is trying to exempt itself from its own creation, can't cite what specific problems this new policy/committee is intended to solve, and has now reneged on previous agreements to hold a final vote, presumably because there's a concern that a final vote would result in rejection of this policy. Bleh. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:48, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

You don't have to like how the Committee is formed, but you do have to accept that this text was approved by clear community consensus, with support from multiple volunteers and non-WMF (among others). It's not a "proposed policy from Wikimedia Foundation staffers". The remaining are repeats of false statements covered above. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 10:07, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Matt, your persistent arguing, badgering and overruling volunteers throughout this process serves to highlight how strangely poor the WMF itself is at leading any consensus that relies on volunteers. A walled garden majority vote is not a consensus, and the way that you have personally forced and policed this series of 2-week votes to piecemeal drive through this document while on the way upsetting volunteers, guaranteeing entrenched opposing views and ignoring critical questions as if all those that disagree with you are trolls, just shows how lacking in credibility the outcome will be.
The WMF has a large reserve of skilled and experienced volunteers, it's a pity that we are "managed" as a threat rather than a supporting resource. -- (talk) 11:59, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
@Mattflaschen-WMF: do you have any idea how intimidating your behaviour is? Natuur12 (talk) 13:48, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
@Natuur12: What's your proposal to make pointing out facts less intimidating for you? --Malyacko (talk) 14:23, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
Obviously I need to hear Mattflaschen-WMF's response before I can give some pointers. (Ignoring your attempt to incriminate my question.) Natuur12 (talk) 14:30, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
It is not arguing, badgering, or overruling to reply to a false statement. The people reading this page need accurate information. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:45, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Mattflaschen was never elected to rule Mediawiki. Even if his paid job is to ensure this document gets delivered, that is not a reason to beat critics into submission rather than embracing critical views with an actual consensus process. I fully agree with MZMcBride's summary of "Bleh". -- (talk) 12:08, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

No person "rules" MediaWiki and no one was ever elected to rule MediaWiki - that's exactly why there have been votes on each section. IMHO critical views have been discussed and addressed among community members in the threads above; the difference here might be that I would not use the term "critical views" to categorize opinions based on false information. --Malyacko (talk) 14:22, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
All we have left is "bleh", because the discussion has degenerated to twisting the words of those with critical views so that they are repeatedly called liars. Please stop sockpuppeting these discussions, your actions in using both your employee account and your non-employee account to argue your viewpoint on the same discussion page is misleading, and a breach of the sockpuppeting policy for this project. -- (talk) 14:26, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
I have a different proposal: Could you please check the content of the pages that you linked above and then stop repeating incorrect accusations? :) --Malyacko (talk) 14:46, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
No "incorrect accusations" have been made. Please stop manipulating discussion using misleading sockpuppet accounts. If you are editing to comply with the terms of your contract, just continue to use your WMF account, as you were previously on this page. Thanks -- (talk) 14:59, 27 February 2017 (UTC)
The links which you posted explain that sockpuppet accounts are unrelated to separating personal and professional activity... --Malyacko (talk) 10:14, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

"unless a majority of the regular Committee members oppose it."[edit]

I've tried reading this page, but it's somewhat long, dense and hard to follow. I couldn't see an answer to my question:

Can someone please give some examples of situations where "the majority of the regular committee" may oppose an amendment when the community has reached a consensus.

(And can anyone who is not answering that direct question please refrain from responding.)

--HappyDog (talk) 23:52, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Yep, glad to help explain that. If 3 or more (a majority, since the Committee is 5) agree, they can veto an amendment. This is a safety valve in case of harmful or poison pill amendments that could "reduce its effectiveness". A example might be, "No consequences will be imposed on a Gerrit +2 user for a first offense." (hurts the effectiveness and goes against the key principle, "Technical skills and community status make no difference to the right to be respected and the obligation to respect others.").
But really it's hard to predict what the amendments might be and vetos are up the Committee, but expected to be used cautiously and judiciously. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:06, 2 March 2017 (UTC)
Other factors taken into consideration when that section was drafted:
  • In practice, "when the community reaches consensus" might mean a majority of votes from any users in a section of a wiki page. As a consensus process, that is not a perfect system. Low and biased participation in complex, dense, or divisive topics is a real risk. Influx from opinions external to the Wikimedia technical community (or even Wikimedia) is another risk. In those situations, "consensus" might or might not reflect the actual sentiment of the Wikimedia technical community at large.
  • Even when a discussion might really reflect the opinion of a majority, it cannot be taken for granted that the changes proposed contribute to the effectiveness of the CoC. A majority voting changes that directly or indirectly affect minorities and marginalized people is a real risk, and the CoC needs to be especially effective protecting these groups.
  • There are many examples in human communities where a majority of votes brought changes that went directly or indirectly against the principles of "an open and welcoming community (...) respectful and harassment-free". There are also many examples of those dysfunctional processes happening in places where people would say "no worries, *this* would never happen here", but then...--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:15, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

Removing 'draft' status[edit]

Since discussion has mostly wound down and the votes on the final amendments section are done, I'm declaring the draft period over and will move the page out of the 'Draft' state.

This will trigger bootstrapping of the CoC committee per Code of Conduct/Draft#Creation and renewal of the Committee. I am not 100% certain if the email address for candidatures is active yet, so leaving the marker about it being inactive. (Checking with Quim.)

Thanks to everyone for all your participation in the discussion over these last many months. --Brion Vibber (WMF) (talk) 19:04, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Thank you very much, Brion Vibber (WMF)! This email address is functional now, yes. I will announce a call for candidates to join the first Committee, explaining the next steps as described in the Code of Conduct.
The CoC content is frozen until the Committee starts exercising as such and the amendments process kicks off. Small edits to i.e. fix red links, improve navigation to subpages and similar technical improvements are possible, as long as the content remains untouched.
I also want to thank all contributors, also those who have been watching the process from a distance (this morning I was checking the page view statistics, quite impressive for a community of this size). Special thanks to Matt and Moriel , who have contributed so much, all along, since the beginning, every week.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:23, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
I also want to thank everyone who's helped lead and participate in this process. It means a lot. You've made this result possible. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:26, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

This code of conduct has never been approved and any step for its enforcement is null and invalid. Nemo 13:11, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

I respect where you're coming from, and the process could have been cleaner, but it seems valid enough to me. Not everything needs a maximally pure RfC process. In this case, a large contingent of the most active users of MW are on board; including those who already respond to and try to handle conduct complaints — and who are already technically empowered to carry out such enforcement. That's enough to justify ad-hocracy in my book, including ignoring some rules. Sj (talk) 18:22, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm not going to make this a hill to die on, since I'm not politically well-positioned for it - but a general RfC was promised at the start, true or false? Then it was decided by proponents simply to not keep to that, with only some fairly obscure notices regarding such a dramatic process change. To me, that's not right. It adds to my pessimistic view of how these CoC's tend to work out in practice, whatever the assumed good intentions of proposers -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 13:31, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
What do you mean by "the most active users of MW"? Yaron Koren (talk) 21:43, 9 March 2017 (UTC)
I meant active users of MW technical spaces. I shouldn't have said "most", this doesn't depend on the metric you use. Just: it was a thoughful proposal by people who are active here, care about the issue, and already deal with some of it. In the wikiverse that should always trump rules-lawyering; try it, see what happens. Sj (talk) 18:14, 10 March 2017 (UTC)
The process wasn't by any means valid. Everyone who disagreed with the main proposers (a very vocal minority, as pointed out in #Drafting phase data) was either ignored or bullied. Naturally, most people gave up with the pointless discussion, waiting instead for the final approval !vote. The approval has never happened, so we don't know what the community thinks. Nemo 06:47, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
The process is valid and ongoing. A list of candidates is close to be announced for community review, after several and extensive calls in multiple Wikimedia technical spaces. Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:50, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
My question above - "... a general RfC was promised at the start, true or false? ..." - remains unanswered. Again, overall, this is not my fight. But essentially reneging as was done, does not augur well for any sort of fairness in future -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 23:47, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Bootstrapping the Code of Conduct Committee[edit]

The review of the Code of Conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces has been completed and now it is time to  bootstrap its first committee. The process is defined in Code_of_Conduct/Committee#Selection_of_new_members.


  •  Enable
  •  Technical Collaboration team to start the search of 10 candidates (5 committee members, 5 auxiliary members).
  •  A public announcement inviting interested parties to nominate themselves or recommend others.
  •  Publication of a list of candidates. 2 week private feedback phase starts.
  •  If needed, update the list of candidates and start another review phase.
  •  Identification of members to the Wikimedia Foundation and signature of confidentiality agreement.
  •  Training period for newly proposed members.
  •  6 weeks after the final list of candidates was published, the new committee is constituted.

Phab:T159923 is being used to track the details of this work. Announcements and major updates will be posted here as well. Your questions and feedback are welcome.Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:46, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

The Call for candidates to form the first Code of Conduct Committee has been sent to wikitech-l, mediawiki-l, engineering, labs-l, analytics, wiki-research-l, and design. I welcome help to cover other spaces.Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:34, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

I am posting a web version of the call below, in order to have a URL to link to from short announcements. Better than linking to a post in a mailing list archive.Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:40, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Call for candidates to form the first Code of Conduct Committee[edit]

Dear Wikimedia technical community members,

Code of Conduct

The review of the Code of Conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces has been completed and now it is time to bootstrap its first committee. The Technical Collaboration team is looking for five candidates to form the Committee plus five additional auxiliary members. One of them could be you or someone you know!

You can propose yourself as a candidate and you can recommend others *privately* at  techconductcandidates AT wikimedia DOT org

We want to form a very diverse list of candidates reflecting the variety of people, activities, and spaces in the Wikimedia technical community. We are also open to other candidates with experience in the field. Diversity in the Committee is also a way to promote fairness and independence in their decisions. This means that no matter who you are, where you come from, what you work on, or for how long, you are a potential good member of this Committee.  The main requirements to join the Committee are a will to foster an open and welcoming community and a commitment to making participation in Wikimedia technical projects a respectful and harassment-free experience for everyone. The committee will handle reports of unacceptable behavior, will analyze the cases, and will resolve on them according to the Code of Conduct. The Committee will also handle proposals to amend the Code of Conduct for the purpose of increasing its efficiency. The term of this first Committee will be one year.

Once we have a list of 5 + 5 candidates, we will announce it here for review. You can learn more about the Committee and its selection process at Code of Conduct/Committee and you can ask questions in the related Talk page (preferred) or here.

You can also track the progress of this bootstrapping process at Talk:Code of Conduct#Bootstrapping the Code of Conduct Committee

PS: We have many technical spaces and reaching to all people potentially interested is hard! Please help spreading this call.

Selection process for CoC Committee candidates[edit]

The call for CoC Committee candidates was announced one week ago. Here goes a status update.

We have received some self-nominations and some recommendations, and we have shared next steps with all the candidates involved. We have also received some questions, which we are documenting at Code of Conduct/FAQ#Committee.

We are starting our own search for additional candidates to be invited. Our current objective is to complete a list of potential candidates. Once we have a good list, we will start the selection process.

Diversity is the key factor in the Committee that we envision. One way to search for diverse candidates is to look into different areas in our technical community, and try to look well in each of these areas (as opposed to relying on generic lists only, like code review contributors, participants in hackathons, and so on). The list of areas we have so far (which welcomes suggestions) is:

  • Bots
  • CoC Talk page
  • Code contributors / reviewers
  • Gadgets
  • GSoC / Outreachy / GCi
  • MediaWiki Stakeholders
  • Researchers
  • Tech ambassadors / Bug reporters
  • Templates / Lua modules
  • Tools
  • Translators
  • Wikidata
  • Wikimedia Foundation

The important points about the selection process are:

  • We will have a conversation with each candidate selected before the announcement; we will not announce any candidate before their confirmation and review.
  • Only the candidates selected will be announced publicly; the full list of candidates will remain private.

Questions or feedback? Please comment here or privately at techconductcandidates AT Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:58, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Status update: 37 people have been contacted so far, from which 32 are currently potential candidates. 6 people are self-nominated, 18 have been recommended, and 13 have been invited by us. We are still reaching out to new candidates and we welcome more self-nominations and recommendations. We have started to discuss selection criteria. With our focus on diversity in mind, we are trying to cover fairly well aspects like gender, age, location, languages, affiliation, developer experience, Wikimedia experience, and areas of specialization. Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:23, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

Status update: 76 people have been contacted, from which 17 are currently potential candidates. We are still accepting self-nominations and recommendations until the end of Monday, April 3rd. We consider our own outreach completed, and we have started to evaluate potential candidates.Qgil-WMF (talk) 16:12, 30 March 2017 (UTC)

Presentation of candidates and community review[edit]

Following the process described in the Code of Conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Collaboration team has selected five candidates to form the first Code of Conduct Committee and five candidates to become auxiliary members.

Here you have their names in alphabetical order. For details about each candidate, please check Code of Conduct/Committee members.

Committee member candidates:

  • Amir Sarabadani (Ladsgroup)
  • Lucie-Aimée Kaffee (Frimelle)
  • Nuria Ruiz (NRuiz-WMF)
  • Sébastien Santoro (Dereckson)
  • Tony Thomas (01tonythomas)

Auxiliary member candidates:

  • Ariel Glenn (ArielGlenn)
  • Caroline Becker (Léna)
  • Florian Schmidt (Florianschmidtwelzow)
  • Huji
  • Matanya

This list of candidates is subject to a community review period of two weeks starting today. If no major objections are presented about any candidate, they will be appointed in six weeks.

You can provide feedback on these candidates, via private email to This feedback will be received by the Community Health group handling this process, and will be treated with confidentiality. Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:33, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

Just a reminder: the community review of the proposed list of candidates ends this weekend. Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:14, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Community review period completed without any feedback challenging the current list. Code of Conduct/Committee members updated. Yay! Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:00, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Drafting phase data[edit]

Here is some history about the drafting phase, captured for posterity. To put these numbers into perspective, as of today Special:Statistics reports 1,420 active users in in the past 30 days.

Code of Conduct

  • 449 edits
  • First edit: 2015-07-16 (1 year 6 months 22 days ago) by Mattflaschen-WMF (after a session scheduled in the Wikimania 2015 Hackathon, original session notes).
  • 40 unique editors (1 IP address).
  • 88 watchers
  • Pageviews Oct 2015 - Feb 2017: 10,680 (628/month) -- Oct 2015 - Feb 2017 only due to page renames.

Talk:Code of Conduct

  • 2,718 edits
  • First edit: 2015-08-07 (1 year 6 months ago) by Bawolff (a suggestion for improvement).
  • 142 unique editors (6 IP addresses)
  • 147 sections (subsections not included)
  • 21 voting rounds
  • 88 watchers
  • Pageviews: 38,137 (2,243/month) -- Oct 2015 - Feb 2017 only due to page renames.

Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:24, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

To add some context, for posterity, of the 451 edits to Code of Conduct, 313 of those edits, about 69%, came from three editors, all of whom work for the Wikimedia Foundation.
For "Talk:Code of Conduct" (this page), of its 2,730 edits, two Wikimedia Foundation staffers contributed 943 edits, or about 35% of edits. These two editors have over 200 edits each ahead of the next highest contributor by edit count. --MZMcBride (talk) 14:03, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
MZMcBride How does that differ from other policy discussions in this community (MediWiki) and other communities of the Wikimedia Movement? Is it uncommon for one or two editors to "drive" the discussions along, and make (most of) the changes (even the changes proposed by other editors) on the policy page? Chico Venancio (talk) 14:27, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Hi Chico Venancio. You can use the tool I linked to look at the editing profile of other pages. For example, w:en:Wikipedia:Civility: <>. If you're interested in similarish local pages, you could look at <> and friends, I suppose. --MZMcBride (talk) 23:06, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
It would also be nice to compare with other policies to see how many required that people not agreeing with a pre-determined outcome be blocked. Nemo 06:44, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Comparison of different models for review?[edit]

This code looks good, including fine elements from some of its sources. Thanks to those who worked on it. Sj (talk) 13:37, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Has there been consideration of any sort of A/B testing of different models for reviewing different cases? (There's an argument against that you want all cases to be treated 'equally', but even with a fixed group of reviewers that isn't the case; it is unclear whether a fixed, short set of rules is more or less equal than a fixed set of reviewers with their own internal inclinations beyond those rules).

I ask because some of the most scalable models for conduct have some sort of ad-hoc, rotating, or randomized selection of a small group to make a decision. If you support appeals you might want to make the appeal process to a fixed group more carefully chosen; but testing a more ad-hoc model for the first pass might increase speed of response and reduce bureaucracy. Sj (talk) 13:37, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

New members in the Technical Collaboration's Community Health group[edit]

The Technical Collaboration team has a Community Health group who handles reports on behavior in Wikimedia technical spaces. It is also the group that is now tasked with the bootstrapping of the first Code of Conduct Committee (more about this later today). Andre Klapper, Rachel Farrand, and Quim Gil have been doing this work for several years. In order to respond better to the role that the CoC assigns to this group, we have decided to have five members and one auxiliary member, to mirror better the procedures of the Committee. Developer advocate Srishti Sethi and community liaison Chris Koerner are joining the group, while Nick Wilson (Community Liaison) has been appointed as auxiliary member in case of absence or conflict of interest by any of the group members. These additions bring other perspectives about technical contributors in various areas, with various backgrounds and types of experience. Thanks to them we will be able to put more time, experience, and opinions in the search and selection of candidates for the first Code of Conduct Committee in the next weeks.Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:47, 9 March 2017 (UTC)

Making the Code of Conduct more visible[edit]

What would be a good way to make the Code of Conduct more visible to members of the community? For example, we could put a link in the sidebar or footer. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 16:24, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

See also After Code of Conduct is approved, Etherpad footer should link to it. (T136744). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 16:27, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
IMHO footer - feels similar to Privacy Policy and the Disclaimers. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 21:42, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
We should notify the CoC to anyone creating a new account to be used on gerrit/phabricator/wikitech etc. We should also make it very clear which spaces this CoC applies to. GLavagetto (WMF) (talk) 07:13, 24 March 2017 (UTC)
The spaces are listed in the first sentence. Basically, any tech event in the Wikimedia community, plus "Wikimedia technical presentations in other events", plus the explicit list of online spaces given (note there is no "such as" on the online list). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 06:27, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
I would also very much appreciate it, if we can link this somehow during the phabricator signup phase. —TheDJ (Not WMF) (talkcontribs) 13:47, 19 April 2017 (UTC)