Jump to content

Talk:Code of Conduct/Archive 2

Add topic
From mediawiki.org

Wider participation[edit]

A user has mentioned above that they would like to see wider participation in this thread from the technical community, and I think that's definitely something we'll want when it comes to full approval rather than just drafting. So, who has ideas for what we could to do involve people who are part of the technical community, or interested in becoming part of it? Off the top of my head we could do a sitenotice or similar notice on Wikitech (the wiki rather than the mailing list). Ironholds (talk) 19:30, 18 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

Since there are whole teams at WMF charged with Communications, Community Engagement, Community Advocacy and Community Tech, I suggest that you may be better placed than I for suggestions. However, I note that there is a list of physical and virtual spaces in the opening paragraph of the code. For maximal support, th community in each of those spaces should be specifically engaged. As far as physical spaces are concerned, consider an invitation to past event organisers to share, as far as they are able, their experiences and lessons learned from their events, for example from their feedback and their own internal review discussions. For events in the near future, consider asking the organisers to schedule a panel, round-table, debate or similar in-person session, and a section in he feedback addressing the question of whether the code in force at the event was adequate and whether this code would have been an improvement. All this takes time and effort of course, which is why the WMF community engagement teams, broadly considered, should already have been involved from the start. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:46, 18 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
We have etherpad (no technical community), mediawiki.org, wikitech, phabricator (the work started there), gerrit, the IRC channels, and the mailing lists (where there has been an extensive thread). So that leaves mediawiki.org, wikitech, gerrit and the IRC channels. We could do something like a sitenotice on wikitech and mediawiki, a /NOTICE on the prominent IRC channels, and for gerrit..I'm not sure short of emailing recent committers, which might lead to flashback (mass-mailing often does).
I'm not sure if there are any upcoming events centred around or including a tech component; there's WikiConference USA, of course, but there's no real tech element to it. As I already mentioned, the WMF community engagement teams, broadly considered, have been engaged from the start - we have a community engagement team just for the Engineering community, and Quim leads it. Ironholds (talk) 19:57, 18 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
If there is no technical community associated with Etherpad then perhaps it should not be mentioned at all? As far as events are concerned, I believe there's a Wikimedia Developer Summit 2016 planned, for example. Whether the members of Community Engagement are engaged here in the discussion is beside the point -- it is whether they are engaged out in other places spreading the message effectively. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:10, 18 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
And as the ticks on the list above indicate, they are - but there's only one Quim ;). Etherpad has users and so should be subject to this but doesn't have a community in the sense of identifiable "etherpad people"; it's a largely anonymous note-taking thing. the Developer Summit is an excellent point. Ironholds (talk) 21:19, 18 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
There is not a community in each space. There is one technical community where many (probably most) people participate in more than one space. No one considers themselves solely an Etherpad user. They use Etherpad to participate in our community's work. That said, I think it's fine to use site notices where possible to make more people aware. The WMFs community engagement teams have been aware of this work (and involved where appropriate) from the start. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:34, 25 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

Legal standing of the Committee[edit]

What is the intended standing of the Committee? I presume that it is to be an entirely informal group whose only standing and authority derives from the community? As opposed, say, to a committee of the WMF Board? I preferred the latter solution but consensus seems to be the former. Assuming so it should be made clear. Does the WMF back the Committee in any way, for example, by way of indemnity or advice if there are legal repercussions to its decisions? Or is it intended that Committee members stand completely exposed personally in the event of legal action? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 18:11, 22 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

That's an active and open question, and will require consultation with WMF legal. IANAL and neither are most (all?) of us here. I am not sure whether it can be plausibly argued that its "only standing and authority derives from the community" given the connections to Developer Relations and the fact that the committee's decisions can have a significant impact on the ability of WMF employees to do their jobs, but a lawyer would have a better sense of whether that is possible. --Fhocutt (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 22 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
My question is, what do we want it to be? Do we want it to be free-standing, so that its standing and authority derives only from the community? Do we want it to be indemnified by WMF? Do we want WMF to be able to give it instructions or not? I agree that Legal will need to advise on how to achieve what we want, but what is it that we want? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:25, 23 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
Honestly, what I primarily want is for us to focus on getting the code up and running, and then work on the committee. If we're working on the committee already, I don't see a problem with it operating by community standards albeit with WMF backing, in the same way the Arbitration Committee works. Ironholds (talk) 15:48, 23 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
In the current wording, per wmf:Resolution:Wikimedia Committees, this would look like a WMF staff committee. This doesn't mean much (certainly it doesn't have legal personality; no Wikimedia committee has) but it does have disadvantages. Nemo 07:32, 24 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
My vision of the Code of Conduct committee fits with the definition of "an entirely informal group whose only standing and authority derives from the community". I see this committee as a community-wide committee which doesn't require any WMF member. When that committee decides that an issue goes over themselves, they can transfer the responsibility to handle that situation to the Wikimedia Foundation, who would have the Developer Relations team as point of contact. Note that in our draft the WMF/DevRel have no authority over the Committee.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:30, 24 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
This is not a Staff Committee because the CoC (and thus the Committee which is part of the same package) will be created by community consensus, not by staff acting alone. Furthermore, it will not be led by WMF staff, nor is there any requirement that WMF staff ever be on the committee (though it is allowed). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 05:31, 28 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
It could be temporarily led by a WMF staff member if the committee elects them as chair. But that's not what the document means. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 07:17, 28 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
In addition to what I said below, WMF staff will not be giving it instructions. The authority derives from the Terms of Use and Code of Conduct (CoC), and the CoC itself provides the policy which must instruct the Committee's actions. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:39, 28 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
The whole code is being created by fiat by a group of WMF employees and gives ultimate authority to a WMF employees team, hence I maintain the thing is led by WMF employees and definitely looks like a WMF staff committee. --Nemo 06:50, 6 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
In my opinion, the Committee's authority will derive from the Code of Conduct itself (as a policy of the technical community) and also the ToU, which says, "The Wikimedia community and its members may also take action when so allowed by the community or Foundation policies applicable to the specific Project edition, including but not limited to warning, investigating, blocking, or banning users who violate those policies." Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:10, 26 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

Finishing the "Report a problem" section[edit]

We're now finishing up the report a problem section. This is the ideal time to discuss or make edits to the draft for this section. You can also create subsections for discussion here. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:51, 22 October 2015 (UTC)Reply

Looks pretty good to me. I've made a couple of wording tweaks to make the words less loaded. While the committee will eventually be handling cases of abuse, some number of the reports will be of good-faith interactions that ended up harming someone, and the less fraught we can make the reporting process, the better.
There may be legal/practical issues with how much confidentiality can be promised, but I would like to keep it as close to this as possible. Particularly, I would like to avoid automatically getting HR involved, although there are some complex liability issues under California/US law regarding the WMF's duty to protect its employees and volunteers from harassment. --Fhocutt (WMF) (talk) 22:11, 22 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
I polished some details. This section looks good to me as well.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 23:11, 28 October 2015 (UTC)Reply

Ambiguous title[edit]

Please move the title back. There was no clear consensus on the proposal to move the page and the new title is in conflict with wmf:Code of conduct policy. Nemo 07:19, 28 October 2015 (UTC)Reply

I recall quite a bit of agreement around the move, actually. The new title has a redirect from Code of conduct, so the 'conflict' isn't actually a problem. Ironholds (talk) 14:21, 28 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
Nemo, there was clear consensus, although it was not formally closed (there are no particular conventions or policies for handling this on mediawikiwiki). I do understand that you don't want this policy to be here at all. If a substantial number of people find that the title is confused with the policy on foundationwiki, we could title this something like "Technical code of conduct". --Fhocutt (WMF) (talk) 20:52, 28 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
I don't think this detail is very relevant at this point, but in the draft itself the page is called Code of conduct for technical spaces. I don't see any problem with this name that stresses the important fact that the CoC applies across multiple sites, not only mediawiki.org (althought the first sentence is clear enough in any case). This full name might feel redundant in the context of its own page in mediawiki.org, but we need to think in the name we want this CoC to be known across the Wikimedia movement. In this sense, when Luis Villa mentioned "Code of Conduct for technical spaces" in the monthly Metrics Meeting, the scope was clear.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 23:19, 28 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
Personally, I think "Code of conduct for technical spaces" is more clear and less confusing (since we have other codes of conduct), but a redirect from Code of Conduct would probably be appropriate on mediawiki.org. Kaldari (talk) 22:18, 29 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
+1 to "Code of conduct for technical spaces". +1 to this not being a very relevant issue as well. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 05:46, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply


The wording on appeals seems unduly restrictive. Firstly, the phrase "the reported offender" should probably read "any person sanctioned". Secondly, there is no specific right of appeal against non-action or leniency of sanction, although this is arguably covered by the final sentence. Is that omission deliberate? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:32, 18 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

These are excellent points, particularly the second one. I'm definitely open to changing "the reported offender" (I guess there could be situations in which someone is reported and an investigation finds other people were participating in the activity). Ironholds (talk) 19:37, 18 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
(((Your feedback on #Start with positive guidelines on behavior is welcomed; I'm reluctant to get deep into "Report an issue" before settling at least on the CoC main page.)))--Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:35, 19 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
It seems extremely unlikely that other work will lead to a change in the consensus to the effect that there should not be an appeal process, and so there is very little risk that this discussion will prove nugatory. If you do not wish to discuss this point at present, then we look forward to hearing from you at a suitable time. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:53, 20 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
"In addition, any member of the community may raise concerns about the committee or a case." does not allow a different kind of appeals. It is purely for informative purposes. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:25, 25 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
Do you mean that you think there should not be a possibility of appeal by an aggrieved party if the Committee takes no action, or is, in the view of the aggrieved party, unduly lenient? In other words that appeals should only be possible against sanctions? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:43, 25 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
No, I was just describing what the draft then said. Multiple people have expressed that victims should be able to appeal, so I've changed the draft to allow that. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 06:08, 28 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

Now there is a defined section for Appealing a resolution.

I propose to remove "Only resolutions (such as bans) that last 3 months or longer may be appealed by the reported offender." Instead, it could say "Resolutions can be appealed by the reported offenders while they are being enforced." The concern here is that someone obstructs the enforcement with legalese in bad faith, and this is a way to prevent that temptation.

I disagree with removing this. Your proposed change allows enforcement during the appeal period, which is good. I've added a note to clarify this. However, that does not solve the issue of time-wasting frivolous appeals. If I am given a private warning or banned for one day from an IRC channel to cool off, I can still appeal. The original sanction remains in effect during the appeal process, but eventually DR must spend time reviewing the evidence and making a judgement. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 06:16, 28 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
As member of the DevRel team, I believe that processing "frivolous appeals" will take significantly less resources than dealing with the potential problem of people unhappy with the rule that doesn't allow them to appeal. If there is a process, unhappy people can follow it. If there is no process, unhappy people will manifest their frustration in other ways, and they are likely to get more community sympathy because they were not given other option than complaining elsewhere. So if your concern is saving DevRel resources, please allow anyone to submit a recall to us.  :) --Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:35, 28 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
The restriction seems unnecessary; the committee can always agree that a complaint is frivolous and should be rejected - that does not seem like something that would take up a significant amount of time. Also, I disagree that appealing a two-month ban is necessarily frivolous. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 07:59, 1 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
Mattflaschen-WMF, I still think that we should remove "Only resolutions (such as bans) that last 3 months or longer may be appealed by reported offenders. Reported victims can always appeal." For the reasons expressed above. Unless you or someone else has a strong objection, I would like to remove this restriction in this review round.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 23:34, 7 December 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: I understand where you're coming from (and that your team would be responsible for reviewing these appeals), but I still don't think a structure that encourages appealing every low-level decision (if everything is appealable, might as well give it a shot) is ideal. It's also worth noting that this is already a compromise. It originally only allowed permanent decisions to be appealed. See [1] and Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_1#Right_to_appeal. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:34, 15 December 2015 (UTC)Reply
You're both making great points, I'm not sure what to suggest myself. I see @Mattflaschen-WMF: point and share the worry about abuse of the appeals process, but I think there's another point to be made: why three months? If we make this rule to only allow for appeals for "big" decisions, then why doesn't a month-long or two-month-long decision deserve to be included? The choice of three months seems (and may be raised by others as) a bit random. This is especially true when even a month-long ban from certain technical spaces can absolutely be taken as a very long time, indeed. I think that if we're time-boxing this, we are risking two main problems: 1: That people will be frustrated that they can't appeal shorter times (two and a half months? two months? why not? etc) and 2: That this will make it seem, to the committee, that any decision under three months is "light" or "short" action, which may actually not be true at all, depending on the situation. Another issue we may run into is that sometimes even decisions that don't carry an actionable sanction may actually carry reprecussions, so the question can be asked about why these can't be appealed. Then again, this does risk abuse to the DevRel team, or the committee.
I think this is one of those cases where it is wise of us to lean on the side of caution (and remove the restriction) and, if DevRel team sees that this is abused in an unmanageable way, perhaps follow up later, in that case, to enforce some minimum. That will also let us analyze the actual situation and see what minimum actually makes sense, rather than making this judgment before the fact with a time limit that sounds random. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 01:19, 15 December 2015 (UTC)Reply

About "any member of the community may raise concerns"... what does that mean in practice for the Committee or Developer Relations? Are we saying that others may appeal on behalf of the reported offender? The statement is true regardless, since freedom of expression is granted in our channels, so if "raise concerns" doesn't mean an action that Commitee or DevRel must take, I would remove it.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:24, 25 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

It does not grant an appeal right. Under the current draft, observers can not appeal. It is just noting that people can communicate with them. I don't object to removing this. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 06:16, 28 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

If you send a report to maintainers, include a reference to this document[edit]

It would be useful to have something along the lines of "If you send a report to maintainers, include a reference to this document." In practice, most people - even most maintainers - are not going to be familiar with the policies. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 05:43, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply

I don't think this sends a message of confidence to someone sending a report. There is a finite number of existing admins and maintainers and it shouldn't be that difficult to contact them when this CoC is approved (and before, in our general call for feedback and approval). New admins / maintainers are granted permissions following a process, and it should be easy to mark an acknowledgement of the CoC as part of that process.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:04, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
Seems unrealistic to assume that everyone who ever contributed an extension to gerrit will read and remember the code. People have been trained pretty thoroughly to ignore terms of use. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 07:29, 2 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
It is realistic to assume that every maintainer receiving an email about "IMPORTANT: Code of Conduct for Wikimedia Technical Spaces" will be aware that a Code of Conduct exists, even if they haven't read it. It is also realistic to think that even if they are confused about receiving a report, they will ask someone or somewhere what to do with it. If the maintainer doesn't do any of this, it is realistic to think that the reporter will go for "You can also send a report to the Committee if you reported an incident elsewhere but were not satisfied with the response." I think your proposal sends a subliminal message to the reporters: "the person you are sending this report to may have no idea what you are talking about". How serious is this community about this CoC, then? -- the reporters may think. This defeats the purpose and effectiveness of this CoC, and this is why I think we should not integrate it. A good promotion of the CoC is the correct response to your valid concern.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:04, 2 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Quim. After spreading the word, we can assume all maintainers at least know the document exists. They may not remember all the details, or always respond properly, but there are ways to deal with that. We don't need to instruct people to explicitly inform the maintainer of the CoC. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:43, 4 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
I agree that people should at least have awareness from the emails, etc. that this exists. Additionally, it's uncomfortable and difficult to report an incident - requiring a link to the document is another potential (small) hurdle that could be avoided. AGomez (WMF) (talk) 22:22, 5 November 2015 (UTC)Reply

"All reports will be processed confidentially"[edit]

"All reports will be processed confidentially" feels too vague. What it means for the Committee is well specified in its own section, but how exactly should maintainers handle a report? (Can they share with the Committee? With other maintainers? WMF HR? What can they share with the perpetrator if the case is not clear-cut and they want to hear both sides?) --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 05:43, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply

An email received at conduct-discussion@ also suggests a need to be more specific. The sender mentions the example of complaints involving private events. If person A sends person B an inappropriate private message and person B complains about it, if person A is warned or sanctioned they will be aware that person B complained when they are told the reason for the sanction.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:53, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply

In this scenario (assuming a sanction is necessary/appropriate) there's no way I see to avoid the offender knowing who the reporter is. However, in such a case, it's probably best they report to the committee or to an event contact they trust. The Committee members must commit to certain procedures (see "The Committee must get consent from the reporter before revealing any confidential information (including the reporter's identity)." of the draft section) to even be a nominee (as part of committing to comply with the full CoC). It's not clear if we can expect all maintainers to commit to such detailed procedures (or even remember them 100%). Also, the Committee may have better judgment whether a sanction is necessary in such a case (if it's not, there's no need for the alleged offender to know there was a report). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:21, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
The feedback is about improving the sentence, not about trying to apply it strictly in reality. It might be enough to say: "Reports are processed confidentially. For more information, see Confidentiality." and explain the details there.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:59, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
Mattflaschen-WMF, I hope my proposal is clear after my last comment. It is a minor edit on the current text, other people has expressed their support to be more clear about the confidentiality, and there have been no objection to the wording proposed after more than two weeks. Are you ok resolving this topic and moving forward?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:50, 18 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
Yes. There have been no objections in over three weeks. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:58, 24 November 2015 (UTC)Reply

Logging actions of the Committee[edit]

The draft mentions that the Committee must log their actions. The Committee members can define the details themselves when they are formed, but maybe it would be good to set some framework in the draft itself. What actions are absolutely required to be logged (each report and its resolution, anything else?). Also, is this log public, private, both (in which case, what needs to be private/public)? This is probably closely related to the tool the Committee should use to handle reports and discuss them. See T112859 Code of Conduct reports to be handled via OTRS?. Same for Developer Relations and the cases transferred to them.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:01, 25 September 2015 (UTC)Reply

Following up on Talk:Code_of_conduct_for_technical_spaces/Draft#Notifications_and_resolutions, probably the following should be logged:
  1. Each report and its initial outcome (initial outcome is before notifying affected people)
  2. Altered outcome (if it gets altered after notifications)
  3. Decides to finalize (this could be combined with another log entry if it happens at the same time; see Talk:Code_of_conduct_for_technical_spaces/Draft#Notifications_and_resolutions.
The log should be private. The report itself and internal case deliberations will always be private. Certain outcomes, e.g. "Taking no further action" and "private reprimand" are also private. Given that, and because the log must be somehow (directly or indirectly) be linked to the reports and case deliberations, that means the log must also be private. There will need to be a separate place for certain public actions (e.g. public reprimands), but the Committee can handle that part. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 06:49, 28 September 2015 (UTC)Reply
As far as I can see, these privacy requirements can be handled via OTRS. Or probably via a Google Group, but I'd rather use a tool hosted in Wikimedia servers.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 18:26, 4 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: I think we can leave the real nitty-gritty procedural details (private wiki vs. OTRS vs. private mailing list vs. etc.) to the committee. That keeps the CoC shorter, means we don't have to decide it now, and gives them flexibility on a non-substantive matter. Other than that, do you see anything missing from the draft? Initial outcome, altered outcome, and "begins enforcing" are also explicitly called out in the draft for logging now. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:53, 12 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
I like the idea of the Committee sorting out this implementation detail. There is no reporting before committee, so no need to process incoming reports before a committee exists and is ready to receive them.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:43, 18 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: There is no reporting to the committee before the committee exists. However, reporting to other people, such as maintainers, will still be possible and encouraged. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:54, 24 November 2015 (UTC)Reply

Finishing the Cases page[edit]

The Cases page is all about process: handling reports, responses and resolutions, and appeals. I propose to start a call for feedback at wikitech-l, allowing for edits in that page and discussing here any open topics. If by next Wednesday edits and new topics seem to be settled, we could open a review period for support / neutral / oppose statements, as we have done with previous sections.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:57, 18 November 2015 (UTC)Reply

Mattflaschen-WMF, I hope you don't mind if I mention this section in the new Developer Relations/Weekly summary. There was no fresh beef about the CoC last week, and I don't want to miss the chance of mentioning it today.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:30, 19 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
Qgil-WMF No, an announcement sounds good. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:32, 24 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for starting this section. I've renamed it consistent with the past terminology. I will send out an email regarding this. I think we should give more time to finish this section, though, so I think we shouldn't set a date for the beginning of the review period yet. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:32, 24 November 2015 (UTC)Reply


Should we mark this for translation now, even though there will be ongoing changes? Or wait until it's approved? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:02, 22 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

I would not bother translators before we have gone through the draft.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:34, 22 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

Removing detail in Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Responses_and_resolutions?[edit]

The list of possible responses at Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Responses_and_resolutions contains a lot of implementation details, and I'm not sure we need this. Enumerating the possible responses is useful. Defining in the document how exactly those responses need to be made is probably premature. The Committee can define their procedures as they go, and they can probably fine tune them based on experience. I don't see any implementation detail so critical that needs to be agreed and written beforehand. Are there any objections to remove them?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 19:44, 8 December 2015 (UTC)Reply

@Qgil-WMF: The goal is for Code of conduct/Cases to be a secondary page, but binding, much like e.g. https://jquery.org/conduct/enforcement-manual/ (which it is partly based on). What specifically do you want to remove? Perhaps you can copy the current text to user space, save that, make the edits you want, then link to the diff with the removals you want. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:50, 15 December 2015 (UTC)Reply

Finalize "Report a problem" section?[edit]

Should the "Report a problem" section be considered done? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:37, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply

I forgot to link the version in question. Please evaluate this version, which is the version as of when I created this talk page section. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:11, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
Consensus reached. There was consensus here on the main section. We started a separate section about the confidentiality sentence (there was feedback both here and by anonymous email about that). Quim proposed text, with no objections, so that's incorporated. Tgr also made a small clarification and linked it below. So (reflecting just the above) the difference between what I linked above and the current text is here. Ignore the parts of the diff below "Attribution and re-use". Those sections are not part of "Report a problem". Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:49, 25 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
  • Support as proposer. I think this is pretty straightforward. It says who you can report to, asks but doesn't mandate that maintainers take action (this was a compromise; I would have preferred otherwise, but that's how compromises go), and is clear that you can report to the committee if previous reports fail. It also says that minimal reports will be accepted, but that more information will help. All and all, I think it's a pretty practical approach. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:37, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
  • I fixed some incorrect wording.
"All reports will be processed confidentially" feels too vague. What it means for the Committee is well specified in its own section, but how exactly should maintainers handle a report? (Can they share with the Committee? With other maintainers? WMF HR? What can they share with the perpetrator if the case is not clear-cut and they want to hear both sides?)
It would be useful to have something along the lines of "If you send a report to maintainers, include a reference to this document." In practice, most people - even most maintainers - are not going to be familiar with the policies. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 05:43, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply
  • Recommendation: I am aware that the above section has met consensus months ago on completion, however, I'd like to raise an issue I feel merits review, before this section is marked as complete. I offer my apologies for the late contribution. The sentence that raises concerns for me in it's current form is this: "People who experience or observe unacceptable behavior are encouraged to follow any of these steps:", with the operative word being any. The current phrasing essentially tells the reader that they can take one of three actions identified when they encounter abuse in the Wikimedia technical spaces, making them responsible for determining the importance of the issue. Nothing in this sentence or this section indicates an escalation process, which is a concern for me. I think it's important that we encourage the person reading the Code of Conduct to at least attempt to effectively handle the issue themselves, before they escalate to us, which is a process similar to the one followed by law enforcement as well as the legal system. An escalation process instead of a list of options would be beneficial for the following reasons:
  • Empowerment. Attempting & resolving the issue empowers the victim in actively contributing to their own safety (and the safety of others). And that's an amazing feeling. Often people don't realise that the solution to their issue can be as simple as telling the other person that what they are doing is upsetting to them and requesting that they stop. It is surprising, even to the victim, how often this approach has positive results and results in them feeling stronger and more in control of what is happening to them.
  • Resource allocation. If WMF staff/admins/moderators, etc. don't have to spend time on something that was unnecessarily escalated but could have potentially been resolved without their involvement, they can then focus on other aspects of their jobs/tasks/responsibilities. We all have tons of things in our daily to-do lists, so, why not help ourselves place focus there instead of spending our time in dealing with things that we may not need to deal with in the first place.
  • Trail of evidence. An escalation process allows for creation of a trail of evidence for the abuses that start of light-weight and get progressively worse over time. We ask people to provide links to the alleged abuse and I have seen that Wikimedians are particularly good at doing that, since our system allow for everything to be recorded. With a trail of evidence available, we can then easily review and take appropriate actions on an as-needed basis.
  • Unnecessary branding. A one-off, out-of-line comment should not necessarily brand one as a harasser or abuser. Yet by encouraging people to escalate before attempting other resolution options, the reported person is often branded as an abuser in our minds because we simply become aware of them [and their action]. Allowing a margin for one to have a bad day, get out of lone and be a first time offender, before they are brought to our radar for review and actions, prevent us from forming biased perception.
Instead of encouraging participants to follow any of the described steps, we should instead encourage them to follow those steps in a specific order. So, I would suggest the following phrasing instead:
"People who experience or observe unacceptable behavior are encouraged to follow corrective steps in the following order:
1. Make the person who is behaving unacceptably aware of their behavior and explicitly request that they stop. Make them aware of this Code of Conduct.
2. Should the problem insist, reach out directly to the administrators, maintainers, or designated contacts of the space where the problem is happening, with all necessary details.
3. Report the problem directly to the Code of Conduct Committee via techconductwikimedia.org."
On another note, the sentence "You can also send a report to the Committee if you reported an incident elsewhere but were not satisfied with the response." sounds more like part of an appeal process, so I would suggest separating it into its own section/subsection. My two cents. Kalliope (WMF) (talk) 14:11, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Kalliope (WMF): I don't understand the argument that resolving the issue directly with the (alleged) harasser is empowering, but choosing one of 3 simple options is problematic. In some cases, resolving the issue one-on-one is empowering, and that is exactly why it is listed first. However, it's not a realistic option to always do it first. In some cases, the harassment is too severe (this can be true both for in-person and online harassment). Or it might be moderately severe, but the victim just is not comfortable dealing with things one-on-one like that. Law enforcement does not usually require you try to work out an issue one-on-one before reporting a crime. There is text about an escalation process, both "You can also send a report to the Committee if you reported an incident elsewhere but were not satisfied with the response." (escalating to the Committee) and the appeals process ("Appealing a resolution" section).
Regarding "Resource allocation", note that this is a Committee of the Wikimedia technical community, not of the WMF. WMF staff may be on a Committee (which is only natural since they are part of and connected to the Wikimedia technical community), but the Committee decisions are not made by WMF. The appeals body in the draft is currently specified as the Developer Relations team, which is the only part done by a WMF team.
Also, I asked another open source project about workload a while back. Their reporting guide does not say anything about optionally (or as a requirement) talking one-on-one with the person (it gives an email address, and says to report there). Despite that, someone on their CoC team said it only took each team member about 2 hours/month on average. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:22, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Kalliope (WMF): I forget to mention. Developing consensus is to replace the second item ("Report the problem to the administrators, maintainers, or designated contacts of the space where the problem is happening.") with "If you are at an event, report the problem to the event organizers, or a designated contact.". A lot of people either oppose having maintainers take these reports on principle, or think that it's not feasible right now (e.g. might need training, etc.). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 05:38, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Mattflaschen-WMF: I agree with you that it will not always be possible for a direct request for the harassing to stop - this indeed depends on the level, intensity and type of harassment one experiences. However, by not clearly communicating that the suggested steps form part of an escalative process rather than just a list of options, we leave it down to each reader's interpretation and end up dealing with low-level harassment that we wouldn't otherwise need to. I suppose the question here is: do we want that? If we do, then you can ignore my suggestions. My point is simply that we should encourage people to first consider step 1, before they consider steps 2 and 3. Whether it is WMF staff or a volunteer who would be tasked with recording, reviewing, assessing and taking actions, is irrelevant in my opinion. It's still one's time that can be spent in one or another way, and it's time they will never have back. PS: if I have posted my thoughts in the wrong place or in the wrong format, feel free to move them. I did not mean to interrupt the process.Kalliope (WMF) (talk) 10:19, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I think suggesting a clear sequence of steps is useful, as long as it is that, a suggestion. I do think that defaulting to that sequence makes sense, and we don't want to give the impression that this CoC is only or all about reporting to a committee. I bet we can address Kalliope (WMF)'s concerns with a small edit to the current text.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:12, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Kalliope (WMF): I do think the Code of Conduct needs to handle all kinds of harassment, from low-level to the most serious. That is not to say that I expect all low-level harassment to be reported to the Committee. I don't, and the Committee is not the only way the CoC will live in practice (informal enforcement also plays an important role). However, we already have some hints (the fact that "Ask the person who is behaving unacceptably to stop." is first and the mention of "You can also send a report to the Committee if you reported an incident elsewhere but were not satisfied with the response.") that reporting to the Committee is not someone's only option. I don't think we need to more explicitly urge this ordering, particularly given the workload estimate I mentioned. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:40, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Done, down or defunct?[edit]

Nothing happens here? I am Mister Thrapostibongles (talk) 21:48, 17 November 2015 (UTC)Reply

Some weeks are more busy than others. Wednesdays have become our usual checkpoint for review and today is Wednesday, so perhaps... In any case, thank you for the ping.  :) I will comment on the relevant sections about the next steps.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:41, 18 November 2015 (UTC)Reply
I see this document as having lost its way after having a couple of WMF employees over manage the process for creating it. Non-WMF employee edits on the draft have dropped to zero, and unpaid volunteers that did take part in discussion have been eroded away. The outcome is naturally a WMF document, rather than a policy created with the positive support of the community. Above mentioned post-release consultation, inviting what will probably be the same old rejected comments to be rejected again, is not the way to build a credible consensus. -- (talk) 07:19, 4 December 2015 (UTC)Reply
I think the current silence is more related to the fact that discussing processes is less controversial than discussing principles. Overmanaging? We have organized the discussion to slow down the initial speed, volume and complexity of posts, which was definitely driving away people without the time to catch up, including most volunteers. The CoC keeps being open to edits and discussion by anybody, and we are reporting progress and requests for feedback to wikitech-l on a weekly basis. The goal is to promote hospitality and respect in our technical community, and to prevent the opposite. I think we are progressing toward that goal.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:46, 4 December 2015 (UTC)Reply
One need only compare the declining numbers of unpaid volunteers making non-trivial contributions per week since this opened, against those with WMF contracts, to assess which types of participant this WMF employee directed process encourages and judge which others are effectively rebuffed. Perhaps only a handful of volunteers will care either way, however I see this as an unfortunate missed opportunity for meaningful consensus, and a flaw that is likely to be challenged when it needs to be applied in any difficult cases. -- (talk) 19:36, 4 December 2015 (UTC)Reply
We promoters of the CoC also want increasing numbers of people participating in its definition. Any ideas? For what is worth, 45 people are watching this page regularly, which is a respectful level of observation of the process. Your division between WMF paid staff and volunteers might be a bit misleading though, because it might suggest that WMF employees are pushing in a same direction, when the reality of our discussions here shows otherwise. It also might suggest that WMF employees look more after their own interests than after the interests of volunteers when, again, the discussion shows that this is not the case.
All in all I think we are drafting a good Code of Conduct, providing enough time to everybody to propose improvements.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:18, 7 December 2015 (UTC)Reply

A few electrons rearranged. Anything happening in the real world? Anywhere away from this page? Any future to this project? Anyone responsible? I am Mister Thrapostibongles (talk) 14:34, 26 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T90908 is active AFAICT. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 14:50, 26 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
Got it. Discussion moved to WMF insider discussion board, already taking place in parallel. No notification here, no forwarding address. Obvious that outsiders are not welcome. Still nothing happening in real world outside WMF offices. Note that posting of 15 Sep 2015 at 6:05 says "If we are still working on anything but appointing people to the committee in January 2016 something is horribly horribly horribly wrong." No further comment necessary. I am Mister Thrapostibongles (talk) 07:08, 27 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
Well, no? (and Phab isn't the "WMF insider discussion board". It's the movement's project management tool, and helpful community members actively using it may dislike your characterization). There have always been multiple venues for discussing, since the very beginning - first I heard about CoC was on some mailing lists, for example. It is entirely possible it's still being discussed there - I just don't know, I don't follow them so regularly these days. Sad to hear this fragmentation seems to be preventing you from contributing to it, though. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 11:41, 27 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
@I am Mister Thrapostibongles: The Phabricator task isn't being hidden from anyone. It is linked from the code of conduct draft as the very first "See also" (first added there end of July). This is the main talk page, but people are going to participate in various ways (we even accept anonymous feedback), like with any project. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:19, 3 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@I am Mister Thrapostibongles: yes the discussion moved to phab:T90908 and you are right that it should go back to this discussion page. The reason why this happened is that such Phabricator task is/was fulfilling different roles: a Wikimedia Developer Summit session (we used the task to coordinate preparation and to post the minutes) and Developer Relations quarterly goal (I posted there my notes related to the quarterly review). This activity in the task combined with the lack of visible progress here helped pulling the discussion there. I will ask the participants in the task (myself included) to focus the discussion here.
The main reason for the lack of progress in the draft has been our conclusion that we need expert advice to assure that the processes defined is sensible and effective. Other organizations have been using codes of conduct in their communities, others before us have found themselves in problems like we are discussing (i.e. privacy of reporters versus legal obligations of the Foundation), and at some point we decided to slow down our own drafting and seek specialist advice. This is how we got in touch with Valerie Aurora and Ashe Dryden, who are starting to help us with answers and feedback as we speak.
I hope this explanation helps. The Code of Conduct keeps being a priority for the Developer Relations team and for the people that are working on it on their own initiative and volunteering time. We want to do it right and this is taking more time than we thought. Still, we will keep focusing on quality rather than deadlines.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:49, 27 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
Note, Ashe's surname is Dryden. I've edited Quim's post accordingly. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:28, 3 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Off-topic discussion. Feel free to continue via email or elsewhere.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Valerie Aurora and Ashe Dryden[edit]

With regard to "we got in touch with Valerie Aurora and Ashe Dryden", can you publish the invitation to tender for the work that these consultants are being paid for where unpaid volunteers can read it? Can you also explain who the "we" is that was in charge of the final procurement decision. Thanks -- (talk) 13:38, 27 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

Why would there need to be a tender? Valhallasw (talk) 14:02, 27 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
The WMF supports professional procurement standards, so either there's a job spec for contractors to apply for, or there should be an ITT, or this was part of an existing contract. Either way, there should be a document/spec that can be openly published and the procurement work-flow explained.
wmf:Purchasing_and_disbursements_procedures#Contracts appears to apply, unless you can point me to a more relevant procedure. -- (talk) 15:34, 28 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
That page doesn't say anything about procurement, and even explicitly states "we strive for the proper balance between appropriate safeguards and controls (...) and undue bureaucracy". In my experience (in a university environment, where there *are* explicit procurement procedures), we can just pay someone to set up or fix a machine -- no long-term contract necessary. I'm not sure why that would be different for the WMF -- if anything, it should be easier.
In addition to the formal rules, why does it matter (content-wise) why there is a tender or not? Do you feel Valerie and Ashe are not suited to the task? Do you feel someone from the community should have been hired instead? As far as I can see, Valerie and Ashe have experience in the area of writing and upholding codes of conduct, so it sounds reasonable to me to ask them to look over the process here. Valhallasw (talk) 10:02, 29 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
Sorry to contradict you as you are a WMF employee, but the link I provided is about contracts and purchases, so I read that as a procurement procedure. The quote you have taken is from a section of that document that goes on to state "Purchases that involve contracts need to go through contract review", so there is a specification for this work that can be published, if there was a review of it.
Procurement procedures are there to ensure legal and ethical governance of funds. As a manager/director and consultant, I have experienced many environments including academic, commercial and governmental and have had responsibility for auditing procurement processes in all of them, as well as deploying processes.
This is not a question of challenging the competence of these contractors, but ensuring that their contracts have been placed in a way that will not compromise the WMF or them.
It would be sensible to have an answer from the person that had authority to place this contract, rather than general speculation, though I can raise this question formally with WMF HR or WMF Legal if that is needed. Thanks -- (talk) 08:53, 31 January 2016 (UTC)Reply
I have raised this question to WMF Legal already, in order to assure that you get a correct answer.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:58, 1 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I am not a WMF employee (nor a contractor). I understand the goals of procurement, but I still don't see how the specific process used in this situation is relevant to the code of conduct discussion. Valhallasw (talk) 13:25, 31 January 2016 (UTC)Reply

Please let me reply and wrap up this question. I agree it is off-topic in the CoC discussion; if anyone wants to follow up, please choose a different venue. The two contracts have small budgets covering an amount of hours of consulting. They were organized by me as part of my responsibility as Engineering Community Manager, checking with the Code of Conduct promoters and the Wikimedia Developer Summit organizers (Valerie helped us co-organizing this event as well). I followed the normal WMF procedures for contracting vendor services, going through WMF Finance and Legal review as well as approval by my manager. Both consultants are recognized experts in their field and are fit for the tasks requested.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:52, 2 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

The above hidden request for information has been raised by open letter/email to the WMF CFO at http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/wiki/foundation/680114. Any information or thoughts can be raised at Wikimedia-l as questions about the expert advice for this draft policy are considered off-topic in this discussion about the draft policy. Thanks -- (talk) 16:58, 15 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

What's in a title?[edit]

Ricordisamoa mentioned in the phabricator task:

"I would be glad if you clarified that the "goal" is to have the draft complete and submitted for consensus, not to have it enforced regardless of the consensus. Thanks in advance. " From the task description:

Measurement of success
Code of Conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces draft completed and submitted to community discussion.
Proposal approved with community support.
Committee created.

Emphasis is mine. I see what you're saying though Ricordisamoa. Maybe the title should read "Goal: Community-approved, binding code of conduct for all Wikimedia technical spaces with consequences for breaches".

What do others think? CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:41, 10 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

I replied at the task. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:04, 10 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I replied at the task. --Ricordisamoa 22:39, 10 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I think the title and measurements of success of that task are correct, they describe with accuracy what we are aiming for and the steps to achieve it. I'd rather keep pushing a precise goal allowing people to position themselves than diluting it in more vague intentions that are less actionable, leading ultimately nowhere. PS: and please let's focus the discussion here, keeping the Phabricator task for updates only.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:08, 11 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Definition of maintainers, again[edit]

Please state clearly whether I am to be considered an administrator and/or a maintainer according to the current Draft, and where, in order to allow me to resign before I am held liable of something I don't understand. --Ricordisamoa 23:06, 12 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Ricordisamoa do you have special permissions (admin, +2) in any Wikimedia technical space?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:59, 15 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: I am not a member of the MediaWiki "sysop" group on either mediawikiwiki or labswiki; I am, however, a member of several groups of project owners on Gerrit. Thanks in advance. --Ricordisamoa 23:32, 15 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Then this refers to you (or anybody in your situation) in the context of the Wikimedia technical spaces used by the projects where you have +2 permissions: "Project administrators and maintainers have the right and are expected to take action on any communication or contribution that violates this Code of Conduct." I hope this helps clarifying the "where" in your question. However, I still don't understand what is the specific problem that would make you resign as maintainer. I'm pretty sure you understand harassment and disrespect when you see it, and I bet you understand the difference between rights, expectations, and liabilities.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:48, 16 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Speaking of expectations - does "expected to take action" mean that admins/maintainers will be penalized if they don't? And if so, what's the penalty? The code of conduct has never been clear on this, despite various wording changes. Yaron Koren (talk) 20:34, 16 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I still think my previous reply to this question applies: "The reasons for someone not to report a violation may be so diverse that I would not attempt to define a rule for them all. The person might be an indirect victim, not reporting fearing retaliation. The person might be an accomplice, allowing an act of harassment on purpose. These might be the type of complex cases requiring investigation from the Committee, mentioned in the draft."
Let me ask you the complementary question. Imagine that you see a user harassing another user in Gerrit changesets or phabricator tasks related to SemanticForms, a project you maintain. The harassment continues. Nobody else seems to be doing anything to stop it. What do you do?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:56, 17 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I'd probably ask them to stop; if they didn't, I'd probably try to take away their commit privileges for my projects. I probably wouldn't report them, though. But it all really depends on the circumstances - as you note, there are a lot of potential factors. But to go back to my question - is it possible that an admin might be punished for not informing on others? And if so, what might that punishment possibly be? The document should really spell it out, one way or the other. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:01, 17 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: I have been given merge rights in Pywikibot because I knew the code and existing owners trusted me not to merge bad code. I see nowhere implied an increased right and/or responsibility to patrol those repositories and act against harassment compared to non-maintainers. --Ricordisamoa 05:13, 18 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

@Yaron Koren and Ricordisamoa: the root of the discussion is whether social problems are within the scope of admins and maintainers. The CoC proposed indicates that yes, social problems are within the scope of problems that admins and maintainers are expected to contribute to solve. If you disagree on principle, then we will have to agree to disagree. If you disagree because this principle might lead to situations unjust for maintainers, then please provide plausible examples. So far you seem to be more concerned about the comfort of maintainers than about the harassment on contributors.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:32, 22 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

I have various answers I can give, but before that I'm curious about your phrase "the comfort of maintainers", which would seem to indicate that yes, admins can be punished for not informing on the activities of their users. Is that definitely the case? I have yet to hear a clear answer on that. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:35, 22 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: How can you think about "comfort"? Think of the selfless volunteers, whose technical skills benefit the communities, who have never engaged in harassment against anyone, who do their best to keep the spaces clean, whom you want to turn forcibly into moderators. --Ricordisamoa 04:52, 23 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I think you are making a big fuzz out of this. In the more than three years that I have been working at the Wikimedia Foundation, I have received multiple reports from people in the lines of "Hey, just fyi, this is happening: (URL)". That is "to take action" and that is all what they needed to do in those cases. Yes, I'm talking about maintainers' comfort because no matter how uncomfortable it is for a maintainer to send such one liner in an email, the situation is clearly more uncomfortable for the ones being harassed. In the example provided by Yaron, he says that as a maintainer he would take action himself, which is in line with the CoC's expectation. The message is that it is not OK for maintainers to ignore harassment happening in their projects in front of their noses just because "I'm here to review code". The committee and the admins cannot have their eyes in every single task, changeset, mailing list, etc, we need to rely on others willing to help when harassment happens, even if it is with a simple ping + URL.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:24, 23 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I find it incredible that you refuse to answer my question - and that you want people to agree to ambiguous wording that apparently no one, not even you, fully understands. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:34, 23 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I do not think it is OK for anyone to ignore harassment happening anywhere. However, project admins are no better equipped to handle harassment than ordinary contributors. It makes sense to me that both victims and witnesses of harassment (including admins, etc.) should report directly to the Committee and/or to special-purpose moderators. --Ricordisamoa 04:47, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Merging code and patrolling behaviour strike me as very different jobs. I would agree (also because of some history I've seen on enwiki about bot programmers with persistent issues at working well with others) that it is not good to make the same people by default responsible for both.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 08:29, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

It looks like the consensus is going in the direction of removing this line altogether: Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Enforcement_issues. @Yaron Koren: I was not refusing to answer your question, as in I had an answer but I didn't want to write it down. I think you were forcing an answer that could not be defined in advanced, and that should be looked case by case by the committee in charge of enforcing the CoC (is it possible that an admin might be punished for not informing on others? And if so, what might that punishment possibly be?. Anyway, it looks like we can move on and focus on other things.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:44, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Sorry for casting aspersions. I'm glad this particular topic is settled. Yaron Koren (talk) 16:10, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Whole (or majority of) committee disqualification for CoI[edit]

The section about CoIs should probably mention what to do in this case (and probably any case below a certain number of qualified committee members). Also, confidentiality should be clarified - it would not be okay for someone disqualified from participating to be able to see confidential parts of the case. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 02:06, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

This might be an additional reason to have an escalation path in the case that the committee cannot handle a case.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:05, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I added some proposed text for when the whole committee is disqualified (this is highly unlikely in practice, but doesn't hurt to mention it). If there is still one or more non-disqualified members, I don't see a problem with them making a decision. The normal appeals rules would still apply. I also tried to address the Confidentiality issue you raised. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:28, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

"unwanted public ... communication"[edit]

I would not restrict public communication simply on the basis of whether the recipient wants to read it. That is too close to censorship and too likely to be abused. I would guess that most misconduct in research and business results in unwanted public communication necessary to resolve the situation. 13:02, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

This concern is being addressed in Clarification of legitimate reasons for publication of private communications and identity protection.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:20, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Seems to be a lot of unanswered questions and gray areas[edit]

I realize this is in a very rough draft but I notice there seems to be a few problems with the mechanics of this new idea. For example:

  1. Comment: If the same people doing enforcement on this new "committee" are the same ones who currently aren't doing it and should be within their individual projects (such as the Arbcom's), I doubt it will make much difference.
    1. Recommendation: I recommend that if the person is currently on an Arbcom, OTRS or is a member of another like committee, they cannot be on this as well.
    2. I don see any reason for this filtering. Committee members will be self-nominated and there will be a period for feedback. If someone has concerns over a candidate, they will have a chance to share them.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
      1. What you are going to end up with is the same system that currently exists where the same person who does the harassing, is often the same person doing the reviewing. Especially in the case of admins, we are going to give them a free pass to be able to do whatever they want. So there is no point in creating another useless committee who is just going to rubber stamp and justify the act in some way. Reguyla (talk) 11:36, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
  2. The Code of Conduct also seems to indicate there would be some boomerang effect if the submission was deemed to be in bad faith. So here is my concern. Editor X submits a concern to the code of conduct committee on admin/editor Y and then the committee blocks the editor for bad faith which would hurt the credibility of the committee.
    1. This is being discussed at Definitions - trolling, bad-faith reports.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
  3. Can an editor submit a request to the code of conduct committee on a group (like a group of editors at an ANI decision, RFC or OTRS)? I request clarification because it's almost certainly going to happen.
    1. Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Report_a_problem explains clearly how this works. I someone sends a report somewhere else (i.e. OTRS) then the committee cannot commit to address that report, or even guarantee that they are aware about it.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
      1. So then this committee is going to have both its hands and one foot tied behind its back. What is going to happen here then is when something is reported someone on the committee is just going to say it was or is being handled by the community. So again, no need fro another rubber stamp committee. Reguyla (talk) 11:36, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
  4. Will this committee have the power to override the Arbcom's or a community RFC? For example, can the committee desysop, block or remove a member of one of the Arbcom's or OTRS type groups or would they be bound only to lower status individuals?
    1. As Ironholds says below, there is no overlap with these other Wikimedia spaces. Village Pumps or OTRS are not covered in the definition of technical spaces.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
  5. It mentions IRC being included, but will they have the ability to overrule the current IRC operator? Currently, the policy in Freenode is that the operators can do anything they want, to anyone, for any reason. And they do, so my question is whether this committee would bind the IRC ops to WMF rules of conduct or would they follow Freenode/IRC's rules of conduct there, which differ greatly.
    1. The case of IRC was discussed at length here. Basically, Wikimedia IRC channels can agree to have specific guidelines without conflicting with Freenode's policy on harassment.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
    2. Yes, the Committee has the ability to act for IRC violations on technical channels, and the IRC operator should respect that decision (the proposed change to the Enforcement section will make it clear that the op can not revert that decision). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:45, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  6. Would this committee be retroactive? Currently there are several editors and admins on multiple projects with long term patterns of abuse such as blocking to win discussions, outing, contacting employers to try and get editors they don't like fired from employment, frequent use of telling editors to F off, F you or others, etc. So, either this committee is willing to deal with some of these right off from the go to set a tone and do some much needed housecleaning or it wants to start from day 1 and go forward, but either way I think it needs to state that so it is clear.
    1. The committee acts on reports, therefore the question is whether reports about events previous to the creation of the committee are valid. My personal opinion is that it depends, and the committee will need to decide case by case. Some cases might be still fresh, and the victims might still feel under harassment, seeking for a solution. Some other cases might be past the point of reaction, and the committee might simply take the report as information to be used if such problem reappears.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

I see a lot more than this but I don't want to be too long. I hold out hope that this won't turn into another ENWP arbcom that attracts the wrong people for the wrong reasons and ends up doing more damage than it fixes but I think, if this is done right and implemented, it could have a tremendously positive effect on the long term health of the projects. Reguyla (talk) 19:47, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

This is for technical spaces; unless the village pumps are included I don't think there's any overlap between this committee and ArbCom, so I'm not really sure what that's all about. Ironholds (talk) 03:14, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
As I understand this, this Code of conduct would apply to all WMF supported areas, not just technical space. Reguyla (talk) 11:36, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Reguyla: it would be better to have different sections for different topics, otherwise this type of discussion doesn't scale. This time I replied to each point with my personal opinions, but if you want to discuss further, I recommend you to do it in sections specific to each topic.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, but generally its easier to just post one reply at the end rather than break it up as you did. In general though, what we need is a Meta committee that has perview over all WMF projects with members who are as unbiased and fair as possible who will not vote on something because its popular (as currently often happens). It needs to be able to address problems with editors and admins alike regardless of status and if you include the same people, as the current processes do, then it just nullifies the point of the committee. When you have the same admin that blocks someone reviewing the action and declining it in OTRS and then is also a member of Arbcom, and then is also a member of this committee (potentially) it creates a conflict of interest scenario. So unless your intention is to create another layer of bureaucracy to protect the existing bureaucracy, this isn't going to work. Reguyla (talk) 11:36, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Maybe easier for you, definitely not easy for those who want to discuss points through and eventually distill the improvements for the CoC draft. But hey, I'm just replying here to insist on what seems to be an important point you have missed: "This is a code of conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces. It applies both within physical spaces, such as Wikimedia technical events and Wikimedia technical presentations in other events, and virtual spaces (MediaWiki.org, wikitech.wikimedia.org, Phabricator, Gerrit, technical mailing lists, technical IRC channels, and Etherpad)." (source).--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Oh ok, thanks for responding and for the clarification. I thought this was a code of conduct for all the WMF related sites and forums including IRC and email which is much needed as many of these areas are currently a free for all and full of abusive behavior. I myself have complained about some problematic behavior on both with no result other than getting blocked by those people myself because the people doing it were in entrenched, protected and in control. So, if this changes some of that, then great. Otherwise, this is shaping up to look like a mechanism for the WMF to justify deleting comments and banning anyone who doesn't share the WMF's view on something like implementing Flow, Visual Editor, attending events like Wikimania or holding admins and arbs accountable for their actions that violate or ignore policy. I hope I am wrong, I really do, but unfortunately it's looking more and more like that. So I'll probably not be commenting anymore here. Cheers!Reguyla (talk) 17:30, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Reguyla: This CoC does address email and IRC, but only technical mailing lists and technical IRC channels. I don't really understand your comments about banning people who don't agree with the WMF. What about this proposal leads you to that conclusion? This CoC is about dealing with abusive and harassing behavior (See Code of Conduct/Draft#Unacceptable behavior) which you seem to agree are problems. It's true that this proposal only has a limited scope, but some progress is better than none. Believe it or not, non-abusive critics of the WMF are actually appreciated by a large number of the staff at the WMF (folks like Risker and Doc James come to mind). Of course the staff doesn't always agree with the leadership of the WMF, but that's another story. Is there any way that we could change the wording of the CoC to alleviate your concerns without reducing its effectiveness to deter abusive behavior? Kaldari (talk) 20:43, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Well maybe I will be proven wrong but I envision this being used more by the people who are in positions of power than being used by people to get rid of abusive and harassing behavior. IRC is a prime problem with several of the ops having a sense of ownership and entitlement and frequently do whatever they want, because freenode policy says they can and the WMF has traditionally allowed it too happen. In fact, complaints about IRC problems are discouraged from being reported on Wiki at all because they are separate and this has allowed abusive people to hide the problems with their behavior by keeping them off wiki where they can be recorded and tracked much more easily than IRC.
I can't think of anyway at the moment to make it more clear and prevent this from being used abusively, but as I stated above, I think the people doing this should not be the same people who are currently doing like rolls on Wiki. We already have a big problem with the people doing the blocking being the same people denying the appeals. Reguyla (talk) 20:56, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Reguyla: A key goal of this CoC is for all technical spaces to be covered, and for reports to be very easy regardless of where the harassment occurred. So technical IRC channels are included. Also, the current draft has an appeals process, so if the Committee makes a bad decision, the appeals body may be able to remedy it. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:45, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Mattflaschen-WMF: Right, I understand that and agree that something like this might be helpful but in practice, this is how the system already functions. Someone gets accused, a decision is made, if banned or blocked they have an avenue of appeal(s), repeat process. In reality, appeals are handled by the same people making the decision and they rarely overturn them. Often times they manipulate the outcome to what they want. Admins and functionaries are almost never held accountable to policy unless they show long term patterns of abuse far in excess of that of an editor. Often times the appeals processes are just on paper with no actual function, such as the old Jimbo Wales override authority he has never, in the history of the project used which has become a joke. "Tell it to Jimbo is an often used phrase on ENWP because they know that he won't do anything. So, from the outsider looking in, this new CoC is little more than the WMF attempting to create a mechanism to squash complaints about things they want to push forward like VisualEditor, Flow and the search engine using terms like Harassment, disruption or whatever. I do agree whole heartedly that someone needs to take some action on IRC and other venues because the current group of Ops/maintainers is doing a pretty lousy job. I'm just not confident that is what will happen based on history. If you want to change the environment, you have to start with the leadership and work down and that has to include the admins and functionaries. Otherwise you're just wasting time. Reguyla (talk) 04:39, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Reguyla: you seem to be making assumptions about the implementation of this CoC in Wikimedia technical spaces based on your views and experiences in the Wikipedias, but here there are essential aspects which are different. For instance, the hard line you drive between volunteers and WMF employees might make sense in content projects like English Wikipedia, where WMF employees are not supposed to edit articles from their work accounts at all, neither will they become admins etc in their professional role. In technical spaces though, WMF employees and volunteer developers work side by side in the same activities, and sometimes it will be very hard to tell who is employee, who is not, and who is contributing as an employee or as volunteer. The percentage of WMF employees in most areas of technical contributions are pretty high. For instance, all admins of Wikimedia Phabricator are WMF employees.
About your sustained argument that this is about "the WMF attempting to create a mechanism to squash complaints", I wonder how would that work in practice, with a Committee expected to be in its majority or totality formed by volunteers, and with resolutions that by default will be visible for everyone. If what you mean is that this CoC will make it more difficult to harass people in the context of software discussions, then I agree. As a community we should be able to discuss and (dis)agree without having to harass each other.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:35, 3 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: Your right, my statements are based on my experiences, which are not assumptions, but not just with Wikipedia and not just with volunteers. Quite a few of the WMF employees are volunteers and some of those have done things in the past (not necessarily to me) that caused me to question their motives and purpose on the projects. I also now understand more clearly that this new CoC is less for use on the Wikipedias and projects as it is in the technical spaces, many of which, especially IRC IMO, need better supervision and some housecleaning of the ops. I would prefer this was a WMF wide CoC and enforced throughout, but it's a starting point that can be used as a foundation later so I am ok with it.
I also know that in some of the technical areas volunteers work a lot closer and that it's not encouraged for people to use their WMF account to edit (although it happens fairly often and as far as I know isn't actively enforced, which is fine). Which, knowing that, makes me wonder. If they do work so closely, then what is the purpose of this new CoC and if they work that closely, then that also means that the people that work tougher (both staff and volunteer) probably share many of the same views. Otherwise they probably wouldn't work very well together.
With regard to your comments about it being staffed by volunteers. IMO, it would be better if it was staffed by some volunteers and some staffers but preferably those folks should not also hold roles in other projects like the Arbitration committee. I have seen the ENWP Arbcom do things that far exceeded policy and nothing was done so I personally, and a lot of others feel the same way as well, do not trust them. Aside from that personal feeling though, it's just not a good idea to have the same person serving on this committee and is also an op on IRC or is an Arb on Wikipedia. And again, if it's just staffed with volunteers that share the same view as their staff counterparts at the WMF, then this CoC won't really mean much until the WMF wants to implement something and their supporters help push it through.
It's nothing against you or the others that are working on this. You all seem to mean well. But my experiences in the project have shown me that some of the people in leadership positions don't share that honest well wishness and can and do manipulate things to their own advantage without any oversight or repercussions. I was an extremely high output and dedicated editor on ENWP and I was banned and remained so because a few people in leadership positions (admins and arbs) continue to manipulate policy to keep me from editing because I have vocally advocated they should have to follow the same rules as the editors to which they disagree. So you'll forgive my skepticism that this CoC won't be used in the same way like the ENWP Arbcom is used.. Reguyla (talk) 19:59, 3 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Regarding, "resolutions that by default will be visible for everyone", the resolutions are not always public in the current draft. See the draft for details. Private reprimands are one example. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:07, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I was just trying genuinely to imagine how the WMF could use this CoC "to squash complaints", and I was thinking about resolutions about banning users. Even when the resolution is not public, the ban would be obvious. Since the scope of the CoC are technical spaces, such bans could not go beyond that. In practice, this means that users being unfairly banned would have all their resources at hand to gather support in technical spaces and express themselves in the Wikimedia tech vicinity, e.g. wikimedia-l and your preferred Village Pump. My conclusion is: I don't know how the WMF could manipulate the CoC processes to squash complaints (meaning to chase messengers and not only harassers), and even if the WMF would manage to do so, converting that illegitimate action in a PR/community disaster for the WMF would be pretty easy. I psychologically understand the vague concern about the WMF using this CoC for community repression, I just don't think it stands a chance as soon as we get into details.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:21, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Qgil-WMF: Well maybe I have nothing to worry about then. I still have very strong doubts that this will have any impact on the handful of abusive admins and functionaries that bring the whole system down and give the rest a bad reputation and I still fear it will be focused only on editors but maybe I will be wrong. I felt the same way about the ENWP Arbcom in its early days too and it turned out to be a problematic mess. Thinking about what this will even affect: There is currently no oversight of IRC and because of that, IRC ops, a couple especially, treat it like their personal domain where they can do anything that want to anyone for any reason...or no reason. I have never really seen any problems with Phabricator (but it's possible I just didn't see it) so I don't think there is much worry there. Mailing lists are sometimes problematic but at the same time most of those are one way communications so there isn't much worry there. I doubt this will apply to things like the Arbcom Wiki or OTRS, so really IRC is really the only one that I can think of that applies but if this fixes some of the abuse that goes on there and only there, it would still be a win IMO. Reguyla (talk) 18:24, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Template:Od See, my impression was that IRC is an independent land because the WMF doesn't host it, thus they don't have any method by which to force stuff there.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 17:21, 25 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Considering the model of Rust's community Moderation team[edit]

In the context of Requests for comment/Governance, the Architecture committee is discussing the creation of specialized working groups. One proposal is to Create a Wikimedia equivalent of Rust's Moderation subteam (phab:T126605). Let's discuss this idea here, since this directly affects the current draft about the Code of Conduct Committee.

Required reading: https://github.com/rust-lang/rfcs/blob/master/text/1068-rust-governance.md#moderation-team

Related: https://github.com/rust-lang/rfcs/blob/master/text/1068-rust-governance.md#community-norms-and-the-code-of-conduct

Needless to say, I like the idea of a community team in charge of solving the problem of harassment and disrespect in Wikimedia technical spaces. I also like the idea that such team is connected to the Architecture Committee, which is the only community governance body we have (currently in the draft, the CoC committee appears more connected to WMF's Developer Relation team). All in all, I think Rust's Moderation team can be a good precedent and example for us. Being one of many working groups connected to the ArchCom would make this team part of a bigger and consistent structure, instead of a single entity on its own.

About the name, yesterday I had a conversation with RobLa-WMF where he said that "Code of Conduct committee" is a name too tight to a specific solution, whereas "Moderation committee" points more to the problem that needs solving. I think this argument is reasonable, and anyway "Code of Conduct committee" is not a great name.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:59, 12 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

I am fine renaming "Code of Conduct Committee" to "Moderation Committee". What do other people think? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:20, 12 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
"Moderation Committee" or "Moderation team" both sound good to me. -- Gabriel Wicke (GWicke) (talk) 18:37, 17 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
"Moderation team" sounds to me even better than "Moderation Committee", but I don't have a strong opinion.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:34, 22 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
The idea here is to create roughly an "Arbitration Committee"? No thank you. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:56, 3 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@MZMcBride: could you explain your reasoning, please?. Wikimedia's arbitration committees are a close reference to what this team would be, yes. Our technical activities and technical spaces differ from those of the Wikipedias, and therefore this team will probably be different in some ways, but yes, essentially this is about "a small group of trusted users who serve as the last step of dispute resolution" (about conduct issues, not content/technical issues).--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:09, 3 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Hi Qgil-WMF. I don't think creating additional and unnecessary bureaucracy is a good idea. As far as I can tell, this "code of conduct" is an overblown solution in search of a problem. I share the concerns noted by others that most of the activity and support here is coming from people with "WMF" in their usernames and not from the broader technical community. --MZMcBride (talk) 23:53, 23 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@MZMcBride: If there is no problem, then there will be no reports, or the reports will be trivial, the CoC will be just a wiki page, and the CoC a group of contributors that will be able to keep dedicating their time in other things. However, if there is a problem indeed (as I'm defending based on the reports my team is receiving and other situations I see as a member of this community) then we will keep having reports, that will be dealt by a team of community contributors (the CoC committee), using a documented framework (the CoC) that has gone through community review. Looking at each scenario, I don't see what the community (and especially the victims of inappropriate behavior) have to lose. On the other side, I see what can we all win.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:05, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Hi Qgil-WMF. Your reply here reminds me of the argument people make when creating tools to invade others' privacy. Namely, "if you're not doing anything bad, you have nothing to worry about!" To me, your position here is unacceptable. The burden is on you and others supporting a code of conduct and a special related committee to demonstrate the clear need for both. If you cannot do that, I don't see how it would be reasonable for anyone to support this expanded bureaucracy on a "just in case we one day need it" basis. Proposing solutions requires demonstration of a problem, so that the proposed solution can be adequately measured against the problem and so that people can make informed and intelligent decisions about cost, benefit, and proportionality. This is how we would treat any technical request for comments.
The refusal to submit direct evidence of problems that would be solved by erecting an arbitration committee-like body makes any discussion of creating such a committee a non-starter, in my opinion. A rational and serious discussion cannot be had when one party withholds pertinent evidence and will only submit high-level and unsubstantiated figures (i.e., "dozens of reports"). Other parties cannot be expected to try to refute shadows and figments. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:36, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
MZMcBride, if you need direct evidence of problems and you consider my position of not exposing people through specific examples as unacceptable, then I will live with it. I doubt your proposed path of demonstration, measurement, cost, benefit, and proportionality actually puts the emphasis on the needs of existing or potential victims of harassment and disrespect. They are the main users of this CoC.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 15:39, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Hi Qgil-WMF. Okay. I've tried to give you and others an opportunity to make your case in a reasoned, evidence-based way. Your refusal to substantiate your claims makes it impossible for me to support any special committee and its associated expanded bureaucracy. At present, we have a "solution" in search of problems. The problems remain intentionally undefined by you and others.
Until you or someone else can demonstrate real problems that would be addressed by this code of conduct and its special committee, problems that are currently unable to be resolved by existing processes and procedures, there's no way that I can support this proposal. I would never expect you, Ori, myself, or anyone else to make significant changes to a project or organization's architecture or infrastructure without solid reasoning and evidence to support those changes. --MZMcBride (talk) 18:09, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

The Committee elects their new members[edit]

Good recipe for a new Geshuri incident, isn't it? --Ricordisamoa 23:09, 12 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Your rhetorical question has a different answer than you might expect ('No, because the nominees are known far in advance'), but the question 'why isn't it an election' is a valid one. It was introduced after the discussion at Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_1#Another_membership_proposal, but there was not much discussion on the committee deciding on their own members. @Mattflaschen-WMF: is there a reason to prefer this over open elections? I can imagine the private feedback to be a reason, but a veto should then be good enough. Valhallasw (talk) 22:02, 13 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
It's the same reason, e.g. no one is proposing that the whole MediaWiki community elect subteam leaders or members (see Requests for comment/Governance). It's a job that can benefit from specific experience and skills (though hopefully there will also be training).
Ricordisamoa, I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a process that doesn't sometimes lead to a bad outcome. We all know government elections don't always elect the right person, for example. I think the current draft is a good process for this committee, but we should keep thinking about it. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:04, 18 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • @Valhallasw: : Matt has already suggested one reason for preferring appointment over elections: this job requires specific expertise, which elections are not great at delivering (I think this is why judges are appointed in most systems of government).
I agree with that, but here's another: voter fatigue. Each election you set up imposes major burdens on the voters (to say nothing of the organizers, candidates, question-askers, and guide-writers), because it takes a lot of time to educate yourself enough to make an informed choice. And that time that doesn't bring you much direct benefit because your vote has only a small impact on the outcome.
For example, I was eligible to vote in the recent enwiki ArbCom election. I considered that quite important, but I never voted because there were 21 candidates, 28 voter guides, and I don't know how much else. Elections for this committee probably wouldn't be that complex, but they'd still be a major load on everyone. In many cases, elections are worth the trouble, but in this case we have a good alternative that's much more efficient.—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 19:53, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Yes, that's a fair point. Still, I feel some sort of community oversight helps to strengthen the legitimity of the committee (and it helps to decrease the appearance of a 'WMF-appointed committee'). Could we have some sort of process where the committee proposes the new member(s), but the community can still veto the appointment? The recent Board situation shows this is going to happen unofficially otherwise... Valhallasw (talk) 08:35, 10 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I agree with the sentiment, but how would a community veto work? Currently self-nominations have a public scrutiny period of 2-4 weeks. If someone has a problem with a candidate, in our relatively compact and well connected community 2 weeks is enough time mobilize a community response that whoever is in charge of nominating new committee members should consider.
Taking as an example the Geshuri incident, the community had no nomination period to watch and no official veto power, yet there was an open letter requesting his resignation within 24 hours, and he stepped down 19 days after his announcement. This makes me think that the current 2-4 weeks for self-nomination and discussion are already a good medicine to prevent this type of situations.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:46, 10 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Suggested changes[edit]

These are some suggested changes to "Unacceptable Behavior" and "Report a problem" (version without change). They are based on feedback from the consultants as well as other people.

Please indicate your views with {{Support }}, {{Oppose }}, or just a comment. If you would support the change with some alterations, that would also be helpful to note. Based on this, I will determine if there is consensus for/against, or if people might support a modified version of the suggested changes (if it needs more work then another consensus discussion).

I apologize that this feedback arrived later than planned, but I think this will create a better document. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:43, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

I think there are some good changes in here (and have no issues with the length of time involved). Thank you for suggesting them. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 02:24, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Clarification of legitimate reasons for publication of private communications and identity protection[edit]

Should the following clarifications be made regarding privacy?:

  • Add "Publishing or reporting private communication or personally identifying information for the purposes of reporting harassment (as explained here) and/or in the case of whistleblowing, is acceptable." after "Inappropriate or unwanted publication of private communication."
  • Add "Disclosure of some identifying information is not consent to disclose other identifying information." after "Disclosure of a person's identity or other private information without their consent."

Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:43, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Consensus reached. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:45, 16 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
The whistleblowing exception makes me feel much better about this (previously ridiculous) line. I'm not sure whether I'm fully convinced yet, but it's unambiguously an improvement. Support Krenair (talkcontribs) 01:50, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support Both additions seem reasonable and provide useful clarification. Kaldari (talk) 02:42, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support Makes sense. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 04:00, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support - Jmabel (talk) 05:00, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:11, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support per Krenair. Bawolff (talk) 19:26, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
When does something qualify as whistleblowing? Real-life whistleblower protection laws typically only cover some fairly specific things like breaking laws. Also, reporting private communication for the purposes of reporting harassment, sure; but publishing it is hardly justified by that. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 07:54, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Tgr (WMF): The dictionary definitions of whistleblowing (e.g. Dictionary.com "a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing.", Wiktionary, "the disclosure to the public or to authorities, usually by an employee, of wrongdoing in a company or government department") cover general wrongdoing, so I think that's the meaning here (not that it needs to specifically be against the law). (I think the Wiktionary definition is overly limited, so I'm going to expand it). Publishing is sometimes necessary. For example, if someone harasses people at multiple conferences, it may be necessary to document that publicly. That documentation may require republishing e.g. harassing emails. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:59, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support The second point is an excellent change. I'm not entirely sure about the first; I worry that whistleblowing and reporting harassment are quite flexible categories and could be abused, but I do understand the reason for including them (particularly because CoCs are as much about setting expectations as about providing "laws" to be strictly followed). We can always change or clarify that point if it becomes an issue.—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 01:45, 26 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support Both points make sense and are important additions. NiharikaKohli (talk) 14:01, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support I have trouble seeing in what situations publishing PII (as opposed to reporting it to the committee) should be allowed, so I'm not fully comfortable with that part. It is limited to "reporting harassment and/or whistleblowing" which makes me feel better because it excludes bad-faith cases; I'm just not sure what legitimate cases there would be. Nevertheless, both changes are clear improvements over the previous text. --Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talk) 19:30, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    @Roan Kattouw (WMF): Part of the reason is to allow coordination when dealing with harassment that occurs across multiple communities. See my reply to Tgr above. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:36, 15 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support I support this change but I think it's better to add a note explaining what "whistleblower" means (or a link to its wikipedia article). I'm worried that due to cross-cultural nature of projects people accidentally or deliberately misinterpret the phrase and cause irreversible damage. Ladsgroup (talk) 12:43, 10 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support SSastry (WMF) (talk) 19:34, 21 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Definitions - trolling, bad-faith reports[edit]

Should the definitions of trolling and bad-faith reports be clarified as follows?:

  • Replace "Trolling, for example by sustained disruption, interruption, or blocking of community collaboration." with "Harming the discussion or community with methods such as sustained disruption, interruption, or blocking of community collaboration (i.e. trolling)"
  • Replace "Reports of unacceptable behavior must be done in good faith to defend potential victims and to restore a friendly environment. Accusations of unacceptable behavior against potential victims or reporters done as a tactic to introduce more tension or confusion are unacceptable themselves." with (new text would be added in bullet point) "Using the code of conduct system for purposes other than reporting genuine violations of the code of conduct (e.g., retaliating against a reporter or victim by filing a report claiming their response was harassment)"

Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:43, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Consensus reached. Supported in general. There was one objection to something in both versions, and one person was neutral. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:52, 16 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I know it was in the existing text but can you give some examples of "blocking of community collaboration"? I'd like to make sure we're all thinking along the same lines here. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 02:23, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Krenair: I'd summarize it as working to cause interpersonal rifts and disruption, rather than working to get things done, solve problems, make decisions, answer questions, etc. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:33, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Oppose Oppose Sounds extremely vague/broad to me. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 01:39, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
A specific example would be personally attacking someone, instead of discussing a proposal they raised. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:35, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support Makes sense too. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 04:45, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support Jmabel (talk) 04:59, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Neutral Neutral Doesn't seem to make much difference. "response" in the last sentence is probably the wrong word (or in any case I don't understand what it refers to). --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 08:05, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:13, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support Just to clarify, in the second item "response" in this context means that Person A files a report regarding Person B. Person B responds by filing a report against Person A as a from of retaliation. Is that right? CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 15:10, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@CKoerner (WMF): Assume Person H harasses Person V. Person V responds by e.g. going public with the harassment, reporting the harassment to the maintainer of a related repository, or reporting it to the Committee. This proposed line means that if Person H then reports to the Committee that Person V's response was harassment, the Committee can consider Person H's report to be unacceptable behavior. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:32, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I support the trolling one. I have mixed feelings about the second point. Bawolff (talk) 19:30, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support I like the phrasing of "using the CoC system for purposes other than...", it's simpler than the current text. --Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talk) 19:20, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Marginalized and underrepresented groups[edit]

Should the following be added to the list of Unacceptable behavior, to back up the Principles section?:

"Discrimination against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups"

Some parts of the harassment survey (of all Wikimedia projects) show that Wikimedia has a particular problem with harassment against underrepresented groups. For example, figure 17 on page 19 shows that (for all but one type) female users were more likely than male users to experience harassment.

This proposed text would support the Principles text about this. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:43, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

See amended text. I've amended the proposed text in response to feedback. Please participate here instead. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:13, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I'm wondering whether age would count here. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 01:53, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Yes, we should think about this in regards to 18+ restrictions in our technical spaces. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:17, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
An example to think about is meta:Confidentiality agreement for nonpublic information, though this is not limited to technical (also, the limit is 16 for some roles). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:23, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Oppose Oppose This one short phrase would, if I understand it correctly, add a whole other category of wrongdoing to the code of conduct: discrimination. That would open up a big can of worms, and seems like a very bad idea. (Not to mention that the phrasing makes it seem like you would be allowed to discriminate against some people, but not others... as I said, can of worms.) Yaron Koren (talk) 02:34, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Oppose Oppose "Discrimination" is this context is pretty poorly defined term. Also, we have already said that it's not ok to mistreat and harass people, so adding "it is also not ok to do the same if the targets belong to underrepresented groups" is redundant. Moreover, it might even produce an impression as if it's less bad to mistreat people if they can't be assigned to any "underrepresented groups", which is certainly not what we want. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 04:40, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
As Smalyshev (WMF) and Yaron Koren wrote, the proposed wording might be misinterpreted. --Ricordisamoa 04:53, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

What would it change? We already have "Offensive, derogatory, or discriminatory comments" which seems to cover this. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 07:58, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

@Tgr (WMF): This covers actions, whereas the other line only covers comments. For example, "Refusing to grant +2 to someone deserving it", because they're a person of color. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:22, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

There might be a point on covering discrimination as a type of harassment, but it would need to be better defined. Examples of potentially discriminatory actions that are not clearly covered now: refusing to grant +2 to someone deserving it, rejecting a valid scholarship request, or a proposal for a session in an event... all this justified on technical grounds, fair principles, but in fact being motivated by a filter of discrimination. The type of discrimination against minorities and marginalized groups that we can see in similar circumstances in our societies.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:23, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

OTOH, it requires everyone to be mind readers: "Oh, he had solid technical reasons for denying that request, but we just know it was really because he's racist." It also explicitly legitimizes playing the race card as a tactic to harass someone for legitimately rejecting a request despite the second bullet in #Definitions - trolling, bad-faith reports above. Anomie (talk) 15:00, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Same concern here. Without identifyable pattern of behavior, it encourages guessing intent, which invites to abuse the system. How could you find out if something is "motivated by discrimination" or not? Short of explicit admission (which is unlikely to happen especially if complaint is filed) there is no way to objectively establish that. Which means people would resort to personal preferences and likings, and that would not go well. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 20:39, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I note that the article you links to there also includes the line "George Dei, et al., in the book Playing the Race Card argue that the term itself is a rhetorical device used in an effort to devalue and minimize claims of racism.". So concerns about use and misuse here go both ways.
In the situation where it is misused - and I honestly can't imagine one - people can choose not to enforce, or to prioritise the second bullet point. On the other hand, the absence of a rule means that if it is used legitimately the committee would have no recourse. Ironholds (talk) 02:43, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
It's not hard to imagine. Moreover, it (trolling using "discrimination" complaints) has already happened in other communities. The scenario is simple - two people come into conflict about some technical or community question, one discovers there's an "underrepresented minority" card laying around unused, picks it up and plays it by claiming other side's disagreement is motivated by discriminatory intent. At which point the other side is in an awkward position of being obliged to proof they did not commit thoughtcrime, since objectively proving intent - or absence of - is impossible. And since there's an objective conflict in which one side is "underrepresented minority" and another is not, having an action available to one side that is very hard to counter creates motivation for abuse. It is not to say everybody would abuse it - far from it - but even several incidents of such abuse, especially if successful into pressuring the other side into something they wouldn't agree with otherwise, but would do just to deal with accusations of discrimination, IMO would significantly affect trust and collaboration in the community. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 19:26, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I agree with Ironholds. If there is no evidence, or the only "evidence" is mind-reading, the Committee is not going to act on a discrimination claim. I think it's very unlikely that people will make baseless 'race card' claims, and even less likely that the Committee would act on them. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 06:03, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
No, addressing cases of potential discrimination doesn't require everybody to be mind readers. If someone suspects about a case of potential discrimination and they report it, this allows at least a basic scrutiny. Even if someone did commit an act of discrimination but it could not be proved, the next time that person will be more careful in a similar situation, knowing that another report in a similar vein will bring more attention. Not as perfect as reading minds, but much better than impunity. I mean, many governments and organizations (the WMF included) have mechanisms to report cases of discrimination, and they don't rely on reading minds to address them.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:03, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Governments usually use judicial system or similar complex mechanisms with multiple checks and balances to ensure lower instance of abuse. Even then discrimination complaints usually prove very controversial and very hard to arrive to a definite conclusion. We do not have such system at our disposal, so this can of worms would be harder to deal with once opened. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 19:26, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
It goes both ways: even if someone did not commit an act of discrimination and the accusation could not be proved, the next time that person (and anyone who was watching) will be less likely to to take a future correct action against the person for fear of another such accusation. Especially if people are going around with statements like yours, Quim. Anomie (talk) 14:39, 26 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I agree, it can go both ways. That's why we should avoid poorly defined subjective terms like "discrimination" (unless we find a way to define it non-poorly and objectively, which currently appears hard to me) - because there's too much room for mistakes even with best intentions, and if things get more heated, the room for mistakes turns into a whole apartment complex. Some people would claim actions are too harsh, others that they are not enough, nobody would be happy, and the reason would be we made rules that are too vague and do not set same expectations for everybody. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 23:11, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I don't agree that it's ill-defined. We know what discrimination is. It would need to be proven to the Committee, just like any other violation. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:22, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Support If a contributor makes known their reason for their actions as being discriminatory, then it should be covered by the Code of Conduct. A silly example would be someone saying "I don't like left-handed people, so I didn't approve their merge."

While Trg points out that we do have language regarding discriminatory comments, we should be explicit and include discrimination as not just a comment, but purposeful actions as well. I agree with Quim that this should not be better defined, but it should be present. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 15:41, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Here is a hypothetical scenario that I think highlights one of the problems with a directive like this: during the course of a day, I tend to help various people with software issues, including on mediawiki.org talk pages and in mailing lists. (That part is true.) Now, let's say that someone runs an analysis of the help I've provided, and sees that I've helped nearly everyone, except people with Spanish-sounding last names - they rarely get help from me. When confronted about it, I admit that I dislike Hispanics and specifically try to avoid helping them. Now, this is a clear-cut case of discrimination, against a group that presumably is marginalized and underrepresented, within Wikimedia technical spaces. Should I be punished for the crime of literally doing nothing? In other words, am I obligated to do additional volunteer work just to avoid censure by the WMF? Yaron Koren (talk) 14:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Interesting scenario. I'm wondering if we could also use this another way e.g. to deal with people who refuse to support non-Wikimedia users. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 16:25, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
I'm not sure I understand the issue you're raising? If you are intentionally ignoring providing help to specific groups like that, you are, indeed, discriminating against them. We should discourage this in our technical spaces, so I am not sure I see the problem of putting it in the Code of Conduct as something we are discouraging. As for "punishing" -- that's a question of how far you took it and how far people have been affected by it, which will be elements that the committee -- if this was reported to it -- will have to go over and make a determination on, similar to any other "directive" on what we consider "unacceptable behaviors." Discriminating against specific groups, even "just" by ignoring them and refusing to help them, can (and does, very often) make people from these groups consider this space hostile or uninviting or offensive. If that's the case, then isn't it something we should discourage people from doing in our spaces? MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 21:00, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Discouraging is fine, but this is a code of conduct, not a guideline for recommended behavior - and that specific line would go into a list of "Unacceptable behavior", which I would think by definition means that it will lead to penalties. Would you be fine if the committee punished a volunteer for not volunteering? Yaron Koren (talk) 21:57, 29 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
A couple of things here; first, yes. That behavior -- whether it is manifested by doing something actively discriminating, or doing something passively discriminating, is something we should state as unacceptable, because it should be unacceptable. If that person is the only person whose role is to give assistance, for example, and that person gives assistance to everyone except a certain group, then I would prefer that person vacates the role -- volunteer or not -- than continue with discriminating against groups. Second, the question of severity and penalties is why the job of the committee is to look at the severity of the case and not just issue blind "penalties." How big it is depends on what happened -- or "not happened" -- which is true for most rules and regulations that are then overseen by a committee. We are writing general guidelines of what people should not do - the committee can then look at how serious the offense was and decide about the next steps, which can be as minor as to talk to the person, or as grave as to remove them from that space or other spaces. That's what the committee is for -- and that's true for all the other points in the CoC in general, otherwise we'd never be able to cover all instances of all possible problems and their edge cases. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 02:01, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I'm talking specifically about me in this hypothetical - and no, it's not my role to give assistance. Your thoughts are appreciated, although I think the fact that it's ultimately up to the committee is pretty obvious. The main question, in my mind, is whether people think it's okay to punish volunteers for not volunteering. It's good to know that you think the answer is yes. Yaron Koren (talk) 03:08, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
But you're not really giving an example of a volunteer not volunteering - you're giving an example of a volunteer volunteering while discriminating against people. That's different. If you (or whoever, I preferred keeping this non-personal, since it's hard enough to recognize tone in writing) took a role where one of the responsibilities is to provide support, and you (or whoever) provide support only to one group and purposefully ignore another, that's discrimination. That's what the story sounded like in your first reply, and on that sense, it sounded to me to be fairly straight forward (though I do agree that the "penalty" may not need to be severe, depending on scope and effect, etc etc)
However, in the above reply you changed conditions slightly, which makes it a bit less clear. If you provide this support randomly without it being your role, because you just answer random things online from the goodness of your heart, then I don't quite see how this can be considered as something that this rule applies to. It's also a relative edge case that is exactly why the committee exists for. You can find edge cases in any other rule - or regulation, or law of state - on and offline. That's why we don't have algorithms just rigidly apply punishment for violation of laws. We have courts offline, and the committee in the context of this Code of Conduct. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 05:39, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I don't think I changed the conditions. You apparently think of volunteers as people who officially sign up for volunteer tasks; but there are many people like myself, who give their time voluntarily on MediaWiki-related spaces without an official title - I would say we're volunteers, though if there's a better word for it, let me know. I also don't think it's an edge case: I gave what I see as a straightforward example of someone who would be engaging in "unacceptable behavior" by doing nothing. Yaron Koren (talk) 13:33, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I don't think you changed the conditions either, and I too do not support anything that tries to punish generic volunteers for not volunteering in some particular circumstance. OTOH, if someone volunteers to fill some specific position that has requirements for cases in which they're supposed to help people and discriminates in fulfilling those requirements, that could be actionable. I doubt we need the clause proposed in this subsection to take action, though. Anomie (talk) 14:38, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Yaron Koren: Yes, that hypothetical example is discrimination and should be forbidden by the CoC (and is by the proposed sentence). You ask, "Should I be punished for the crime of literally doing nothing? In other words, am I obligated to do additional volunteer work just to avoid censure by the WMF?" No, you are not required to do volunteer work, and no one can ask you to do additional volunteer work. The clause does prevent you from deliberately allocating your volunteer efforts in an anti-Hispanic way, and that is correct. You would remain free to allocate your volunteer efforts in any other way (only answering on Wednesday, only answering node.js questions, only answering about "cool" projects, only answering easier questions, etc.). You just couldn't consider "no Hispanics" as part of your time allocation. If called on this, you could allocate your time (without spending any more time) going forward in a non-discriminatory way. If you refused and continued to deliberately discriminate, penalties would indeed be appropriate (e.g. a temporary ban from the mailing list). There is no part of the "Unacceptable behavior" section that only applies to volunteers, or only applies to staff, and we shouldn't start now. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:19, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I have to admit, that's a much better answer than I thought was possible for this question. I still don't think it's convincing, though, in that it says that there's certain behavior that is both voluntary and unquestionably helpful but which is still considered unacceptable. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:17, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Yaron Koren The circumstances of this situation you're describing seem rather unlikely to me: 1) Someone runs a deep analysis on an individual's behavior (what would prompt this?) 2) You know the last names of all the individuals you are providing help to (how often is this or other personal information actually available?), 3) You are confronted by someone who thinks you are not giving enough of your time and you ought to give more (in my capacity as a volunteer, literally no one has ever requested this of me, nor have I observed it.), and 4) You hypothetically and explicitly admit to a discriminatory attitude (more likely, this kind of attitude is obfuscated or deflected). Furthermore, the CoC isn't really designed to address discrimination by omission. There are probably tons of people I help new editors at the the Teahouse at en.wiki; if you did an analysis, you could probably manufacture that I was discriminating against some group or another. Lacking overt behavior, there's not a robust way differentiate someone who is actually discriminating and someone who simply had so much time to give. The CoC doesn't seem like it would be used in the manner you are suggesting. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 05:46, 3 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
You're right that it's a contrived example, although there's a reason for that. As I see it, there are two big issues with the proposed "discrimination" policy: (a) discrimination, based on ethnicity and so forth, is very hard to prove; and (b) even when discrimination does occur, it usually doesn't make sense to punish it, in the context of voluntary behavior. I wanted to focus an example on (b), but to do that, I had to include an "orgy of evidence", to avoid the many problems related to (a). Issue (a) may actually be the bigger one: discrimination is easy to accuse someone of, but very difficult to prove - not a recipe for success. Also, I strongly disagree with your last point - whatever the CoC is or isn't designed to do, once it's in place it can be a weapon that can be used for all sorts of purposes, intended or not. On a more minor note, much of the help I provide is via email, so I do often know the last names of the people I'm helping. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:18, 3 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Yaron Koren: this Code of Conduct is first of all a code of conduct, a document explaining our commitment as members of this community. It is important that we ourselves commit to not discriminate anyone because of race, gender, surname, etc, and I see no problem in writing that down, even if detecting racists, misogynists, xenophobes, etc, is not always easy.
About whether it is acceptable to be racist, misogynist, xenophobe by omission on a volunteering capacity, no, I don't think it is acceptable, and I don't think we should have a CoC condescending with such behavior. Such individual behavior is not scalable, and it would pass as acceptable only when the rest of the community is not racist, misogynist, xenophobe, etc. If every individual would be implicitly allowed to follow the same pattern, we would end up having a Wikimedia tech community blatantly racist, misogynist, xenophobe, etc. We should have zero tolerance to such discriminating behavior. If someone manages to camouflage it successfully then well, at least we are doing our best, and at least the one in an uncomfortable position having to adapt is the racist, the misogynist, the xenophobe, etc.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:41, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I assume, then, that you support removing the "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups" part? Also - and more importantly - it very much sounds like you're saying that most Wikimedia developers are bigots. That is a deeply insulting thing to say, and a bizarre statement from anyone, let alone someone whose job is to help out the community. I would think either an apology or a clarification are in order. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:18, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
What? You suggested a theoretical example and I replied to your theoretical example. That is all. I am not picturing or accusing anybody in our community for discriminating anyone else because of race, gender, origin, etc, so I don't think I owe an apology to anyone. If there would be any, I would not owe them an apology either. If someone thinks I'm wrong, please be more specific in your accusation.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:35, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
You wrote, "If every individual would be implicitly allowed to follow the same pattern, we would end up having a Wikimedia tech community blatantly racist, misogynist, xenophobe, etc." What else could that mean, other than that you think Wikimedia developers are inherently racist, sexist, etc.? Yaron Koren (talk) 15:20, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Yaron Koren: Nothing in Quim's comment remotely suggests he is criticizing the actual community as racist. He said "If every individual" followed a discriminatory pattern, and the CoC allowed that, the community would reflect that. He did not say it actually was a common problem. Your hypothetical addressed an inherent racist, so it is correct that Quim's hypothetical addressed inherent racists as well. Neither of you said racism was actually a massive problem in the community. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:03, 4 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
No - he didn't say "followed", he only said "allowed to follow". There's a world of difference there. Yaron Koren (talk) 00:15, 5 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Yaron Koren: your question boils down to "is it unacceptable behavior when a volunteer discriminates someone based on race etc by not helping them?", My reasoning to that question boils down to "Yes, that is unacceptable behavior, because if all community members would do the same, this community would clearly discriminate certain people because of their race, etc, and that would be clearly unacceptable behavior." I think this is a solid argument that makes no judgement on our existing community.
Now, to the grammar: if something is not "unacceptable" then it is "acceptable". If the problem is that I should have written "accepted to follow" instead of "allowed to follow", then well, sorry for my English. You asked for an apology or a clarification, I hope the latter works.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:57, 7 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Changing "allowed" to "accepted" wouldn't change things - you're still saying that MediaWiki devs are inherently racist. (Perhaps that's indeed what you think.) Anyway, I'm still wondering about my other question: would you support removing the "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups" part of the statement?
I am not saying saying that MediaWiki devs are inherently racist, and I don't think they are. @Yaron Koren: , can you please stop putting those words in my mouth and go back to the original topic of this section? I expressed my opinion about it days ago ("There might be a point on covering discrimination as a type of harassment, but...").--Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:39, 7 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Fine, I'll let the subject drop - it's good to know that that's not your opinion. I don't understand how that previous statement relates to my question - could you please just directly answer it? Yaron Koren (talk) 14:53, 7 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Frankly, I don't think there is a lot of value in continuing this conversation, so let's agree to let the subject drop completely. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 23:09, 7 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Yaron Koren: your question was "would you support removing the "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups" part of the statement?". My opinion about this was "There might be a point on covering discrimination as a type of harassment, but it would need to be better defined." plus some other details that you can read in my original comment above. If you are asking for a binary opinion yes/no, I don't have it. I keep reading others' opinions, trying to form my own.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:06, 8 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
That's a long way to say "I'm not sure", but thanks. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:17, 8 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose Oppose I worry that a line like this would somehow imply that its more ok to harras non-marginalized groups. Obviously marginalized groups have a higher likely-hood to face discrimination, which is bad, but I'm not sure that this line would be the best way to address that issue. Bawolff (talk) 19:35, 25 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support. However, I suggest changing it to "discrimination, particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups." In practice, discrimination is pretty much always against such groups (which is why they're called marginalized). But other kinds of discrimination are at least conceivable. For example (as someone of Indian descent) I wouldn't consider South Asians marginalized in tech fields. But we still might as well include discrimination against South Asians even as we focus on other groups for whom discrimination is much more likely.
One possible objection is that people could use such a line to argue that, say, Outreachy violates the code as "reverse discrimination". But I think many lines in this document are vulnerable to such bad-faith twisting, and there's no perfect way to prevent that.—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk)
  • Oppose Oppose I could support if you make it about discrimination in general, without limiting it to or calling out specific groups of people. And if we agree that false claims of discrimination may be considered as falling afoul of the "reports of unacceptable behavior must be done in good faith" clause. Anomie (talk) 14:53, 1 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    @Anomie: Yes, a bad-faith/deliberately false report of discrimination would certainly be covered. Any such report (regardless of the alleged violation) would be. (Note there is a proposal to change it to "Using the code of conduct system for purposes other than reporting genuine violations of the code of conduct [...]", but it is similar in substance). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 05:49, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Support. A lot of the counter-arguments seem to be focusing on unlikely scenarios instead of the more important big picture. Sure, we can shoot logic holes into this or any code or any body of law in general. That's not the point. The point is to protect as best as we can those who can not protect themselves but who are valuable to us. Obviously marginalized opinions and contributions are highly valued. And so we should protect them, even if we have to have a few awkward conversations that require us going beyond absolute pure cold hard logic and into something a bit more human. Someone mentioned that we do not have a judicial infrastructure to match government judicial infrastructures. Yes... we also don't have a body of law that spans millions of pages. We have a simple code that's mostly straightforward and born out of decent self reflection. Someone else asked what happens when one person who prefers to discriminate as part of their volunteer time is told they are doing something wrong. Well, first, that person is doing more harm than good. That's very important for us to agree on. If you produce some brilliant thing and then crap all over it, most sensible people will not dig through your crap to find the beautiful thing. Second, what if *everyone* discriminated against the same group? That's just as likely as the original scenario. So, personally, I'd rather protect against that and I am happy to be called upon to diffuse a few awkward confrontations that result from a rule that some think too strict. I would, in general, advise that we use our energy more wisely than to argue for discrimination, no matter how loose the term. Milimetric (WMF) (talk) 04:27, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

If I may ask - do you support or oppose restricting this prohibition to just "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups"? And could you explain your reasoning? Yaron Koren (talk) 14:16, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose Oppose I agree with others that the current wording makes it seem like we're more opposed to discrimination against marginalized groups than others. A principle opposing discrimination in general would be welcome. Could we change "Offensive, derogatory, or discriminatory comments." to "Offensive, derogatory, or discriminatory actions and comments." - will that be sufficient to cover the case the current proposal intends to address? -- NiharikaKohli (talk) 14:54, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    • @NiharikaKohli: I think your proposed wording would cover most of it, but part of the role of a code of conduct is to demonstrate the community's priorities to potential new contributors. For that reason, I think it's worth highlighting both discrimination and marginalized groups in a separate item; this would help communicate that we as a community strong and enforceably oppose discrimination and understand that, in practice, it affects some groups a lot more than others (for the record, that's not the same thing as saying that we think discrimination is common in our community). What do you think about this wording?

[Unacceptable behavior includes:] Discrimination, particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. (Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged.)

Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 19:33, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose Oppose as written. I support the principle, but I agree with Niharika and Neil that the underrepresented groups part should be changed. I'd prefer to keep the reference but make it non-exclusive (as Neil suggests), but I'd also support a general discrimination clause without that reference (similar to what Niharika suggests). --Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talk) 19:38, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Neutral Neutral I think these two optins (1- the suggested change 2- NiharikaKohli's suggestion) are good and interchangeable and I've no preference between these two. I've got a note about the race card: ِyou all heard w:The Boy Who Cried Wolf. It's natural that the CoC committee ignores people who play the race card (or other minorities) too many times Ladsgroup (talk) 13:21, 10 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

New proposed wording[edit]

Should the following be added to the bulleted list in Unacceptable behavior?

"Discrimination (unless required by law), particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. (Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged.)"

"unless required by law" is meant to address the age discrimination issue raised (age restrictions are necessary for legal reasons in certain contracts).

This addresses several issues raised in the prior discussion. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:13, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Consensus reached. One person objected to "a ban on discrimination as a whole". He and another person also disagreed with the wording about outreach (for context on this, see the prior discussion). There was also one neutral position. Overall, there was strong consensus. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:55, 31 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Let me see if I can summarize: there was a discussion period during which several people raised objections and/or attempts at clarification, which were for the most part ignored; followed by a lull of several days; followed by some sort of canvassing after which four people from the WMF added their support over the span of two hours; then a quick wrap-up, which again did not respond to any of the unresolved questions. Do I have that about right? Yaron Koren (talk) 00:47, 1 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
No, you do not. The first discussion on this started February 24. It was then updated in response to feedback, and the most recent discussion lasted two weeks. It was not a "quick wrap-up"; the overall process just of this sentence lasted over a month. Several people responded to you, and to other people's concerns (in fact, concerns raised in the prior section are why this new text was proposed to begin with). You have the right to agree or disagree with their responses. That does not mean they didn't consider your points and respond. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:14, 4 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support as proposer. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:13, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose Oppose - I see a number of issues with this wording - and with the concept of trying to enforce a ban on discrimination as a whole - but one big issue here is that this text introduces at least four big concepts, without defining any of them: "discrimination", "marginalized group", "underrepresented group" and "outreach". And possibly five, with "particularly" - what does this word mean, given that any discrimination would be unacceptable already? Most of the rest of the document covers harassment, and spells that out in fairly explicit detail. This little sub-clause would introduce a whole new category of wrongdoing - discrimination - but offer no further explanation. And I don't think I'm nitpicking here, because I think being forced to spell out exactly what is forbidden and what is encouraged would bring to the surface some of the internal contradictions in an anti-discrimination rule. Yaron Koren (talk) 13:17, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Neutral Meh I'm still not too fond of it implying that some types of discrimination are less bad than others (some types are less of a concern because they're not as endemic as others, but that doesn't make them less bad), but at least it's not restricting it to only some types of discrimination anymore. The sentence structure with interrupting parentheticals seems poor to me. IMO, better wording might be something like "Discrimination, unless required by law (e.g. age restrictions for legal reasons). Targeted outreach to marginalized or otherwise underrepresented groups is not considered discrimination and is encouraged." Anomie (talk) 13:42, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    • "Some types are less of a concern because they're not as endemic as others." I agree, which is exactly why I think it's important to call out the types that are (much) more of a concern. Is there other wording you think would accomplish that better?—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 17:49, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
      • IMO the wording I suggested accomplishes what needs to be accomplished. I don't think that acknowledging the level or concern of every pervasive social ill is within the scope of the Code of Conduct. In scope is making the social ill itself is against the Code. Anomie (talk) 13:41, 18 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Vastly improved wording. If given a choice though, I'd prefer the wording Anomie suggested above which lays it out more simply and clearly. I feel it's important to include the example for the "unless required by law" clause because it's not obvious when might such a scenario come up. NiharikaKohli (talk) 14:47, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Wordsmithing might still be possible, but it's good enough to criticize. Thank you for demonstrating leadership by adding this expression of our desire to serve all of humanity. -- RobLa-WMF (talk) 17:24, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support. Marginalized groups, by definition, suffer the overwhelming majority of discrimination. Our wording should demonstrate we understand that.—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 17:49, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support--Vituzzu (talk) 18:11, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Echoing User:Neil P. Quinn-WMF's and User:RobLa-WMF's words. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 18:37, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Comment/question - if someone were to organize a hackathon in the U.S. open to only evangelical Christians, would that be unacceptable or encouraged? Yaron Koren (talk) 19:23, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Under the wording being proposed, yes - it makes it pretty clear that any act of discrimination that's not legally required would be either unacceptable or encouraged. Yaron Koren (talk) 23:44, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Yaron Koren: obviously, this wording would prohibit any discrimination against evangelical Christians. It would only allow closed programs for them if they were marginalized and underrepresented within the Mediawiki world. Someone who was interested in running such a program could demonstrate that by providing evidence that evangelical Christians face systematic barriers to entering similar groups, like open-source software projects, free-culture movements, or San Francisco-based tech companies. I doubt that such barriers exist, but I could be proven wrong.—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 07:27, 18 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
There's nothing in the wording about providing evidence, or "systematic barriers" - as I noted before, this potential clause says nothing about what it means to be a marginalized or underrepresented group, or the criteria for establishing that. Also, the words are "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented", not "marginalized and underrepresented". Anyway, systematic barriers or no, I would have to imagine that evangelical Christians are indeed underrepresented in... whatever they're supposed to be underrepresented in (the MediaWiki community?). Yaron Koren (talk) 13:17, 18 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Oppose Oppose The wording implies that targeted outreach to non-marginalized groups is not allowed. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 07:11, 18 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    The tricky part there is where is the line between "outreach specifically to non-marginalized groups" and "discrimination against the marginalized groups by making them ineligible for your outreach program"? I don't know the answer to that. Or, for that matter, where there might be a line between "outreach" and "something more than outreach" that even a minority-targeted program could fall afoul of. Anomie (talk) 13:40, 18 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    Tricky questions should be left to the committee to decide on a case by case basis, instead of trying to answer them in the code of conduct. But the current wording sounds like a wholesale ban of outreach to non-marginalized groups. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 17:47, 19 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    As I read it, it bans organizing a hackathon for only boys, but allows for a hackathon for only girls. So your outreach is allowed to reach non-marginalized groups (NMG), it's just not allowed to target only the NMG. NMGs don't need something organised for just them (there is no reason to ristrict people from marginalized groups participating), while it can be empowering for a marginalized group to have some place where they are not marginalized. Valhallasw (talk) 21:30, 19 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    Interesting. I've been slightly involved with a CS program doing outreach (I think it counts as outreach anyway) to schools before, and I believe that this would've been problematic for them because of the existence of single-sex education in the UK. But maybe schools would qualify as marginalised here because of under 18s? I don't oppose based on this, mainly because I doubt Wikimedia plans to do school-based outreach for technical things. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 21:51, 19 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    My interpretation there would be that it's OK to work with those schools, as long as you work with both male-only and female-only schools. If you have to choose only one school to work with, choose a female-only school. Valhallasw (talk) 22:15, 19 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    Which would be fairly ridiculous. In the real world, you would pick schools based on their willingness to work with you, not ideological reasons. If the CoC gets in the way of that, that's a problem. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 10:32, 20 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    I find it very unlikely you would be able to find a male-only school but no female-only school willing to work with you. The 'willing to work with you' argument is reminiscent of the 'but no women wanted to be on the panel' argument when there is another all-male panel at a conference. If you can't find any women for on your panel (and if you can't find a female-only school to work with) then you probably haven't tried hard enough to find them. Valhallasw (talk) 11:40, 20 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    Actually, I would think having a hackathon for boys only, whether through a same-sex school or otherwise, would be allowed - encouraged, even - because children as a whole are an underrepresented group in the MediaWiki community. Yaron Koren (talk) 23:23, 20 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    I would not be comfortable making armchair declarations like that, nor supporting a policy that makes armchair declarations like that. In any case, single-sex schools is not a particularly useful example; e.g. an invitation that is only understandable to Dutch speakers (because I only happen to speak Dutch) is targeted outreach to a non-marginalized group. There are a million valid reasons for a volunteer to limit outreach efforts to a specific non-underrepresented group; an organization like the WMF with significant legal, social and communications resources might be held to a higher standard but applying such a standard to volunteers is unreasonable. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 01:38, 21 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support. I'm fine with either the proposed wording or Anomie's. Most of the oppose arguments above seem to be pretty thin strawmen, IMO. We all know what discrimination looks like, so there's no reason to try to invent absurd scenarios. Kaldari (talk) 21:29, 29 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    • I assume you're grouping my question, "If someone were to organize a hackathon in the U.S. open to only evangelical Christians, would that be unacceptable or encouraged?", into the "absurd scenarios". It may be absurd, but it's still a simple question, and I have yet to hear anyone answer it in a way that doesn't directly contradict the proposed text. Since you think this issue is clear-cut, could you please answer the question? Yaron Koren (talk) 02:06, 30 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
    • I'd still like to hear whether targeted outreach to non-marginalized/underrepresented groups is considered discriminatory. If not, the sentence is phrased poorly and should be improved (e.g. by replacing "Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged." with "Targeted outreach is not, in itself, considered discrimination."). If it is, I fail to see how pointing that out could be a strawman.
    Suppose I want to organize a hackathon in Hungary, in Hungarian language. That is clearly an outreach activity targeted at Hungarian speakers - a group that is not marginalized, and I have no reason to believe it is particularly underrepresented. The current wording implies I am not allowed to do that. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 09:37, 30 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support per Kaldari. Greg (WMF) (talk) 21:59, 29 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support Awjrichards (WMF) (talk) 22:22, 29 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
  • Support +1 to Kaldari AGomez (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 30 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Enforcement issues[edit]

Should the following changes regarding enforcement be made?:

  • Remove "Project administrators and maintainers have the right and are expected to take action on any communication or contribution that violates this Code of Conduct."
  • Replace "Report the problem to the administrators, maintainers, or designated contacts of the space where the problem is happening." with "If you are at an event, report the problem to the event organizers, or a designated contact."
  • Add "Attempting to revert a decision of the Committee, e.g. unblocking someone during a period the Committee banned them" under "Unacceptable behavior" "Attempting to circumvent a decision of the Committee or appeals body, e.g. unblocking someone during a period the Committee banned them" (EDITED to adopt feedback from ongoing discussion; please express your opinion about this).

The goal is to make the process more effective and clear.

Several people have objected to the provision about administrators and maintainers. If the first and second points were adopted, people would still able to talk to maintainers informally. But the text wouldn't imply a formal obligation existed.

The third point is in order to prevent wheel wars. The draft already has reconsideration and appeals processes. Wheel wars should not substitute for that. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:43, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Consensus reached on the first two points. Some people raised concerns with the third, or suggested alternate wording, so there is a followup discussion on a new version at #Circumvention text new wording. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:23, 17 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support first two changes. Third one needs significant thought and work to ensure that only official committee-created blocks are enforced. Also remember that if a case is referred to someone acting on behalf of WMF (e.g. Developer Relations is mentioned), they cannot be allowed to control administrator decisions. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 02:03, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
@Krenair: The details of the appeals process (including appeals body) will be finalized later, but I think most people are supportive of an appeals process. It's true the current draft specifies Developer Relations as the appeal body. If there is an appeals process, the appeals body (whoever it is) needs to have the ability to make decisions (otherwise, it's not really a meaningful appeal); the appeals body's authority will derive from the CoC. I've updated the proposed text accordingly. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:18, 2 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support the first two changes, as per Krenair. As others have noted, project admins are in charge of code, not of people. I have no opinion on the third one. Yaron Koren (talk) 02:41, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support the first two changes, as per Krenair and Yaron Koren. --Ricordisamoa 04:53, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
OK with the first one, with the second one I would leave the option to report to space maintainers - i.e., if that happens in team's space, maybe team leader can handle it. On the third, "attempt" sounds like very broad and may include legitimate discussion and appeal to the Commission to reconsider, for example. I don't think it's unacceptable. Maybe it should be "Attempting to circumvent a decision of the Committee" so it's clear it is about things done outside of the process? --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 04:57, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Similarly, Support the first two, neutral on the third. Jmabel (talk) 04:59, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Second and third sounds reasonable (Smalyshev's wording is fine too). I would prefer keeping the first but rewording so that it doesn't suggest an obligation (e.g. replace "expected" with "encouraged"). --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 08:04, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support to the three points (although seeing the comments it might be worth to have an own section about the third). I have expressed my opinions about the added moral obligations of administrators and maintainers, but I'm fine removing that line. I think this point is more contentious in theory than in practice, and I see no point in keeping fighting about it.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:29, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support First and second points, regarding third one Smalyshev's wording seems better to me.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 08:34, 24 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support. I think maintainers have a moral obligation to oppose harassment or bad behavior they witness. But people have raised some good points about some maintainers being untrained or reluctant to take on a formal role as enforcer, so I'm content to leave it an informal expectation for the moment.—Neil P. Quinn-WMF (talk) 02:08, 26 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support With the new wording of #3. "Circumvent" captures what I think we should be saying much better. Re #1 and #2, ideally I'd like there to be something encouraging people to talk to administrators of virtual spaces, but I think that the current text is a bit too heavy-handed and that making the proposed changes would be better than not making them. --Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 9 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Support SSastry (WMF) (talk) 19:32, 23 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Circumvention text new wording[edit]

Since some people already expressed their opinion before I put up the new text, this new talk page section is specifically about whether to add:

"Attempting to circumvent a decision of the Committee or appeals body, e.g. unblocking someone during a period the Committee banned them"

in Unacceptable behavior. This is based on Smalyshev (WMF)'s feedback, and also would clarify that the same applies to the appeals body. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:33, 10 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Consensus reached. Strong consensus for these clarifications. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:14, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply


I've been thinking about this a bit more and am more unhappy with those references to a specific WMF team. What if WMF decides to disband the team? Will we necessarily be able to get an amendment to such a policy through to change it to a different group? I notice that it's already been reorganised a bit since this started, based on looking at wmf:Staff and contractors (and I'm not sure is so clearly defined now?). And what if someone on this team is involved in a matter before the committee? There's nothing in the CoI section about that. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 22:12, 14 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Yes, if the team were disbanded, the policy would have to be amended. Good point on the CoI section. I've added text to the draft. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:16, 15 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
The second parts of the confidentiality section will also need to address the appeals body, and probably other parts too. And since you're involving parts of the official WMF structure in this, we need to ensure it's explicitly excluding anyone they report to from being permitted to see anything private (except when required by procedures of the Code of Conduct itself or the law). --Krenair (talkcontribs) 01:46, 16 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

I have also been thinking about this problem. One potential way to simplify the appeals / delegations part would be to detach the different parts, and solve each in a specific way:

Appeals can have these possibilities:

  • Appeals go to the same CoC, with new arguments.
  • Appeals go to a WMF body, say a group of identified Community Engagement members that could be renewed based on their personal circumstances (i.e. leaving the WMF)
  • Appeals go to another body, e.g. the admins of the space where the problem occurred, the Architecture Committee, the Board...

About delegations, what if we would differentiate between receiving support for a case and actually delegating it? The Support and Safety team handles cases to protect the safety and integrity of people. If a reported situation reaches those levels, then it is probably a good idea to delegate the case to them, the experts. If a reported situation is complex but doesn't reach those levels of severity, then the CoC committee should be still able to handle it, but they could ask for support.

Combining both factors, I think the best solution might be to have a group of a few (three?) Community Engagement members with roles / skills related to this area, that would help the committee in complex situations. They could also advise the committee when a case should be delegated to Support & Safety.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:03, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Nine months[edit]

This document has been under discussion for nine months. In that time involvement by non-WMF employees has dropped to virtually zero (most recent votes on changes have included 100% WMF employee participation). Can discussion please be closed and the document marked as not issued? There is no evidence or research to suggest that the draft process and committee would be effective in ensuring an improved on-line environment, that volunteers would feel safer from harassment, or whether volunteers would gain new risks from arbitrary claims of harassment by applying the process. Compared to actively promoting established safe space policies, the draft is heavy handed and heavily bureaucratic. Thanks -- (talk) 17:10, 24 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

I agree. Not only that I see no evidence that the WMF can or would support it. Especially in light of recent events I totally agree that IRC needs to be included in the WMF's policies, but that can and should be done with existing policies and guidelines, not in new ones. Reguyla (talk) 16:42, 25 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
It became clear to me some months ago that this was a WMF venture. Indeed, it transpires that it is a Phabricator task for various WMF teams phab:T90908 and there is a related blocker phab:T126605; and there is a hint as to the dynamic behind this effort at meta:Talk:Technical_Collaboration. So the appropriate procedure from now will be for WMF staff to work on completing it, perhaps with some comments from volunteers, possibly even taken into account, and then promulgated to the community. The only remaining question is, will that promulgation take the form of a request for comments, a request for endorsement, or simply as a fait accompli? I note that the closely related issue of meta:Event Ban policy was promulgated in the form of a WMF policy with no visible community involvement. It is perhaps strange that since that policy and this code of conduct will inevitably interact, there has been no attempt that I can see to align the two initiatives. However, I am sure that staff time and effort is available to complete this task to the satisfaction of the community. Given the length of time that has already been spent on this, and the important tasks that it blocks on Phabricator, perhaps an explicit timeline could be published here as well as at T90908. If on the other hand that effort is not going to be available from the WMF on a realistic timescale, then the discussion and the document should be closed down. That would be a shame for all sorts of reasons, but we understand that there are limits to the resources of the WMF. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 09:23, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

There is an escape though: given some WMF employees want this so much, this could be morphed into a self-regulation code for WMF employees, approved either by referendum among themselves or simply by individual opt-in. (Of course people less versed in office politics may see a risk in joining; but whoever joins could still wear the "code of conduct badge" and feel proud.) The only question then would be whether to accept complaints from people who are not subject to the regulation. Nemo 14:29, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

If this document has been under discussion for months it's because there continues to be something interesting to be discussed. Wikimedia is full of dead proposals. The promoters of this CoC are taking the time that is needed to have the best CoC we can provide to this community. We are taking participation and criticism seriously, and this requires time. There has been progress every month. Most of the topics discussed (i.e. the definition of inappropriate behavior) are not WMF specific. We are responding to criticism and good ideas regardless of signatures and affiliations. --Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:36, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

I'm so glad to hear that you feel that there is something interesting to discuss. The object of this exercise, though, is not to have interesting discussions but to deliver something, namely a code of conduct that is fair, workable, acceptable to and accepted by the community, and improves the effectiveness of collaboration in technical spaces. If we date the explicit requirement for this code as coming from phab:T87773, which was later merged into T90908, then it dates back to January 2015. March 2016 seems rather late to still be having these first stage discussions. It is clear that some kind of schedule is necessary, otherwise these interesting discussions will continue indefinitely. Is anyone prepared to take responsibility for drawing up the schedule and driving this forward to the next stage, whatever that may be?
It would also be good to hear what is meant by "provide to the community". Does this mean that when the current stage of discussion is over, by whatever criterion, that the code will be imposed on the community by WMF authority? Or will it be remitted to the community for acceptance or not as it stands? Or will it be the subject of a further indefinite period of interesting discussions by a much wider group of volunteers? What are the plans for the implementation, and who is responsible for delivering it?
Finally let me point out, what is clear from Phabricator, that delivery of this code is seen as blocking phab:T124288 "Communication channels between communities and teams involved in the product development process" which in turn is blocking phab:T124022 "Goal: Clarify community engagement in WMF product development process". Considering that the WMF has been struggling with the last of these for some years, that the failure to do so has led on several occasions to dissenson within the community and the WMF, and to the signficiant waste of donor time and volunteer effort, it seems that we can no longer afford the luxury of indefinitely protracted discussions, however interesting, leading to indefinite delay in delivering this code. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 08:22, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Believe me, the promoters of this CoC would like to have a text approved and a committee formed as soon as possible. Too long conversations may be an expensive problem indeed, but what is the alternative? At the Developer Relations team we tried to set a time frame by making "Code of Conduct for technical spaces approved, committee created" a quarterly goal for October - December 2015. We missed that goal, but we didn't regret it. The WMF pushing a community discussion with a deadline may become a much worse problem, as we have seen in other situations. Making this CoC a blocker of other goals is a more flexible way to express the relevance and urgency of this task. I'm looking forward to have a good enough version approved, to supersede the current ad hoc approaches to reports, and to be fine tuned with real experiences if needed.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:58, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I agree the code needs to be delivered. Work is actively ongoing to that end, as you can see here. As Quim says, we're going to keep it moving, but we're not going to rush it. This work did not start January 2015, but rather July 2015. Further, the discussions right now are certainly not first stage. We are done with everything from 1.1 to 1.5 (Code of Conduct page), except 1.2, which is almost done. The remaining sections will be worked on more soon. T90908 is assigned to me, and I am driving it forward. However, I appreciate that a lot of people (volunteers and staff) are working on it collaboratively. This project has taken a lot of hard work by many people. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:58, 29 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
FWIW the Contributor Covenant (probably the most widely used community code of conduct document) took nine months from initiation to 1.0 (and then two more years to the current version), so our speed does not seem extraordinarily slow. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 08:38, 29 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
I'm glad to hear that you feel the rate of progress is acceptable. I do not. It would be reassuring to hear that there was a definite timeline, but apparently that is not regarded as necessary. I have already asked what the next stage will be after this discussion has evolved an agreed text. Will it be remitted to the community at large for a further indefinite discussion? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:03, 29 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Harassment Survey 2015[edit]

(Bringing my thoughts on the Phabricator task over here. Apologies for the confusion)

Unfortunately given the results of the recent harassment survey I'd say we don't have to worry about external trends to influence our decision. Harassment is something our community needs to deal with. An enforceable code of conduct is (one) first step to addressing these issues.

For others tracking this work who have not read it, I suggest reading the survey results. It is something relevant and worth reviewing in light of this discussion.


Ckoerner (talk) 04:33, 2 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

What's the connection between harassment on Wikipedia and harassment among Wikimedia technical developers? Isn't that like extrapolating from the behavior of people who go to bars to the behavior of people who brew beer? Yaron Koren (talk) 01:21, 11 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
The scope of the survey is Wikimedia projects, which includes Wikimedia technical spaces.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:57, 11 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
My apologies - I thought this was a purely Wikipedia-based survey, but I see (according to page 24), that 92% of the people who reported being harassed had it happen on Wikipedia, while 1% had it happen on "MediaWiki" (whatever exactly that means). I'd say my original point still stands, though, statistically speaking. Yaron Koren (talk) 01:29, 12 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
In order to know whether your point stands or not, we still need a data point: the percentage of visitors of "MediaWiki" that were harassed in "MediaWiki". To put an extreme example, if 99% of the participants in the survey were not harassed in "MediaWiki" but didn't visit it either, that would mean that the 100% of the rest (1%) were harassed in "MediaWiki" indeed.
But there is a simpler point to all this. There is harassment and disrespect in Wikimedia technical spaces. I have seen it, I have spoken with others that have suffered it, I have got to deal with it, and I'm sure what I have seen is only a portion. That is what motivates me to support this work.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:07, 12 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
MediaWiki has about 3% as much active users and 0.2% as much pageviews as enwiki, so it does not seem like it's particularly underrepresented in the responses.
That said I think the most helpful thing that could happen to this discussion in its current state would be testimonials about past harassment, instead of vague claims that person X has heard about many / other communities have lots so we must have too. I understand this is a sensitive issue, the target of harassment does not always want to speak about it, or might become a target again by speaking out, but even so I doubt it's hard to find examples where the subject is willing to talk about it. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 17:09, 12 February 2016 (UTC)Reply
Qgil - I wasn't making any statement about harassment, just questioning an apparently flawed analysis by Chris. Tgr - I wasn't criticizing the survey, just questioning its applicability. Yaron Koren (talk) 01:25, 13 February 2016 (UTC)Reply

Hi Qgil-WMF. In both this section and in other sections, you've raised harassment hypotheticals. In this section specifically, you state "There is harassment and disrespect in Wikimedia technical spaces." Like Tgr, I'm curious about specific examples, not hypothetical examples. Do you have a specific example of harassment or other unacceptable behavior in Gerrit? Do you have a specific example of harassment or other unacceptable behavior in Phabricator? I'm curious to see these examples and learn how the existing processes failed. --MZMcBride (talk) 23:59, 23 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

I can't speak for Gerrit but certainly there has been some problematic behavior on the Mailing lists, IRC and even Phabricator. As I said elsewhere though I don't think this document is the right direction. It's a solution looking for a problem. We already have too many conflicting policies and guidelines in place now, it seems more logical to just include conduct in these off wiki areas under existing policies. Currently the argument is made that X doesn't apply because it's off wiki (Mailing lists, IRC, Phabricator, etc.) however I think the communities, the WMF and the movement would be better served to simply state that these things do fall under Wiki policy as long as the areas represent participation by some are of the WMF. So if the Wiki policy says X, then X also applies to IRC and the Mailing lists as well. Although there are differences that would need to be clarified, this would make a lot more sense than creating a new Code of Conduct that no one will follow or enforce evenly and fairly. Reguyla (talk) 16:56, 25 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@MZMcBride: I'm not talking about hypotheticals. The Developer Relations team (before Engineering Community Team) has received dozens of reports, and we continue receiving them. Sometimes we find situations of inappropriate behavior, and we act on them directly. I agree with the CoC draft where it says that reporters and those reported deserve confidentiality and this is why I won't share details. I'm pretty sure that contributors who have been long enough in Phabricator or Gerrit have seen cases of inappropriate behavior. We are not inventing a problem here.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:52, 26 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Hi Qgil-WMF. I don't believe that a reasonable and fair discussion can be had if one side refuses to provide any evidence for its extraordinary claims. When pressed for specific examples, you're unable to provide any. How can anyone involved in this discussion then evaluate potential solutions to a problem that's left intentionally undefined?
It seems quite clear to me that the burden of proof rests on the people making claims of such rampant harassment that a MediaWiki-specific arbitration committee is needed. You cannot ask others to prove a negative. I follow Gerrit, Phabricator, and the technical mailing lists fairly closely. If you're receiving dozens of complaints, surely you can provide a few specific examples for the people on this talk page who are asking, repeatedly, for you and others to substantiate your claims. Particularly in the context of forums such as Phabricator and Gerrit, how often are there problems requiring attention and how often are the current set of processes and procedures insufficient? --MZMcBride (talk) 03:18, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
@MZMcBride: Quim was explaining what motivated him to support this work. If you think he might be lying, well -- you're entitled to think that, but it is neither here nor there. Harassment is common in online communities. Given this background, even if you think harassment is something that only happens elsewhere, it is still important to send a signal to current and would-be members of our community that we don't consider harassment acceptable, and that we have protocols and processes in place for dealing with it. --Ori Livneh (talk) 04:35, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Hi Ori Livneh. I think in the context of discussing new protocols and processes for specific forums such as Gerrit and Phabricator, we must examine actual problems happening within those forums. Then, any potential solution to these actual problems can be measured against the problems themselves. Whether Quim is a liar is irrelevant: I believe in verifiability, not truth. That's a core wiki principle.
Another benefit to providing specific examples is that it provides calibration for the system. Are we sure that everyone is talking about the same kinds of behavior? You (Ori) use Gerrit and Phabricator pretty heavily. Have you observed Gerrit or Phabricator users harassing other users, making threats of violence, stalking users, etc.? Maybe I'm just not subscribed to the same tasks, changesets, and pastes as others. When diagnosing and addressing issues in a system, I think you and anyone else would require hard evidence in order to make significant changes to the architecture or infrastructure.
Your argument that it's "still important to send a signal to current and would-be members of our community that we don't consider harassment acceptable" seems to completely ignore that we already have wmf:Terms of Use and wmf:Code of conduct and several other pages, some of which are linked from Code of Conduct/Draft#See also. What's your point, exactly? --MZMcBride (talk) 04:57, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
How exactly can we provide data without risking to expose those reporting and those being reported, and without risking to reopen wounds? If someone has a good answer, we are happy to follow up. Meanwhile, MZMcBride, precisely because you follow this community fairly closely, I believe that you have seen enough evidence of social problems with your own eyes. Maybe your are minimizing the relevance of these problems, maybe we have different definitions of what constitutes a social problem. A Code of Conduct is useful to have a less subjective measurement of social problems in our community.
Let me add that the current definition of inappropriate behavior in the draft CoC has been already useful to guide our opinions on some reports. A CoC is useful not only to identify cases of harassment and disrespect, it is also helpful to identify situations reported where someone's behavior might still be questionable or uncomfortable, but without constituting a CoC violation. Again, definitions help, and this is also a very Wikimedia thing.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:24, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
Could you provide anonymized stories (with the permission of the victim)? Or at least statistics? --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 22:36, 28 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
For what it's worth, I agree with MZMcBride (and others) on this issue; I too am curious as to what these incidents of harassment have looked like, and I think it's quite relevant to the discussion. I'm not saying that harassment never occurs - I've seen a few cases over the years of overt rudeness and personal attacks, but I'm not aware that it's widespread, and I've never seen such things on Gerrit and Phabricator, for instance. If privacy is a concern, could you at least describe the harassment in general terms? Was it name-calling? Threats? Sexual harassment? Something else? Yaron Koren (talk) 23:07, 4 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
On publishing harassment reports data, see #Tracking current reports.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:14, 21 April 2016 (UTC)Reply

Explicit connections to Event Ban Policy[edit]

As Rogol has pointed out on Meta Wiki, there is also a draft meta:Event Ban policy. Since both of these policy documents cover similar domains, it would be ideal if each contains some commentary about how it relates to the other. -Pete F (talk) 18:10, 27 March 2016 (UTC)Reply

Both documents are complementary, and I'm not sure they need to reference each other in their policy content. The CoC has a See also section, the Event Ban Policy has none.
This CoC is a proposal for a community policy applicable to online and offline technical spaces. The Event Ban Policy is a Wikimedia Foundation policy that covers all the events organized or funded by the WMF. This CoC defines a process through which community members might be banned. That policy defines how a community ban (i.e. by the Code of Conduct committee) could be enforced in WMF events if needed. CoC committee resolutions including bans should define the scope of those bans, and whether they include Wikimedia technical events or not. The Event Ban Policy defines a process for the WMF and the event organizers to assure that global and local bans are observed in their events.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:43, 31 March 2016 (UTC)Reply
This proposal and the Event Ban Policy (more specifcally its process) both give instructions to event organisers as to what to do if an incident of harassment occurs at a meeting ("Attending an event from which one is banned is a form of harassment"). It would be helpful to ensure that both sets of instructions are consistent, and, if they are not, explain how to reconcile any inconsistency. Of course, it might be that you regard it as entirely acceptable to issue inconsistent or even contradictory sets of instructions to event organisers: if so, you might like to say so explicitly for future reference. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:01, 1 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
It's true that both (draft or approved) policies mention events. What inconsistency do you see? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:28, 4 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Your use of the word "mention" is curiously vague. Both this Code and the Event Ban Policy are intended to be in force simultaneously at certain types of event -- is this in dispute? The attendance of a banned user at an event covered by this Code is deemed to be an act of harassment. Simply walk through a simple scenario for yourself and decide whether or not the procedures laid down by this that draft you are proposing for dealing with an act of harassment are consistent with those laid down by the Event Ban policy process. If the consensus among those drafting this code is that there is no inconsistency, then no doubt they will be happy to take responsibility for any problems that arise in practice. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 22:00, 4 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
As far as I can see, the Event Ban Policy specifies what should happen when a banned user shows up at an event (i.e. 'call the police'). Showing up at an event is also a violation of the CoC, so there can be (further) sanctions imposed. If you see an inconsistency in that, please clarify what it is. Valhallasw (talk) 08:29, 5 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
I rather think that the onus is on those drafting this Code to consider the interaction with the existing policies in the areas where they overlap and explicitly address the issue of consistency. So far there appears to be no evidence that the people drafting this Code have considered the issue in any detail. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 10:01, 5 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Rogol Domedonfors, I can only repeat that both documents are complementary. I see no conflict and no inconsistency. Could you provide an example of how these documents could conflict with each other?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:40, 5 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
If you have considered the matter and are satisfied that the two processes are consistent, and are prepared to stand by that, then that is all that we can reasonably expect. Thank you. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 12:52, 5 April 2016 (UTC)Reply

Problems in the Wikimedia tech communities[edit]

I have been asking people about their opinions on the CoC at the Wikimedia Hackathon 2016, especially among volunteers that haven't participated here. The replies could be mainly classified in two groups: "about time -- sorry that I couldn't follow all the discussion" and "right, but is there really a problem...?". Since there have been some questions about the types of problems we have in our technical spaces, let me share what can be shared without risking privacy issues or reviving past situations.

Relying on my memory (since we are not keeping records systematically), in the past three years the Developer Relations team (before Engineering Community Team) has dealt with issues related to these points mentioned in the CoC draft:

  • Personal attacks, violence, threats of violence, or deliberate intimidation.
  • Offensive, derogatory, or discriminatory comments.
  • Gratuitous or off-topic use of sexual language or imagery.
  • Inappropriate or unwanted attention, touching, or physical contact (sexual or otherwise).
  • Inappropriate or unwanted public or private communication, following, or any form of stalking.
  • Unwanted photography or recording.
  • Harming the discussion or community with methods such as sustained disruption, interruption, or blocking of community collaboration (i.e. trolling).

There might have been other types of unacceptable behavior that I don't recall right now, or that were not reported to our team. Since "talk with Andre and Quim" is not an official process, it may well be that newcomers and other non-core contributors won't find a way to share incidents affecting to them. We have also received reports about other types of conduct that we considered out of scope of what the CoC defines as unacceptable behavior.

Andre and I have been dealing with these incidents with the best of our knowledge and intentions, without a process or framework, sometimes with help of other people that we have reached out for advice. Sometimes the problems are quickly resolved when we talk with the parties involved, sometimes the problems are more complex, and we do miss an agreed definition and a reporting process like the CoC proposes.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:18, 5 April 2016 (UTC)Reply

I wonder if we can have some reporting for this. From what I understand, since most complaints are handled privately, "is there really a problem" is a common question. If we could have some kind of generic report - e.g., "last month we dealt with 2 complaints of type X and 2 of type Y. We implemented following resolutions: one stern looking at, one reprimand and one ban, and one complaint did not require further action." - or something in this vein, it would be easier for people to appreciate what we're talking about, what is going on, which remedies are usually necessary, etc. Of course, the privacy should be preserved and no details with PII or such should ever be published, but I think non-specific statistics would still be useful. Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 20:03, 7 April 2016 (UTC)Reply


It looks like I could have been a little clearer in my previous comment regarding the approval process. I meant that the draft text (the parts we've gone through so far) has been approved by community consensus, not that the Code of Conduct was already in force as policy. As stated before, it will become policy in conjunction with the discussion approving the last section of text. Before this, everyone will be able to work together as we finalize and approve the remaining parts of the draft. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:40, 10 April 2016 (UTC)Reply

That seems weird. So the right way of showing my opposition to the whole Code of Conduct is to oppose the last section? --Ricordisamoa 08:36, 10 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
So you've taken discussions about deciding what is okay to go into the draft, and have decided that they are community approval for the text to become policy when each other part of the page is similarly voted on? Sorry, but no, that's not approved by community consensus. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 16:39, 10 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Logically this is nonsense. -- (talk) 18:04, 10 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
As I indicated in a previous section, back in September the expectation was that the final draft of the Code would be submitted to the community for review and approval. It appears that at some stage WMF staff decided that this final step would be omitted: that is, that the Code would come into force as soon as it was complete. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:31, 10 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Hey folks. I think having an additional discussion/vote on the entire CoC at once would be fairly redundant at this point. It would also be an impractical way of dealing with additional feedback. Furthermore, everyone has had a considerable amount of time to weigh in here, whether to provide holistic or section-specific feedback. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 18:59, 12 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
I disagree. There doesn't need to be a further discussion, there only a final proposal with a yes/no vote whether it should take effect or not. I don't think it's redundant either -- asking someone to actively contribute over many months versus voting on a final proposal is very different in terms of effort spent. Finally, I think a vote is necessary to legitimize the code of conduct -- if it just 'becomes policy', the policy will keep an air of 'forced by the WMF'. A vote would show the community as a whole supports the policy. Valhallasw (talk) 21:24, 12 April 2016 (UTC)Reply

Suggested addition: Date of enactment[edit]

While legally it is clear that this contract does not apply retroactively, to protect former contributors who cease their participation when these terms come into effect IMHO it is useful to add the date of enactment to the second sentence in the form of:

"It applies both within physical spaces, such as Wikimedia technical events and Wikimedia technical presentations in other events, and virtual spaces (MediaWiki.org, wikitech.wikimedia.org, Phabricator, Gerrit, technical mailing lists, technical IRC channels, and Etherpad) since 2016-mm-dd."

This reminds potential harassers that there is no basis for communication with former contributors, and if that doesn't stop them it spares victims from proving to law enforcement that they did not consent to any special agreements between them and the harasser.

In what way does this "code" become a contract, especially in consideration that there is no exchange of property, at least for unpaid volunteers? -- (talk) 17:39, 1 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
A contract is the congruence of multiple declarations of intent.  The consideration of this contract is not monetary or some property, but that other parties refrain from exercising their freedom of speech and submit themselves to the Committee.  --Tim Landscheidt 19:12, 1 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
No, I think this is off-beam. I doubt it would be called a "contract" under UK law or US law (which requires a meaningful exchange of property to be enforced in court, otherwise it's just puffery about waiving legal rights to a "Committee" of unelected and unqualified amateurs), or represent the sort of proof for law enforcement you seem to be expecting. Adding a "date of enactment" appears to be wrapping an on-wiki guide in legalistic language that would be more likely to mislead contributors being harassed into thinking these are legal documents providing protection, or that the proposed committee has some sort of legal basis for authority. They are not and they are not intended to be "legal".
If they were, then it would be sensible to advise anyone setting up an account to consult an attorney before agreeing to a complex and open-ended "contract" that is likely to be amended or extended without official notice, and all accounts would have to be non-anonymous for the "contract" to be enforceable against identifiable individuals. -- (talk) 12:21, 2 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
If someone has questions about what they are agreeing to, I'd certainly advise to consult an attorney because if someone proposes to you a complex agreement it usually reflects their interests, not yours.  But my concern are not the remaining contributors, but the ones who have left and may still be hit because at a glance this draft makes it sound as if all contributors to Wikimedia projects always consented to it, and that is not the case.  --Tim Landscheidt 18:06, 2 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
It is clear that this is a WMF project -- it has been worked on almost entirely by WMF staff, it has been drawn up using WMF consultants whose report has not been revealed to the community, and it is linked to WMF team goals at phab:T90908.  It will presumably be implemented by WMF authority, on the basis that access to WMF servers, services and funds will require compliance with WMF rules, policies, terms and conditions.  I have asked for clarification on whether the community will be invited to discuss the Code before it is formally promulgated, and whether they will be asked to approve it, but no-one seems willing to say that either of those will happen.  As with the overlapping meta:Event Ban policy, I think we may expect that, once completed to the satisfaction of WMF staff, it will simply be brought into force without further ado.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:19, 2 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Matthew has described the approval process on wikitech-l: "When the last section is completed and approved on the talk page, the Code of Conduct will become policy and no longer be marked as a draft."  --Tim Landscheidt 22:13, 2 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for pointing that out -- I am a little surprised that the question I asked here about the next steps should have been answered elsewhere, on a list I don't subscribe to, without at least a cross-reference on this page.  But I suppose that WMF staff are very busy, and at least the answer is now public.  I dispute the wording community approval through the discussions on each section in that email: for the reasons I outlined already in this thread, and from my own experiences, this Code has not been approved by the community in any real sense.  It has been developed almost entirely by WMF staff, with minor input from non-staff volunteers, with parts of the discussion hidden from community view, and approved by WMF staff.  It is a WMF policy, imposed on the community by WMF action.  Why trouble to disguise that fact?  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 11:18, 3 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Sorry, you're right.  I intended to post that here as well, but I forgot.  I've now posted it on Phabricator as well:

We’ve gotten good participation as we’ve worked on sections of the Code of Conduct over the past few months, and have made considerable improvements to the draft based on your feedback.

Given that, and the community approval through the discussions on each section, the best approach is to proceed by approving section-by-section until the last section is done.

So, please continue to improve the Code of Conduct by participating now and as future sections are discussed.  When the last section is completed and approved on the talk page, the Code of Conduct will become policy and no longer be marked as a draft.

Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:25, 4 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Regarding your other statement, your characterization of this as a WMF policy is not accurate.  Anyone can see for themselves how this draft has changed extensively over a period of months due to both volunteer and staff involvement.  This started at a public meeting at the Wikimania Hackathon, and everyone has had continuous opportunities to participate since then.  Ultimately, people (especially volunteers) are going to work on the projects they want to and have time to work on.  Trying to dismiss the process due to a claimed lack of volunteers does not reflect that reality of how communities operate. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:28, 5 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
I do not see what else you can call it.  The volunteer involvement has been small; almost all the discussion and wording has come from WMF staff; two of the top three non-staff by contribution count are explicitly repudiating the claim of volunteer consensus in this very thread; almost all the declarations of consensus have been made by WMF staff members on the basis of discussions overwhelmingly involving other WMF staff members; some discussions were taken off this page to Phabricator without notification here; some of the input has been from WMF consultants commissioned by and reporting to WMF staff in a report not yet seen by volunteers; some of the input has been mandated by WMG Legal; the code will be overseen by a WMF team as final authority; promulgating the Code is a formal WMF team goal on Phabricator.  To say that is a WMF policy rather than a community consensus is not to "dismiss the process", it is to describe it.  You may wish it were otherwise, but to adopt your own wording, to call this a community consensus does not reflect reality.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:12, 6 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Rogol Domedonfors, the ownership of a policy is defined by who is invited to participate, not by the percentage of people that decide to participate. If we would have been after a WMF policy, we would have taken a very different approach and, say, after a review period of 30 days, we would have enacted it. Yet here we are, progressing at community speed, inviting the technical communities to participate in every new section, in every new decision, seeking community consensus as reasonably as we can. Besides, as I have said before, most of the topics being discussed are not WMF related. The definition of what constitutes unacceptable behavior (the most discussed topic by far) does not depend on whether you are volunteer or staff.
The fact is that the Wikimedia technical community is the only one where the percentage of WMF employees is a lot higher. While WMF employees can be community members of en.wiki etc only in their personal volunteer capacity (since we are explictly discouraged to edit articles from our WMF accounts), WMF employees working on technical projects are community members at Wikimedia tech in their full right, they may become (and frequently become) admins, maintainers, and organizers of other community activities. WMF employees working in tech projects also spend plenty of time in online & offline Wikimedia technical spaces, and therefore they are clear users of this CoC, either as potential offenders or potential victims. Therefore, would you agree that the participation in this discussion of WMF employees working in Wikimedia technical spaces is at least as relevant as the participation of volunteers who are rarely active in Phabricator, Gerrit, technical mailing lists as wikitech-l, technical events, or here at mediawiki.org?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 05:43, 7 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
You've gone off on a tangent here, but I note that you made a list in your question which is different to the CoC scope, I presume you had your reasons for doing so. The CoC includes "technical IRC channels, and Etherpad" and any event where "Wikimedia technical presentations" might be given (I presume this means given by WMF employees). Though there is a link on the word IRC, I do not believe for one minute that the intention is to limit the CoC to MediaWiki IRC channels, and Etherpad is widely used for almost any meeting or discussion. If you include those applicable spaces, then no, you cannot claim that WMF employees are the majority of participants and therefore must dominate the decision to implement this CoC and be obliged to comply with a WMF appointed Committee's decisions of who to ban or put on a secret list (this from the latest event ban document). -- (talk) 09:08, 8 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
I'm not claiming that "WMF employees are the majority of participants and therefore must dominate the decision to implement this CoC". I'm just saying that WMF employees working on technical projects are regular users of Wikimedia technical spaces, regular members of the Wikimedia technical community, and therefore their opinions count just as much, regardless of affiliation.
Look, I'm the first one willing to have a higher participation of technical volunteers, WMDE tech members, and people with other affiliations. I actually spend a significant amount of time asking them directly. However, what else can we do to increase this participation, in addition to all what we are doing already? We cannot pull their tongues or fingers. We cannot blame the WMF employees stepping by their own initiative for participating either. Reading some of the comments it sounds as if we are discriminating or censoring the participation of non-WMF people in this process. It is not the case, quite the opposite.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:08, 8 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
It seems rather late to ask that question.  If you go back in the archive to 19 September 2015, you will find that I requested "could the owner of the stakeholder list and the communications plans for those stakeholders post links to them" [2].  A member of WMF staff responded "I think the current tactics drafting here and pinging wikitech-l is good enough until we have a version of the draft we are happy about. Then we can make the big call, knowing that more ideas will come, more criticism will come, and more edits are likely to come." [3]  The requested communications plan was never published, but presumably the person who posted that response had one in mind.  It was around that time that the involvement by WMF staff accelerated and fairly soon non-staff contributers were explicitly stating that they were feeling overwhelmed.  There is no question of "blame" here, merely a recognition that, whatever the original aspirations, the Code as it stands is in practice a creation of WMF staff and will be imposed and supported by the authority of the WMF.  What's so bad about that?  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:09, 8 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Re "I presume this means given by WMF employees", that is not correct.  Everything in the intro and "Unacceptable behavior" sections of the draft applies to both staff and volunteers, without exception.  So it does not matter who is giving the presentation.  Regarding, "I do not believe for one minute that the intention is to limit the CoC to MediaWiki IRC channels", as the text says, it applies to technical IRC channels.  So there are some channels connected to the Wikimedia movement that would not be covered, but technical channels like #wikimedia-dev, #mediawiki-parsoid, etc. etc. would clearly be covered. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:21, 10 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Please provide a link to the definitive list of IRC channels this CoC applies to. At the moment "etc. etc." seems to be whatever a WMF employee would like it to be and may or may not include project channels, OTRS channels, admin channels, any channel with "Wikimedia" in it, etc. etc. -- (talk) 18:02, 10 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Yes Done [4]--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:42, 19 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
Sorry, not really done. In defining technical mailing lists, you have linked to a section with several subsections. This includes lists like wikimedia-medicine and wikidata-tech. As far as I am aware the users of those lists have no interest in applying this CoC and therefore being governed by a committee that they have not voted for.
I presume that for the many IRC channels listed in IRC/Channels#MediaWiki_and_technical, the channel notices will be changed so that anyone joining those channels is aware that this CoC applies to their behaviour in those IRC channels and any text that may be interuptive or offensive might result in a global ban if the Committee thinks it's appropriate?
 Lastly, what about Etherpad? Surely this CoC can only apply to when Etherpad is being used to support relevant events or discussions. If someone wants to use Etherpad to rant about something to one of their mates, why would anyone care or for that matter know? Unless the WMF keeps logs of every etherpad discussion after it is deleted, a general policy cannot apply to every Etherpad instance. -- (talk) 11:46, 5 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
This specific discussion is going too far away from the subject of this section. If you want to continue it, please create a new section. If a Wikimedia list is technical, then it is a Wikimedia technical space. That is a simple principle. How to reach these mailing lists is being discussed in another section. Adding notices in Wikimedia technical IRC channels explaining that they are covered by the CoC is a good idea. https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/ being within the scope of this CoC means that if soemone is being harassed through this medium in the context of Wikimedia technical work, that action can be reported.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:51, 9 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
Etherpad is one of the virtual spaces listed, so all activity on the Wikimedia Etherpad is covered, in all contexts (including the one Quim mentioned). Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:39, 1 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

"marginalized" and "underrepresented"[edit]

Can we get any clarity on how it would be determined whether a group is "marginalized" and/or "underrepresented"? And, for that matter, what counts as a "group"? Yaron Koren (talk) 16:46, 12 April 2016 (UTC)Reply

@Mattflaschen-WMF: since you shepherded this text into the Code of Conduct, surely you can shed some light on the meaning of these words? Yaron Koren (talk) 17:40, 18 April 2016 (UTC)Reply
I don't think this is a place to discuss Social Theory. If a report of discrimination is presented and the reporter or anyone else declares that a reason for discrimination is being the relation of the alleged victim with (name a marginalized or otherwise underrepresented group here), then the Committee will study the accusation. I have added an entry to the FAQ.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:17, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
I don't think this is a theoretical discussion - the current code of conduct specifies that any group-specific outreach program is either encouraged (is the group is marginalized or underrepresented) or banned (if it's anything else). So how do we know which it will be? Yaron Koren (talk) 13:21, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
Can you provide a realistic example where the current wording gets in the way of solving a problem?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:28, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
Sure. There have already been three theoretical cases brought up of MediaWiki-related outreach efforts where it's not clear whether the WMF would encourage or penalize such efforts:
Outreach efforts to targeted groups are always allowed. In the case of marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups, they are even encouraged. The three examples you have provided would clearly be compatible with the Code of Conduct.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:11, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
That is not what the CoC says (and it was not added to it, despite explicit requests). It says discrimination is forbidden but "targeted outreach to [marginalized and otherwise underrepresented] groups is allowed and encouraged". --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 15:45, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
The CoC says that discrimination is unacceptable behavior. Organizing a workshop for Hungarian speakers in Hungary is not discrimination, and the CoC doesn't suggest so. Organizing a workshop where someone is not accepted for being Hungarian, that is discrimination.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 17:30, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
What about the other two examples? Yaron Koren (talk) 17:59, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
It is not discrimination to organize a workshop for evangelical Christians, it is not discrimination to organize a workshop at an all-boys school... The Wikimedia movement is organizing workshops targeted to specific audiences all the time. Discrimination is usually detected not through who is invited, but who is excluded and why.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 18:45, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply

Other people on this talk page have written the opposite - that yes, these are examples of discrimination. One of them is Neil P. Quinn (here) - who interestingly enough is the author of the current anti-discrimination text in the code of conduct. How do we know whom to believe? And maybe just as importantly, perhaps the fact that there's this kind of disagreement and misunderstanding of the meaning suggests that the current wording needs work? Yaron Koren (talk) 19:14, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply

I think you are misreading Neil's statement. He wrote: "It would only allow closed programs for them if they were marginalized" (emphasis mine). As Qgil noted, it's not about who are invited, it's about who you are excludin -- hence the qualification closed. Valhallasw (talk) 20:13, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
... and this is where I insist that discussions based on theoretical and statistically unlikely scenarios lead to nowhere, because this is not math but social relationships. In a real world scenario someone would organize such workshop for evangelical Christians and someone would report a case of discrimination. If the Evangelical Church of X is organizing a MediaWiki workshop in their church facilities to their congregation, that in itself is not discrimination. If someone was interested in participating but was not accepted for not belonging to that congregation, then we have a possible case of discrimination. If someone from that congregation was not accepted for being black / gay, etc, then this is a clear case of discrimination.
But... in my humble opinion this discussion is basically akin to bikeshedding. In all these years of MediaWiki, how many workshops targeted to a specific social group can you count?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 19:59, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
I wouldn't call this "bikeshedding", since the text of the code of conduct is the subject of discussion here. Probably "nitpicking" would have been the better word. But to answer that - I don't like binding text where the best defense for it is "don't worry, it doesn't matter". If the concept of "marginalized" and "underrepresented" groups is so unlikely to become an issue that these words don't even need to be defined, why have them there in the first place? Why does a technical community need to get into (as you rightly called it) "social theory"  at all? You can't have it both ways - either this wording matters or it doesn't. Yaron Koren (talk) 21:15, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
The wording of the draft matters, because discrimination against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups exists in our societies and it is sadly not difficult to find. But this is not what this section is about. The scenarios presented here are about outreach to non-marginalized and non-underrepresented groups, and whether they constitute discrimination, to which I have replied that no, by default these don't constitute discrimination. If your main interest is to prevent harassment and to defend victims of discrimination, this reply should be good enough to agree and move forward. Or at least I fail to see how following your line of argument helps defending better potential victims of discrimination.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:28, 2 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
My main interest is in making sure that volunteers don't get penalized due to unclear or poorly-thought-out rules. (Looking at the comments made on this page by non-WMF employees, it appears that I'm not the only one with this interest.) A few points: evangelical Christians are a highly-underrepresented group, in my opinion, though others may disagree. That's part of why I brought up that example: there's ambiguity even about a seemingly straightforward concept like underrepresentation; and given that the policy now is apparently not to define these words at all, that may continue to be a problem. Second, as I noted before, your interpretation of the text disagrees with those of others; which I think brings up the real chance that the "moderation committee" or whatever they're called will also disagree with you. Less ambiguous wording would fix that problem. Yaron Koren (talk) 00:38, 3 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
I disagree. I think that less ambiguous wording would only contribute to wiki-lawyering. We all know what discrimination looks like; there's no reason to argue about absurd examples that are never going to happen (like evangelical Christians). I'm sure the Committee can find a reasonable interpretation when and if the time comes. Kaldari (talk) 00:44, 3 May 2016 (UTC)Reply
I'm not sure if you mean that discrimination against evangelical Christians is an absurd concept, or an outreach program to them is; I'm guessing the latter. But fine, let's say it's an absurd example. And let's say the boys'-school hackathon is, too (I don't think it is). How about this one, then: the Google Summer of Code. It's an outreach program that only accepts college students, which is in a sense doubly discriminatory, because you not only have to be a certai