Talk:Code of Conduct/Archive 2

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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)

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)
We have etherpad (no technical community),, wikitech, phabricator (the work started there), gerrit, the IRC channels, and the mailing lists (where there has been an extensive thread). So that leaves, 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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

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)
I polished some details. This section looks good to me as well.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 23:11, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

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)

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)
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)
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 (althought the first sentence is clear enough in any case). This full name might feel redundant in the context of its own page in, 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)
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 Kaldari (talk) 22:18, 29 October 2015 (UTC)
+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)


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)

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)
(((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)
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)
"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)
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)
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)

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)
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)
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)
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)
@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)
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)

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)

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)

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)

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

"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)

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)

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)
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)
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)
Yes. There have been no objections in over three weeks. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:58, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

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)

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)
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)
@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)
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)
@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)

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)

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)
Qgil-WMF No, an announcement sounds good. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:32, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
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)


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)

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

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)

@Qgil-WMF: The goal is for Code of conduct/Cases to be a secondary page, but binding, much like e.g. (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)

Finalize "Report a problem" section?[edit]

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

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)
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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Support (for clarification: I give this "+1" as a contributor, who hasn't worked on this Code of Conduct so far, and is meant, as one part, that I (as a "normal" contributor) understand this section (so you could assume, that it's well-written), and, as the other part, I can identify my self with this proposal, or better said: I would accept it so, if someone would ask me now :)) --Florianschmidtwelzow (talk) 14:36, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Support There are a couple of things that I think we compromised a bit too much on, but as was mentioned in the first comment, that's how compromises go. I think this is a good version to continue onward with. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 18:52, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Although I have no objections in improving the sentence about confidentiality, to set the right expectations.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:12, 30 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Would not object to improving the clarity of confidentiality as others have mentioned. AGomez (WMF) (talk) 22:22, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
  • Support Looks good to me. Kaldari (talk) 04:15, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
  • 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"
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)
@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)
@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)
@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)
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)
@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)

Done, down or defunct?[edit]

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

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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) is active AFAICT. --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 14:50, 26 January 2016 (UTC)
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)
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)
@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)
@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)
Note, Ashe's surname is Dryden. I've edited Quim's post accordingly. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:28, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

The above hidden request for information has been raised by open letter/email to the WMF CFO at 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)

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)

I replied at the task. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:04, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I replied at the task. --Ricordisamoa 22:39, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
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)

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)

Ricordisamoa do you have special permissions (admin, +2) in any Wikimedia technical space?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:59, 15 February 2016 (UTC)
@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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
@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)

@Yaron Koren, 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)

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)
@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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

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

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)

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)
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)

"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)

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)

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)
      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)
  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)
  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)
      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)
  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)
  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)
    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)
  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)

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)

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)
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)
@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)
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)
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 (,, Phabricator, Gerrit, technical mailing lists, technical IRC channels, and Etherpad)." (source).--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:48, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
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)
@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)
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)
@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)
@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)
@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)
@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)
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)
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)
@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)

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)

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:


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)

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)
"Moderation Committee" or "Moderation team" both sound good to me. -- Gabriel Wicke (GWicke) (talk) 18:37, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
"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)
The idea here is to create roughly an "Arbitration Committee"? No thank you. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:56, 3 March 2016 (UTC)
@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)
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)
@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)
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)
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)
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)

The Committee elects their new members[edit]

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

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)
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)
  • @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)
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)
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)

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)

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)

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)

Consensus reached. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:45, 16 March 2016 (UTC)
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)
Support Both additions seem reasonable and provide useful clarification. Kaldari (talk) 02:42, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Support Makes sense. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 04:00, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Support - Jmabel (talk) 05:00, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Support--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:11, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Support per Krenair. Bawolff (talk) 19:26, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
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)
@Tgr (WMF): The dictionary definitions of whistleblowing (e.g. "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)
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)
Support Both points make sense and are important additions. NiharikaKohli (talk) 14:01, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 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)
    @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)
  • 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)
  • Support SSastry (WMF) (talk) 19:34, 21 March 2016 (UTC)

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)

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)
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)
@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)
Oppose Oppose Sounds extremely vague/broad to me. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 01:39, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
A specific example would be personally attacking someone, instead of discussing a proposal they raised. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:35, 2 March 2016 (UTC)
Support Makes sense too. --Smalyshev (WMF) (talk) 04:45, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Support Jmabel (talk) 04:59, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
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)
Support--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:13, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
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)
@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)
I support the trolling one. I have mixed feelings about the second point. Bawolff (talk) 19:30, 25 February 2016 (UTC)
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)

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)

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)
I'm wondering whether age would count here. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 01:53, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, we should think about this in regards to 18+ restrictions in our technical spaces. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:17, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
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)
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)
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)
As Smalyshev (WMF) and Yaron Koren wrote, the proposed wording might be misinterpreted. --Ricordisamoa 04:53, 24 February 2016 (UTC)

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)

@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)

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)

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

  • Support per Chris. Ironholds (talk) 18:10, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Support I completely agree with Chris' points. I also think that this serves as an emphasis to the broader point, and that has a tremendous effect as well. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 21:00, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

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 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)

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
@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)
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)
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; 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)
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)
@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)
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)
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)
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)
@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)
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)
@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)
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)
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)
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)
@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)
That's a long way to say "I'm not sure", but thanks. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:17, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • 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)
    @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)

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)

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)
  • 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)
    • @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)
  • This looks good to me. I'd support it. -- NiharikaKohli (talk) 14:12, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • 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)

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)

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)
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)
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)
  • Support as proposer. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:13, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 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)
  • 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)
    • "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)
      • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Support--Vituzzu (talk) 18:11, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Echoing User:Neil P. Quinn-WMF's and User:RobLa-WMF's words. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 18:37, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
  • 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)
    • Seems like a false dichotomy. Is everything that is not encouraged "unacceptable"? -- RobLa-WMF (talk) 22:06, 17 March 2016 (UTC)
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)
@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)
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)
  • Oppose Oppose The wording implies that targeted outreach to non-marginalized groups is not allowed. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 07:11, 18 March 2016 (UTC)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
    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)
  • 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)
    • 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)
    • 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)
  • Support per Kaldari. Greg (WMF) (talk) 21:59, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Awjrichards (WMF) (talk) 22:22, 29 March 2016 (UTC)
  • Support +1 to Kaldari AGomez (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 30 March 2016 (UTC)

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)

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)
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)
@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)
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)
Support the first two changes, as per Krenair and Yaron Koren. --Ricordisamoa 04:53, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
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)
Similarly, Support the first two, neutral on the third. Jmabel (talk) 04:59, 24 February 2016 (UTC)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Support SSastry (WMF) (talk) 19:32, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

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)

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


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)

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)
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)

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)

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)

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)
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)

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)

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)

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

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)
The scope of the survey is Wikimedia projects, which includes Wikimedia technical spaces.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:57, 11 February 2016 (UTC)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

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)
@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)
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)
@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)
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)
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)
Could you provide anonymized stories (with the permission of the victim)? Or at least statistics? --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 22:36, 28 March 2016 (UTC)
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)
On publishing harassment reports data, see #Tracking current reports.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:14, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

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)

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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)

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)

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)


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)

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)
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)
Logically this is nonsense. -- (talk) 18:04, 10 April 2016 (UTC)
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)
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)
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)

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 (,, 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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 (talk) 05:43, 7 April 2016 (UTC)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Yes Done [4]--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:42, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
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)
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. 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)
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)

"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)

@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)
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)
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)
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)
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:
  • For Hungarian speakers in Hungary
  • For evangelical Christians in the United States
  • At an all-boys school in the United Kingdom. Yaron Koren (talk) 13:53, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
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)
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)
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)
What about the other two examples? Yaron Koren (talk) 17:59, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
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)

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)

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)
... 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 certain age, you have to be paying for college, which in many cases is a significant financial outlay. I think one would be hard-pressed to describe college students as either marginalized or underrepresented. (Though again, these are undefined terms, so who knows.) I'd be interested to hear your response to that. Yaron Koren (talk) 13:36, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
The current draft, under "inappropriate behavior", has one bullet point which says "Discrimination (unless required by law), particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged." It does not disallow outreach programs in general and it does not disallow outreach programs that are not targeting such groups. Hence I'm afraid I cannot follow the Summer of Code example being brought up. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 14:36, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
The bullet point disallows discrimination, except for two cases (legal requirement and targeted outreach to, etc.). GSoC discriminates, and is not (as far as I know) covered by either of those cases. Ergo, the bullet point disallows GSoC. Am I wrong? Yaron Koren (talk) 15:03, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
Ah, that's clearer, thanks! There can be general (unfocused) outreach and there can be focused outreach by defining a target group based on exclusive criteria (e.g. being a student). I don't consider the latter discrimination per se, as you could also participate in Wikimedia's technical spaces without having to take part in Google's SoC (with its eligibility criteria). If the eligibility criteria of a specific outreach program make someone feel discriminated, the person could bring it up to the organizers of that outreach program (Google in case of Summer of Code) or is free to run their own outreach program with different eligibility criteria. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 16:13, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
This is simplistic. An LGBT event that was publicised as LGBT only, a Women's editathon restricted to women, or a BEM event where "non-minorities" could not take part, are all highly problematic and could easily lead to later claims of discrimination that would be hard to defend as "targeted outreach". Having events focused on minority group interests without stopping any collegiate individual from contributing is what normally goes on, and hardly anyone can disagree with that approach, but each of the three examples has been suggested in the past for targeted editathons or virtual discussion, and for all I know might have happened under the control of a local chapter. -- (talk) 16:30, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
Fæ - you make a good point; it's another way in which the sloppiness of the current wording can lead to problems later on. As I noted before, it's not only the words "underrepresented" and "marginalized" that are poorly defined here, but also "outreach".
AKlapper - if outreach is never discrimination, why are the words "to such groups" in there? Yaron Koren (talk) 17:14, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
I personally do not know why the words "to such groups" are in there, sorry. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 19:34, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
GSOC does not discriminate.  GSOC has no restrictions based on maximum age (there is an 18+ restriction which I believe is for legal reasons) or financial ability.  Someone of any age can be a college student at any level.  GSOC allows college students at any level, and it is relatively common to have older students at e.g. the PhD level.  In some countries, you can go to college without paying out of pocket.  In others, you do need to pay out of pocket.  Some people can not afford to buy or access a computer, which makes it impossible for them to become software engineers.  No one would say GSOC discriminates against them.  The ability to financially access college is a similar barrier in some places, but neither are discrimination on GSOC's part. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:05, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
It's not discrimination because, in some countries, college is free? What about the countries where college is expensive? Yaron Koren (talk) 21:11, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
You claimed Google Summer of Code is "an outreach program that only accepts college students, which is in a sense doubly discriminatory, because you not only have to be a certain age, you have to be paying for college".  As I pointed out, both statements are false.  There is no restriction requiring you to be young ("a certain age") or to be paying your way through school (and some GSOC students don't pay their way through school).  As my analogy about access to a computer (which you did not respond to) shows, there are sometimes implicit barriers due to finances.  But those barriers are not put in place by Google. If Google actually wanted to discriminate against poor people as you claimed, they could limit the program to countries without universal free college, meaning fewer poor people could participate.  They don't.  It's clear they actually want to reach out to students and give them an opportunity to supplement their education with involvement in open source.  I've explained myself.  Don't expect an endless back-and-forth about this with me.  Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:16, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
It would be appreciated if you don't defame other participants in this discussion.  Yaron did not say that you need to be young to take part in GSoC.  Additionally, your definition of discrimination would require perpetrators to have (publicly shown) malice.  This is the exact scenario victims of discrimination and harassment fear: The perpetrator claims: "But I only had good intentions!" and is let off the hook.  --Tim Landscheidt 00:00, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
@Tim.landscheidt: Accusing me of defamation is outrageous.  I defamed no one.  Yaron said, "which is in a sense doubly discriminatory, because you not only have to be a certain age" and I characterized that quote accurately.  I said "GSOC does not discriminate", not that it unintentionally discriminates.  Google is essentially (ignoring distinctions of stipends vs. W-2 which are not the main point) hiring college students to work on open source.  Claiming that GSOC discriminates because not everyone can access college means that e.g. a hospital that only hires doctors who graduated medical school also discriminates.  That's just not what the word 'discrimination' means in this context. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:14, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
I never said Google wants to discriminate against poor people. (The discrimination that does occur is unintentional.) Anyway, your analogy is not that strong because going to medical school is a widely-understood qualification for being a doctor, whereas going to college is rather ancillary to being a programmer. Your laptop analogy is a little better, though the cost in time and money to get a laptop is hardly comparable to going to college. Yaron Koren (talk) 01:49, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
You implied that Yaron claimed that GSoC required participants to be young, and that is obviously untrue as can be seen above.  Bearing false witness while knowing that the allegation is false is called "verleumden" in German, and several dictionaries translate that to "defame".  --Tim Landscheidt 18:29, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

If you find a case of discrimination in Wikimedia's participation in Google Summer of Code, please report it. In all these years I don't recall any problem of this kind.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 19:36, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

It discriminates against non-college students. Should that be reported? Yaron Koren (talk) 19:52, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
"Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development." It's an outreach activity that helps bringing people related to underrepresented groups in our developer community. Wikimedia's participation in this program hasn't been questioned by anybody for reasons of discrimination in all these years. I don't see any real problem posed by your question.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:31, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm glad that no one has questioned it, but that's irrelevant: it seems like it would be banned by the current wording, unless I'm missing something. Yaron Koren (talk) 20:42, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
Yes, you are missing the basic point about the goal of this CoC being "fostering an open and welcoming community" and "making participation in Wikimedia technical projects a respectful and harassment-free experience for everyone". Under this perspective your examples about GSoC and other hypothetical outreach activities pose no real doubts. This section feels exhausted and there is so much work to do.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:57, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
If WMF's participation in GSoC has not been questioned in the past and this Code of Conduct draft prohibits it, that is a solid indicator that these rules do not not change the status quo.  If the here repeatedly implied "solution" is that in those cases the Code of Conduct will not be enforced, this directly contravenes the stated goal that it applies to everyone equally.  It also raises the fear that this Code of Conduct will be used for harassment in that it will be enforced for some "offenders" and waived for others depending on which groups they belong to.  --Tim Landscheidt 22:29, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
I do not see how Summer of Code would be banned by the current wording or how the current wording would prohibit Summer of Code. I disagree that an outreach program "discriminates" just by being targeted outreach. Also see my previous comments in this thread. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 07:20, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Yaron, Tim, you are basing your argumentations in false dilemmas. The fact is that Wikimedia's participation in GSoC has made our community more open, welcoming, and diverse. It is also a fact that GSoC has explicit rules of conduct which fit with our goal of making participation in Wikimedia technical projects a respectful and harassment-free experience for everyone. If what you care about is conduct problems in Wikimedia technical spaces, then there is no conduct problem with GSoC and our other developer outreach activities. I have left a summary at Code_of_Conduct/Draft/FAQ#Could_Google_Summer_of_Code_be_reported_for_discriminating_non-college_students.3F.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:28, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
Qgil - you'll get no argument from me that GSoC is a great program, but it's totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand, which is whether the anti-discrimination clause in the CoC would ban GSoC. Perhaps you're missing the main point, which is that this isn't intended as a criticism of GSoC, but rather of that section of the CoC, which, through sloppy wording, could possibly end up (among other things) accidentally ending our participation in a popular program.
AKlapper - as noted before, the presence of the phrase "to such groups" seems to directly contradict your interpretation of the wording. Yaron Koren (talk) 13:40, 4 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm glad that we agree that GSoC is a great program. It is a very relevant aspect to this discussion, actually. Andre and I (both former GSoC co-organizers, and both handling conduct reports in our WMF Technical Collaboration roles) don't see how the CoC wording would motivate a CoC committee to "possibly end up (among other things) accidentally ending our participation in a popular program". That section of the CoC has been reviewed twice, and that exact line has been reviewed and discussed and approved. Let's move on. The CoC is a living document, if any sentence in it proves to be problematic with real cases, we will be able to contest it and amend it. Discussing hypothetical cases like a crazy committee banning Wikimedia's participation in GSoC on the grounds of discrimination to non-college students is not the best use of our time.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:22, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
It wouldn't take a "crazy" committee, just a committee that didn't apply en:WP:IAR to the text of the CoC and didn't accept "college students" as being a group that is somehow marginalized or underrepresented. It's a very similar situation to the recent news about Oklahoma's "forcible oral sodomy" law, where the court had to rule in a way no one liked because that's the way the law was written. Anomie (talk) 13:28, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. Qgil - the wording was lightly reviewed and hastily approved; now it's being reviewed with more scrutiny, and the consensus seems to be turning against it. Yaron Koren (talk) 13:43, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
No, I'm not, and writing your own FAQs to prove your arguments does not work.  College students are not a marginalized or underrepresented group in the MediaWiki community (or even in many general populaces), not least because (IIRC) a college degree is mandatory for many (all?) WMF developer jobs.  This suggests on the other hand that not(college students) are underrepresented, and discriminating against them should be forbidden.
Also, your sentence: "The CoC is a living document, if any sentence in it proves to be problematic with real cases, we will be able to contest it and amend it." reflects exactly the "flexible" approach that in daily life forms the basis for discrimination and harassment.  What makes GSoC a "great program" that is more important than non-discrimination other than that it introduces more people to the MediaWiki community who are like the ones already there?  What are the values that the Code of Conduct is trying to convey?
Finally, "let's move on" is IMHO not an acceptable attitude when discussing discrimination and harassment.  It suggests to participants that they should be silent so that a sense of consensus can be pretended where it does not exist.  I am very thankful to Yaron and others that they continue to point out the flaws of this draft against a much more resourceful opposition.  --Tim Landscheidt 01:01, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the summary Tim. By the way, as this CoC is going to be bulldozed through regardless of whatever unpaid volunteers have to say about it, I'll be putting my name forward to sit on the Committee. I'll be happy to fully comply with the Committee's self-governance, but would be there to provide a viewpoint from someone not happy with the processes that created it or granted it significant authority over community members. -- (talk) 11:28, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
  • I do not think there was ever a clear answer to the original question at the top of the thread how it would be determined whether a group is "marginalized" and/or "underrepresented"?  This is not a matter of Social Theory, but a simple practical question.  If a complaint is laid against someone and the issue of whether one of the parties involved is or is not a member of a marginalised or underrepresented group, or whether a group they belong to is or is not marginalised or underrepresented, who is responsible for deciding that issue?  Is it the person claiming membership of the group in question?  Is it an individual member of the Committee acting ad hoc?  Is it the Committee acting ad hoc?  Is it the DevRel team?  Is it a community consenus after discussion in some forum, and if so, where?  Are such decisions, once made by whoever is authorised to make them, determined for all time, or just for the purposes of a specific case?  Is there a mechanism for making decisions before complaints are laid, or are these decisions to be purely reactive?  The Code as drafted appears to be silent on these matters, and yet the answers will be needed in order to resolve any cases brought under this heading.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 15:19, 6 May 2016 (UTC)
I'd say this is covered by Code of Conduct/Draft#Handling reports. Are there specific aspects missing? --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:57, 9 May 2016 (UTC)
Yes.  The specific aspect missing is an answer to the question I posed, namely, who gets to say whether a given group is or is not marginalised and/or underrepresented.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 10:16, 9 May 2016 (UTC)
"Reports sent to are handled by the Code of Conduct Committee". Therefore, it is ultimately the Committee who decides whether discrimination against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups plays a role in a report.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:26, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
You're just restating the problem here - obviously, if anything is poorly defined in the code of conduct, the committee would have to decide what it means. But leaving it up to the committee to define various words seems like an awful idea: it makes more work for them, and it's undemocratic, in that it puts in the hands of a few people decisions that should rightfully be up to the whole community. Yaron Koren (talk) 14:18, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
Quite so.  The proposition that the decision on whether a group is M/U is made by the Committee because they are the people who handle the complaint is bad logic, and not improved by the patronisingly terse way it is expressed.  Having the Committee make the decision is a plausible option but by no means the only one: the proposal that the decision be in the hands of the community and that the Committee follow a decision already made by someone else is no less plausible.  My point is that the choice as to who makes the decision needs to be discussed explicitly, and so far that had not happened.   Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 17:27, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
Rogol, you asked for an explicit answer to the question 'who gets to say whether a given group is or is not marginalised and/or underrepresented.' and you got an explicit answer. Calling that 'bad logic' is not conductive to a healthy debate. Valhallasw (talk) 20:06, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
The response was in the form, not of an explicit statement, but of an apparently logical argument suggesting that the answer to the question could be deduced from the text of the Code.  The apparent logic of the argument was flawed, so that the response was neither explicit, nor an answer.  Terse, patronising non-answers are, I suggest, less conducive to healthy debate than robust identification of logical fallacies.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:20, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
The current draft counts more than my opinions, and this is why my replies are based on the draft whenever possible.  According to the draft, reports sent to the Committee are confidential, and it is the task of the Committee to resolve them "eventually contacting any individuals involved and/or related administrators or project maintainers." If someone has a better answer, please share it.
For what is worth, I don't see how confidential reports of harassment combine well with public community discussions. I also don't take for granted that democratic processes and open community discussions are the perfect solution to deal with problems affecting specifically marginalized and underrepresented groups, and there is a thick historic record sustaining this reasoning.
But what is more important: again, what realistic problem are you trying to solve? Could you suggest a plausible example where the current draft would be troublesome? An example starting with a report submitted to the Committee, having a relation with a marginalized or underrepresented group that you could choose (say a transgender developer, or whatever you prefer). What problems would the current draft cause, and what alternative solutions do you propose?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:31, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
This question is frankly, a diversion.  Either the Code assigns authority to some entity to determine the question of which groups are M/U or it does not.  If it does so explicitly, quote the line of the Code that assigns that authority.  If it does so implicitly, by necessary implication, make a valid logical argument.  If it does not at all, which I judge to be the case, then the issue remains in doubt.  I think that Qgil-WMF holds the position that it is implicit that the Committee has that authority, and I think his logic is faulty.  Discussing fictional scenarios will not resolve that.  As to why resolving this issue is important, the Code refers to this category of groups but without explaining which they are or who decides which they are.  The Committee will need that information to resolve complaints involving those cases.  One possible complaint might ask for additional sanctions in a case of discrimination because the complainant is a member of an M/U group; the subject of the complaint denies that the group is M/U.  Another might be that a person is excluded from an event which is targetted at a particular group.  The organisers claim that it is permitted as being outreach to a targetted M/U group; the complainant denies that the target group is M/U.   Where will they go for the information they need to resolve those complaints?  Who determines whether a group is M/U?  Is there an official list somewhere of such groups?  Of course not.  If the consensus is, that this must be a matter for the Committee's own judgement ad hoc without any guidance from the Community or anyone else, then they are left with responsibility but not authority, an untenable position.  It is very likely that anyone sanctioned under these provisions will wish to appeal, and may well do so on the grounds that the Committee's decision on the issue of whether a group is M/U was incorrect.  In such cases should the DevRel team be authorised to overrule the Committee or should they regard themselves as bound to follow the Committe's decision on this specific issue?  It seems to me important that the Committee should know what authority they have, and that the importance of that knowledge is sufficiently obvious from the broad classes of question I mention without diverting the discussion onto the fictional details of fictional scenarios as has already happened above.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 12:19, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Rogol that these frequent protestations of "it doesn't matter what the wording is, it's never going to come up anyway" are a diversion - if some wording can't be defended on theoretical grounds, chances are that there's something wrong with the wording. But there are real-life use cases. At the risk of going down another rabbit hole: let's say someone lodges a complaint that they were discriminated against because they're Samoan. The committee finds that this was indeed the case, and then has to decide on the punishment - which, according to the CoC, has to be harsher if Samoans are a marginalized or underrepresented group. What should the committee do? Yaron Koren (talk) 15:31, 11 May 2016 (UTC)
"which, according to the CoC, has to be harsher" You lost me here Yaron. Why would the punishment be required to be harsher within a case of unacceptable behavior pertaining to discrimination than say a case pertaining to unwanted physical contact? I'm reading over the draft and I think I missed something. Honest question. :) Ckoerner (talk) 14:24, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
I meant harsher than if the group were not marginalized or underrepresented. Yaron Koren (talk) 15:10, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps it will help if I make explicit what I believe some people see as implicit in the Code.
The status of a group as marginalised or under-represented for the purposes of a complaint under this Code will be determined by the Committee in its absolute discretion.  The Committee need not publish their decision or if they do publish it need not publish the reasons for it.  Such decisions will be made ad hoc and the Committee will not be bound to follow precedent: these decisions are not subject to appeal.
It may help to focus the discussion if I make it clear that I personally do not endorse this statement, nor do I necessarily believe that it is what the drafters of the Code intended, I merely claim that it is a good interpretation of the position the Code as currently drafted will entail.  If it is indeed the position intended by the drafters, and if it commands consensus, perhaps it would be as well to write it explicitly into the text of the Code for future reference.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:32, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

When will this code of conduct be implemented?[edit]

I have seen this draft go on for months so I was just wondering if there as a plan to actually implement it and when. Reguyla (talk) 18:55, 16 April 2016 (UTC)

Your question is answered a few sections above, under Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Nine_months. Yes, the plan is to implement it. No, there is no definitive timeline. No, that is not a problem. Valhallasw (talk) 19:46, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, hopefully sooner rather than later because urrently there are a lot of serious conduct issues with the ops on IRC that need to be addressed. Until the WMF acknowledges that at least some of the WMF's conduct standards apply at the IRC channels, the problems are going to continue. Not that I think anyone will do anything about the ops conduct there, but I am hopeful. Reguyla (talk) 23:48, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
For anyone curious, this complaint seems to be related to meta:Wikimedia Forum#Request my IRC global ban be lifted. Anomie (talk) 13:34, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
It has more to do with the attitude that the ops on IRC can do whatever they want.
These ops are the first things some potential editors see when learning about our sites. For example, RD and a couple others recently ran off a Smithsonian employee who had come to IRC to learn about the sites. They were then accused of being me and blocked because they lived in the DC area and used Verizon like millions of other people. Because anyone who lives in the DC area and uses Verizon must be me presumably. The pettiness, retaliation and lying by admins and ops on IRC and even on wiki needs to be dealt with by the WMF. The WMF needs to start establishing that admins are accountable to policy just as editors are and this code of conduct will help that as long as the WMF is actually interested in improving the environment of the sites that is. Because the current community processes have completely failed. Otherwise, quite frankly, unless the WMF is going to deal with this problem, it's only going to get worse and the sites are going continue to decline in participation and reputation as they have been. Reguyla (talk) 14:37, 18 April 2016 (UTC)
@Reguyla: While this CoC is being approved, AKlapper (WMF) and myself keep receiving and processing complaints about conduct in Wikimedia technical spaces. You can reach to us privately. PS: let me insist on the "Wikimedia technical spaces" part, which is the scope of this CoC.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:30, 19 April 2016 (UTC)
I understand and it's good to know you are taking questions and inquiries about ongoing problems. No offense to you guys because your intentions seem pure here but I have seen nothing from the WMF to make me believe that they/you will do anything about these problems. Maybe your hands are tied, I don't really know, but the signs of the problems are all over the place. I have advocated reform myself for the last 4 years and that led to a retaliatory ban to shut me up on EnWP and IRC, so although you may say that you are available and open to notifications of problems, I'm not really seeing much action on the problems. Including getting this code of conduct implemented. Good luck! Reguyla (talk) 16:48, 19 April 2016 (UTC)

"Yes, the plan is to implement it. No, there is no definitive timeline. No, that is not a problem."  Still not a problem?  Quadroutibleurpes (talk) 17:08, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

@Quadroutibleurpes: Congratulations to your first edit on and thanks for your interest in the code of conduct draft! To answer your question: The answer remains the same (No, still not a problem) and I don't see how repeating an already answered question helps finalizing the code of conduct. --Malyacko (talk) 18:08, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Thank you.  A question (eg is this late or very late) may have different answers in April and June.  Pointing out rate (or lack) of progress may help completion by reminding contributors that in the real world harassment is taking place and people are suffering.  So glad to hear this is still not a problem.  Quadroutibleurpes (talk) 19:20, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
I've sent out the last call email for Code of Conduct/Cases (giving people a final opportunity to raise any issues).  This section is (like the CoC) moving towards completion. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:22, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Tracking current reports[edit]

I have mentioned that AKlapper (WMF) and I receive reports related to conduct on a regular basis, since we joined the WMF (2012), and we do our best handling them. Today I have created an internal document to start tracking new reports and our activity around them. As of now only Andre and I have access to this document. I don't expect this doc to cause any relevant changes in the way we are handling these reports, but at least we will be able to provide anonymized data. I'm thinking of our quarterly reviews as a good time and place to provide this information, under Core workflows and metrics.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:12, 21 April 2016 (UTC)

Related, just for the record: Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_2#Logging_actions_of_the_Committee.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:36, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
If possible may I also recommend some kind of report that mentions the remedial action. I know that the WMF has been periodically global banning a few people a year in the last couple years but it might be good for people to see what other actions might be done and how often. Another possibility would be to create a WMF staff action wiki like the one the Arbcom uses to track case info. Of course it would have to be restricted to certain staff but it would give continuity of problems. Reguyla (talk) 01:56, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes adding a summary of actions taken is a good idea. I'm personally inclined not to create a formal structure around this provisional internal document. I'd rather wait to the CoC to be enacted, the Committee to be created, and then let them decide how to move forward.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:51, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
Well I hope the new CoC doesn't turn out to be another Arbcom. Reguyla (talk) 19:20, 27 April 2016 (UTC)

Rfarrand (WMF) is being added to the document, since she is a Technical Collaboration team member and also the main contact for wmf:Friendly space policy.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:05, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Wider participation, still[edit]

A continuation of Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_2#Wider_participation.

Let's check what is being done and what could be done to increase the promotion of this CoC discussion, with the aim of widening the participation especially from volunteers. Space by space (feel free to edit the list below adding relevant data):

  • Physical spaces
  • Online spaces
    •, there were suggestions about a sitenotice, let's discuss. Sitenotice or watchlist notice, one of both could work.
    • Phabricator is not equipped with a tool to broadcast a message to everybody. We can add a note in the homepage.
    • Gerrit is not designed at all to broadcast messages, but it can be assumed that all Gerrit users can be found in in other technical channels.
    • Technical mailing lists, Matt has been sending requests for feedback and updates to several lists (latest list of lists is wikitech-l, engineering, design, wiki-research-l, analytics, hackathonorganizers). We could discuss a one-time message to all the lists, with a request to the admins of each list to pay attention to wikitech-l or wherever source we decide to forward other communications they find interesting for their audiences.
    • Technical IRC channels, this is a bit tricky, but we could post a one-time comment in each channel, pointing to the source page, with the same request to the admins of the channel.
    • Etherpad is not designed for broadcasting messages at all. Etherpad users can be found in other spaces.

Let's start discussing the sitenotice idea. From all the options is the one that would bring more attention for lesser effort.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:46, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

What message do you envisage being conveyed in these channels, and to whom?  Will it be an invitation to enthusiasts to participate and potentially restart the drafting process from scratch; an invitation to all interested to make minor or cosmetic changes only; an open call to the tire community to approve or disapprove without further changes; or a one-way announcement to the world at large that the policy is now finished and will shortly be in effect?  The message and its intended audience will surely help to determine the channels you choose.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 10:31, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I would wait to the next request for comments, and then I would post a short intro about the CoC draft and an invitation for everybody to participate.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:40, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

A one off comment in IRC channels is not sufficient. To be noticed all channels where the CoC is going to be enforced will need their channel notices changed to advise everyone who logs in. A good grace time is at least a month.

For Etherpad, advising regular Wikimedians is insufficient as the tool is used by all sorts of people, such as GLAM professionals who may hardly ever log in to a Wikimedia project. Etherpad will need to be changed so that there is an advisory notice before use. Presumably global bans for harassment on etherpad will be meaningless for anonymous accounts with no Wikimedia project associated accounts.

I suggest that any notice avoid inviting volunteers to comment. At this late stage it is virtually impossible for volunteers to get anything non-trivial changed. -- (talk) 09:20, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

Adding notices to IRC channels sounds like a good idea. Of course we have to invite participants to comment. That is the point of aiming for wider participation. While Page: Code of Conduct has gone through extensive review and it is unlikely that completely new ideas and major changes will arrive at this point, the other two pages "Cases" and "Committee" haven't gone through systematic review yet, and may still be changed or extended in fundamental ways.
Introducing an advisory notice in etherpads is a good idea, within the possibilities of Etherpad. It is possible to customize the default text of new etherpads. We can specify a sentence clarifying that the Code of Conduct for Wikimedia technical spaces is applicable to etherpads used for Wikimedia technical activities. Do you mean to do this once the CoC is enacted or also before, as part of this campaign for wider participation? Whether reports of harassment via Etherpad will be meaningless or meaningful, that will depend on the reports and their context. It is not something that we should address in this section.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:16, 9 May 2016 (UTC)
Perhaps you should try a break from "managing" this CoC and closing down discussion that does not follow the workflow that you have imposed without any consensus. As an example, two consultants were paid to provide professional advice, please provide a link to it rather than suppressing questions about it. If necessary you can create yet another section on this talk page to post the advice received. Thanks -- (talk) 20:48, 9 May 2016 (UTC)
  • I think we must applaud the WMF staff for deciding to open up a wider discussion.  It seems rather likely that there will be a rehash of the arguments here over social justice, and a concomitant delay in the finalisation of the text, but at least when the dust is settled the Code will have a plausible element of community consensus,  I wonder what the proposed timeline is now?  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:26, 9 May 2016 (UTC)
As Qgil-WMF said, just as there was extensive review and then changes before the "Unacceptable behavior" section was finalized, there will be an opportunity for changes before the remaining sections are finalized.  That does not mean we're going to go back to the beginning and re-open "Unacceptable behavior" or the other sections in "Page: Code of Conduct".
Regarding future publicity:
  • I'll lead a Wikimania Hackathon session about this.  wm2016:Hackathon#Schedule says, "(more information coming soon about the schedule and how to sign up to lead a session, presentation or discussion)".  I've watched the page, so I can sign up when it opens (a ping when it opens would also be helpful).
    This is scheduled: phab:T137760. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:26, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Regarding Quim's question of watchlist vs. site notice, I suggest a watchlist notice on and  Since we're also notifying people in other places (like mailing lists), I don't know that it needs to display on every page.  Making it slightly less prominent means we can use it for longer.  A temporary site notice may be appropriate after it's approved.
  • AKlapper (WMF), since you are bug wrangler, what do you think about putting it in the Phabricator home page as Quim suggested?  If you think it's a good idea, could you do this?
  • There are a lot of IRC channels, but I think it's something the channel operators should consider.
Regarding Etherpad, it would be a good idea to add a footer link to the Terms of Use (and later the Code of Conduct, once it's approved).  Filed as phab:T136744.  As I said elsewhere, the Code of Conduct applies to all Etherpads.  There is no limit in the text depending on what the Etherpad is used for.
As far as what message to use, for now I suggest what I just posted via email and Phabricator (with whatever formatting):
Please participate in the discussion about how the Code of Conduct should be amended:
We can update this message as we move onto other things. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:38, 1 June 2016 (UTC)
I think we should make these extended calls for feedback when there are sections ready to be approved, as opposed to more open ended questions like #Changing_the_Code_once_enacted today.
I am not aware of a process to use the watchlist notice in mw.o. I have asked in Project:Current_issues. Once we agree on an approach there, we can probably do just the same at wikitech.w.o.
Do we have a way to check what are the technical mailing lists with more subscribers? Posting to all of them every time we have a section for review is too much, but maybe we can increase the potential audience significantly by adding a couple of lists to the current group. For instance, comes to mind because it might cover many people that are not following other channels.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:15, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
@Qgil-WMF: Mailing list admins can tell you the number of subscribers for their mailing list as that's shown in the Mailman UI. (I can also imagine that someone with shell access could run some script across all lists.) graphically shows posted messages and authors for those 42 mailing lists covered. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:35, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
@Qgil-WMF: Notifying people earlier of the ongoing work helps.  That way, they can see how the section is developing, rather than coming in during the final approval period and saying, "I like the overall section, but I have to oppose because I really don't like XYZ".  If enough people do the latter, it may not get approved, and then we have to change the text and have a separate discussion for the changed text.  It's better to get people involved earlier.  That said, we don't want to be too intrusive, so e.g. I don't think there should be a SiteNotice about this at the top of pages at all times (it probably makes sense for limited important periods).
Thanks for the suggestion regarding labs-l.  I have added it to my list of lists. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 14:19, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
I added a CoC text panel (phab:W749) to the Phabricator frontpage. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:29, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Technical Collaboration instead of Developer Relations[edit]

The Code of Conduct draft includes some mentions to WMF's Developer Relations team. This is a proposal to change Developer Relations for the Technical Collaboration team. Last January we combined Developer Relations and Community Liaisons into the Technical Collaboration team. Even if Developer Relations continues to exist as a virtual team, I think it would be better to reference to Technical Collaboration, a WMF team in the full sense of the term. This would also mean getting the community liaisons involved, which would in fact reflect better the composition of Wikimedia technical spaces, formed not only by developers but also by other contributors with technical interests.

Note that the relation between the Developer Relations or any other WMF team with the CoC is still open to discussion. This proposal is only about the renaming to Technical Collaboration in the current draft.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:53, 10 May 2016 (UTC)

One week, no opposition, Yes Done.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:01, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Hi Qgil-WMF. Where is "The first Committee will be chosen by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Collaboration team." being discussed? --MZMcBride (talk) 13:23, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

@MZMcBride: The idea came in this discussion. I you or someone else have an alternative proposal, please create a new section and share it.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 14:56, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay. I've started #Committee membership below. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:07, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Over, out or off?[edit]

Six months after asking, still only bothering electrons.  WMF Staff have no plans to implement Code.  Is that a good thing?  I am Mister Thrapostibongles (talk) 21:33, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

What is the point you're trying to make? Valhallasw (talk) 08:10, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
Point is clear.  Talk starts July 2015.  January 2016: "Anything happening in the real world?  Anywhere away from this page?  Any future to this project?  Anyone responsible?"  May 2016: Still nothing.  Talk talk but no action.  WMF staff clearly not going to finish this code.  Ever.  Why not?  I am Mister Thrapostibongles (talk) 18:09, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
I don't understand why you think the code is never going to be finished (or why you specifically expect 'WMF staff' to finish it). You have received an extensive reply to your earlier comment on the time it takes to write the code, and in the last four months, there have been more than a few changes, something I would consider 'action'. Are you worried that the code of conduct will never actually become policy? If so, why? Do you have any suggestions to improve that? Valhallasw (talk) 07:24, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
As Valhallasw notes, many of Qgil-WMF's comments at your previous section are still relevant.  I am still facilitating this process (see phab:T90908).  I've just followed up on the section about the amendment process, offering a suggestion.  In addition to this, other volunteers and staff are still participating. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:14, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

What happens next?[edit]

There appears to have been little activity here this month, and indeed not much since this question was raised back in March.  I assume that means that there is some kind of agreement among the authors that the Code is in an acceptable state.  It seems that the only reasonable way forward is that it be publicised as it stands to the various stakeholders without further delay, asking for a simple consensus as to whether or not it should be adopted as it stands: that is, without the option of amendment at this stage.  I also suggest that any further delay, in the absence of pressing reasons, be taken as an explicit acknowledgement that this proposed project has foundered, that further work on it is neither wanted nor needed, that all previous work on it has been wasted, and that the entire project has been an abject failure.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:14, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

You asked about the next steps seven weeks ago in "Suggested addition: Date of enactment" and received answers. Did I miss any new points being made? The pace of the Code of Conduct drafting has been covered in the thread "Nine months" above. As you request "publicising (...) without further delay", could you elaborate which reasons you see for a sudden urgency and why you'd like to freeze the current draft and disallow providing more feedback? Furthermore, "any further delay" implies that there has been "delay" which would require some time schedule I'm not aware of (do you have a link?), and looking at I don't share your personal impression that work has been "foundered". --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 19:15, 29 May 2016 (UTC)
You make my point for me.  Do you really regard the length of time it has taken to get to this stage as laudable?  To answer your question -- no, no new points have been made -- that is to say, no one has been willing to accept responsibility for delivery of this Code, nor has any timeline been proposed for delivery, and that is lamentable.  Of course you are not aware of a time schedule, because there isn't one, as I think you know perfectly well, and by now there ought to be.  To be perfectly explicit, the reason I suggest freezing the Code now and moving on is to move on from this leisurely polishing of minor details towards an implementation in the real world where so many of our volunteers live.  Do you believe that the Code is in an acceptble state for promulgation, or do you, or anyone else, believe that there is significant extra work that needs doing on this Code that requires significant further time to accomplish?  If so, please say what you think needs doing and how long you think it needs to carry out.  If not, why would you wish to obstruct the implementation of the Code?  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:24, 29 May 2016 (UTC)
I don't see how things would be more "laudable" if anyone was rushing here; to the contrary. Regarding taking responsibility and a time schedule: That was covered above in "Nine months", "Suggested addition: Date of enactment", and to some extent also in "Over, out or off?". If I get it right, your actual question is "Could anyone clarify what is left to do here to get out of draft status?" --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 20:54, 29 May 2016 (UTC)
You do not get it right.  I am not asking for clarification, I am asserting an proposition -- that the Code is sufficiently mature to be worth promulgating -- and suggesting a course of action -- that it be promulgated as it stands.  If you disagree with that assertion, or that proposed action, please give your reasons.    Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:07, 29 May 2016 (UTC)
The CoC draft is not complete yet. The Cases and Committee pages still need to go through review. The review of these pages is what happens next.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 13:56, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
Your comment is written in such a way as to suggest that you have the authority to declare whether or not the draft is complete or ready to be published, and to declare what further steps need to be done.  As far as I can see, you have as much or as little authority to make these pronouncements as anyone else unless and until you can achieve a consenus behind them.  If you think you have some form of authority in this area, please remind the rest of us where your authority derives from; what the scope and extent of that authority is; to whom you regard yourself as accountable for the exercise of tht autrhority nd the success or failure of this project; and explain in detail what plans you have for further work on the Code, preferably with the timeline that you expect to be held accountable for.  If you do not claim any special authority, please recast your pronouncement in such a way as to make it clearly an expression of your opinion and suggested course of action supported with reasoned argument, and suggest what criteria, in your opinion, would show the Code as being in a fit state to publish; then see if there is consensus for what your proposals, which appear to me to be in effect a policy of indefinitely protracted delay.  I remind you that the intention behind starting this work so many months ago was to achieve something: it is not clear to me that the current process is likely to achieve anything beyond an endless discussion.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:40, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm just repeating what Matt said some weeks ago, which is the process I proposed and we have been following. It is a simple answer to your question, and I don't know why you make it complicated.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 17:24, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
The discussion last August which you refer to does not, as far as I can tell, give you or anyone else the authority to declare the Code finished or unfinished.  What question do you think I have asked to which you believe the answer is so simple?  I have made some proposals, which you seemingly prefer to contradict rather than discuss, and some requests, which you have not met.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 18:41, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
Rogol, in your contributions on this page, you make valid points, but your contribution style does  disservice to those points. Instead of trying to see if there is consensus to bring the current CoC to a vote (which is a completely reasonable thing to do), you make a statement, and when people respond to that statement, they are attacked: First you ask 'do you, or anyone else, believe that there is significant extra work that needs doing on this Code that requires significant further time to accomplish', and when Quim responds 'Yes, to do X, Y and Z', your response is 'And who are you to say so?'. Please stop with these unproductive attacks, and, if you believe that 'the only reasonable way forward is that it be publicised as it stands to the various stakeholders without further delay', please poll for consensus, to see if others agree with you. Valhallasw (talk) 18:09, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for your views.  You missed out the part where I asked "please say what you think needs doing and how long you think it needs to carry out".  So far no-one appears to be willing to answer that: what we do get are members of staff responding in a manner which suggests that they have the authority to decide issues by declaration rather than by discussion.  I actually put forward a proposal looking for consensus which was contradicted by a flat assertion from a member of WMF staff on no basis that I can see other than an implicit assertion of authority.
Let me re-iterate that the object of this entire exercise has been to deliver something, namely a code that will help make technical working spaces less damaging to participants and and more productive of good work.  The longer the process is spun out, the more that objective goes unrealised.  Yet no-one, even those who regard themselves as authorised to manage this process, are willing to accept responsibility for managing the process in an effective and efficient manner -- which to my mind would include having a timeline, and sticking to it, and a stakeholder mapping with a communication plan which is actually being implemented.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 18:39, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
I don't agree with your statement "what we do get are members of staff responding in a manner which suggests that they have the authority to decide issues by declaration rather than by discussion.". Instead, I see Andre asking for clarification, and Quim answering (or at least: trying to answer) your question 'what happens next'. The answer might not touch on everything you asked, but I read it as a good faith attempt to answer your question. In other words, it's their contribution to the discussion, not an authoritative statement.
Nonetheless, I agree that it's problematic that the CoC takes so long. I also agree that it would be helpful to have a clear overview of the steps that need to be taken. I'm not sure if adding an explicit timeline to that is necessarily helpful: consensus building takes time, and the discussion points that are left are not the easiest ones. Valhallasw (talk) 19:15, 30 May 2016 (UTC)
Valhallasw, the steps I can think of right now are:
  • Meeting the Legal and HR requirements regarding the Confidentiality section.  There is a draft for this, and there has been discussion regarding it.
  • There are some possible improvements that could be made to "Handling reports" and "Responses and resolutions", partly based on ideas from Ashe.  In her (and my) opinion, the real issue is not whether it's simple or complex, but the initial response and later response.  Once "Handling reports"/"Responses and resolutions" are done, there could be a last call for finishing "Page: Code of Conduct/Cases", then it can be considered for approval.
    Last call sent for this. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:22, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
  • There is the in-progress discussion regarding how the Code of Conduct will be amended once it's a policy.
  • An NDA to ensure the Committee members take their Confidentiality requirements seriously.  After that and the Confidentiality section is done, I think the "Page: Code of Conduct/Committee" section will be almost done. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:19, 2 June 2016 (UTC)
  • On further consideration, I can see no plausibly productive outcome from my continuing to participate in this discussion.  The Code either will or will not be finished, and it either will or will not be effective.  I have expressed my views and they clearly are unwelcome: there is nothing I can do now to promote a positive outcome.  I leave it to those who regard themselves as managing the process to take the credit and blame.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 19:05, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

Inspire Campaign on addressing harassment[edit]

The new Inspire Campaign makes a call for ideas to address harassment in Wikimedia. Some of these ideas will turn into projects that will request and eventually receive grants for their development. It is interesting to see this CoC effort fitting in a wider trend. There is no direct relation between this CoC and that campaign. I am sharing the news here because people watching this page might be interested.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:12, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Diversity of affiliations in the Committee[edit]

Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Diversity says "the Committee cannot have all members affiliated to the same employer". Diversity of the Committee is intrinsically valuable for its credibility and efficiency. More diversity means more perspectives and more flexibility to deal with potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, I propose this change to the draft: "the Committee cannot have all a majority of members affiliated to the same employer".--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:23, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Sure. --MZMcBride (talk) 02:33, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Why is this even a debate when the CoC is supposed to be nearly done? The committee has no credibility if a voting majority have the same interest. -- (talk) 09:16, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
I disagree with this, for the reasons I stated earlier.  We should aim for a Committee that is qualified, diverse (in many ways, e.g. ethnic, gender diversity but also diversity of experience), and represents the MediaWiki developer community.  These are somewhat conflicting goals, since our community is not as diverse as it could be.  However, I don't support an arbitrary restriction like this.  Given the composition of the community, it could be reasonable at times for a majority of people to be employed by e.g. the WMF.  It is unrepresentative to forbid that, and could make it more difficult to achieve other diversity goals. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 14:34, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
I'm also not saying there should be a majority of people from the same employer.  We should leave it up to the group selecting the Committee.  It depends on various factors, including the community, who is interested, qualifications, etc. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 14:35, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
I am a bit concerned about adding this restriction. The aspiration for the committee is to make sure it represents our community while also representing diversity. While I do agree that diversity of employers is important, I think a diversity of backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, genders, etc is slightly higher in importance. I am worried that if we increase the scrutiny over the employer it will come at the expense of cultural diversity. I think that leaving this rule as-is works best for starting this process. Putting more emphasis on diversity of culture (which I think is more representative of our community's diversity, and the diversity we aspire to have) works better as a preliminary rule, and we can always revisit this restriction as part of an amendment period after the committee -- and the selection process -- have time to be practically examined. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 20:43, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
OK, I understand the importance of diversity beyond affiliation and I understand that, as of today, we have no idea how easy is going to be to find Committee members and their successors in due time. I am fine withdrawing this proposal. If I am involved in the creation of the first Committee, I will still do my best to avoid a majority of members with the same affiliation.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 22:59, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

Comment period for selection of new members[edit]

The current text says: The group doing the selection ... will then publish their candidate slate on-wiki.The community can provide feedback on these candidates... The feedback period will be two weeks for candidates who are not currently on the Committee, and one week for candidates being considered for re-selection. The group choosing the Committee will then either officially appoint the slate as members, or update the candidate slate in response to concerns raised.

The shorter comment period for standing members seems impractical. The candidates will surely be presented together; they will have to be approved together (as approving them at different times would mean they have to agree to serve on the committee without knowing whom they will serve with; a bad idea). So there will be two weeks between publishing and approving the list of candidates (unless all of them are standing members, which is not a situation that should be encouraged). Will comments just be rejected in the second week for candidates who stand for reelection? Making the comment period uniformly two weeks seems less awkward to me. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 09:58, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

This seems hypothetical. The WMF selects and appoints the committee in a closed process, unpaid volunteers have no say. A different process might apply if the WMF appointed committee wants it to, and still exists in a year from now [when the committee is first set up]. Even then, with the CoC as written, the earliest that all members are appointed with transparency will be in 2018. -- (talk) 14:43, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Selection_of_new_members applies to "The group doing the selection", and therefore it also applies to the WMF Technical Collaboration team when bootstrapping the first Committee, all according to the current draft.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 15:03, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
@: Under the draft, "The first Committee will be chosen by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Collaboration team. Subsequent members of the Committee will be chosen by the current Committee." and "The initial Committee remains without changes for one year. From that point, the Committee elects their new members by a majority vote every six months".  The community also provides feedback.  I don't know where you get 2018.  First of all, even the first Committee will be appointed with transparency (see Code of Conduct/Draft#Selection of new members).  There is no significance at all to the date 2018.  If the first Committee is appointed in 2016 (which is certainly the goal), a new Committee will be appointed in 2017. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 15:15, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
There is no need to reject comments.  There are two ways the different time period can come into play:
  1. Perhaps only one member is up for re-selection right now (people can resign at any time, so it may end up one member gets elected offset from the others).
  2. If say, one member is up for re-selection, and another seat is being replaced (a member is leaving), the discussion period for the new candidate can just be started a week earlier than the discussion period for the re-elected candidate.
That said, I don't feel that this difference in time periods is essential. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 14:59, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Improvement of handling reports and responses sections[edit]

@Mattflaschen-WMF:, you wrote 'There are some possible improvements that could be made to "Handling reports" and "Responses and resolutions", partly based on ideas from Ashe.  In her (and my) opinion, the real issue is not whether it's simple or complex, but the initial response and later response.' above, but I can't find a section where these changes are being discussed. Did I miss that section? If not, can you add the proposal under this header? Valhallasw (talk) 11:48, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

I've updated the draft text for this. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 22:26, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Committee membership[edit]

The current draft reads: "The first Committee will be chosen by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Collaboration team."

Is there any consensus for this line? Looking at Talk:Code of Conduct/Draft/Archive 1#Another membership proposal, there doesn't seem to be agreement that the committee will be chosen by an arbitrary Wikimedia Foundation team. Many of the comments in past discussions seemed to point to nominations/elections of some kind, as I understand it. Am I missing something? --MZMcBride (talk) 17:06, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

On the presumption that the current text has no consensus, it was just palatable to WMF insiders, do you think that a fully open election of volunteers for the committee would be the way forward? -- (talk) 17:12, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
Nominations and elections are certainly worth considering. I'm not sure I'm fully caught up on the backstory regarding this sentence and past related discussions. Maybe elections were deemed untenable. It feels weird to have a Wikimedia Foundation team pick the committee. --MZMcBride (talk) 23:34, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
Open community elections were not deemed untenable by anyone. An "appointed" committee using secret criteria and behind-closed-doors discussion is plainly unsatisfactory in terms of governance.
The process for creating this document is run on a type of majority vote process rather than consensus building. As the majority taking part are WMF employees and the process is directed by a WMF employee, every choice has been that of whatever a majority of WMF employees prefer. If you look through the archive of this talk page, you can see the pile-on effect which has rapidly rubbished counter-views from the small number of unpaid volunteers contributing.
If the committee is "hand picked" by self-appointed WMF employees, it loses credibility in terms of meaningful independence from the WMF. In the scenario where a WMF employee is claiming harassment, or has been alleged to be harassing, the current CoC simply will not work, as the committee will be unable to act independently, access evidence, or take action without first offering WMF HR or WMF Legal a political veto. -- (talk) 05:12, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
This is incorrect.  There has been a lot of consensus-building here (it's happening right now).  The Committee will be appointed in accordance with the policy.  There is nothing (in the draft, or in the Confidentiality text I added) giving WMF HR or WMF Legal a veto of any kind.  The Committee can and must apply the Code of Conduct to all members of the community, staff and volunteer. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 16:15, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
As far as I remember, this is the first time that sentence has been highlighted since it was discussed and included in the draft. It is good to discuss it. My opinion is that direct elections are not the best option to form this Committee and renovate it. The main priority of the Committee is to work well as a team of qualified contributors. Direct elections don't guarantee that as good as a managed process with nominations and public review. By design, direct elections favor majorities, popularity, and systemic biases. A managed and publicly reviewed process can favour a more diverse composition of the Committee, better prepared to deal with cases of harassment and disrespect from multiple perspectives.
A different question is whether this managed and publicly reviewed process to create the first Committee should be handled by the WMF Technical Collaboration team. What would be the alternatives? There was some discussion about involving the Architecture Committee but, long story short, they prefer to limit their scope to technical governance.
I don't agree with the argument that a WMF selected committee would undermine the independence of such Committee in cases against WMF employees (and your mention to WMF HR or Legal veto puzzles me completely, but belongs to a different discussion). Our interest is the opposite, to have a qualified and respected Committee able to deal with problems of harassment and disrespect autonomously, directly backed by the technical community. My team has dealt with cases involving WMF employees, including cases resolved against them. If no better alternative is found, I think this team would be qualified to receive nominations, propose and select a first Committee.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:39, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
At no point has it been demonstrated or agreed that an open community election for candidates is undesirable, or would give a bad result. If a candidate were put forward that the WMF does not feel appropriate, that can be discussed publicly or you could email the candidate with your concerns, just like anyone else can.
What exactly is the WMF scared of happening here, so that the WMF must "manage" (i.e. have absolute control of) every step of this process and avoid meaningful governance and transparency? -- (talk) 17:26, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
I recall the criticism the latest round of community-selected board member elections received for selecting three white males from Europe and the US rather than candidates with more gender, racial, or geographical diversity (e.g. w:en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2015-06-03/News and notes#The results in detail). Such a result would probably be detrimental to trust in this committee among the groups the having of a CoC is intended to reassure. Anomie (talk) 13:25, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
That seems a tangent, rather than a good reason to rely on group of self appointed WMF employees to appoint Committee members and reject candidates without any open process or vote. If you wish to explain why this Committee should have some diversity criteria built in, I suggest another thread. For example you may wish to require that a proportion of members of the committee must represent certain minority groups so that it does not end up being all Europeans and Americans, all native English speakers or all heterosexual men. Such pre-agreed criteria would work perfectly well in an open vote. -- (talk) 16:40, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't think quotas as you propose would be all that great of a way to ensure diversity, as it just makes it more likely that an unsuitable person would be elected because they're the only candidate who fit the quota. BTW, why do you assume that the WMF team appointing the initial committee would appoint only themselves? Anomie (talk) 13:05, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
"self appointed WMF employees to appoint Committee members" does not assume they only appoint themselves. I also mentioned "require", not "quota", there are various ways of handling this without appointing unsuitable people. This is a tangent, please create a new thread if you want to expand on it. -- (talk) 15:18, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
My concern with direct elections for Committee members have nothing to do with the WMF. Elections might be an appropriate tool to decide one winner representing the values and interests of a majority, but here we are talking about forming a team that must work efficiently together in order to protect victims of harassment (frequently not represented by majorities). Here are some flaws of the election model:
  • It takes a certain attitude to run for election. Some people that could be competent Committee members don't have that attitude and would resist to present themselves as candidates. Meanwhile, other people will have such attitude and will have the possibility to run for election even if they are potentially not a good fit to work in this Committee. A managed and publicly reviewed process eases the invitation and involvement of a wider variety of competent profiles.
  • Elections favor majorities by design, and majorities can be obtained through factors that are not directly related to the qualifications of a person to be a competent Committee member (popularity among the major constituencies of the electorate, reputation in areas different than the Committee has to deal with, communication style...). A managed and publicly reviewed process can focus better on the selection of Committee members based on their skills and merits directly related to their future work at the Committee.
  • While the winner of an election might have many merits accumulated to convince so many voters, that probability is reduced for the following candidates that get a seat with less votes, especially if the amount of candidates and the amount of voters is relatively small, as it is likely to be the case in our context. What if there were six candidates and the fifth seat was won with a dozen of votes? Since a managed and publicly reviewed process has better chances to find more candidates fitting more directly with the task, the possibility of forming a team of five competent members is higher.
  • Elections represent a competition of rivals by design, but the purpose of the exercise is to create a team that has to work together. While in an election the guarantee that rival candidates will become good partners is random at best, in a managed and publicly reviewed process the selection can focus on building a team of complementary and collaborative members since the beginning.
  • Elections are more exposed to abuse than a managed and publicly reviewed process. With the size of our community and the likely amount of candidates in an election, it would not be impossible (or maybe even difficult) for a determined candidate supported by a determined group to get a seat and use it to disrupt the Committee and the CoC itself.
There are many examples in real life about elections bringing these dysfunctional results when used to form teams that must work together. When a group needs to form a team, it is more usual to nominate someone to come up with a proposal, review it and either approve it or request changes for a next round.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:15, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
Certainly, these are the sorts of arguments one can use against any type of open election, and puts forward reasons to mistrust the community of volunteers. I find it enlightening that the WMF appears to fear a "determined group" mysteriously manipulating an election. Sorry, if there is a sufficiently active minority to support a candidate, using your unelected power of veto to stop them having any representation is overly authoritarian.
As for the reasoning, to paraphrase, "we can't have an open process as only the WMF are skilful enough to select candidates who will be suitable to work together", that seems arrogant. Looking at extremely well documented recent history, the WMF has an appalling record for appointing successful teams and retaining management that can work together for any serious length of time. It's actually an argument to avoid having the WMF control the selection process.
If the WMF is unable to trust the community then this CoC can be reduced to just putting you in charge and demanding volunteers follow your orders or get banned. Why don't you step back and stop acting like state police and let the community attempt to help improve your governance, public reputation and the experience of users who need help with harassment? -- (talk) 07:46, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Isn't the current situation that the WMF is de facto in charge? And the team that's de facto in charge is trying to give up that being in charge to the new committee? Anomie (talk) 13:05, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Right now it's not really any more in charge of this wiki than other wikimedia-hosted wiki, and it's certainly not in charge of the IRC channels. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 15:23, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
If the WMF controls who can sit on the committee, or have the final say on the committee's processes, then that is not giving up any control, it's just having volunteers do work for you instead of paying employees. -- (talk) 15:22, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
, the priority of this draft is to define a way to create a Committee that can serve well the purpose of this Code of Conduct. I have provided a detailed reasoning about why I believe a direct election is not the right tool for this purpose, and I think it is a valid reasoning from a volunteers' point of view. Your priority is to prevent control, censorship, and other forms of abuse from the WMF. I agree with this priority. I just disagree with your analysis about why the process currently proposed would allow that abuse.
  • "WMF" in this discussion means Andre Klapper, Rachel Farrand, and Quim Gil, the people who actually would run this process. We have a public record of years of work supporting the technical community, including the management of various community proposals and selection processes. Whatever evil machinations you fear about the WMF selecting a CoC Committee, they would be done by us.
  • We would share publicly the reasoning of our selections when proposing the members of the first Committee. If candidates declined would want us to explain or discuss our reasons with them, we would respond as well. We don't have anything to hide, we just want to select the best team possible for the task.
  • We would present the proposed Committee for community review. If our selection is partially or totally rejected, then we would take note of the criticism and we would work on a next proposal.
  • Once the Committee is nominated, their members have to commit to fairness and confidentiality regardless of their affiliation and how they have been selected. The hypothesis that a Committee nominated by a WMF team would be less independent implies that those Committee members would breach the CoC itself or would act unfairly, which are reasons to report them and substitute them.
Fae, you keep spreading fear about the WMF using this CoC for community control and censorship. Could you provide specific examples of how would that work in practice? At least in this section, could you explain with examples how a Committee selected through the managed process proposed could be used by the WMF for control, censorship, or other ways of abuse?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 11:15, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
My doubts come from personal experience of actual tactics of marginalization and threats used by members of the WMF in the past to make risks go away, not because I'm a conspiracy loon, but because I used to think this would never happen and I turned out to wrong to presume that the WMF would only behave in collegiate ways.
  1. If a member of WMF legal intervenes, and says to a committee member, something like "I need you to drop this case, leave it to us", then as all committee members were required to sign a contract with the WMF with the potential for the extremely well funded legal department to pursue them personally using unspecified and unlimited "legal remedies" and "monetary damages", basically any case that the WMF board or legal feels might damage the reputation, or pose any other sort of risk to the WMF, can be instantly suppressed and the committee left unable to discuss it in any way in public, or even each other without fear of personal damage.
  2. If WMF HR intervenes, they carry the same weight as legal. This would make any case that involved a WMF employee as a party to the case either impossible for the Committee to handle, or WMF HR may ask the committee to, say, suppress factual evidence from being shared with some parties to the case, or the public. This may easily happen if HR feels that the evidence may give a party grounds to later pursue the WMF for damages, or evidence that could be grounds for a civil case that they prefer never happens.
  3. The WMF is able to strategically introduce delays by using an effective veto, say by asking the committee to wait while they do their own legal related investigation. Once evidence that the committee may have asked for passes the 90-day mark, any that relates to private information stored on WMF servers is deleted and will no longer be considered evidence. Any committee member or WMF employee that finds a way of getting hold of this data after the 90 days, will (and should) fall foul of their contract, unless one of the parties has had the foresite and is rich enough to speedily subpoena the WMF for the information, and it succeeded rather than being ignored by the WMF or responded to with a deliberately partial or unhelpfully literal release against an imprecise subpoena. This scenario would be an easy way to introduce doubt and lead to "assuming good faith" in the absence of critical evidence, especially were a WMF employee, wealthy partner organization, or an employee for an organization that a WMF board member has an interest in, were somehow embarrassingly involved in anonymous/pseudonymous harassment (or potentially a harassed party).
Perhaps you prefer to believe that such cold strategic ways of handling harassment have never happened within the WMF, but you have neither experienced the WMF for quite as long as I have, nor are a lawyer on a six figure salary who makes these choices, directed to robustly defend the WMF from all risks without worrying what happens to non-WMF parties who do not pay your fees. -- (talk) 13:03, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Whether WMF HR/Legal can intervene in cases is an important question, but it has no bearing on how the committee is chosen. Do you expect HR/Legal to somehow influence the choice of members on the committee through Andre/Rachel/Quim? Valhallasw (talk) 12:25, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
I thought about not responding as this seems weirdly obvious. However to avoid doubt - a key function of HR and Legal, is to ensure that employment contracts and policies guarantee that the WMF avoids exposure to risk, including reputational risk, and to ensure that employees comply with the policies those departments dictate. So yes, they "somehow influence" all employees and their contracts fully ensure compliance, especially when there is conflict. -- (talk) 17:26, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
, I don't see how the WMF could drop, suppress, or veto cases, suppress factual evidence, and/or pursue Committee members... and get away with it without a whistleblowing from Committee members, reporters, witnesses, or any other community members related to the people involved in a case. But for the sake of exploring pros and cons of the different models proposed to select the first Committee, even if that would be possible, why do you think that such horrible scenarios would be possible with a committee selected in a managed and publicly reviewed process but not with a committee voted in a direct election?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 19:27, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
The WMF concept of whistleblowing only applies when the law is being broken and it only applies to employees. In any other circumstances, neither employees nor volunteers that signed a contract with the WMF have any protection from whatever senior management feel are actions needed to remove them from public or private discussion in order to eliminate a perceived risk.
I find this repeated challenge from yourself odd. In particular I have already explained the "how". It seems extremely obvious that a committee where a handful of unelected WMF employees can secretly black-ball anyone with views that they or the wider WMF may not like for unspecified reasons, such as someone like me that no doubt is seen as "undesirable" by WMF legal for blowing the whistle in public about the ethics of a trustee which resulted in a resignation after press attention, then there is no chance that the committee will represent anything but pro-WMF and pro-status-quo viewpoints.
By the way, my presumption is that you are using paid employee time to keep on asking questions and finding reasons to avoid making this CoC more volunteer-centric. Keep in mind that I'm not.
P.S. for the third time of asking, could you please demonstrate that you trust in having a joint consensus with volunteers and WMF employees by publishing the paid consultants advice about this CoC that WMF employees have been privileged to read, but volunteers like myself have not. It is a poor precedent in a discussion where transparency and ethics have become key points of contention. Thanks -- (talk) 00:25, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
The main question is how to form a functional committee. I agree with Qgil that direct elections (i.e. the five people with the most votes form the committee) is not necessarily the best way to do so, for the reasons he and Anomie outlined above. However, a complete lack of community oversight is also not something that appeals to me -- see the earlier discussion on Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_2#The_Committee_elects_their_new_members.
I think a reasonable compromise could be to vote on a committee rather than on members: the technical collaboration team would build a proposed committee, and the community can then vote on whether that group becomes the committee. If others would be interested, they could formulate a counter-proposal, which would be voted on in the same way. Valhallasw (talk) 11:55, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Would that vote be for the initial committee only, or would a vote be needed every time the committee wants to change its membership? Anomie (talk) 13:05, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
Code_of_Conduct/Draft#Selection_of_new_members defines a review period of two weeks for the community. Following the draft, if one or more proposed Committee members are considered problematic by one or many community members, people can send us their feedback and we will have to react on the specific complaints. In contrast, a vote would bring a Yes (all Committee candidates are confirmed) or a No (all Committee members must be changed?) and no indication about reasonings or hints for a better selection. Those details would need to come from feedback anyway, so why not focus on the feedback in the first place.
In fact, valid concerns about a Committee member could be overridden by a majority vote that would need to be accepted regardless. In a managed process, one email with valid concerns could be more effective, and if our reaction to feedback is not good enough, we are clearly accountable, and the likely outcomes is an escalation to community protests and lack of credibility of the Committee and the CoC before its inauguration.
Even from a purely logistical point of view, it is not clear at all how such vote would be organized. How are requirements for participation and identification of voters considered in a community spread across several tools and spaces with no single unified login?
I think it is simpler to trust a group of individuals (Andre, Rachel, Quim or another set of people) to facilitate this process, be ready to change initial candidates as a response to sensible feedback, and understand that an incompetent or unfair Committee will not have much chances to survive anyway. Note also that the most likely problem we will encounter is not which candidates to choose, but finding people willing to volunteer for this delicate role at all.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:58, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
You are replacing an open vote with your unelected network of WMF employee friends. Regardless of how many times you explain that you are nice and unbiased, you have to understand how terrible that looks to non-WMF insiders.
To draw a parallel fantasy scenario, if Jimmy Wales were to pick three of his close personal friends and insist that this unelected group have the final say in choosing who could be the next WMF board of trustees (i.e. a "managed" process), or control how the $100m Wikimedia Endowment fund could be used, because they were jolly nice and ethical people he trusts, do you think that would work out well, and that the community of unpaid volunteers that give their time to create project content would feel this was the best ethical approach and delivered good governance? -- (talk) 23:14, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be more like if Jimmy Wales had picked three of his close personal friends to decide who would be the first WMF board of trustees back in 2003? Anomie (talk) 14:34, 10 June 2016 (UTC)
Only if Jimmy's three friends were still picking and choosing who could be a trustee in 2016. The effective veto by unelected WMF employees does not vanish after the first round. -- (talk) 17:27, 12 June 2016 (UTC)
Where do you see language that says the WMF can veto candidates after the first committee is appointed? Anomie (talk) 13:23, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
It does not state that, the committee relies on a "majority vote", though it's not actually clear who is doing the voting, nor does it explain what the 'slate' is (presumably a public list). It reads as though the previous committee is voting on the next one, which presumably is not how this will work, but it's hard to interpret it. There is also no provision for public comment, the only option is private email, which seems unnecessary if there is to be any community engagement on-wiki, rather that it all happening off-wiki. The selection section is a minefield of what it does not state, rather than what it does. -- (talk) 21:32, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
I think you're presuming a bit too much, as written it seems that the old committee voting on the new committee is exactly how it's intended to work. I suspect that only providing for private comments is intended to avoid it feeling like members have to go through a gauntlet of criticism (like enwiki's RfA process), never mind that people will likely comment publicly on the post's talk page anyway, but you'd have to ask Qgil or whoever drafted that bit to really know. And, as you were so fond of saying earlier, start a new section if you want to discuss that. Anomie (talk) 14:25, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
I was unsure as it's a weirdly cliquey system to apply. After a couple of iterations it would become old committee members appointing people they happen to know, or be existing friends with. Certainly as there is no criteria set down, and no requirement to do anything publicly, or even answer questions about the process, then I don't see how one could expect it not to be challenged due to perceived bias or cronyism. I fail to understand why anyone would want a committee selection process like that in preference to an open vote, even if it were geared by changeable or arbitrary eligibility criteria. -- (talk) 16:02, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
There are basic criteria in the Code of Conduct/Draft#Diversity.  I expect as the Committee continues, they will develop more criteria on how to choose members.  The candidate slate will be published on-wiki.  Given that people have taken time to answer your questions here, I can't understand why you think people won't answer legitimate questions.  The text has a clear process ( , etc.) to ensure people don't only think of candidates they know.  Selection of the members is not the kind of process that is conducive to a vote.  This is about skills that are difficult to assess based on how well known a person is, or what they have done technically.  Anomie is correct about the reason I proposed this process.  People are likely to comment informally wherever they want (the Code of Conduct applies, though).  They should not expect Technical Collaboration or Committees to engage in blow-by-blow public debate on each candidate, though.  If people have concerns, they should make them known via the email address.  Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:51, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
I think these aspects are mostly clear, and show there is no WMF veto of candidates chosen by the Committee: "Subsequent members of the Committee will be chosen by the current Committee.", "the Committee elects their new members by a majority vote every six months".  I have clarified 'slate', one of the issues you raised above. If you find the text unclear, suggestions on how to clarify it are welcome. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:51, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
@Anomie: I'm not entirely sure what the best course of action would be in the case where one member of the committee changes. I'm inclined to suggest voting on the entire committee again (because the question is whether the new committee as a whole is a suitable committee).
@Qgil-WMF: "In contrast, a vote would bring a Yes (all Committee candidates are confirmed) or a No (all Committee members must be changed?) and no indication about reasonings or hints for a better selection. Those details would need to come from feedback anyway, so why not focus on the feedback in the first place." -- I don't understand why this would be an either/or situation. I'm envisioning a system where there first is a feedback round, then a full committee is proposed, and the full committee is voted on.
The question of 'who is allowed to vote' is a valid one, but one we already have to answer when it comes to voting on the CoC itself (and when it comes to voting on changes to the CoC)
Valhallasw (talk) 12:33, 11 June 2016 (UTC)

Referrals to second, separate group?[edit]

The current draft includes:

At the Committee's discretion, it can also delegate complex issues to the Wikimedia Foundation's Technical Collaboration team, transferring the responsibility of their resolution.

Introduced in this edit after this discussion.

I'm not sure the previous discussion reached consensus for the inclusion of this provision. --MZMcBride (talk) 23:47, 5 June 2016 (UTC)

I left this comment after adding that sentence, which didn't receive any response. As far as I remember this topic has been mentioned a couple of times but this is the first time that it has been highlighted for discussion. If someone wants to challenge the current text, I think the relevant questions are:
  • Do you agree or disagree that a Committee assumed to be formed mainly by volunteer should be able to delegate especially complex cases to a second body?
  • If you agree, do you have a proposal alternative to this team?
Note that is also related to the process for appeals. Do you think there should be a second body for appeals, and if so, who should that be?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:55, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Disagree. The Committee must be ultimately responsible if this is to mean anything. If the committee needs to pull in experts or independent reviewers then it can do so. If you can think of scenarios where this becomes (legally) impossible, then set out those scenarios explicitly so we can discuss whether it makes any sense for the WMF to be a default rather the the police or the victim's/alleged harasser's lawyers. The rest of this is a tangent, if you want to discuss appeals then create another section. -- (talk) 21:11, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

Following on 's comment above, I agree that we can remove the escalation path to Technical Collaboration and leave all resolutions to the Committee, allowing them to seek additional support if they need it. The Committee is being defined in this CoC as a body to be trusted and to be given flexibility to make good decisions. Therefore, I propose these changes to the draft:

  • "Complex cases may require the Committee to investigate within the margins of confidentiality, eventually contacting any individuals involved and/or related administrators or project maintainers. They may also request support from experts and reviewers external to the Committee and unrelated to the case."
  • "In case of very complicated or urgent matters, or if the Committee is unable to reach consensus, the report can be transferred to the Wikimedia Foundation Technical Collaboration team."
  • "At the Committee's discretion, it can also delegate complex issues to the Wikimedia Foundation's Technical Collaboration team, transferring the responsibility of their resolution."

--Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:14, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

Sounds good.
Valhallasw (talk) 12:34, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
I support Qgil-WMF's proposal.  However, I disagree with MZMcBride's characterization of the draft process.  The process we've basically been following is:
  • Someone adds text they think is a good idea.
  • It either stays or it is reverted.
  • If someone reverts it, or thinks it should be reverted, they should explain why and preferably suggest an alternative solution.
  • This is resolved through (sometimes quite extensive) discussion and text changes as appropriate.
  • The text of the section is approved later by a consensus discussion.
All the text is being approved section-by-section.  However, implying it has to be approved by consensus before even going in the draft is wrong and gets the ordering backwards (until the text of that section is approved, it's just a draft).  Furthermore, discussions like this which say, "I'm not sure the previous discussion reached consensus", without even touching the merits (there is nothing in the OP of this section about whether the quoted text is a good or bad idea) are not as constructive as they could be.  Wikipedia:Don't revert due solely to "no consensus" is just an essay (and even if it was a policy it wouldn't apply here), but it essentially explains what I mean. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 16:07, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

Yes Done There is consensus about this change.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 20:06, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

There's still a few references to 'appeals body'. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 01:48, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
@Krenair: I mentioned above that this change was somewhat related to the process for appealing a resolution. Fæ suggested not to mix both topics and encouraged to create a new section if anyone wanted to discuss appeals. Appealing a resolution is part of the Cases page, and Matt just launched a call for feedback for that page. Therefore, if someone wants to propose changes to the appeals process, the time is now and the place is a new section.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 06:25, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
@Krenair, Qgil-WMF: Yes, this change is not regarding the appeals process.  Basically, the old text said that if the Committee didn't want to (or could not) make a decision, they could pass it to Technical Collaboration.  Now, the Committee can seek support/advice, but the Committee has to make a decision.  The appeals text is unchanged. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 18:14, 15 June 2016 (UTC)
Okay, maybe I misunderstood. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 19:09, 23 June 2016 (UTC)

How to announce the call for approval of the Cases page[edit]

In Wider participation, still we have discussed several ideas to increase the reach of CoC announcements through technical spaces. In this section we are organizing the announcement of the call for approval of the Cases page, expected to start as soon as the current call for feedback for the Cases page is settled, and points still requesting consensus (if any) have been identified.

Online spaces

  • a sitenotice for logged-in users only is being discussed.
  • we could just mirror what we decide for mw.o
  • Phabricator: the panel in the homepage should be updated.
  • Technical mailing lists: distributing a message to all the lists is a daunting task, but as a good enough approach we could
    • select the main mailing lists where we will post directly (latest list of lists is wikitech-l, engineering, design, wiki-research-l, analytics, hackathonorganizers, labs-l)
    • collect the email addresses of all the administrators of technical mailing lists and send them a common email with the information and a request to forward to their lists
  • Technical IRC channels, we could select a short list of popular and diverse channels and add a note in the channel topic. Should we do the same for all channels? The own users of the channels could decide when to remove those notices.

Physical spaces

--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:40, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

I added labs-l, since that was in the most recent email.  If people think we should have more lists, there are two possible approaches:
  • Email the list directly.  It will go the moderation queue if I'm not subscribed, and the owner can decide whether to approve it.
  • Email (varies by list) as suggested above.
I think the first will be more likely to actually get a message to the list, since they just need to approve, rather than draft something.  For technical IRC channels, what about #mediawiki, #mediawiki-i18n, #wikimedia-tech, #wikimedia-dev, #wikimedia-labs, #wikimedia-design, #wikimedia-operations, and #wikimedia-releng?  Other people could add it to additional channels, but I think that covers the main areas. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 18:34, 15 June 2016 (UTC)

Removing the limitation of 3 months for appeals[edit]

After re-reading the Cases page, the only point that I found where an alternative was proposed but the discussion was not resolved is the limitation to appeal only after three months. I still believe that it is better to remove this limitation. If this flexibility is abused in practice, then we can think how to prevent such abuse, and propose a solution as an amendment of the CoC. The specific change proposed is to remove "Only resolutions (such as bans) that last 3 months or longer may be appealed by people who were sanctioned."--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:21, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

I still don't think it's necessary that every low-level decision can be appealed to an entirely separate group.  There is already a provision for re-consideration by the same Committee ("the reporter or any people sanctioned may raise objections to the resolution. [...]").  As a further compromise (since some people thought 3-month was too long a cut-off), I would support changing it to 1-month. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:10, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
OK to set a minimum filter, then. What about "Only resolutions (such as bans) that last 3 months or longer more than one week may be appealed by people who were sanctioned." Above in the draft there is a mention to asking someone to "take a week off" as a possible resolution. Looking at the type of cases reported in our technical spaces, that week off looks like a possible limit between minor incidents and grave ones. Most of the hot situations we seen in our technical spaces cool down within a week. Being banned in one channel during one week is bad in several ways, but it is not the end of the world. Due to "racing conditions", appeals to sanctions of one week or less would be probably resolved after the sanction has passed anyway. This proposal about "more than one week" would leave most appeals to longer sanctions (major problems) and also to reported offenders who have gone through their sanction but still want to defend their disagreement for the record and for similar situations in the future (smaller yet unsolved problems).--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:11, 18 June 2016 (UTC)
I agree with this proposal, I also think there should be clarity about whether you have to wait for the whole amount of time for a sanction to expire before appealing or whether you can appeal as soon as it is active. I would also request clarity over whether things like permission removals (server access, +2, etc.) can be appealed and when. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 19:15, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
Actually, re-reading the text I suppose permission removals that are temporary for more than the time limit would be appealable and permanent ones would always be appealable? Am I understanding this correctly? --Krenair (talkcontribs) 19:16, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
@Krenair: Yes, any sanctions lasting more than the time limit could be appealed. I think the appeals could be submitted as soon as the sanction is enforced. I hope this doesn't raise an expectation that resolutions on appeals will be announced at the same speed. Appeals are expected to be based on complex situations, and forming a good judgement on them will require time.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:50, 24 June 2016 (UTC)
@Krenair: Yes, it's only based on the time period, not what the resolution is.  Also, regarding, "whether you have to wait for the whole amount of time for a sanction to expire before appealing", they do not have to wait.  This is why it says, "Until an appeal is resolved, the prior resolution remains fully in effect.".  In other words, if someone is e.g. banned for a year, they can appeal, but they remain banned unless and until the appeal is resolved in their favor.  If they had to wait a year to appeal, that sentence would not make sense. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 19:02, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
I support the "one week" version as a compromise. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:39, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Suggested change to "discrimination" item[edit]

In the current text, one of the examples listed of "Unacceptable behavior" is:

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

I propose to change this to the following:

Discrimination, except when required by law, or for the purpose of outreach.

The initial wording was already voted on in March, but I think there are a few things that are clear now that weren't back then:

  • No one, apparently, has any idea what "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups" really means - that is, what the criteria are by which a particular group would be determined to be marginalized or underrepresented.
  • The current text sets up a strange dichotomy where all discrimination is either encouraged or banned.
  • Under the most straightforward reading of the current text, the Google Summer of Code and Outreachy would both be banned, since they both discriminate against non-college students. Unless one considers college students to be among the marginalized or underrepresented, this would be considered unacceptable outreach. (And if you think discrimination against non-students doesn't count as discrimination in the first place, imagine someone turning down a contributor's patch because the contributor is not in college. Would that be alright?) Yaron Koren (talk) 19:53, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Support as proposer. Yaron Koren (talk) 19:54, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Consensus not reached. There was not consensus to make the change.  People cited both issues with the text change and procedural issues. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:17, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Comment w:Marginalized group, w:Underrepresented_group, wikt:Group. Ok ok, I jest Yaron. Here's how I see it. Excluding a group of people by intent is unacceptable. That intent part is particularly vital. Google Summer of Code, in its stated goals and purpose, does not intentionally set out to exclude people as part of its efforts. An individual or group that purposefully singles out and attempts to prevent participation - they are discriminating.  CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 20:15, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't see how GSoC could be any more intentional in its discrimination... I'm guessing that by "intent" you really mean "malice". In either case, you seem to be reading something into the current wording that's just not there. Yaron Koren (talk) 21:04, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
And here we go again: Discrimination is deemed to be acceptable behaviour unless one is so abysmally dumb to admit to it.  Just feigning ignorance allows one to happily continue on a path of exclusion.  --Tim Landscheidt 02:41, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
I note that the current draft doesn't actually mention intent. Anomie (talk) 13:56, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Oppose The Unacceptable behavior section has gone through extensive review, and for the sake of progress in the completion of the draft, we have no intention to go back and reopen it. Your objection to "particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups" was discussed even further, twice, also extensively, without agreement. The FAQ explains why we are mentioning explicitly these groups and why there is no risk of GSoC being considered by the Committee to be a discriminatory activity. As far as I recall, other hypothetical examples of abuse based on this sentence were refuted as well. The promoters of this CoC do not see a scenario where this sentence could be used unfairly against community members, or against the principles of the CoC. If reality proves that this sentence is problematic, or if new ideas are brought by the Committee or anyone else, they will be able to use the amendment process to change it.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 06:38, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Your FAQ doesn't really say why GSoC wouldn't be considered discriminating against non-college-students, or why college students should be considered a marginalized or underrepresented group. It just says "GSoC itself is not a program promoting harassment and disrespect". Couldn't a FAQ equally well say that a hypothetical WMLiSFSoC "itself is not a program promoting harassment and disrespect"?
As for "without agreement", it seems that the disagreement in large part came from you personally. Perhaps the principle behind w:WP:INVOLVED should be applied here. Anomie (talk) 13:55, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
I remain unsure who "we" is in "we have no intention to go back and reopen it"; I presume this excludes me, and anyone that foolishly asks questions that Qgil does not like the look of.
This remains a can of worms. After my experience this week of having a project administrator actively using a free speech argument to defend the example usage of "retard" to describe other editors, I doubt that there is any common understanding of how discrimination will be understood by the wider Wikimedia community. As the process for this CoC does not ask them, the end result is likely to seem academic, compared to where we are as a community and what is routinely accepted and argued to be acceptable. -- (talk) 16:13, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Strong oppose This section has been completed, this specific text has been discussed quite throughly, and this would not improve the text.  The emphasis in the original regarding "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups" is intentional.  We don't want to exclude anyone (see the Principles section), and we realize that outreach to underrepresented groups (like Outreachy) is necessary to expand the community.  Your proposed change takes away the point that we don't need to do outreach to every possible group. The text "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups" uses the plain meaning, just as e.g. "private communication" does.  People have explained the meaning in great detail, and neither phrase needs an inline definition.  I already explained why GSOC is not discriminatory.  The reason why Outreachy does not violate this clause is self-explanatory (it is an outreach program specifically targetting under-represented groups).
I further note that you have started this section without notifying the mailing lists as I always do, so I had to do that. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 18:21, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
When did anyone explain the meaning in great detail? Yaron Koren (talk) 02:46, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
This sentence (and its precursor sentences) have been discussed and explained repeatedly, down to specific individual examples:  Here, etc., etc.. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 08:08, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
I think only the first of those is relevant, as far as defining "marginalized and/or underrepresented". Neil Quinn wrote that, in order for a group to be considered marginalized/underrepresented, evidence has to be provided that the group faces "systematic barriers to entering similar groups [to the WMF], like open-source software projects, free-culture movements, or San Francisco-based tech companies." So is that the answer? Yaron Koren (talk) 14:02, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
The text of the CoC is the controlling text.  I think Neil gave a very reasonable explanation of that text, particularly regarding 'marginalized'. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:59, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
In other words, his explanation was reasonable but useless, since there's nothing official or binding about it? Okay... I don't know why you brought it up, then. Yaron Koren (talk) 04:10, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
@Yaron Koren: Also, your characterization of Outreachy is incorrect.  "Unlike Google Summer of Code, Outreachy is open to non-students and non-coders, so you should just apply for Outreachy internship if you are either not a student or not a coder." Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 03:33, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't know that. Yaron Koren (talk) 04:11, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Oppose I think it's useful to keep the particular intentions of the wording as-is.  The proposed change makes this text less grounded in the problems we're trying to address. Milimetric (WMF) (talk) 18:52, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
comment I find Yaron's argument mildly more compelling, but honestly I have trouble caring either way. Bawolff (talk) 19:03, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Comment The problematic part here seems to be that the outreach clause is limited to "marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups", which implicitly disallows all other kinds of targeted outreach. That doesn't seem to be anyone's actual intent here. What if we just remove the limiting clause from the current wording? "Discrimination (unless required by law), particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged." Anomie (talk) 19:57, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Strong oppose This was discussed before, at length. The original sentence was changed based on the discussion that ensued, and consensus was reached. "We" are the people working on this document - who reached consensus. After lengthy conversation, adjustments, and discussions, the text was approved by clear consensus. While there was some opposition, there was clearly more support, and so it was approved. There is no requirement that it be unanimous, and that is not a realistic expectation in this case.
This isn't a matter of misunderstanding, or a matter of "top-down" decision, and anyone reading the previous discussions can see that. In fact, the text was adjusted from the 'original' version following the lengthy discussion, so it's not like opposing voices were ignored.
Waiting a while after consensus was reached to challenge this section as if there was no "true" consensus, as if there were no true deliberations or considerations for the points you are (again) making is unfair at best, and disruptive at worst. It did not take us 5 minutes of casual dismissal 'why not' to accept this text. It took months to approve the "Unacceptable behavior" section, and quite a large portion of time dedicated to the "marginalized" text itself.
I see absolutely no reason to reopen an issue that was agreed upon by consensus, so we can entertain the few who have repetitively expressed their opposition, when consensus has been clearly against them. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 20:10, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Well, a lot of the "support" votes seemed to come from people who hadn't thought through the wording - like the people who didn't believe that, under the current wording, every kind of outreach was either banned or encouraged, with no middle ground. I thought that, with clarification of the problems, some people might change their minds, but evidently that's not the case. Yaron Koren (talk) 02:46, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Oppose  AGomez (WMF) (talk) 20:33, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Strong oppose  The discussion was opened and closed before. This also very much feels like unnecessary nitpicking in order to make the decision process harder. It can be amended if it proves to be unrealistic. (Which it isn't in my eyes.) Frimelle (talk) 20:42, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
I guess you're not assuming good faith! Oh well. Yaron Koren (talk) 02:46, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Oppose  The proposed text appears to define targeted outreach as discrimination.  Gamaliel (talk) 20:51, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
It is discriminatory, by definition - otherwise it wouldn't be "targeted". Yaron Koren (talk) 02:46, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Oppose Aaron (talk) 22:17, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Oppose I think the existing wording, while not perfect, gives a clearer idea of the intent of the guideline. Kaldari (talk) 14:01, 30 June 2016 (UTC)
What do you see as the weaknesses of the current wording? Maybe there's some room for compromise? Yaron Koren (talk) 15:00, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Is targeted outreach to non-underrepresented groups allowed?[edit]

I'm extracting this sub-thread because it seems the only one where there is some chance of having a productive discussion. The current wording implies that targeted outreach is discrimination and as such forbidden, except when it is aimed at underrepresented groups. (cf. the cooperative principle - when the speaker says "Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged", the listener will rightfully expect that "to such groups" is included in the sentence because it is relevant, ie. leaving it off would make the sentence false). This is clearly nonsense - GSoC is targeted outreach aimed at a non-underrepresented group and everyone is supportive of it, to the extent that it has been even added to the FAQ (although the FAQ answer is a prime example of a straw man fallacy). Anomie's suggestion is the minimal required change to fix this - is there any reason to oppose that? --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 23:02, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Consensus not reached.  There was not consensus to make the change.  Again (see above), people cited both the text and procedural reasons. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:36, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Natural language is more ambiguous than computer language and at least to me the current wording doesn't imply that "targeted outreach is discrimination and as such forbidden, except when it is aimed at underrepresented groups". However, if the small change proposed by Anomie (which doesn't bring any change to the intended meaning) makes the sentence clearer and we can finally settle this point, then I support the change:
"Discrimination (unless required by law), particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged."
--Qgil-WMF (talk) 06:17, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
@Qgil-WMF: I've specifically referred to a concept of philosophy of natural language in my somewhat desperate attempt to argue for something that I find obvious, so I don't think making rhetorical points about computer language is helpful. (Another, probably easier to read Wikipedia article on the same topic is implicature.) A last try: consider the sentence "Students must wear appropriate attire at all times. Skirts longer than three inches above the knee are acceptable." which has a similar structure. On a computer language level, this doesn't say whether shorter skirts are acceptable or not, but an actual human would assume that it's being implied that they aren't. This is because of the cooperative principle: listeners expect that the talker is cooperating with them to get the meaning across, by only saying things that are relevant. When that relevance is not spelled out, the listener is left to figure out how "Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged" is relevant to discrimination being forbidden, and the obvious assumption is that targeted outreach to such groups is the only thing that's allowed and encouraged.
In any case, I hope that even if the phrasing would only imply to some readers that GSoC-like outreach efforts are forbidden and would not imply anything of that sort to some others, that would still not be considered a good outcome. Several people have pointed out above that they find the phrasing confusing; I would hope that the suspicion of only "nitpicking in order to make the decision process harder" does not extend to all of us.
Sure, leaving the text as it is won't cause any outreach programs to be rejected; a reasonable committee will ignore errors in the CoC (and if we end up with an unreasonable committee, we'll have bigger problems). It alienates people though when it's impossible to get obvious and easily fixable problems fixed (I note that this same problem was raised and ignored multiple times well before the section in question had been finalized); and it detracts from the authority of the CoC when it has to be contradicted by its own FAQ. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 11:45, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't think it would actually require an unreasonable committee, just one that was unwilling to ignore the plain meaning of the CoC. It reminds me of [5] requiring [6]. Anomie (talk) 13:45, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
As I explained above, GSOC does not discriminate.  Therefore, they do not need any kind of "allowed and encouraged" clarification or exemption. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 00:37, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
@Tgr (WMF): I agree with your point about the cooperative principle, and your interpretation of the text.  As I said, the emphasis is intentional, and that it does mean that discriminatory targeted outreach exclusively designed to increase participation of over-represented and non-marginalized groups is forbidden. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:30, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Strong oppose See my comment above. This section is finalized and the emphasis in the current sentence is intentional. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 08:22, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm ok with your strong oppose, for the same reasons explained in my previous comment. Moving on with the draft is more important than getting stuck with details on sections reviewed. I don't think the current sentence is problematic in practical terms. I don't think the current sentence will change a bit the participation of Wikimedia in outreach programs.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:45, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
I understand the wish to finally get this thing done and into force, and I acknowledge that I'm the chicken here and Matt is the pig (for whom reestablishing consensus on a new phrasing is surely a significant amount of work, and possibly a precedent for having to reopen discussions on other parts). Maybe we could consider all discussion about already finalized sections as part of the amendment process, to be approved or rejected three months after the CoC is enacted?
Yes.  Addressing nice-to-have but non-blocking issues (particularly in finalized sections) in the amendment process makes perfect sense.  Personally, I do not support these two proposals, but I could support a better proposal on this topic made at the proper time.  Similarly, if unforeseen serious issues arise, they can and will be addressed by the amendment process. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:30, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
As for the emphasis being intentional, it seems the current text fails to communicate that intention clearly. If the intention is to say that outreach is generally OK but outreach to underrepresented groups is especially great, then a better phrasing would be "Discrimination (unless required by law), particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups. Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged."
Otherwise, I hope someone can explain what the intention is. --Tgr (WMF) (talk) 11:45, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
The repeated attempts at discussion of this issue show that your intentional emphasis on marginalized and underrepresented groups is not having the desired result in communicating the intended meaning of the statement as a whole. Tgr has done an excellent job in explaining exactly why it's failing. I'm going to be blunt here: "this has already been finalized" is a horrible reason for opposing fixing a clearly identified problem and is exactly the sort of thing that gives ammunition to those who attempt to assert that the WMF is trying to force things through without considering any other viewpoints. Anomie (talk) 13:45, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
@Anomie: I disagree.  I think people agree on the meaning of the sentence.  As Tgr said, "the obvious assumption is that targeted outreach to such groups is the only thing that's allowed and encouraged."  I agree and that is how I think people generally interpret it.  If there were a serious problem, I would support re-opening the section to fix it.  There is no problem.  We agree on what the text means, and I support that meaning.  Anyone who says, "the WMF is trying to force things through without considering any other viewpoints." is 100% wrong.  People have worked on this text carefully and patiently.   The original version of this text was "Discrimination against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups".  That triggered a vigorous discussion, and you can see how the text has changed since then.  There was no attempt to ram through the original text.  Instead, people addressed the issues (thanks to suggestions from Neil and others), and the new compromise text was approved by consensus.  People are trying to change the text again, but:
  1. The current text already is the compromise text.
  2. There is no additional problem with this bullet point that needs to be solved before the CoC is approved.
Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:50, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
If you really think people all agree with your reading of the sentence, then I don't think there's a point in my continuing to respond to you here since it seems that you're only seeing what you want to see. Anomie (talk) 03:06, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Strong support - we're now in the unusual position where the two main movers behind this CoC, Qgil and Mattflaschen, disagree completely about the meaning of these words (Qgil thinks all targeted outreach would be allowed, Mattflaschen thinks much of it would be banned), but they both agree that the wording is great as it is. It appears to me now that this ambiguity has become a feature, not a bug: given that the meaning is not spelled out, Qgil, Mattflaschen and other supporters of the current wording can interpret the text either way, and thus avoid a potentially painful argument about targeted outreach. What I think they're missing is that not dealing with it now just means that the argument will get postponed to the future, when the stakes will be a lot higher. That doesn't seem fair to anyone. Yaron Koren (talk) 16:42, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
What doesn't seem fair to me is to keep reopening a discussion. Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_2#Marginalized_and_underrepresented_groups shows that the initial proposal (from Matt) already went to several iterations until it got several Support, two Oppose from Yaron and Tgr (who keep opposing) and one Meh from Anomie (who keeps trying to find a better point of consensus, thank you). Yaron's proposal above got several Oppose, confirming a general will to keep that sentence in the draft as is. Please let continue the discussion about the draft, let the CoC and the Committee be created, and then, if you think this sentence is still problematic, propose and amendment when the first window for amendments opens. If you share the goal of having a CoC approved and enforced, this shouldn't be a plan too difficult to agree to.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 16:53, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
I don't know what you mean by "keep reopening" - it's only been reopened once. It's also strange that you're so against this three-word removal, given that less than 24 hours ago you thought it was a good idea. Yaron Koren (talk) 17:23, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Strong oppose Here's the problem here the way I see it: This isn't so much an issue of compromising over new text, as it is an issue of bypassing the proper process and silencing people who participated before. In previous discussions, we went over (quite at length) almost every bit of this sentence. The original text was different, in fact, and while we were discussing the new text, compromises already happened. That is, there were (roughly) two sides for this argument of clarity and "forcefulness" of the emphasis of marginalized groups - a side that wanted to go even more clearly and make the text stronger, and a side that wanted to de-emphasize and reduce the focus on marginalized groups. There were valid, lengthy, and very comprehensive discussions that lead to a compromise on the text. Both sides seemed to consider the new version not ideal, because both sides compromised.
What we seem to be doing now is reopening this discussion and discussing how to push this text towards one of the argument-sides that originally participated in the compromise. Doing that means we are essentially overriding the voices who participated in the previous discussion, who wanted the compromise to go the other way.
This is why this discussion should close now. Not because of the claims themselves (which, again, we've gone through), not because the text is perfect as-is, not because there may be room for improvement. All of these may be true -- but the process of consensus (that is not new to RFCs and to policy in Wikimedia projects) has run the course to produce a compromise that resulted in consensus. Reopening this now and arguing to push this further into one side of the view on this is not compromising. It's taking advantage of time passed and good rhetoric to override the voices who wanted this text stronger, who argued for weeks on this, and who may not be participating anymore because they consider the text closed and done for this draft, by proper consensus.
This is an outrageous act of bypassing consensus, and bypassing the process that we have had for an entire year over this document. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 19:37, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
I certainly understand your objections, but I think you're overstating the case. It hasn't been a year in this case - the anti-discrimination stuff was introduced in February, the current wording was introduced in March, and the vote happened a few weeks after that. And the potential conflict with GSoC (and Outreachy, but that's a trickier one) wasn't brought up until June, after the vote. I also don't think the discussion was all that comprehensive - besides the GSoC thing, there's the even more basic fact that no one seems to know for sure whether the current wording would ban some forms of outreach. (I'm curious to hear your opinion on that, by the way.) More generally, you make it sound like the discussion was a clear pro/con debate on the issues, but I remember it being a lot more scattershot than that - various objections and attempts at clarification being brought up, followed by a vote full of gauzy sentiments like the "need to serve all of humanity". I have no way to know if most of the people voting even read the previous discussion - most of them certainly weren't involved in it.
On a more basic level: you seem to agree that the current wording is not perfect - actually, there seems to be surprising unanimity about that. What sort of amendment process would you support, that *didn't* silence the voices of those who have already voted for this? Yaron Koren (talk) 13:26, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
@Yaron Koren: Regarding "And the potential conflict with GSoC (and Outreachy, but that's a trickier one) wasn't brought up until June, after the vote.", that is not correct.  The point about Outreachy was brought up by Neil in February, and we solved it completely through the new wording. There is no conflict with GSOC, as I've explained already. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:19, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
No, he was talking about Outreachy's discrimination against men, not GSoC's discrimination against non-college students. Yaron Koren (talk) 03:58, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
A compromise suggests that groups agree on one meaning. In this case, it seems that, although multiple groups agree on the text, they don't agree on the meaning. That's not a compromise, that's miscommunication. Valhallasw (talk) 14:57, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
To clarify, I believe there is a general agreement on what 'Discrimination (unless required by law), particularly against marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups.', means, but I don't believe this is the case for 'Targeted outreach to such groups is allowed and encouraged.'. While the former was indeed discussed in length, with a compromise reached, this is not the case for the latter sentence.  Valhallasw (talk) 15:13, 3 July 2016 (UTC)
Oppose Oppose, to clarify my position. I agree with the meaning that Matt has specified. Targeted outreach to marginalized and otherwise underrepresented groups is allowed and encouraged. GSoC and Outreachy both fit here. Targeted outreach to the opposite would be totally out of place (imagine a MediaWiki workshop at the WMF offices where only white males could participate, or a Wikimedia Hackathon in Jerusalem for Jews only). Then we have events where the target is defined by the location: a hackathon in the Roorkee University campus will probably be filled with Roorkee University members because non-members require a permission to access, a meetup in Ramallah will probably have no Israeli participants because they require a special permission to visit that city. These are restrictions imposed by the location, and what matters is that the organizers are open to accept requests from other audiences as long as they have a possibility to attend.
As you can see, I am using real examples to show that the current text works. Something I have been missing in this entire discussion are more real(istic) examples based on past or current activities, in Wikimedia or elsewhere. Every time a realistic scenario was mentioned (i.e. a hackathon in a boys-only school) we didn't have any difficulty deducing whether such activity would be affected or not by this CoC.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 06:47, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Your examples show that you do not understand what discrimination means.  When Wikimania was held in Alexandria, so-called homosexual potential attendees were assured that they were welcome, yet if they were arrested in Egypt and sentenced to several years in prison, well, bad luck.  This is discrimination by proxy, and just because it is more PR-friendly does not mean it is right.  --Tim Landscheidt 09:11, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
I think I do understand discrimination, but I don't understand how your comment applies specifically to the CoC draft.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:10, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
@Qgil-WMF: just to clarify, are you now saying that GSoC targets marginalized and otherwise underrepresented group(s)? Yaron Koren (talk) 13:56, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
@Yaron Koren: GSOC does not discriminate to begin with (as I've explained elsewhere).  Thus, it doesn't need an exemption from the discrimination clause, and the answer to your question is irrelevant. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:12, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
I thought your explanation was (no offense) weak logically - you said that it's not discriminatory because Google is simply "hiring college students", but there's no obvious reason why it should be only college students who are getting hired. (To be fair, your explanation is still stronger than the one Qgil put forth in the FAQ.) In any case, I'd still like to hear Qgil's answer to my question - since, in this thread, he seems to offer a third explanation altogether. (The justifications keep changing, but somehow the prescription remains the same.) Yaron Koren (talk) 02:37, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
In other words, I'm allowed to organise a meeting at a coffee shop on the Roorkee campus, but I'm not allowed to organise a meeting at a coffee shop off-campus while only allowing Roorkee students to attend? Valhallasw (talk) 08:25, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Why would you do that? If someone else would show up at the coffee shop saying "I'm a Python ninja and I love Wikipedia, can I join?", would you tell them "Well, let's see, can you show me your Roorkee university student pass, please?".--Qgil-WMF (talk) 08:29, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Yet that is exactly what happens when you organise a meeting on-campus. Except it wouldn't be the organiser doing it, but campus security. Valhallasw (talk) 08:33, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
MMm... you lost me. What is your desired scenario here and why the current draft would be a problem for it?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 10:02, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
I think what it comes down to is this: If someone does organize a meeting at an off-campus coffee shop for Roorkee students only (checking ID cards or whatever), despite it being a strange thing to do, do you believe that would be allowed by the code of conduct or prohibited? Assuming your answer is "prohibited", Valhallasw asks why it's prohibited in that situation but it's not prohibited if the identical restriction is instead implemented by holding the event in a location where an external party (in this example, Roorkee university campus security) restricts access to students only.
I have a different question, again assuming your answer is "prohibited": given that you now support Matt's position and Matt's reasoning for how GSoC is not discriminatory is because anyone could theoretically enroll in a college, never mind lack of time, funds, or academic ability, why would restricting an off-campus event to only Roorkee students be discriminatory when anyone could theoretically enroll in Roorkee university if they wanted to attend? Anomie (talk) 14:04, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Finalize "Cases" section?[edit]

Should the "Cases" section (current version) be considered done? Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:52, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

As NKohli (WMF) said, this is about "Page: Code of Conduct/Cases", which is made up of "Handling reports", "Responses and resolutions", and "Appealing a resolution". Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 05:39, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Consensus reached.  There was clear consensus to adopt this text.  Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 21:07, 26 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support as proposer.  This is a practical, well-documented process, and we came to a compromise on appeals. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 02:52, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose: I remain unconvinced that expanding the "Arbitration Committee" model is prudent. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:06, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 06:59, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Valhallasw (talk) 09:49, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Ckoerner (talk) 14:55, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

I have no idea what section this vote (or is it a !vote?) relates to, or if it is a section now retitled as something other than "Cases" or how it may be an expansion of the Arbcom model. Perhaps someone should explain more clearly what is being supported or opposed? -- (talk) 17:58, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Better link. Namely "Handling reports", "Responses and resolutions" and "Appealing a resolution" topics. -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 12:37, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, that makes more sense than the general link. -- (talk) 13:17, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Ladsgroup (talk) 08:11, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support -- NKohli (WMF) (talk) 12:37, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose I'm unclear how the general commitment to confidentiality can be assured for parties to cases, if emails are going through a generic address managed on OTRS. OTRS has no guarantee of confidentiality for files stored on the database and the WMF will take no responsibility for failure to maintain its security. There are references to private information giving the impression that Committee makes a commitment to ensure information from correspondents will stay private, but the same systems for correspondence or checkuser records have a long history from technical failure to deliberate misuse. There is a narrow definition that "private" excludes any information that might have been made public anywhere, and a common part of harassment is to target personal lives of volunteers by doxxing them. By definition anything already doxxed, or information about a person's life that they feel is private but may be a matter of publicly data-minable records (home phone numbers, employment records, family details and addresses, hacked or leaked private photos, etc.) are not covered by any policy, nor covered by an understanding of good-conduct for cases (as this has not been written). Either a realistic disclaimer should be made hand-in-hand with an explanation of the intended good practice, or alternative secure systems should apply for any information that parties feel must stay private. -- (talk) 13:17, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Hey , Using OTRS was discussed and OTRS was determined to not be a suitable technical solution. CKoerner (WMF) (talk) 14:41, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing this out, it seems to confirm my concerns. Let's take a moment to explain why the process followed behind this is not satisfactory. The discussion you point to was non-conclusive and boils down to two WMF employees briefly kicking it around in Sept/Nov 2015 and choosing to defer any decision to the committee when it is formed. The second link is to Phabricator where Qgil makes the decision that OTRS is unsuitable based on "several causal conversations" [sic] which are undocumented. This decision is nowhere referenced on the CoC draft discussion pages, nor is the implied action on the Committee noted anywhere that before they can start work they will have to make up and agree a solution to keeping private records confidential in a way that the WMF has no current system for, and could realistically take months rather than weeks to sort out. The way this was discussed makes it impossible for a humble volunteer like myself to know this ever occurred, even though it is possible to link to public records, not a way to ensure that interested community members can stay informed or inform themselves. -- (talk) 16:12, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Seems well thought out, and clearly defined. AGomez (WMF) (talk) 17:55, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 22:19, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support this text. As for the concerns around privacy and OTRS, at this stage I think it's enough to say that emails sent to the committee should be secured and leave it up to the committee itself how that requirement is fulfilled. -Roan Kattouw (WMF) (talk) 00:52, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
    @Roan Kattouw (WMF): I agree.  The Committee must respect confidentiality.  But as far as tools for the email, the Committee should seek advice, then make the final decision.  This is consistent with the draft text (in the "Page: Code of Conduct/Committee" section), which states, "The Committee determines its own procedures, subject to the duty to act fairly.". Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 01:43, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Frimelle (talk) 21:20, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Decision by 1 person?[edit]

The current proposal states that "If all members of the Committee disqualify themselves, the case will be handled by the appeals body." The implication is that if all but 1 members disqualify themselves the one remaining member gets to decide the issue, though I would have thought the quorum would be more than one. This isn't a good design, better to have a minimum of three for this sort of thing. WereSpielChequers (talk) 07:48, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

I disagree. Judges often make decisions by themselves, and there is always the option of appeal. Valhallasw (talk) 09:46, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
As Fae has said below, Judges are or should be professional legal people who are well qualified as judges. Where you are using less well trained people such as magistrates the UK at least has panels of three. But to answer your specific comment re the right of appeal, that should be for where people think the decision was wrong. You don't want to design a system where people can reasonably appeal because a decision was taken by only one or two people. WereSpielChequers (talk) 08:14, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
People are allowed to appeal for any reason, irrespective of how many committee members are taking part in the decision. The alternative is no decision from the committee, which means the case lands at the appeals body immediately. I think it's more reasonable to let the one or two remaining committe members make a decision instead, and having the concerned parties appeal if the decision is not to their liking. Valhallasw (talk) 11:09, 14 July 2016 (UTC)
It's a basic governance problem. Committee members are not British style judges, nor French style examining magistrates who are supported by a massive amount of training and independent governance systems. Any Committee member (by definition unpaid and unqualified volunteers) left in such a position should decline the responsibility as both unfair for parties to a case and unreliable in terms of outcome. -- (talk) 13:22, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
In practice this means that we as a community would be favoring alleged harassers over alleged victims of harassment when COI comes into play. I think we can do better as a community, and prioritize alleged victims over alleged harassers in our CoC process. If mistakes are made, then there is still an appeal process.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:57, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers: if the committee has five members and a minimum of three committee members is required to take a decision, then what happens when a conflict of interest affects three or more committee members? A decision by just one member or by a second body (the appeals body in this case) might be not as just as a decision taken by the full committee without COI, but it is still a decision (which can be appealed if deemed unjust). If there is no quorum in the committee and no way to delegate the decision elsewhere, then there is no decision and a report of an alleged victim of harassment remains unresolved. In my view, that is a much worse scenario. Also note that a single committee member already can take individual action for immediate response.
For instance, imagine that a volunteer reports harassment by a long-term contributor who joined the WMF last year after years of volunteering. Two committee members have a COI because they work in the same WMF team. Two other members (a WMDE member and an independent) have a COI because they are very close friends and maintainers of the same project since 2008. There is only one committee member who has no special ties with the alleged harasser. That committee member has already taken immediate action to stop the crisis and (following the current draft), now they could proceed with any investigations needed to resolve on a longer-term response, including the possibility to contact individuals involved, experts, and external reviewers. If a minimum of three members is required and there is no quorum, then the case would remain open beyond the immediate action. If the well established contributor did harass the volunteer at a level requiring a longer-term response but no further action can be taken, then chances are that the harassed volunteer will end up in a much worse position than the harasser.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 07:49, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Hi Qgil, I'm not suggesting that we don't take decisions in such scenarios, I'm just suggesting that the one person left on the committee not make a decision on their own, or ideally not as just two people. There are other ways to structure things, either with a larger committee in the first place, or by co-opting people from the appeals committee. The first time I was involved in this sort of thing was as a school governor and we had to be able to constitute both a 3 person disciplinary sub committee and a three person appeal subcomittee in certain rare scenarios. If you anticipate between zero and a dozen such appeals a year then that is a good system. WereSpielChequers (talk) 14:58, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I think the option of inviting people from the appeals committee makes sense (although it wouldn't solve the situation where the COI is because WMF employees are involved). My initial undetstanding was that your suggestion was to move the case immediately to the appeals committee (which I think would be worse than the current draft), but allowing the committee to invite temporary members is definitely an improvement. Valhallasw (talk) 09:57, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
@WereSpielChequers: Thank you for the explanation. OK, I think it makes sense to require at least three people deciding on a report. If there are less than three Committee members available due to CoI, then they should nominate interim colleagues with the scope of resolving the case. I think we can leave how these people would be chosen to the Committee members falling in that situation?--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:38, 12 September 2016 (UTC)

Finished/non-finished sections[edit]

@Mattflaschen-WMF:/@Qgil-WMF:, given that there is no interest in improving finalized sections, which sections are considered finalized, and which ones are not? Please update the header of this page accordingly. Valhallasw (talk) 09:28, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

@Valhallasw: Done, thanks for the reminder. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 05:34, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Definition of offensive[edit]

Hi, I know I am coming to this very late, but I'd like to suggest that it is vitally important that this document define more specifically the word "offensive". I originally made this comment on the Friendly space policies talk page, this is a revised version.

"Offensive" is a highly subjective term. One person's stated opinion on a controversial topic might be some other person's offensive statement. And (correct me if I'm wrong) I'd guess that a significant percentage of complaints, in general, are of "offensive comments" made by others.

If the term is left undefined, then it's open to interpretation, and the likely outcome will be to suppress speech and stifle honest debate, because participants will tend to err on the side of caution, and not voice opinions. Also, others might misuse the policy to punish those they disagree with.

Let me throw out a couple of examples (these are just meant to be examples -- please don't be offended by the meta-discussion.) These are things that might be said in good faith by one person during a conversation, that some other person might take offense to.

1. "I think people overreacted to Larry Summers, when he suggested that differences in variability of some characteristics between men and women might help to explain the underrepresentation of women in top-tier universities."

2. "There aren't really any lesbians. Studies have shown that female sexuality is much more malleable than men's."

The second one is from a talk by Milo Yiannopoulos. I won't write others, but Google "tells lesbian she doesn't exist" to get more examples further down the "offensive scale". And then, of course, there are even more explosively controversial topics related to race, for example, where people might have honest disagreements about what should be considered offensive.

The Wikimedia community prides itself on being open, and an essential part of "open" is the free exchange of ideas.

I looked through past discussions, and I didn't find anything about this. The closest thing I found was a comment by Fæ in Archive 1 on 22 September 2015: "I would hope that if there is no intent to cause distress, that this would be quickly identified as a communication or cultural gap issue," but it was never addressed. And, I don't think the definition should hinge on intent. Clearly, if the speaker didn't intend a comment to be offensive, then that should be considered in the disposition of the complaint. But what's needed is a threshold for determining that a complaint has merit. The default standard would probably be that if any person takes offense, then the comment is, by definition, offensive. I'm suggesting that that is too open to abuse, and that some complaints should be deemed frivolous.

Another editor, in a different thread, linked to this Todo CoC, and, as a point of reference, I find it even more problematic. They specify harrassment to include "Offensive comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, ...". I don't see any value in listing a bunch of sub-topics. That doesn't come any closer to clarifying where the line is. Klortho (talk) 23:38, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

@Klortho: As you suggest, this is is very late.  In fact, the community has already finalized the section you are discussing, and is now discussing other sections.   However, I will note that I do not personally agree with the "default standard" you propose, and that the Committee has the discretion both to determine which comments are offensive, and to determine the proper response.  The Cases section is also clear that they can decide to take no action if none is appropriate. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 06:02, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Respectfully, I think that misses the point. I probably didn't express it succinctly enough. By leaving it undefined in the policy, you create uncertainty in any attendee (or potential attendee). It's that uncertainty itself that acts as a powerful damper on free expression. It's a well-known trick employed by repressive regimes: ambiguity in the law, coupled with selective prosecution. After a few incidents that might be perceived as unfair (even if there was no intent to be unfair) people quickly learn to censor their own speech to avoid any possibility that they'll be next. Klortho (talk) 06:23, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Well, this hasn't gotten much response. I had a chat with a friend offline, and he indicated that the kind of speech in my examples would almost certainly be within bounds (not offensive), that the codes of conduct is really more about personal abuse, threatening words, and that sort of thing. So, if that's the general understanding, then I'm reassured. But nevertheless, maybe in a later revision, I'd like to urge that the more specifically you can define these concepts, the better it would be for everyone. In addition to allowing participants to feel safer expressing ideas, it would also mean that victims of harassment could feel more confident making a complaint, arbitrators would have some objective guidelines, and there would be less basis for people to claim capricious enforcement. Klortho (talk) 03:51, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm mentioned above, so a quick chip-in, unfortunately another negative viewpoint as that's all I have left. I no longer believe in the arbitrary process being managed exclusively by a few WMF employees being called "consensus". The procedure for "managing" the creation of this document was made up one day by a WMF employee and is not based on any existing consensus building processes by Wikimedia volunteer communities, nor has been positively agreed with the community. The idea that valid concerns about the lack of definition underpinning this code cannot be discussed as that bit of the document is frozen is unhelpful. At a minimum remaining issues should be logged for later action and review rather than forgotten in talk page archives, guaranteeing that they will never be revisited due to the massive investment of time any single volunteer now needs to keep on revisiting and nagging to get noticed or heard. The lack of a basic understanding of what is or is not offensive is fundamental to how the committee can accept cases. With no boundaries established, these flaws in the foundation of this code are likely to cause later cases to unravel and the committee to lose itself in logical flaws and meaningless tautologies.
As an example of the weakness of the flawed "consensus" process, I have now raised five times that no volunteers have seen the expert review of the draft commissioned at the start of 2016. This seriously undermines the claim that there is an open consensus here. No explanation of why secrecy is needed for the expert review has been given, instead volunteers are met with a silence that is hard to see as anything other than hostile, given the months this has persisted. Thanks -- (talk) 05:47, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
On this latter point, I have created phab:T141791 to summarize the advice requested and provided by experts when drafting the Code of Conduct. The only reason for the "secrecy" has been lack of time.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 17:27, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Officials (staff, contractors, interns, fellows, board)[edit]

I am missing an important point saying something like "unless explixitely stated(*), WMF officials (staff, contractors, interns, fellows, board) are supposed to follow the same rules, procedures, processes, guidelines etc. as non-officials (volunteers)".

(*) Sure that in certain cases officials should have veto or any other kind of exception from common processes, hence this formulation.

Unfortunately I've seen (and yet more unfortunately even experienced) many times that certain officials were not following common processes and when being notified or corrected they either ignored it (in better case) or even behaved like they are superior to "ordinary" users and do not have to follow such processes and felt offended by being told they are not supposed to, or (in the worst case) offended those who corrected them and/or used some power given by being an official.

Being discouraged from further contributing by the superior behavior of officials is the worst what can happen to volunteers, so let's prevent it.

(Feel free to rephrase the point using better terms, but keeping the sense, please.)

Danny B. 20:25, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

The CoC applies to all participants in Wikimedia technical spaces. The Principles section says "Technical skills and community status make no difference to the right to be respected and the obligation to respect others. (...) Prolific contributions and technical expertise are not a justification for lower standards of behavior."--Qgil-WMF (talk) 17:02, 1 August 2016 (UTC)
  1. My suggestion was actually not about respecting each other (which is already covered, as you pointed out), but about following common defined processes. If there is some defined process, it is not acceptable that official doesn't respect it, evades it or even acts against it.
  2. Community status can obviously be interpreted as only something like admin/bureaucrat/steward/checkuser/etc... I would encourage to find formulation which would explicitly or implicitly cover officials as well.
Danny B. 20:37, 1 August 2016 (UTC)

Summary of conduct reports handled in April-June 2016[edit]

As mentioned in earlier discussions, last quarter the Technical Collaboration team started to document reports related to conduct that we have handled. We included a summary in the [Community Engagement quarterly review slides (page 24). Pasted here for convenience:

13 incidents handled, related to

  • Friendly Space Policy
  • Phabricator Etiquette
  • Offensive, derogatory, or discriminatory comments.
  • Gratuitous or off-topic use of sexual language or imagery
  • 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).

--Qgil-WMF (talk) 06:52, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

If the intention of posting the nature of the conduct reports is to give an insight for development of the Code of Conduct, it would be useful to give some context as to what words or actions were counted as "offensive" or "derogatory" or "discriminatory", especially the latter. Similarly I doubt that the phrases "phabricator etiquette" or "interruption" means much to anyone without links to specific definitions, so more specific explanations of what it was that needed WMF staff interventions would be helpful for the definitions used in this CoC. -- (talk) 07:17, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
@: The Phabricator etiquette is at Bug management/Phabricator etiquette. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 20:06, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. The brief document does not address the above issue. -- (talk) 06:09, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Ping. It's a year later and the words being used here still have no definition. If there is enforcement action going on, it should be based on significantly more than subjective interpretation of a privileged few behind closed doors. Thanks -- (talk) 14:23, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

Advice provided by consultants Valerie Aurora and Ashe Dryden[edit]

In January 2016 two consultants were retained to advise on the drafting of the Code of Conduct. Despite several requests for more transparency of the advice delivered under this contract, including an email to the WMF CFO, the advice has been kept confidential to employees only and questions about this ignored by WMF employees as can be seen in this talk page archives. The amount or time spent on consultancy remains undisclosed.

Rather than keeping the discussion on this talk page, an action was taken on Phabricator on 1 August 2016, refer to T141791. The reply there was "Fae has requested this information several times. We haven't addressed his request so far basically because producing this summary takes time, and we have been busy. By creating this task, we are making clear that this request is in our backlog.". It seems incongruous that this document is being managed to be finalized, yet unpaid volunteers have yet to see any of the advice given over the last 8 months because "we have been busy". It should be noted that there is no offer to simply publish the advice itself, but a summary of it.

As volunteers are busy and in practice fewer are available to contribute to this document than the number of WMF employees, I hope to see that the advice is published and sufficient time is given for volunteers without the same access as WMF employees to read the professional advice provided (which would have been on previous versions of drafts of this document), and ask questions about it. As we are approaching 9 months of advice, I propose that at least a 3 month window is assured for this purpose after publication of the advice summary. -- (talk) 07:12, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

De non existentibus et non apparentibus eadem est ratio.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:15, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, only the ideas and discussions shared here count. For this reason, explaining what kind of support we have received from the consultants is an exercise of transparency, but nothing that should block the discussion or approval of the CoC.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 12:49, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Which means, of course, that if this advice is to have no effect on the discussion, the donors' money spent on it has been entirely wasted.  However, the phrase sprang to mind because of a comment Boswell records of Johnson on the en:Ossian manuscripts.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 14:07, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
For goodness sake, stop the double talk and 8 months too late, start publishing, start being transparent and start listening to volunteers rather than pretending to listen while in practice deliberately ignoring governance questions. -- (talk) 20:03, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
It is rather clear that the reason that no report has been published is that there is no report to publish, and nothing of substance for such a report to be produced from.  What appears to have happened is that the two consultants in question happened to be available to WMF for some reason, that some staff members took the opportunity to have informal conversations with them ad hoc, on billable time, which may or may not have been useful to the staff members in question, but was not useful to anyone else trying to contribute to this discussion, and those discussions were presented as an excuse for delay and as a reason to elevate staff opinions over those of mere volunteers.  The net result is an expenditure of donors' money for zero benefit to this drafting process.  The reason it is so very hard to produce the summary Fæ wants is that it would require the staff members in that discussion to recollect and transcribe conversations which they did not record at the time, although of course they should have done.  There is nothing of substance to report on, because the consultation was a waste of WMF time and money.  This is an unsatisfactory state of affairs.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:55, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
I am definitely late, but your assumptions are definitely wrong. Most of the communication has happened via emails and online docs. What we have learned from the consultation has informed our steps in this process.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 21:28, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
@Rogol Domedonfors: All of your claims above are false.  Beyond that, you're saying things that directly contradict publicly available information.  In addition to what Quim said, anyone can see for themselves that Valerie Aurora facilitated a public session, with published notes.  This is linked prominently from the task about this, phab:T90908. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 23:47, 25 August 2016 (UTC)
One of my claims is that there is no report to publish.  It is asserted that every single claim is false and so in particular is is implied that this claim is false: if so there ought to be a report.  If so, why has it not been published?  I maintain that there is no report to publish and will continue to maintain that until proved wrong by the publication of a report.  One of my claims is that adequate notes were not kept.  There is one etherpad file of a session at a conference: this is not an adequare note of a series of private meetings, and private email conversations.  I maintain that this was not an open discussion, and not intended to be am open discussion, and that adequate notes were not kept and will continue to maintain those points until all those notes are made available in some form.  I assess that this consultation was a waste of time and money because it did not and cannot contribute effectively to the discussion here.  This latter point is already admitted by the posting above of 12:49, 24 August 2016.  I will continue to maintain this assessment until evidence of its value to this discussion is published.  I assess that this is an unstisfactory state of affairs.  Others may disagree, in which case I think they have a very odd view about how to conduct business with other peoples' money, but I so far have seen nothing to change this overall assessment.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 06:35, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
Mattflaschen, defensively pointing to some temporary Etherpad notes as evidence of transparency is ridiculous when there is no way that unpaid volunteers looking at this talk page could have known about it; if I'm wrong, please point to where the meeting or these notes have been mentioned before now. There no way that I would randomly guess that "Valerie" mentioned on Etherpad happens to be the same "Valerie Aurora" that the WMF contracted. These notes are not even dated, so they are not a report nor minutes of a meeting. Using Etherpad's Timeslider function this gives an edit date of February 13, 2016, so I assume that if that was the date of the meeting, then these Etherpad notes from 7 months ago, are the only public evidence you know of for the paid-for work of these two consultants. It's worth noting that in the Etherpad notes it states "DON’T FORGET: When the meeting is over, copy any relevant notes (especially areas of agreement or disagreement, useful proposals, and action items) into the Phabricator task." yet nobody has put in the little spadework needed for that, even though that you must know that the Etherpad system is not guaranteed as a record, they are considered temporary, so these notes are at risk of being lost/deleted at any time.
The approach of writing updates on Etherpad and in comments on Phabricator tasks (I'm only now subscribing to "T90908") rather than adding clear notes and comments on the CoC's own discussion page where volunteers might read them, appears to be wilful obfuscation and clique-ism. Keep in mind that WMF employees are in the comfortable position of having their time and expenses paid to go to Wikimedia Developer Summits, there's no way you can call having meetings at such events "transparency" when you are ensuring that unpaid volunteers are excluded. -- (talk) 10:08, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
I suggest that a reason for this unsatisfactory state of affairs is the view that transparency is somehow an optional extra, a box-ticking exercise which incurs only costs but no benefits.  Of course, if transparency had been viewed as a positive part of the engagement then we would have seen the terms of the arrangement with the consultants made public, members of the wider community given the opportunity to engage in the discussions, and the results captured and published in an effective and timely way.  That would have improved the quality of the discussions being held with the consultants, and the reporting back would have improved the quality of the discussion here between staff, volunteers who had been involved in the discussions, and the majority who were not able to take part.  However, none of that was done, and the quality of discussion and decision making has suffered as a result.  I have made this point before, at  meta:Wikimedia Foundation Board noticeboard/Archives/2016#Transparency - cost versus benefit and meta:Talk:Transparency/Practices#Cost versus benefit.  It is curious that the latter noticeboard, meta:Transparency/Practices and the cognate meta:Wikimedia Foundation transparency gap were active, with enthusiastic staff involvement, at the same time that this opaque consultancy was being carried out.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 17:52, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
It is telling that we are unable to determine easily what these notes are actually notes of.  I assume they are from Wikimedia Developer Summit 2016, discussion of Monday 4 January announced six days beforehand.  Curiously they are not linked from that page: the relevant line reads Code of Conduct - LINK but there is no link.  So they were never "published" in any usable way.  It is fair to say that unlike the 2015 edition, the 2016 Summit was formally declared not to be invitation-only [7].  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 18:27, 26 August 2016 (UTC)
@, Rogol Domedonfors: The task is linked prominently from the Code of Conduct, and has been mentioned repeatedly on the talk page.  The notes in turn have been linked prominently there since January.  It is under Dev Summit Info, which makes it clear when and where the session was.  We also copied the action items and at least one discussion topic into the task.  I've now archived the full Etherpads (thank you for the reminder).  Although the primary discussion page is here (and anyone can see that's far more active than the Phabricator task), the idea that Phabricator somehow excludes volunteers is puzzling.  Everyone has access, and all updates are sent directly to your email address.  Beyond that, Quim's team will be summarizing (T141791) the experts' report, as he has already said on this talk page and is mentioned in this very section. Mattflaschen-WMF (talk) 04:15, 21 September 2016 (UTC)
There is no report to summarise.  There are notes of conversations and emails, and if the exercise of summarising those into a single coherent and public document had been done at the time, that summary would have been of value to this discussion.  The task referred to explicitly states "This task consists of documenting the requests made and the advice received, especially when this resulted in changes to the draft."  Publishing this summary eight months later, after almost all of the discussions have taken place (with some participants better informed than others, it would seem) is now pointless and a waste of time and effort.  The notion that volunteers object to Phabricator as such misses the point.  What excludes volunteers, and what they have objected to here before, is that discussion has been fragmented, for no good reason, with important parts of the conversation taking place in other venues without clear cross-reference here.  The fact that information is available on a page linked to on this page does not excuse the failure to make a clear an explicit connection.  This whole sorry affair has fallen far short of the WMF's values of transparency.  Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 18:05, 23 September 2016 (UTC)

For the avoidance of doubt, advice provided by consultants Valerie Aurora and Ashe Dryden has yet to be published so that non-WMF employees can be informed. If all they were paid to facilitate a meeting, and no more, that should be should be stated. -- (talk) 14:47, 28 September 2016 (UTC)


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

I don't think we should accept a code with this in it. --Krenair (talkcontribs) 20:46, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
We did not reach consensus on this issue, to say the least. The full discussion is here: Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_1#Conduct_Committee_v_Legal_Counsel and Talk:Code_of_Conduct/Draft/Archive_1#Reports_involving_WMF_employees. @VBaranetsky (WMF): dumped the conclusion on us, but unfortunately did not elaborate on the WMFs position in the further discussion. Quoting myself:
Why can't we just ask the victim whether they are OK with it? See Geek Feminism: Responding to reports and 'Why didn't you report it'. If the report is always sent to HR, it is very likely it will dissuade people from responding -- WMF HR is not generally seen as a neutral entity, and many people will assume HR and Legal will act to reduce liabilities for the Foundation rather than trying to solve the issue at hand, which triggers all the fears listed in the 'Why didn't you report it' post. Valhallasw (talk) 14:39, 1 September 2015 (UTC)
Valhallasw (talk) 21:28, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
This does not appear thought out. What does "the Law" mean, just U.S. Law, or UK Law because the accused or accuser live in the UK and the UK has much stricter laws for on-line harassment? How can "the Law" apply to an international Committee of mixed WMF employees and unpaid volunteers as opposed to applying to the WMF (which seems far more likely) yet the Committee is under no particular obligation to behave as if it were under contract to the WMF? There are too many questions here for this to be understood by the people who are mandated to comply with it, just reading the words added. The longer this document becomes, the more holes seem to be fundamentally written into it. -- (talk) 21:31, 13 April 2016 (UTC)
Just noting here that Ms. Baranetsky no longer works for the Wikimedia Foundation. It looks like she left in January 2016. --MZMcBride (talk) 03:42, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
Looking at the archive linked to above reminds me why I came to the conclusion last September that there was no point in my continuing to contribute to this discussion. I made these points in September and there was no response to them from WMF Legal. It transpired that a member of WMF staff, in the course of reorganising the discussions, had taken it upon himself to tell WMF Legal that no response was required at that stage (nor, it would seem at any subsequent stage either). However, whether or not the WMF Legal have considered these points, and whether or not they choose to share their reliberations with the community, the fact remains that this Code has been determined almost entirely by WMF staff and their confidential consultants, parts of it have been dictated directly by the WMF corporately, and it will be imposed on the volunteer community by WMF fiat. If it transpires that the Code is legally defective, and exposes volunteers to legal risk due from issues of conflict of law that might have been, but were not, foreseen, then the WMF corporately will be responsible. In a way that's reassuring. How the WMF will react when (not if, but when) something goes amiss, and whether they will accept the consequences of their actions and inactions, remains to be seen. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 20:43, 14 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi all. We took another look at this section of the policy and wanted to clarify a previous statement made by WMF Legal. Given the participation by WMF employees and contractors in the technical community, it is likely for them to be a part of the Committee. Accordingly, we do think HR has an interest in knowing about the conduct of WMF staff, both if they are victims as well as if they are harassing others. The employees may in some instances be obligated to report allegations against or by staff to HR, so a policy prohibiting this would preempt WMF employee participation. We understand the concern that such a requirement holds the risk of deterring reporting with every exception to confidentiality. However, the HR team would be better positioned to act on the complaint and respond to any wrongdoing. Additionally, we hope that through actions like supporting this Code of Conduct policy, we will gain the trust of the community that we are dedicated to creating safe spaces for people on Wikimedia sites and are not interested in retaliating against good-faith complainants. Also, we want to apologize for the delay in responding to this discussion. As was mentioned above, Victoria Baranetsky left the Foundation shortly after posting her message and missed the discussion. Thank you for your patience here. MBrar (WMF) (talk) 23:50, 22 April 2016 (UTC)
What was the answer to my point of last September, repeated here, about potentially conflicting legal requirements in other jurisdictions? Have they been considered; is WMF Legal satisfied that these issues have been resolved; and what is that resolution? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:32, 24 April 2016 (UTC)
Hi @Rogol Domedonfors: We understand this is a concern. Unfortunately, it’s one that’s difficult to respond to because the answer to what law applies to a given case can vary a lot. For example, some places apply the law of wherever an incident happened, while others apply the law of where the people involved lived, and others apply law if they think their state has a “significant interest” in the case. Because this is not a policy that applies strictly to the Wikimedia Foundation (since the committee will be run by volunteers) one can’t rely on using U.S. law because of the Foundation’s location either. Volunteers will need to ensure they follow the laws that are applicable to them, which most often means the place where you live. While we are not aware of any jurisdiction with any mandatory reporting requirements for a position like this, there might be some out there, so we understand why this provision is written as it is. We do want to emphasize that this isn’t a new issue. Arbcom, admins, and others who help keep the projects running all occasionally face this question, but the projects have been very successful over many years with systems of community management in place. Volunteers understand the laws in their jurisdiction, just as they do in relation to copyright and similar issues when they engage in editing the Wikimedia projects. — Preceding unsigned comment added by MBrar (WMF) (talkcontribs)
I realise it is complicated, which is why I suggested seven months ago that the issue be looked into by the Legal team. As I understand it, the volunteers are expected to abide by the requirements of the Code and to obey the laws of their own jurisdiction (of course). So far I have seen no discussion of what WMF Legal, or staff, want to happen when these requirements are incomptible, and what support they will give to volunteers in that event. It seems likely that the answer is none. There was a discussion of this last September and it seems that no progress has been made and that the issue remains unresolved. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 05:33, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
If this was true, it would prohibit other companies' employees in the same jurisdiction as WMF from contributing as well as they are not named in the proposed amendment. But in reality, WMF employees happily contribute to other software projects and attend (or even organize) in-person conferences where no such reporting obligations exist or are forbidden by local law, so this does not seem to be preempting WMF employee participation. --Tim Landscheidt 10:48, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
I'm still quite unhappy with this. I understand the WMF has a legal obligation to prevent harassment by employees, and has an obligation to protect employees from harassment. At the same time, WMF HR and Legal have an obligation to protect the WMF itself. These goals and the goals of someone who has been harassed do not necessarily align. I believe in the good intentions of the WMF, but I'd rather not base policy on my current beliefs on other peoples' intentions.
To move this forward, I would like to suggest a possible solution: Make the non-WMF members of the committee the initial point of contact for complaints involving WMF employees (or even for all complaints -- other issues can then be forwarded to WMF members). These members have no legal obligation to report to HR and Legal, and can therefore advise the victim to escalate the issue to WMF HR/Legal, but cannot (and will not) force this. Valhallasw (talk) 10:31, 27 April 2016 (UTC)
An alternative is [8]. Nemo 13:14, 10 May 2016 (UTC)
Hi all, I just want to clarify a few things from MBrar's comments. The complexity with these kind of international law issues isn't one that we can research and answer. One might be able to come up with several legal doctrines that could apply, but without more details about the facts of a specific case, it's simply an impossible to answer question. I really want to emphasize that this isn't a new issue though. Any activity on the Internet, or any activity at all that can reach multiple people in different places can create the risk of different laws applying. If someone lives in a place that has particularly strict laws, it's possible that it could create a conflict with this code of conduct and that person might have to withdraw from the committee to obey the law. But we're not aware of any such requirements or restrictions. If something does happen, either due to an unusual law or a misunderstanding, we have the Legal Fees Assistance Program that could help because we do want to support users who are providing their time to help manage the projects. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 20:40, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
In general, I think we can give a vote of confidence to this process as defined in the draft, and be open for improvements if specific problems arise. I also think we can give a vote of confidence to the first Committee to polish processes based on their actual experiences. Otherwise we can discuss the perfect theoretical scenario forever, presumably none of us having run into these types of legal/process situations before. I'm not talking about this section about confidentiality only, but in general for all our remaining discussions about this draft. We work on open wikis and free software, and we are used to the notion of release and improve based on practice. Ultimately what will prevail is the good criteria of a competent and trusted Committee.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:00, 29 April 2016 (UTC)
I do not know exactly who we refers to in this vote of confidence. I do not regard this Code has having the confidence of anyone but a handful of members of the WMF staff. If the intention of this assertion is to declare the Code finished, then it is a WMF staff policy imposed on the volunteer community by WMF authority. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 21:17, 1 May 2016 (UTC)
If I understand you correctly, this was brought up already and you received a reply in --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 06:42, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, and the way you frame your response supports my point. There are two classes of people, WMF staff and volunteers, to whom this Code will apply, and the proposed Code treats them differently, at the insistence of WMF Legal. The majority of contributors to the Code are members of staff and the consensus among them appears to be that they approve the Code and a senior member of staff is taking it upon himself to declare the Code agreed. The minority of contributors are volunteers and the weight of opinion among them is that they are not happy with the process by which the Code is being implemented. Your response is that when a volunteer expresses an opinion they have been "answered" by a member of staff: the clear implication being that a point is settled once a member of staff has given their opinion on the subject, and that the member of staff's opinion is somehow binding. This does not look like a discussion among equals seeking to develop a consensus -- it looks like a mere volunteer raising a point which is then dismissed by the authority of a staff member, a one-way conversation in which volunteers propose and staff members dispose. This is why I call the Code a WMF Staff Policy -- it is a policy which for all practical purposes has been developed by WMF staff members as a formal WMF team goal and which will be imposed on volunteers by the authority of the WMF acting through a WMF approved committee backed by a WMF Staff team. It seems important to staff members not to accept this view and I do not understand why. Why the reluctance to admit that the Code is imposed by WMF authority and accept the consequences of doing so, for better or worse? Why the effort to make it appear, against the evidence, that this is a consensus across both classes of the community? Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 09:10, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
I do not see how my personal response implied "that the member of staff's opinion is somehow binding" - my sole intention was pointing to a previous comment that looked like a potential answer to your question, without me necessarily endorsing anything. If you think that it "does not look like a discussion among equals", what is your proposal to get more equality and involvement? --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 09:43, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
I made various suggestions for wider involvement several months ago. They were not taken up and it is too late to rectify the situation, which is regrettable. I note that you do not dispute my assessment of the present status of this Code. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 16:28, 2 May 2016 (UTC)
If you have specific past comments you're referring to, feel free to explicitly point to them for the sake of a focused discussion. Regarding your last sentence, I note that I neither dispute nor endorse your assessment. --AKlapper (WMF) (talk) 12:40, 3 May 2016 (UTC)
The comments are in the archived pages and the links are in an earlier posting in this thread, if you wish to look at the history. There seems little point in revisiting them as the work here has taken a different track over the last eight months or so: I have already said that I see no point in trying to rewind those discussions and I can hardly suppose that anyone else does either. The irony of a staff member apparently giving permission to a volunteer to do something in the context of a discussion about whether or not they should be regarded as equals is not lost on me. Rogol Domedonfors (talk) 07:45, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
Let's keep this section on-topic, please. I have created #Wider_participation.2C_still and you can continue this discussion there. Thank you.--Qgil-WMF (talk) 09:47, 5 May 2016 (UTC)
I just want to get back to the original point about WMF reducing its own liabilities; I understand the concern, and, beyond what legal has already pointed out about this (and the fact that this is not a new requirement in any space, including WMF projects) -- I just wanted to raise the point that this is in addition to the committee's own handling of the report, and this concept is crucial. If a WMF employee is involved in a report, WMF HR and Legal will be notified - but that notification does not impact the work of the committee, who will still follow the process as usual and decide on whatever steps necessary with the people involved. If, for example, a report is discussed in the committee and the committee then decides to ban a person for a week from some mailing lists, then they will do that, whether the person is an employee of the WMF or not. The only difference is that if that person is a WMF employee, WMF HR and Legal should know about it.
That, however, also makes sense. As employees, the WMF technical spaces is our expected workplace; if we misbehave, or if we get banned, or if we were subjected to any wrongdoing or harassment, it is quite logical for our workplace HR and Legal to be aware of it. There are employment and labor laws, for example, that, while the community is not obligated to follow, WMF HR is obligated to follow when it comes to people who are its employees. This is not only an expected (and not new) term and request to have, it makes total sense given the status of the people involved. And it does not influence or change the process by which the committee decides what to do with a case. It simply says to additionally notify those two bodies, who are, quite clearly and practically, responsible for their employees' workplace conduct, and providing a safe workplace environment. MSchottlender-WMF (talk) 23:48, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
As I wrote above, this does not make sense. If there were any such legal requirements, they would apply to all employers, yet the proposal only mentions one, so there do not seem to be any such legal requirements. If a WMF employee is banned from his workspace by a third party or harassed there and this should be reported to WMF HR, this obligation can (and should be) be made part of the contracts between WMF and its employees.
In addition, I would be very surprised if the committee would not be biased by this difference that you pointed out: If a volunteer is the alleged offender, for example banning them would have little effect on them and can be handed out freely. WMF employees on the other hand would be unable to fulfill their contractual obligations and – as was repeatedly asserted during the ED mobbing – could face unemployment or deportation as a consequence. --Tim Landscheidt 02:43, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

There seem to be multiple discussions here in parallel:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom of the Code of Conduct Committee[edit]

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

Committee taking into account employment?[edit]

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

Effect of requiring particular reports to be forwarded[edit]

Potential legal issues for members[edit]

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

Reporter's consent[edit]

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

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

Renewed addition of section on HR reporting[edit]

In [9], Mattflaschen-WMF added the same text that was added earlier. It would be very helpful if WMF Legal could take a more active part in this dicussion, which then hopefully leads to a text that both has community consensus and is OK with WMF legal at the same time. Valhallasw (talk) 14:50, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Suggested rewording[edit]

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

  • WMF employees are required to report to HR/Legal,
  • This is likely to also be the case for other companies,
  • This is problematic because it forces the issue out of the reporters' hands (see e.g. [10])
    • There should be a way to provide support to victims without this being an issue.
      (The link was very confusing to me. Those who want a quick and clear recap can read the Forbes article instead. Knowing the jargon is also needed. Nemo 19:39, 7 August 2016 (UTC))

(names have been randomly generated)

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

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

Katlego MacChruimWikimedia FoundationMust report all events involving WMF employees to that employees' manager and HR
Khayrat McWilliamEvil CorpMust report all events involving their competitors to their employer
Khorshid NosekStudentno reporting obligations

There are two more points that need to be incorporated:

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

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

September 22, 2016 revision by WMF Legal[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

@Valhallasw: @:: Couple more responses. First, I think Valhallasw is coming from the right place. In an ideal world, we could offer complete confidentiality because that is the best way to encourage reporters to raise their concerns and to help support people who have been the subject of harassment. This section isn't us trying to say that having a WMF reporting exception makes this CoC policy better in the ideal. Rather, it's that we looked at the policy, at how the technical spaces are used (in particular the combination of lots of WMF employees and WMF as the host of the space) and concluded that the legal risk under HR law is too high for the WMF to do this without having the reporting exception. All the explanation above from us is about how adding this language deals with the legal risk and, we think, still minimizes the impact on reporters. This is also why arbcom is different. They're not dealing with a space that is small and consists heavily of WMF employees, and it's that special factor that makes the legal risk here one that needs a reporting exception. With regard to Fae's point, I think it's actually confusing something else. If someone does something that merits legal action from the Foundation, we have the tools to do that whether this reporting language is in the CoC or not. We have the tools to do it whether there is a CoC or not for that matter, it's just a different thing entirely. The WMF taking legal action against a volunteer is a high bar though. There is no legal cause of action (in other words, no right to sue someone) for whistleblowing or reporting harassment, and the CoC doesn't affect that at all. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 18:11, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

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

Confidentiality language finalized[edit]

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

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

Changing the Code once enacted[edit]

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

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

New proposal for amendments[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Decadent, deceased, decayed[edit]

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

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

Finalize "Diversity" section?[edit]

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

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

Finalize "Conflict of interest" section?[edit]

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

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

Specificity on what conflicts of interest are[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Process of recusal[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should the section be considered done?

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

Finalize introduction to "Committee" section?[edit]

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

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

Striking votes[edit]

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

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

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

Final approval of CoC[edit]

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

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

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

GitHub Community Guidelines[edit]

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

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

The standard offer[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Propriety of discussion closure[edit]

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

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

Closing the committee due to lack of demand[edit]

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

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

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