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Recommendation to modify the appeals process

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

task T199086

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

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

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

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

Strainu (talkcontribs)

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

Bluerasberry (talkcontribs)

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

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

Huji (talkcontribs)

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

ArielGlenn (talkcontribs)

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

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

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

Tracked: task T199086

MarcoAurelio (talkcontribs)

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

Duesentrieb (talkcontribs)

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

Qgil-WMF (talkcontribs)

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

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

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

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

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

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

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

Ladsgroup (talkcontribs)

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

Tgr (WMF) (talkcontribs)

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

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

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