Topic on Talk:Code of Conduct

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Summary by Ladsgroup

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

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

Doc James (talkcontribs)

Wondering if I can suggest the adding of legal threats to the list of unacceptable behavior. We have policies prohibiting it across many languages and projects. Doc James (talk) 01:31, 23 December 2019 (UTC)

Huji (talkcontribs)

I think it is obviously covered, and I agree that making it explicit is a good idea.

Ziko (talkcontribs)

Indeed you find a rule in many Wikimedia wikis. I sometimes wonder about the relationship to the "normal" legal world.Usually, offwiki, you are allowed to mention that you consider taking legal advice, but you are not allowed to do that in a threatening manner (this is a simplification of the German situation, and I am sure that there are notable differences from country to country).

In general, I am not against such a rule in Wikimedia policies, but I am interested about possible complications.

Bluerasberry (talkcontribs)

@Ziko I am sure when the discussion happens in publicly that the LGBT+ community will have complications to add which other communities are not expecting.

Ziko (talkcontribs)

I am interested to see that.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

can we add a proviso that arguing for following a software license is not a legal threat. Unless the person is like super threatening about it against an individual.

Doc James (talkcontribs)

It comments like "I am going to sue you" or "you should be sued for what you did" that are harmful to conversations and in my opinion should not be permitted.

Saying "we do not allow fair use content" or "we do not permit NC licensed images" is obviously perfectly appropriate. As is saying "here is the license that this is under and you are required to follow it, here are the steps required to be compliant".

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

Notifying or reminding a user of terms of use is not a legal threat. Nor is informing them of the consequences of contravening the terms of use. These should be done in a civil manner, without threatening language or personal attack.

I do not see that mentioning that you will be taking legal advice is necessarily threatening. It is quite reasonable to take legal advice if you are in doubt of the legality of a situation, particularly as we have a lot of cross-cultural communication. Taking legal advice is a thing one does for oneself, and does not imply action against another party will ensue.

Pointing out that something may or does contravene a law in a specific jurisdiction is also not a threat, though some evidence should be provided to support the claim.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

my main part is i want that to be clear in whatever documentation we adopt, to avoid any chilling effect on ensuring license compliance.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

Enforcing license compliance is necessary, but can and should be done politely, until if necessary we politely indefinitely block for persistent non-compliance.

Doc James (talkcontribs)

Agree with Pbsouthwood. We block a lot of people for repeated copyright violations. We never threaten to sue them, or at least we shouldn't.

Yaron Koren (talkcontribs)

I don't see why threats of legal action need to be covered. Rules that make sense on a website don't necessarily make sense in other circumstances. Would this apply to, for example, an event organizer warning attendees not to go beyond a certain point or they might get arrested for trespassing?

If the legal threat is done in order to harass or intimidate, those are already covered by the code of conduct.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

An event organizer warning attendees not to go beyond a certain point or they might get arrested for trespassing is not a legal threat, so no.

A person who is not welcome at an event threatening to sue the organisers for refusing them entry would be a legal threat in that context.

2601:5CD:C200:9BE0:240B:8987:DB96:DF62 (talkcontribs)

It really says something about our legal system that people can threaten to misuse it, and people will fear that because the legal system doesn't contain any safeguards or deterrents against such misuse; so that we have to create a rule here to regulate that behavior.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

There are some safeguards, but they don't always work the way intended.

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

My biggest problem with adding "legal threats" is that while there is literally a legal definition for what "legal" means, the definition for what individuals might consider a "threat" is very different. This creates a huge gap and potential for misunderstanding that can easily lead to people being banned for asking questions in an unfortunate way. For example, I'm easily offended if somebody just tells me there is a law that says the opposite of what I believe should be common sense. And heck, there is an insane amount of "legal" stuff out there that is far from being common sense, and even further away from being morally right. LGBT right probably being the most obvious example. So tell me, what does it mean to ban legal topics that are a threat for certain people? Will it be forbidden to say, I don't know, "you might go to jail for this in your country", even if this sentence speaks the absolute truth?

I don't get it.

Some comments above say such an example doesn't count. But how do we know? What is the definition of "threat" in this context?

Some comments above even create the impression that actions (e.g. blocking) are fine, but announcing actions is not. Is it just me, or does this sound fucked up?

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

I think its pretty clear in context, that "legal threat" in this context means an ultimatum that one party will engage in legal proceedings (i.e. Sue someone) if they don't get their way.

Edit: Re-reading, i guess its less clear. I suppose the context is that its mostly people from english wikipedia proposing that the CoC embed a well known cultural norm from en wikipedia.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

You may well be right.I think we are having a failure to communicate because of different interpretations of the meaning of a "legal threat"

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

I don't think anything is "clear" here. Which "legal proceedings" are covered by this, and which are not? What is the definition of "threat" in this context?

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

I am taking the meaning of "threat" as is commonly defined in dictionaries, or in the English Wikipedia article on the topic - "a communicated intent to inflict harm or loss on another person"

The legal proceedings referenced are generally civil actions. In criminal actions it is the state which intends to inflict harm or loss on the person. Does your country's law work differently?

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

You prefer we should allow threats of legal action against members of the communities? This is a common form of harassment and bullying made against people who are judged by the perpetrator as likely to back down in the face of what could be a very expensive inconvenience, in an arena where money and influence often win out against fairness and reason.

The example " Will it be forbidden to say, I don't know, "you might go to jail for this in your country", even if this sentence speaks the absolute truth?" does not illustrate a legal threat. No-one is threatening someone with legal action. "No legal threats" refers to threats of civil action by the threatener against the threatened person. Criminal prosecution is done by the public prosecutor or local equivalent.

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

"You prefer we should allow threats of legal action against members of the communities"? Are you fucking serious? Dear CoC committee, I do have something to report.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

That is what I understood you to be saying, It seemed unlikely, so I posed it as a question in the hope of clarification. Your response does not clarify your intended meaning at all.

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

You are implying the opposite of what was said. That's not acceptable. Just because I don't want us to enforce one extreme doesn't mean I want us to enforce the opposite.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

The profanity is unnecessary here.

MarcoAurelio (talkcontribs)

I think the CoC already covers this making the proposed amendment unnecesary. The CoC lists as unnaceptable behaviour making "[p]ersonal attacks, violence, threats of violence, or deliberate intimidation", and also "[h]arming the discussion or community with methods such as sustained disruption, interruption, or blocking of community collaboration (i.e. trolling)." Most legal threats will already fall into those two criterions, and I doubt adding "legal threats" to the wording of the CoC will be any positive as what can be perceived as a threat is very subjective. I oppose the proposed amendment.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

I agree with this comment.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

Would you consider that informing an organiser that you intend to sue them for having you evicted from a meeting because you are blacklisted is covered by the current CoC? If not, is it behaviour we wish to accept?

Would you consider that informing another participant that you intend to sue them for defamation is acceptable? Is it covered by the current CoC?

One might argue that these are deliberate intimidation,disruption or trolling. If so, is this sufficiently clear?

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

if someone is already blacklisted, what else are we going to do to them? Double-blacklist them?

For the defamation case, it would depend on the context and specifics, as all things should.

DCDuring (talkcontribs)

This seems like a terrible idea to me. A user who is vulnerable to a threat of legal action may well be someone who has actually broken a law. And many laws are, after all, necessary for the functioning of society. Strongly reminding someone about what is against the law should not ''per se'' be a violation of the CoC. Most users here already enjoy the protection of anonymity, which they regularly exploit, sometimes in completely unfair ways. The CoC already seems to have a great deal of opaqueness due to the privacy protections granted to accusers/victims and the peesumptive acceptance of the accuser's/victim's claims to have been harmed. Extending the realm of this kind of protection seems likely to further damage the loyalty of many to the movement.

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

It is not clear to me exactly what you think is a terrible idea. Could you clarify?

DCDuring (talkcontribs)

See top of the thread: "adding of legal threats to the list of unacceptable behavior" Or is that already off-topic. ~~~~

Pbsouthwood (talkcontribs)

Thanks, this format is not always clear about what someone is replying to.

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Let me put my concern this way: Our CoC already creates a kind of legal system. It defines conditions that might lead to specified actions, and the actors within this system. However, it does not specify exactly how this will be executed in a specific situation. It's not code. You can not run it and expect it to always create the same result. It's something trusted human beings are asked to perform. And even if we might argue about certain decisions, we as a community are expected to accept the committee's decisions. And that's neither good or bad, that's just something that needs to be done.

Here is the problem: What do we win when we add terminology and definitions from another legal system? I think the two do work better independent from each other.

Threatening somebody should already be covered by the CoC, as far as I understand it. Isn't this enough?

Doc James (talkcontribs)

So do not see it as being covered... So even though it should be enough it does not appear it is.

Bawolff (talkcontribs)

when was the last time that legal threats were an issue in (online) tech spaces? I understand its a common problem on wikipedia, but we aren't wikipedia, and if it is not an issue that affects us, lets avoid rule creep.

I excluded offline stuff because i cant really speak to those having only attended but never organized. Personally i think it was a mistake to make one policy for those two very different contexts, but i digress.