Open main menu

Talk:Friendly space policy consultation 2019

Active discussions

Ideas for considerationEdit

Passive opt-out for photosEdit

  • Recognizing that Wikimania is primarily a social event for Wikipedians and Wikimedians, it is essential that photography and sharing be encouraged at the conference venues within the bounds of established social norms. This includes any and all venues listed in the program schedule. In this context, the current practice of passive opt-out should work for most of us. Although, personally speaking, I make it a point to seek prior consent from the subjects of my photographs for the avoidance of doubt, but this is best left to the discretion of the individuals involved. As far as my understanding goes, the current practice is that consent is presumed, unless explicitly signaled otherwise, either verbally or through the use of highly visible lanyards and/or stickers. As per the current practice, it is also presumed that once the photographs are taken, they may be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and social media websites. Individuals who choose to opt-out of photographs by wearing special lanyards and/or stickers should be asked to take special care to ensure that they do not place themselves in situations which would increase the probability of them being photographed by photographers who are either unaware of their presence, or are openly taking individual and/or group photos. The Foundation should strictly ensure that their employees (including members of the Trust and Safety Team) do not act outside the bounds of their authority in enforcing the said policy. This, of course, does not preclude them from acting in their own private and personal capacities, but when they do so, they must not assume or purport to assume the colour of authority. — Nearly Headless Nick {C} 17:03, 17 April 2019 (UTC)
I've been to Mozilla Festival last year and the lanyard system worked pretty well there. Having three colors is definitely a more balanced solution as there are some situations I don't mind having photographs taken (i.e. when on stage or group photographs). It is also my understanding that consent is presumed in most situations, that's why I support explicit consent-based systems. While it may be impossible to enforce it to an extent of not having any violations that escape us, fostering an environment that encourages consent-based interactions does wonders. Those attending MozFest were very mindful and considerate, and that's something I'd like to see in more communities. — Contraexemplo (talk) 12:08, 24 April 2019 (UTC)

Active consent for photosEdit

  • I don't know if this fits under the category of "active consent" but I'll write it here and someone can move it if necessary... I have become increasingly uncomfortable over the years with the way we treat photography at Wikimedia events - to the point that I now wear the 'no photo' lanyard. I'm not inherently against being photographed - heck someone's even made a category of 205 photos of me on Commons [with 5 sub-categories!] - but I feel we have "reversed" the standards of behaviour in normal society as it comes to photography in public places. And I think it's wrong.
What I mean by this is: The default expectation at Wikimedia events is that: every moment is photographable; with no expectation that the subject be notified [in the case of 'candid' photography]; that the photo will be placed on the public internet (Commons); that it will probably be categorised with the person's name [plus location and time metadata]; that the photo will have a free-license. Our community response to this is a) "you can ask for individual photos to be taken down" and b) you can wear a blanket-opt-out lanyard (thereby marking yourself as 'different').
I think that candid photography is fine - often photos are better this way, not staged - but if you take pictures like that then, in my opinion, it is the photographer's moral obligation before publishing to show it to the subject and give them the right to not publish it. Obviously if someone is on stage presenting, or posing for a group shot, there's a direct implication of consent. But that's not the case for photos taken across the room of a candid moment.
I also think that putting things on the internet can be fine, but context is important here... Are you friends with the subject and you're sharing a funny-silly picture on non-public internet (e.g. Facebook)? Or, is it identifiably a picture of someone, but you don't actually know them, and they're eating lunch or scratching their ear or whatever, and the picture is now on the 'public' internet...? Add to this the extra factor that our community expectation is that all photographs will be under a free-license, which means that [moral/personality rights notwithstanding], remix and sharing of that image of the person eating lunch or scratching their ear is explicitly encouraged...
Furthermore, anyone with ~10 pictures of them gets a designated Commons-Category. AND, recent Commons/Wikidata trend is that all people with a Commons-Category also get a Wikidata item created about them. I don't think that it's RIGHT, and I certainly don't think that it is understood [in the sense of informed-consent] that: being photographed several times at a Wikimedia event means you will become a record in our public metadata repository. Moreover, once a Wikidata item exists it 'wants' to grow statements: gender, nationality, name, username on <social media platform>... Should we be informing attendees that if they accept the default lanyard, then they are implicitly accepting to get a Q-item about themselves? [edit: user:Multichill has actually compiled a list of these: d:User:Multichill/Questionable_notability_Wikimedians (sort by "commons category")]
Often these days, I will wear BOTH lanyards (the normal, and the no-photo), and photographers will sometimes approach me and say "hey, I took this photo of you <shows candid photo> and it's a nice picture, but I didn't see your 'no-photo' lanyard and I'm confused because you're wearing both so you're making the rules ambiguous, so what do you want me to do with this picture?" And I say "perfect, thank you, yes, that is a nice picture, please keep it and feel free to publish it, and asking me is exactly what I wanted you to do." But I've had several circumstances I've requested pictures of me to be deleted from Commons - INCLUDING THOSE WHICH HAVE ME WEARING A NO PHOTO LANYARD - of me looking silly because I'm yawning or I'm mid-sentence talking with someone. Equally, a candid photo of me eating lunch at Wikimania Taiwan was used as the banner-image for a Wikipedia Facebook group for a long time. These pictures are neither "educational" (the ostensible scope of Commons) nor high quality photography, nor even nice pics. They were just photographs that someone took and, without checking with the subject, uploaded them to Commons.
We use Commons as a dumping ground of any pictures that happen to have been taken at our own events: If any other community suddenly started uploading hundreds of pictures of people socialising at a conference we would delete them as 'out of scope for Commons', but because it's "us" we accept it - we treat Commons like an image host for our social photographs, in contravention of one of Common's own rules.
By comparison: What are the expectations of photography in the general public, on the street? Would it be acceptable to take candid photographs of identifiable people, upload them to a public website, tag it with location and time metadata (and the person's name if you knew it), with an explicit 'share this' copyright status - and not even tell them?! Of course not. That's paparazzi behaviour... So, if anything, I've joked that I'd like a "no-commons" lanyard, but some kind of "it depends on the context but unless I'm actually looking at the camera then you can assume I would like to be informed before you publish" - lanyard. Better yet: that should be the standard/default! Not "everything's fair game just because I've not opted-out".
TL;DR - Someone shouldn’t have to “opt out” of all photography and be treated as a special-exemption, merely to be able to benefit from the minimum social courtesy of NOT having photographs of themselves eating lunch being shared with detailed metadata and tagged with their name, under a free license, without their knowledge. At the very least create a “it’s contextual - ask me if you don’t think I noticed you taking my picture” lanyard. Wittylama (talk) 18:20, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
As a pro photographer who specializes in taking candid photos at events, I understand a desire for privacy, and wrote an article in that regard regarding taking photos at protests. I do focus primarily on folks speaking or performing on a stage, and I never intentionally post unflattering photos. But if I'm expected to gain approval from every person I take a candid shot of, then I just won't shoot at all.
Between these concerns, the Cuteness Association pix takedown, and some other photos of mine being deleted or flagged for deletion (inflatable Trump chicken is apparently "3D artwork" and not allowed), I feel reluctant to contribute any more photos to Commons at this point. :-( Funcrunch (talk) 17:01, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
Currently, the burden of responsibility at our events is upon the subject of the photograph. (Either by lanyards or by requesting takedowns or by chasing photographers around the building to ask to see their camera).
I believe this is placing the burden of responsibility in the wrong direction. If someone wants to take candid photography then they have the responsibility to treat that photography with care. If it’s too difficult or time consuming to actually review the content and inform people that they are about to be displayed on the open web, with a free license, with identifying categories and metadata... then they shouldn’t be taking those photographs.
The burden of responsibility should be on the person making the action - the photographer - not the unknowing recipient of the action! Wittylama (talk) 17:34, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
+1 to everything that Wittylama said. This is how we promote a culture of active respect and responsibility. Raystorm (talk) 17:06, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
I just realized I am a Wikidata Item. What the heck? How do I get it deleted? How does working for the Wikimedia Foundation or being a Wikimedia grant me sudden "notability"? In any case, +1000 to everything Liam says. I imagine we could have a really comprehensive photo policy at Wikimedia Events, that does not stop at tagging any photo with "this is the photo of a live person, personality rights apply". notafish }<';> 13:04, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
I agree with what Liam is bringing up here. Events should be photographed. It's part of us documenting our own movement over time. Photographers should take more care with what they put online.
@Notafish: I deleted quite a few Wikimedians as not notable. Some of the very aggressive inclusionists attacked me over that. In their view almost every person is notable, they have very very low standards. I don't like being attacked so I moved on. I do keep d:User:Multichill/Questionable notability Wikimedians as a reminder of this. You can nominate the item for deletion at d:Wikidata:Requests for deletions. Multichill (talk) 16:27, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
I've been asked on my talkpage for some suggestions on this topic area, and provided a number of links to examples from a single category. Here's the link to the full reply. And here is a copy-paste of the paragraph with the examples:
For some practical examples, I just looked at the commons category:Wikimania 2018 Hackathon: Do these people know they're being photographed?, do they mind? (at least they're not specifically tagged by name, and its not face-on to the camera), but I struggle to find the educational or documentation value in this picture. What about this person who is categorised by name - it's a pretty photograph but does he know about it? what about this closeup group shot?, they're not aware of the camera but it's got them all face-on. this person doesn't know they're being photographed holding their mouth, while for comparison this is a low quality selfie shot that serves no documentation purpose (and neither does this). This is a photo over someone's shoulder of their computer screen - too blurry for useful documentation but clear enough to be a potentially invasive shot considering the subject probably didn't know they were being photographed]]. And what possible value to the scope of does this phototograph of a photograph have. By comparison This is informed consent, arguably this is useful documentation, this is a reasonable expectation of being photographed.
I realise this is a bit of a grab-bag of shots with different complaints about them, but my point is that the current social expectation of our events is that anything at any moment can and will be photographed AND published online with time/place/name metadata, WITH a free-license, REGARDLESS of whether the subject is aware of the picture NOR the quality or journalistic/documentation value of the image. And that's just one category of one event. I did a quick search for categories of "food" at wikimedia events and found these two examples that make my point clear I think: does this lady know that there's a photo of her eating fondu online? Do these three ladies know there's a photo of them chewing salad?, or this lady eating noodles taken with a zoom lens?. These images serve no educational or documentation value... they're just, frankly, creepy. Simply putting a personality rights template on it, and saying 'you can take a no-photo lanyard' or 'you can ask to have it deleted' is not sufficient - and puts the burden of responsibility on the unwitting subject.
Our current audience at Wikmedia events generally doesn't mind or notice because, well, that's just the way things are. But think about how welcoming this would be if you're not already comfortable and friends with a large proportion of the attendees. Wittylama (talk) 15:15, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for writting this Wittylama, there is a clear problem with the consent during conferences. Yes I do consent generally to be taken in pictures to illustrate the conference, should people upload pictures of me while I'm eating ? I hope not.
Some photographers are quite good to get consent (and I don't mean to have actual paper work), but either ask before taking the picture or after if they want to have something "candid" or "natural". --PierreSelim (talk) 16:12, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
I endorse Wittylama's comments. I think it's probably worth trialling an 'active consent' policy, at least for people who are not formally presenting etc. If it turns out to be a really bad idea for some unforeseen reason it would be possible to change it back in future, though I don't imagine people will miss having a smaller total number of low-quality pictures of Wikimedia events on Commons. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 16:29, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Wittylama for the conversation. As mentioned I've been helping with organizing volunteer photographers at the last few Wikimedia Hackathon's (mostly as a volunteer). Each year I send an email to folks who said they were interested in helping out in advance of the event. The email contains some basic housekeeping information. I've just uploaded the draft I've used for the last 3 years to share. I've made some additions to it in light of this conversation. I'm sure it's not perfect and would like to kindly ask folks to give it a look over. I do, unfortunately, have a deadline of 6 May to send this to interested photographers. Apologies for the short timeline. I hope we can use this going forward as a best practice on setting expectations around event photography and I appreciate the input. Side note: I realize this is not the goal of this talk page explicitly, but I saw an opportunity. :) Ckoerner (talk) 16:05, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

So, in order to come to a proposal: are we ok about having a three-tier (for example: green = "totally ok"; yellow = "please ask me first"; red/black = "don't even think about it, thanks") lanyard system? Sannita - not just another it.wiki sysop 19:30, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

I'd say it would be only two lanyards, "ask always before uploading anywhere" and "no way". If you intend to upload a particular picture you took of someone, candid or otherwise, you must first show it to that person so that they can either okay it or tell you no. This is basic courtesy, and it needs to become the default. Raystorm (talk) 16:33, 7 May 2019 (UTC)
+100. Wittylama (talk) 23:21, 7 May 2019 (UTC)

"Touch sensitivity" stickersEdit

  • Your thoughts here

I like the idea of stickers but feel that the assumption should be no touching unless invited. We shouldn't have to opt-in to body autonomy. --13ab37 (talk) 02:56, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

I feel that stickerising this would probably not help. Even if you welcome hugs *on the whole*, you probably don't welcome them in all situations from all people, so what value does this add? Further, actually codifying this would probably seem weird to 95%+ of people (to be honest, it seems like a weird idea to me...) - judging whether someone is likely to be comfortable with physical contact from you is sort of a basic social skill, if we implement a sticker-based solution to it then it makes us appear like a movement of people with no social skills. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 16:23, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

Ideas brought to the Trust and Safety Team off-wikiEdit

  • Clearer rules around unwelcome sexual attention, for example listing things like continued staring or staring at breasts of women
  • Behavioral norms for shared rooms at conferences, making it clear resting and recharging is the priority in these spaces

Propose your own idea below!Edit

  • Explicitly stating the scope of the FSP. Which spaces are subject to the Friendly Space Policy? Are online interactions related to the Foundation-supported events covered? Git repositories? IRC? Telegram groups? Do public communications count? Private communications related to those events? Official communication?
  • Enforcement. It's also important to remind every participant that FSPs enforcement goes both ways, and organizers should be trusted to take action even if one of them is involved in an incident. Contacting each organizer individually should be made as easy as possible.
  • Community standards. I'm aware the current policy says: "The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to providing a harassment-free venue and conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, physical appearance, age, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, national origin, or religion—and not limited to these aspects. We do not tolerate any form of harassment of conference participants." However, I believe we should include in FSPs examples of behavior we consider excellent (such as using welcoming and inclusive language, being respectful, accepting criticism, showing empathy) and also exemplify unacceptable behavior (i.e. trolling, publishing private information of others without consent, the already included instances of what constitutes harassment).

Current policy successesEdit

The FSP has been successful in creating a general culture of anti-harassment behavior in WMF-supported events. This culture is the basic ground for sustaining the pillars of a diverse, vibrant community. This is not saying that everyone in all settings will share this culture, and of course specific issues need to be dealt with, but my sense is that in general attendees of WMF-supported events I have attended were aware a FSP existed and had some understanding of what the policy was about.

  • This impression on FSP awareness could be tested empirically --for instance with a questionnaire to be filled out by attendees in WMF-supported events in the Global North and South.

The basic ground an FSP provides is important --if indeed well communicated to event attendees-- to deal with problematic cases. In events where an FSP is not agreed on and communicated it becomes much harder to intervene. We hold regular Wikimedia-related events in Brazil, and though these events are not supported by the WMF we have established an FSP (with the kind support of the T&S team) as a strategy to prevent problematic cases. Thanks. --Joalpe (talk) 12:40, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

Current policy weaknessesEdit

  • Would be nice to know what is the rationale behind this consultation. I.e., I would expect that there are weeknesses to the current friendly space policy which prompted this consultation process. --Vojtěch Dostál (talk) 17:30, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
Hi Vojtěch, the Trust and Safety team promised to do a structured discussion on how to improve the existing policy after the last Wikimania in reaction to requests from the community. You can see the original promise we made here. The discussion is also part of our overarching goal for this year to improve Trust and Safety processes. --CSteigenberger (WMF) (talk) 09:53, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

My sense is that --despite [[Talk:Friendly_space_policy_consultation_2019#Current_policy_successes|successes in the current policy-- the FSP is still missing crucial aspects to provide a basic ground to have events in which one's attendance is truly valued: we should also focus in establishing a culture of wellbeing, in which caring, respect and solidarity are nurtured and promoted.

  • Just as an example of what we could accomplish, in the 2018 Decolonizing the Internet Conference a wellbeing team was established and experiences of frustration, burn-out and other situations that might lead anyone to feel momentarily bad or down were actively taken care of. This team was active to make sure everyone was empowered and part of the conversation. My sense is that we could learn from this experience.

Thanks. --Joalpe (talk) 12:48, 23 April 2019 (UTC)

  • Hello. This may be more of a question than a current policy weakness, but I think it should be the right section to start a conversation about it. I'd like to know if the Trust and Safety team publishes reports on incidents they had to intervene in, or if you have any kind of initiative that encourages Foundation-supported events to report to you if they had any incidents and if so, how did they address them. PyCon does this. They also have a transparent incident response procedure and reporting guidelines that I think we would all benefit from if they were adopted by us. — Contraexemplo (talk) 12:39, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Sorry for following up late on this question, Contraexemplo. Yes, we have recently started to track the data about incidents at events in a systematic way and make the results public in reports. So far one report has been published here. --CSteigenberger (WMF) (talk) 08:07, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I feel the current policy is missing some ground rules for room sharing during the conferences. As we share our rooms during the conferences, there should be basic guideline for this. Though, we believe in positive power and good faith, however sometimes we tend to forget about good etiquette. For example, phone calls after midnight (this is truly disturbing for other person), not being enough sensible about light. People comes from different time-zones and during the conference we do brainstorming, if it becomes hard during nighttime we do not get good rest, then it affects the overall productivity for all of us. Therefore i would like to propose to consider these issues in current policy. Afifa Afrin (talk) 16:06, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

General discussionEdit

Sensitisation of discussionEdit

I feel really honored to read the above comments from my fellow Wikimedian friends. It shows their maturity and consideration. I would like to add one addition observation. Which is how we have conversations with our fellow Wikimedians. Being respectful and considerate of each other's gender, caste, religion, creed, color, political beliefs and sexual orientation is what we expect from other person in good faith. During Wikimedia event, I feel a special effort should be made to keep conversations civil without resorting to trolling the other person's attributes or beliefs. This is something that might not be kept under check, but it is something we should try not just as Wikimedians but as humans.Wikilover90 (talk) 23:04, 25 April 2019 (UTC)

Encourage positive behaviorEdit

The current FSP only focuses on things people may not do. I would like a Friendly Space Policy to also encourage positive things, that people should do and strive for. Things like:

  • Work together
  • Be welcoming
  • Offer assistance and help if you see someone who look lost
  • Be friendly
  • Offer help or call for help if you see someone being in a bad situation
  • Criticize ideas not people

I think this would make the Friendly Space Policy to be more friendly itself and encourage people to behave better and make the events more welcoming. Currently, the FSP is more off a legal document, people blindly sign off like they do with terms-of-use when doing online shopping, instead it should be an inspiring document read by every participant. -- MichaelSchoenitzer (talk) 13:33, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

Definitely +1 on this. --Sannita - not just another it.wiki sysop 18:19, 3 May 2019 (UTC)

Language and readabilityEdit

The current text of the FSP is very hard to read for everyone who is not native-level English speaker or doesn't have an academic reading level. It's not readable nor understandable for large parts of the population and event participants. This is a real problem since everyone should be able to attend our events and every participant should have read the FSP. The FSP should be rewritten in a language understandable by most people, ideally into basic English or Special English. There should be official translations into the most widely used languages. Enriching it with pictograms and a spoken version as video might be an idea too. -- MichaelSchoenitzer (talk) 13:42, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

A more welcoming and expressive start sentence defining the spirit of the documentEdit

The first sentence of such an document is important and should lay out the spirit of the document in a central way. Compare it to starts of important and successful constitutions or similar documents:

  • UNHRD: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
  • US Constitution: We the people…
  • GG: Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar. Sie zu achten und zu schützen ist Verpflichtung aller staatlichen Gewalt.

Similarly, I think the FSP should start with a strong statement about everyone being welcome to work together on our mission. -- MichaelSchoenitzer (talk) 13:55, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

First summary, next stepsEdit

Thank you everyone who participated in the discussion so far! I am very happy that people from different parts of the world gave their input and that the exchange was done in a friendly way!

I see several themes emerging:

  • Active consent, mostly on the issue of photography, but also around touching.
  • Language and wording of the new FSP - making it easier to read for non native English speakers and also more interesting and inspiring overall
  • Encouraging positive behavior with the FSP
  • A good introduction
  • Examples

This consultation will remain open for another ten days. Feel free to add new themes or discuss the existing ones in more detail. Also feel free to reach out to us here, if we missed anything in this summary. Again, thank you all for taking the time to think about this important issue! --CSteigenberger (WMF) (talk) 13:37, 8 May 2019 (UTC)

When will communities and relevant functionaries be notified about this consultation? Sjoerd de Bruin (talk) 22:18, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
Hi Sjoerd de Bruin,
Sorry for getting back to you late, but I was sick last week. We have focused the outreach to communities for this consultation mainly on people and affiliates organizing events and/or having brought concerns about the current FSP to us. In addition we asked all people we contacted to share the news about the consultation with their communities and we invite you to either do the same or to point us at communication channels you think we should do more outreach in. --CSteigenberger (WMF) (talk) 16:54, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Return to "Friendly space policy consultation 2019" page.