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Non-discrimination policy

I meant to ask this of the candidates during the recent election, but maybe this timing will be better.

During a recent discussion Requests for comment/Global ban for Til Eulenspiegel, the non-discrimination policy became an issue in a discussion that was closed by the stewards. There was a huge amount of interest in this discussion, with page views on the first day over 1,800 viewers. To my knowledge this discussion was not announced on any talk pages. By comparison, the most recent edition of the Signpost only received slightly over 600 page views on the day it was published, in spite of being automatically delivered to numerous talk pages.

A resolution creating a non-discrimination policy was approved by the board in 2006. The text of the statement was

Resolved that,
The Wikimedia Foundation prohibits discrimination against current or prospective users and employees on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected characteristics. The Wikimedia Foundation commits to the principle of equal opportunity, especially in all aspects of employee relations, including employment, salary administration, employee development, promotion, and transfer.

This policy became the Non_discrimination_policy, however in 2017, the wording was altered to

"The Wikimedia Foundation prohibits discrimination against staff or contractors on the basis of ..."

According to Stewards' policies, the stewards "are required to follow established community policies", however, to my knowledge there has never been a community endorsement of this policy.

While I think it would be difficult for the community to endorse the idea of non-discrimination as applied to readers of Wikipedia, it would be much easier to endorse a non-discrimination policy for volunteers.

Would the stewards be willing to endorse such a statement? How is such a statement started and who is the appropriate person to start it? Maybe someone who has this page on their watchlist will know how to go forward with this.

Thank you. —Neotarf (talk) 23:49, 1 April 2019 (UTC)

Since the result of the RfC shows that the community does not tolerate discrimination (at least along the lines of sexual orientation), I would usually say that codification of a specific policy is not required. However, when it comes to human rights I think that over-codifying is not a bad thing, and would support a global community policy. Starting an RFC is the way to create global policies, though it might be worth thinking a bit more about what it should say before taking it to a vote. Should it be a simple statement, or should there also be some sort of codified method of sanctions (either descriptive or prescriptive)? I would personally like to see a statement prohibiting discrimination, and a brief statement of what sanctions could be placed based on existing processes (i.e. a Meta RFC, steward-initiated desysopping, etc) – Ajraddatz (talk) 02:38, 2 April 2019 (UTC)
Thank you Ajraddatz for your response and for your interest. I have been trying to think of a simple response to this, and I have concluded that that is the answer: there is no simple response.
Since the usual summary was missing from the RfC closing, I don't know what can be concluded about the closure, although there was obviously a high amount of interest in the discussion.
If you look at the announcement about the user reporting system consultation 2019 just below this section, you can see a very complex discussion about implementation shaping up. You may also be interested in this declined arbitration request discussion that was primarily about discriminatory language but ended up being declined because of scope/venue. This is what happens if you try to introduce too many issues at a time, you risk losing focus, people will say 'I agree with A, but not B,C, and D', or 'I don't have time to research all of that, so I will vote oppose to all.' I also remember seeing that the enforcement of TOS is specifically called out in some policy somewhere, so you don't want to risk introducing something that may be rejected because some part of it conflicts with some other policy somewhere. Also, many do not feel comfortable talking about this publicly, as they believe they will themselves be targeted for harassment - I suspect the ongoing Strategy Process may end up addressing, or dovetailing with some of these issues.
Ideally the current policy statement should just be amended to add the word "volunteers". We don't know why volunteers were not included in the policy statement as amended by Legal, although the original board statement was clearly meant to include volunteers. I am assuming that Legal did not think they could speak on behalf of the volunteers, but we don't know unless we ask. And it would be very hard to ask, without some clear consensus from the community to bring forward.
IMO it is very unfair to ask an underrepresented group to solve its own discrimination problems. They should not have had to approach that wiki by themselves, it should have been approached by a global representative that could help bring that wiki into compliance with international community standards diplomatically. A simple resolution like this - to add the word "volunteers" to the policy - would send a very strong statement that discrimination is the problem of the community as a whole. So I would say to present the simplest statement possible, that everyone can easily agree on. Maybe that's not really the territory of stewards, I don't know, but you are all probably more familiar with Meta than I am. The next question I think is who might be willing to sponsor the RFC. —Neotarf (talk) 01:28, 10 April 2019 (UTC)
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