Talk:Universal Code of Conduct/Policy text/Archives/2020

0 - Introduction

public and semi public interactions

I think semipublic is one word. Vexations (talk) 21:11, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed. Legoktm (talk) 03:36, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd go for semi-public hyphenated. Pelagic (talk) 03:41, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So private abuse, say in wikimail or direct-messages on a WM-hosted chat platform, is okay? Pelagic (talk) 04:29, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that private communication, at least editor/WMF staff communication, should be in scope. My understanding is that one-to-one communication is a space where behavioral problems can be common in Wikimedia-land. Libcub (talk) 03:43, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also agree this opens the UCoC to be subverted by keeping any interactions that would violate it private. Is there any special reason to keep this language? Chico Venancio (talk) 18:26, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

context, while

doesn't need a comma Vexations (talk) 21:22, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can we please not have whole subsections created for single copyedits? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:43, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

baseline of acceptable and unacceptable behavior

I think you mean "expected and unacceptable". Civility, collegiality, solidarity are expected, not merely accepted. Vexations (talk) 21:29, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree. Also for consistency: that's what the section headings are called. Pelagic (talk) 04:08, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This includes:

The first "this includes" refers to the previous sentence "it applies to everyone" and makes sense. The second "this includes" that introduces the bullet list refers to places not people, and made me think "huh?" Suggest "The scope includes:" or "The UCoC applies to the following situations:" or something similar. Pelagic (talk) 03:53, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you all for words, phrases, and copyedit ideas on this section. You are right in suggesting that tweaking a few things can make this section clearer. The Drafting Committee and T&S are taking note of your inputs for review. --NNair (WMF) (talk) 07:11, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the observation made by Pelagic is insightful. it is understandable that the intention may have been to express this as a code that applies to people, but that's too broad. I think I qualify as a person, so will this code apply to me? Of course, in the context of interactions with Wikimedia projects, but of course not in other situations. My chat with my neighbor is not covered. The statements says "it applies to everyone who interacts with and contributes to…". I count as a person who does such interactions, so the statement declares the code applies to me. I agree that it does but only in the context of my interactions. It might be a little stilted and requires better wordsmithing but the concept should be something like "it applies to everyone in the context of their interaction with and contributions to…"--Sphilbrick (talk) 13:08, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. Libcub (talk) 01:31, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Scope clarification

I'd like to see more clarity around the scope of the places to which this code applies. Some things are obvious. If we look at the Wikimedia foundation site, everything identified in the following sections is covered:

  • Content projects
  • Infrastructure and coordination projects
  • Movement affiliates
  • Wikimania

I don't see OTRS on that page although I assume it is included. Can I assume that the broader List of Wikimedia wikis is completely in scope? I think the answer is yes and I do see OTRS on that page.

I see Arbcom on the longer list. Obviously, the public contributions of the committee are subject to the code, and probably the restricted internal discussions. However, while I am not an Arbcom member, it is my understanding that individual members sometimes engage in confidential discussions via email and possibly by voice that are not part of the recorded documents. Are these covered? If I'm wrong and then are no such discussions, I do know as an OTRS agent that I occasionally reach out to another agent by email to discuss various issues. Are those emails subject to the code of conduct?

The Wikimedia foundation maintains a number of mailing lists. I assume these are covered although I don't see them mentioned at either of the two links listed above. Arguably, they do not belong on the long list of wikis because they are not wikis, the only mention on the Wikimedia foundation site is an entry in external links.

The section discussing "movement affiliates" defines them as "independent, but formally recognized". I believe there are a number of collections of people organized to promote Wikipedia that are not formally recognized, in some cases because they are in the process of arranging formal recognition but there may be others that have no such intention. Are these covered? There are hundreds of edit-a-thons. Many of these are organized by formally recognized affiliates and presumably therefore covered, but it is my impression that individual editors often set up a more informal edit-a-thons without formal blessing of an affiliate. Are these covered? I had a friend visit who asked me more about Wikipedia, so I set up an introduction to Wikipedia hoping to persuade him to become an editor. I'm pretty sure my interaction with him was not covered (although of course, actual edits to Wikipedia were covered) but what I'm getting at is: where is the line drawn? Only formal events sanctioned by formally recognized affiliates or is the coverage broader? Assuming it covers edit-a-thons at some level, is that the expectation that all such events will start with a review of the code of conduct? Presumably not an in-depth discussion but will there be a requirement to at least mention that the session is subject to the code of conduct?

I'm not currently active in IRC, but when I was more active, I was aware that there were discussions about whether IRC discussions were subject to Wikimedia rules. Has that been clarified and does the code of conduct apply to IRC interactions? If so, is there a definitive list of which IRC sites are covered? There are some obvious ones, but if I'm in an IRC site not put together by Wikimedia, and someone starts asking questions about Wikimedia and I respond, does that constitute interactions that are covered by the code of conduct or not?

I'll emphasize that I'm not looking for all of these questions to be fully answered in the introductory text. My preference would be for a side document going into the details of the scope which could be referenced in the introductory text.--Sphilbrick (talk) 13:43, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I do like the breadth of the scope. Libcub (talk) 07:38, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

everyone who interacts with and contributes to

No. In particular, readers interact with the sites but the code does not & should not apply to them. Pashley (talk) 00:00, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would say the distinction should apply to an activity rather than the category of person. I would agree that the activity "reading" is not covered. However I would say that if someone posts a question with problematic content or wording on a project page, whether or not they have edited an article should not impact that the UCoC applies. Similar with posts to our email lists like Wikimedia-l. Libcub (talk) 01:39, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

section numbering

I think it is important to number the Introduction as 1 rather than 0, to clarify that it indeed fully a part of UCoC as opposed to simply background information. Libcub (talk) 05:55, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1 - Why We Have a UCOC

  • Avoid Unnecessary Capitals if Possible (This Includes Abbreviations Like UCoC). Eissink (talk) 15:32, 7 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]
I disagree. I like UCoC, and think it is clearer than UCOC or ucoc. We may even want to change to to WUCoC to avoid, shall we say, incorrect pronunciations and adolescent humor. Libcub (talk) 01:44, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I should have been more clear: I too think that UCoC is better than UCOC, but I wanted to point to the fact that even the drafting committee members exchange both forms. But more than that: I wanted to point to the strange, divergent and especially unnecessary use of capitals in this paragraph's header: Why We Have a UCoc. Eissink (talk) 08:19, 11 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]
@Eissink:Thank you Eissink, I guess these should be typos by the committee unless there is a reason for it that we do not know. I have highlighted it for them to be double-checked. Your comments are always helpful. Mehran (WMF) (talk) 22:02, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Instead of UCoC, why not simply refer to the document as something like "the code", "this code", "code of conduct" or similar? Don't introduce more jargon and initialisms than are absolutely necessary. – Teratix 10:39, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Define 'we'. Who is 'we'? If necessary, use 'we' only in this paragraph, but consider renaming this paragraph to something like "The purpose of this UCoC" and consider avoiding the personal pronouns entirely. If you use 'we', make sure that is clear who is meant by that (it is not clear in the current draft). Eissink (talk) 15:32, 7 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]
  • The following change would make the UCoC much more accetable for the autonomy of the projects (for example in en.wikipedia, Wikipedia has no firm rules):
The UCoC provides a baseline of behavior for collaboration on Wikimedia projects worldwide. Communities may add to this to develop policies that take account of local and cultural context, while maintaining the baselines listed here as a minimum standard.
Habitator terrae (talk) 19:40, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I found the following worthy of discussion:
"defines a baseline of acceptable and unacceptable behavior"

This means that the points adressed in the Code are about "acceptable" behaviour. This sounds very binary. If you do not behave as described in the Code, does that automatically mean that your behaviour is "unacceptable"? For example, the Code says: "lend them a hand when they need support". So if I do not lend someone support, does that mean that my behaviour is "unacceptable"? Ziko (talk) 20:18, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just noticed: "Expected behavior". So in spite of the line I quoted above, it seems that there are three different categories? Acceptable, Expected, or Unacceptable? Ziko (talk) 20:21, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd prefer changing "Expected" to "Encouraged". For one, as many others have pointed to, we cannot reasonably expect to bind everyone to do everything the 100% ideal way all of the time (no, I'm not going to try to empathize with a vandal or a POV-pushing genocide denier). Second, "expected" sounds didactic. -Indy beetle (talk) 08:46, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Acting in contradiction with

  • I think that should be "Acting in contradiction to" Vexations (talk) 20:44, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I was going to say "acting in contravention of", but yours works too. Graham87 (talk) 07:08, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • I agree with both that the current wording is awkward; no strong preference on alternatives except some change should be made.--Sphilbrick (talk) 14:00, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WMF initiated actions

  • "Acting in contradiction with the UCoC can result in sanctions being imposed by the community representatives and functionaries of the platforms (as per the local communities endorsement and contextualisation) or the Wikimedia Foundation as the legal owner of the platforms." (Emphasis mine)

If the WMF starts throwing around bolts from the blue for violating this policy (and as-written you can make the argument that EVERYONE has violated some part of this policy), there's going to be drama. That's not a threat, it's just a statement of fact. The WMF lacks the nuanced, context-dependent ability to make judgments on these cases. They should be left for a group of their peers to decide (arbitration committees, or equivalents). If a problem is pervasive within a project and still unacceptable, have that project judged by other similar wikiprojects. Do NOT, however, have some WMF staffer who doesn't understand that Wikipedia only works in practice and hasn't done the workflows that the person in question does make a unilateral decision. That's how you get Fram ban style drama. Tazerdadog (talk) 21:49, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That raises a good question: is the UCoC intended to be a justification for sanctioning people who do not conform to it, or an ideal to encourage people to conform to? The first assumption is -- as Ziko notes above -- binary, while the second lends itself to a more nuanced approach. After all, some people who engage in behavior that can be considered harassment are unaware that it is, indeed, harassment, & will stop it with a gentle comment. Of course there are other people whose behavior cannot be changed, no matter what is done, & the only solution is to permanently ban them, but IMHO we already have the mechanism to handle these cases. (I can attest en.wikipedia in the old days chronically failed to handle disruptive people, & the arbitration process often is weighted too far towards severity in its results.) -- Llywrch (talk) 23:30, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Tazerdadog:Hi Tazerdadog, thank you for your feedback. At this stage, the UCoC Draft Committee would like to know the users' feedbacks and opinions about the draft, enforcement of the UCoC is something that will be focused on at the next stage. I will make sure that the draft committee will consider your feedback.
@Llywrch:Hi Llywrch, you are definitely correct, some Wikis (e.g. English Wikipedia that you mentioned) already have the policies and guidelines to handle such issues. In such cases, the UCoC will be more helpful for the projects that have no behavioural guidelines/policies. Mehran (WMF) (talk) 00:27, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mehran (WMF), your response makes no sense. I suggest you read my comment again, this time with more care. -- Llywrch (talk) 13:29, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Llywrch: I totally agree and understand what you are trying to say in the first part of your comment, my response was for the last part of it where you mentioned "... we already have the mechanism to handle these cases ...". What I was trying to say was that the UCoC is similar to the local behavioural guidelines/policies, and will unlikely effect Wikis that already have similar guidelines, in this case English Wikipedia. I thought would be useful to mention it and you may know it already, sorry if my response made confusions. Mehran (WMF) (talk) 22:27, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mehran (WMF): OK, I see what you are responding to. I slipped off onto a tangent which mislead you, despite working hard to stay on point. (I get distracted far too easily when writing.) My mistake. -- Llywrch (talk) 23:09, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Tazerdadog, Llywrch, and Mehran (WMF):Hi Tazerdadog, Llywrch and Mehran
We must remember that the WMF has legal responsibity for what is posted. A few years there was an incident on the English Wikipedia when a user who just happened to be as Nobel Laureate and a retired Cambridge University Professor was blocked by an over-enthusiastic administrator for "Making legal threats". The block was clearly ridiculous and when it was not lifted immediately, the editor concerned theatened to go to the press. The block was removed a few hours later. I don't know if the WMF was involved or not, but if the English Arbcom stuck to their guns, I am sure that the WMF would have brought pressure on them. Likewise, if somebody were to sue an administrator for harassment, the administrator claims that he was merely abiding by Wikipedia rules but the court says that the rules were unlawful, then WMF is involved - they are honour-bound to support the administrator concerned and also to ensure that there is no repitition of the event. Martinvl (talk) 21:44, 21 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Martinvl: I highly doubt the WMF would attempt to intervene in a block over possible media attention. That is not within their scope. --Yair rand (talk) 21:54, 21 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Martinvl: Actually, no. The WMF is not liable for content any of the projects have due to the law of common carrier. It's the same situation with a telephone company: they are immune to law suits because two individuals used the company's cables to plan a crime. And this has been upheld in court. Some years back some woman who presented herself as a literary agent was described as performing unethical behavior; she sued the Foundation for defamation (despite that the page was promptly deleted for other reasons), & the judge dismissed the case on those grounds. Of course, this doesn't mean that the editor responsible for that content couldn't be sued for defamation, which is one reason I've never worried about the policies concerning biographies of living people as much as some people. -- Llywrch (talk) 22:05, 21 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was involved in that episode (not as a blocking admin). The threats were pretty real, and neither WMF nor Arvcom were involced. Hosephson retracted the threats and was unblocked.--Ymblanter (talk) 18:57, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed it is dubious to what extent the WMF can hide behind the law of common carrier. The WMF is not carrying boxes from point A to point B, but is publishing content online, so that different laws apply. - Brya (talk) 06:15, 11 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

the local communities endorsement

Should be possessive: the local communities' endorsement. Pelagic (talk) 04:14, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

duplication of "contributors and participants"

This applies to all contributors and participants in their interaction with all contributors and participants sounds awkward. Anyone got better wording? Would "applies to all contributors and participants in their interactions" do? Pelagic (talk) 04:16, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with the concern expressed by Pelagic, without yet coming up with a better alternative. Why do we mention both "contributors" and "participants". Maybe the Venn diagrams aren't identical but I'm not sure what is intended by the need for the two terms.--Sphilbrick (talk) 14:03, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A contributor is a subtype of participant. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:43, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Poorly worded bracketed text

The bracketed "(as per the local communities endorsement and contextualisation)"could mean everything or nothing. There is probably a missing possessive apostrophe but even with this, is the "as per" seeking to refer to the process of selecting representatives or to their agreement to a decision (before or after it is made?). And what is the vacuity of "contextualisation" performing here? AllyD (talk) 06:22, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The other issue for me is that this parenthesized phrase seems to imply that local groups can choose to endorse or not to endorse the UCoC. But the point of having this as a "universal" code means it does not matter whether a local group endorses it or not, the UCoC still applies to them. Right? Libcub (talk) 02:01, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Or the Wikimedia Foundation"

I would like to be mistaken, but this phrasing looks like opening a backdoor to unwanted interventions of WMF in well-working projects, without proper understanding of local context or even language. Do we really need another piece of drama in colour yellow bahama? To avoid this, I propose such wording: Acting in contradiction with the UCoC can result in sanctions being imposed by the community representatives and functionaries of the platforms (as per the local communities endorsement and contextualisation) or — in lack of appropriate procedures or measures thereof — the Wikimedia Foundation as the legal owner of the platforms. Not a native speaker, I do not insist on the words, but I do insist on the meaning. Marcowy Człowiek (talk) 16:56, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That's okay, but I would also suggest an additional in the event of a lack of appropriate procedures or measures despite prior notification of ongoing structural failings by the Wikimedia Foundation, as the legal owner of the platforms. One major unhappiness point in the FRAM case was T&S saying that en-wiki had some structural failings and then gave no reasoning for why they hadn't provided formal prior notice of this, reasoning, and attempted resolution. I also don't want a single issue acting as justification for their intervention Nosebagbear (talk) 22:11, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Marcowy Człowiek and Nosebagbear:I really appreciate your feedback. There is also a similar thread above and it was explained there that it will be focused on enforcement of the UCoC at the next phase. However, I have highlighted your comments and will make sure that the draft committee will consider them. I believe what they meant to say was similar to what you mentioned, but it is good now that we know that it needs to be revised. Mehran (WMF) (talk) 01:46, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mehran (WMF):, I'm not quite sure how my comment can fall within the enforcement section but the current phrasing doesn't - I'd be even happier if the current reference to WMF enforcement was excluded from the base "intended behaviour" draft and only discussed in enforcement. You are right that that would make 5x as much sense. But if it is going to be there, then my proposed amendment would also be in scope. It's not possible for one to fall in without the other. Nosebagbear (talk) 08:12, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, why?

The most common reason to make universal things — interaction. If there is a common issue when I trying to do something in a foreign language wiki and facing with aggression or some other misbehavior against me, harmonization of all CoC is allow me to point specific rule, that was violated. But there's no need to make new document, just a list of links can make this work instead.

But most of declared problems cannot be solved with this code. More than, if T&S team will provide it strongly, it can make more problems, than they try to solve. For example, recently I faced with user, that write complain on me, when I make edits that he did't like in two articles, one of them created by this user, and in second he make many edits, and blame me that I stalking against him. If T&S team will react on complaints like this, it became users to collect dirt on users — not becase want to hurt they, but to get ahead. Say hello to 1937!--Tucvbif (talk) 08:47, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


To reiterate a point above: speaking of a "minimum" appears to assume that we're dealing with a totally ordered set. Please include the definition of the ordering function, or remove the word "minimum" as suggested above. Thanks, Nemo 13:33, 13 September 2020 (UTC

"Minimum standard" is a legal term. It means that communities may decide to use a higher standard, that means, stricter rules. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:46, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

participate in a global community that will avoid bias and prejudice

The way we phrase it now is a bit awkward: "[...] all who engage in Wikimedia projects and spaces will: [...] participate in a global community that will avoid bias and prejudice". To "engage in" is to take part in an activity, to be a participant, so there's no need to say that twice. The use of will, also twice expresses the future tense, which makes one wonder when this is going to happen. Better would be to say: "By participating in Wikimedia projects, you become part of a global community that avoids bias and prejudice". Not that I agree with that: Everyone is biased, and bias is unavoidable. Those who claim to be unbiased are simply blind to their biases, and Wikipedia is spectacularly biased. We rely on biased sources, for example. We could say we try to overcome unconscious institutional systemic biases or something to that effect, but to claim we "avoid bias" is false. — 21:05, 13 September 2020‎ Vexations

Poorly explained

Thanks to everyone who worked on this, and sorry for the harsh subject line. My concern about this section is that it does not adequately explain the need for a UCoC, and movement members unfamiliar with the arguments around codes of conduct may oppose without fully understanding the point. Jesse Noller, who wrote the Python Software Foundation's conference CoC, wrote a good blog post justifying why the PSF needed a code of conduct. They argue that the community is improved by being explicit about expectations, and that the goal is not necessarily stop inappropriate behavior (c.f. meatball:LimitDamage), but to prevent tacit rules from inadvertently protecting inappropriate behavior. I don't do the work justice, so I encourage interested people to read it. What differs between that document and this draft is that our draft does not explain how the CoC will help us accomplish the goals it lays out. It's true that we want to create safe environments for our fellow volunteers and protect our projects from harm, but how does a UCoC do that or do it better than our existing documents? Right now, the section explains the values we have without connecting the document to those values. I would prefer this section explain how adopting the/a UCoC helps us achieve the goals it currently lays out. Wugapodes (talk) 02:55, 18 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Accuracy and verifiability

In line with the Wikimedia mission, all who engage in Wikimedia projects and spaces will (...) strive towards accuracy and verifiability in all its work. - it is a bit surprising to see two Wikipedia policies show up in such a generic document. While the other expectations in that sentence are very reasonable, accuracy and verifiability don't necessarily make a lot of sense on all projects (what is it to be accurate and verifiable on Wikiversity, for example?), and even where they do, these are mainly expectations about content work, so this sort of implies that the same enforcement structure that is applied to e.g. incivil behavior can also be used to regulate content issues, which is an exceedingly bad idea - whatever team or commitee is going to handle UCoC violations will certainly be ill-equipped to determine standards of verifiability in hundreds of projects. --Tgr (talk) 03:21, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This seems an extreme viewpoint. Content issues can be approached at several levels; while it is impractical to go check every detail of a page for verifiability, it is quite doable to recognize patterns of transgressions in a user's handling of content. These patterns are forms of conduct. - Brya (talk) 06:07, 11 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2 - Expected behavior

This whole section is, sorry, unacceptable. It is simply impossible to impose respect, civility, collegiality, solidarity and good citizenship and all those fine things by a "code of conduct" and sanctions. A code can say that certain clearly defined behaviours like insult etc. are forbidden. A code can never induce "positive" behaviour. Respect, solidarity etc. enforced by a code are devoid of any value. They can only be given out of one's own free will.Mautpreller (talk) 21:16, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with Mautpreller. We are talking about to different patterns of behaviour:

  • A: "Politeness", "civility", "good manners".
  • B: "Friendliness", "collegiality", "helpful". Requires a real smile, not only a fake smile. :-)

This might depend on the culture of an individual or a society. But in my perception, we can expect people to be polite. That is the baseline. (We might argue what behaviour counts exactly as polite, though.)

But we cannot expect people to be friendly, always, to everybody. Some might say, like Mautpreller, that friendliness is based on friendly feelings and must come from the heart. Others might say that you can expect friendliness from a professional who is trained e.g. as a Social Media manager and is paid for that work. But the WM regulars are volunteers, and they have the task to protect the wikis and deal sometimes with really nasty newbies.

And then again, we have to make the distinction which behaviour we find "only" desirable and worth observing, and which behaviour we find unacceptable that should be sanctioned. Ziko (talk) 15:32, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with Mautpreller. This section reads like a set of rules for an adolescents' social club. It's based on a misstep by the WMF – trying to turn a set of projects that are about creating and improving content into a "movement" that prioritises everyone getting on, instead of content. I appreciate that a goal is probably to have both the content and the getting on, but this section is telling volunteers what to think and feel. That goes too far, and is a very long way from what the WMF should be doing (see the "What is the job of the W?F? What *isn't* their job?" section below for a summary of what it should be concentrating on). I'm happy to go into more detail if asked, but conclude for now that this entire section should be scrapped. EddieHugh (talk) 18:37, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Aș said by people before me, the wording on this section is way too harsh. One cannot simply force volunteers to help others or too always be nice. Bringing the tone down a notch or two (e.g. "desired behavior" rather than "expected" and corresponding changes throughout the doc) would better reflect the relation between members of the community and between the community and the wmf. Strainu (talk) 20:38, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm generally in agreement with the sentiments of several editors, some expressed in comments above, and I also see similar comments in sections lower down. I think the problem can be traced to the decision to divide the spectrum of contributions into only two categories: "acceptable" and "unacceptable". I prefer to see at least three categories. In general, I think it would be wise for policies and guidelines (not only this code of conduct) to identify both "best practices" and "minimum standards". In my view, some of the pushback comes from the fact that the "acceptable" section identifies some things that should be considered minimum standards but other things that should be considered best practices. Generally speaking, failure to meet minimum standards can result in a variety of actions ranging from edit reversions to warnings and eventually blocks and bans. However, failure to meet best practices but not failure to meet minimum standards should not result in sanctions. For example, respect should be a minimum standard, but thanking people should be viewed as a best practice. I use the thanks options, both formal and informal a fair bit, but I'm sure there are many editors who have never click on the thanks button. Failure to act with respect to others deserves a response by the community, but keeping your head down doing gnomish edits and never using the thanks button doesn't deserve sanction. I am absolutely sure you did not intend to suggest that an editor who never thanks someone else should be sanctioned, but by including it in a section called "expected behavior" one is led to wonder what happens when someone doesn't measure up to expected behavior. Dividing us up into best practices and minimum standards might help solve some of the concerns expressed.--Sphilbrick (talk) 14:39, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that separating minimum standards from best practices is a good, helpful approach. Libcub (talk) 06:02, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mautpreller also talked about lofty goals versus minimum enforceable standards back on 26 January at Talk:Universal Code of Conduct/Archives/2020#Draft?:

”The main problem is that all Coc's you are using as examples are highlighting lofty values and "pledges". Almost each and every action might be defined as a transgression against such values and "pledges" because they are so lofty. A well-proven maxim for any kind of diciplinary measures is to exactly define negative behaviour that may entail sanctions, but not positive values because they are open to different interpretations and the danger is enormous that these vague global confessions are made use of for highly problematic interests.”

The community has been trying to talk about some of these issues for a long time, and the only official feedback was “wait for the Draft, you'll get your chance to comment when it fits our timeline”. Well, now the Draft is out, it doesn’t address concerns that were already raised, so they are being raised again, and by more people than before. I honestly hope we do get a workable Code at the end of this. — Pelagic (talk) 20:44, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

'in In all Wikimedia projects, spaces and events behavior will be founded' the term 'spaces' is vague and can include anything. Sjmantyl (talk) 10:04, 14 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It is not clear that this part of the UCoC is actionable. Will we ban users that refuse to Practice empathy or Always assume good faith? It is not necessarily bad to have a section that is not actionable and is written to inspire and provide good examples. But perhaps it should be clearly worded as an aspirational section such as the pledge and positive standards of the contributors covenant. In particular, "Respect the way that contributors name and describe themselves" seems particularly out of place in this section, as it implies an "unacceptable behavior" and might be questioned as aspirational if bundled beside general ideas such as practice empathy and be welcoming in person. Chico Venancio (talk) 19:13, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I find that it is typically not useful for this type of document to describe scope multiple times, such as the first paragraph of this section compared to what is stated in previous sections. It is better practice to select a term (perhaps "Wikimedian" here) and define it once, and then using just the short term for subsequent uses. Otherwise people will argue about the differences between sections, selecting the section that they think suits their perspective. Libcub (talk) 06:10, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The wording "behavior will be founded in" is rather odd-sounding. More importantly, clearly many Wikimedian behaviors are _not_ based on "respect, civility, collegiality, solidarity and good citizenship". If that sentence were true, we wouldn't need the UCoC. I suggest something along the lines of: "In all Wikimedia projects, spaces and events, interactions should be respectful, civil, and collegial, and show solidarity and good citizenship." Libcub (talk) 06:20, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I would propose to change some words here: This applies to all any contributors and or participants in their interactions with all other contributors and participants. Reasoning: all-all is a bit too severe and statistically impossible. Not everybody interacts with all and everybody else of the community. I would prefer some mathematical/statistical/logical/algorithmic reasoning. Geert Van Pamel (WMBE) (talk) 11:41, 30 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Many modern CoCs, use the term "religion or lack thereof" instead of "religion". I think having it here and making it explicit would be useful (given the discrimination against non-believers in lots of places) Amir (talk) 21:27, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good point! Libcub (talk) 03:06, 15 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would use "personal beliefs". --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:47, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, Nazism and other hate idelogoies are "personal beliefs" too Amir (talk) 20:39, 17 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wonder if it needs to be made clearer that attacking religion as such is perfectly acceptable, since, after all, that's more or less Wikipedia's fundamental role: distribute and summarise knowledge based on reliable sources, and on eternal doubt: anyone with internet access can propose modifying the content of any Wikipedia article, without being considered a blasphemer. Wikipedia is, by definition, an insult to religion. It's an encyclopedia, aiming at higher quality and verifiability than earlier encyclopedias. In this case, the intention is only to forbid a personal attack on someone based on that person's religion (or perceived religion). So my question is whether this is clear enough in the text. Should we add a second clarification note? Boud (talk) 22:07, 4 February 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The response to beginners is especially important, and should be welcoming. A comprehensible explanation or motivation should be provided when reverting beginners mistakes that constitute good faith edits. Explanatory motivation is always expected when deleting a new article, or when deleting sourced text.Tomastvivlaren (talk) 09:02, 15 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How would this work with the multi-language projects? Is it up to the reverter to determine the language of the beginner and obtain a translation of their comprehensible-in-their-own-language explanation? And, some of those multi-language projects, like Wikidata or Wikispecies or copyright issues on Wikimedia Commons, are quite technical; so a comprehensible explanation written for a complete novice, for even a simple revert, could be very long.
It seems to me that this sort of thing perhaps should not be specified at the Wikimedia level, but at the individual project level. --Struthious Bandersnatch 10:07, 15 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2.1 - Respect

“Always assume good faith”

Assume good faith is a very important rule guideline but the “always” part is problematic. At some point AGF is no longer warranted and actions must be taken to protect the project or other users. Maybe the wording should be changed here slightly? --Count Count (talk) 14:45, 7 September 2020 (UTC) Corrected. --Count Count (talk) 18:39, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

enwiki’s AGF rule is never promoted as “policy”, so why should AGF be part of UCoC? Furthermore, it is barely followed in some exceptional circumstances, so either scrap it or rewrite the whole rule from the scratch. George Ho (talk) 18:29, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I struggle with this point, too. What is AGF? A recommendation, or a firm rule that, if violated, will lead automatically to a ban? How to communicate about someone who wants to abuse a Wikimedia wiki for his own purposes? Ziko (talk) 20:10, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To always assume good faith is not possible. Vandals do not edit in good faith. Undisclosed paid editors do not edit in good faith. POV pushers do not edit in good faith. Vexations (talk) 21:39, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • When I see obvious vandalism and POV pushing, no, I do not stop to assume good faith. Scrap the "always". -Indy beetle (talk) 01:21, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'll add my support for removing "always", for reasons others have made clear. – Teratix 03:44, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, what it says now is the opposite of AGF. AGF is very useful when dealing with newcomers and can be summarized as "give a new user the benefit of the doubt". Once a user has established a clear pattern of behavior there is no reason to assume anything, and one should act on the basis of reality. - Brya (talk) 10:50, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Brya summarized it very well.--Sphilbrick (talk) 14:40, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1. Libcub (talk) 06:26, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How would the COC explicitly exclude the application of this (and other elements) to serial anonymous vandals? DCDuring (talk) 19:20, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have two problems to offer here.
1) The smaller one: It polices assumptions which happen inside people's heads. It should only police conduct, which is observable actions. To use this rule, we literally have to assume that someone is or isn't assuming good faith. This is more of a feeling on my part than anticipation of real problems, given that "assume good faith" has been in use on the English Wikipedia for many years.
2) The bigger one: The English Wikinews explicitly does not have an "assume good faith" guideline. This guideline has also been in practice for many years. This new universal code of conduct would be overruling Wikinews' autonomy. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:00, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How would "always assume good faith" interact with prohibitions on advertising? en:Wiki being used as a source for Google's Knowledge Panel feature means that every company, product, jobseeker, executive, celebrity, etc. the world over is financially incentivized to have an en:Wiki article. Most of these are not notable by either any reasonable definition or the project's well-adopted position. It is a bad faith action to use Wikipedia for promotion so assuming good faith for these actors is clearly a waste of good intentions. Worse, the injunction to "always assume good faith' is easily weaponized to avoid scrutiny. How would the drafters recommend good-faith ways to place barriers in front of bad-faith actors? Recognizing, of course, that the good faith editors attempting to stop promotion are usually individual uncoordinated volunteers and the bad faith promoters are often well-funded and supported by persons or organizations with resources that structurally imbalance the assumption of good faith. Eggishorn (talk) 21:56, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To elaborate a bit on the point about English Wikinews:
  • en.wn has an explicit guideline (not yet a policy, but may get there) never assume. (We've recognized since the Early Days of the project that AGF is incompatible with a news site, and later learned the hard way that it's not enough to omit AGF, something is needed to take its place for social stability; after some tempestuous times we settled on never assume, and it's worked well for us.)
  • I've gradually concluded, over the years, that AGF has done a great deal of damage to the social atmosphere of Wikipedia. I don't pretend to know what would really work well there —it would need something different from Wikinews's never assume, which is customized for news— but surely each project has to be free to explore those deep issues for itself without having AGF forced on it (kind of like being told to "Be happy, or suffer the consequences").
--Pi zero (talk) 22:55, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If comments are not enough, how about one of past discussions from enwiki (w:en:Wikipedia talk:Assume good faith/Archive 9#Request for Comment: make AGF a policy), revealing that the enwiki community overwhelmingly opposed promoting it as "policy"? They thought that AGF is too excessive and unenforceable as "policy". Furthermore, Commons's own AGF guideline) has never been promoted as "policy" yet. George Ho (talk) 21:53, 15 September 2020 (UTC) ]])Reply[reply]

  • "always" should really be struck from Always assume good faith. We shouldn't always assume good faith. Otherwise we would always have to assume good faith for vandals, even past warnings. Instead this should be that we need to assume good faith until there is evidence they are not acting in good faith, which is more consistent with the enwiki AGF guideline. Taking from w:en:AGF: This guideline does not require that editors continue to assume good faith in the presence of obvious evidence to the contrary (e.g. vandalism). ... Rather, editors should not attribute the actions being criticized to malice unless there is specific evidence of such. Its important to spell this out.
Another point we need to bear in mind is that AGF on enwiki is only a guideline. Treating it like a policy is not consistent with how enwiki treats AGF, and would lead to the common sense / occasional exceptions to be disallowed. This will likely effect how enwiki applies the guideline (probably making it de facto enwiki policy), and is not the consensus of the enwiki community. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | enwiki 17:35, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm not definite about the desired effects of (always) assuming good faith. I would rather think of good practices in responding, e.g. to only see and respond to constructive parts of a contribution in a respectful and polite manner. --Manuae (talk) 11:39, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Always assume good faith" means that one should behave as if others act in good faith, unless there's proof against it. It doesn't mean that bad faith doesn't exist. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:50, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reasons AGF is detrimental to any wiki:
  1. If "assume good faith" is taken at face value, it is telling contributors to assume something. It is destructive to the mission of an information-providing wiki to teach contributors to assume things.
  2. If "assume good faith" is not taken literally (see w:WP:ZEN), it teaches contributors by example to say things they don't mean. This too is destructive to the mission of an information-providing wiki.
  3. Troublemakers benefit from AGF. Bad behavior can be done in good faith, but those doing it can wield AGF as a weapon against those who are provoked by the bad behavior.
--Pi zero (talk) 01:26, 26 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Respect the way that contributors name and describe themselves"

This is a huge problem, and why enwiki removed honorifics in article space. To explain why, suppose I say that my name is, M.D., and I am an expert in Glaswegian homeopathy. That clearly shouldn't go without scrutiny.

I have no opinion on pronouns, except to say that getting them wrong shouldn't be something that editors should be punished for unless it happens repeatedly after a clearly given notification, e.g. on the offender's talk page. 19:16, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It should be very clear that you should use someone's preferred pronoun after you've been told by them which one it is. If you don't know their pronoun, use "they/them" or the equivalent in your language (which, admittedly, does not exist in most languages). The issue is when people misgender others knowingly, which is what that specific code is about. Isabelle 🔔 19:38, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While I agree in principle, I wonder if you really mean to suggest that the hypothetical User:JohnAnylastname should be referred to as "they/them" absent instructions to the contrary in a context where "he/him" would disambiguate the pronouns' referent from an otherwise likely anticedent? 19:55, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think both are absolutely fine, just as I'm fine with people assuming I use "she/her" due to my name. Using "they/them" from the get-go is, in my opinion, better, since it avoids misgendering people you never met. But that's neither here nor there, as the point of my comment was that, after being told by UserX which pronoun they'd prefer you to use, that's the point where using any other pronoun would mean you are going against the UCOC, not before. I wouldn't be against that section being clearer about that, though. Isabelle 🔔 20:00, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, that's how it works in English-speaking world, I guess. The problem here is that many languages (for example, Russian) have only an equivalent of "it" as a gender-neutral pronoun which is designated for some inanimate objects and is offensive if used towards people. Moreover, some languages (Russian, again) are so intervened with grammatical gender that it's impossible to even describe someone else's actions without implying their gender (due to grammatical conjugation of verbs also being heavily based on grammatical gender). Thus, if we are to use the language as taught in schools and reliable language institutions, we end up with only two grammatical genders to choose from and inability to use something gender-neutral towards people, even if we use their nickname instead of pronoun, we have to choose the grammatical gender to conjugate verbs. And there's no really any good way around this, as the language is extremely conservative and any attempt to alter it quickly (for example, by forcibly introducing feminine versions of some words which have male grammatical gender) is perceived as a newspeak and rejected by majority of speakers and established language institutions.

And yeah, sometimes language rules force you to use masculine grammatical gender towards females if you refer to them with a noun that only has masculine grammatical gender version (for example, "soldier", "miner", "engineer", "doctor", etc), so if you're strict about following language's rules, it's really impossible to always use preferred grammatical gender in Russian, even if it's very clear that the preferred one is feminine. Adamant.pwn (talk) 12:46, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, Adamant.pwn! The same is basically true for Portuguese, my native language, where we don't still have an agreed upon gender neutral pronoun. And I know that's how it goes for most other languages. I don't think the point of that ruling is to force people to find a gender neutral pronoun in their language and start using it, but to respect whichever pronoun someone chose for themselves within the constraint of their language. My suggestion to use "they/them" by default of course is only valid in English, and even then it's just a suggestion to try to be as inclusive as possible, but not a requirement. I do share your concern about nouns (like "doctor" and whatnot), but like I said, it's about working within the constraints of the language and not being afraid to ask others how they'd prefer to be addressed. Isabelle 🔔 13:19, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I hope it indeed will be within the constraints of the language. There are some people who try to invent some neologisms to fight the issue the way they see fit in Russian. At the moment their views are mostly perceived as fringe by scholars and I don't feel like giving their ideas undue weight because of this policy. Adamant.pwn (talk) 13:51, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not only from a linguistic perspective, but also culturally this pronoun business is exceedingly anglocentric. To name but one example, Isabelle's advice of referring to an unknown woman using (equivalents of) they instead of she in order to avoid any possible 'misgendering' would be met with incomprehension and disbelief in many of the world's societies. As others have pointed out, there is really nothing universal about this, and imposing it on every single Wikipedia out there would imply a clear lack of respect for other cultures and could even be said to have colonialist overtones. Marrakech (talk) 10:19, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find this point problematic because of the differences in languages; and again: how universal and firm should this rule be? If someone wants to be adressed as Jedi Master, will I be banned if I don't comply? Ziko (talk) 20:12, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
this shoud be somehow limited to respectful self determination. Any self determination cannot asserts superiority (no one has right to selfdetermine as "Your Master" f.e.). The best way is to provide closed list of acceptable references and appropriate pronouns (in an end form of user templates). -- 08:01, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • If I'm being totally honest, unless someone clearly identifies themselves as male or female, I'm just going to use the singular "they". If I've met you IRL, and/or your name is clearly "Tom" or "Sally", then I'll use "he" or "she". If someone wants me to keep track of who should be a zi, xhe, xi, di, ye, bee...I'm just not going to do it. Sorry. There's a few hundred thousand of us milling about. I'm not going to keep a spreadsheet of which neologism applies to which person. If you're offended that I use the singular "they", then you need to find something more important to have an opinion about. GMGtalk 13:39, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm seeing the current phrasing as an issue. The comments on other languages all seem relevant, and come from those vastly more informed than me, so I'll focus on English. It has a couple of significant points: one is that it shouldn't be sanctionable unless individuals are willfully ignoring pronoun choices. The other is that even assuming it doesn't cover flat out bonkers self-designations, it's dubious as to whether we should enable forced amendments to the language. For example, there's quite a few functionally neologism pronouns, and none beyond they/them that are generally accepted. Does the UCOC bind them into existence? I discourage that Nosebagbear (talk) 16:06, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While I understand the reasoning behind this paragraph, it should be made clear that this does not apply to content. In articles it might be necessary, for historical or accuracy reasons, to use exonyms or even names that are currently considered to be offensive. I don't think Wikimedia should become one of the outlets which censor western literature because it uses words that are no longer considered acceptable. Strainu (talk) 20:42, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"People with names that use distinct letters, sounds, or words from their language which may be unfamiliar to you;" - for in-person meetings, it's not IMO reasonable to expect people to be able to respect sounds not present in their mother tongues. I can't roll 'r's. I would not hold it against Italians for adding a vowel to the end of a name, nor if a Spanish person mixed up 'b' and 'v' sounds in English, nor for native Japanese speakers having trouble with english 'r' sounds, and I would hope the same courtesy would be given to me for sounds from languages unfamiliar to me.2001:770:10:300:0:0:86E2:510C 01:35, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My 10 cents to names:

  • My correct name is "Eulenspiegel1", but many people forget the 1 and just write "Eulenspiegel". I don't think, the want to offend me. It's just easier.
  • If someone uses letters in his name which are not at my smartphone, I have propblems to write this name.
  • People with extrem-extrem long names, e.g. "Eulenspiegel10 who former was called Eulenspiegel9 who former was called Eulenspiegel8 who former was called Eulenspiegel8 who former was called Eulenspiegel7 who former was called Eulenspiegel6 who former was called Eulenspiegel5 who former was called Eulenspiegel4 who former was called Eulenspiegel3 who former was called Eulenspiegel2 who former was called Eulenspiegel1 who former was called Eulenspiegel0" is an extrem-extrem long name. Or a slightly shorter name which real exists: de: Karl-Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester Buhl-Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg. Writing this name might be longer than the answer itself.
  • People whose name might insult other people. In Germany de:Otto Fucker might be a normal name. In other countries this name might be insulting. There are also people who don't take their normal name and directly look for some insulting names. For example, if someone took the name "Eulenspiegel1 is an asshole", I would never write the name of this account in my answer.

--Eulenspiegel1 (talk) 17:29, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I try very hard to respect people's pronouns, but in this area, as in others, an absolute commandment is an invitation to trolling. On a non-WMF site that will remain nameless, I ran into someone who put forward two sets of pronouns, neither of which I had seen before (something like zhe/zher and fe/fiz, I honestly cannot remember) with the further instruction that one was to be used during daylight hours and the other at night. Perhaps needless to say, I did not abide by that. That's an extreme case, of course, but let's leave out the daylight/nighttime stipulation, and we get to something more real. If a person makes up completely idiosyncratic pronouns, is it really disrespect to say, "sorry, no"? What if someone insists on being referred to as "His Excellency" or "Her Royal Highness"? I know I'm making up somewhat artificial cases here, but the zhe/zher/fe/fiz one comes from my own actual experience. At what point do things move from entirely reasonable requests ("he", "she", "they") that we should abide by to Troll Central? - Jmabel (talk) 00:29, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with others above that this statement as worded will very likely be exploited. Libcub (talk) 07:19, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed this is a disaster waiting to happen and it's sad that WMF is seemingly going full steam towards some kind of civil war on pronouns à la Stack Exchange. There is simply no way for one office in San Francisco to determine what's culturally acceptable in hundreds of languages and cultures. So, in practice, whoever has the most privilege (in terms of their cultural preferences being shared by the powers that be in San Francisco) will use this as a weapon against everyone else, aka the unwashed masses. It's a pity to see so much work being put into further entrenching global inequalities. Nemo 20:06, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with Nemo and Ruthven that this is problematic, a potential source of trolling and wikilawyering; and should probably just be scrapped. Many languages, included my mother tonge and others that I speak or write, do not have any realistic or acceptable way to address this. This section (and most of the Draft IMHO) seems to ignore that there are further languages in the world other than English somewhat forgetting that this indents to be "universal". Even in English this seems to be potentially problematic reading above. I do not think this document should be used to promote or force newspeak, or whatever neologism or political trend is in fashion this week. —MarcoAurelio (talk) 09:17, 14 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • it is time-consuming to know how people describe themselves. This could be easier with templates: e.g., instead of wondering if we should say "se" or "hse", we would write something like {{subjetctpronoun|Username}}.
  • anyway, I see no reason not to make it compulsory to refer to all Wikimedians (including oneself) with neutral pronouns (or, depending on language, neutral forms of words such as adjectives) and forbidding (except, perhaps, in userspace) to state Wikimedians's characteristics, such as gender, which are irrelevant to work on Wikimedia projects. This should help to decrease the risk of silly reactions like "you say that because I/you belong to that gender".

Apokrif (talk) 20:37, 28 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

concrete, measurable strategies

What on earth is a concrete, measurable strategy? Vexations (talk) 20:56, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This very much sounds like the "slavery clause", so beloved by Wikimedia propagandists, is back. It is hard to imagine a "concrete, measurable strategy" that does not presuppose a requirement to do a user's work for him. If some user puts in something completely bogus then no user can do anything about this without outlining how it should be done, that is without doing the OU's homework first. - Brya (talk) 10:57, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please see my discussion above on the distinction between best practices and minimum standards. This is a good example of something that qualifies as a best practice but cannot possibly be a minimum standard. I spend hours each day searching for and reverting copyright violations. While I provide new editors with a welcome that has helpful advice about copyrights and thus may meet this desired practice, in many cases I identified the source of the copied material and then revert it. If failure to provide every such editor with a " concrete, measurable strategies for improvement" constitutes a failure to meet the code of conduct for expected behavior, we have a problem. This should be encouraged but not required.--Sphilbrick (talk) 14:56, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Criticism should [...] include concrete, measurable strategies for improvement. These Words occur in management and project management literature and refere to your own goals. "I wanna be healthier next year" ist quite unconcrete and unmeasurable, but "I will loose 30 pounds till the end of the year" or "I will go to the gym every day" is concrete and measurable. That's propably what's meant here, but I can only guess. --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 23:33, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A concrete strategy is a clear instruction/suggestion, like "read this page" or "use a spell checker". --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:53, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Positive guidance is good!

I like the way that this section sets out desirable, positive behaviours. This prevents the Code becoming simply a list of things not to do. At present I feel lots of Wiki-culture relies on negative behavioural rules - "No personal attacks! No outing! Don't do this!". Giving some positive guidance firstly means there is something for people to aspire and work towards, and secondly is less subject to Wikilawyering. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 12:19, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@The Land: Positive guidance is good in general, but it doesn't fit with this being a "minimal baseline" of minimum conduct requirements. Users accept positive guidance from their colleagues (in plenty of essays and guidelines around Wikimedia, and there should be more of these), but the WMF coming in to say, in the context of absolute minimum requirements, that certain behaviours are beneficial... that's not helpful, in my opinion. Even under the WMF's own expressed intentions, this document isn't supposed to become where most users receive basic conduct instructions, or to overwrite local conduct policies. --Yair rand (talk) 20:26, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I wouldn't call the current wording guidance; imposition seems more accurate. Strainu (talk)e
I agree with Yair rand. We should strive to be a great community. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:54, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

engage in constructive, positive editing

Some editing is by necessity destructive; removing a statement is sometimes required. Deleting an article is also destructive, but sometimes necessary. Pointing out that a statement is wrong or unverifiable is "negative". It would be better to say "Your contributions should improve the quality of the project". (contributed by Vexations)

Yes, both "constructive" and "positive" are words that can be used quite disruptively. It should be about quality. - Brya (talk) 10:59, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nor will we distinguish based on

Shouldn't we be distinguishing -between- two things? Vexations (talk)

Distinguishing based on accomplishments, skills or standing

It would be quite remarkable to prohibit a distinction "based on accomplishments, skills or standing in the Wikimedia-projects or movement". If that were the standard that "applies to everyone who interacts with and contributes to online and offline Wikimedia projects and spaces", surely we could no longer justify, say, voting against a candidate for adminship due to their inexperience, or reject an application for checkuser access because a user has no good standing in the community. Of course, I would also hope that the Wikimedia Foundation follows suit and selects their next general counsel without regard to their skills ... In the real world, people are of course distinguished based on accomplishments and skills all the time, and usually anti-discrimination activists not just accept this, but actively demand it. Therefore, whatever may have been the intention here, and while I certainly appreciate the careful work by the drafting committee on the overall draft, I have to say that this particular part reads like satire to me. — Pajz (talk) 12:43, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I guess it is to exclude the communication like "I am admin (have 100K edits, have been around for 15 years), and who are you so that we should listen to your opinion?". It may not be be formulated in the best possible way, but I think the idea is clear.--Ymblanter (talk) 14:49, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I read is similarly to how Ymblanter does. People should be shown a similar level of civility, collegiality and respect regardless of their contribution history, and "I have ten million edits" is no excuse for breaching those standards. I think there can probably be some more editing of this point, but the intention is very sound. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 15:05, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In a code of conduct it is quite important that what is meant aligns closely and clearly with what is written. That which can be misunderstood will be misinterpreted, sometimes with ill intent.· · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 16:13, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ymblanter, The Land, well, if you do not elect somebody because they are black, you distinguish applicants based on their race. If you do not elect somebody because they are female, you distinguish applicants based on their sex/gender. And if you do not elect somebody because they are inexperienced, you distinguish applicants based on their accomplishments. I understand you are trying to give this whole thing a sensible interpretation, but, respectfully, the plain text is entirely clear. It puts "accomplishments" on the same level as "national, religious, ethnic, and cultural background or caste" etc, and that just makes no sense. That was my point, any it seems you would agree. Now, you can try to replace this statement with a different statement that we can all agree on, but I would submit it lacks any support in the text. Which is to say that the text should be changed. Best, — Pajz (talk) 16:45, 8 September 2020 (UTC) (One could say, for example, that "We will treat everyone with respect, regardless of their accomplishments, skills or standing in the Wikimedia-projects or movement".)Reply[reply]
This would make sense; a wording should not be too vague. Ziko (talk) 22:30, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In this case, "distinguish" means to discriminate favorably select people, like not to expel a harasser because they are an experienced contributor. --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:56, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, yes, exactly, and that is the reason why it is a poor choice of words. Saying that candidate A rather than B should be selected as a checkuser because they are more experienced is an act of "disinguishing based on accomplishments". The "without distinction" language makes sense for religious background, gender, and the other categories listed in the document, but not for "accomplishments, skills or standing in the Wikimedia-projects or movement". — Pajz (talk) 14:04, 26 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Respect of self-naming

As already mentioned by other commentators, you wrote this fragment from a shamefully anglocentric point of view. In many languages of the world, there is no possible way of addressing someone who does not want to be "he", "she" or "it". Because of the language structure, you cannot address them without specifying the gender, either. And Wikipedia is not the right medium to promote or inforce newspeak. I strongly propose to write As a sign of respect, use these terms when communicating with or about these people, if only they are lexically and gramatically correct in your language, unless you want to scrap this fragment altogether. Marcowy Człowiek (talk) 16:56, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I fully agree with Marcowy, but even more: this is the problem specific to the young US citizen that see themselves as "liberal" and "progressive". The values of the younger Western people stress on the capacity to impose to the society the way you see yourself, as "Be yourself" seems to be the rally chant of a generation. But please understand that this is the issue of a minority of privileged Western people (not even true for all the Western countries). I can understand that the majority of us comes from this background (if we had really serious problems to solve, like living in a war zone or struggling to eat everyday, we would not be facing a computer writing encyclopedia articles so often), but this Universal CoC should be "universal", and stress on issues that are not the one of a minority (even if it is a privileged one). Let's put things into perspective, and stress on joint work and mutual respect, which should be more universal than grammatical or syntactic details. --Ruthven (msg) 20:49, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Several languages have grammatical gender, including English, Spanish, French and Portuguese, which have several millions of speakers. It's not "a minority of privileged Western people". --NaBUru38 (talk) 14:58, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I feel like it’d be for the best if language-specific issues are kept out of a purportedly universal code-of-conduct. Pronouns are used for a lot more than what english monoglots think of as gender - they can imply power relationships, level of politeness and the like, and these dynamics cannot always be unilaterally achieved (if you want to use polite pronouns, and I want to use impolite pronouns in German - well we can both do refer to the other person using their preferred pronouns, but this mismatch implies a seniority relationship). I would suggest that you could have language-specific codes of conduct as addenda to the main one, and leave it up to wikipedia-users of those languages to decide what they want. 2A01:C22:AC54:CD00:F5D7:AEA1:E70D:CB1 10:55, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I fully agree as well. Even from a practical point of view such as People with names that use distinct letters, sounds, or words from their language. What is that supposed to mean? If I want to read about Mao Zedong, do I now need to look for Máo Zédōng or even 毛泽东; both which I cannot even produce with my keyboard? Of course, it makes sense to mention those in the article, but how will you even work with those names if they can't be declined? The same counts for Ethnic groups may use a specific name to describe themselves, rather than the name historically used by others to describe them. Does that mean we can no longer use Allemagne in French, but have to use Deutschland instead? It is all way too vague and not thought out. --OosWesThoesBes (talk) 15:33, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to let diech know, 毛泽东 did not speak standard mandarin, but a related 方言 (difficult and politically sensitive term to translate); 他's 方言 doesn't have a standard romanisation to my knowledge. 17:37, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you :) That actually reinforces the point I was trying to make. --OosWesThoesBes (talk) 05:52, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would second this proposal, suggesting something like As long as it is possible in your language, as a sign of respect, use these terms when communicating with or about these people. As a speaker of Ukrainian which uses a different alphabet, a different grammar and a different vocabulary, I might react in a different way than an English speaker does:
    • As an example, there is a problem with a they pronoun in Ukrainian. Grammatical gender is strongly present in Ukrainian, and many words differ in masculine or feminine gender. Neutral gender exists, but it is used for objects, and using it for people is generally considered offensive (means: I describe you neither as a man or as a woman but rather as an object). For instance, if Alex is agender and goes by they, the dialogue like Dear Alex, you are one of the winners of the contest. — Thank you, I am happy that I became a Wikipedian a year ago contains zero gendered words in English, but seven gendered words (the underlined ones) in Ukrainian. Here is an article about agender people in Ukraine, all of them use non-gender-neutral words, even the two people who avoid he/she pronouns, as speaking Ukrainian without using gendered words is next to impossible. Thus if I need to speak in Ukrainian of a person who uses a gender-neutral pronoun, I still need to know if they would rather use masculine or feminine gender to describe them. It is not because I want to offend them, it is because I want to avoid misgendering them when my grammatical options are limited to two.
    • I may be perfectly unable to reproduce sounds in their name, sometimes even if I want to. I remember meeting a Xhosa person in Cape Town who had a click in his name, but I was unable to pronounce the click correctly no matter how I wanted to. If I want to write the word Xhosa in Ukrainian, I will not be able to use a letter that denotes a sound pronounced as a click, just because there is no such letter in Ukrainian. I will use a letter К instead and pronounce it as /k/ which would be the best approximation a Ukrainian speaker can do. It is not because I disrespect them, it is because my language does not allow me to do it.
    • Some words on ethnicity are sensitive, but sensitivity is not the same from one language to another. Let's say to designate a Jewish person, Polish language uses the word żyd, and it is the word Polish Jews use to designate themselves. The very same word would likely be an offensive way to designate a Jew in Ukrainian and would probably be considered antisemitic. While a Ukrainian Jew may find the word жид offensive, it is a normal word in Polish and absolutely not a lack of respect. Neither of us will use their autonym Yehudim as it is not common in our languages, nor this word is common in English either.
    Thus please be very sensitive to these linguistic differences and make sure that sometimes I use certain words in my language not because I disrespect someone but because this is how my language works — NickK (talk) 16:30, 18 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree with the concerns expressed in this section and would propose this amendment: People who identify with a certain sexual orientation or gender identity using distinct names or pronouns in their own language; This should hopefully resolve the undue imposition of one (Anglo-American) culture upon another. Deryck C. 23:09, 21 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Edit: I also support NickK's amendment above. Deryck C. 21:53, 28 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Deryck Chan: There is a much simpler case. I am a heterosexual man, and my first name in Ukrainian is clearly associated with a male pronoun (like 'he'). However, some foreign female first names sound similar to mine, thus speakers of some languages might use a female pronoun (like 'she') when speaking of me in their language. I would appreciate if we could prevent this, and it's absolutely not Anglo-American.
    As a side note, Ukrainian (like most Slavic languages) uses a lot of gendered words, so if I am speaking of some user I tend to check their gender first. Many people don't do it and assume a person with a gender-neutral username is a man. This is what UCOC should address in Ukrainian context — NickK (talk) 23:15, 26 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @NickK: What you said is why I was careful to propose in their own language, not "in their native language". If you have expressed your preference to be referred to in a certain way in a certain language that you speak, other editors should respect you. This works adequately a Ukrainian-language community in the way you proposed: if an editor has expressed their Ukrainian gendered pronoun preferences on a Ukrainian-language WMF project, other editors should respect that.
    But grammatical gender works differently in different cultures, and we ought not to place an impossible burden onto others' shoulders by making them use the correct gendered pronoun without you telling them what that pronoun should be in that language. If you insist on others using a certain gender's pronoun in a language you don't speak, that would be imposing your (Ukrainian) cultural bias onto another language community, which I believe is an unfair burden on other editors. Deryck C. 01:12, 28 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Deryck Chan: Where did you find any cultural bias here?
    If I am legally a man, identify myself as a man, look like a man, have a first name which exists in only one language and is male, have set my GENDER to male and always use male pronouns, what cultural bias are we talking about? I would expect a pronoun typically used for men in any other language, but I am fine if a person opts for a gender-neutral pronoun instead. However, I am quite unhappy if a person uses a female pronoun because they made a wrong guess, which did happen once or twice at offline Wikimedia events. This is not about cultural bias, this is about respect.
    The most frequent issue is using male pronouns for female Wikimedians, the second most common one being using female pronouns for male editors. The most offensive issue is regarding transgender Wikimedians having changed their identity and other people using a wrong pronoun. The only case where culture or grammar can be an issue concerns non-binary people and uncommon pronouns which do not work the same way in all languages, which is why I suggested As long as it is possible in your language. However, it is clearly possible not to use a male pronoun addressing a female Wikimedian or vice versa in any language, and this should be universal — NickK (talk) 13:12, 28 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @NickK: I think you're right. We've framed the responsibility differently (as far as they can express in their own words // as much as you can reproduce in your own language) but in practice it's the same. And your version is probably better because it's a second-person request rather than a third-person condition. Deryck C. 21:53, 28 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The UCoC needs to be very clear whether self-naming is about conduct or content. (I.e. would something like moving, or not moving, the article Kiev to Kyiv, be affected by the UCoC? Would talkpage discussions about that move be affected? Or decisions about transcribing foreign names? Or deciding how an article would describe a trans person in past periods before their transition? Describing ethnic groups which have a dominantly used, but incorrect, name in the given language? Etc) In case it's the latter, often this would mean going against the academic or media traditions of the given culture or language.

In general, I think it would be good for the UCoC to contain a very clear red line preventing it from being applied to article content, and to deliberations about article content. (Obviously, it would apply to user conduct during such deliberations, and that's a hard line to draw. We mustn't allow participants of a discussion to use racial slurs against other participants, for example, but we do want to have encyclopedic articles about racial slurs, and contributors need to be able to discuss the contents of those articles.) --Tgr (talk) 04:17, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another issue is standard vs. "novel" self-identifications. Some people are trolling, or lunatic, or just weird, and rules should not be easy to weaponize by them. If someone insists on being called Doctor Lord Prince John Doe (that actually happened, and the person was entirely serious about it), the community should have the right (and should feel safe) to ignore it. The same with fictive ethnic groups that some far right groups and some religions like to apply to themselves, gender neologisms, otherkin etc. The self-identification should be in some hard-to-define sense "real" and commonly accepted, or there should be some kind of standard of reasonableness like in court cases, before the UCoC would apply to self-identification. --Tgr (talk) 04:30, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"we will treat them with the same respect as we would want them to show to us"

Different people can view different behaviors as respectful. A literal reading of that sentence would say that as long as you okay having other Wikimedians doing X to you, it is okay to do it to other Wikimedians. I don't think that is what we want. Libcub (talk) 06:52, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see it similar. This statement can be interpreted is as an expression from an ideal world assuming all people the same underlying well behavior. This is not shared by everyone in reality. I suggest something as "we will treat them respectfully". --Manuae (talk) 11:04, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

practicing empathy

For me, this section is worded too strongly. According to it, if Wikimedian A has had abusive communication from Wikimedian B, I think it is cruel to expect that they read further communication, let alone practice empathy for Wikimedian B.

Also, the second sentence is way more than I think is fair to expect. I believe it would turn off many potential contributors. The majority of my edits are simple copy-editing corrections. Sometimes, I am working away on an academic project, and check WP for certain pieces of information. If I notice a typo, I will correct it, and then get back to my project. I do not want to be told that WMF expects me to considering change for such editorial work. And attempting to apply it to readers feels ridiculous to me. Libcub (talk) 07:12, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Libcub is right, both about copyediting changes being overlooked and about expecting editors to indulge toxic people who are making drama because they're bored.
Sincere people can make drama too. I find a lot of people feel "Editor A is not empathizing with me!" when what really happened was "Editor A doesn't agree with me! I told them I'm right and they're wrong, so they should change their minds and agree with me and do things my way." Some people are truly and sincerely so convinced that they're right about article content or interpretation of policy that they think other people are messing with them when they disagree, even when those other people have sources or precedents to cite. "I told Editor A that the New York Times isn't a good source on this issue, but they still believe the New York Times and not me!" Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:18, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The content of this bullet point is – in my opinion – not what empathy is about. From the English Wikipedia: "capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference". The section is about listening and being open to others input. It should therefore be renamed from "Practice empathy" to "Listen and be open" (or similar). -- MichaelSchoenitzer (talk) 12:41, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The practice of empathy is in the realm of personality and beyond a practical guidance on how to behave. Additionally, I see the imperative form of "Practice empathy" problematic in general. --Manuae (talk) 11:58, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Expecting someone to be able to correctly pronounce phonemes that do not appear in the language they know is quite unrealistic. Libcub (talk) 07:16, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Right. All Wikipedias should be international projects. Since they're written and not spoken, pronunciation doesn't matter as much as, say, spelling. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:19, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Respect in general

I think this is very, very likely to be abused, possibly unintentionally. "Respect me" can mean "treat me as your equal," but it can also mean "treat me as your superior." In English, both meanings are correct and in common use. Both on and off Wikiprojects, I have encountered people who sincerely felt disrespected when I did not take orders from them or otherwise act like they were better than I was (none of these people were my actual real-world bosses or superiors in any other explicitly outlined heirarchy; I took orders from them just fine).

Civility is a better word to use than "respect" because it is less likely to be misunderstood. I think what we actually want is for everyone to be polite to each other. WP:CIVIL has a long history on the English Wikipedia and it seems to be understood fairly well. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:08, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

+1 to that. When I read this paragraph I immediately had to think about this quote of „Autistic Abby“:

Sometimes people use “respect” to mean “treating someone like a person” and sometimes they use “respect” to mean “treating someone like an authority”

and sometimes people who are used to being treated like an authority say “if you won’t respect me I won’t respect you” and they mean “if you won’t treat me like an authority I won’t treat you like a person”

and they think they’re being fair but they aren’t, and it’s not okay.

I don't know if 'civity' is the best replacement word, but we should definitely put less focus on "respect", because exactly this effect might be an issue in Wikimedia projects. -- MichaelSchoenitzer (talk) 12:26, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So just put "respect each other". --NaBUru38 (talk) 15:00, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1 to this. Abusing "respect" to establish authority IS an issue both in the WMF and the projects. —Aron Man.🍂 edits🌾 07:54, 6 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

cultural context

I agree that people's cultural context is important when deciding whether a particular behavior is harassment or not. How should we deal with situations where the possible harasser and the possible harassee are from different cultural contexts? Libcub (talk) 05:14, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my view, any administrator dealing with such a problem should first try to identify whether or not harassment was intended. If it was not intended, but was due to a cultural difference, then the two parties should be encouraged to apologise to each other and then forget the incident (but to remember the lessons learnt). Martinvl (talk) 21:47, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What would you want the potential harassee to apologize for? Libcub (talk) 04:29, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

perceived characteristics

I am glad to see the phrase "perceived characteristics" in the Harassment section, in part because it is inclusive of harassment of individuals who a harasser thinks is a part of some marginalized group, but is not. Homophobic insults should be considered harassment regardless of the true sexual orientation of the target of the insult. Libcub (talk) 05:20, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"unfair embarrassment"

What is "unfair embarrassment" as opposed to "fair embarrassment"? Libcub (talk) 05:24, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I had once had a situation where I wrote "X arrived in the Cape Province in 1807" (or something similar) and gave a citation which contained the Afrikaans text "X het in die Kaap Provinsie een jaar na die Britse besetting van 1806 aangekom" (or something similar - also it might have been in Dutch). Another editor who could not read Afrikaans or Dutch replaced the text "1807" with "1806". I reverted his changes clarifying that the English translation of the citation was "X arrived in the Cape Province one year after the British occupation of 1806". This, in my view, is a "fair embarrassment". Martinvl (talk) 14:36, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cultural sensitivity proposal

I'm surprised that there is no mention of being kind and acknowledging cultural differences beyond self-description. I propose to add the following bullet-point to the "Respect" section:

  • Acknowledge cultural differences. Words, idiomatic expressions, humour, gestures, and body language that are normal in one culture may happen to be considered offensive in another culture, both between different cultures in the same language community, and between different languages. Assume good faith when you perceive offence and make effort to communicate your cultural sensitivites. Conversely, accommodate other Wikimedians' cultural taboos when they are pointed out to you. --Deryck Chan (talk • contribs) 23:17, 21 September 2020 (UTC)
Curiously, why should we be more careful and sensitive about what to say to and how to judge their cultures, including which some may be lagging in progress? George Ho (talk) 05:45, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@George Ho: You can only collaborate if you acknowledge each other in terms of how you currently see things. I'm worried about your use of the phrase "lagging in progress", which perhaps suggests an attitude whereby you think your culture is the most advanced and as a member of a superior culture you have the right to judge other cultures more than they may judge you. Deryck C. 15:47, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, to me, anyone should have the right to judge a culture, even when advanced. If their treatments toward LGBT+ individuals and communities are subpar at best, then why shouldn't we judge such culture? I couldn't tell whether cultural relativism is the answer to tolerate cultures. Cultural relativism has pros and cons as well as cultural diversity. I searched those phrases in Google and read some slides and essays. --George Ho (talk) 17:57, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

2.2 - Civility, collegiality, solidarity and good citizenship

In addition to my remarks under 1. (define 'we'), this section is an example of the ambiguity of "we". First it addresses "(every) Wikimedian" and "their own behavior", then "all contributors" and "their interactions", but then shifts to "nor will we distinguish". A universal code needs a universal auctor, not a constant change of perspective that suggests there is a higher 'we' that is different from the universal contributor (see more or less similar auctorial changes in sections 2.1 and 3.2 in the current draft; in this context, maybe contemplate on the use of "you / your" also). Eissink (talk) 18:21, 7 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]

I agree, this could be better. Ziko (talk) 21:26, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, I think it's even the pivotal symptom of what is wrong with this first draft: it lacks a central writer – the perspectives are going everywhere, there is no focus. I mean, the object is a shared central focus, and I even think the committee is quite close to a satisfactory treatment of the aspects of the desired content, but the pen is horrible, terrible really. And without a good pen there will be no good UCoC. Eissink (talk) 00:17, 11 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]
  • I'm not a fan of this one. It places expectations and demands on solitary toilers who work on content alone, without bothering anyone. Reyk (talk) 06:42, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For some people mentorship and coaching is unacceptablre and humiliating. the statement shoud be changed to "Readiness for mentorship and coaching" - the newcomer should ask for help, not the old one impose it. The first question for obviously confused newcomer must be "Would you mind I help you?" not the helping action iself. And as the new statement I suggest "Stay away from other until they ask for any help". -- 08:12, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Civility, collegiality, and good citizenship are defined in the first paragraph, but solidarity is a bullet point. Why? Pelagic (talk) 08:12, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, this section says what civility, collegiality, and good citizenship are, but it doesn't say what to do about them. Avoid them strenuously? Pelagic (talk) 08:12, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Finally, "This includes but is not limited to" – what includes? Looks like missing a paragraph before this. (signing items separately to aid replies) Pelagic (talk) 08:12, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello, this is interesting. When I looked up what "good citizenship" might mean, my dictionaries had no specific answer. English Wikipedia has an article, but it existy only in English. In German or Dutch, I associate the word "citizenship" usually with the topics democracy and government. Ziko (talk) 15:37, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Civility is a high standard of politeness in behaviour and speech amongst people, including strangers - I think the UCOC drafters are redefining "civility", but in any case, I don't think "a high standard of politeness" is necessary. That's the level of decorum that, for example, a US office workplace might have. That is not the minimum level to be required - indeed, I wouldn't participate in Wikipedia were everyone to be using the same level of interaction as my office, and it doesn't get my (or most people's) best work. Civility does need to be increased, but jumping from 3/10 to 9/10 on the ladder is not the right choice. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:10, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strive for kindness and hospitality. A code of conduct should set a minimum bar, but it should also set an aspiration. Kindness and hospitality are missing from our movement, and the UCoC should set them as a goal. Even if they're not always realistic, we should mark them as ideals we are trying to reach. Civility is formally ok behavior, collegiality is cooperative behavior, but Kindness and Hospitality are deeply human. Let's aim to be deeply human with each other. (edit by Ocaasi, 16:50, 8 September 2020‎)
  • This section may have been intended as a set of ostensive definitions, listing a sample of desirable behaviors that, taken together explain what "good citizenship" means. But if the UCoc is to be enforced, it is problematic. What if an editor just wants to add content, and is not interested in mentorship, coaching, "looking out for other editors" or thanking people. Can I now be banned for failing to demonstrate "good citizenship" or "thanktioned" for lack of gratitude if my thanks log isn't up to par? I think of these more as desirable than expected behaviors, and have no problem with any of them, as long as they are not mandated. I would immediately quit the project if they were ever enforced. Vexations (talk) 22:20, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Solidarity, let's drop it from the text. This is a confusing and superfluous word to use. It comes with historical baggage and may be used like "brotherhood" or an indication that Wikimedians are of the same political class. It comes with the imagery of group religion, group think, even radicalization, to the extent that to be seen to be in solidarity you can expect to be under peer pressure to raise your virtual fist to show support with your brothers. The single point being made of looking out for each other, is already covered by "good citizenship" which itself can be defined without this particular overtone. -- (talk) 16:56, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • I was concerned about the word, but initially not sure how to articulate my concern. "baggage" is the right way to express my concern. It is far too loaded a term.--Sphilbrick (talk) 18:28, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • +1 more to drop solidarity. It works when everyone's goal is the same in the broader sense, but not for a code of conduct that applies to the editing domain. It might be misconstrued during article discussions when there are conflicting views relative to content and achieving NPOV - we don't want the "solidarity card" being pulled on us to warrant a block or t-ban. We want free thinkers, civil/collegial discussion but not group thinkers of like mind (solidarity) when trying to achieve neutrality in our articles. It simply doesn't fit. Civility and collegiality work well, and don't conflict with a healthy editing environment. Atsme📞📧 20:09, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • As someone whose native language includes the term "good citizenship", I object to its inclusion here. I've been a volunteer with Wikipedia for almost 18 years, & I've never thought of any of my actions in terms of "good citizenship". The term of "citizenship" implies a set of responsibilities I am legally enforced to perform, actions I must do; I am not forced to make any of my contributions to any of the projects. I contribute as I see fit, where I see fit -- although I am always open to suggestions. -- Llywrch (talk) 17:17, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • @Llywrch: Agree. "Citizenship" is just flat-out stupid. Wikipedia is not a country, city, or entity that can send or force you to serve in an army. I have no loyalty to it in the way that I am loyal to my country, and I never will have. Seb az86556 (talk) 02:56, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What, if anything, can it mean to "always assume good faith"? Clearly, there are time when people demonstrate bad faith, including while denying it. If taken at face value this would seem to mean that we are violating the code of conduct any time we confront a troll or vandal. - Jmabel (talk) 23:11, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Compare the GNU Kind Communications Guidelines

I like the approach this section takes by laying out what we like rather than dislike, and it reminded me of the GNU Kind Communications Guidelines (KCG) by Richard Stallman (also, it's purpose section is a good example of what I meant in my comment on section 1). Skimming some of the comments, I think the current text is too brief and community-internal. It's a really wonderful start but I think the bolding is too aggressive, and the hierarchical bullet points is too formal. One thing the KCG does well is including guidance for those who perceive guidance (kinda like en:w:Project:Assume the assumption of good faith) such as "If you feel that someone has attacked you, or offended your personal dignity, please don't 'hit back' with another personal attack. That tends to start a vicious circle of escalating verbal aggression." Built into that document is an assumption that people will make mistakes or have a bad day, and it gives guidance on what to do if you see it happen (or have it happen to you). A lot of concerns from other volunteers seems to come from a fear that this could be enforced harshly against perceived slights, and adding in guidance that acknowledges human psychology would probably help resolve that concern (better to be explicit than implicit, as Jesse Noller said about the PSF CoC). Wugapodes (talk) 03:14, 18 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Distinguishing based on accomplishments

"Nor will we distinguish based on accomplishments, skills or standing in the Wikimedia-projects or movement." - while the motivation behind this is understandable, I think in the naive way it is phrased, it is unworkable in practice. As a radically open movement, Wikimedia is vulnerable to all kinds of trolling by throwaway accounts, and such a rule would make that worse. While in general we should strive to assume good faith, contributors who have already invested serious time and effort have already proven their good faith, while new contributors haven't (and unfortunately some of them indeed lack it). we If ban any kind of differentiation between the two, that's an invitation for trolls, and will lead to the kind of problem that was seen in the Gamergate arbitration case.

Avoiding vested contributors who are above the rules is a good and important goal for the UCoC, but it requires more nuance than this. --Tgr (talk) 03:59, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A somwehat related issue is that Wikipedia does not really have mechanisms for settling content disputes. Individual issues can be decided, sure, but a determined editor with a strong bias can make new biased changes to the article basically forever, and as long as they are well-intentioned, or careful to appear that way, there is not much that can be done about it, and other editors need to continuously spend time (if the bias-pusher is determined and intelligent, lots of time) to counteract it. It all comes down to a race of wasting the other party's time until they give up - which is a bad race as more expert editors tend to have less time. This situation is one of the most common sources of incivility, in my experience. Being incivil to the problem user doesn't help the situation, of course, but it is a way to relieve frustration. Editors doing good work feel abandoned by the system (and rightly so - the system doesn't really have a solution to this problem), and if on top of that abandonment all they get is sanctions for expressing their frustration, that rarely goes well and effectively ends up with the problematic user successfully driving them away. I have seen this pattern quite a bit around pseudoscience, biased political views and similar. I have no idea what a good solution would be - just tolerating the incivil behavior is not good either. And obviously which side is pushing pseudoscience etc. is a judgement that the conduct enforcement body should not be involving themselves with. So, I don't really have an idea how or if I would incorporate this aspect into a code of conduct; just putting it out there. --Tgr (talk) 06:31, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Now changed to "Nor will we distinguish based on standing, skills or accomplishments in the Wikimedia projects or movement." But the critique remains. Of course we distinguish by accomplishments. That's what a meritocracy does. And Wikimedia is defined at least in part as meritocracy: Wikimedia power structure#Meritocracy. As all projects are open to anonymous and pseudonymous contributions and real life credentials do not count, quality of edits is the most important factor of standing. And standing is paramount in interactions. Otherwise elections for functions would not exist. I strongly object to this clause in whole and suggest to remove it. --h-stt !? 15:26, 14 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

3 - Unacceptable behavior

3.1 - Harassment

what a reasonable person would

I’m really happy that we have a reasonableness test here. Where I work, my employer has adopted an industry Model Code of Conduct (it would look bad not to) which says, in effect, that if someone feels harassed then harassment has taken place. When I raised the issue with the consultant/trainer at our mandatory training session, her response was that the entry barrier to filing against harassment was such that I shouldn’t worry about vexatious or wrongful complaints(!). Anyone who has had to deal in real life with a person having borderline personality disorder or just a garden-variety manipulative psychopath would know how much damage such a person can cause by presenting themself as a victim. We need to have protections from those who would subvert the system, either inadvertently as a result of their world-view, or purposely as a way of defeating those they don’t like. Pelagic (talk) 11:07, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed. I would suggest a sub-item work-related psychological harassment/abuse (or some other suitable umbrella term): Deliberately presenting specific sentences/paragraphs chosen from previous activities and communication in order to mislead the reader(s) and show one's motives in a favourable light, creating a different context to denigrate a person or persons and/or present themself as a victim; intentional lying or distortion of facts for the same purpose. --.Toon (talk) 16:23, 15 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd suggest that we replace "unsollicited" and similar terms with something that is closer to "known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome and unrelated to improving the project" (this could obviously be worded better). It does two things; it adds some objectivity and reasonableness to the text and it allows for critical commentary that improves a user's contribution, unwelcome as such comments or reverts may be. It should be pretty obvious to anyone that because we're writing an encyclopedia, and Wikipedia is not a dating site, that I am not interested in being propositioned for sex while "at work". Fixing or commenting on more than one of an editor's contributions when they are not complying with policy is not harassment or stalking, and reasonable people (ought to) know that. Vexations (talk) 10:59, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"(given the cultural context and expectations of the people involved)" - this seems unacceptably vague. For example, person A claims that calling someone word W is perfectly acceptable in their cultural context, while person B says in their cultural context it is a deadly insult. Who meets the reasonableness test? If we call in person C, an admin, for example, then no matter how C rules, at least one of A or B will say that since C isn't part of their cultural context, C can't make a valid judgment. --GRuban (talk) 20:58, 28 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Where to draw the line between discussion of legal liability and threats?

If an editor believes that another editor may be incurring or causing others to incur a legal liability in any jurisdiction, how should they articulate that information in a way that can not be seen as a legal threat? 19:26, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Threats: Using the possibility of physical violence, legal action,... We should exclude "legal action". It's not universal enough. I blocked users in de-wiki for threatening legal actions, but in a UCoC we should apreciate that some of us even have the possibility of legal actions. They are prefered to "illegal actions". --Der-Wir-Ing ("DWI") talk 23:44, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The shout "no legal threats", when made by a person who has had no legal training whatsoever is often as helpful as a medieval person shouting "heresy" or "witchcraft". If a person makes a legal threat, my suggested solution is to demand that both the accuser and the accused clearly identify who is about to be sued (real name), where they are about to be sued (which court) and why they are about to be sued (under which law). This will usually dampen things down. If that does not work, only then should action be taken. It is probably desirable that any administrator who handles such cases has passed at least one law module at a university (for example has passed "Business Law" as part of a management degree).Martinvl (talk) 14:28, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah, legal actions are a common intimidation tactic and that should obviously be prevented, but they can also be the desperate last measure an individual has against a community that has wronged / is wronging them in some way that the community is refusing to realize. It is hard if not impossible to separate the two, but some flexibility is needed there. Also, legal threats are often the way non-community members communicate that an article is harming them, and while that is wrong, not listening to them is often even more wrong, so it is important to guide them to some more constructive path of explaining their complaint. --Tgr (talk) 04:41, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Right to Leave

Hello, I read the following sentence:

"Stalking: following a person across the project and repeatedly critiquing their work with the intent to upset or discourage them."

In general I agree that "stalking" is problematic, also given that we have partially a quite wiki specific phenomenon of stalking (following and disturbing someone's edits).

But I did stumble over this, because the idea came to me: what about telling someone that he should leave the wiki? I also understand the Code that it is not allowed to make someone's skills an issue (?). Does that mean, that under no circumstances one should be allowed to tell someone that he should leave the wiki? Ziko (talk) 20:34, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You're going to have to be careful with this one. What is the correct response when an editor notices a bad edit? Fix it, and then check the OTHER edits by that contributor to see if there's a pattern that needs a cleanup. Tazerdadog (talk) 22:03, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ziko: why would it be up to you to tell someone "should" leave the wiki? It isn't, I think it never is. Users may be blocked by sysops, but no individual user should demand that another user has to leave. Eissink (talk) 22:07, 7 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]
When discussing sanctions such as bans or indef blocks, those in favour are essentially advocating that someone should (be made to) leave the wiki. Pelagic (talk) 22:14, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Earlier this year I was engaged in some pretty extensive cleanup on an enwiki article about a convicted businessman who had tapped one of his employees as a PAID SPA to whitewash his article. After repeatedly telling this user that their POV version of the article were not going to be accepted, this user persisted in making their edits and arguing on talk pages. Another user advised them to pack their bags and get off the encyclopedia, a suggestion which I totally supported. I do not think this warrants sanction. -Indy beetle (talk) 08:32, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We have had and will have in the future editors who simply are not up to writing an encyclopedia or at least not in the language they have chosen. And to be blunt, I just quote Jimbo: "Greatest misconception about Wikipedia: We aren't democratic. Our readers edit the entries, but we're actually quite snobby. The core community appreciates when someone is knowledgeable, and thinks some people are idiots and shouldn't be writing."(Edward Lewine: "The Encyclopedist's Lair". New York Times Magazine, 2007-11-18) Or as a former DeWP contributor once wrote: Can in "The encyclopedia that anyone can edit" is ambiguous: Everyone may, but not everyone is able to. I've been an admin in two projects and telling people that they are in the wrong place and should not contribute to Wikipedia is part of the definition of an admin's job. --h-stt !? 13:21, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well said. One chronic problem en.wikipedia had in its earliest days was how to handle people who weren't the right fit for Wikipedia. The problem could be competence, or that they had no intent to write an encyclopedia, or they didn't play nice with others. (For the record, the worst to deal with were those who were civil & behaved well, yet either weren't competent or were subverting the encyclopedia another purpose, such as making it reflect their own idiosyncratic beliefs. These people frequently claimed that people who were asking/encouraging/begging them to leave were harassing them, which much too often ended with the other party leaving which reduced the number of valued contributors. It was only after formulating policies that addressed these two requirements that the community was able to quickly & effectively deal with these problem types.) -- Llywrch (talk) 18:03, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that there are users who shouldn't be writing. We have at least one in the Greek WP who clearly doesn't know orthography (spelling) and syntax, which is very annoying for a language with complicating grammar and rules (his english is better than mine, however). I told him a couple of times to improve his writing, and I was attacked by some others who seem to be politically close to the former.--Skylax30 (talk) 19:42, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

advances of any kind

I think you mean sexual advances, not any kind of forward movement. Vexations (talk) 21:06, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think in “sexual attention or advances” the sexual qualifies both attention and advances? Is it necessary to say “sexual attention or sexual advances”? Is there are better way to phrase it? Pelagic (talk) 22:14, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd just repeat sexual. "sexual attention or sexual advances" or "sexual attention/advances". 2001:770:10:300:0:0:86E2:510C 01:48, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Sexual or romantic" would cover cases in which one person thinks it's sexual and the other one doesn't. It would make it clear we're covering things like asking for a date even if you don't specifically ask for sexual favors. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:35, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that the term "advances" should be clarified by the adjective "inappropriate" (or something similar). Consider the case where an unattached male Wikipedian realises that he lives in the same town as female Wikipedian and as a first step to possibly starting a relationship would like to know whether or not she has partner. He invites her to a coffee bar with her "husband/partner if she would prefer that". I would not regard such an "advance" as being inappropriate - she can decline the invitation without any loss of face in whatever way she sees fit. However a second invitation could be inappropriate. Regardless of context, good faith should be assumed before accussing somebody of acting improperly and if they have unwittingly acted improperly appologies should be accepted - they might just have misread the situation. Martinvl (talk) 15:03, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Qualify it as "unwanted sexual advances" and drop "of any kind" - iow, the recipient has asked for it to stop and the donor refuses/repeats the behavior - then it becomes unwanted. We joke around all the time to relieve tension, and it's just wrong if banter among a small group of adults or between two adults ends up causing an admin action. I've also seen innocent TP watching be misconstrued as "stalking" so let's be careful here. I've had both and can easily spot the difference. Atsme📞📧 20:20, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"following a person across the project and repeatedly critiquing their work with the intent to upset or discourage them."

So I'm not allowed to repeatedly revert and warn obvious spammers and vandals? Yes, when I leave a series of warning templates, I'm trying to "discourage" the user from spamming or vandalizing. That's the whole point. And there is, after all, usually a "person" behind even the most disruptive accounts. Suffusion of Yellow (talk) 22:07, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. This is written without any understanding of what an admin's job looks like. If this gets in the final draft, it will doubtlessly be used as an excuse by every wikilawyering troll whose every edit has to be fixed or reverted by unthanked admins. Metaknowledge (talk) 05:30, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In English Wikipedia this term is deprecated: see w:Wikipedia_talk:Harassment/Archive_1#Wikihounding.--GZWDer (talk) 22:49, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, “hounding” would be a safer term. Pelagic (talk) 22:14, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Prohibiting "repeated sarcasm"? What a brilliant idea! Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:31, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It doesn't say that, though. It says that "[i]n some cases ... repeated ... sarcasm ... may qualify as [an] insult[] collectively". Which definitely is a vague statement, granted, but it doesn't mean a ban on repeated sarcasm -- just on some particular uses of sarcasm. In principle, this seems to reflect common sense. If I tell you repeatedly "You're such a clever guy!" after criticising your position, certainly at some point it is tantamount to saying "You're an idiot!" (which would arguably constitute an "insult" and thus a type of harassment under the code). — Pajz (talk) 19:06, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A brilliant idea, Andy! :-) Actually, I agree with Pajz that this should be normally be well understood. Ziko (talk) 22:33, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see what you did there, Andy. Can you repeat it? Oh noes, am I trolling? But to take Pajz' point, I feel that the current wording qualified by “in some cases” is not problematic. I also think it makes sense to classify it as a kind of insult rather than a separate form of abuse. In fact, sarcasm need not be repeated to be insulting, but perhaps insults need to be repeated to count as harassment. Pelagic (talk) 23:16, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Everything can be a problem "in some cases". Making a rule against sarcasm is just stupid, and encourages me to ignore the code altogether. Metaknowledge (talk) 05:30, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If sarcasm stays in as unacceptable behavior, assumedly you couldn't ignore it for long, because doing things against the UCoC would come with sanctions. Although we will have to wait until the post the draft enforcement sections are posted for review to see what the planned sanctons will be. Libcub (talk) 05:53, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The probability that English Wikipedia spends significant time and energy enforcing a "no-sarcasm" rule is probably lower than the probability you live to age 200, no matter what the UCoC says. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 09:28, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's also going to be very easy to make people police sarcasm while assuming good faith. Distinguishing sarcasm from irony doesn't require knowledge of intent at all. Nemo 13:37, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Taking yourself as the measure of things, you might underestimate the discernment of others. Eissink (talk) 14:44, 13 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]
If you think sarcasm & irony are always obvious, have a read of Conservapedia. Sometimes the most effective sarcasm is the most subtle & hard to detect. Or maybe not. -- Llywrch (talk) 19:58, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sarcasm in case of the occasional gloating is fine or at least normal and perhaps even funny, but sarcasm as a lifestyle, as a chosen personality trait, is a disgrace: some people just seem to make it a sport to act condescending all the time, displaying an internalized arrogance in every contribution to conversations, people who stick mainly to Talk pages and seem to think Wikipedia is mostly a perfect forum for them to show off. It's not really hard to recognize for people who are sensitive to the proverbial pains in the ass. Eissink (talk) 20:15, 13 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Two problems

Unsolicited sexual attention or advances of any kind towards others is a dangerous phrase in my humble opinion. You always wanted to promote and support cultural diversity in our movement. Therefore, you should realise that in many cultures of the world it is perfectly acceptable — even in good tone! — to say something along "You look pretty on that photo" or "You are very feminine". And you would probably like to block for it, because it was "unsolicited". Well, what about Sexual attention or advances of any kind towards others against their wishes? Maybe it could be better? Maybe not? And the second problem is about following a person across the project and repeatedly critiquing their work with the intent to upset or discourage them. If I notice someone who makes edits requiring intervention (but not a ban outright), I follow them across the project in order to repair their mistakes and explain what they did wrong. I understand that now I will be eligible for a punishment if only they report that they feel "discouraged" because of my actions? Clearly you should reword or remove this fragment, thank you very much. Marcowy Człowiek (talk) 16:56, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • If unsolicited sexual attention or advances are forbidden, presumably that means solicited ones are acceptable? But wouldn't the solicitation then be unsolicited, and therefore forbidden? Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 19:16, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I think my general view is - if you wouldn't do it in a workplace, don't do it here. On social media, women tell other women they look gorgeous all the time. Ritchie333 (talk) 14:23, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • And some cultures of the world would be more than happy to ban the participation of certain members of the community. So I fail to see how your point has any merit besides "harassing women is fine because lots of people think it's fine". Isabelle 🔔 14:36, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The message you wanted to deliver by making a link to the "LGBT rights in Russia" article isn't clear to me. Are you implying that certain members may be banned from participation in Russian Wikimedia community based on their sexual orientation and/or identity? Adamant.pwn (talk) 01:10, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was saying some cultural values are antiquated and possibly harmful to other members of the community, and should be done with. Just because harassing women is normal is some places of the world (mine included), doesn't mean the UCoC should allow it. Isabelle 🔔 01:28, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not really about "harassing women is normal", it's about "is this particular action a harassment at all" as the definition of harassment is subject to cultural values. It's more about the border between appropriate and inappropriate behavior may vastly vary across societies. While some are "antiquated and outdated" by your perception, there surely are some cultures in which something you would find normal is considered "possibly harmful". For example, I heard that simply being in woman's sight wearing shorts might be considered harassment in Chechnya. Adamant.pwn (talk) 03:26, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thank you for your comment, Isabelle. I have no problems with seeing your point, culture shock is a real thing. We have to ensure that everybody feels safe here, so if some comments or invitations make you feel ashamed or even endangered, you express this feeling and your interlocutor can be rightly expected to discontinue them. On the other hand, though, you surely realize that banning certain members without substantive ground is objectively wrong (on the basis of any consistent ethical system), while showing interest or making positive comments about someone (be it man, woman or non-binary) is not. Actually, I am a bit tired with Westerners who understand "cultural diversity" as taking nice, exotic flavour out of someone's culture and trying to rip out any tradition they happen to dislike because of their different upbringing. In some way, it is degrading. If someone was upbrought to like something that is not outright harmful to them, you are in no moral position to say them that it is wrong to like it. And, indeed, many people in the world were upbrought to like having their look praised and some kind of fascination in them expressed. It is no kind of harassing. By the way, it is perfectly normal for many pairs of Wikipedians to deepen their relationships with time (shared hobbies, mindsets and so on) and with current wording of the discussed rule, nearly any attempt of such getting closer would be punishable ("unsolicited advances of any kind"). I hope that I managed to explain these facts sufficiently. Marcowy Człowiek (talk) 18:36, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Marcowy Człowiek: The entire point of the UCoC is to create an environment where people, specially minorities, don't need to feel unsafe. Just because some women might be okay with being catcalled (I'll assume good faith and just ignore your "she was asking for it" shtick), doesn't mean all of them are, specially in an environment such as this one. Women shouldn't have to walk around with a sign saying "Please don't make sexual advances on me" around their neck. Isabelle 🔔 20:14, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Isabelle: It is really nice to hear from you again. Sadly, reducing my lengthy text to "victim blaming" (barring that patronising good faith "assumption") suggests that you could pay more attention to it. Actually, you did not even refer to most of my arguments. Culture shock is a normal thing, but it could be useful to try a mutually civilised dialogue instead of closing in the mindset "my values are higher and better because they are mine". Please, try to read what I wrote and address these arguments properly if you want to continue the discussion. Marcowy Człowiek (talk) 22:14, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which is the point of using the word "unwanted". If I tell a MOTAS (=member of the appropriate sex) that I think they are "attractive", & receive the response "Don't comment on my looks", that should be the end of that. If I ignore that request, then I have crossed the line & correctly should be sanctioned for it. This is how it's supposed to work in the non-Internet world; single people looking for a partner will make comments like that in order to find a partner; reasonable ones will respect the wishes of others; the unreasonable ones, who do not, will be shown the door. -- Llywrch (talk) 18:13, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are deeply right. The word "unsolicited" is not acceptable, because it would make any attempt of beginning a relationship — or, in many cases, mere courtesy — punishable! "Unwanted" is definitely better, but I still prefer my version "against their wishes", because you do not know what somebody could want until they express their wishes. Yet, English is not my mother-tongue, so I can be mistaken in these subtleties. Marcowy Człowiek (talk) 19:14, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the modern English liberal rhetoric, "against their wishes" does not require they specify their wishes. Instead, you have to somehow (telepathy?) determine their wishes beforehand, as even asking what their wishes are could be interpreted as offensive. Anomie (talk) 11:57, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe then "against their consent"? The only other alternative I can think of would be the standing use of safe words, but seeing how the reputation of the US is in the toilet, I'd prefer that the latest American innovation not be introducing jargon from the BDSM world. -- Llywrch (talk) 20:17, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my experience, it is much more useful to have an unambigous protocol as to how to make it clear (either to a given individual, or to the community at large) that advances are unwelcome, rather than to say that all advances are taboo. "Unsolicited" adds nothing: soliciting an advance is itself an advance. Under the way this is written, anyone who ever makes a first move is in violation.

Perhaps there should be a firm rule against making sexual advances of any sort on the wiki or using the associated email (and maybe in some other contexts I'm not immediately thinking of); "solicited" or not wouldn't even enter the picture. But at a face-to-face event? Unless we are literally going to say that it is a violation of our policies for anyone ever to hook up at WMF events (which seems an unlikely policy) it is much more important to focus on how someone can quickly and easily indicate that advances are unwelcome than to have to decide whether "want to go for coffee?" or "nice shirt" was a prohibited sexual advance. - Jmabel (talk) 00:12, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • @Jmabel:, what do you mean by "using the associated email"? That would imply that people always use a separate email for Wikimedia. --AVRS (talk) 18:20, 15 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • @AVRS: I mean emailing someone via "email this user", where they haven't voluntarily given you their email address. - Jmabel (talk) 00:02, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It is not a good idea to build a Universal Code of Conduct on US morals. In some cultures you do give a woman proper respect by noticing her, in other cultures you show respect by not commenting on her sex at all. In some culture it is a sign of respect when work-titles have correct gender (Germany), in some cultures work-titles are genderless (Norway). It has nothing to do with “sexual attention”, although I have been reverted on pretty straight-forward edits where someone claimed the language was sexualized. Trying to shame someone because they describe someone the same way they describe themselves are not very wise. (Edits were system messages using proper gender set by the users themselves, and another user claiming all messages should be genderless no matter what the users choose.) — Jeblad 12:19, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This is probably a terrible idea because it's arbitrary and inherently discriminatory, but I felt like throwing it out there in case it inspires a better idea. Maybe the policy could ban men making the first move toward women, and ignore other gender/orientation combinations. Because that seems to be the kind of interaction that is by far most likely to result in Elevatorgate-type controversies. I find it hard to imagine a straight guy getting really upset about a woman asking him on a date, anyway; he'd probably at most just say no. 01:11, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In the real world, I have told friends I am not in a relationship with (usually female but sometimes male) they are looking healthy, well-presented and well-dressed and their choice of how to look has served them well. I have not had any issue with this at all; yet I fear that if I ever stated this honest opinion to a fellow Wikipedian, no matter how confident I was that it would be totally platonic, I would be ostracised. Ritchie333 (talk) 12:00, 14 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A (fictional) case study on potentially inappropriate advances

Let me give a couple of examples to illustrate some issues. (Please note that while loosely derived from real-life events, these are fictional and not based on any actual Wikipedians):

  1. Amber Violet is a 27-year old college lecturer, respected administrator and an expert in 19th century women's literature. Her userpage shows a picture of her giving a speech at her college about editing Wikipedia. A brand new user posts on their talk page, "Hey, you look nice, any chance of a date?"
  2. GirliePopFan45 is a 19-year old student who, in her own words, "is like the biggest Taylor Swift fan evaaaah lol". She posts on Amber's talk page, "Hey, I saw the speech ZOMG where did you get that dress, you look like mega awesome in it, I sooo want one lol and wow your hair is amazing"
  3. Bruce Plaid is a 32-year old high school history teacher. He's spent the past year working with Amber on a number of articles and helping her with research, and together they've written 3 FAs. They've exchanged emails and discovered they have the same taste in politics, travel and cats. One night after three glasses of wine, Bruce emails Amber, saying, "Amber, I've got to say it's been great talking and working with you and you're one of the greatest editors on Wikipedia. I don't suppose we could have coffee and lunch some time?" Unbeknownst to Bruce, Amber has had bad experiences with relationships and prefers to spend her spare time looking after her cats and writing articles on Wikipedia. She doesn't answer the email, wondering what, if anything, she should say in response. Inferring that the lack of response means "no", Bruce forgets about it and starts writing in a different topic area.

Now, in my view case 1 is worth a block, if it's not a troll, it's somebody who lacks sufficient clue about how a workplace environment operates. Case 2 is annoying, but that's it. Case 3 is more subtle; as Bruce took the rejection in good standing gracefully, I don't think there is anything to answer here and would not take action. I wonder if anyone else disagrees? Ritchie333 (talk) 09:40, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Ritchie333:, thank you for taking your time to write these case studies, they can be extremely useful. Of course, I agree that in case 1 the new user should be blocked immediately — and in most of the projects he would be, on the basis of "clearly not here to create an encyclopedia" or similar. I have seen even more extreme situations, like someone posting on the page "Requests for administrators" something along "I request to have sex with administrator X". Block is the only option left. In case 2, I agree that it is nothing more than annoying and definitely does not deserve a block. Maybe, but only if such comments were continued despite Amber expressing her dislike of them, it could be considered to selectively block for Girlie editing of Amber's talk page. I believe that case 2 covers equally also messages like "Hey, you look nice, I really like that photo" made by users with any meaningful input in Wikipedia. And in case 3, I think that Bruce behaved perfectly and taking any action against him would be an abomination of Wikipedia values. Sadly, the proposed wording of the discussed rule would make all three cases punishable, which is why I frown at it. Thank you once again for your effort. Marcowy Człowiek (talk) 11:47, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ritchie333: I disagree. I don't think any of the three examples you cited is worthy of a block in its own right. (1) and (2) may be off-topic and the user should be warned, but a block should only be merited if said user refuses to stop after being told not to, in which case they may be blocked for harassment. (3) depends on Bruce's ability to understand non-verbal cues, which are not universally understood; if Bruce was the person who sent Amber the message in (1) I wouldn't think that should be punishable on its own. Deryck C. 15:54, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Currently any sexual advances that are unsolicited are prohibited. Unless someone is walking around a WMF event with a sign saying "all flirting pre-authorised" this is a 100% prohibitive (since they couldn't let someone know without that too being a sexual advance). Given that I know of several couples who met at Wikipedia events, and thus everyone who isn't still a couple as well, this is a very non-practical note. There are other restrictions that can by all means added, included an amended version here, but the current phrasing is just foolish. Nosebagbear (talk) 19:24, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. This would be better worded as "unwanted". People usually want complementary &/or friendly attention, which sometimes can be flirtatious, even if unsolicited. But a simple & clear "no" should be enough to stop any unwanted attention, sexual or otherwise. (And if the person addressed cannot say "no" due to cultural norms, well, the Internet is a different culture for all of us, where people are often forced to be more direct than she/he usually are.) -- Llywrch (talk) 17:29, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Even @Llywrch: "unwanted" is not right, since it might be unknowingly unwanted. Demonstrated as unwanted, perhaps (with demonstrated being, as they say en-wiki, "broadly construed". Nosebagbear (talk) 16:49, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nevertheless "unwanted" is an improvement on "unsolicited", right? Perhaps even better would be to interpret "unwanted" as the inverse of "overtly consensual", much as example #3 in the set of interactions Ritchie333 provides in another thread on this page. Specifically, person A makes an unsolicited advance on B, & B does not respond; per this interpretation, A should then assume silence != consent, conclude the answer is "no" & act accordingly. (Acting otherwise might end up with A running afoul of the UCoC.) The goal is to balance the need for a safe place (on one hand) with the natural need for people to form intimate connections with others -- which is not always sexual in intent. (And I admit this might not be the right balance -- although I insist one needs to be found.) -- Llywrch (talk) 18:01, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Unsolicited" is better than "unwanted" becuase the agent can only find out if their advances were unwanted after the fact, whereas it is at least theoretically possible to know whether they were solicited or not beforehand. It not practical to make a code of conduct where people don't know whether they're allowed to do something until after other people have reacted to it. But yes, "unsolicited" bars all attempts at starting a relationship, so if someone can think of an even better word than that, then I'm in. Darkfrog24 (talk) 21:08, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Inappropriate" might be a better word - though what is appropriate in some cases might not be appropriate in others it allows flexibility to take into account the circumstances surrounding any incident and allows the cultures of the involved editors to be taken into account. Should an editor behave in a manner that would have been reasonable in his or her own culture but be unreasonable in the other person's culture or if there was a genuine misunderstanding regarding circumstances, an exchange of appologies is expected and is sufficient. Persistent inappropriate advances will however be taken seriously. Martinvl (talk) 15:10, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If a little friendly banter or innuendos are exchanged (flirtatiously) and the recipient objects - an apology combined with not repeating the behavior should be adequate. Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. As I mentioned above, if unwanted advances continue after being asked to stop the first time, then it is a problem that needs to be addressed. If I'm going to be a party to an editor being blocked or t-banned, I'd rather it be for gross incivility, relentless hounding or character assassination rather than a harmless/humorous flirtatious exchange. Seriously, anyone who is beyond puberty and into early adulthood knows the difference, or should know. Atsme📞📧 20:39, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Unfortunately, some people do not know the difference. (Some of us have had an inadequately social childhood/teenage years than others; this is why unintentional harassment happens.) But we are safe to assume everyone knows the meaning of "no". -- Llywrch (talk) 17:46, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Just going to point out that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of couples who have met through Wikimedia-related activities. One or both partners have been (or are currently) Board members, WMF staff, WMF executives, chapter or user group officials, administrators, stewards, editors, photographers, and illustrators. Several of these relationships have gone on to parenthood, marriage, or longterm commitments. There are teenagers now whose parents got together over Wikipedia/Wikimedia activities. All of those relationships started with one or the other of the partners saying or doing something to test the waters to see if there was a chance the other would want to explore the possibility of a more personal relationship. Until someone asks, they may not have reason to believe that their "advances" are unwanted in many cases; of course, there are plenty of cases where it's obvious or should be easy to figure out. I think we need to be very careful in the language here. Volunteer activities and places of employment have historically been two of the most common ways that longterm partners have met. Risker (talk) 22:00, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It occurs to me that this thread may be trying to come up with too refined of a balance between acceptable & unacceptable social behavior: I believe the UCoC is an attempt to set up a minimum standard, not provide a "one-size-fits-all" solution. (I may be wrong in this belief.) If a word like "inappropriate" is acceptable to the whole, then the decision to further restrict possible behavior with wording such as "unsolicited" or "unwanted" (& their non-English equivalents) can be left to the individual projects. -- Llywrch (talk) 17:59, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Trolling is only abusive when targeted. Generally provocative or disingenuous comments should not be sanctionable. Pelagic (talk) 22:14, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I wouldn't say that non-targeted "provocative or disingenuous comments" are inherently trolling - the two definitely aren't synonymous. However, nor would I say that trolling is only abusive (or at least only something to be prohibited) when targeted. If someone was going around trolling the site, they still should be shown the door because they're disrupting the encyclopedia. Nosebagbear (talk) 08:34, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I disagree strongly. For me trolling in WP is targeted--to the site, or perhaps even to the internet more broadly, if the person trolls other sites as well. Regardless of whether or not a troll is targeting an individual, group, articles, set of related articles, etc., to me the behavior is still tolling. Libcub (talk) 03:36, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The opening sentence "This includes any behavior designed primarily to intimidate, outrage or upset a person." -- "Designed" is an odd word to use here. (I suspect this was selected by someone whose knowledge of English is as a second language.) It would be more natural would be to say "intended". -- Llywrch (talk) 17:32, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Intended" requires mind-reading. Maybe more of that reasonable person language? "...any behavior that a reasonable person would consider likely to intimidate, outrage, or upset another person"? Schazjmd (talk) 20:07, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
FWIW, your criticism is equally applicable to the use of "design", which implies deliberate thought. We humans may not be able to read each others minds, but we do communicate. And often one communicates his/her intentions behind the behavior with unambiguous clarity. There is also the issue that some behavior is only done with malicious intent. But your experience may be different. -- Llywrch (talk) 21:18, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I too think that the language here is not ideal, but from a different perspective. In US labor law, intentionality is not part of the definition of "sexual harassment". w:en:Hostile work environment gives the example of sexually-suggestive photos displayed in the workplace. The person who put up the photos may not have intended to harass anyone, but this behavior can still harass. I would like to see UCoC remove intentionality in the definition of harassment. Libcub (talk) 05:09, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Things people have a choice about

In the section “insults” there are too heterogenous things put together. While age and sex are not chosen, for appearance, religion, and usually intelligence people are responsible. If someone stinks (as this UCoC is supposed to apply offline), this needs to be attacked; if someone is obese, it is according to the current knowledge on medicine to recommend him to lose some of that fat. And some people really need to be told they are not as intelligent (in a particular matter) as they think they are, it helps. And obviously, language fluency is a very important matter in the dictionary projects of Wikimedia, meaning Wiktionary, and is regularly legimitately called out; people of course get banned for introducing errors in their content because of lacking language knowledge, and not the one who noted their ignorance. Name calling, slurs or stereotypes is generally just added for the sake of rhetorics; it just shouldn’t be the sole content someone posts of course. The line is drawn by whether remarks relate to a topic. This is really offensive: If someone is bloviating without relation to the project. But spicing up things with a bit of passion is natural. Mockery, sarcasm, aggression are not wrong. Fay Freak (talk) 18:38, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I strongly disagree. To me, mockery, sarcasm, and aggression are indeed wrong in the Wikimedia-sphere, and I would like to see the UCoC disallow them, as a form of disrespect and/or harassment. Libcub (talk) 04:16, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Harassment is an ongoing pattern. Mockery, sarcasm, and aggression could be part of harassment, but in and of themselves, they cannot be.
I agree more with Fay Freak here than with Libcub. I suspect this may be due to different perspectives from different communities -- I spend most of my WMF time on the English Wiktionary, where there is generally less bureaucracy and fewer rules than Wikipedia. While I agree with Libcub that mockery, sarcasm, and aggression can be used as forms of disrespect, I would like to point out that they are not used solely for such purposes.
The English Wiktionary has so far not needed any such restrictive rule framework as that described here. Having such a framework imposed from outside the community would be most unwelcome and unhelpful. Eiríkr ÚtlendiTala við mig 17:43, 14 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Encouraging harm to oneself

In most jurisdictions man has the legal right to kill himself. So it should be allowed to encourage someone to commit suicide. If the encouragement is really meant it’s probably just uttered because of compassion and on a morally high level. If it is not is really meant then it should not be taken serious. Fay Freak (talk) 18:38, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In many jurisdictions it is legal to commit suicide, but illegal to assist in it or encourage it. Moreover, "law of defense of a third person" typically applies also to preventing suicidal actions. I guess it does not require Einstein's intelligence to work out why it is so. Marcowy Człowiek (talk) 19:14, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The thought of course is that if one has the legal right to kill oneself, then also one has the right that willing people help with it. This was part of the reasoning why this year the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany declared void § 217 StGB (which had been such an illegalizing provision introduced five years ago), mentioned margin number 208: “Der Grundrechtsschutz erstreckt sich auch auf die Freiheit, hierfür bei Dritten Hilfe zu suchen und sie, soweit sie angeboten wird, in Anspruch zu nehmen.” Accordingly, at the very least all such laws violate Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is in all of Europe except Belarus, if not making blue every country on that map having human rights, which of course only represents the government views, not the real legal situation. Else I question why one would in a project’s code specifically regulate behaviours that are either already outlawed by the government or explicitly permitted. Why are open-content creators trying to outclass the strictest of the regimes out there which people suffer? Why are they imitating the closed-source and closed-mind world? It is a race to the bottom. Fay Freak (talk) 22:26, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I suggest that we work to make Wikipedia a place where nobody says: "Go kill yourself", "I will kill you", "f*ck yourself", "I gonna f*ck you" etc. Ziko (talk) 06:50, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this may be pushing this reasoning a bit far. We don't know what individuals' situation is like on the other end, so we can never be confident such statements are being made appropriately. And I'm not sure what evidence you have that most statements of this type are either meant compassionately or not taken seriously. The "damage" from not being able to make a genuine encouragement when it might be appropriate is going to minuscule, as opposed to suggesting that it could be permitted. Nosebagbear (talk) 16:53, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The “damage” ratio is if course to be doubted if we assume people have judgment and don’t just randomly strew encouragements for self-harm or suicide, apart from the circumstance that the “damage” argument only works with consequentialist ethics.
That place where nobody says X would be fine, but one would need to make the world a place where nobody desires to say that. But I think everyone should, in general (barring cases where it is the sole content or off-topic), have the right to say “go kill yourself”, “f*ck yourself”, though it is rarely commendable – I cannot judge from my end how well someone on his end judges the individual’s situation on the other end. This is the whole problem of codes of conduct: Why are they apodictically trying to be smarter than the individuals who have to handle interactions day by day? As if it didn’t work before now one wants to make the provisions to read even longer, and interaction more complicated by adding the need to subsume under some aloof standard, as if one didn’t have principles before. And all from an Anglocentric standpoint, which is already a failure. I want to point out that the offensive nature of common curses very much depends on the language it is uttered in. Believe it or not, “I will kill you” is said by loving Russian mothers regularly to their children when chiding (убью) . Apart from that I point out that this draft is not only about Wikipedia; that project is already a failure, because of the red tape, and arguments over whether someone violated the wording of that CoC would only make it funnier, although with the best intentions or hopes I still would not support it for Wikipedia. Fay Freak (talk) 22:26, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What proportion of messages encouraging suicide are actually sent out of some compassionate pro-euthanasia stance? I would guess nearly none. Almost every time people say things like "kys", it is verbal abuse/harassment. The cost-benefit analysis seems to point toward prohibiting such messages. This isn't 4chan, we should have higher standards for conduct than "not literally illegal". PiRSquared17 (talk) 22:35, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that considering all encouragement of suicide as unacceptable would be very inhumane in some cases. I would suggest a new category under harassment--bullying, which could possibly subsume insults, threats, cruel encouragement of self-harm, doxing, and trolling. Libcub (talk) 04:26, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The wording is problematic. For instance, linking this talk page is arguably an example of "encouraging someone else to commit self-harm". (I unwittingly clicked on a link; now I've suffered psychological harm and I regret it.) Yet we need to be able to solicit contributions from existing and potential volunteers, even when we're asking a sacrifice. Nemo 20:14, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please remove the hurtful and offensive double standard from your draft

Dear Editors, I saw the "Universal Code of Conduct/Draft review" linked from elsewhere on the web. I read it and made this edit: which I summarized as "removed double standard". It was pointed out that rather than edit the document, there is a talk page where I should add my comment. I clicked that link, and saw the same thoughts clearly already written by by others (above where I put this comment). Everyone in the discussion has it right: "If unsolicited sexual attention or advances are forbidden, presumably that means solicited ones are acceptable? But wouldn't the solicitation then be unsolicited, and therefore forbidden?" Therefore please sort this out. Yes, as others point out, there should be a firm rule against making sexual advances of any sort, including soliciting sexual attention. A double standard in the Wikipedia draft for the Universal Code of Conduct, regarding sexual harassment, that editors are aware of, is unacceptable. It makes me feel like you are wantonly and callously disregarding my dignity as a human being, and I find it hurtful and offensive, especially when I see that you are perfectly aware of it. This makes it wanton, callous, and repeated, a systemic problem. It is written in this discussion clearly. Therefore please remove this double standard of which you are well aware. Sort it out in your next draft: remove this double standard, showing that you live up to the very principles you are discussing and do not continue to include offensive and callous language that takes away from the dignity of anyone. The above discussion is all fine and correct and contains all you need to fix the issue, if you are serious about human rights and dignity. It doesn't need another 5,000 words of discussion. Take action and fix the double standard, which is obvious to you all. Thank you. (Revision as of 06:37, 11 September 2020 by 2a02:ab88:cbc:1080:64fe:ebd4:dfbe:9b38)

I do not see this complaint as sufficiently clear to be actionable. It may be obvious to the writer what they are referring to, but not necessarily to the reader. Expecting the reader to research the link given is likely to result in no action taken. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:28, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
PS: I looked at the link and it does not make it any clearer to me. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 06:31, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You clicked my link with the requested change but did you read the section of this talk page where everyone else describes the issue? Please read this talk page and then remove this hurtful, offensive, degrading and callous double standard. 1. Read the complaints on this page. 2. Make the change. It is easily actionable and a wanton disregard to what multiple commenters have clearly described. It is a hurtful and callous violation of dignity and human rights. Make the change. Many people have described what is wrong with the phrasing. I have given an actionable change. Stop willfully violating dignity and human rights by ignoring objections many people raised and stop gaslighting me by using weasel words such as "Expecting the reader to research the link given" when I did not start by expecting the reader to research anything: I made the required change, which was reverted. This callous disregard to rights and dignity and gaslighting by referring to the burden of having to read complaints is monstrous. Fix the issue. If you don't want to do any reading of this page then make this change:

This response is callous and monstrous. I am offended by your response. 2A02:AB88:CBC:1080:DC6E:DAE3:FB54:6607 00:15, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whoever you are, haven't you realized that you have been circling your reasoning? You haven't explained why the phrase offends you, and "double standard" doesn't look adequate, does it? George Ho (talk) 02:54, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
your dehumanizing language "whoever you are" offends me. "double standard" doesn't look adequate, does it? - yes it is adequate. Please try to practice empathy and the other conduct that is described in the draft, rather than reply again with dehumanizing and offensive language. Actually, your dehumanizing language makes me think that you intend to callously gaslight me. I don't need to defend why being dehumanized is offensive or "whoever you are" is offensive. It is obvious on its face. It is an affront to my dignity and basic human rights. As for "double standard doesn't look adequate". You can read the article - " double-standard arises when two or more people, groups, organizations, circumstances, or events are treated differently even though they should be treated the same way". Stop gaslighting by asking me to explain why everyone should be treated the same. It is obvious to anyone who isn't a callous and offensive abuser. 2A02:AB88:CBC:1080:21A7:A96F:FC56:FC21 10:53, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have no idea what point this anon IP is trying to make, & their responses to reasonable questions appears to be outright trolling. I believe this thread of the discussion should be closed now. It is going nowhere. Is there anyone here with Admin rights on Meta who can take appropriate action? -- Llywrch (talk) 20:38, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Llywrch, I think you're writing in earnest but if you read the above you will find nobody asked me a question - just attacked me. Let me quickly address what you've written: you say I wasn't clear, and write "I have no idea what point this anon IP is trying to make"!
Let me try again: I find one sentence in the draft to be personally offensive to me (it offends me). I don't know about anyone else but it offends me. I changed it when I saw it, before I had seen any discussion about it. It was reverted (as a matter of policy) and I was asked to discuss on the talk page. So, I followed the advice I was given and added my comment to the talk page instead. Before I did so I saw that the technicals of the offensive sentence were already identified as a problem and discussed in detail on this page, however in a somewhat legalistic way. I added the information about how it affects me personally and why I would like it changed. Before I made the edit I didn't even know about the discussion, but it just shows that everyone else also knows that it is wrong. So, I hope this is clearer. What I contribute to the discussion is just my personal story that I find the draft language offensive to me and dehumanizing. I hope this makes it clear! 2A02:AB88:CBC:1080:BC9E:3AAA:D593:6771 23:57, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is not clear. You have not identified what groups you believe are affected in a “double standard” and your personal offense is secondary to the point; if you’re going to try to make a change, write a decent argument as to why it would be beneficial, not just that you’re offended by something that no one here could reasonably identify as something likely to offend someone. Note that this comment is a reflection on your behavior in this discussion and not a comment on the validity of the line in question. Vermont (talk) 01:14, 18 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, Vermont. You said "you have not identified what groups you believe are affected". I would say anyone who is either the target of, or exposed to, someone soliciting sexual attention.(This is more common in a real-world setting.)I am in the this group by the way.However, please note that all this was discussed in prior discussions above, I am really only adding my personal offense.The issue is very clear to everyone here. Please remove the offensive language (now that I have identified it for you). Thank you. 2A02:AB88:CBC:1080:BC9E:3AAA:D593:6771 01:34, 18 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"I would say anyone who is either the target of, or exposed to, someone soliciting sexual attention." -- This is a wide-open group of people. If you are serious, then this is an impractical request, & will not be handled here; if you are not serious, then you are trolling. In either case, this thread is a waste of time, & again I request any Admin following this discussion to close this thread & deal with this disruption accordingly. Tensions are already pronounced enough over this document that we don't need anyone stirring up trouble for their own entertainment. -- Llywrch (talk) 08:36, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I already requested closure, but admins wouldn't intervene. Rather they advised that we avoid interacting with the IP editor for now. George Ho (talk) 08:53, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Llywrch, this is my comment section, on improving the code of conduct by removing a couple of words that I, personally, genuinely, find incredibly offensive and a double standard and an affront to my dignity as a human being. (Because it explicitly denotes that it is okay to solicit sexual attention from me at in-person meetings.) It is not a "disruption". It is a call to remove incredibly offensive language from an official code of conduct. You agree the change would protect "a wide-open group of people". In my personal opinion it is not "impractical" (as you write) to remove callous and offensive language that is admittedly a double standard, and which many people in earlier sections (before I ever showed up) identified as problematic, and making a small change (six words in my suggestion) that would protect a wide-open group of people from solicitations of sexual attention. I can assure you I do not find this discussion "entertaining" (you say I wrote my responses "for their own entertainment.") Several people have insulted me while agreeing that the language I'm complaining about is a double standard, and while agreeing that fixing the offensive language would protect a wide-open group of people. The drafting committee should make this change, and also should note for themselves that nobody stepped in with empathy, understanding, or support, as I was attacked and called names in this thread. You can do better. 2A02:AB88:CBC:1080:C1DE:F689:EF71:3911 13:29, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You still have not made note as to how a double standard exists. How does the text, at present, apply differently to two distinct groups? Vermont (talk) 13:35, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't want to repeat the extensive and unanimous discussion that already occurred in previous sections. Everyone is aware of the problem: the text at present explicitly denotes that it is acceptable to solicit sexual attention. So the double standard is between people who solicit sexual attention and people who give sexual attention. For some context about why this is inappropriate: I am in the group of people who, in sexualized places such as an event where strangers dance closely with each other and strangers kiss, give sexual attention to people who solicit it or might be receptive. (Shocking, I know.) This is appropriate because of the context and place that it occurs. Of course, I don't just grab someone, but I do give them sexual attention there. It is not appropriate at wikimedia events. The draft standard, heinously and offensively, allows people to solicit sexual attention from me at Wikimedia events, which is wildly inappropriate and offensive, as well as a double standard. It is an affront to my dignity. Wikimedia events should not be sexualized places and it is totally inappropriate for anyone to solicit sexual attention there. Rather than explicitly condoning this behavior through a double standard, it should instead be explicitly prohibited at wikimedia events, for example with words such as my edit - . The current draft is a heinous affront to dignity and human rights. Everyone is aware of the problem. The drafting committee needs to fix this wanton, callous, hurtful and offensive double standard. It is incredibly hurtful, at least to me. It also opens me to unwanted solicitation, which it should prohibit. (Of course, at the cost of prohibiting wanted solicitation as well. That is a small price to pay for dignity, human rights, and equal treatment.) I urge the drafting committee to resolve this offensive issue. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:AB88:CBC:1080:C1DE:F689:EF71:3911 (talk) 14:15, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Insults may refer to perceived characteristics like intelligence"

I'm sure I've mentioned in passing that BedrockPerson is stupid, and his many sockpuppet accounts are easy to identify, which is a direct consequence of his stupidity. Oh no — should I be punished along with the vandal I've blocked for calling him stupid? Of course not — a blanket ban on calling people dumb is, well, dumb. Metaknowledge (talk) 05:30, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I strongly disagree. I would be quite happy if calling another contributor "stupid" were sanctionable under the UCoC. Libcub (talk) 05:55, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Really appreciative of the name-calling by the way. I'm sure if reflects great on the rest of the admin team who are somehow above using their position to knock around their subordinates' heads. 04:36, 28 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Twice in the draft I find the term "race". We have one human race, so what is meant by that? Is the text promoting a world view where humankind is seperated into different races? I thought that we left that school of thinking behind in 1945. I would not sign any paper that uses the concept of race if I don't have to. --Gereon K. (talk) 17:33, 14 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, it's something, that I don't like as well, to establish such debunked concepts like different human races in this code. I had hoped, the concept of races was eradicated thoroughly as my criminal ancestors, that used this concept as a tool for their genocides in Namibia and the Holocaust, capitulated to the liberator armies in 1945. At least in anything official, you can't of course eradicate such stuff from the minds of people by decree. The concept of different human races must not be anything even remotely supported by a code of conduct. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 11:31, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But in many parts of the world (not just USA), disadvantaging or vilifying someone based on "race" is actually illegal (positive discrimination for disadvantaged "races" seems to be okay, but that's another issue). It's like saying "where I come from there's no such thing as 'caste', so remove that from the Draft Code". If there's no such thing as race, is it okay for me to call someone a nigger "the n-word"? Pelagic (talk) 00:27, 7 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To even use the debunked concept of race is an insult. There are no different human races. There is of course racism, but that's something different, it has nothing to do with real races. So using race is scientifical nonsense and should not be used for an encyclopedia, racists should of course be shown to the door on the other hand. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 08:59, 28 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unsufficiently referring to offline harassment situations

The section about unacceptable behavior is mostly focusing on harassment on the projects and not providing much guidance with regards to irl harassement. I remember this disgruntled user who happened to attend a conference where I was speaking. He interrupted me and was very aggressive, even though it was obvious (to me) his issue was not with me but with other community members and his wikipedia grand-ma page. He went on, it seemingly went forever as no one dared interrupted him and save me from the embarassement. After that situation, I looked for info about him and discovered he was (openly disclosed publicly) in the autistic spectrum and apologizing for sometime "going too far". So I put the situation on his socially poor behavior that day and forgot about it. Till about a year later, in similar circonstances except I was on a panel that time. He rode the show again, and again no one really dared stop him. I managed to stop him by saying "please talk to me in person, after the panel". But he completely disrupted the event and people came to me afterward, who understood nothing of the issue and asking me what I did wrong that the guy was so mad ("well, nothing, really nothing"). In truth, this is neither cool on the wikipedian being flamed in public situation, nor good with regards to the perception of the project. And it was not finished... Next I knew, a week later, the editor rang at MY door. MY home. Because his family lived nearby and he took the opportunity to come defend his case...
The guy did not insult, nor threatened, nor stalked me on the projects, nor trolled. He was just no more able to control his feelings. I did not appreciate, neither him coming at my home, nor him shaming me in front of hundreds of people and using me as a scapegoat. I guess we all know wikipedians who blew up out of anger and frustration. And many of us experienced those users who show up at irl events to "vent". It is complicated to handle. I would argue that this should be reflected in the code. Right now, most of the "unacceptable behavior" points to online situations (in particular editing) whilst offline can be a real issue as well, or they point to situation where the offender is really acting in bad faith voluntarily, when sometimes it is only due to poor social behavior abilities. Anthere (talk)

"using slurs"

I worry about this clause. I believe a distinction needs to be made for the use–mention distinction. While I understand that this can be abused, it is sometimes necessary or unavoidable, when discussing slurs as a subject of an article, to at times mention them. I would add "using slurs or stereotypes as insults, or mentioning them without care". Coffeeandcrumbs (talk) 18:51, 28 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Coffeeandcrumbs: This is a good point, though it doesn't appear to have been added to the draft yet; but we'd want to make sure that any change in language doesn't allow in "I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir" indirection of slurs. --Struthious Bandersnatch 23:40, 16 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

repeated behaviour

Harassment is usually defined as a pattern of repeated negative behaviours (bullying, verbal abuse, etc.). If we leave out the repeat aspect, we will end up with a Code that is out of step with expectations within the communities and society more widely. Pelagic (talk) 23:58, 6 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Pelagic: This section already states that "In some cases, repeated mockery, sarcasm, or aggression may qualify as insults collectively..." and it appears to have already done so at the point you made the above comment. I am rather skeptical that it's a good idea to elevate repeated sarcasm to the level of harassment in particular, but what you say about the nature of harassment requiring repetition does not seem true to me. Sexual harassment, in particular, can easily exist as a single instance. --Struthious Bandersnatch 02:05, 16 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(I know this page is finished, but replying here anyway.) @Struthious Bandersnatch: I wasn't talking about repeated mockery constituting an insult, but rather repeated insults or bullying adding up to harassment. If I tell somebody that they are incompetent only once, that's one level; if I pursue them across multiple pages and say the same thing over and over, that's much more sanction-worthy. No doubt you and I won't be the only ones with different views about how these terms should be defined. Then add on the factor that terms like "harassment" have specific legal definitions in some jurisdictions ...
The real test will be when one group wants to indeff or perma-ban a person for a one-off insult or losing their cool, and another group wants to let them off with a warning.
Pelagic (talk) 10:54, 29 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Legal threats

I think this should be included here.--SRuizR   20:24, 15 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In my experience, legal threat for content should be treated differently than legal threat for harassment.   ManosHacker talk 21:16, 15 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SRuizR and ManosHacker: This section, §3.1, already contains language prohibiting "intimidation by suggesting gratuitous legal action to win an argument"; it doesn't seem to me that a UCoC should get too much further into discussing legal threats, which outside of gratuitous ones are more like a practical issue at their base rather than an ethical one.
(Though of course any non-gratuitous legal issue may involve ethics as well as law but that significance is on a case-by-case basis rather than something that would interact with a Universal Code of Conduct.) --Struthious Bandersnatch 01:54, 16 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Struthious Bandersnatch: My bad, I didn't see that part. Kind regards.--SRuizR   21:34, 16 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

3.2 - Abuse of power, privilege, or influence

Hello, I wonder who exactly is addressed by this sentence:

"Abuse occurs when someone in a real or perceived position of power, privilege, or influence engages in disrespectful, cruel, and/or violent behavior toward other people."

This means - everybody, because others might perceive e.g. myself to be a person of "power, privilege, or influence"? Ziko (talk) 20:28, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes. Eissink (talk) 20:48, 7 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]
  • "In Wikimedia environments it [abuse] most frequently takes the form of etc." – this wording expresses the ongoing and continuous abuse as a fact. In other words, as long as the UCoC is valid, it states the presence of abuse as a matter of fact, not of possibility. In a way it invokes the abuse. This can not (should not) be the intention of a UCoC, more careful wording seems wanted ("In Wikimedia environments most likely it might take the form of etc. etc."?). Eissink (talk) 20:48, 7 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]
Good point. Pelagic (talk) 23:19, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Doesn't WMF have statistics on this, which would mean that it is a fact? Libcub (talk) 05:31, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is beside the point, which is that the UCoC should not state facts for times to come. We don't how the facts in the future will be, we don't have statistics on them either, and it is certainly to be hoped that there will be times that the abuse is not ongoing and to practically state otherwise in the UCoC is not prudent. Eissink (talk) 08:32, 12 September 2020 (UTC).Reply[reply]

As far as I know, there are no global rules that regulate COI for admins, as described by WP:INVOLVED, and some (most?) wikis do not have an equivalent of WP:INVOLVED at all. I've always seen WP:INVOLVED as a basic principle that should always apply, even if it isn't explicitly adopted by the wiki in question. Unfortunately, violation of WP:INVOLVED seems to be a major avenue of abusive and retaliatory behavior in many wikis, and there seems to be a lack of awareness that this is wrong even when such actions could be otherwise deemed reasonable or justified. I wish UCoC specified clearly that using tools where there is conflict of interest is abuse of power. GregorB (talk) 08:40, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • the INVOLVED policy should not be applicable in small wikis with only one or two active admins. In addition some wikis (such as English Wiktionary) does not honor the policy.--GZWDer (talk) 09:07, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • That's true, but in these cases COI is permissible only because it's impossible to avoid, not because it is sometimes fine. On the other hand, if one assumes e.g. blocks that clearly appear to be retaliatory will naturally (i.e. without explicit grounding in policy) be seen as abusive - which is, I hope, a reasonable assumption - then indeed the current wording is OK (it's impossible to enumerate all kinds of abuses). GregorB (talk) 11:27, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • It's also worthy of note that even en-wiki, with very strict INVOLVED rules (it's been responsible for quite a few desysops), carves out exceptions for where acting, even when involved, is necessary to mitigate harm. There's so many variants here it seems pointless to include in a UCOC. Nosebagbear (talk)
    • I disagree about small wikis being exempt from this. My understanding that this behavior definitely happens on small wikis. I would suggest either that someone from another language wiki in the same project, from another project in the same language, from WMF, or, possibly, an individual respected in the broader language community should be appointed to participate. If the only justice of the peace in a small town is charged with a felony, I would not want that JP to help adjudicate their own case. Libcub (talk) 05:43, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Being violent or cruel would be abuse regardless of position. Indeed, I don't know why it's be twinned with it. I've already noted above that while civility should be a given, respect is earned, not given, so phrasing is poor. I'm very reticent to place any phrasing that would allow a newer editor (or one with less advanced permissions) to make a conduct violation and have it viewed as inherently less (not even not at all) problematic. Abuse of status can be an issue "I'm right, purely because I've been here forever", but it shouldn't be changing the very nature of acts made either by or against them. Nosebagbear (talk) 12:27, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Abuse of seniority and connections

  • The sentence "Using one’s position and reputation to intimidate others" reminds me of the situation newcomers experience when they try to edit an article and an experienced editor does not even want to debate such a change and automatically reverts it. As :@TaronjaSatsuma: explains, in some communities (those without ArbCom), there are no mechanisms to defend the newcomer. They often argue that it is very frustrating to be bitten by an experienced editor, receive a revert and no explanation. The problem here is not whether the edit is accurate or simply wrong, but the lack of explanation (which I think it is collected in 3.3 a), but most importantly, the lack of interest in debating with the newcomer. --Marcmiquel (talk) 18:37, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is academic literature on the impact of biting newbies for almost ten years. Therefore, I think it is compulsory to mention more explicitly in 3.1 and 3.2: a) the necessity for editors to be open to debating any change/revert before any further action that involves other editors, b) a special opposition to abusive actions when those suffering them are newcomers or editors belonging to a current minority because their impact can be even larger to the health and diversification of the community. --Marcmiquel (talk) 18:37, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed, ArbCom should be mandatory in big projects. To have Separation of powers.--TaronjaSatsuma (talk) 18:42, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Big projects usually already have well-developed conflict resolution procvedures, be it ArbCom or not. The problem is with small project, where often the only admin, or the only few admins establish their own rules which can be contrary to everytrhing we can think of. I in fact expect to be small projects to be beneficiaries of UCoC. The big ones are running mostly fine.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:48, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then why impose the same code of conduct "universally" on all wikipedia projects including the big ones? One size rarely fits all. ---<(kmk)>- (talk) 20:48, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I do not know. This is not my idea.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:02, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

AFAIK, Spanish and Croatian Wikipedias don't have any conflict resolution procedures, to cite two.--TaronjaSatsuma (talk) 19:44, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We ask people with significant experience and connections in the movement to behave with special care because hostile comments may carry an unintended implication of creating threats from friends and supporters. - this seems to introduce the concept of unintended abuse, which as far as I understand the term is entirely self-contradictory. This is a wise warning in general, but should not be under "abuse". --Tgr (talk) 04:56, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


"Working (alone or with a group) to cause someone to doubt their own perceptions, senses, or understanding." How am I to understand this? I definitely hope that others cause me to doubt my own perceptions, senses, and understanding. This is one reason for my Wikipedia contribution. At the same time, I shall not refrain from causing doubts etc. in others.Mautpreller (talk) 21:04, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Mautpreller:, you know I am the greatest Wikipedian ever. Please don't make me doubt my perception! :-) - I think I understand what is the intention behind this rule, but we see the problems with this wording. Ziko (talk) 21:10, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I largely agree. There is of course a serious and important point about en:w:Gaslighting, but I'm struggling to suggest a way to phrase it better. Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 16:03, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I also support the comments here - I expect my perceptions and understanding to be challenged, frequently, all over Wikipedia. Were someone to say they'd held back on challenging out of concern for how I'd take it, I'd be appalled I was giving off that indication. A UCoC must use the narrowest tailored language to meet its desired goals Nosebagbear (talk) 16:13, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's not clear that is is particularly relevant to "power, privilege, or influence" in the context of Wikimedia projects. It's really just a form of harassment. It's not clear why this particular form of harassment needs to be called out by name. It kindof just feels like trivia someone remembered from their intro to psych course, so we figured why not. GMGtalk 16:22, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I agree with GMG. the section has two very broad categories of actions, followed by one highly specific and not particularly well defined item. Why this specific example and not 50 others? Is it really not covered by the first two? I think this creates more problems than it solves.--Sphilbrick (talk) 15:01, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • How does this work for a 13-year old kid who turns up and starts editing lots of fan-POV oriented edits to Pokemon, cartoons, video games, you name it, and gets stuck into every conversation on the noticeboards giving a naive and babbly opinion on everything? In every case this happens, "assume good faith" gets stretched to the limit and they end up getting sanctioned "for their own good". Ritchie333 (talk) 23:37, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The code of conduct is a disaster from top to bottom, but the "gaslighting" bit deserves a special award. I've seen a couple of editors rant that they were being gaslighted, and to the best of my recollection every single one was a severe case of IDHT & the alleged victim was warring against basically unanimous opposition. It takes a very special sort of mindset for someone to decide dozens of random strangers somehow all joined a pointless conspiracy to target them personally with bizarre mind games. The notion of gaslighting on a wiki is especially absurd. Everything is logged and citable in diffs, with countless random people passing by who can check the links and diffs. It's strange how the random people who do jump in always seem to jump join up with the gaslighting-conspiracy. Alsee (talk) 11:28, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    To be honest, even though everything is documented in the diffs, in the case of a prolonged dispute people do not look at them at all, or look at a small selection, not necessarily representative. It is quite uncommon that someone tries to dig out every relevant diff, even in the case of arbitration cases.--Ymblanter (talk) 11:54, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What is said in en:w:Gaslighting is a cruel manipulation practice. But what is said here is very nearly the opposite. It is a common feature of every serious dicussion. This is a general trait of the Ucoc draft: confusing normal ways to argue out differences with severe harmful manipulation practices. This will not help. To be sure, there are editors who see any contradiction to their opinions as cruel attacks to their persons. But we have to distinguish: Is that so or is it not so? The Ucoc draft doesn't even try to do this distinguishing work.Mautpreller (talk) 08:10, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am worried about the use of "gaslighting" in the UCoC. While the immediate description seems accurate "Working (alone or with a group) to cause someone to doubt their own perceptions, senses, or understanding." The following comment indicates gaslighting as a possible common issue in our communities. My concern is this might broaden the meaning of "gaslighting" as a term for other forms of manipulation. Beyond the general risks of overusing the term I fear this will introduce an unnecessary and troubling discussion in concrete cases. Is there any other code of conduct that specifically mentions gaslighting? Chico Venancio (talk) 18:52, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I suspect the word "gaslighting" was taken by someone who is watching US political debates a little too closely. On one hand, anyone arguing a given opinion will believe it to be true, & may unconsciously manipulate the facts to support her/his opinion. On the other hand, there is the issue of intellectual honesty. By this I mean this: if someone quotes a source in support of a fact, that source will have that fact. (The quality of the source is another issue.) Speaking from my own experience, I have been struggling with cleaning up after a former contributor who would make up biographies & support what he wrote by not only citing a book that is not readily common in the US, but not providing which page the author made that assertion. This has led to the articles he wrote being translated to other Wikipedias without verifying the source, & thus the misinformation has spread. We should be able to trust each other not to lie about our sources, & this should be part of any UCoC. (And since this makes so much sense, I suspect it is already covered in some policy somewhere.) -- Llywrch (talk) 23:05, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Translation without checking the sources in unfortunately (and understandably) too common and might even need to be mentioned separately somewhere.--Ymblanter (talk) 05:51, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my opinion, that's a little outside the scope of this code. While I completely agree that failure to meet good practices with respect to translation does damage to the project, I think the scope of the code of conduct relates to interactions between individuals.--Sphilbrick (talk) 14:41, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that the text of the Gaslighting bullet point does seem over-broad. en:w:Gaslighting has much clearer wording. Libcub (talk) 06:06, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@User:Llywrch: I agree that intellectual honesty is an important asset of any user. I also agree that a certain amount of trust is necessary for any productive argument. The problem is that neither intellectual honesty nor trust can be enforced by a body of rules. These are things that must be voluntarily given out of one's free will, otherwise they will lose their very essence.Mautpreller (talk) 11:22, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Mautpreller: intellectual honesty (as I have used the term) is enforced in schools & colleges. How can we not enforce it amongst the projects? Although to be fair, it rarely appears as an isolated offense. -- Llywrch (talk) 18:50, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You mean: don't lie when quoting a source? Outright and conscious lying, especially about sources, is indeed ostracized. I don't think, however, that this is taken lightly in any Wikimedia project. The problem of "intellectual honesty" is usually somewhat more complicated. You bend the sense of the quotation, you use a source against its own sense, you select just what seems to fit into your mission but nothing else, etc. It's usually not outright lying.Mautpreller (talk) 22:05, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Gaslighting section seems unnecessary. Unless it's a form of harassment (in which case it belongs in the Harassment section), "gaslighting" as defined in the current draft shouldn't be discouraged. Editors should work both alone and together to cause others to doubt their perceptions and understanding (and, I suppose, "senses"). People who are viewed as reliable shouldn't abuse their reputation, but this phenomenon is already mentioned in the previous subsection ("Abuse of seniority and connections"), and doesn't necessarily involve gaslighting anyway. Ornilnas (talk) 20:28, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree that including this sentence in the UCoC doesn't seem useful. Apart from being very jargony (and a very much politically earmarked jargon, which would unnecessarily detract from the openness towards the UCoC in communities where that particular strand of politics is unpopular), the phenomenon it describes just doesn't happen in an online community. It is something that happens in very tight relationships, such as a marriage, a romantic relationship or a doctor-patient relationship; when used in online discussions, it is entirely troll territory, and given the very vague definition (which basically just comes down to whether someone claims to be the victim of it) it will have little use and a lot of abuse.

The UCoC doesn't currently mention lying; that would be a somewhat better alternative, although in practice still hard to tell apart from someone being wrong but honest. --Tgr (talk) 04:56, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, there is nothing inherently negative in causing someone to doubt their own understanding. Especially in content disputes where one frequently encounters points of view one was previously not familiar with, it is an entirely normal thing to happen. That's obviously not what is meant here, but it shows how unhelpful the current definition is. --Tgr (talk) 05:02, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Tgr, I think what you mean by "causing someone to doubt their own understanding" is called challenging one's opinion, which is a beneficial and mutual form of interaction that can lead to a higher level of understanding. Gaslighting on the other hand is specifically employed to destabilize and confuse one's understanding for the benefit of the other party and to keep up this state for a long (infinite) period of time. —Aron Man.🍂 edits🌾 10:06, 9 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Manipulating content

  • I wonder how "Systematically manipulating content to favour specific interpretations of facts or points of view" comes across to non-Wikipedians, particularly Wikiversity and Wikinews. --Izno (talk) 05:07, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Problmeatic for Wikispecies, too. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:32, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • In Wikivoyage, we do not have NPOV either, quite the opposite.--Ymblanter (talk) 15:46, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • While Wikinews or Wikiversity and Wikivoyage don't require 'neutrality', surely neither would welcome users systematically manipulating articles? If someone started pumping out news or travel articles from a strong ethnic nationalist point of view, for instance, surely that would be against their policies or principles? (Also, I confess I don't understand the issue with Wikispecies - @Pigsonthewing: could you expand on that?). Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 15:57, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • The taxonomy on Wikispecies - like all biological taxonomy - represents ("favours") a specific interpretation of facts. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:01, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • Thanks Andy. I think I see. Is that taxonomy something that someone could attempt to systematically manipulate, and if they did, would it be a bad thing? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 16:06, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
            • @Chris Keating (The Land), I take it you've never lived in a country with a strong creationist tendency? Taxonomy is absolutely something that people can and do attempt to systematically manipulate, and Wikispecies is expressly based on one particular interpretation. I assume you don't really believe that Wikispecies (or Wikipedia!) should give equal weight to fringe-but-not-absolutely-refuted alternative taxonomies like en:Baraminology (the belief that species fall into different "kinds", and that species from different kinds arose totally independently and have no evolutionary connection), which is what the proposed wording appears to be explicitly mandating.Iridescent (talk) 20:42, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
              • Well, the current draft looks to me like it's saying you can't systematically manipulate projects to impose that kind of fringe view, but maybe there is some ambiguity in the wording that I haven't spotted? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 09:40, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • Sure, but we do not want to formulate UCoC so that we help individlals coming to disrupt projects and pretending they impose neutrality.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:26, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Wikispecies is emphatically a Single-Point-of-View project (the opposite of NPoV); and also basically an Original Research project. This means that it is not very compatible with other Wikimedia projects. However, this is how it was set up, this is its purpose; so in itself this does not present abuse or manipulation. - Brya (talk) 11:25, 15 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Working to cause someone to doubt their understanding

This definition of gaslighting is fundamentally incompatible with more than a few of the components of the second and first of the w:Wikipedia:Five pillars. If this was enacted as a policy, what would happen if an anti-vaxxer accused a public health outcomes editor of trying to cause them to doubt their understanding?

Can this prohibition be re-phrased in objective instead of subjective terms? 19:38, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would also suggest to reconsider this definition. "Working (alone or with a group) to cause someone to doubt their own ... understanding" is extremely broad. If you try to convince somebody of another viewpoint, you are also effectively working to cause the other person to doubt their own understanding, aren't you? — Pajz (talk) 17:27, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree. ”Working to cause someone to doubt [and reconsider, re-evaluate] their understanding”. There’s a word for that. It’s called education. It’s one of the fundamental Movement goals. Pelagic (talk) 22:14, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Scenario: Editor A says Editor B is incompetent, always making English grammar mistakes. Editor A tells Editor B, "You shouldn't make all those mistakes. They're so much work for other people to fix!"
According to the current phrasing, Editor A is therefore gaslighting Editor B because Editor A is trying to get Editor B to think they're a bad writer. ...But what if Editor B is a bad writer and is making messes for other people to clean up?! In this case, English grammar, Editors A and B can look at a style guide or Purdue Owl and see which one of them is really right (maybe Editor A had crummy high school English teachers and only thinks Editor B is making mistakes), but on more subjective matters, we can't do that. Editorial taste comes to mind. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:30, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Abuse of seniority and connections

I don't understand what the second sentence is trying to say. Libcub (talk) 06:03, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mobbing (moral harassment)

I have added mobbing as it is a special case of personality abuse in adult work environments that is not proven by single incidents. Mobbing is mostly practiced by leading admins and their followers. In severe cases mobbing is spread over time.   ManosHacker talk 10:55, 27 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Addition was removed by User:PEarley (WMF) without transferring it to the talk page. I am putting it back here, bolding what need to be kept by all means.

  • Mobbing: While an isolated act cannot be seen as harassment, a series or parallel of such acts target the personality of community member(s) by the abusers. A "wolf pack" is usually consisted of admins and their followers and sometimes extends to WMF staff who encourage or support the harassment of the admins in the communities.

   ManosHacker talk 15:23, 27 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • en:WP:TAGTEAM is the closest description of this behavior, practiced to sway a discussion with majority and justify one person's questionable decision. It is one reason why the outcome of disputes on noticeboards depends mostly on the connections and number of supporters of the involved parties, not the policies. It happens regularly, regardless whether the supported behavior is appropriate or not. Due to the political nature of public proceedings, eliminating this effect is not possible, but IMO the importance of evidence over opinion should be emphasized and enforced to somewhat counter this effect. —Aron Man.🍂 edits🌾 12:34, 5 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the fact of Greek Wikipedia, Aron Man., the mobbing has been practiced by a leading admin over a pack of assisting admins and editors. The leader whispers (initially or whenever direction is needed) and the pack attacks. In offline activities, the pack calls the leader for guidance, i.e. for attacks during a conference talk. I wonder if you can tell how it feels to meet in person fellow Wikimedians and especially staff and chairs all over the world and learn rumors about you of being a bad person in Greek Wikipedia, before you are even known. His bad wording and false argumenting has been used by WMF staff. The stake here is not the content but the exersise of power over the community and voluntary activities that promote Wikipedia out of his/their control. He has personally harassed persons directly, more than the usual mobbing he leads, and he is completely covered by the WMF as he practices an illegal wiki activity in Greece. WMF staff has asked me not to communicate the illegal issue to the Greek Community. I have spotted at least two diffs altered in Greek Wikipedia and the online dumps are gone. The fish stinks from the head.   ManosHacker talk 17:15, 5 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, WMF have denied to make the harassers publicly apologize and say they will not repeat this behavior again, they are their public image in Greece. So the harassing does not stop and apologies are never heard. Who is the abettor?   ManosHacker talk 06:43, 6 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have personally seen mobbing happen, but I wonder how it could be proven. Part of the idea behind Wikis is community consensus. How do we prove that it's one rotten admin and followers harassing someone and not one justified admin and people who agree with them? Just thinking out loud...
  • Normalize non-mobbing ways of getting what you want, like "just ask so-and-so to leave."
  • The burden of proof is on the supposed mobbers. They must cite policy that specifically says they are right and the person they're mobbing is wrong. If there's no written rule against it, you don't get to mob people about it.
  • Explicitly state what people are and are not allowed to do when people make rapid posts on their talk page. You are allowed to delete the posts or you aren't? You're allowed to delete them but only if you transfer them directly to an archive?
  • Give users a way to lock their own talk pages temporarily, without having to as an admin to do it for them. Darkfrog24 (talk) 02:34, 24 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Darkfrog24, disturbed personalities and tactics can be easily spotted by specialized people when given the onwiki/offwiki evidence. The problem here is that persons enforcing the strategy of WMF in small communities are completely covered by the WMF, even with documents and agreements the harassed ones have been obliged to sign in order to cover up the harassments and in fact raise the harassment to a higher level. This extends to altering diffs and wiping wiki dumps from the archive pages (internet archive included).   ManosHacker talk 06:23, 24 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In any case of proven unacceptable behavior the abuser(s) have to state publicly that they:

  1. Regret for their behavior to their victim(s) (3.1 and 3.2), or/and in general (3.3).
  2. Commit they will not repeat that behavior.
  3. Agree that if they fail again there will be consequences.

Brought here after being deleted together with "mobbing". So let's the response on this, too. This is the default treatment to harassers without which the victim remains under constant fear and the harassment continues.   ManosHacker talk 16:01, 27 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gaslighting - example

This point is an important addition to the CoC. en:Gaslighting is often used to downplay or discredit reports of misconduct from newcomers, thus creating an environment that does not care about the safety of newcomers, contributing to the editor decline. The following example of such ANI report is regarding an editor proven to be logged-out socking[1] in this incident and yet the editor's uncivil comments were downplayed and its conduct was alleged to be appropriate. [2][3] The report was ultimately ignored and archived without remedy. —Aron Man.🍂 edits🌾 12:38, 5 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gaslighting - too specific wording

"People with community authority have a particular privilege to be viewed as reliable and should not abuse this to attack others who disagree with them."
The second part of this sentence is not specifically related to gaslighting in my opinion. Attacks from a status of authority do happen (eg. threats: "be very careful of being disruptive", "very very big problem if you are", "people will start to lose patience"[1]), but those can be direct, unmasked attacks that I wouldn't consider gaslighting. I think "attack others who disagree with them" should be part of the previous point ("Abuse of seniority and connections").

It seems to me this is what confuses some people about the "gaslighting" point. I'd suggest a different wording: "People with community authority have a particular privilege to be viewed as reliable and should not abuse this to misinterpret, discredit or downplay others with less authority." —Aron Man.🍂 edits🌾 12:42, 5 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

3.3 - Content vandalism and abuse of the projects

  • This provision prohibits "Unwarranted, unjustified addition of symbols, images, or content with the intent to intimidate or harm others." How shall WMF determine "intent" in this manner? I imagine if I posted a Nazi flag on my userpage identifying myself as a proud Nazi it would be deleted under the code, but there are other symbols which fall into grey areas. Specifically, I remember coming across a userpage some time ago (I think the user had been blocked or retired, can't remember) and they had posted a custom userbox which displayed the Confederate Battle Flag with a comment about being a proud Southerner. Many Americans now regard that flag as a symbol of white supremacy, while some of its proponents argue its just good ol' regional pride. Would the WMF try and heavily account for context and the poster's own words, or are there some symbols that will basically be outright banned? -Indy beetle (talk) 01:15, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • The swastika is a good example to think about. That symbol has a long history before Nazi usage, in multiple cultures, with a variety meanings. Consider the user page for a Navajo, Hindu, or Jain Wikimedian on Meta or Commons (clearly inter-cultural spaces), whose cultures have positive connotations of that symbol. How should we deal with a Jewish and/or gay Wikimedian going to that page, and being traumatized, because their community's association of the symbol with Nazism? Libcub (talk) 00:53, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "Deliberately introducing incorrect or biased content" -- properly defining on a global level which content is truly "incorrect and biased" might be extremely hard, especially given that RS in English and local languages might have, umgh, opposite views on what is incorrect and what is biased due to differences in cultural background. It might be possible to grin and bear uninvited global moderation in discussions, but if it can as well extend to article's content... Oh, well. Adamant.pwn (talk) 12:09, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Regarding "Repeated removal of Wikimedia content without appropriate peer review or constructive feedback for improvement" - there can be legitimate reasons for this, summarised in the en-wp essay en:WP:DOLT, which cross-references a speech given by Jimmy Wales in 2006 [1]. In short, the scenario I picture here is where the editor removing the content is the subject or related to the subject, believes it to be factually incorrect or distressing, and wants to remove it to avoid such a distress - in such instances, a conduct sanction could potentially cause great harm to the projects. Ritchie333 (talk) 14:15, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Deliberately introducing incorrect or biased content - if we are having something like that, we need a specific inclusion that any determination of "incorrect" or "biased" content is to be done in the current local community method - with conduct only coming after that determination is made. Otherwise we become the "universal code of content" and it becomes a nightmare. Even undesired excursions into this space is problematic, (e.g. enwiki arbcom is currently jumping to try and avoid accidentally making a determination of "psuedoscience" on a contested designation) Nosebagbear (talk)
I think this is a perceptive comment. That sentence implies the "truth," aka an objective measure of whether something is correct or incorrect. Wikipedia doesn't work like that. I'm sure there is at least one example on Wikipedia of someone knowingly insterting "incorrect" content because our policy is verifiability, not an arbitrary definition of correctness. It simply isn't compatible with the basic principle of verifiability, not truth. Zoozaz1 (talk) 17:12, 20 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • "Repeated removal of Wikimedia content without appropriate peer review or constructive feedback for improvement". What does this even mean? I remove content all the time. What is appropriate peer review? Do I have to start a discussion every time I remove a bit of vandalism? What about unsourced claims? This is so vague as to be meaningless. Deacon Vorbis (talk) 17:13, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well quite. If Dave Disruptive writes "In 2005, Joe Schmoe is believed to have bribed three prostitutes to sneak into Sam Senator's house in order to blackmail him" (please note Dave Disruptive, Joe Schome and Sam Senator are all fictional characters chosen for this comment) without any sources, I'm absolutely going to revert that instantly without a peer review (and block them for edit-warring and violating the biography of living persons policy, if necessary). Ritchie333 (talk) 21:15, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do English Wikipedia's template warnings along the lines of "stop it or you risk getting banned" qualify as “constructive feedback for improvement”? I guess ceasing to do the bad is a kind of improvement. But in practice, not every Undo of a bad edit is accompanied by a uw. Pelagic (talk) 04:10, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Pelagic: My assumption was that it was - that's why I didn't include more on "wildly OTT" in my section, since we'd provide warning templates anyway. They definitely are constructive as they tell you specifically what not to do and why that's the case. Nosebagbear (talk)
  • A bit surprised that blatant/willful copyright violations aren't included (it is in TOS). Same with using multiple accounts to deceive others, which would fall under "Attempting to impersonate another user or individual, misrepresenting your affiliation with any individual or entity, or using the username of another user with the intent to deceive" in TOS. --Rschen7754 00:10, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Well, since it is already in the TOS, which is already universal, I'm not sure there is a lot of benefit in having it here too. There should be no duplication between the two documents, because any change to one will weaken the other. Every project has quite successfully been able to use the existing TOS when it comes to inappropriate socking. Risker (talk)
      • @Risker: I tend to agree with User:Rschen7754 here. We should have these rules about abusing multiple accounts and willful copyright violations written out clearly in both the TOU and the UCOC, lest anyone would think it is less important or less enforceable because it isn't in the UCOC. Deryck C. 23:49, 21 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • And then it is also tied with the UCoC enforcement policies. --Rschen7754 00:03, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • Generally speaking, topics should be in one document or the other. There is no reasonable way to keep both documents in sync, nor to ensure that their terms are treated in an equivalent manner. Further, when we actually *see* copyright violations, most of them are made by new users; educating is better than banning in those cases. If we talk about what some call "close paraphrasing", there's a lot of interpretation involved in assessing that.

            I personally find this document to be far, far too long. Codes of conduct should be short with only the absolutely most important points. They shouldn't duplicate other documents. If we want the UCOC to be followed, it needs to be simple and straightforward; I wouldn't in any way categorize the current draft as either. It absolutely shouldn't be longer; I'd advocate for making it half the length. Risker (talk) 00:54, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

            • @Risker: Alternatively we should mention in the UCOC introduction that this document is supplementary to the TOU. The current UCOC draft doesn't refer to the TOU at all. Deryck C. 12:23, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm concerned about "biased content" as written. The examples themselves address excessive bias rather than simply bias. There are situations where it is appropriate to introduce biased content. For example, there may be wiki articles describing arguments for and against a particular topic. It is likely that there are some authors who primarily edit in support of one approach and others who primarily edit in support of a different approach. Introducing this "biased" content can help to balance the overall resource. It is excessive bias as described in the examples which should violate a universal code of conduct. -- Dave Braunschweig (talk) 18:41, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Okay, so... we are all mind-readers now? Or how do we know about "deliberate" and "willful" and "hate speech"? Seb az86556 (talk) 03:17, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Religion cause is going to allow likes of Scientology to cause problems.Geni (talk) 07:28, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just content?

Is there a special reason to have the word "content" on the phrase? In my reading this add ambiguity to the code as it allows the interpretation that these actions are only Unacceptable if directly related to the content domains of the projects. Chico Venancio (talk) 19:18, 10 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A related question: Is this section of the UCoC meant to cover only main namespaces in each project? All namespaces? All but User pages? It seems to me that User pages should be handled a little differently. While I would be wary of sentences such as "Clarence Thomas was right" or "Anita Hill was right" on the en:w:Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination, I think I am okay with those statements on User pages. Libcub (talk) 06:45, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • "Repeated removal of Wikimedia content without appropriate peer review or constructive feedback for improvement" I suggest to replace "peer review" with consensus. I often, and sometimes repeatedly remove content without peer review, but never when I think there is no consensus for such a change. Such consensus is often well-established: Removal of vandalism, spam and weasel-words has broad support and does not require a discussion. Nor does it require constructive feedback. Vexations (talk) 21:32, 14 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Given that the WMF and all its projects stand and fall by the quality of its content, this section is really odd. As noted above already (multiple times), the "Repeated removal of Wikimedia content without appropriate peer review or constructive feedback for improvement" is phrased so as to encourage abuse. Everybody who removes a piece of nonsense can hereby be banned for violating this section. The "or constructive feedback for improvement" sounds like the "slavery clause" once again, in complete denial of the basic fact that contributing to any WMF project is voluntary. And just about any project I know of demands that certain points of view are favoured over others; the "earth is a globe" must be favored over "the earth is flat" in every WMF project. The issue is to set the method by which points of view are favored (the enwiki NPoV-policy does this).
        It is not just what is in this section, but also what is missing. At Wikidata I dealt with a user who was manipulating content so as to artificially improve the ranking of his wiki in the "Articles any Wikipedia should have" ranking; artificially, that is without adding anything like real content. This looked like as blatant a case of abusive manipulation of content to me as there could be. Any action against this on my part was met by this user with accusations of racism, Western supremacism etc, in horrid repetition. Both this manipulation and this hollow rhetoric were accepted at face value as valid by admins (only later this user was globally locked, for a lesser offence). This seems just the sort of thing that a CoC should address, perhaps by something like "Systematically manipulating content to favour objectives other than those set as desirable in the project's policies; it is abuse to manipulate content to promote commercial products, companies, or film stars, artists, athletes, or to influence rankings of any sort, etc." - Brya (talk) 05:19, 16 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • 3.3's current wording is utterly disastrous and should not be implemented under any circumstances.--S Marshall (talk) 18:39, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I should clarify. The problem is the way it will be construed by truthers and conspiracy theorists. They will understand it as a licence to remove the mainstream academic consensus (because, we will be told, all the mainstream media are "incorrect or biased"); and a licence to prevent us removing their conspiracy theory (because that's "removal of Wikimedia content without appropriate peer review"). The nuanced wording from each project's content inclusion policies, such as WP:V and WP:BLP on, was developed over many years in the light of a lot of hard experience, and it is incredibly unwise to replace it with a draft rule that has, with all due respect, clearly been written by someone who's never been in a content dispute on a wiki.
Also, why can't we edit this wiki page? Does the Board dislike the normal wiki process?--S Marshall (talk) 22:27, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To "Systematically manipulating content to favour specific interpretations of facts or points of view". First, "systematically" is not helpful because a single contribution, not based on facts or without acceptable supporting literature will already be rated as improper. Therefore, "Repeatedly" might be a better word catching the case of a contributor resistant to learning. Secondly, "manipulating" is here a prejudgment and I suggest e.g. "changing" as a neutral word. Because, thirdly, authors do favour specific interpretations and to have different views is helpful. Conflicts can rise e.g. in denial of facts, other views, or interpretations. Therefore, I suggest "exclusively favour", "extremely favour" or similar. --Manuae (talk) 13:21, 20 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have significant concerns with "Repeated removal of Wikimedia content without appropriate peer review or constructive feedback for improvement" mainly because it is contradictory. So I can't remove "hate speech in any form of expression", even though it is outlawed by the same document? Do I really have to give someone supporting a Nazi POV constructive feedback for improvement? It's a nice goal, but it practice it just doesn't work. Zoozaz1 (talk) 17:06, 20 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This section seems like a scope overreach. It implies that the UCoC Committee, or whatever similar enforcing institution we end up with, would take it upon themselves to adjudicate which editor in a content dispute is "systematically manipulating content to favour specific interpretations of facts or points of view", or what content is biased, which seems like a catastrophically bad idea - one of the central elements of Wikimedia culture is that such decisions are not made by institutional or hierarchical means (not even local hierarchies, like admins) but community consensus-building. And the people selected for their ability to handle content disputes would likely not be capable to handle the wide range of content issues that would come up.

It is important to recognize that harassing others and similar misconduct can happen via content edits. Vandalism is a form of that, but one that existing policies are entirely capable to manage, so there is not much point in including it here; but an abuser can also get into edit wars and behave unreasonably just to frustrate the target by wasting their time, deface articles the target cares about etc. etc. The UCoC should make it clear that content edits are not automatically exempt from behavioral guidelines. But beyond that, beyond recognizing that harassment, disrespect etc. can happen via content edits, it should stay clear of them. To the extent global policies about content are needed (which might well be zero), the future movement charter and global council will be in a better position to ground them (having more legitimacy, stemming from the movement strategy which the UCoC process has chosen to preempt them). And in general, it is a good idea to address one hard problem at a time. --Tgr (talk) 05:48, 8 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hate speech clause

Hate speech in any form of expression which intends to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin

  • First, I don't understand why this is in the "Content vandalism and abuse" section rather than the "Harassment" section.
  • But second and more importantly, the broad language of vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against can be easily abused in dispute resolution cases to stifle open discussion of controversial ideas, as many Wikimedians who have tried to deal with repressive governments can testify. I propose changing this to Hate speech in any form of expression which intends to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred dehumanize and incite violence against a group or a class of persons... which is much more specific and enforceable. Deryck C. 23:25, 21 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
One can make generalized comments of hate speech without targeting a specific person, which is harassment. Say that I make a statement all left-handed people are inferior to right-handed ones -- that is not harassment, but it does incite hatred towards a clearly defined group of people. FWIW, about the only group I would exclude from this clause are groups that advocate hatred: yes, you are allowed to speak disrespectfully about Nazis, racists, other groups that explicitly advocate hatred. (See the en.wikipedia essay Wikipedia:No Nazis.) Although you are not required to. -- Llywrch (talk) 17:41, 23 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Llywrch: But the way it is written now, it actually protects the groups that advocate hatred, since the clause applies to them as well.--- Darwin Ahoy! 21:06, 22 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

3.4 Undisclosed paid editing

This section is missing, but undisclosed paid editing and advocacy are unacceptable. Editors who engage in this behavior should be banned. Refusal to answer queries about a Conflict of Interest should result in indefinite blocks. Vexations (talk) 22:13, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is addressed in the terms of use, and Alternative paid contribution disclosure policies are permitted; therefore, the requirement of disclosure of paid editing is not universal. In particular, it is not required on Commons (which impacts almost every other project) and technical matters related to MediaWiki, which definitely affects every project. Risker (talk) 04:33, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have long thought (although it seems to be a minority view) that we should really be outlawing undisclosed paid advocacy and spam, not paid editing per-se. For example, if (hypothetically) I told a bunch of people to go and add a neutral and reliable source to every unreferenced BLP on the English Wikipedia, and for every one that stuck, I'd give them £10, but didn't bother mentioning it on-wiki ... well that's undisclosed paid editing isn't it? I'm sure I've been "paid" (in pizza, beer and chips, not money) for fixing people's articles that they couldn't do themselves because the MediaWiki syntax and verification / reliable sources policies are too much of a hill to climb for some people - again that's kind of undisclosed paid editing too. Personally, my ultimate aim for paid advocacy is to turn their autobiographies into biographies, at which point their reliably sourced confirmation of the CEO getting arrested for fraud are all over the internet, making them get the article they deserve >:-D Ritchie333 (talk) 21:24, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well sure, but then you'd have PAID SPAs who fluff up article text for mediocre companies or marginally notable businessmen screaming "I wasn't writing advocacy! I was just adding information!" -Indy beetle (talk) 07:01, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a case for banning the addition of content where the intention is marketing, advertising, public relations and/or advocacy, irrespective of whether it is paid or not. MER-C (talk) 13:15, 13 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that when we speak of a misuse of Wikimedia projects we should say outright that any kind of paid editing has to be banned. It does not matter whether it is disclosed or not. Also, this should be part of a Code of Conduct, it is not enough to refer to the Terms of Use.--Aschmidt (talk) 20:19, 19 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Aschmidt:, should we stop accepting code written by anyone whose employer, in support of the project, pays them to help develop the code? That would pretty much eliminate anyone whose company uses the MediaWiki interface, which I'll note is a very large number of third parties. Most of the code base for Wikidata is written by employees of one or more third parties, which is partially (but not completely) supported by WMF grants. Several volunteers in several areas - some in Wiki(p)(m)edian in Residence programs, some paid by third parties who support the Wikimedia philosophy (e.g., Internet Archive) make extremely valuable contributions directly or indirectly. A notable percentage of images on Commons are uploaded by paid professional photographers (often uploading a slightly different version than the image they offer for sale) and by staff of GLAM organizations. These people all qualify as "paid editors" under our terms of use. The majority of them (developers and Commons image uploaders) are already exempted for declaration of being a paid editor/participant because the TOS allows alternate rules for disclosure, including no requirement to disclose at all.

These contributors have created real value to our communities without in any way interfering with the Wikimedia philosophy. They should not be villainized; they are acting in accord with the terms of service, and most of them take these things very seriously. They should not be confused with those individuals who are in fact writing junk contributions for payment. We do need to ensure there are ways for organizations and their employees to request an article or to request changes to out-of-date, incorrect, or biased content; our current processes aren't robust. Risker (talk) 00:39, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Risker: Thanks for your question. I'd like to put it in more concrete terms. When we speak of paid editors we think of people that are bringing advertising and public relations to Wikipedia. They misuse Wikipedia as a place for "platform relations". Then there came an enumeration which mentioned Wikipedia in line with spam edits on social networks. Their business is disinformation. If we tolerate this, serious volunteers are discouraged from contributing to Wikipedia. I do not speak of Wikipedians in Residence or even of students that get grades for writing Wikipedia articles. I myself used to teach Wikipedia at schools and at universities in projects like these, and I think this is absolutely legitimate. And if we draft a code of conduct, I think we need to draw the line between what really brings us ahead and what does damage to Wikipedia that in many cases cannot be undone. Some cases you have mentioned show that it is not about being paid or not for what you are doing, but whether you are doing harm to the project or not. This should be said straight away: We welcome those who make Wikipedia etc. better, even it they are paid by third parties, but we are against those misusing our projects for bringing advertising, public relations etc. here because this harms out credibility and it discourages volunteers from contributing. So, again, thanks, for asking questions and making the case, because this brings us on, Risker! What I want to say is that a debate that does not focus on these problems misses the point and plays into the hands of the wrong people.--Aschmidt (talk) 19:09, 22 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Much of above falls within principle "Discuss edits not editors". w:en:Argumentum ad hominem shoud be banned as the first rule, consequently harrasment, stalking etc. will be banned too. -- 08:18, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The header to this section obscures the context. Nevertheless I would suggest that all logical fallacies should be disallowed in argument, while agreeing that ad hominem in its subtler forms is quite prevalent, and often not called out. Possibly because neither side recognises it for what it is. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:53, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

3.x.2 - Bad faith and Dishonesty

We're not addressing what is IMO the worst, and most common, problem encountered on Wikipedia: manipulation on talk pages and edit summaries. Editors revert edits and lie that they are not in the sources, they strawman others' arguments, they lie about others' conduct, they gish gallop rather than presenting their real arguments. Perhaps these are all the behaviors covered under en:w:WP:CRUSH. Kolya Butternut (talk) 04:06, 24 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


When a person is sanctioned in accordance with this or any other code of conduct, it should be obligatory to specify what has been found to be unacceptable, and why it is unacceptable. Without this level of clarity, no-one can be sure of whether the CoC has been applied correctly, and speculation will proliferate. It is also difficult to avoid doing something when it is not clear what it is you need to avoid. Anyone who is not capable of providing such explanation or willing to be questioned on their reasons should not be making the judgements. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 11:54, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I have added a paragraph for the treatment of the abusive behavior. Keep in mind that the victim remains under constant fear unless there is proper treatment in public view.   ManosHacker talk 11:12, 27 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

General comments

The whole CoC is nothing more and nothing less than the manifesto of complete distrust, disgust and total rejection of the communities by the WMF. Dictatorships and multinational corporations of oppression may create something like this for themselves in order to keep the subordinates subordinate. Anyone who deals with voluntary, voluntary contributors in this way destroys the relationship. In the fixed idea of forcing everyone to unite under one roof, exactly the opposite will happen. In addition, the door is wide open to abuse. Marcus Cyron (talk) 15:01, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I strongly disagree. Just because you have certain emotions about the document does not mean that everyone does. I for one will feel more trust, respect, and commitment to Wikimedia-land with the UCoC in place. I will feel more strongly connected to the community, and likely contribute much more than I have in the past. And I think it quite possible that I will want to collaborate across languages or projects, since I know what the universal behavior standards are.
If you look at en:w:Code of conduct, you will see multiple examples that are not from dictatorships and multinational corporations. Libcub (talk) 07:03, 12 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As has been said elsewhere by many others before me, regardless of the merits of a universal code of conduct, the way this is being implemented represents an unprecedented overreach and expansion of power by the WMF, without the support of community consensus. Benjamin (talk) 21:31, 18 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dispute resolution

I was hoping for a movement-wide dispute resolution framework. Any plans for such? I'm generally opposed to enactment of normative rules without a way to determine the extent, if any, of transgressions, and their consequences. 19:44, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Based on Universal Code of Conduct/FAQ#Enforcement I believe that's supposed to happen in part 2, after the Board approves this draft. Legoktm (talk) 04:01, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Overall comment on section 2 (Expected behaviour)

I’ll let others comment on the details of the wording in this as a whole, but I’m fairly concerned about how this section is worded. It’s a set of positive expectations. Positive expectations in a code of conduct quite easily could be read as imposing a duty, and the language is broad enough that literally anyone could be in violation of this section at any time. My gut is that the WMF has no intent of actually enforcing it as such, but if that’s the case, just remove it and add anything that should be an expectation to the forbidden list as a negative thing rather than a positive (ex. Use “No one may call Foo Bar” instead of “There is an expectation that Foo is treated with empathy including with the names they are called.”

If there’s actually an expectation of enforcing section 2, I’d be concerned. Positive expectations are usually enforced arbitrarily and can just be something to point to when you want to kick someone out in many organizations. This is because almost everyone will violate them at some point, so having them gives a lot of power to those enforcing them if a decision is made to enforce as rules rather than have them as a positive vision. TonyBallioni (talk) 20:37, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Indeed, nobody is perfect. --Rschen7754 20:44, 7 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In general I think we should express the behavior we want people to follow in a positive manner (semirelated past discussion). If it just listed "don't do X" that doesn't actually instruct users what they should do. I do agree with you in that mandating people do positive things is potentially problematic, given that we don't really require people to do anything. I hope we can include positive expectations in a guideline or recommendation manner. Legoktm (talk) 03:59, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Clarification is needed. Are the positive expectations actually required, or are they wishful thinking. If required, everyone who works at the coalface will break them some time, putting them at the mercy of the back seat drivers who know how everyone else should behave, but do not put themselves in the position where they themselves are tested. If they are wishful, some people will simply ignore them. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:43, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They are just best practices. I do not see a reason to not list best practices.--Ymblanter (talk) 16:28, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Then it might be best to qualify them as such. -Indy beetle (talk) 07:45, 9 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh no no no no, Ymblanter! Even if the final version says "these are only best practices" in big letters, underlined and quotated like on the Group W bench, people will threat them as absolute rules. Darkfrog24 (talk) 17:34, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree to an extent with Legoktm and Ymblanter that having a set of positive best practices/principles/ideals isn't a bad thing in itself. The problem I see is with listing them in a code of conduct, which is essentially a disciplinary document. It is very easy to get rid of someone for not living up to ideals and I suspect everyone commenting here, even though we try, has likely fallen short of these ideals at some point in our time on Wikimedia projects. While I'm not a "the WMF is out to get us" type, this is a loophole that I've seen used in real life to kick people out of groups I'm involved with, which is why I'm concerned.

    If you want a set of good things people should strive for, create a separate section called "Values" and have it as a preface to the actual code of conduct. Or list it as a second document. Making values/ideals enforceable as requirements is a problem. Ideally all the thou shalt nots would flow from the values as times where everyone could agree the positive expectations were not being followed. You basically want something that lists what we strive for, while also making clear its the negative things that can get you kicked out. TonyBallioni (talk) 23:15, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • Agree with this completely. You've said it better than I would have said it. The section needs to be clearly marked (and treated as) goals only. Dreamy Jazz talk to me | enwiki 18:03, 17 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How a wiki works

Hello, reading the draft code for the first time, I would like to make a general comment. In general I support a code and hope that it will help to approach some long time problems in the movement better.

Please keep in mind the following: Wikipedia allows everybody to edit; on the other hand, we and our readers have expectations about the content - for good reasons. This means that criticising content (contributed by others) is part of the very wiki concept.

The task of the regular Wikipedians is not only to welcome newbies and show solidarity with everybody, a Wikipedia has also the task to filter (new) content, to improve or delete it. That's collaboration. Of course, this can often lead to situations experienced by some as unpleasant. (I am not talking about insults and harassment, but simply about altering someone else's content.)

To give you an example, based on a real story: User A notices that user B has written a new Wikipedia article, based partially on the autobiography of a historically disputed person. A asks B not to make use of this kind of "sources". But B continues, and also creates footnotes in many other articles. So, A goes from article to article to delete those footnotes. On the user talk page, he tells B not to go on but to help with reverting.

Why do I come up with this? Because the behaviour of A has a striking resemblance with "stalking" as described in the draft code:

"Stalking: following a person across the project and repeatedly critiquing their work with the intent to upset or discourage them."

So Wikipedians have two tasks, and it is indeed not always easy to find a good balance between both of them. I hope that it will be possible to improve the draft code in a way that helps us with finding this good balance. Ziko (talk) 20:59, 7 September 2020 (UTC): Which actually was the root of the FRAM case which truggered the creation of UCoC--Ymblanter (talk) 18:06, 8 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note that in this context it is entirely reasonable and desirable to try to discourage an editor from making inappropriate edits. The intention should not be to upset them, but that may well be the consequence, and it may be unavoidable, as some people get upset when their efforts are judged unsuitable for the encyclopedia even when it is true. · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 12:22, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My few problems

Hello fellow editors! I only have a few concerns/issues with this draft, much less than I had expected, and I may as well word them as answerable concerns for those who wrote this:

  • "It applies to all in-person and virtual events, technical spaces, and all Wikimedia projects and wikis." This is quite vague. Is IRC, OTRS, MediaWiki-facilitated email, etc., considered to be an area in which the UCoC applies?