Universal Code of Conduct/Enforcement guidelines/Voting/Report

Universal Code of Conduct

Report on Voter Feedback from Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC) Enforcement Guidelines Ratification




Following the completion of the Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC) Enforcement Guidelines Draft in early 2022, the guidelines were voted on by the Wikimedian community. A total of 2,283 community members participated in the vote. Out of these, 1,338 (58.6%) participants supported the guidelines as written and 945 (41.4%) did not support. Voters cast votes from 137 communities, with the top 9 communities being: English, German, French, Russian, Polish, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian Wikipedias, and Meta-wiki. See the results page.

All responders to the survey had the opportunity to provide comments on the contents of the Draft document. 657 participants left comments. Approximately 77% of the comments are written in English. Voters wrote comments in 27 languages with the largest numbers in English (508), German (34), Japanese (28), French (25), and Russian (12). Voter turnout by Wikimedia project can be found here.

This analysis was completed to identify the major themes of these comments and highlight areas of the document that are the major focus of community comments. The analysis of these comments is intended to increase community voice and input into this process. This has already guided the direction of the Community Affairs Committee to staff to continue exploring improvements and thus will also guide the revision of the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines which will be completed by the Revisions Committee.

Method for analysis


Once the volunteer scrutinizers confirmed there were no voting irregularities, the UCoC project team translated the feedback into English and grouped the feedback into categories.

The translation work was led by the Movement Strategy and Governance team with assistance from other multilingual Foundation staff. The Trust & Safety Policy team categorized the comments into topics, analyzed the results, and composed the report that was shared with the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the revision drafting committee, and published on Meta-wiki.

Categorization of Feedback




There were 9 themes that emerged after the first round of analysis of the comments and were used for the initial categorizing. Figure 1 in Appendix details a breakdown of the comments and their representative values. In some cases, one comment would be put into multiple categories if it touched on more than one theme. The categorizing process revealed a need for further sub-groupings of the first 3 categories to organize diverse opinions expressed. For the categories that required continued organization or sub-groupings, charts have been added to further illustrate the sub-categories that were created. The details of the topics and sub-topics with quotes can be found below.[1]

  1. Quotes are shortened with spelling edits for ease of understanding

General feedback


This is a larger category that covers all general feedback (positive and negative) that was not directly relevant to the UCoC or the Enforcement Guidelines as well as comments directed to the Wikimedia Foundation. It was broken down into the following sub-categories:

  • General Positive Feedback
    • "...I am all in favor of any means that would make Wikimedia a more pleasant and safe space."
  • General Negative Feedback
    • "The Foundation displayed a gross lack of respect for the community, and a gross lack of understanding of the community, in trying to push through a Code without bothering to seek community approval of the Code... revising the guidelines won't change my vote... the Code itself was botched... you need to start from scratch, letting the community develop something new and seeking consensus for it."

Figure 2 in Appendix reflects the distribution within this bucket.

Bureaucracy and top-down processes may create unnecessary burdens and barriers


Comments in this category varied in themes and were further grouped to highlight the various opinions and concerns expressed. A few of them are listed below with some example quotes:

  • The Enforcement guidelines are too top-down or authoritarian
    • "I oppose this top-down takeover of the project…."
  • The Enforcement guidelines are bureaucratic
    • "The whole Universal Code of Conduct is too complex, will create much bureaucracy and take [the] effort away from [the communities]..."
  • Mandatory training is unreasonable
    • "Any expectation of training is unreasonable. There is no expectation of training for *anyone* in *any* permission level *anywhere* on Wikimedia projects…."
  • Affirmation is an unwanted imposition
    • "I am opposed to the idea of administrators being required to agree to a loyalty pledge of sorts, among other things."
  • U4C committee
    • "The bar currently set for cases to be heard by the U4C is very high and is likely to keep the status quo of exclusion and unhealthy communities for years to come..."

Figure 3 in Appendix reflects the distribution within this bucket.

Enforcement guidelines may backfire and create an unhealthy imbalance of power


Comments in this category highlighted the potential arbitrariness of the Enforcement guidelines and how it could cause abuse of power among enforcers and eventually damage communities. Comments in this category were also further sub-grouped into the following topics:

  • Arbitrariness
    • "The general thoughts in the Universal Code of Conduct seem good, but I am afraid some users may pervert the Universal Code of Conduct into something that protects the aggressor."
  • Abuse of power
    • "Just another power grab of the WMF and other groups who want to rule the projects without contributing."
  • Hurts diverse ecosystems
    • "We fear that this will create a further gap between light users and heavy users and that the population of Wikipedians will decline further."

Figure 4 in Appendix reflects the distribution within this bucket.

Supportive of the Enforcement Guidelines and/or UCoC


Comments put in this category were generally positive and optimistic about the need and impact of the UCoC and Enforcement Guidelines. Some examples include:

  • "I'm really happy that the movement has as a reference a code of conduct that is put into practice universally, in all projects and in all language versions. The parts I like the most? Practicing good faith and empathy, opposing the abuse of power, privilege or influence…"
  • "I agree with the enforcement of the Universal Code of Conduct, as it aims to help community members identify situations of bad behavior, which is something that should be supported with all the possible tools, and these guidelines are a strong ally in prevention."

The UCoC and/or Enforcement Guidelines do not support Wikimedia movement values (ie: privacy, freedom of speech, volunteerism, etc.)


Comments on this topic talked about how the UCoC and Enforcement Guidelines could suppress the rights of community members such as privacy, freedom of expression, etc. They also highlight the political leanings of the policy, as well as the misalignment of the UCoC and Enforcement Guidelines with the values of the movement. Examples of such comments are:

  • "More emphasis should be given towards the state of neutrality within our contents, especially regarding social issues. Any Wikipedia content should not be leaning towards any side of the political, economic or social spectra…"
  • "The UCoC pays insufficient respect to the fundamental and universal right to freedom of expression and, in its current form, intolerably infringes on that right."

UCoC and/or Enforcement guidelines lack global diversity


Comments in this category highlighted the lack of diversity and diverse geographic/cultural contexts, lack of translation into multiple languages, as well as ambiguity in the choice of words and text in the Enforcement guidelines. Some comments here include:

  • "Each community has its own culture and mindset, and enforcing the same rules for everyone will be unjust and will result in an oppression of minority cultures and groups."
  • "...it includes lack of expert understanding of local laws such as intellectual property and led to populism & influence-peddling amongst community members."
  • "The UCoC, as drafted … is written with a Western perspective in mind, which is liable to result in irreconcilable cultural clashes between the wikis responsible for enforcement and the communities they're being asked to enforce this on have a doubt about the judgment the UC4 will have to made on the issue on projects and communities whose history, cultural environment and language it does not understand or not well…"

UCoC is not Necessary/Locally Relevant


These comments highlighted the self-sufficiency of projects to regulate and resolve issues themselves and how having a UCoC and its accompanying Enforcement Guidelines are unnecessary and not needed. Examples include:

  • "I reject the introduction of a mandatory UCoC for the major, established, and functional Wikipedia language versions (including the English, German and French) for fundamental reasons. Such a code already exists in these projects and cannot be imposed from the outside. I see here the very serious danger of a split and weakening of the global community through forks."
  • "Each community must be sovereign in defining its founding principles."
  • "I don't see the need for additional regulations. Our community, I believe, handles conflict situations quite well, and I don't see what the desire for more regulation is coming from.

UCoC text is discriminatory


Comments in this category highlighted the text in section 3.1 of the UCoC that states that the policy "does not endorse race and ethnicity as meaningful distinctions between people" and how that enables racism and discrimination. Examples include:

  • "... I cannot endorse this policy with this statement in it. People DO experience discrimination based on race and ethnicity and it is painful. This notion ignores the problem and minimizes the experience of People of Color in the world."
  • "UCoC as written is offensive, discriminatory, unenforceable and lacks sufficient stakeholder engagement."
  • "...Race and Ethnicity ARE meaningful distinctions and form the base of an equitable approach which is prompted by the Foundation."

Right to be Heard language


Comments here focused on the need for a "right to be heard" policy where the accused will have the right to argue their case out or explain their point of view before a decision is made.

  • "It is absolutely necessary to include a right to know what you are accused of. Even more important is the right to be heard for the "accused". In spite of repeated comments in this direction, these basic requirements of a fair process were not included in the enforcement guidelines. Hence, the Guidelines are unfit to guarantee a fair process."



The report is now accessible to community members to review the data that was collected. Private identifiable information was removed from the vote comments, and the vote comment data is now available for review here.

There are limitations on the usefulness of the data. Only 658 participants left comments in 27 languages. Seventy-seven percent of the comments are written in English. Given the size of our community, this is too small a number to be representative of all views. To mitigate this, during the next round of community conversations, the UCoC project team will emphasize outreach to encourage participation from more community members.

Despite these limitations, voters from different size Wikimedia communities with different types of governance structures left comments providing diverse viewpoints on conduct and enforcement issues The comments were anonymous so the voter could freely express their opinions without concerns about reprisal.

This analysis of the UCoC voting results, the identified themes and feedback, in addition to data collected in upcoming conversation hours, will serve as guidance to the Revisions Committee to adapt and improve the current version of the guidelines.


Note: Charts may display incorrectly in mobile responsive view.
Figure 1
Pie chart of all vote feedback categories
 Discriminatory text: 19 (2.2%)Right to be Heard: 39 (4.4%)Feedback on Foundation: 32 (3.6%)Hurts Global Diversity: 52 (5.9%)Anti-Movement Values: 50 (5.7%)Unhealthy Imbalance of Power: 113 (12.8%)Unnecessary / Irrelevant to Local Communities: 127 (14.4%)Supportive of the EG/UCoC: 172 (19.5%)Bureaucracy: 151 (17.1%)General Feedback: 128 (14.5%)
  •   Discriminatory text: 19 (2.2%)
  •   Right to be Heard: 39 (4.4%)
  •   Feedback on Foundation: 32 (3.6%)
  •   Hurts Global Diversity: 52 (5.9%)
  •   Anti-Movement Values: 50 (5.7%)
  •   Unhealthy Imbalance of Power: 113 (12.8%)
  •   Unnecessary / Irrelevant to Local Communities: 127 (14.4%)
  •   Supportive of the EG/UCoC: 172 (19.5%)
  •   Bureaucracy: 151 (17.1%)
  •   General Feedback: 128 (14.5%)
Figure 2
Pie chart of subcategorization relating to General feedback
 Positive Feedback: 4 (3.2%)Other (feedback on language): 18 (14.4%)Attack on conservatism: 2 (1.6%)Ratification process: 20 (16.0%)UCoC Phase 1: 44 (35.2%)Other (psychological manipulation, polite pov pushing, etc.): 37 (29.6%)
  •   Positive Feedback: 4 (3.2%)
  •   Other (feedback on language): 18 (14.4%)
  •   Attack on conservatism: 2 (1.6%)
  •   Ratification process: 20 (16.0%)
  •   UCoC Phase 1: 44 (35.2%)
  •   Other (psychological manipulation, polite pov pushing, etc.): 37 (29.6%)
Figure 3
Pie chart of subcategorization relating to Bureaucracy and top-down processes may create unnecessary burdens and barriers
 Complex Outsider Intervention: 19 (9.0%)U4C: 20 (9.5%)Too Top Down: 33 (15.6%)Bureaucracy of process: 35 (16.6%)UCoC Training: 60 (28.4%)Affirmation of UCoC: 44 (20.9%)
  •   Complex Outsider Intervention: 19 (9.0%)
  •   U4C: 20 (9.5%)
  •   Too Top Down: 33 (15.6%)
  •   Bureaucracy of process: 35 (16.6%)
  •   UCoC Training: 60 (28.4%)
  •   Affirmation of UCoC: 44 (20.9%)
Figure 4
Pie chart of subcategorization relating to Enforcement guidelines may backfire and create an unhealthy imbalance of power
 Specific to RU.WP: 2 (1.6%)Specific to JA.WP: 10 (8.0%)Arbitrariness (Language is not fit for purpose): 31 (24.8%)Hurts Diverse Communities: 37 (29.6%)Concerns of Abuse of Power: 45 (36.0%)
  •   Specific to RU.WP: 2 (1.6%)
  •   Specific to JA.WP: 10 (8.0%)
  •   Arbitrariness (Language is not fit for purpose): 31 (24.8%)
  •   Hurts Diverse Communities: 37 (29.6%)
  •   Concerns of Abuse of Power: 45 (36.0%)