Wikimedia Foundation/Legal/Community Resilience and Sustainability/Conversation Hour December 14 2023

All, this conversation has been moved to 14 December at 6 pm UTC due to scheduling conflicts. Best, JKoerner (WMF) (talk) 18:24, 28 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]

You are invited to the quarterly Conversation hour led by Maggie Dennis, Vice President of Community Resilience and Sustainability, on 14 December 2023 6 pm UTC.

Maggie and others from the Community Resilience and Sustainability team will discuss Trust and Safety, the Universal Code of Conduct, Committee Support, and Human Rights.

This conversation will happen on Zoom. If you are a Wikimedian in good standing (not Foundation or community banned), write to let us know you will be attending the conversation and/or share your questions at answers(_AT_) at least one hour before the conversation. Please place “CR&S” in the subject line. Someone will follow up with the Zoom details.

If you do choose to participate in this conversation, Maggie would like to bring some expectations to your attention:

I can't and won't discuss specific Trust and Safety cases. Instead, I can discuss Trust and Safety protocols and practices and approaches as well as some of the mistakes we've made, some of the things I'm proud of, and some of the things we're hoping to do.

I will not respond to comments or questions that are disrespectful to me, to my colleagues, or to anyone in our communities. I can talk civilly about our work even if you disagree with me or I disagree with you. I won't compromise on this.

You may view the conversation on YouTube and submit questions live in Zoom and on YouTube.

The recording, notes, and answers to questions not answered live will be available after the conversation ends, usually in one week. Notes from previous conversations can be found on Meta-wiki.


  • What does Trust & Safety do when UCoC violations are reported as happening between chapter members? Or between employees of chapters and the chapter leaders? Do you have any advice for chapter employees who feel they’ve been mistreated by their managers, especially if they have reason to fear retaliation?
This is a complicated question. I will try my best. UCoC violations on our sites may be handled by Trust and Safety, but they try to rely on local systems to handle violations - through local governance processes. Sometimes it is escalated to Trust and Safety to handle; sometimes when the Terms of Use are involved, then Foundation attorneys get involved. Conflict involving chapters is handled best by chapters themselves with their own conflict resolution policies. When it comes to conflict between chapters and employees, this is complicated. Affcom might be able to get involved. There might be various national/local and employment resolution practices that might need to be followed and can help. Chapters are independent entities in terms of internal employee matters. When there are such conflicts, Affcom may be a great option to start to request help - they may be able to recommend another option. If that does not work, you can reach out to Trust and safety but bear in mind that they have limitations on what case to handle.
  • To whom should a person speak to report mismanagement of funds or other malfeasance within a chapter?
Affcom is a good place to start. If the funds are from the Foundation, the Foundation's Grants team is a great contact. If it deals with trademark issues you can contact the Legal department through legal
  • In 2021, the legal team suspended NDA recognition to applicants who live in jurisdictions that have blocked access to Wikimedia projects. The Legal team noted that this is an immediate solution and there will be long-term solutions <>. After 2 years, could you share any updates with us?
From the legal end, there is a broader plan to review our NDA/confidentiality agreements and privacy policy over the next couple years (which could include reviewing this agreement, or dividing things up so that people in those regions could do some things and not others).
From a Trust and Safety lens, the current arrangement has worked reasonably well and will have to remain in place at least through the revision of the privacy policy next fiscal.
  • Some wiki sysops and also non-sysop users may access users' IP information or other PII information when processing requests for unblocking, account creation, etc. Is NDA required for these users? Or do they also need to meet other requirements?
All must sign NDAs. Legal department manages these but Trust and Safety operates them.
  • When the Foundation reviews a potential advocacy issue in support of wikimedians persecuted by government authorities and finds that there are safety issues preventing public advocacy, and there is a grassroots desire among the community to go forward with such advocacy with or without the Foundation's support by those who still do want to be sensitive to safety issues, is it appropriate to make an exception to the policy of discussing individual cases so that the community can become more cognizant of the safety issues involved?
There are occasions when the Foundation cannot make public statements. For example in certain situations where individuals have been imprisoned. Our Human Rights team has relationships with significant advocacy groups in the world which help guide us in what we do. Our mandate is clear as a nonprofit in terms of how we use our funds. There are also some factors that the Foundation thinks about - if we publicly get involved, what happens to other users, advocates, admins in the area or in that particular community? We may work with other partners and agencies that are better positioned to assist. The safety of our community is my top priority.
  • If not, in what other ways can the Foundation help community members, convinced that public advocacy such as a letter writing campaign is a necessary part of securing an early release of the victims, to understand the safety issues more fully?
Talking broadly about the reasons and rationale behind why we do or do not get involved. One of the side effects of now being taken seriously, is the Foundation and our users are now taken as serious threats. This has increased in the last few years. Here are some resources mentioned:
Global Advocacy Resources
Human Rights Team Digital Security Resources
Legal Foundation Policy and Political Association Guideline
Our team is happy to talk to people yet we have to be careful of how open we are to protect community members.
  • What would you say to those who find the authoritative research literature strongly in support of public advocacy as the most effective and indeed necessary means of supporting such victims?
There are differences of opinion and our partners differ in opinion occasionally as well. Some of them might not be taking in our own context. We have to think about informed consent from our volunteers - ranging from youth on the site to family members of users. We know the risks are real and I appreciate the wisdom of the approach.
Cameran: Naming and shaming was effective in the past, we do not know whether it will be effective in the future. There are organizations that are better placed to do public advocacy on human rights. The Foundation is not better placed to handle human rights situations effectively than the organizations with name recognition in the human rights field and the contacts. We have partnerships and relationships with these organizations.
  • Trust & Safety now has a Case Review Committee who can review many of their cases. What can be done when a movement organization like an arbitration committee or an affiliate investigates an issue in their community and a person isn’t satisfied that the outcome was fair? For example, if there is concern about the validity of the evidence submitted, to whom can a person turn for review?
Nasma: At the moment we are moving closer to the final draft for the U4C Charter. Part of their responsibility is to handle complaints if the local governance process has not been able to support the UCoC. Arbcom does not use the UCoC as the baseline, they have other factors. It is important to understand that there are clear rules on when the U4C will step in and handle some cases. Case review committee looks at appealable cases that the Trust and Safety team handle.
  • What, if anything, can the Human Rights Team do to support people who face different kinds of crises than you’ve described? I know the team provides support to people who face persecution as a result of good faith activities on the sites. What about people in war-torn countries like Palestine?
There is little we can do in a war zone. There are humanitarian organizations already there on the ground. We are also reaching out to the community members and informing them that we are here and this is what we can offer. This helps us to understand what help is needed and who can offer it. We are learning what we can do to support the efforts to see what we can do with the resources we have, given we are a small team and not in a humanitarian organization. Sometimes it can be offered by our partner organizations.
  • You lead a team that oversees Disinformation. How would your team handle a report that a group was organizing editing campaigns on a Wikipedia language project with which their own country was at war?
Ordinarily the report would go to ca and they will take a look. The disinformation team looks at coordinated campaigns of disinformation. They are looking for people who are coordinated to do disinformation; groups of people who are coordinating in an attempt to bias content. First, the disinformation team reaches out to inform administrators on the project and the team works with them to address the situation. We would not automatically assume that this group is undertaking disinformation unless we review the report. There is a team of experts who focus on this and they have language expertise.
  • Risker Update on Movement Charter Drafting Committee:
There will be a community session in February.
We are hoping to have a revised draft that the community can review.
We are grateful to the community for participating in this.
  • U4C Charter Update:
The Building committee has completed a draft
The draft will be shared with the community for ratification/vote
We are grateful for the work that the committee has done
  • Sexual Harassment: If there is a sexual harassment happened in one of the Wikimedia events, how it needs to be handled? I have read this Sexual_harassment#Request_for_the_contact/conduct_to_cease. The chapter handled this by creating a one year-ban to the perpetrator. But by now, the ban has expired. I also want to know what I can do to support the community member in making sure that the Wikimedia community is truly a safe space for everyone.
Different communities have different rules to how long a ban can be. Friendly space policy has guidelines on what should happen.
If the community has tackled a case and additional measures are necessary, Trust and Safety can review with next steps, up to issuing a global ban. The severity is what determines the action and the duration.
  • It is my understanding that the Chapter is responsible for reporting to the WMF, correct? What will happen to the Chapter if this is not done? What if this person is traumatized and does not want to be involved anymore?
Each chapter is unique. We do not know whether the chapter is required to report such harassment to the WMF. We will consult on this and revert. (Update: A chapter engaging in sexual harassment activity might violate their chapter agreement and as a result that chapter agreement might be revoked.) However, when the harassment happens in an event, they have to be reported to the WMF. It allows us to assess whether the action needs to trigger a future event ban.
We created the UCoC to try and create a safe space for all our members. We are sad when something happens and people have to stop contributing to the movement. If you do know of a situation like this where we can provide additional support, please reach out to us. We will try and see what we can do if the local governance processes have not worked.