Wikimedia is writing new policies in order to fight Wikipedia harassment

Wikipedia plans to split down on harassment and other “toxic” conduct with a new code of conduct. The particular Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, which oversees Wikipedia among some other projects, voted on Friday to adopt a more official moderation process. The foundation will set up the details associated with that process by the particular end of 2020, and until then, it’s tasked with enforcing stopgap anti-harassment policies.

“Harassment, toxic behavior, and incivility in the Wikimedia movement are contrary to our shared values and detrimental to our vision and mission,” said the board in a statement. “The board does not believe we have made enough progress toward creating welcoming, inclusive, harassment-free spaces in which people can contribute productively and debate constructively.”

The trustee board gave the Wikimedia Foundation four specific directives. It’s supposed to draft a “binding minimum set of standards” for behavior on its platforms, formed by input from the community. It requires to “ban, sanction, or otherwise limit the access” of people who split that code, as well as create a evaluation process that involves the community. And it should “significantly increase support for and collaboration with community functionaries” during moderation. Beyond individuals directives, the Wikimedia Foundation can also be supposed to put more resources straight into its Trust and Safety group, including more staff and much better training tools.

The trustee board says its goal is definitely “developing sustainable practices and tools that eliminate harassment, toxicity, and incivility, promote inclusivity, cultivate respectful discourse, reduce harms to participants, protect the projects from disinformation and bad actors, and promote trust in our projects.”

Wikipedia’s volunteer community could be highly dedicated but intensely combative, launching edit wars more than controversial topics and harshly enforcing editorial standards in a way that may drive away new users. The Wikimedia Foundation listed harassment as one factor at the rear of its relative lack of female plus gender-nonconforming editors, who have complained to be singled out for abuse. At the particular same time, the project grew out of a freewheeling community-focused ethos — and many customers object to the kind of top-down observance you’d find on a commercial internet platform.

These problems came to a head a year ago, when the Wikimedia Foundation suspended a respected but abrasive editor which other users accused of relentless nuisance. The intervention bypassed Wikipedia’s regular community arbitration process, and several managers resigned during the backlash that followed.

The panel of trustees doesn’t mention that will controversy, saying only that the election “formalizes years’ of longstanding efforts by individual volunteers, Wikimedia affiliates, Foundation staff, and others to stop harassment and promote inclusivity on Wikimedia projects.” But on a discussion page, a single editor cited the suspension to dispute that the Wikimedia Foundation shouldn’t hinder Wikipedia’s community moderation — while some said a formal code associated with conduct would have reduced the popular confusion and hostility around this.

Amid all this, Wikipedia is becoming one of the internet’s most widely reliable platforms. YouTube, for instance, uses Wikipedia pages in order to rebut conspiracy videos. That’s elevated the stakes and created a massive incentive for disinformation artists to the particular site. Friday’s vote suggests the Wikimedia Foundation will take a more energetic role in moderating the platform, even when we don’t know exactly how.

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