This email might interest others who would like to know what next steps WMF is considering address this set of issues, in terms of policies, practices, and technical developments.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Patrick Earley <>
Date: Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 12:30 PM
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Statement by Wikimedia Board on Healthy Community Culture, Inclusivity, and Safe Spaces
To: Wikimedia Mailing List <>

I want to thank the Board for this letter, and for their focus on this

What specific work should we be doing to make progress around this issue?
Harassment is a complex problem, and there are no easy solutions.  Nor is
there likely to be a single solution; improvement will have to be made
through a number of initiatives and coordinated approaches.

Wikimedia volunteers have offered many different approaches to the problem,
through consultations, workshops, the Inspire campaign, conference
sessions, and discussion. The Support and Safety team has been collating
these ideas, exploring the issue in the broader context of online
communities, and delving into academic research on the topic.

>From these conversations and research, we have identified some
categories/areas for improvement:

   - Better blocking tools and detection - the Wikimedia community works
   hard on the front lines keeping our users safe from harassment, through
   monitoring noticeboards and recent changes for problems, investigating
   “sock” accounts used to abuse contributors, and placing blocks on
   problematic users. Improvements to blocking tools, and the ability to
   detect harassing comments sooner can empower contributors to be more
   effective at these tasks.

   - Reporting and evaluation tools - The current systems for reporting
   harassment are overburdened and can be unclear to users, and there are
   limited tools that admins and stewards can use to evaluate the cases and
   make good decisions. New tools, developed in collaboration with
   functionaries and communities, can improve the experience of reporting,
   investigating and managing harassment cases.

   - Training for better handling of both in-person and online harassment -
   Better training can give contributors the tools and skills to handle
   harassment situations quickly and empathetically, document cases, and
   provide good advice to targets of harassment.

   - Policy and enforcement - Wikimedia communities have developed a
   variety of processes, policies, and approaches to dealing with behavioural
   problems.  As a movement, we need to identify which are working well, and
   share those successes. We also need to identify where our approaches are
   not working well, identify the problems, and try new solutions based on
   research and data.

   - Coordination with other platforms on harassment approaches and tools,
   and keeping up with current academic research - Our communities are not the
   only ones struggling with the problem of online harassment.  We need to
   work more closely with other platforms, researchers, online communities,
   and experts to make sure we are aware of successful techniques, new
   research, and useful tools.

The above areas are not the only areas where improvement can be made -
right now, contributors are brainstorming other approaches through the
Community Wishlist process.[1]  We also encourage contributors to reach out
to the Support and Safety team at with ideas, or contact
me privately at


On Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 12:26 PM, Sydney Poore <>

> Thank you Christophe and the rest of the Wikimedia Foundation trustees
> for dedicating time and thought to this important topic.
> I'm optimistic that if we collaborate together as a community we can
> make a difference in the level of harassment on Wikimedia projects and
> maybe even other parts of the internet.
> Sydney
> Sydney Poore
> User:FloNight
> On Thu, Dec 8, 2016 at 3:18 PM, Christophe Henner <>
> wrote:
> > Hello everyone,
> >
> > As many of you know, over the past couple of years the Wikimedia
> Foundation
> > has taken a focused look at community health—particularly in regards to
> > harassment. The Foundation's Board has been monitoring and discussing
> this
> > issue over the past year with great interest. We have prepared a
> statement
> > offering our thoughts on this topic, and providing a clear mandate for
> the
> > Foundation’s leadership to fully engage on this issue.
> >
> > Our statement is below and has been posted on Meta-Wiki, where it is set
> up
> > for translation:
> >
> Board_noticeboard/November_2016_-_Statement_on_Healthy_Community_Culture,_
> Inclusivity,_and_Safe_Spaces
> >
> > Since the Foundation was established, we have been invested in building a
> > positive community culture. As part of these efforts, we have monitored
> the
> > projects for instances of harassment, escalating our capacity to respond
> in
> > recent years. Thanks to the work of the Foundation's Support and Safety
> > Team, we now have data in the form of the 2015 Harassment Survey[1] about
> > the nature of the issue. This has enabled us to identify key areas of
> > concern, and step up our response appropriately. This research shows that
> > harassment has a negative impact on participation in our projects. This
> has
> > implications for our ability to collect, share, and disseminate free
> > knowledge in support of the Wikimedia vision. Our statement speaks to the
> > Board's duty to help the Foundation fulfill its mission.
> >
> > The Board is committed to making our communities safer and will not
> accept
> > harassment and toxic behavior on Wikimedia projects. We believe this
> matter
> > deserves the Foundation's attention and resources, and have confirmed
> this
> > responsibility at our latest Board meeting on November 13th. The
> questions
> > that lay before us all now are how to best address this threat, rather
> than
> > if we should attempt to do so.
> >
> > The Board especially appreciates and applauds the work being done to
> > address this important issue by many community leaders across the
> movement
> > and teams within the Foundation. We look forward to seeing this
> cooperative
> > work not only continue, but expand. Finally, we encourage everyone who is
> > interested in helping the Foundation address this threat to our vision
> and
> > mission to engage in the upcoming discussions around this issue.
> >
> > On behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees,
> >
> > Christophe Henner, Board Chair
> >
> > María Sefidari, Board Vice Chair
> >
> > [1]
> >
> >
> > Statement by the Wikimedia Board on Healthy Community Culture,
> Inclusivity,
> > and Safe Spaces
> >
> >
> > At our Board meeting on November 13, and in Board meetings in September
> and
> > June, we spent considerable time discussing the issues of harassment and
> > hostility on the internet generally, and more specifically on the
> Wikimedia
> > projects.
> >
> > This is an important issue. Approximately 40% of internet users, and 70%
> of
> > women internet users, have personally experienced harassment.[1] Of
> people
> > who have reported experiencing harassment on Wikimedia projects, more
> than
> > 50% reported decreasing their participation in our community.[2] Based on
> > this and other research, we conclude that harassment and toxic behavior
> on
> > the Wikimedia projects negatively impacts the ability of the Wikimedia
> > projects to collect, share, and disseminate free knowledge. This behavior
> > is contrary to our vision and mission.
> >
> > Our communities deserve safe spaces in which they can contribute
> > productively and debate constructively. It is our belief that the
> Wikimedia
> > Foundation should be proactively engaged in eliminating harassment,
> > promoting inclusivity, ensuring a healthier culture of discourse, and
> > improving the safety of Wikimedia spaces. We request management to
> dedicate
> > appropriate resources to this end.
> >
> > We urge every member of the Wikimedia communities to collaborate in a way
> > that models the Wikimedia values of openness and diversity, step forward
> to
> > do their part to stop hostile and toxic behavior, support people who have
> > been targeted by such behavior, and help set clear expectations for all
> > contributors.
> >
> > [1] 2014 Pew Research Center Study, found at:
> >
> >
> > [2] 2015 WMF Harassment Survey, found at:
> >
> Harassment_Survey_2015_-_Results_Report.pdf
> >
> >
> >
> > Christophe HENNER
> > Chair of the board of trustees
> >
> > +33650664739
> >
> > twitter *@schiste*        skype *christophe_henner*
> > _______________________________________________
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Patrick Earley
Senior Community Advocate
Wikimedia Foundation
(1) 415 975 1874
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