My name is Maggie Dennis. I’m the Vice President of Community Resilience
and Sustainability at the Wikimedia Foundation. I oversee the
Foundation’s Trust and Safety teams (operations and policy), the Community
Development team, and the upcoming Foundation Human Rights lead.
On December 2nd, I met with representatives of the Wikimedia LGBT+ User
Group along with several Trust and Safety personnel, including Global Head
Jan Eißfeldt, to understand some of the challenges faced by the members of
the group as volunteers in our international movement. It is apparent
that many volunteers openly identifying as LGBTQIA+ are targeted and
attacked for their identities, with transgender, non-binary, queer, and
queer feminist editors in particular at higher risk for such abuse. The
members of the group who met with us voiced concerns about the safety and
wellbeing of other marginalized communities and groups as well.
In my role, and speaking for the Foundation, I am writing today to restate,
reinforce, and firmly assert our commitment to supporting the LGBTQIA+
volunteers in our movement, as well as others who face exclusion and
hostility on the basis of identity factors.
The Wikimedia movement is based on the value of inclusivity, that anyone
may play a part in not only receiving but curating and sharing knowledge.
What volunteers have been able to accomplish in Wikimedia projects is
extraordinary, but the movement will never reach its full potential if we
do not close the diversity gap which our communities defined so ably in the
Movement Strategy process. There continue to be barriers in our movement
for LGBTQIA+, women, indigenous communities, and other underrepresented
groups. We as a movement have been called upon by a broad and diverse group
of our own movement members to promote inclusivity and reduce harms to our
In light of this, one of my teams has been directed by the Board of
Trustees to (among other requests) facilitate the drafting of the Universal
Code of Conduct called for in the Movement Strategy recommendations.
This collaboratively drafted document underwent significant community
review in September and October and is currently under review by the Board.
We will next be launching a second phase of that work in January, meant to
result in enforcement pathways that will make our projects safe spaces for
Following the LGBT+ User Group meeting, we are also building into our plans
facilitated support for the LGBT+ User Group and other Wikimedia affiliate
organizations focused on marginalized communities to come together to
discuss better mechanisms for supporting volunteers who are targeted on the
basis of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, ethnicity or other
identify factors. We expect to solidify plans and launch conversations in
January and will be putting out information on how to participate.
In addition, we see the urgency and the opportunity to do more to address
the needs of the LGBT+ User Group and others. The Foundation’s Community
Resilience & Sustainability function will be connecting more closely with
the LGBT+ User Group going forward to ensure that the Foundation’s staff
better understand the needs of this community, especially but not solely in
our professional Trust & Safety work.
We are committed to supporting volunteers in participating safely in our
movement and want to be sure that we do not, through lack of understanding,
ourselves do harm. This includes:
adopting and disseminating to staff best-practice terminology when
conducting community surveys,
ensuring that volunteers have easier access to existing reporting
structures now, even as we build other enforcement pathways in the UCoC,
being vigilant that incidents where individuals are targeted for
identity factors are properly recognized and addressed in our Trust &
Safety systems, and
exploring peer support options.
I thank the members of the user group for inviting us to join them. I’m
excited and energized by that conversation and looking forward to finding
ways to improve. I hope others in the community will join in the publicly
hosted UCoC discussions starting early in the new year to improve the
safety of all community members. It will help to ensure that volunteers
across the movement, and in all movement spaces online and off, have an
opportunity to contribute safely. People should feel welcomed to contribute
to our collective and important mission of delivering the sum of all
knowledge to everyone.
P.S. This statement is also on Meta, at
where translation is being enabled today. If you are interested in helping
translate, please do!
 I’m borrowing the language of the UN, here:
Vice President, Community Resilience & Sustainability
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.