In general discussing specific cases on public mailings lists is not useful at 
helping the situation (Pax is, of course, feel free to do so if they feel it 
would be right). I think if people want to help then thinking about, and 
talking about, ways to do so is the best way to tackle the problem. Those 
discussions (and possible solutions) can take many forms and while the inspire 
campaign right now is a perfect (and tailor made) opportunity to do so it is in 
now way the only one.

Some thoughts to help people having difficulty coming up with what to do:

1. Do you think that the social or policy rules that currently exist are not 
enough? Then talk about that on the pages and what you think should be changed 
(and why) and how to roll that out. Do we need another policy or a global one? 
Do we need to rewrite an old one? Should it be a local/global community policy 
or a part of the ToU? Something else entirely from the board?

2. Do you think that the current rules are enough but are not being enforced 
properly and/or not ABLE to be enforced properly? Then let's talk about what 
could help. Is it other community members ignoring or misunderstanding the 
rules? Is it people being able to evade too easily? Is it that those who 
enforce the rules get harassed themselves and back off? Are they just so 
overwhelmed that they can't keep up? Something else?

What would be good for this? Is it social pressure or support to enforce the 
rules already in play? A global arbcom type body? Better blocking tools? (do we 
have ideas on better how?) A "reporting" tool that reports to admins/the 
community in some fashion with the ability to escalate to the WMF (either 
harassment specific or made to deal with other reports as well such as 
vandalism or COI)? 

These and others have all been brought up to me in conversations by community 
members so I know people are thinking about it. We want to get it down where 
everyone can think about it. On a personal basis I think it's likely it's a mix 
of different things + something we haven't thought about before but we can only 
do so much at once obviously.

If someone sees a proposal that you think would cause more harm then good I 
would strongly encourage them to consider making other proposals that they 
think WOULD help rather then targeting and attacking those who created other 
proposals (or even attacking the proposals themselves). Doing so has a tendency 
only to help people feel harassed and attacked and moves them to belittle and 
ignore your concerns. What we need is more ideas, not more shit slung over the 

In the end I do agree that any idea that harassment is "not real" or not a 
major problem right now is, at best, naive and could overall be very dangerous 
not only to our users but the projects as a whole. That does not, of course, 
mean we know the answer. In fact, we know we don't, it's what we're (all) 
trying to figure out. 

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety
Sent from my iPhone

> On Jun 5, 2016, at 12:31 PM, Pine W <> wrote:
> Thanks, Patrick. The community regularly expends considerable volunteer
> time and effort to protect the intrgrity of article content and to deal
> with block evasion. I think it would be helpful if further efforts could be
> made to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of tools and processes
> for addressing block evasion, including the use of Legal Department
> resources as appropriate. Block evasion is a problem that affects many
> aspects of Wikimedia, including article integrity and loss of volunteer
> time as already mentioned, as well as the harms to harassment victims, the
> stress on the volunteer admins and functionaries, and negative impact on
> community population and health.
> Thanks for working on this. Is there anything more that you can do to
> assist with Pax's situation in particular?
> Pine
>> On Jun 5, 2016 11:11, "Patrick Earley" <> wrote:
>> Pine,
>> As many of our admins and functionaries are well aware, both the Wikimedia
>> sites, and the internet architecture as a whole, favour anonymity and
>> protection of privacy over the ability to track individuals.  When a user
>> is technically proficient in hiding themselves, platforms and even law
>> enforcement can have little luck in determining who or where they are.
>> Anonymity has great benefits, but also can allow great abuses.
>> There are of course "easy" solutions that would involve changes to our
>> site accessibility - for instance, requiring secondary identification, such
>> as social media accounts or verified emails.  However, those are decisions
>> that the community as a whole needs to discuss, and not something I or my
>> department can change unilaterally. That said, improving Wikimedia's
>> blocking tools and detection methods is an area where some progress can be
>> made.
>> One of the benefits that this Inspire campaign can provide is open
>> discussion and consideration of new approaches.
>> Pax, I am disheartened to see how some of the IdeaLabs are being used to
>> belittle this problem, and am working over the weekend to keep at least the
>> worst instances of abuse and hate-speech off of the pages :(
>> Best,
>>> On Sun, Jun 5, 2016 at 9:48 AM, Pine W <> wrote:
>>> Hi Pax and Pete,
>>> It sounds like part of the issue in this case may be that may we need
>>> more effective tools for dealing with troublemakers who are banned but
>>> continue to return and cause problems. I'm wondering if Patrick Early can
>>> comment on what efforts WMF is making in terms of dealing with persistent
>>> block evasion.
>>> Pine
>>> On Jun 5, 2016 07:13, "Pax Ahimsa Gethen" <>
>>> wrote:
>>>> I am defining harassment primarily as personal attacks, not merely
>>>> disputes (even strongly-worded disagreement) over content.
>>>> Some examples of what I consider harassment:
>>>> - Vandalizing an editor's user or talk page (hence my Inspire proposal:
>>>> )
>>>> - Making derogatory comments about an editor's gender, sex, race,
>>>> ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or (dis)ability
>>>> - Posting personal information about an editor that was gathered off-Wiki
>>>> - Evading bans with IP-hopping to do any of the above.
>>>> These actions not only cause "net harm to community health," they cause
>>>> unnecessary, avoidable harm to specific individuals, and discourage
>>>> marginalized people from participating in the project.
>>>> - Pax
>>>>> On 6/5/16 5:09 AM, Pine W wrote:
>>>>> Hi Pax,
>>>>> I agree that blaming the victim is an unsatisfactory resolution.
>>>>> On the other hand, defining what is meant by "incivility" and
>>>>> "harassment"
>>>>> can be very tricky. Just because there is a strong disagreement doesn't
>>>>> imply that people are being uncivil, and we cannot expect that no one
>>>>> will
>>>>> ever lose his or her temper when provoked. Similarly, a pattern of
>>>>> disagreement doesn't necessarily imply harassment, and the presumption
>>>>> of
>>>>> good faith is rebuttable which means that questioning the motives of
>>>>> others
>>>>> is occasionally OK.
>>>>> So, as Sumana once said, we have a tricky situation with regards to
>>>>> balancing free speech with hospitality.
>>>>> I think there are situations in which behavior is egregious enough that
>>>>> it
>>>>> is a net harm to community health and cannot be excused. For example,
>>>>> comments that demean someone on the basis of race, gender, age,
>>>>> nationality, or religious or political beliefs, are generally out of
>>>>> bounds.
>>>>> I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about how we should define
>>>>> harassment, and how we should seek to reduce the frequency of it on
>>>>> Wikimedia sites.
>>>>> Thank you for speaking up.
>>>>> Pine
>>>>> On Jun 4, 2016 19:15, "Pax Ahimsa Gethen" <
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Hi all, I'm Pax aka Funcrunch [1]. I've been a Wikipedian since 2008,
>>>>>> but
>>>>>> this is my first post to this mailing list. (I've been reading list
>>>>>> messages on the archives page occasionally for the last several
>>>>>> months.)
>>>>>> I'm writing because of a concern I have about the community's attitude
>>>>>> toward harassment on Wikipedia. I got a Wikinotice about this month's
>>>>>> Inspire Campaign, which specifically asks: "What ideas do you have
>>>>>> that can
>>>>>> help prevent and generally address cases of harassment?" [2] As a
>>>>>> victim of
>>>>>> several of the harassing behaviors mentioned as examples - " name
>>>>>> calling,
>>>>>> threats, discrimination, stalking, and impersonation" - I was
>>>>>> encouraged to
>>>>>> see that this problem was (hopefully) being taken seriously by the
>>>>>> Foundation, and submitted a proposal.
>>>>>> Looking at the other proposals submitted, I soon noticed that the most
>>>>>> popular "ideas" on the list included complaints of "political
>>>>>> correctness"
>>>>>> and suggesting we shouldn't be so sensitive [3], and that we should
>>>>>> just
>>>>>> get some sleep and exercise and reconsider why we're so offended. [4]
>>>>>> (That
>>>>>> first "idea" has since been recategorized by a WMF staffer to remove it
>>>>>> from the current campaign.)
>>>>>> It really bothers me that a campaign specifically designed to combat
>>>>>> harassment - which is a very serious and real problem for people of
>>>>>> marginalized identities like myself [5]- is being co-opted by people
>>>>>> saying
>>>>>> things like " Harassment doesn't cause actual damage," " The existence
>>>>>> of
>>>>>> harassment is an opportunity to improve ourselves further through
>>>>>> self-discipline," and " Harassment on Wikimedia has been exaggerated."
>>>>>> I
>>>>>> suggest that people who honestly believe this, but are willing to
>>>>>> accept
>>>>>> that they might be wrong, read a recent essay about online harassment
>>>>>> by
>>>>>> Anil Dash: "The Immortal Myths About Online Abuse." [6]
>>>>>> I'm not "looking to be offended," and I'm not trying to "censor" people
>>>>>> who simply disagree with me. I'm trying to help build an encyclopedia,
>>>>>> without being harassed by block-evading stalkers hurling hate speech my
>>>>>> way. The existing tools and policies are *not* sufficient to deal with
>>>>>> this. That's (what I thought was) the point of this Inspire campaign,
>>>>>> not
>>>>>> complaining about censorship and " crybullying."
>>>>>> I've posted a much shorter version of this concern on the Inspire
>>>>>> Campaign
>>>>>> talk page [7], so feel free to weigh in there instead of here on the
>>>>>> list
>>>>>> if that's more appropriate. Thank you for reading.
>>>>>> - Pax, aka Funcrunch
>>>>>> [1]
>>>>>> [2]
>>>>>> [3]
>>>>>> !
>>>>>> [4]
>>>>>> [5] Queer, trans, and black, in my case.
>>>>>> [6]
>>>>>> [7]
>>>> --
>>>> Pax Ahimsa Gethen | |
>>>> _______________________________________________
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>> --
>> Patrick Earley
>> Senior Community Advocate
>> Wikimedia Foundation
>> (1) 415 975 1874
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