In line with this discussion, I have currently created a global RfC for the
community to discuss this topic on Meta:


User:Vermont <> on Wikimedia
they/them/theirs (why pronouns matter

On Wed, Jun 1, 2022 at 2:03 PM Maggie Dennis <> wrote:

> Hello all,
> My name is Maggie Dennis, and I am the Vice President of the Community
> Resilience and Sustainability group at the Wikimedia Foundation. Among the
> teams I oversee is the Trust & Safety
> <> unit. This team
> ensures that our projects are compliant with applicable law and also explores
> ways of keeping the Wikimedia community safe and works to minimize
> exposure to harm for volunteer and reader communities.
> I’m reaching out today to discuss a potential gap in volunteer community
> policy that my teams observed while evaluating and acting on a Trust &
> Safety investigation. We wanted to bring this up in case volunteer
> community members would like to consider if this is indeed a concern that
> you wish to address. Before getting to that, let me give you a little
> context on the case.
> As many of you know, we are not usually able to talk about office actions
> <> due to legal
> limitations. However, I am able to speak a little more to this situation
> since the majority of the information around this case is already public.
> Today, the Foundation issued four global bans and three conduct warnings
> following an investigation into the activities of individuals found to be
> linked to the “WikiZédia” network. Based on our investigation, we concluded
> that this network attempted to use Wikimedia platforms for a targeted
> disinformation campaign engineered to influence the outcome of a national
> election. The banned users’ actions, which took place over an eight-month
> period until their community-backed blocks in February 2022, violated
> several of our Terms of Use, which resulted in the Foundation’s office
> action.
> Many of our projects have excellent policies and systems in place to
> handle such situations. Certainly French Wikipedia was on top of this. We
> greatly admire and appreciate the leadership of community members in
> identifying and confronting this situation locally. Wikimedians who work
> directly with content are often the first to see evidence of such
> campaigns, and there are many volunteers with much experience in
> identifying problem behaviours and stopping them. By the time Trust &
> Safety was asked to investigate by some of those volunteers, much of the
> work on the local level had already been done.
> However, one of the questions Trust & Safety asks itself in any case
> investigation (disinformation or behavioral) is whether appropriate
> community options exist that meet the needs of the movement and community
> members across it. In this case, we wondered if the current community
> processes support cases where individuals are behaving in ways that suggest
> they will never be good faith contributors on any project.
> To go more into depth on what I mean: It is not uncommon for users who
> create problems on one project to move to another, and for some communities
> it is even regarded as a potential path to rehabilitation. Community
> applied global bans are, under the existing policy
> <>, “exclusively applied where
> multiple independent communities have previously elected to ban a user for
> a pattern of abuse.” (emphasis in original) If an individual is here as
> part of a concerted group effort to undermine our very mission, should it
> be easier for community members to assess global banning before they carry
> that behavior from one project to another?
> Foundation policies do permit banning individuals for behavior on one
> project and sometimes require it, especially where Terms of Use violations
> are egregious and threats of or acts of violence are involved. This is a
> gap where we can step in. Our goal is to support communities where we are
> needed and where we can.
> However, we wanted to call out  the question of whether community global
> bans should be allowed in cases where the behavior is severe but limited to
> one project, in case volunteer community members thought it worth
> discussing the existing community ban policy. Especially in cases of
> disinformation , these are not always the kinds of situations governed by
> our Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC), which speaks to the way users treat
> each other but not the content.
> If there is a desire for the Foundation to support  a conversation about
> making such a change to community global ban policy, I hope we would be
> able to do so in the near future, as our Trust & Safety Policy team is
> dedicated to supporting the evolution of community policy as well as
> Foundation policy. However, I’m not suggesting that the Foundation needs to
> be involved at all. Trust & Safety Policy is a small team, currently very
> busy with the UCoC, and if they are not needed, there is no reason that
> this conversation can’t happen spontaneously. We will support if needed,
> but really just wanted to bring this question up for your consideration.
> In this case, again, we do want to thank the French Wikipedia contributors
> who protected their communities and our collective readers by identifying
> and addressing the issue first as well as bringing the matter to us.
> We encourage those who feel unsafe on Wikimedia projects to use local
> community processes or, absent such, to contact  the Wikimedia Foundation
> for assistance. The Foundation and the community will work, together or in
> parallel, to enhance the safety of all users whenever necessary with
> whatever means we can. To contact the Trust & Safety team about a safety
> issue, you can write to To contact the Trust & Safety
> Disinformation team about a specific disinformation issue, you can write to
> Best regards,
> Maggie
> --
> Maggie Dennis
> She/her/hers
> Vice President, Community Resilience & Sustainability
> Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
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