On Friday, February 18, 2022, the Trust and Safety Policy Team hosted a Panel Q&A event with community members to discuss the relevance of the Universal Code of Conduct(UCoC) and Enforcement Guidelines, particularly to small and medium sized wikis. As you may be aware, the draft for the Enforcement Guidelines has been completed and is moving to a community ratification vote from 7 – 21 March 2022.
This panel discussion was organized as part of efforts to create awareness about the UCoC, its Enforcement Guidelines and the upcoming ratification vote. It had about 25 staff and volunteers attending with 4 panelists; Uzoma Ozurumba from the Igbo community, Ruby Brown from the Open Foundation West Africa, Chabota Kanguya from the Chichewa community and Nahid Sultan from the Bengali community. The event, which lasted for over an hour, covered various issues ranging from the importance of the existence of a UCoC to the need for small/medium wikis to participate in the ratification vote and get their views/interests represented.
One of the main topics of discussion was whether or not the UCoC and its Enforcement Guidelines are important/necessary. Uzoma remarked that the UCoC is particularly important for smaller wikis because they tend to be fragile and vulnerable so having a UCoC will create a culture of accountability, trust, inclusivity and safety. She also added that having the UCoC without the Enforcement Guidelines is like having a “toothless security/guard dog that can’t bark or bite to protect you”. Isaac mentioned that it will create a safer environment for contributors to collaborate in harmony with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Nahid also added that smaller wikis have fewer active users and thus fewer resources and are at risk for higher levels of harassment and toxicity so the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines would be useful at creating equitable standards across all communities.
On why it is necessary for (small/medium sized) communities to vote on the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines, panelists agreed that it is particularly important for community members from smaller wikis to vote to get their voices/views represented in the vote. Uzoma and Isaac particularly mentioned that since the UCoC and EG are going to be binding on everyone, consensus is very important hence the need for everyone to participate. Ruby also added that smaller wikis may feel that their votes could be insignificant because of their size but their opinion and vote still matters and are equally important.
We rounded up the discussion with questions on the U4C and UCoC related training for administrators and functionaries. Panelists echoed the need for that to exist especially for smaller wikis that may not have the existing structures and systems to such a committee to support them with dealing with these issues.
The ratification vote for the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines will be happening from March 7, 2022 to March 21, 2022. You can read more about how to vote, the UCoC and the Enforcement Guidelines to feel empowered to vote! Also, you can find a full recording of the panel discussion here.