Wikipedia Creates Code Of Conduct, Now Has To Work Out How To Implement It

Photo by Lorenzo Di Cola / NurPhoto via Getty Images

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Wikipedia is the latest platform to implement a code of conduct aimed at rooting out misinformation and harassment.

The new rules are based on existing guidelines and, according to Wikipedia, were created by more than 1,500 volunteers from 19 different Wikipedia projects from five continents and 30 languages.

“The Universal Code of Conduct is an important step in developing our mission to create a welcoming, safe and inclusive environment for our contributors and a more open and powerful free knowledge movement,” said María Sefidari, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Wikimedia Foundation.

“To create effective guidelines, we have worked closely with our global volunteer communities to learn their challenges and discuss ways how they can be addressed. The final code codifies their ideas and feedback in order to ensure equal access to knowledge around the world To improve the world. ”

The code prohibits all common suspects: insults, sexual harassment, threats, doxxing and trolling – as well as abuse of power and vandalism of content.

“Our new Universal Code of Conduct creates binding standards to improve behavior on Wikimedia projects and empower our communities to combat harassment and negative behavior across the Wikimedia movement,” said Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation.

“Through these efforts, we can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for contributors and readers, and a more representative source of knowledge for the world.”

The website recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and now contains more than 6.2 million English-language articles alone. It is accessed by around 1.5 billion unique devices from around the world and has around 280,000 editors.

It was generally a friendly place, although some editors, especially women, have reported harassment. A 2019 report by the University of Washington’s Information School found that many editors felt unsafe and had received some death threats.

The objectives of the new code of conduct are of course admirable. However, as platforms from Twitter to Parler have discovered, putting such rules into practice can be difficult.

And Wikipedia has not yet decided how to implement the code, and is now planning a consultation on how local and regional projects can determine accountability and set enforcement strategies. She hopes to have an enforcement proposal ready by June this year.

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