Suggestions to improve Wikimedia Space Guidelines

I think this is vital to the success of this space. (I love saying “this space”! :smiley: )

This is something that can rapidly evolve - what is very obvious is that we will need a lot of moderators - and that they will need some very precise, simple steps, that they can follow. Ideally not more than 5 - and also a very clear link to 2 simple rules for everyone.

The commuity guidelines is displayed to everyone during their first two posts. The problem with this is that it is way too long and detailed, and I would bet money that more than 95% of members will not read it - but it is relevant and useful, especially to potential moderators. (Maybe we can ask those who actually read it if they would like to become moderators?)

If it is preceded by 2 simple and clear points, then it will be more effective. It is clear that a lot of thought has gone into this platform - and the default suggestions are good:

  • Be kind to your fellow community members.
  • Constructive criticism is welcome, but criticize ideas , not people.

The question is, can we improve on this - make it more prominent and relevant to our community. I don’t know. Perhaps:

  1. This forum is governed by the Wikimedia Friendly Space policy.
  2. If at any time you feel treated unfairly, or threatened, please click here or call your local authority

Perhaps something to coordinate with WMF Trust and Safety team too.

But we need more than just guidelines - like 5 concrete steps for example:

  1. Does the post violate guidelines?
  2. Try to resolve with the poster - or refer issue to another moderator if you can’t.
  3. Consult with moderation committee.
  4. Redact post and issue a warning and inform violator of why and how they can resolve.
  5. Issue bans of increasing length - and provide violator with resources capable of helping them rehabilitate and become a constructive contributor.

Something that irks me in many communities is the way we treat offenders - without a growth mindset - like they are static and will never change. If we can just turn one insensitive person into a more sensitive or empathic person, then all the steps we can take to give that a better chance of happening, will be worth the time it took by everyone.

This is something that’s sorely lacking in the world today, IMHO - and for good reason - it goes hand in hand with a “consumption” mindset - so it should be no surprise that our organizations treat people with the same mindset. If there’s any community that stand a better chance than most to successfully reverse this, it is Wikimedia - we are already more diverse and inclusive than most.

Let’s stive to be better, always - and dedicate valuable time and resources to this.


(I took the liberty to detach this post from Facebook community rules best practices for further discussion.)

Hi @Dagelf, thanks for taking the time to provide this feedback. You raise some important points. I’ve been mulling over your suggestions and have some follow-up thoughts.

We have started to compile a working document of instructions, best practices, explanations of moderator tools, based on our limited experiences and, in large part, on Discourse’s moderator guide. We are intentionally not building out anything formal at this stage, as it’s critical that the Wikimedia Space moderator guide be developed and refined with community moderators.

I think you’re right that there’s room for improvement on the education reminders for new users. We could pull a version of the language we used to have on the welcome banner (now moved to the footer) and combine it with some of the principles that are already there, along with some of your suggestions:

  • Wikimedia Space is a safe space. All participants are responsible for building a place that is welcoming and friendly to everyone. See our guidelines for more information.
  • Constructive criticism is welcome, but criticize ideas, not people.
  • If at any time you feel you are being treated unfairly, message the Space moderators group.

What do you think about something along these lines? In your mind, does that more fully sum up the Space expectations for posting?

We are working on coordinating with Trust and Safety as well for emergency cases.

In terms of concrete steps for resolving conflict, there are four outlined in the “Report a problem” section of the guidelines, which underscore the capacity for confidential reporting, if that is preferred by the user. Based on your suggestions, we could probably have a point about progressive discipline. And possibly move these steps to somewhere more visible? Possibly to the first section of the Guidelines?

Curious to hear your feedback on these proposed changes and look forward to others weighing in as well.


“…based on our limited experiences and, in large part, on Discourse’s moderator guide…” 18 years of Wikipedia. 300 Languages/Cultures. And you are starting at Point 0 & Discourse, Facebook, Reddit… :-/

As long as a discussion is driven by argument, there is no problematic user, only insufficient moderation.

Definition #SmartSetting

  1. Computer mediated Communication
  2. Acceptance to work on a common Question (Lemma, Topic, Question)
  3. Commitment without binding

Definition #CommunityCare

  1. To be a Party Host and
  2. To be a Traffic Cop (Not Police Officer ;-)
  3. Always be a Full-time Enabler

#agree2disagree (wikipedia is not paper ;-)

If it can be assumed that content-related conflicts have the goal of discovering, describing and weighing arguments:

  • content conflicts can not lead to the exclusion of accounts
  • the procedure for elaborating arguments must be known
  • the procedure in dealing with conflicts must be clear

For example:

  1. Completion of a specific question (Lemma)
  2. Discussion (“backside” of a Lemma)
  3. Version History (The genesis of the text)
  4. Report of unproductive conflicts (vandalism report)
  5. Clarification (third opinion)
  6. Mediation
  7. Apology
  8. Reconciliation

(It is not legitimate to block a user as long as arguments are apparent. The blocking administrator would have to be able to prove that no new, not yet recorded, arguments are recognizable.)

If you keep reading after that sentence, you will see:

The guide as it stands now is a skeleton introduction to Discourse’s moderator tools and how to make the most of them. Essentially, it’s what Wikimedia community knowledge and history don’t cover. The actual practices will be developed based on all that community knowledge you’re referencing (via the global moderators group that has yet to be formed). This is precisely why the guide hasn’t been built out so far.

Thanks for also sharing some of terminology here.

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so: let’s start with the beginning (of modern community guidlines):


#agree2disagree @wikimedia2030 radical inclusionism ()( WIKIPEDIA IS NOT PAPER

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