Apr 20, 2021

The Universal Code of Conduct

The Universal Code of Conduct – from words to actions

The heartbeat of Wikimedia projects are their volunteers. As the contributors of Wikimedia content, they create, share, and maintain the wiki pages that provide free knowledge to the world. Yet to have a global body of free knowledge that is representative of the world’s diverse knowledge and experiences, we need to have a platform where everyone feels safe and welcome in contributing. The Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC) is a first of its kind global conduct policy effort to make this vision a reality. 

The Universal Code of Conduct (UCoC) is a policy initiative to provide a universal baseline of acceptable behavior across all Wikimedia projects. The project began as part of the 2018-2020 movement strategy process, where “Provide for Safety and Inclusion”  was prioritized as a key area of change within the movement to achieve by 2030 . To support this recommendation, the Wikimedia Foundation is supporting a volunteer-driven process to create a code and put it into action across all Wikimedia projects. 

The first step in the Universal Code of Conduct project was to create the code itself. Behavior policies – and how they are enforced – vary widely across Wikimedia projects. To create the code, the Wikimedia Foundation led wide-reaching community conversations and facilitated a drafting committee in June-October 2020. The final product is the result of collaboration across hundreds of volunteers, dozens of cultures, and over twenty languages. Together it acknowledges the importance of universal standards for behavior on our platform, and and lists behaviors like insults, sexual harassment, and doxing as unacceptable. In February 2021, the Universal Code of Conduct was approved  by the Board of Trustees and made active across all projects. 

For the rest of 2021, the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia movement are working on how to enforce the code. Coming up with the right solutions is a tough challenge. From February – May 2021, communities across the world, including Wikimedia affiliates, functionaries, and editors, are discussing a set of key enforcement questions, such as how to create secure reporting pathways, how to handle reports, whether there should be a global enforcement body, and if so, how it would work. To date, these conversations have included facilitated discussions in eleven languages , a summary of feedback on enforcement pathways from Phase 1, research into behavior enforcement on other technology platforms, surveys for affiliate organizations, and on-wiki discussions.  

This feedback will be used by another volunteer/staff drafting committee to outline enforcement pathways between April and July. By mid-year, the draft enforcement pathways will be translated and shared back to volunteers for a round of community feedback before it is finalized and sent to the Board for ratification.  
As of April 2021, we have launched a round of on-wiki consultations (more info here) to learn even more about enforcement needs in Wikimedia communities before drafting begins. The UCoC team is also currently recruiting volunteers for our Phase 2 drafting committee. If you are passionate about building a safe, equitable movement, please check out our call for committee members here.

Nov 17, 2020

Twenty-two Chapters on the First Twenty Years

Twenty-two Chapters on the First Twenty Years of Wikipedia

How Wikimedians Came Together to Celebrate the First Twenty Years of Wikipedia with a new book, Wikipedia @ 20: Stories of an Incomplete Revolution.

“Wikipedia has gone from being a punch line about the unreliability of people on the internet to becoming one of the most trusted sites online.” –

Katherine Maher

Wikipedia’s 20th birthday is still a couple of months away but many of us could not wait to celebrate! Because this is such an enormous birthday we decided to celebrate in a big way: we published a book. By we I mean over 30 contributors from across the movement – edited by Joseph Reagle and myself, Jackie Koerner.

Two years ago a Call for Participation began the effort. The responses revealed artfully written essays. Each one crafted a picture larger than we imagined. Some describe empowered connections between activism and education. Others chronicle the struggle between authorship and systemic power structures. Contributors showed strength, knowledge, and resilience forged through creating something new in a sea of skeptics.

Many of the contributors make use of Wikipedia as part of their work: scholars, teachers, librarians, journalists, and activists. Many contributors are more than one of these things. This variety is a strength. Written by contributors from all backgrounds, and intended for you – Wikimedians wanting to reflect on the contributions of peers, the projects we find ourselves dedicating incalculable hours to, and the broad and swift river of the Wikimedia movement over the last twenty years.

I want to highlight something from the preface of the book. It’s a great example of the kind of work that our projects and communities embody.

“We hope you will enjoy this unusual collection. It was produced in the wiki-spirit of open collaboration, contains varied voices, and speaks to insights from hindsight and visions for the future. What might you learn in reading these pages? Though Wikipedia was revolutionary twenty years ago, it has yet to become the revolution we need. The important work of sharing knowledge, connecting people, and bridging cultures continues.”

With the approach of Wikipedia’s anniversary, we aspired to create an accessible and coherent work. Gita Devi Manaktala, MIT Press’s editorial director, suggested we make use of PubPub, a new online collaborative publishing platform. Each essay began as a proposed abstract; those selected received editorial feedback. PubPub hosted drafts for peer, public, and editorial review. Finally, revised essays underwent external review before the editorial team made selections for the printed book.

One thing I have learned working with Wikipedia is the immense creativity of Wikipedia contributors. I hope this collection of essays inspires you to do something of your own to celebrate Wikipedia. Think about all the partnerships, edit-a-thons, hackathons, conferences, tools, etc. built over these past twenty years. Is Wikipedia’s birthday a time to gather together to create something new for your favorite free knowledge community? I think so.

With that encouragement to create something, I must acknowledge the demands experienced by volunteers within the community. The ability to volunteer poses challenges, more for some of you than others. Additionally, this year has provided unexpected obstacles in uncountable forms. If you have an idea but feel stuck about how to start or frustrated at the lack of time or resources, I hear you and I see you. Let me know how I can support you.

The open-access edition of this book is supported by generous funding from Knowledge Unlatched, the Northeastern University Communication Studies Department, and a Wikimedia Foundation rapid grant.

Wikipedia @ 20 – Stories of an Incomplete Revolution is available from MIT Press. The book is published with a CC-BY-NA license. The online version includes the essays in the book and a few that did not make it into the print versionIt can be found on PubPub.

Jul 16, 2020

Simplifying research needs: The Wikipedia Library

Simplifying your research needs: The Wikipedia Library launches new technical improvements and partnerships

Encountering a paywall when looking for reliable sources can be a frustrating, limiting roadblock during the editing process. Especially during the ongoing pandemic, finding a local library or institution with the right subscriptions can be a real challenge. The Wikipedia Library, a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, provides solutions for editors by offering free access to content from many of the world’s leading publishers and aggregators, including more than 100,000 unique periodicals, books, archives, and other collections.

Today, we are excited to announce new technical improvements to the Library Card platform that will make most content accessible using just your Wikipedia login. Additionally, editors can now qualify for instant access to some collections with no application needed through the Library Bundle. We are also making six new publisher partners available, including Springer Nature (on a one-year pilot) and ProQuest. Log in now to see if you qualify for access, and read on for more information!

IP-based access

The changes we’ve deployed to the Library Card platform will address previous issues limiting access: before, editors had to sign up for accounts on a per-collection basis, and experienced long turnaround times. With IP-based access and the Library Bundle, editors can use one key to unlock many collections.

IP-based access allows users to use their Wikimedia login for direct access to all partners who can accept authentication through the Library Card. At launch, this will be possible for more than half of our partners, totalling more than 80% of available content. This will greatly improve the ease of access for users. Proxy integration isn’t a major departure from the current setup: the same individually-approved users have access to one partner’s content per application; they will just be accessing it directly through a single authenticated login proxy rather than a username and password distributed for each website. This allows us to grant access much faster, as we no longer need to wait for publishers to set the accounts up, and we know exactly when those accounts expire and/or require renewal. We expect this to reduce the turnaround time for applications from a few weeks to a few days at maximum!

Library Bundle

A very exciting second addition to our signup model is the Library Bundle. The Library Bundle gives any editor who meets account age, edit count, and recent activity criteria automatic access to a subset of Wikipedia Library collections, removing the application and approval steps. Approximately 25,000 editors across the Wikimedia community are eligible to access this content right now!

The Library Bundle provides immediate access to participating partner resources for eligible Wikimedians, without having to file an application and with no need to worry about only using that access for a handful of sources at a time. To automate the account coordinator check for recent activity and good standing in the community, we have implemented requirements beyond the current 500 edits and account age of six months. These checks now include an automated recent activity check (10 edits in the past month) and not currently being blocked. The Bundle runs on an opt-in model that some partners have chosen to be a part of, comprising more than 60% of our available content.

To be a truly one-stop solution, we need your help. Wikimedia projects span more than 250 languages, and we want the Library Card platform to be accessible to editors from all of them. If you can write in a language other than English and have some time to spare, please visit translatewiki.net to help translate the tool!

In the coming year, we are working on a new phase of the Library Card Platform that will help improve the overall usability of the tool and solve the issue of users needing to browse partner-by-partner for needed resources. We will be implementing an integrated search tool that will index partner resources and provide search across all publishers via a single interface. Once these changes are deployed, editors will be able to access authorized websites and view content from one place.

New partnerships

We are also pleased to announce that six new organisations have partnered with the Wikipedia Library to make their information more accessible:

  • BioOne is providing 50 accounts to editors, with access to journals in the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences.
  • CEEOL also joins the Library Bundle, with a collection of journals and ebooks in a wide range of European languages.
  • ICE Publishing, available through the Library Bundle, is providing access to the ICE Virtual Library, containing journals and ebooks on engineering topics.
  • IWA Publishing has 10 available accounts for editors interested in journals on the topics of water, wastewater, and related environmental fields.
  • ProQuest is accessible through the Library Bundle and is providing access to ProQuest Central, Literature Online, the HNP Chinese Newspaper Collections, and Historical New York Times.
  • Springer Nature joins the Library as part of a one year pilot, with 100 accounts to distribute. Editors can access books and journals from SpringerLink and Nature.

While some of these new partners require applications, all have made their content available via IP-based access!

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at wikipedialibrary(at)wikimedia.org or on Meta.

Archive notice: This is an archived post from Wikimedia Space, and as such was written under a different editorial standard than Diff.

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