New rules for a better climate in Wikipedia

The board of the Wikimedia Foundation has decided to create new rules against discrimination and harassment in Wikipedia and its sister projects. “The board does not believe that we have made enough progress so far to create a welcoming, inclusive and nuisance-free atmosphere in which everyone can contribute productively and debate constructively,” it said last week’s resolution.

The foundation is now to establish generally binding rules that should contain a clear sanction process. This should also exclude users if they create a “toxic” working atmosphere. By the end of August, the administration of the foundation should draft a set of rules for events in which volunteers take part. By the end of the year, there will also be a set of rules for the platforms.

Although the Wikimedia Foundation is officially the sponsor of Wikipedia, the work on the platform itself is largely left to the voluntary authors and administrators. The San Francisco-based foundation takes care of administrative issues, such as software development and hosting, but also organizes community meeting points and events.

On the one hand, this division of labor ensured the tremendous success of the online encyclopedia, which has been one of the top 10 websites for more than a decade. However, there is always tension between the foundation and the community. So last year saw the exclusion of a particularly difficult but also very productive user to violent disputes.

For years, the Wikimedia Foundation has been trying to create a more inclusive atmosphere on Wikipedia. So even against initial community resistance, she implemented an easier-to-use article editor and expanded the platform with the opportunity to express other users thanks for her contributions.

Show analyzesthat a large part of the volunteer authors are men – despite numerous initiatives to increase the proportion of women. A possible explanation is the sometimes toxic working atmosphere, in which the right to be exercised is partly a competitive sport. External attempts to politicize Wikipedia are also wasting resources.


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