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Mon, 07 Jan 2019 05:16:05 -0800

Thanks T&S for making an initial statement. Hopefully this case
sets a useful precedent to ensure everyone is a bit clearer on
processes to follow and what is the best advice to offer complainants
who suffer discriminatory sysop actions on Wikimedia projects.
Certainly it has reinforced my view that Wikimedians need affiliates
like the WM-LGBT+ user group to maintain off-wiki channels where
members of minority groups can be confident of a safe space to ask
questions, or just vent their frustration, and not feel alone when
they encounter problems on our projects.[1]

In addition to investigating this case, I recommend that T&S
review the WMF terms of use which fail to align with the 2006 WMF
board resolution against discrimination.[2][3] Though the ToU do
include "Harassing and Abusing Others", it does not explicitly spell
out that using the projects in to create a hostile environment which
actively promotes discrimination against minority groups is not
allowed.

The Amharic Wikipedia (am.wp) case is one where sysop tools have been
used to promote homophobic views, the evidence is unarguable, and
those of us within the WM-LGBT+ community have no doubt that the (ex)
sysop should be banned. On investigation it is clear that am.wp lacks
any LGBT+ related articles, even simple neutral articles about
homosexuality or the history of anti-LGBT+ law in Ethiopia are
missing. It seems likely that the project has been dominated by the
promotion of homophobic views, to the extent that this is such a
expressly hostile environment, that nobody would attempt to improve
LGBT+ related content, let alone expect to be treated as a colleague
there if they are openly LGBT+ themselves.

Everyone should be aware that expressing views such these by the
previously trusted administrator Codex_Sinaiticus (aka Til
Eulenspiegel) below which are used to attack and dehumanise other
contributors, are so extreme and blatantly against our shared values
to provide a non-hostile collegiate environment for Wikimedia
volunteers, that they should fully expect blocks and site bans to be
supported by the wider community, no matter what language project they
are contributing to:
* "Don't force your sick values on Ethiopia - you will regret it! Til
Eulenspiegel (talk) 01:31, 7 ????? 2019 (UTC)"
* "No, actually homosexuals are considered subhuman by the vast
majority of Ethiopians. Removing my management with no warning or
appeal is typical hamfistedness, like Ethiopia dealt with in 1936.! .
Til Eulenspiegel (talk) 01:45, 7 ????? 2019 (UTC)"

Summary of events:
# QueerEcofeminist is a long term contributor on other projects who
discovers they are blocked by Codex_Sinaiticus on am.wp without
warning, a Wikipedia project they have never edited. The block
rationale is that their account name is unacceptable against policy,
no policy is ever provided in later discussion.[5]
# QueerEcofeminist asks the administrator about the block on their
am.wp user talk page, in reply their user talk page is deleted
(@16:16, 6 January 2019), making it clear that the block cannot be
discussed. 4 minutes later their block is amended to deny user talk
page access.[5]
# QueerEcofeminist asks for views on the WM-LGBT+ Telegram group, as a
result with QueerEcofeminist's permission this public thread
requesting more views is raised on Wikipedia-l and WMF T & S is
emailed asking to examine the case as one of using the projects for
discrimination.
# Meta steward Teles is part of the Telegram group, and offers to
engage with the blocking administrator. After a brief discussion their
am.wp account is locally blocked by Codex_Sinaiticus.[7]
# Codex_Sinaiticus continues part of the discussion on their talk page
as Til_Eulenspiegel, an alternate account. Later the accounts are
cross linked which makes this clearer.
# Meta steward MarcoAurelio intervenes and removes sysop and
bureaucrat rights from Codex_Sinaiticus's account due to misuse while
engaged in a dispute and removes the block of Teles.
# Codex_Sinaiticus starts to remove discussion from their talk page,
apparently attempting to censor views by calling it harassment.[8]

Links:
1. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_LGBT
2. https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Terms_of_Use
3. https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Resolution:Nondiscrimination
(2006) "The Wikimedia Foundation prohibits discrimination against
current or prospective users and employees on the basis of race,
color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual
orientation, or any other legally protected characteristics."
4. 
https://am.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E1%8A%A0%E1%89%A3%E1%88%8D_%E1%8B%8D%E1%8B%AD%E1%8B%AD%E1%89%B5:Codex_Sinaiticus
5. Block log: 
https://am.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%E1%88%8D%E1%8B%A9:Log&page=User%3AQueerEcofeminist&type=block
6. Attempted civil discussion:
https://am.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E1%8A%A0%E1%89%A3%E1%88%8D_%E1%8B%8D%E1%8B%AD%E1%8B%AD%E1%89%B5:Codex_Sinaiticus#QueerEcofeminist_block
7. Block log: 
https://am.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%E1%88%8D%E1%8B%A9:Log&page=%E1%8A%A0%E1%89%A3%E1%88%8D%3ATeles
8. 
https://am.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%E1%8A%A0%E1%89%A3%E1%88%8D_%E1%8B%8D%E1%8B%AD%E1%8B%AD%E1%89%B5:Codex_Sinaiticus&diff=351940&oldid=351939

Thanks,
Fae
-- 
https://telegram.me/wmlgbt - a safe calm space to discuss these events
and others :-)
fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae

On Mon, 7 Jan 2019 at 12:14, Kalliope Tsouroupidou
<ktsouroupi...@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
> Hello from the Trust and Safety Team at the Wikimedia Foundation,
>
> First of all, we want to thank the community members alerting us of the
> situation through several private notes on the matter that have reached us
> over the past few days. Special thanks also go out to Pine and Risker for
> their efforts in analysing the situation in this thread.
>
> The situation outlined here appears to be both complex with several years
> of history and concerning, and is certainly one that Trust & Safety is
> looking at in exploring appropriate actions on our side. As always, please
> do keep in mind that we are not a team mandated for fast reaction (except
> for situations involving threats of harm, which are handled under a
> different protocol, as many of you probably know already). For that reason,
> we are inclined to review this thoroughly and act correctly, rather than
> quickly. Please understand that while our team is already working on
> understanding the intricacies of the situation itself while supporting the
> affected individual, we will not be able to publicly share information
> about the progress or outcome of our review for privacy reasons. Meanwhile,
> our review and any potential outcome deriving from it, should not prevent
> the community from continuing to take actions as they see fit and in
> accordance to project policies, of course.
>
> Also, bear in mind that we do not systematically monitor the Wikimedia
> mailing lists, and may miss information shared about this on such moving
> forward. If anyone feels they are in possession of pertinent information
> that is worth considering in our review of this case, they are encouraged
> to reach out to us directly at our established team inbox: c...@wikimedia.org.
>
> Once again, thank you all for being vigilant.
>
> Warm regards and best wishes for 2019,
>
> K.
>
> On Mon, Jan 7, 2019 at 1:04 PM Vi to <vituzzu.w...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > The lobby of high voltage warning signs disagrees.
> >
> > Vito
> >
> > Il giorno lun 7 gen 2019 alle ore 11:37 Yaroslav Blanter <ymb...@gmail.com
> > >
> > ha scritto:
> >
> > > Well, in 2019 people should already have come to the notion that blocking
> > > locally an acting steward is not really a good idea.
> > >
> > > Cheers
> > > Yaroslav
> > >
> > > On Mon, Jan 7, 2019 at 11:21 AM Vi to <vituzzu.w...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Because of a truly great idea
> > > > <
> > > >
> > >
> > https://am.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=%E1%88%8D%E1%8B%A9:Log/block&page=%E1%8A%A0%E1%89%A3%E1%88%8D%3ATeles
> > > > >
> > > > the involved user's admin/bureaucrat access was revoked
> > > > <
> > > >
> > >
> > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:Log?type=rights&user=&page=Codex+Sinaiticus%40amwiki&wpdate=&tagfilter=&subtype=
> > > > >
> > > > by Marco Aurelio.
> > > >
> > > > Vito
> > > >
> > > > Il giorno lun 7 gen 2019 alle ore 11:02 Amir Sarabadani <
> > > > ladsgr...@gmail.com>
> > > > ha scritto:
> > > >
> > > > > Given the response on the talk page [1] I think it's clear violation
> > of
> > > > > nondiscrimination policy [2]
> > > > >
> > > > > [1] "promotion of homosexuality will not be tolerated here nor will
> > it
> > > be
> > > > > forced down our throats to suit anyone's international political
> > agenda
> > > > if
> > > > > you expect Ethiopians to take part."
> > > > > [2]
> > free online bettinghttps://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Resolution:Nondiscrimination
> > > > >
> > > > > Best
> > > > > On Wed, Jan 2, 2019, 23:09 Risker <risker...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > >  I note that we are talking about the block of one single user on
> > one
> > > > > > single project; this particular account has thousands of edits over
> > > > > about a
> > > > > > dozen projects, but is "attached" to hundreds of Wikimedia
> > projects.
> > > > The
> > > > > > majority of these "attached" accounts are likely because the editor
> > > > > > "visited" the various projects while logged in, activating the
> > > > automatic
> > > > > > account creation algorithm.  The account was created 8 years ago,
> > and
> > > > has
> > > > > > actively edited a wide variety of  projects, including several
> > > > > wikipedias,
> > > > > > Commons, Wikidata, and Meta. While English Wikipedia is the
> > account's
> > > > > > "home" wiki, about 55% of the account's global edits have been made
> > > on
> > > > > > Marathi Wikipedia. The Amharic Wikipedia account does not appear to
> > > > have
> > > > > > edited, which suggests that it was automatically created when the
> > > > editor
> > > > > > was "looking at" the project on 9  February 2018.  The block for
> > > > account
> > > > > > name was made on 22 October 2018.  I note that accounts were
> > created
> > > on
> > > > > > over a hundred projects over the course of a few days in February
> > > 2018.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > The point being raised in this thread is that it appears this
> > editor
> > > > was
> > > > > > blocked on one of the 381 wikis on which they have an account,
> > > > explicitly
> > > > > > because of the perception that their username calls attention to
> > the
> > > > > sexual
> > > > > > behaviour of the editor. What we do not know is (a) whether that is
> > > in
> > > > > fact
> > > > > > a legitimate username block reason on Amharic Wikipedia, or (b) if
> > it
> > > > is
> > > > > a
> > > > > > legitimate username block reason, *why* it would be a username
> > block
> > > > > > reason. We don't know why this block was applied so long after the
> > > > > account
> > > > > > was created. We don't know the username policy on Amharic
> > Wikipedia,
> > > > nor
> > > > > do
> > > > > > we know how it is applied; for example, we don't know if a username
> > > > like
> > > > > > "StraightGuy101" would be blocked.  We do know that there are only
> > 4
> > > > > > administrators on Amharic Wikipedia, and that there are fewer than
> > 50
> > > > > > active users working on the project, which may be part of the
> > reason
> > > > for
> > > > > > the delay between automatic account creation and the account block.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > We also know that one of the challenges of single user login for
> > all
> > > > > > Wikimedia projects has highlighted the fact that certain usernames
> > > that
> > > > > are
> > > > > > acceptable on some projects are blocked on other projects; we've
> > > known
> > > > > that
> > > > > > for years. We know that each project establishes its own policies
> > > when
> > > > it
> > > > > > comes to usernames. There are legitimate reasons why a username
> > that
> > > is
> > > > > > acceptable in one language is not acceptable in another language,
> > > even
> > > > in
> > > > > > cases where the editor had no knowledge that the chosen username
> > > would
> > > > > be a
> > > > > > problem in another language. We do know that there have been lots
> > of
> > > > > cases
> > > > > > where usernames have been blocked for "username policy violation"
> > on
> > > > all
> > > > > > kinds of projects, despite the account operating productively on
> > > other
> > > > > > projects.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > I also note that there is nothing in this thread that confirms the
> > > > editor
> > > > > > themself has raised any concerns about this block, and I am always
> > > wary
> > > > > of
> > > > > > turning an editor into a "martyr for a cause" without their direct
> > > > > > agreement, as that can be as abusive as the original action. So the
> > > > first
> > > > > > step in this situation would be to confirm with the individual
> > editor
> > > > > > whether or not they want their "case" to be examined.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Should the editor be agreeable, I suggest that the next step is for
> > > > > someone
> > > > > > who has the ability to converse in Amharic to contact the Amharic
> > > > > Wikipedia
> > > > > > and find out why the block has been issued, how it is consistent
> > with
> > > > the
> > > > > > username policy on Amharic Wikipedia, whether that policy is driven
> > > in
> > > > > part
> > > > > > by external considerations (e.g., does the project risk heavy
> > > > > governmental
> > > > > > scrutiny if it appears to "promote" locally unacceptable
> > > activities). I
> > > > > am
> > > > > > personally curious as to why it took over six months to identify
> > that
> > > > > this
> > > > > > account did not meet the local username policy, and whether there
> > was
> > > > > > internal or external discussion about the username.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > It is not clear to me what the desired outcome is in this case - at
> > > > least
> > > > > > in part because we have no idea of the opinion of the editor
> > > > involved.  I
> > > > > > am hard-pressed to say that a project should be required to allow
> > > > > usernames
> > > > > > that it has a long history of considering unacceptable, especially
> > if
> > > > it
> > > > > is
> > > > > > applied evenly to all accounts; in this case, if it disallows
> > > usernames
> > > > > > that imply sexual preference regardless of what that preference is.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > It seems to me that the WMF Trust & Safety group would probably be
> > > the
> > > > > > right group to examine this.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Risker/Anne
> > > > > >
> > > > > > On Wed, 2 Jan 2019 at 09:42, Ariel Glenn WMF <ar...@wikimedia.org>
> > > > > wrote:
> > > > > >
> > > > > > > Additional notes:
> > > > > > > The user's regular page can be viewed on en wikipedia:
> > > > > > > free online bettinghttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:QueerEcofeminist
> > > > > > > Queer may have to do with gender identity as opposed to being an
> > > > > > indicator
> > > > > > > of 'sexual behavior', so the blockers didn't even get that right.
> > > > > > Example:
> > > > > > > I am gender-nonconforming as to my gender identity and
> > expression;
> > > > this
> > > > > > is
> > > > > > > the primary reason I use the label 'queer'.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > I believe this should be reported... somewhere. But I don't know
> > > > where.
> > > > > > The
> > > > > > > WMF CoC only covers technical spaces. A little help here?
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Ariel
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > On Wed, Jan 2, 2019 at 4:26 PM F? <fae...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Do we have cross project policies to govern or limit local
> > > policies
> > > > > > > > for the use of sysop tools? I would like to pass on policy
> > > advice,
> > > > > and
> > > > > > > > any past cases folks here would like to highlight that set a
> > > > > > > > precedent.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > The case below is illustrative, though based on my recall of
> > > > several
> > > > > > > > complaints which went nowhere over the years, on email lists,
> > and
> > > > > > > > Jimmy's talk page, about apparently arbitrary blocks on
> > different
> > > > > > > > non-English Wikipedias, it seems reasonable to believe those
> > > > > > > > complaints are the tip of the iceberg, and there are likely to
> > be
> > > > > many
> > > > > > > > historical cases of blocks that could have been appealed... had
> > > the
> > > > > > > > user been confident to complain in English, and have the energy
> > > to
> > > > > > > > pursue generic WMF policies on terms of use, or
> > > > > > > > harassment/discrimination, to establish a meta-level case.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > # Example case
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > An account block on the Amharic Wikipedia (am.wp) was flagged
> > up
> > > > > > > > yesterday on the WM LGBT+ Telegram discussion group.[3] The
> > > > rationale
> > > > > > > > for blocking the account was because the account name includes
> > > the
> > > > > > > > word "Queer"[1]. The incident raises questions about process
> > and
> > > > > > > > accountability, particularly as the block gives the impression
> > > that
> > > > > > > > this is the norm or an agreed interpretation of policy for
> > sysops
> > > > on
> > > > > > > > am.wp, and because the user is well established using this
> > > account
> > > > > > > > name across Wikimedia projects and has never edited am.wp so
> > the
> > > > > block
> > > > > > > > cannot be based on any prior action or dispute.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > In this example there is no obvious process for appeal, if
> > sysops
> > > > on
> > > > > > > > that project think that blocking any LGBT+ related account name
> > > > > > > > represents local consensus. After off-wiki discussion, the WMF
> > > > Trust
> > > > > > > > and Safety team has been approached for advice,[2] as the
> > > rationale
> > > > > > > > for the action appears hostile to any openly LGBT+ volunteers
> > who
> > > > > > > > might want to include something queer looking in their account
> > > name
> > > > > > > > (such as my account name, should anyone want to read it as
> > > > > transgender
> > > > > > > > related).
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > # Links
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > 1.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > https://am.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E1%88%8D%E1%8B%A9:Contributions/QueerEcofeminist
> > > > > > > > ;
> > > > > > > > the block log states "Names calling attention to your sexual
> > > > behavior
> > > > > > > > have never been allowed here in 15 years and aren't suddenly
> > > > allowed
> > > > > > > > in 2018"
> > > > > > > > 2. https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Trust_and_Safety
> > > > > > > > 3. https://telegram.me/wmlgbt
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Thanks
> > > > > > > > Fae
> > > > > > > > --
> > > > > > > > fae...@gmail.com https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Fae
> > > > > > > > https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_LGBT+
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > _______________________________________________
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> > > > > > > > Unsubscribe:
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>
>
> --
> Kalliope Tsouroupidou
> Senior Trust & Safety Specialist
> Wikimedia Foundation

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