2019 Incident Reports – Details and Results

The Community Team receives incident reports via the incident report form, dedicated email address, and sometimes through direct reports in person or on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/..

The incident report response procedure is detailed here. This is the process that’s currently followed when a complaint is sent to report@wordcamp.org or via the incident report form.

In 2019, a total of 18 reports were received.

Here are descriptions of the type of reports received in 2019, the method of reporting, and the action taken after investigation into each report.

  1. A report was received on 1 January 2019, in which a meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. organizer reported a deputy for false accusations of requesting extra money for their meetup.

    Action Taken: A mediation between the two individuals took place with checks done on required funds. The organizer and deputy were both asked to respect the expectations around the meetup venue grants.
  2. An event organiser was reported for misappropriating global grant funds from a WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. they organized. It was discovered while compiling the financial transparency reports for the event in January 2019.

    Method of Reporting:
    Emailed reports and discussions from event co-organizers.

    Action Taken: The individual received a life-time ban from official involvement at all official WordPress community events. Additionally, they received a 1 year ban from attending any official events. Recovery of funds is expected to be done over 6 months by the end of February 2020, otherwise a report with the local financial fraud authority will be filed.

    Public Discussion: Incident report: Misappropriation of WordCamp funds
  3. A report that the organizer of an official event could be misappropriating global grant funds was received on 24 January 2019.

    Action Taken: Community deputies researched using the transparency report from the event, with additional information collected from social media. With the lack of transparency, the reported individual was asked to refrain from organizing WordCamps and Meetups in the future.
  4. A report was received on 18 February 2019, of an organizer asking an attendee to refrain from attending a local meetup for 3 events. The report came from the attendee who was asked to refrain from attending.

    Action Taken:
    A community deputy researched the allegations and checked with both reported organizer and attendee who had complained. Research about the incidents and messages by reporter revealed that the pause to attending events was required. The reporter was asked to respect this pause for 3 months.
  5. A report was received on 23 February 2019, outlining verbal harassment and comments which were unwelcoming. These comments were reportedly made on several Facebook groups by a Polyglots translator.

    Action Taken: A deputy mediated discussions with the reporter and the reported person. The deputy also reached out to a Polyglots teamPolyglots Team Polyglots Team is a group of multilingual translators who work on translating plugins, themes, documentation, and front-facing marketing copy. https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/. rep, who then clarified to the reported person the expected behavior as part of the translation team.
  6. A report was received on 8 April 2019, describing verbal harassment and unwelcoming behaviour by an attendee at an event.

    Action taken:
    A community deputy reached out for mediation and collected facts from all parties. The reported individual was asked to refrain from attending official events for a period of six months.
  7. On 22 May 2019 a report was received about possible misuse of WordPress brandname by an attendee at a local meetup group.

    Action Taken:
    A deputy reviewed the complaints and answered questions by the reporter about possible irregularities found. The reporter was then pointed in the right direction of reporting a trademark violation.
  8. A report was received on 27 May 2019 about an individual being removed from being a co-organizer of a chapter Meetup group. It was filed for mediation by a deputy.

    Action Taken:
    The organizer who was removed did not want to move further with mediation as long notice was taken of it.
  9. A report was received on 29 July 2019 from a designer of Wappu art complaining that an event was using their artwork without permission.

    Action Taken:
    A deputy checked in with both the designer and the event organizer. The artwork was licensed under GPLGPL GPL is an acronym for GNU Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing https://wordpress.org/about/license/. The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ license https://www.gnu.org/licenses/copyleft.en.html. This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples. v2 and hence the event could use the artwork. After mediation, the organizer reached out to the designer and reporter agreed the issue was closed.
  10. A report was received on 20 August 2019 from a WordCamp organizer who reported an attendee for sending two volunteers repeated, unwanted messages. The two volunteers did not want to file a report themselves.

    Action Taken:
    A co-organizer of the event approached the individual and asked them to refrain from such behaviour in future events. The reported individual agreed to follow the rules and be more mindful of their behaviour.
  11. An emailed incident report and complaints along with conversations with deputies about reporting a deputy for behaviour which was disrespectful, divisive while undermining the community team goals by gatekeeping.

    Result: The individual was asked to refrain from involving themselves as a Meetup and WordCamp organizer and from any other official role at official WordPress events for one year by a review board.

    Public Discussion: Incident report: Deputy asked to step away from official roles
  12. A report was received on 12 September 2018,  which reported the organizer of a meetup group for over charging for venue assistance with the meetup.

    Action Taken:
    Community team deputies checked with the organizer and also emailed the venue about over-charging. After information was found that the charges were more than what were ordinarily needed to organize meetups at venues in the area, the funds request for the group was declined.
  13. During a conversation with a deputy, an attendee reported incidents from previous WordCamps they attended. The attendee was asked to file an incident report.
    As a follow up a report was received on 9 October that detailed verbal harassment at official events.

    Action Taken:
    A deputy reached out to the reporter and discussed all the events in detail. A working group reached out to the reported person who did not confirm or deny the incidents. The reported individual has been asked to refrain from attending official events (chapter meetups and WordCamps) for a period of 24 months.
  14. A report was received on 1 November, which detailed an anonymously written violent threat to an individual at the local meetup group. The reported person has had a previous history of harassing this person at non-WordPress meetups.

    Action Taken:
    A deputy reached out to the person reporting and requested the person being threatened to file a police report and follow up with the community team to share the police report. The reporter confirmed the individual being harassed has filed a police report and a restraining order has been filed against the reported individual.
  15. An attendee reported an individual of making them uncomfortable by getting too close to them and speaking to them aggressively, while being in an inebriated state at an after party. This was also witnessed by two event organizers.

    Action Taken:
    The reported person was informed about their inappropriate behaviour. The deputy who was physically present during this interaction then filed a report on 3 November to keep a record of the incident.
  16. A deputy was informed in person at an event about verbal harassment by a deputy towards organizers of a WordCamp in November.

    Action Taken:
    The deputy guided the organizers to go about filing an incident report.
  17. Another report about the same reported individual from Report 5 was received in December 2019, outlining verbal harassment and comments which were unwelcoming.

    Action Taken:
    A deputy reached out to the reporter and collected information about the comments. The deputy has advised the reporter to collect more information including screenshots to facilitate a proper review or investigate the matter further.
  18. A report was received on 26 December 2019 about an attendee being reported for physical and verbal harassment to several attendees at a WordCamp. The reporters were deputies who were present at the event.

    Action Taken: Deputies and community members reached out to the reported individual to ask them to refrain from such actions in the future. The individual was also informed that if similar incidents were reported, they could be asked to refrain from attending official events.

#code-of-conduct, #report

Proposal for permanent change of word for Code of Conduct

A couple of days ago, there was a discussion on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. #community-events about how communities in India address anti-caste discrimination for Meetups and WordCamps. Currently the word “caste” is not part of or mentioned in the Code of Conduct.

Discrimination on caste basis has been a historical problem for societies across India and much of South Asia. For example, in India there is a law against discrimination, yet bias and exclusion happens regularly. More context and information can be found at the Wiki article Caste System in India and Affrimative action.

I propose we add the word “caste” in the code of conduct wording.

The change will be from:

WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. CITYNAMEHERE believes our community should be truly open for everyone. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, preferred operating system, programming language, or text editor

to

WordCamp CITYNAMEHERE believes our community should be truly open for everyone. As such, we are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, caste, preferred operating system, programming language, or text editor

This change will acknowledge that discrimination or exclusion on caste basis is not acceptable at meetups, WordCamps and other WordPress events. Apart from serving as a deterrent, it would empower participants of WordPress events to be able to address violations in a more formal way.

Thoughts and comments welcome.

#code-of-conduct

Community Code of Conduct

A Community Code of Conduct has been proposed on meta trac: https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/957

Please join in on the ticket if you have feedback or suggestions.

#code-of-conduct

Ally Workshops

The Ada Initiative’s Ally Workshop curriculum is available online (scroll down to resources). This is something we’ve talked about wanting to be able to use for a longish time now, and I have to admit I’m a little bit bummed to be exiting just as it could be a new program for us. I have gone through the ally workshop twice — once at OSBridge and once at AdaCamp, and I do think that it is a useful format for helping people (but especially men) realize that some things they thought were not sexist (or homophobic, or transphobic, or racist, or generally inappropriate) actually are, without it getting called out in a real situation that might inspire defensiveness. That said, the people who tend toward this behavior are not exactly the folks who’ll volunteer to go to an ally workshop in the first place. 🙂

But! How can we leverage these materials best? Ask meetups to do a workshop? Sucker people into it at a WC? Run some test workshops in select cities, with experienced community team members as the facilitators? Create a shortened version with examples that are more specific to our community and that can be conducted in 2 hours so it falls into a normal meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. time slot? Come up with a name that focuses more on being a better WP citizen and less on being an ally (insider terminology)?

As we regroup to tackle the code of conduct, this could be a good vehicle for communication those expectations that are a little too granular to put in a document like that.

Ideas, suggestions, etc. in the comments!

#ada-initiative, #ally-workshop, #behavior, #code-of-conduct