Universal Code of Conduct/2021 consultations/Enforcement/Afrikaans community

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<translate> Afrikaans Wikipedia is the largest African language and 70th-largest language version of Wikipedia. It was started on 16 November 2001 and was the 11th Wikipedia to be created. As of March 2021, the project has 97 361 articles (and 253 967 other pages). Over 133 617 users are registered in the project. It has around 200 users active each month and is governed by 16 administrators and 4 bureaucrats.

Afrikaans community is supported by Wikimedia South Africa (Wikimedia ZA). Wikimedia ZA was founded on 25 February 2012 after being approved as a chapter by the Wikimedia Foundation on 26 March 2011.

Status of current behavioral policies[edit]

Afrikaans community has developed several behavioural policies since it was launched. They include policies like “[[<tvar|1>:af:Wikipedia:Beleefdheid</>|Civility]]” and “[[<tvar|2>:af:Wikipedia:Geskilbeslegting</>|Dispute resolution]]“. Nevertheless, the community does not have an advanced conflict resolution system to report unwanted behaviour to functionaries.

Facilitation process[edit]

How was the community contacted?[edit]

On 18 February 2021, Afrikaans Wikibooks, Afrikaans Wikipedia and Afrikaans Wiktonary were contacted by the facilitator regarding Phase 2 of the Universal Code of Conduct consultations.

The community was contacted by initiating discussions in projects’ Village Pumps and by 1-to-1 meetings with the facilitator. Some community members were also involved in a debate on the facilitator’s talk page and some decided to send an e-mail with their opinions and concerns regarding implementing the Universal Code of Conduct. Village pump and other on-wiki discussions allowed for an exemplary form of communication while private conversations allowed for a more intimate avenue for users to share their concerns.

The total number of users who responded to the call was 12. Due to the small size of the communities, the number was small, but the most active editors in the community did engage in the dialogue.


  • January 18 – First message on the Afrikaans Wikipedia
  • January 19 – First messages in the sister projects
  • February 2 – Board of Trustees ratifies the UCoC
  • January 20 – February 14 – Meetings with the community members
  • February 14 – 2 weeks reminder sent
  • February 15 – Emails to active female editors
  • February 23 – Emails to af.wiki sysops
  • February 28 – End of consultations


Members of the community offered different points of view on the Universal Code of Conduct and its enforcement. Most users have agreed that Afrikaans projects are primarily free of any unwanted behaviour, mainly owing to the community's small size and good working relations amongst the contributors. Members of the community appreciated Wikimedia Foundation's effort to reach out to them, but most of them raised concerns about the past encounters with the Wikimedia Foundations's staff which, as per the community, weren’t always pleasant.

Problems raised by the community[edit]

Past encounters and consultations done by the WMF[edit]

Members of the community appreciated Wikimedia Foundation's effort to reach out to them, but most of them raised concerns about the past encounters with the Wikimedia Foundations's staff. Users argued that small communities are not treated as equals to larger ones. Thus they require more partnerships from other communities, chapters, and Wikimedia Foundation to stand out in any dialogue.

Users criticised the way in which the Wikimedia Foundation usually communicates with such communities. Among the problems raised was that they feel disrespected with WMF sending many Mass Message notes to their Village Pumps in place of sending a representative who could engage with the community.

Project-wide problems with neutrality[edit]

Given its size, the Afrikaans community encounters problems common among smaller communities and projects. Few users raised concerns regarding the neutrality of some articles and administrators' actions (or lack thereof) against these types of behaviours.

Among the stories shared, users mentioned the neutrality problems regarding articles concerning major world religions (mostly Scientology) and how a small group of users have controlled these articles’ contents for years (e.g. misusing administrative permissions).

Possible volunteer burnout[edit]

Contacted sysops (both current and former) said that the problem with enforcing the rules comes from the very nature of Wikimedians as human beings. Most users treat Wikimedia projects as a hobby or as something to get away from everyday's struggle. They do not want to spend their after-work hours troubling themselves with additional tasks (sometimes bothersome and/or challenging).

One notable member of the community has expanded his opinion on the subject by raising possible problems in a global enforcement body. He explained that volunteers who will be tasked with dealing with an enormous amount of cases would be fated to burn-out sooner or later.

Ideas raised by the community[edit]

Local enforcement[edit]

Members of the community who participated in a discussion raised the idea of locally enforcing the Universal Code of Conduct by the communities deemed "developed enough". It was crucial for the community that the Wikimedia Foundation consult any new regulations with members of their community. Enforcing the UCoC by the community members would also allow avoiding situations in which any verdict is issued by a person who does not understand the community’s language or standards in question.

Some users also mentioned using help from local chapters in dealing with the largest problems and issues between the community members. In the past, the Afrikaans community used Wikimedia South Africa’s service (Wikimedia ZA) to resolve its disputes.

Overview of administrators[edit]

A few users mentioned that the Universal Code of Conduct should allow for strict actions to be taken against administrators who disregard the main 5 pillars of the Wikimedia movement. Members of the community mentioned that any administrator who allows others (by his actions or lack of thereof) to violate the rules and/or Universal Code of Conduct should have his activities reviewed by an independent investigator. Some projects already have a policy allowing them to strip any functionary of their rights. Still, contributors proposed that it be codified by a global policy, on which other projects could build, but nothing less than a global policy itself.

Outlier responses[edit]


  • <translate> "A few years ago [...] we, the administrators, were the accused. The matter was referred to a Wikimedia ZA, and having a diverse number of board members (of all races, languages and genders), the matter was discussed and the cause of the unhappiness was identified and the issue was eventually resolved. However, both individuals were reprimanded for their behaviour, sent off with a warning, and - so far there hasn't been any similar incidence. And nothing serious ever followed. [...] If a contributor isn't happy, therefore, the individual can complain at WikimediaZA. That is the first advantage."</translate>
  • <translate> "One of the five pillars is that of civility. The page WP:CIVIL summarises what the policy of civility means and also gives an outline of how disputes should be handled. One of the features that are missing from the outline dispute resolution is that when an accusation is brought against anybody, then [...], the respondent should have an absolute right of reply. In addition, the complaint against the respondent should be clear and any sanction against them should be based on the case against and nothing else."</translate>



Afrikaans community is not the biggest, but their feedback offered a perspective of smaller and less developed communities. Editors of the Afrikaans projects welcome the idea of the Universal Code of Conduct and agree that the movement must have a code of universally acceptable behaviours. It also must have ways to enforce said rules for actions to be taken against users who violate them. Contributors also noted that the UCoC should be implemented keeping in mind local regulations, traditions, and community needs in question. Afrikaans community also opposes the idea of enforcement by users who do not have experience in local projects as they would most likely lack understanding of a community struggle specific to Afrikaans. </translate>

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