Written By: Rohini Lakshané and Tanveer Hasan

Sign placed on a table at the reception dinner at Wikimania held in Cape Town in 2018. The sign declares that Wikimania is an event governed by a Friendly Space Policy.
Credits: Wikimedia Commons/ Moheen Reeyad (CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This learning module is an attempt by the authors to distill their lessons and experiences from their activities related to Trust and Safety in the Wikimedia movement over the past four years. The module contains comprehensive guidelines and recommended practices for creating a safe and friendly environment in any event conducted by Wikimedia communities.

The processes of knowledge creation on Wikimedia projects are based on the model of debate, discussion and arriving at a consensus. Wikimedia events invariably carry some of this influence. Event organisers face the challenge of not only conducting the event smoothly but ensuring that the Five Pillars, the Friendly Space Policy, expectations of a safe space, and basic rights of participants are not violated.

Wikimedia events, both online and physical ones, bring together people and volunteers who harbour interest and passion towards certain themes and topics. Volunteers drive Wikimedia projects. They run the show, sustain the community's activities and improve and enrich projects. Events that fail to preserve the safety, dignity and well-being of participants often cause volunteers to become disenchanted and drop out. As is the case with groups that comprise passionate and devoted individuals, a difference of opinion between two or more people may escalate quickly and lead to unfortunate situations. No organiser ever imagines that her/ his/ their event will turn into a ground for creating discord among Wikimedia contributors or for exposing community members to potentially distressing situations.

next: Code of Conduct, Friendly Space Policy and "safe spaces"