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Wikipedia joining the battle for diversity and inclusion

Free encyclopedia Wikipedia is getting a global code of conduct to combat harassment and stimulate diversity, the Wikimedia Foundation announced. The new code signals the foundation’s commitment to creating spaces that foster diversity of thought, religion, sexual orientation, age, culture, and language to name a few, the foundation said in a post at its website. The foundation runs Wikipedia and a number of other non-profit services.

The code will set standards for acceptable behaviour preventing  harassment and abuse of power and influence to intimidate others. The code is also meant to combat deliberate introduction of false or inaccurate content.

“Our work is built around a radical premise that everyone should be able to participate in knowledge,” said Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation.

“Our new universal code of conduct creates binding standards to elevate conduct on the Wikimedia projects, and empower our communities to address harassment and negative behaviour across the Wikimedia movement. Through this effort, we can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for contributors and readers, and a more representative source of knowledge for the world.”

The foundation said that more than 1 500 Wikipedia volunteers from 19 different Wikipedia projects representing five continents and 30 languages participated in the creation of the universal code of conduct. The new code is 1 600 words, where the foundation and the community define harassment and unacceptable behaviour.

“The Universal Code of Conduct marks an important step in the evolution of our mission to create a welcoming, safe, and inclusive environment for our contributors, and a more open and powerful movement for free knowledge,” said María Sefidari, Chair of the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation. “In order to build effective guidelines, we collaborated closely with our global volunteer communities to learn their challenges and discuss ways to address them. The final code codifies their ideas and feedback in order to improve equal access to knowledge around the world.”

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