Workgroup: Code of Conduct

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The purpose of this workgroup is to catalyse discussion and activity around developing a Code of Conduct for WikiEducator.

The need for a code of conduct has been expressed from time to time to help with induction of newcomers and with the occasional need to remind participants of the types of behaviours regarded as most constructive for WikiEducator's development.

This workgroup was established after the Third WikiEducator Community Council Meeting during which the need for a Code of Conduct was mentioned. In that context (also) there were suggestions to include guidance on acceptable/ appropriate content and on Fair Use[1].

Questions on what to include and issues arising while drafting the content for this first version will be resolved during this first phase of the workgroup's life cycle.

Our aim is to produce a Code of Conduct that is easy to read and to which everyone can relate and embrace as WikiEducators.

Specified outputs


The process will result in

  1. a 1st Draft of the Code of Conduct for presentation and review at the next WikiEducator Community Council Meeting (4th, to be announced)
  2. a workgroup report.

Icon activity.jpg
Discuss and draft a Code of Conduct for WikiEducators for consideration and possible approval at the next WikiEducator Community Council Meeting. Specific issues to discuss and outputs to produce include:
  • Scope
    1. Discuss whether the current version sufficiently covers WikiEducator's values[2] and scenarios which might call for reference to the code of conduct.
    2. Discuss whether to include or produce separate documents covering acceptable content and fair use/ fair dealings (e.g. for upload and embedding)
    3. Are WikiEducator's existing editing guidelines sufficient and suitably cross-referenced? (e.g. before editing a template, check what pages use it and whether they will be affected).
  • Content
    1. Readability
    2. Quality
    3. Cultural neutrality
    4. etc.
  • Report on the process.
  • Present a draft WikiEducator Code of Conduct for approval at the next Community Council Meeting.

Leadership style

  • Convenor: <name>

"Tight-loose-tight": near month change an e-mail will be circulated to remind participants of the task(s) at hand and to stimulate discussion. The current draft will be amended in accordance with resolved issues and unchallenged proposed wordings. Discussions will be open and unmoderated (unless need arises) on the wiki with occasional postings to relevant mailing lists if significant developments are ready for wider comment.

An issue may be resolved if there is strong support for a particular wording, or no objections are raised within 14 days of the proposed change's posting. An issue may remain unresolved for longer if the convenor or others feel some or further discussion is needed.

If there are strong opposing opinions, a "vote" will be called among the members of this workgroup. Each member will be required to indicate their position on the issue tracker, and a decision will be made to finalise the version for review at the next WikiEducator Community Council meeting.

Close to deadlines (such as the next community council meeting) the convener and/or other key participants may make quick changes on unchallenged or undiscussed issues. So, watch the issue tracker and 1st draft pages, be alert and react quickly to last minute changes if necessary.

...and, we'll make it up as we go along :-)

Skills required to achieve workgroup objectives

  • We are looking for individuals with knowledge and experience of peer production in a wiki environment involving a diversity of participants.
  • If you feel you have some special knowledge or experience of relevance, please participate and share.

Note: These skills are not a requirement to join, but skills we expect to develop and pursue towards our workgroup objective.


The workgroup is open to anyone who is interested in participating constructively. Start by signing up to this workgroup by adding your signature (~~~~) to the list below.

Comments are welcome from non-members on the associated discussion pages.

Note: This charter applies to all members participating in this workgroup (whether or not they appear in this section).

Member responsibilities

Members of this workgroup agree to:

  • Regularly visit the work group pages, especially the Issues page
  • Watch the pages linked to above (in the navigation template) and react to e-mail alerts on changes (enable e-mail alerts in "my preferences")
  • Contribute to discussions constructively (in accordance with the code of conduct :-)
  • Strive for consensus on relevant items.

Members and signatures

Approval of charter by members of Council

The following table is for WikiEducator Community Council members to indicate approval of this Community Workgroup charter:

Approval of charter
Anil Prasad 03:57, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Add your signature here

To approve this charter, as a WikiEducator Community Council member, "sign" above by adding the following


before the last couple of lines of the table which, when editing, look like this:

|Add your signature here

Workgroup participants and charter acceptance by participants of this workgroup

To join the workgroup as a participant and optionally indicate your acceptance of the charter as a workgroup member, add your signature to the table below following the example of previous signatories:

Workgroup members Acceptance of charter
Wayne Mackintosh 22:19, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Kim Tucker 01:55, 14 January 2011 (UTC) Kim Tucker 01:55, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Anil Prasad 03:58, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Dr. Gita Mathur 13:25, 14 January 2011 (UTC) Dr. Gita Mathur 14:06, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
Alison Snieckus 23:36, 28 January 2011 (UTC) Alison Snieckus 23:37, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Add your signature here

Additional workgroup roles

The workgroup begins with all participants as "collaborators". Additional special roles may be defined and assumed as required during the process. Such additional roles may include:

  • Convenor: <name>
    • Start the process with a proposed draft Code of Conduct
    • Post key questions or messages to stimulate discussion (around beginning/end of each month)
    • Mark resolved issues.
  • Editor: <name>
    • Make the changes to Draft 2 in accordance with resolved issues on the issue tracker.
  • Reviewer:
    • Review milestone versions
  • etc.

Resources to achieve Workgroup objectives

This is a volunteer workgroup which will not be applying for funding unless some special need is agreed upon. Some participants' time may be funded independently by their institutions (etc.).

The amount of time required of participants is unspecified. As a minimum, it will be appreciated if each member could set aside an hour or two each week to comment on any developments and engage in the discussions. Extra time may be spent reading up on other Codes of Conduct (etc.) to help ensure we don't miss anything and produce a high quality result.

The amount of work required is difficult to predict. The first "pre-draft" may be accepted quickly, or the group may determine that we need several related documents to be available to complete the exercise (which in turn may need workgroups of their own)[3].

Useful Resources


Scope of commitment required of workgroup participants

  • Timeline: mid-January - mid-April 2011
    • 31 January 2011: members of this working group have commented and accepted this charter (sign above), submit it to the WikiEducator Community Council (WCC).
      • N.B. Comments and discussion of the pre-draft may begin before this date.
    • 30 January 2011: WCC approves the charter.
    • Towards the end of each month ask "how are we doing, and how may we improve the process?
    • 31 March 2011: aim to have a semi-final version of the 1st Draft for wider comment before the Fourth WikiEducator Community Council Meeting[4].
    • 31 March 2011: draft workgroup report.
    • mid-April 2011: finalise these two documents.
  • Time requirement (estimate): 1 - 2 hours per week per participant (for at least 3 weeks during the 3+ month period).
    • This will vary depending on the directions of the discussions, scope management[5], the level of interest of individual participants and where we are in terms of completing the task(s) in relation to the timeline above.
  • Meetings
    • Interactions will be asynchronous via e-mail and wiki discussions.
    • Visit the watched wiki pages (and their discussion tabs) at least once a week.

Ground rules (the process)

  • Keep the WikiEducator values in mind (see front page).

The process will start with an open invitation to comment on issues raised so far. Hopefully, any major issues will be highlighted immediately for special attention.

Principle: Address the big issues early in the process.

For major issues, dedicated discussion threads may be started.

Minor issues may be resolved quickly at any time. Their resolution should be mentioned on the Issue Tracker for future reference.

The issue tracker serves as the central place to keep track of all issues (e.g. consolidating discussion which spans multiple discussion tabs).

The Timeline above briefly describes a proposed process.

Dedicated Mailing List: ... (to be set up only if needed - until then use the 'discussion' tabs on the relevant WikiEducator pages and the issue tracker).

Decision-making: Strive for consensus:

but be pragmatic:

  • See for example "Decision Making" in the Apache "How it works" document, and
  • Improvise.

The project plan

See Timeline above.

Evaluating workgroup success

During the process the workgroup will be mindful of progress and consider whether any special interventions are needed.

The workgroup report will comment on the group's progress and any learning points along the way.

The final Draft will be evaluated by the WikiEducator Community Council (WCC) at the Fourth WCC Meeting.


Participant approval of this charter may be indicated by adding your signature (i.e. '~~~~' without the quotes) in the second column of the table above (under Participants).


  1. See for example Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare.
  2. See Open Community Governance Policy.
  3. For example, if the scope grows to cover behaviours relating to acceptable embedded resources from other sites.
  4. Date to be advised.
  5. Scope will be managed by spawning other workgroups with their own time lines if necessary. The case in mind is again that of covering such things as acceptable content and fair use/ fair dealings.