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Photo Illustration: Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind Wikipedia, have tasked the organization with developing a new code of conduct to curtail "harassment, toxic behavior and incivility" among Wikipedia editors, The Verge reports.

The big picture: Wikipedia remains one of the web’s most enduring collaborations, drawing volunteer editors from around the globe. But it has long faced charges that its editorial ranks aren’t sufficiently diverse and have been rife with abusive behavior.

What they're saying:

"The Board does not believe we have made enough progress toward creating welcoming, inclusive, harassment-free spaces in which people can contribute productively and debate constructively.... the Board is directing the Wikimedia Foundation to directly improve the situation in collaboration with our communities. This should include developing sustainable practices and tools that eliminate harassment, toxicity, and incivility...."
— Wikimedia Foundation trustees

Context: Wikipedia's editorial process has evolved over almost two decades to organize contributions and edits from volunteers who often deeply disagree over politics and various controversial issue.

  • But the project has failed to meet goals of diversifying its ranks, particularly in terms of attracting women editors.
  • Its procedures have sometimes been opaque and have sparked conflicts among the project's volunteers, most recently in 2019, after the ban of a longtime editor.

Our thought bubble: Facebook, Twitter, Google's YouTube and other commercial platforms are struggling to curtail misinformation, harassment, and hate speech by beginning to evolve more Wikipedia-style collective processes.

  • Meanwhile, Wikipedia is trying to follow the giant platforms in standing up clearer policies to rein in some of its more toxic users.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.