Codifying Digital Behavior around the World: A Socio-Legal Study of the Wikimedia Universal Code of Conduct





Católica Global School of Law and the Católica Research Centre for the Future of Law are now partnering with the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS) at the University of Oxford on a research project addressing the governance of online content and conduct. Particularly looking at Wikimedia, the research aims to investigate the origins and development of the Universal Code of Conduct. It will involve data collection through global interviews with Wikimedia representatives and a comparative analysis of other digital spaces' moderation guidelines, particularly on social media platforms. The work will be based on digital constitutionalism, private governance and field theory, and adopt an empirical approach.

The goal is to provide insight into the evolution of Wikimedia's approach to addressing harmful content and behavior through the Universal Code of Conduct and community standards. The digital age has expanded access to knowledge and information through various digital technologies. These technologies enable people to access services, find resources online, create knowledge, and communicate with others. However, this increased access has also led to concerns about issues like hate speech and misinformation. Online platforms have established rules and standards to regulate content and maintain community values, with the Universal Code of Conduct being a noteworthy example of such standards in the Wikimedia community.

This research, funded by the Wikimedia Foundation, is led by Giovanni De Gregorio (PLMJ Chair in Law and Technology, Universidade Catolica Portuguesa) and Florian Grisel (Associate Professor, CSLS, University of Oxford).