Training modules/Dealing with online harassment/slides/choosing-what-details-to-release-in-a-public-announcement

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Reporting out: Choosing what details to release in a public announcement[edit | edit source]

When making public announcement about a case closure, you are not obligated to – and in nearly all cases, should not – release the entirety of the case, evidence, or investigation; most of these will contain private or sensitive information that may lead to either the reporter or the perpetrator being targeted in the future. A public announcement should be factual and as neutral as possible. It is your responsibility to make yours in a way that will not harm the involved parties.

It is also important to remember, though, that most people who see your announcement will not be aware of the detailed background of the case that you have had access to. Do your best to make your statement understandable to community members in this position; failing to do so may undermine the community's trust in your team's decisions. Use your judgment to find the right balance of an announcement that is understandable but not overly reliant on sensitive information.

Things your announcement should contain:

  • The username of the sanctioned user
  • The basis of the case (for example, "harassment" or "misuse of private information")
  • The outcome of the case (for example, "user is banned" or "user's administrator rights are revoked")

Things that might be appropriate to include in your announcement:

  • On-wiki diffs of problematic behavior by the sanctioned user if and only if they are vital to describing this case, and they contain no private or hurtful information about either the targeted editor or others

Things that are not appropriate to include in your announcement:

  • Personal details of, or links to content that includes the personal details of, parties involved in the case.
  • The content of, or links to the content of, the harassment. The reason you or your team handled the case privately was because this content was potentially hurtful or embarrassing to the target.
  • Explicit descriptions of things you believe the sanctioned user has done. While your announcement should provide some information about why you are sanctioning the person, be aware of the fact that an internet pseudonym is not an impenetrable shield, and there is potential for any accusations you make to harm the real life of the person about whom you make them.

Be cautious! In extreme cases, you could be held legally liable for inaccurate or unprovable statements you publicly make about someone.