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New Wikipedia chief eyes moderator diversity

Maryana Iskander, the incoming CEO for the Wikimedia Foundation, said in an interview with The Washington Post published on Wednesday that she is aiming to increase diversity among Wikipedia contributors and editors.

"I think that trying to increase the diversity of who creates knowledge, who edits knowledge, that's been the long priority of the movement and of the foundation [and] resonates massively with my own personal values," Iskander said when asked what improvements she would like to see at Wikipedia.

"I think knowledge equity, representation, the technology itself and then [growing] the ecosystem of partners who are trying to achieve similar goals feel like important first areas," said Iskander.

Addressing what actions Wikimedia has taken to address harassment, Iskander said the site has put together a "universal code of conduct."

"I think in true Wikimedia-style, that's taken a while to get everybody aligned to the same words and the same principles," she said. "The task now, how to enforce that across local communities around the world is the hard work ahead. But to be honest, we're taking it on."

She also touched on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects digital services from lawsuits stemming from content created by their users.

When asked by the Post if she thought Wikimedia would be for or against amending the law, Iskander said, "My instinct is that we just want to make sure that any regulatory decisions or legislation that may be passed is flexible enough for us to all keep learning."

Earlier this week the Wikimedia Foundation announced that its board of trustees had appointed Iskander to be the organization's new CEO.

Previously, Iskander served as the CEO of South African nonprofit Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, which focuses on combating youth unemployment. She has also served as chief operating officer of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and as an associate at global consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

"She has deep appreciation for the role that volunteer-led communities can play in addressing social challenges," acting chair of the Wikimedia board Nataliia Tymkiv said of Iskander. "Throughout her career, she has driven tangible impact on issues from healthcare to unemployment. We believe that she will be a powerful champion to grow the Wikimedia movement and increase global access to free knowledge."

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