On 2/29/16 2:25 AM, Molly White wrote:
> Thank you for your reply, and I apologize for how late this one is. When
> I asked how you intend to speak with the Board of Trustees and with staff, I
> did not mean what technical means you will use. It doesn't much matter to me
> whether you speak with them in person, over email, over Hangouts, or what have
> you.

Ah, ok. :)  I wondered why it mattered but thought I'd just answer
plainly in case you were concerned that not doing it in person would
fail to convey nuance, etc.  (A valid concern, always.)

> I am instead concerned with how (and if) you will be able to clearly
> communicate your discussions between these two groups, since you are 
> apparently
> the one doing so.

I'm not the only one.  Alice is here in San Francisco, too.

> Perhaps more concerning to me: do you intend to take steps to
> make WMF staff comfortable speaking to you? If so, what are these steps? As
> Oliver and others have made clear, staff have gone through what sounds like an
> extended, traumatic period. I think the mass exodus of staff members makes 
> that
> very clear. Some have spoken of intimidation about speaking up with their
> concerns. How will you ensure they don't feel the same around you?

Sure.  It's a potentially tough problem, and likely made worse by a lot
of misconceptions being thrown around by people who have misrepresented
my views.  It's been claimed, for example, that I was the chief
architect of a concept that staff shouldn't talk to board members -
overcoming that misunderstanding is important to me.

I am not involved at all in hiring and firing decisions, and don't
intend to become so involved.  I'm not becoming the interim ED nor the
permanent ED.  I've been here from the beginning and I am very
passionate about Wikipedia and our mission.  I have no specific axe to
grind other than that one.

My heart is heavy about what has happened here, and one of the things
that I feel most heavy about - and that I've heard from staff - is that
I lost touch with them.  I remember driving to the November board
meeting thinking "Well, this is going to be fairly routine and boring"
because I had no idea what awaited me there - which was a train wreck of
a meeting which left millions more questions than answers but which made
it clear that something big was going on.

In my reporting back to the board, and in future discussions with the
interim ED and permanent ED, I intend to report generally and as NPOV as
I can on what I've learned.  I don't intend to name names, as that's not
really relevant.  I won't be making any hiring or firing
recommendations, as I'm not in a position to even begin to evaluate
people on that level.

Intimidation about speaking up is a terrible and perverse thing to
happen in any organization.  If that's a feeling that the organization
has had, I want to put forward the idea that it's over.  If I were
moving into the ED position, it would be my first priority - to root
that out.  It's devastating.  Work life shouldn't be about that - it
should be about the mission, about everything we have all be dreaming of
and working toward and enjoying for all these years.

And it will be one of the qualities that I'm looking for in any interim
and permanent ED - a sense that they will build a creative, nurturing,
bold workplace.  And I also think we absolutely need to build in
mechanisms for structured, professional, facilitated thoughtful feedback
from the staff directly to the board is a regular thing.

In short, there is no reason for anyone to be afraid to talk to me.

But, I should note, I've had a huge response to my offer to meet with
people, and as far as I can tell checking with people who know more
people than I do, I'm getting a nice mix of people - noisy ones, quiet
ones, angry ones, satisfied ones.

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