But is it avoidable?
Peter

-----Original Message-----
From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:wikimedia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org] On Behalf Of 
Andreas Kolbe
Sent: Thursday, 03 March 2016 2:37 AM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Armenia candidate for the board

Asaf,

I hear you. My apologies to Susanna and the list for anything I have said that 
cast aspersions on Susanna's character.

Nevertheless, I remain concerned. She is part of a state committee under the 
authority of the Armenian Minister of Education and Science, who along with 
other senior political figures has repeatedly been a featured speaker at 
Wikimedia Armenia events during her tenure as the President of Wikimedia 
Armenia.[1][2]

I do not consider that sort of government proximity healthy or advisable.

Andreas

[1] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiConference_Yerevan_2015/Schedule
[2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiConference_Yerevan_2012/Schedule

On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 12:24 AM, Asaf Bartov <abar...@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> I would like to add that I have been following Susanna's work in 
> Armenia since 2011, and have had occasion to evaluate it as a grants officer.
> During these five years, Susanna has been an exemplary Wikimedian, 
> building community around her, empowering other volunteers to do their 
> best work, and building partnerships with cultural institutions as 
> well as government in her country.  I have had the pleasure of 
> visiting Armenia last year and seeing up close one of Susanna's 
> impressive projects -- the Wikicamp -- as well as attending and 
> speaking at a conference at Matenadaran (the national
> archive) and meeting many Armenian Wikipedians.
>
> Nothing I have seen leads me to be concerned about Susanna's 
> commitment to movement values, *despite* working in a country 
> struggling with corruption[1], ongoing military conflict, and 
> relatively weak democratic discipline.  Indeed, I have personally 
> witnessed Susanna *resist* attempts at co-optation of Wikimedia Armenia's 
> work.
>
> I encourage Andreas to retract his accusations ("clearly" etc.).
> Expressing a concern that there *might* be government interference was 
> perhaps legitimate, but proceeding to besmirch Susanna and her work 
> without evidence is unacceptable.
>
>    Asaf
>
> [1] let us remember countries in the west struggle with tremendous 
> corruption too, albeit manifested more financially than ideologically.
>
> On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 4:10 PM, Cristian Consonni 
> <kikkocrist...@gmail.com
> >
> wrote:
>
> > 2016-03-03 0:15 GMT+01:00 Andreas Kolbe <jayen...@gmail.com>:
> > > I don't know Susanna, and in fact until yesterday had never heard 
> > > of
> her.
> > > She may well be a delightful and charming person with a genuine
> > enthusiasm
> > > for open knowledge. There are after all many encyclopedic topics 
> > > that
> > have
> > > no political sensitivity or relevance at all. But she is clearly 
> > > part
> of
> > a
> > > government-sponsored effort to control the Armenian Wikipedia.
> >
> > [...]
> >
> > 2016-03-03 0:26 GMT+01:00 Risker <risker...@gmail.com>:
> > > Wow, Andreas. That's taking several major leaps of logic.  
> > > Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Any reason why you brought 
> > > these rather extraordinary assumptions to this mailing list before 
> > > Susanna had even
> > had
> > > a chance to respond to your question at her nomination page?
> >
> > [...]
> >
> > 2016-03-03 0:33 GMT+01:00 Nathan <nawr...@gmail.com>:
> > > Is there any actual connection between Susanna and the high-level 
> > > government interest or effort around the Armenian Wikipedia? What 
> > > I'm asking is if there is anything here, other than supposition 
> > > that
> because
> > > she is Armenian and the Armenian government is interested in 
> > > Wikipedia
> > that
> > > Susanna must be guilty of corruption and repression by association?
> >
> > Andreas,
> >
> > You are making very strong and, what's worse, completely 
> > unsubstantiated accusations towards a person while admitting of not 
> > knowing her, her history and her contributions to the movement.
> >
> > The only person that thinks that  "she [Susanna] is clearly part of 
> > a government-sponsored effort to control the Armenian Wikipedia" is you.
> >
> > As Risker already noted your reasoning contains majors leaps of 
> > logic and I find that your behavior is frankly appalling. As Nathan 
> > said you have no evidence to support anything of what you have said 
> > besides the fact that Susanna is Armenian.
> >
> > The FDC reviewed in May 2015 the activities of Wikimedia Armenia in 
> > the APG 2014/2015 round 2 [1] and found all programs to be 
> > volunteer-led and well-aligned with the values and the mission of 
> > the Wikimedia movement. The FDC judged Wikimedia Armenia to be "a 
> > grassroots organization with a strong volunteer base. It is small, 
> > flexible, and able to engage with a wide range of volunteers through 
> > its projects."[2]. The evaluation of the FDC of Wikimedia Armenia 
> > was a praise (and a recommendation for full funding)[2]. Not in a 
> > single moment there was the least shred of doubt that the activities 
> > of Wikimedia Armenia could go against the values of the movement. 
> > Never there was even the remote suspicion of Wikimedia Armenia being 
> > part of the government-led "scheme" to oppress people that you are 
> > suggesting.
> > In the occasion of the APG proposal (and besides that, at any time) 
> > there were and there are several avenues to criticize  - also 
> > privately and anonymously, if one so needs or wishes -  what the 
> > chapter does and what the people in the chapter do and there was not 
> > a single instance of any kind of accusation like the ones that you 
> > are making from nothing.
> >
> > Your accusation are an insult to all the volunteers in Wikimedia 
> > Armenia, and I think you owe them an apology, especially to Susanna.
> >
> > I want you to know that I find this behavior to be toxic and that in 
> > my opinion you are harming the people in the movement and its mission.
> >
> > Cristian
> >
> > [1]
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants_talk:APG/Proposals/2014-2015_ro
> und2/Wikimedia_Armenia/Proposal_form#Praise_and_one_question
> > [2]
> >
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:APG/FDC_recommendations/2014-20
> 15_round_2#Wikimedia_Armenia
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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>
>
>
> --
>     Asaf Bartov
>     Wikimedia Foundation <http://www.wikimediafoundation.org>
>
> Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in 
> the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
> https://donate.wikimedia.org
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