I've been in the Wikimedia movement for over a decade now. I've seen
Wikimedia-l. I've seen internal-l. I've had death and sexual assault
threats show up in my inbox. And this, /this/, is genuinely the most
horrified I've ever been by any message I've seen yet.

This email is not a good faith email. it is not, despite the
neutrality of its language, a civil email. It's the kind of blinkered,
detached, ultrarationalist gaslighting[0] I associate with people in

No assumption of good faith. No discussion of the issues. No admission
that different people can legitimately and normally interpret things
in different ways. The framing of things so that the options are that
James is a liar, stupid, or suffering from PTSD. Whether deliberately
or not, it is deeply manipulative and frames the entire discussion
with assertions that James is disconnected from reality.

Jimmy, if this is genuinely how you are comfortable behaving,
intentionally, and if
this is the standard that you wish to set, I would ask you to do it in
a new community. Resign from the Board. Abrogate your status as a
founder. Go create these standards somewhere new, with people who have
signed up for them.

And if you instead don't understand why this
sort of message is chilling and terrifying and incredibly problematic,
you need to step back from all of these discussions for a time and go
find someone who wants to explain it to you. Because this is not
productive, and this is not how leaders behave. I appreciate you think
you *have* to participate as some kind of movement moral compass, but,
you aren't, and you don't. And even if you did, the morality
demonstrated by that email is, I suspect, not something any of us want
a part of.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting
[1] for other examples of this kind of language, and the thing my
brain immediately jumped to, see how ultrarationalists deal with
people asking if individuals could please stop harassing them for
disagreeing with an idea

On Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 7:56 PM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Below is a message Jimmy Wales sent to James Heilman and myself on Feb. 29.
> I mentioned the existence of this message on the list on March 2:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-March/082901.html
> I feel this message can provide important insight into the dynamics
> surrounding James H.'s dismissal, and various people have expressed
> interest in seeing it, so I'm forwarding it to the list. (For what it's
> worth, I did check with James H.; he had no objection to my sharing it.)
> For context, as I understand it, Jimmy's message was more or less in
> response to this list message of mine:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-February/082764.html
> -Pete
> [[User:Peteforsyth]]
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> *From: *Jimmy Wales
> *Date: *February 29, 2016 6:21:46 AM
> *To: *Pete Forsyth,James Heilman
> *Subject: **A conversation?*
> James, I wonder if you'd be up for a one on one conversation. I've been
> struck in a positive way by some of the things that Pete has said and I
> realize that moving things forward on wikimedia-l, being sniped at by
> people who are as interested in creating drama as anything else, isn't
> really conducive to reaching more understanding.
> I have some questions for you - real, sincere, and puzzled questions.
> Some of the things that you have said strike me as very obviously out of
> line with the facts. And I wonder how to reconcile that.
> One hypothesis is that you're just a liar. I have a hard time with that
> one.
> Another hypothesis is that you have a poor memory or low emotional
> intelligence or something like that - you seem to say things that just
> don't make sense and which attempt to lead people to conclusions that
> are clearly not true.
> Another hypothesis is that the emotional trauma of all this has colored
> your perceptions on certain details.
> As an example, and I'm not going to dig up the exact quotes, you said
> publicly that you wrote to me in October that we were building a
> Google-competing search engine and that I more or less said that I'm
> fine with it. Go back and read our exchange. There's just now way to
> get that from what I said - Indeed, I specifically said that we are NOT
> building a Google-competing search engine, and explained the much lower
> and much less complex ambition of improving search and discovery.
> As another example, you published a timeline starting with Wikia Search.
> It's really hard for me to interpret that in any other way than to try
> to lead people down the path of the conspiracy theorists that I had a
> pet project to compete with Google which led to a secret project to
> biuld a search engine, etc. etc. You know as well as I do that's a
> false narrative, so it's very hard for me to charitably interpret that.
> Anyway these are the kinds of things that I struggle with.
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: 
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines
> New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, 
> <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>

Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: 
New messages to: Wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, 

Reply via email to