Manipulative behavior thrives in an environment where a person can say different things to different audiences, and can speak freely with the expectation they will not be held accountable for their words.
Erik, thank you for articulating your views. As for my own actions, you have either made some incorrect assumptions about the background, or you operate on a set of principles that I don't entirely share. I'm pretty sure it's the former. I carefully considered whether to publish this email before doing so. I'm confident I'm on solid ethical ground (i.e., didn't violate anyone's rights), and I'm pretty sure the impact on Wikimedia will be positive in the end as well. Jimmy Wales sending this email, in my view, tends to damage our project. It's worthwhile for those who care about Wikimedia's future to know. I agree very much with what you said in reply to SarahSV. You present a very useful overview of how things could or should go in the future. Thank you for that. Specifics about my choice to release the email below: On Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 10:18 PM, Erik Moeller <eloque...@gmail.com> wrote: > 2016-03-09 16:56 GMT-08:00 Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com>: > > > 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.) > > Pete, regardless of Jimmy's words in this email, like others, I fail > to see how it's okay to share a private email to this list. I can > think of a few instances where this might be ethically defensible -- > like actual fraud being committed -- but this is not one of them. It's > totally fair for people to ask Jimmy to clear the air on stuff > himself, but this crosses the line, at least from my point of view. > > This comes down to giving a person you're corresponding with an > honest, open channel by which they can apologize, clarify, and make > things right. By violating that private channel you're making it > implicitly impossible to have that kind of conversation. > > Meatball Wiki, as you know, has some wise words on this kind of stuff. > http://meatballwiki.org/wiki/ForgiveAndForget is a good page to > remember. > > And no, I'm not a fan how things have played out so far, and I'm not > arguing for just moving on without addressing remaining grievances. > But this isn't how we should move forward. Criticizing people's > actions is fair game, even calling for resignation or other types of > structural and organizational change. This kind of picking out of > lines from private emails ought _not_ to be, in my view. > > Erik > Erik, Jimmy Wales and I have never had a working relationship, or an ongoing email correspondence. I'd guess we've exchanged under a dozen emails since 2008 or so, and spoken in person fewer times than that. I cannot think of a single example of an exchange where we came to an agreement. The much more common theme is that, the moment I express any kind of disagreement, he vanishes without a word. So the "private channel" you mention has never existed between Jimmy Wales and myself. There has never been an agreement, either explicit or implied, between us about whether our communications are private. Given our past interactions, if he were to request of me that I keep our communications private, I would refuse without hesitation. Where I do have a healthy line of communication with someone, I agree with you. It would take a very high bar (like fraud) for me to release such communications publicly. We would simply work through any differences together. I of course have this kind of communication all the time, as you know. This situation is nothing like that, though. Jimmy and I have no such relationship. And the bar is, indeed, pretty high: I read this as manipulative communication, at odds with Jimmy's publicly expressed goals, about things that impact the future of Wikimedia. I did reply to Jimmy's email, and since my role is apparently something people are interested in, I'm including my reply below. You'll see that I was suggesting some of the same things you do, Erik. Jimmy never replied, though. -Pete [[User:Peteforsyth]] ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Pete Forsyth Date: Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 10:49 AM Subject: Re: A conversation? To: Jimmy Wales, James Heilman Jimmy, thanks for following up -- and James, thanks for alerting me of this (it went to an old email address I no longer check. Good reminder though, I am putting an auto-reply on there.) I see that we have three things under discussion, and I want to reiterate that I strongly urge the first: 1. JW and JMH have a private conversation with the support of an independent, skilled facilitator 2. JW and JMH have a truly one-on-one conversation 3. JW and JMH have a conversation with PF as informal facilitator I appreciate being looped in here, but I want to say very clearly: I don't have the professional skills to serve as a facilitator here, even if I did I am too involved to do it well, and I also don't really have the bandwidth. However, I'm sure the WMF's HR department could refer you to some excellent people. (I could give referrals, but I'm sure the HR department is better equipped for that.) I think that the value of professional facilitation/mediation/ombuds/whatever is well known, so I won't go into the details of why I think this is a good idea unless asked. In the meantime, I would very strongly urge you, Jimmy, to cease making speculative statements about James' honesty or state of mind. James is probably much less volatile than me, but personally I would probably freak out if somebody was saying stuff like that about me, either publicly or privately. It's highly inflammatory. I would also request that you address (publicly, I hope) my main question about your interpretation of the board vote about "discussing long term strategy" as evidence of James' dishonesty. I think that is a point you could, and should, walk back without much drama. I think it's safe to say that it's highly obvious that you two agree about what constitutes "long term strategy," and that's fine -- but the fact that it's become a referendum on somebody's integrity is not, in my view, fine at all. I think it would help things a great deal if you could publicly acknowledge that point. I'll leave the other points to be dealt with between you, ideally with professional support. I really can't play the mediator role here. -Pete _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines New messages to: Wikimediaemail@example.com Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>