Jimmy, given the fact that James has requested you release it combined with
the fact that it contains no confidential information, please release the
particular email James requested you release. You've said that you would
release it when you received permission from the board, but it was a
private communication between James and you that did not contain any
confidential information. The combination of private emails from you to
Pete, me, and I suspect the email James refers to, combined with your
public statements, makes me honestly have serious doubts about your ability
to place the interests of the WMF above your personal interests, something
your position requires you do.
I'm expecting no bombshells in the email - I imagine it's just insulting or
untrue language directed at James - but you can't keep claiming to be an
advocate of radical transparency while refusing to release emails that
don't contain confidential information that shine light on an issue of
public contention. In three seconds, you could demonstrate that my
concerns are unfounded and that your email was reasonable, and with a
little more you could demonstrate that there were defensible reasons for
removing James in the first place.
On Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 9:21 AM, Pete Forsyth <petefors...@gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> > 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
> 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,
> ---------- 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
> 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.
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