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> On 11 Mar 2016, at 6:11 AM, Keegan Peterzell <> wrote:
> ​Kevin,
> You've been touting your experience on Boards in giving advice, and I have
> some experience there myself, so let's think of ​it in those Real World
> terms:
> Regardless of what anyone's personal opinion on what may or may not be
> confidential, what may or may not be an insult or personal attack, what may
> or may not be etc., there is a very real legal shield of confidentiality in
> place not just for this board, but for any semi-professional organization
> that exists because personal opinion does not matter in the eyes of the law.
> ​Multiple people are asking why James was removed. The answer has been
> given: the Board felt that they were unable to work with James, and due to
> the privacy of Board work, nothing can be disclosed further. While this
> answer is frustrating in a movement where we demand transparency for trust
> and collaboration (as we should), for Jimmy or anyone else to comment
> further would be - as an understatement - a poor decision, and one I'm sure
> Counsel would drop their jaw over, if not outright resign their position.
> If you were in the same position, you'd do the exact same thing. If you
> didn't, you'd be opening up a hole for a lawsuit that you can drive a truck
> through. And that lawsuit and hole, friends, is what will be the death of
> the Wikimedia Foundation. Not this.

And yet Keenan, Jimmy has indeed commented further and has further stated on 
numerous occasions that he would like transparency, and is working with the 
Board to release emails and provide a fuller explanation of their actions to 
remove James. 

So when you talk about a shield of confidentiality for the Board, then if this 
is the case then Jimmy's actions in communicating with a non-board member 
(Pete) seems to put Jimmy in a very awkward position if he agrees with your 
statement that "for Jimmy or anyone else to comment further would be - as an 
understatement - a poor decision, and one I'm sure Counsel would drop their jaw 
over, if not outright resign their position." Or the very public utterances by 
Jimmy, not cleared by counsel, that he is a liar.

Just remember here that Jimmy sent that email unsolicited to Peter. It is not 
Jimmy I feel for here, but Peter. Peter gets an email that shocks him, and he 
feels is unacceptable and manipulative, possibly even defamatory. He responds 
to Jimmy telling him that he is not a mediator. Jimmy then makes comments on 
the list stating that he is in private communications with James to work 
through issues, to which I personally believed was an excellent and 
constructive thing for him to do. Yet we now see what sort of communication he 
is having with James: insults and denigration, and what looks like attempts to 
manipulate and inflame James.

If anything, that's incredibly unfair to James. On the one hand Jimmy can say 
to everyone that hand on heart he is working through things with James *in 
private*, and yet by doing so he can say whatever he wants to James and should 
James reveal their correspondence then he, and others like yourself, can claim 
that private communications were violated. Thus Jimmy can say what he wants 
with complete impunity, and at the same time appear to the wider community to 
be making good faith attempts at reconciling with James.

If I were in James' shoes, I would cease all communications with such a person 
and request a formal, third party, professions mediator. I would also advise 
Jimmy that any future communications that do not satisfy this condition can no 
longer be considered private and may well be publicised.

Jimmy: you need to stop calling, or even implying or suggesting James is a 
liar. I am not a lawyer, but I feel you are very lucky in many ways that you 
don't live in the UK, because I feel James would be well within his rights to 
sue for defamation from some of the things you have stated. I'm not sure if he 
would have grounds, or even much of a chance of winning, a defamation suit in 
the U.S. but I suspect he could try should he want to.

The bottom line is that a professional mediator probably now needs to get 
involved. If the WMF is unwilling to fund or provide one, then this issue is 
not going away. I suspect that regardless, James will campaign to be elected 
for the next available Board on a platform of making the Board's actions more 
transparent and accountable. The Board will be in a position, should he win, of 
not accepting the nomination or will need to allow him on the Board - and this 
time, should he be removed again the uproar will be extremely damaging to the 
WMF. The Board, in my view, has no one to blame but themselves for allowing 
this to occur.

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