When I first saw the posts I thought it would probably be more opinions to
them than the very clear blame-game that were going on. Having a partly
anonymous community and a chapter that only represents some of the users
are an invitation to fierce battles.

Whatever going on at WMFR, I believe it is time for reevaluating the role
of WMF in this. I'm wondering if there should be a new board for WMF,
unless they get a new chair themselves asap. Reorganize, solve the
problems, and move on.

No, I do not know any of the people involved.

John Erling Blad

On Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 3:11 PM, Marie-Alice Mathis <
mariealice.gar...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello all,
> I haven’t had a real opportunity to introduce myself: I am Marie-Alice
> Mathis, 32, a now ex-member of the Board of Wikimédia France.
> The transition with the newly elected members of the Board is now complete
> and I gladly step down to get away from the violence, exhaustion and
> frustration of these past few months.
> I was a Board candidate because after completing my PhD I finally had more
> time to contribute to the projects and serve the community through the
> French chapter: after watching my husband Rémi Mathis do it for years I had
> a pretty good idea of what it meant. I did not know our ED Nathalie Martin
> or our chair Émeric Vallespi before working with them, and now that I have
> I can vouch for their hard work and attachment to the movement’s values.
> Today, I have lost friends or people I thought were friends because I
> defended Nathalie and Émeric in good faith during the smear campaign based
> on the community’s assumption that they were the source and cause of all
> the chapter’s problems, real or perceived. Although I have worked with them
> closely for a year, I have been repeatedly informed that I’ve been
> manipulated by Nathalie from the start and should not have blindly believed
> everything Émeric was saying. I’ve been personally attacked on WMF sites,
> email lists, and social media for weeks, my every word scrutinised,
> questioned and mocked assuming I was either ignorant or lying. I’ve been
> told by so-called feminists who were endorsing a particularly sexist rant
> against me to “stop making inflammatory comments”. I’ve been called a
> conspiracy theorist because I questioned the role of our former chair
> Christophe Henner, now chair of the Board at the WMF, in the threats to
> withdraw our chapter agreement and the cutting of half our FDC funding.
> People close to Christophe who have resigned from the WMFR Board early in
> the crisis rather than take responsibility for their mistakes now call
> themselves victims and whistleblowers. The WMF, who is perfectly aware of
> the charges of sexual harassment filed by Nathalie against Christophe for
> facts dating back to when he was her boss at Wikimédia France, is
> pretending WMFR leadership has used the threat of legal action to
> intimidate chapter members and silence opposition.
> Some unfounded allegations have been made on this very list by prominent
> members of the community (and what is a newbie’s word worth in that case,
> right?): from extremely serious accusations of misuse of chapter funds for
> personal gain (that strangely enough never made it to the French justice
> system despite a so-called “rather convincing rationale”), to gratuitous
> ones that Nathalie was making the Board’s decisions for us and dictating
> our communication (I am old enough to write my own emails, thank you very
> much), to ever vague ones of “quite generous expenses reimbursement“. None
> of this has been supported by proof or tangible facts, but the goal of
> spreading distrust and dissent in the chapter and the wider community has
> clearly been reached. Even now that Nathalie has left her position and the
> Board has resigned, some are still defaming her in the French media in the
> hopes of winning the stupid argument of who were the bad guys in the
> crisis.
> I am also extremely disappointed that no one from this list asked us (the
> Board) what was happening when these allegations were made, with only a
> handful of people suggesting to wait before all the facts were known.
> Instead, you took for granted the very short and extremely biased English
> summaries of the Board’s communications (which were instantly circulated on
> this list without our consent and in violation of our chapter’s bylaws),
> and joined in the chorus of outrage, condemnation and verbal abuse.
> But worse to me than all this, I am actually terrified at how easily the
> Wikimedia community can turn on a person, with no regard whatsoever for
> decency or legality, when it has made up its mind about who has no place
> there. I have personally experienced what it means to disagree with this
> angry mob: questioning the dominant opinion or calling out individuals’
> toxic behaviour makes you in turn acceptable collateral damage and a “fair
> game” target for harassment.
> Speaking of this, the movement as a whole needs to address the issue of
> staff-volunteers relations exemplified by the rapid turnover of executive
> staff across chapters. Nathalie stayed at WMFR an almost record breaking 4
> years, but at what cost? I’m being extremely serious in adding that this
> conversation needs to take place before something irreversible happens as a
> result of harmful group behaviour within the community.
> Sincerely,
> Marie-Alice Mathis // AlienSpoon
> PS: for your information about my position regarding the WMF’s role in this
> crisis and their recent unilaterally added conditions [
> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grant_expectations_for_
> Wikimedia_France_-_2017-2018]
> for payment of our FDC-attributed grant, I attach my email to Katy Love
> from Sept 20.
> Katy, (Cc WMFr Board and Rémi)
> In the WMF "Grant expectations" document sent to the Board of WMFr, you
> mention as a condition for APG funds payment that I do not resign from my
> position on the Board until the governance review is complete, and that any
> Board member planning to resign must report and justify it to WMF.
> You also mention that you retain the right to cease funding WMFr if you
> consider that legal threats are being used inappropriately to stifle civil
> and appropriate participation in the chapter. Moreover, you condition
> payment to being informed if the chapter leadership feels that legal action
> is appropriate to take against current or former board members or staff.
> Let me be clear: these conditions are outrageous and unacceptable.
> First of all, my legitimacy as a Board member of WMFr does not come from
> any commitment to WMF but from being democratically elected by French
> chapter members. WMF has no say in who stays or not on the Board, and
> trying to intervene on such governance issues is, again, putting both
> organisations at risk of being legally recognised as co-employers.
> Second, as a (volunteer) Board member I have been subjected to harassment,
> sexist abuse, and unjustified allegations of misconduct by community
> members, that have impacted my health and mental well being to the point
> where I was no longer able to do my (paid) job in cancer patient care and
> my GP put me on medical leave. A large volume of this abuse took place on
> WMF property (fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipédia:Le_Bistro
> <http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Le_Bistro>
> <http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Le_Bistro> and the
> WMF-hosted,
> publicly archived mailing lists wikimedia-l and wikimediafr).
> You personally and on behalf of WMF encouraged French community members to
> challenge chapter leadership citing governance issues, without a word
> mentioning the violence suffered by the Board and executive staff at the
> hands of some French members during this crisis. Worse, you presented the
> Board's email condemning the harassment as inaccurate and problematic,
> which made the community feel all the more legitimate in their harmful
> attacks.
> When I reported the abuse in person to WMF employees during the site visit
> you personally empathised with my distress at the time, and thanked me for
> being honest about how your email to the wikimediafr list had made our
> already precarious situation untenable. And then you did nothing.
> My husband Rémi, who witnessed first hand the effects of the harassment on
> my health, called on you to release the site visit report so the misconduct
> allegations would stop. You didn't, until 3 days before our General
> Assembly (where the allegations were repeated), on the same day you asked
> that I stay on as a Board member. Even your choice of words in the "Grant
> expectations" document is telling: "egregious incivility" is not what we
> are talking about here. We are talking about unacceptable and illegal
> defamation and harassment with serious real life consequences.
> Rémi also called on the wikimedia-l list to stop the unfounded allegations,
> and was attacked in turn because of "his conflict of interest as the
> husband of a Board member". He also reported the abuse to the WMF
> governance committee, to the Suport and Safety team and mentioned it to
> Christophe Henner and Katherine Maher on Twitter, to no avail. To this day
> we haven't received any support or acknowledgement whatsoever. All the
> while the sexist abuse continues, and French editor MrButler was moderated
> on the wikimediafr maling list for his continued personal attacks against
> me. This is exactly the kind of behaviour the Board's email to the members
> was calling out, yet you continue to deliberately ignore it and refuse to
> do anything about it.
> Finally, your asking to be informed of any legal action against chapter
> members or staff is yet another example of the WMF taking sides while
> posing as a neutral arbitrator. Calling someone out on their toxic
> behaviour or actually filing a complaint are no legal threats or
> intimidation, but by claiming they are you are trying to silence victims by
> denying them their basic rights to legal protection. At least two
> complaints have been filed against community members and more may be
> coming, including on my behalf. You will not be informed because it is not
> for WMF to decide whether they are justified or frivolous.
> For all these reasons I am deeply shocked and hurt by your payment
> conditions and will not abide by the terms of your grant expectations. With
> most of WMFr funding hanging in the balance your unilaterally revised
> conditions amount to blackmail but I will not stay in harm's way at the
> request of the organisation who has failed me in every aspect when I came
> in good faith to work for the community. I will resign when I see fit to
> protect my health, and continue to speak honestly and publicly about your
> actions and empty words of safety and inclusivity.
> Sincerely,
> Marie-Alice Mathis, vice chair of WMFr
> _______________________________________________
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