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 /jeblad 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 > _______________________________________________ > Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/ > wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/ > wiki/Wikimedia-l > New messages to: Wikimediaemail@example.com > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, > <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe> _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines and https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia-l New messages to: Wikimediafirstname.lastname@example.org Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>