Hi all,

I have no opinion whatsoever about all the things going on in this mail,
except for this part :

Three additional anonymous complaints were:
* speaking to loud
* standing to close
* having touched someone's hand/arm

It must be noted that *none* of the people that complained to the Trust &
Safety team had indicated to WMBE's treasurer to experience anything as

You did not just "touched my hand/arm", you took MY stuff from my hands,
and for both medical and personnal reasons which I do not wish to share on
a public list, it was a bad experience for me, and maybe I didn't *say*
anything, but I was visibly distressed. I assumed good faith from you and
accepted your apologizes later in private, but I really do not appreciate
having this particular incident discussed here and being forced to step up
like that.


Le lun. 17 juin 2019 à 11:00, Romaine Wiki <romaine.w...@gmail.com> a
écrit :

> Hello all,
> On Saturday 15 June 2019 Wikimedia Belgium had its annual General Assembly
> in Brussels.
> *New board*
> Two board members have indicated to step down:
> * Afernand74
> * SPQRobin
> We thank them for their work and valuable input in the past years!
> They remain available for advice to the board.
> Two board members were up for re-election after their previous terms ended.
> Both board members have been re-elected without any votes against them, and
> they will keep serving Wikimedia Belgium in their roles.
> * Geertivp - president
> * Romaine - treasurer
> One new board member has been elected without any votes against.
> * Taketa - long term Wikipedia editor and organiser of various activities
> Welcome Taketa!
> The rest of the board remains the same and the board continues the work and
> development of our chapter.
> *Evaluation behaviour WMF*
> As board we have the obligation to inform the General Assembly and other
> stakeholders about the developments with our chapter, both the good
> developments as well as the bad developments.
> A year ago, with our previous General Assembly, we were hopeful to resolve
> the issues we then had with on other organisation in the movement, the
> Wikimedia Foundation. Sadly we had to inform the General Assembly that
> instead of improvements, the behaviour of multiple individuals from the
> Wikimedia Foundation is below any standard. This concerns one member of the
> grants team and multiple members of the Trust and Safety team, as well as
> their supervisors.
> On request of the Trust & Safety team no names are mentioned. Below is a
> summary of what happened.
> *Case 1*
> In April 2017 the treasurer of Wikimedia Belgium (Romaine) spoke with our
> new grants staff member from the Wikimedia Foundation as WMBE was scheduled
> to change from successful project grants in 2017 and earlier years to
> Simple Annual Plan grants. During this meeting the plan for WMBE in 2018
> was proposed and was fine for the grants staff member. In the Summer of
> 2017 this had been worked out, and with an online call our annual plan was
> considered fine. With the final submission in October 2017, our annual
> grants proposal was reviewed by the grants staff member from WMF, had some
> minor remarks we fixed, and was considered to be excellent.
> In December 2017 we were informed that our grant request (suddenly) was, to
> summarise, complete wrong. It contained factual errors (like facts do not
> matter), inconsistencies, the comment that Wikimedia France and Wikimedia
> Netherlands could take everything over in Belgium, suggesting that Belgium
> has no culture (this is a serious insult to us), and much more.
> (For your reference: Wikimedia Belgium had over 90 events and activities in
> 2017, including a photo contest, education program, GLAM program with
> content donations, workshops and edit-a-thons, and more.)
> It raised us a lot of questions, which we asked, but our grants member of
> WMF refused to seriously answer them.
> Even with our lack of information and received insults, we tried to be
> constructive and before Christmas we proposed to the grants staff member
> that we would re-write during the Christmas holidays our annual plan (as
> the staff member had said many times we could improve it). With the e-mail
> following from the grants member of WMF this proposal was not rejected. So
> during the two weeks of the Christmas holidays we spent many days, together
> with the help from another experienced chapter representative, re-writing
> our annual plan. After the Christmas holidays, we were ready, and the
> response from the grants member from WMF was then that the re-written
> version could not be taken into account...
> After some further e-mails with this staff member we concluded as WMBE mid
> January 2018 that a collaboration with this individual from WMF is
> impossible and we banned this individual from ever contacting us again and
> we never communicated ever with this person again.
> The supervisor of this staff member has been informed by us about what
> happened, and refused to even investigate the situation.
> A colleague from the staff member took over and we received our budget for
> 2018. Later during 2018 and 2019 this WMF staff member helped us very well
> with questions, provided useful feedback and the annual plan for 2019 which
> was approved. We are now happy with this collaboration.
> *Case 2*
> During the Wikimedia Conference in April 2018 we still had many questions
> and our treasurer spoke with various other affiliates if they had advice,
> good practices, etc etc, so that we could improve our future annual plans.
> Instead of that good advice was given, they shared their similar bad
> experiences they had in the past years with our former grants person from
> WMF. Many of them indicated that they do not want the feedback/criticism to
> be public as they feel that their budget would be cut by WMF as result of
> it.
> With multiple chapter representatives we started to collect the feedback so
> that we could come up with some recommendations for improvements for both
> the WMF processes regarding grants as well as recommendations for
> affiliates for how to write better annual plans.
> Our former grants person from WMF heard about the initiative and started to
> tell bad (untrue) stories about WMBE's treasurer to bring him in discredit.
> Multiple people have testified that our former grants person was doing
> this, gossip like that WMBE's treasurer was planning to attack that grants
> person. The Trust & Safety team heard about it and drew immediately the
> conclusion that the gossip was true, without checking the facts, without
> even talking to any of the involved individuals, and asked WMBE's treasurer
> not to approach or contact the former grants person. (To be crystal clear:
> there was never ever a plan to contact the grants person from WMF at all.)
> Even after the Trust & Safety team spoke with WMBE's treasure, the gossip
> continued, causing a very unsafe conference space. A member of the Trust &
> Safety team was later informed about the ongoing gossip and refused to take
> any action to stop it, indicating not to take it seriously.
> *Case 3*
> During Wikimania 2018, WMBE's treasurer was asked to help the organisers of
> Wikimania in Cape Town to help and assist wherever needed. One of the tasks
> was to bring stuff from A to B on request. Everything seemed to go fine.
> Halfway the conference, WMBE's treasurer was casually approached by a
> member of the Trust and Safety team with a question to have a chat. A
> second team member came and they took an elevator together. In the elevator
> the team members made jokes and were laughing. As soon as they were in the
> room, it was made clear that the Trust & Safety team had received
> complaints about WMBE's treasurer.
> The main complaint was: being in the same (large) room as the grants member
> of WMF. The complainant was the grants member of WMF, and this person
> claimed that WMBE's treasurer had said something and that the grants member
> from WMF had been highly distressed resulting in not being able to do the
> presentation (later in that session) well.
> The situation was that WMBE's treasurer was asked to bring something to a
> room where a session just started (such requests happen many times during
> the conference, the grants person who complained was not presenting at that
> time), the materials were handed to someone in the back of the room and he
> left the room silently as quickly as possible. Multiple people present in
> that session have testified that he did not speak while bringing materials
> to the room, and they also testified that the presentation by the grants
> person from WMF went reasonable well.
> Also, during lunch WMBE's treasurer was sitting somewhere very visible to
> everyone, where the grants person from WMF came standing next to the
> treasurer, approached from the front. If the grants person from WMF really
> gets highly distressed by his presence, this person would not have done
> that.
> The Trust & Safety team blindly believed the statements made by their WMF
> colleague, the team did not ask witnesses in the room about what happened,
> all the information here above was provided to the Trust & Safety team, but
> the Trust & Safety team fully ignored this information and the witnesses
> who say otherwise.
> Three additional anonymous complaints were:
> * speaking to loud
> * standing to close
> * having touched someone's hand/arm
> It must be noted that *none* of the people that complained to the Trust &
> Safety team had indicated to WMBE's treasurer to experience anything as
> problem.
> Also, WMBE's treasurer has as disability that he hears less, does not hear
> well what the height of his volume is (but still trying to not to speak too
> loud), and with bad acoustics has to stand closer to people to hear them
> well. The Trust & Safety team was informed about this during the meeting.
> Also in the local culture where he comes from touching is a normal thing.
> Also many people that have been frequently with WMBE's treasurer at the
> conference have indicated that he did not speak too loud.
> During the meeting the Trust & Safety team told that they already had
> informed everyone in the organising team that they demanded WMBE's
> treasurer must stop helping in organising Wikimania 2018, meaning that they
> already had drawn the conclusion even before speaking with him.
> They also indicated that they "had to do something" so they could show
> the complainants
> that they do something when complaints are received, even while their
> decision did not solve/improve the complaints at all. The Trust & Safety
> team refused to think about real solutions, they refused to organise a
> dialogue to solve the complaints, they refused to mediate, they promised to
> organise a meeting with a supervisor, but that they never did. It also
> became clear they have zero feeling with people with autism. The Trust &
> Safety said they could not share any more information about what happened
> because of the privacy of the complainants.
> During the conference WMBE's treasurer made it public, to prevent having to
> tell emotionally what happened, as well as for transparency reasons. This
> did not take away that he felt ever since that chat highly unsafe as result
> by the behaviour of the Trust & Safety team, and still continues up to
> today, as well as he also had been five weeks ill after the conference
> because of this.
> Many people at the conference indicated to disagree with the decision of
> the Trust & Safety team, including WMF staff members and Wikimania's
> organising team. During the conference many of them approached the Trust &
> Safety team about it, various of them also proposing other solutions that.
> In these talks the Trust & Safety team shared a lot more details which they
> refused to share with WMBE's treasurer. Also the Trust & Safety team told
> that he had been warned before (which is not true), as well as exaggerating
> and framing what supposedly had happened.
> *Afterwards*
> After Wikimania the Trust & Safety team received an e-mail from WMBE's
> treasurer with a more detailed overview of what happened, including the
> many witnesses who claim differently. But all of this was fully ignored by
> the Trust & Safety team. After the conference nothing had been heard from
> the Trust & Safety team, until mid December 2018.
> In the first two weeks of December 2018 WMBE's treasurer received multiple
> e-mails from WMF staff members, including strangely in what was written a
> farewell and thank you for all the work. Apparently the Trust & Safety team
> had shared their new decision with other departments, while actual
> stakeholders were not informed.
> About a week later both the treasurer of WMBE as the president of WMBE (but
> none of the other organisations he is active for) received an e-mail in
> what the Trust & Safety team indicates to have received further complaints:
> - First they refer to the situation in December 2017-January 2018
> concerning the interaction with the former grants person from WMF.
> Apparently the Trust & Safety team fully has ignored all the insults at the
> address of our chapter and country. Also the e-mail reads largely like the
> grants person itself had written the e-mail.
> - Because of this they forbid WMBE's treasurer to ever contact WMBE's
> former grants person at WMF (one way only!) (Even while WMBE had banned
> every contact with this person already in January 2018.)
> - And they forbid to have contact with WMF grants grants team for about two
> years. (Even while the contact with all the other members of the grants
> team was going fine, even receiving various compliments. )
> Still it was decided by Wikimedia Belgium to keep WMBE's treasurer as
> treasurer of WMBE.
> - Someone at the conference saw WMBE's treasurer with a mascot and asked
> the name of the mascot. Answer: "Wendy the Weasel", clearly indicating a
> female name. The question that followed was what the gender was of the
> mascot. WMBE's treasurer was thinking that this was just said, and replied
> that as there are no outer organs the mascot must be female. (Having asked
> around, in the part of the world where WMBE's treasurer lives this is not
> considered a problem, but maybe this is differently elsewhere and is there
> a taboo.)
> - Someone had indicated that WMBE's treasurer has been standing in the way
> of that person and blocking the complainants path at Wikimania. It was a
> space of about 1.5 to 2 metres, where also multiple other people where
> standing, and people passing by were asked question, but everyone who
> wanted to pass by could do so.
> - Someone has told that WMBE's treasurer would have said that he would
> visit conferences "to pick up girls". Everybody who knows WMBE's treasurer
> knows this is nonsense. Some contest: WMBE's treasurer has someone he loves
> in his home country with zero interest of that kind in anyone else, and
> falls in the category of LGBT+ and does not fall on the women at the
> conferences. It must be noticed extremely suggestive interpretations of
> other people (that do not have the regular impressions, like due being
> LGBT+), have far reaching effects as conclusions. Such is an insult.
> - Because of this they forbid WMBE's treasurer to be present at events
> funded directly/indirectly by WMF for two years.
> Again it must be noticed that the Trust & Safety team for the third time on
> a row refuses to talk with the individual who it concerns first, before
> drawing any conclusions. The Trust & Safety team comes in their e-mail with
> a lot of assumptions based on loose sand. They also claim that WMBE's
> treasurer fails to assume good faith.
> In an e-mail to the presidents of two chapters they said that "they know
> how he thinks", followed by a lot of nonsense and false claims. The Trust &
> Safety team does not assume good faith themselves if they write that.
> The Trust & Safety team provided in their communication zero examples of
> where the Friendly Space Policy has been breached.
> The situation of WMBE's treasurer and the Trust & Safety team has been
> reviewed by an independent professional with expertise in complaints
> handling. The conclusion of this expert: almost everything that the Trust &
> Safety team could have done wrong in handling complaints, they did do
> wrong. Many basic principles in complaint handling and conflict resolution
> have been ignored by the Trust & Safety team. In addition to this, they
> communicate very intimidating as well as with treats.
> The way how they work/communicate gives the impression like a staff member
> of WMF is more worth than a volunteer from the community.
> Two chapters have reached out to the Wikimedia Foundation, indicating that
> the way how the Trust & Safety team was operating is not appropriate, but
> WMF refuses to take these concerns seriously and has ignored this fully.
> Again the Trust & Safety team refuses to work together on actual solutions.
> To summarise, feedback/information from WMBE's treasurer has been ignored
> by WMF, feedback from the president of WMBE has been ignored by WMF,
> feedback from the president and director of WMNL have been ignored by WMF,
> feedback from other staff members in WMF have been ignored by WMF, feedback
> from many community members from the movement have been ignored.
> Because of the behaviour of the trust & Safety team that causes for
> everyone in the movement an unsafe place, WMBE's treasurer has decided
> to indefinitely
> stop attending WMF funded events.
> At the General Assembly it was requested to request an internal audit in
> WMF to bring all the problems there to the light.
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