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Re: Sad news

Reem Al-Kashif
Hello,

I actively avoid participating in discussion of many sorts, but Romaine is a very nice and friendly so I want to weigh in. He works so hard too and keeps trying to make things cheerful (which is needed). I understand if people are sensitive to touching, hugging, and/or sometimes handshaking, but they could say that or have a sticker on their badges or something. I know one might feel bad turning down a handshake or a hug, but it is better than considering it as misconduct from the person offering it.
I don't think it is now about cultural backgrounds more than individual preferences. So the bottom line is make your preferences known. 

Best,
Reem

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018 at 12:38, Chris Keating <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello - I wouldn't claim to know anything about the specifics of
what's happened here but did just want to respond to this:

> * On one hand, Romaine *has* to be close to a person he is talking to, otherwise he is unable to hear them. I know him, he really is.

I work in an office where about 20% of the workforce are deaf or hard
of hearing. I have never known a situation where someone feels they
'have' to be so close to someone to hear that the other party feels
uncomfortable.

There is plenty one can do to make life easier for a deaf friend or
colleague (speak clearly, make eye contact, keep your face in full
view, use plenty of body language...) but standing right next to them
is not the normal way to do it.

Thanks,

Chris

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Re: Sad news

Dhaval S. Vyas
In reply to this post by Huib Laurens
Hi,

I think we need to consider that we have participants from different countries and hence different cultures. Touching might not be considered bad behaviour at all in one culture but could be completely unacceptable in another.

E.g. in India it is very common for 2 male friends to walk with hands on eachother's shoulder or hand in hand, but when I first arrived in UK I learned that such intimacy is linked with particular group of males and hence not considered good in public.

In my opinion, what someone personally feels about other's such gestures is entirely up to the individual, should not be generalised when we have a culturally diverse participants. Being little more tolerant or inclusive is all what we should learn and implement.

Regards,
Dhaval Vyas

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018, 11:37 Sterkebak, <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think we forget the mention of touching, even if its a shoulder. Touching can be very uncomfortable.... 

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018 at 12:17, Mykola Kozlenko <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

I am very sad to see this happen. I think this is a case when we cannot gave a win-win implementation of the policy
* On one hand, Romaine *has* to be close to a person he is talking to, otherwise he is unable to hear them. I know him, he really is.
* On the other hand, in some cultures standing very close to a person who is not a friend can be really impolite. Some people prefer to keep more distance when they are talking to someone. (See  https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_space )
* On one hand, entering a room when someone needs an item urgently can be normal. A person quite legitimately may want to help as quickly as possible when they are asked to.
* On the other hand, a person entering and immediately leaving the room can indeed be a significant distraction for a speaker. A speaker may come from a culture where such behaviour is considered impolite.

We are all coming from different backgrounds, and what is normal for one person might be offensive to another. Looking forward, can we probably assume more good faith? We might not be aware what another person's background is, so perhaps we should begin with asking them why they are doing that and why you are not OK with that.

Best regards,
Mykola (NickK)

--- Оригінальне повідомлення ---
Від кого: "Lodewijk" <[hidden email]>
Дата: 20 липня 2018, 10:23:49

Hi all,

while I have much sympathy for Romaine, and cannot comprehend the decision with the available information, I do want to guard us to continue discussing this further here. We (even Romaine) have only a limited part of the information available to us. I trust that Romaine works with the very best intentions, and also that the Trust & Safety team has the best intentions in their implementation. I also trust that the team will make a full evaluation after Wikimania is completed as their default practice. 

As part of this conversation, both here online and offline, I seem to hear several people who are unhappy with how the policy is implemented. Let us also recognize that it is important to have a friendly space - and that this is a Hard Thing to accomplish. Agreeing or disagreeing in public with a decision while only having part of the information can only make that job harder and/or harm individuals.

If you have beef with the policy and how it is implemented, I suggest that you try to set up a meetup with the Trust & Safety team, and you can have a conversation with them about the broader policy. They can perhaps share some rough broader statistics as part of that. Otherwise, it is probably more appropriate to have this online discussion after the conference has concluded, based on the policy and practices as a whole, and not an individual case. 

Just my two cents...

Lodewijk

On Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 10:15 AM Andy Mabbett <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 19 July 2018 at 20:30, Romaine Wiki <[hidden email]> wrote:

> - People say I have been talking to loud

> Please be aware I have a hearing problem and I do hear myself

> Because of these complaints, it was demanded to step down as a volunteer
> organiser for this year's Wikimania.

As someone with family members who are profoundly hard of hearing and
affected by tinnitus, I am sorry to learn that you have been
discriminated against in this way.

I hope that whoever is responsible for our safe spaces policy will
ensure that this does not happen to you - or anyone else - again.

--
Andy Mabbett
@pigsonthewing
http://pigsonthewing.org.uk

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Huib Laurens
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Re: Sad news

Dariusz Jemielniak-3
hi,

a lot of good comments have been given already. As a person not involved and without knowledge of the case, but on occasion teaching cross-cultural management, I just want to piggyback on what James stated and add: sometimes a person can act in 100% good faith, and yet for the comfort and safety of everyone else, they may be requested to step down from their volunteering, and that's ok. 

It is perhaps worth reiterating that in mixing cultures different norms and expectations are 100% inevitably resulting in conflicts and misunderstandings, period. There is zero doubt about it. 

We should all assume good faith, and understand that even the conflicting norms and cultures alone, with the addition of a hearing problem, may have resulted in some sort of misunderstanding(s). It still does not mean that the safety team request was premature. We want the participants to feel safe and comfortable. 

I'd suggest that we refrain from digging into this particular case and discussing it further, except for remembering clearly that the decision was never meant as a punishment. 

best,

Dariusz ("pundit")


On Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 1:24 PM, Dhaval S. Vyas <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

I think we need to consider that we have participants from different countries and hence different cultures. Touching might not be considered bad behaviour at all in one culture but could be completely unacceptable in another.

E.g. in India it is very common for 2 male friends to walk with hands on eachother's shoulder or hand in hand, but when I first arrived in UK I learned that such intimacy is linked with particular group of males and hence not considered good in public.

In my opinion, what someone personally feels about other's such gestures is entirely up to the individual, should not be generalised when we have a culturally diverse participants. Being little more tolerant or inclusive is all what we should learn and implement.

Regards,
Dhaval Vyas

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018, 11:37 Sterkebak, <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think we forget the mention of touching, even if its a shoulder. Touching can be very uncomfortable.... 

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018 at 12:17, Mykola Kozlenko <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

I am very sad to see this happen. I think this is a case when we cannot gave a win-win implementation of the policy
* On one hand, Romaine *has* to be close to a person he is talking to, otherwise he is unable to hear them. I know him, he really is.
* On the other hand, in some cultures standing very close to a person who is not a friend can be really impolite. Some people prefer to keep more distance when they are talking to someone. (See  https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_space )
* On one hand, entering a room when someone needs an item urgently can be normal. A person quite legitimately may want to help as quickly as possible when they are asked to.
* On the other hand, a person entering and immediately leaving the room can indeed be a significant distraction for a speaker. A speaker may come from a culture where such behaviour is considered impolite.

We are all coming from different backgrounds, and what is normal for one person might be offensive to another. Looking forward, can we probably assume more good faith? We might not be aware what another person's background is, so perhaps we should begin with asking them why they are doing that and why you are not OK with that.

Best regards,
Mykola (NickK)

--- Оригінальне повідомлення ---
Від кого: "Lodewijk" <[hidden email]>
Дата: 20 липня 2018, 10:23:49

Hi all,

while I have much sympathy for Romaine, and cannot comprehend the decision with the available information, I do want to guard us to continue discussing this further here. We (even Romaine) have only a limited part of the information available to us. I trust that Romaine works with the very best intentions, and also that the Trust & Safety team has the best intentions in their implementation. I also trust that the team will make a full evaluation after Wikimania is completed as their default practice. 

As part of this conversation, both here online and offline, I seem to hear several people who are unhappy with how the policy is implemented. Let us also recognize that it is important to have a friendly space - and that this is a Hard Thing to accomplish. Agreeing or disagreeing in public with a decision while only having part of the information can only make that job harder and/or harm individuals.

If you have beef with the policy and how it is implemented, I suggest that you try to set up a meetup with the Trust & Safety team, and you can have a conversation with them about the broader policy. They can perhaps share some rough broader statistics as part of that. Otherwise, it is probably more appropriate to have this online discussion after the conference has concluded, based on the policy and practices as a whole, and not an individual case. 

Just my two cents...

Lodewijk

On Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 10:15 AM Andy Mabbett <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 19 July 2018 at 20:30, Romaine Wiki <[hidden email]> wrote:

> - People say I have been talking to loud

> Please be aware I have a hearing problem and I do hear myself

> Because of these complaints, it was demanded to step down as a volunteer
> organiser for this year's Wikimania.

As someone with family members who are profoundly hard of hearing and
affected by tinnitus, I am sorry to learn that you have been
discriminated against in this way.

I hope that whoever is responsible for our safe spaces policy will
ensure that this does not happen to you - or anyone else - again.

--
Andy Mabbett
@pigsonthewing
http://pigsonthewing.org.uk

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Met vriendelijke groet, 

Huib Laurens
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kierownik katedry MINDS (Management in Networked and Digital Societies)

Akademia Leona Koźmińskiego
http://NeRDS.kozminski.edu.pl 



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Re: Sad news

Siebrand Mazeland-2
Please. Just. Stop.

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Re: Sad news

Reem Al-Kashif
"and yet for the comfort and safety of everyone else, they may be requested to step down from their volunteering, and that's ok."
" the decision was never meant as a punishment."

hmmmmmmm

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018 at 13:53, Siebrand Mazeland <[hidden email]> wrote:
Please. Just. Stop.

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Re: Sad news

Romaine Wiki-2
In reply to this post by James Alexander-4
Dear James,

As I made clear in our conversation yesterday, this happened to me, but has can and could have happened to almost everyone of the other participants at this conference.

Yes, we need to respect the privacy of the people who reported they were uncomfortable, and it is a very very very sad thing they have been uncomfortable.
But this whole situation makes me very uncomfortable. I am trying to be always as friendly as possible, to help anyone the best as possible, it is sad for me to feel that we do not know any longer if you help someone if you are then still safe or getting reported about you.

In the past 24 hours I have been touched (hands, hugs, hand on shoulder, etc) over 50 times by various people, many I know, some I don't. Only once I was asked if I was fine with it. In many regions in the world it is normal to shake hands, hug someone, etc etc. We do need to be aware of that in some cultures this is not common, as well as individuals do not find it comfortable. We also need to be aware that we as humans cannot switch off the way we are. We need to create a friendly space for everyone.
To my feeling the focus is too much on not giving some people a bad feeling, but we also must respect the nature of people, how people normally are, because if we don't, we create an unfriendly space for them.

Now too many people are scared to touch someone else, scared to make a mistake. That is bad. It is good to have awareness of cultural differences, it is good if everyone tries to respect each others personal space.

It is not right that if someone tries to be nice, this gives a bad feeling to the other.
If then someone gets punished ("action is taken"), we are putting the health of our community at risk.

You said to me in our conversation yesterday that you do not recommend me to send the earlier mail I did send. I can understand why you ask this, but for my feeling I had no other choice. Every day many many people greet me and ask me how I am feeling. If I am feeling bad, I say so. I am too emotional to explain it to every one of them.
A second reason I raised attention for what happened to me, is because the whole goal of the friendly space policy is to create a friendly space, while now it is actually an unfriendly space for many just because of the action you took.
In my case, you say it is not punishment, but it has bad consequences that are only a placebo and do not help to solve the situation and certainly does not improve the situation. That is a very bad thing.

The friendly space policy is intended to create a friendly space for everyone, now however many perceive an unfriendly space, that is a serious problem. We need to get a better and balanced situation in how is dealt with these situations.

At this conference it might be a bit early to discuss the topic in general, but still I think it we need to be aware that this problem exist.
I also think we need to have a dialogue in our movement about this kind of situations where people perceive harassment while the other has the best intentions.


Romaine



2018-07-20 12:28 GMT+02:00 James Alexander <[hidden email]>:
Hey all,

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

James

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)
Wikimedia Foundation

On Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 11:40 AM Andy Mabbett <[hidden email]> wrote:
On 20 July 2018 at 09:23, Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I trust that [...] the Trust & Safety team has the best intentions in
> their implementation

I note that Romaine does not mention the team in his email, only that
there was a "demand" that he stand down; he did not say who made this
demand.

Indeed, the only mention of the T&S team before yours was my call for
them to support a member of the community who seems to feel he has
been discriminated against because of the effects of his hearing
issue.

--
Andy Mabbett
@pigsonthewing
http://pigsonthewing.org.uk

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Hands on shoulders (Re: Sad news)

Amir Sarabadani-2
In reply to this post by Dhaval S. Vyas
I'm really sorry to deviate from the main topic, I made another thread so it would be less distractive.

On Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 1:24 PM Dhaval S. Vyas <[hidden email]> wrote:


E.g. in India it is very common for 2 male friends to walk with hands on eachother's shoulder or hand in hand, but when I first arrived in UK I learned that such intimacy is linked with particular group of males and hence not considered good in public.
Can I ask what's wrong with being "particular group of males" and how it makes it not "good in public"? I'm a member of this group of males that you don't even want to name them, gay people.

Can moderators/people responsible in Wikimania take a look at this homophobic comment here?

Best

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Re: Hands on shoulders (Re: Sad news)

Dhaval S. Vyas
Hi Amir,

It's not me who made a homophobic comment, it is how the country tgat I pive in sees two males. I have several gay friends so PLEASE DO NOT take a rant on me by starting a topic that has no base.

I simply wanted to point out how an innocent gesture of one culture could be perceived in another. And for that same reason, I never even once mentioned that touching a shoulder or holding hands is wrong. My point was for those who find it offending and I mentioned that everyone should be tolerant. If you missed it in the email, I would request you to reread.

Regards,
Dhaval Vyas

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018, 14:14 Amir Ladsgroup, <[hidden email]> wrote:
I'm really sorry to deviate from the main topic, I made another thread so it would be less distractive.

On Fri, Jul 20, 2018 at 1:24 PM Dhaval S. Vyas <[hidden email]> wrote:


E.g. in India it is very common for 2 male friends to walk with hands on eachother's shoulder or hand in hand, but when I first arrived in UK I learned that such intimacy is linked with particular group of males and hence not considered good in public.
Can I ask what's wrong with being "particular group of males" and how it makes it not "good in public"? I'm a member of this group of males that you don't even want to name them, gay people.

Can moderators/people responsible in Wikimania take a look at this homophobic comment here?

Best
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Re: Sad news

Federico Leva (Nemo)
In reply to this post by Florence Devouard-6
Devouard (gmail), 20/07/2018 12:18:
> So, I am thinking that... whilst some of us put little stickers on our
> badges to indicate we do not want to be taken in picture, perhaps we
> need to consider also little stickers to put on our badges to indicate
> that we prefer "a certain physical distance" and warn others that we may
> be sensitive to closeness so they be aware it might be an issue ?

+1, this is a suggestion worth exploring (is there a feedback page
already on the wiki, where to add it?).

If you see a "fi-N" on someone's badge you may remember the advice
"Never hug, kiss or touch a Finn"
<http://www.ediplomat.com/np/cultural_etiquette/ce_fi.htm>, but not
everybody may be expected to walk around with a cultural etiquette
matrix for 200 cultures.

(At Wikimania I usually also wear Wikiquote and sister project stickers
and pins so that people are warned that, if they use language which
assumes "Wikipedia" or "English [Wikipedia]" or other discriminations of
some projects, I will definitely take offense and object to it.)

Federico

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Re: Sad news

Mina Theofilatou-2
I have just read through the long thread of replies and I am appalled that Romaine was asked to "step down" for safety concerns of an individual (or several individuals?) arising from his standing too close or speaking too loud or whatever. Is THIS really a behaviour that can put someone at risk? And if a risk has been identified out of such, may we please be informed by the SuSa team not of the details, but at least of the supposed risk? 

Romaine is the first person I ever met at my first Wikimania (Mexico City) and he is always on his feet all day doing a million different things to facilitate the event. He is sweet, helpful, with a great sense of humour and I can't imagine that anyone who has been to so much as a single Wikimania would think otherwise.  So, very plainly and openly, as we are accustomed in the open movement we so passionately follow, may we please have an explanation as to which "friendly space" code of conduct he has breached to deserve being asked to step down? And on top of that, being further stressed by the criticism that he has been e in ths thread? The only GOOD thing that I see as possibly resulting from this discussion was what Florence (if I recall correctly) suggested: a sticker indicating which people are offended by loud speaking and close proximity, so that,this doesn't happen again (a sticker which I will most certainly NOT be sporting on my badge)

Romaine, a big THANK YOU for all that you do for Wikimanias. I always look forward to "brushing shoulders" with you. A big warm hug from your Greek friend :)

Mina

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018, 18:21 Federico Leva (Nemo), <[hidden email]> wrote:
Devouard (gmail), 20/07/2018 12:18:
> So, I am thinking that... whilst some of us put little stickers on our
> badges to indicate we do not want to be taken in picture, perhaps we
> need to consider also little stickers to put on our badges to indicate
> that we prefer "a certain physical distance" and warn others that we may
> be sensitive to closeness so they be aware it might be an issue ?

+1, this is a suggestion worth exploring (is there a feedback page
already on the wiki, where to add it?).

If you see a "fi-N" on someone's badge you may remember the advice
"Never hug, kiss or touch a Finn"
<http://www.ediplomat.com/np/cultural_etiquette/ce_fi.htm>, but not
everybody may be expected to walk around with a cultural etiquette
matrix for 200 cultures.

(At Wikimania I usually also wear Wikiquote and sister project stickers
and pins so that people are warned that, if they use language which
assumes "Wikipedia" or "English [Wikipedia]" or other discriminations of
some projects, I will definitely take offense and object to it.)

Federico

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Re: Sad news

John Hendrik Weitzmann
jeez*, if people feel offended by a loud voice, and instead of moving away are prompted to formally complain, and if a touch on the shoulder is considered harrassment, something is deeply wrong. Let's _not_ cultivate sensitivitism by way of a badges-turned set of interdictions. It's like in constitutional law: Practical concordance = people's sensitivities must take 2nd place where to "respect" them becomes unworkable for the rest of the world.


*bearing in mind what Lodewijk said about not knowing the full story


Am Fr., 20. Juli 2018 um 19:12 Uhr schrieb Mina Theofilatou <[hidden email]>:
I have just read through the long thread of replies and I am appalled that Romaine was asked to "step down" for safety concerns of an individual (or several individuals?) arising from his standing too close or speaking too loud or whatever. Is THIS really a behaviour that can put someone at risk? And if a risk has been identified out of such, may we please be informed by the SuSa team not of the details, but at least of the supposed risk? 

Romaine is the first person I ever met at my first Wikimania (Mexico City) and he is always on his feet all day doing a million different things to facilitate the event. He is sweet, helpful, with a great sense of humour and I can't imagine that anyone who has been to so much as a single Wikimania would think otherwise.  So, very plainly and openly, as we are accustomed in the open movement we so passionately follow, may we please have an explanation as to which "friendly space" code of conduct he has breached to deserve being asked to step down? And on top of that, being further stressed by the criticism that he has been e in ths thread? The only GOOD thing that I see as possibly resulting from this discussion was what Florence (if I recall correctly) suggested: a sticker indicating which people are offended by loud speaking and close proximity, so that,this doesn't happen again (a sticker which I will most certainly NOT be sporting on my badge)

Romaine, a big THANK YOU for all that you do for Wikimanias. I always look forward to "brushing shoulders" with you. A big warm hug from your Greek friend :)

Mina

On Fri, 20 Jul 2018, 18:21 Federico Leva (Nemo), <[hidden email]> wrote:
Devouard (gmail), 20/07/2018 12:18:
> So, I am thinking that... whilst some of us put little stickers on our
> badges to indicate we do not want to be taken in picture, perhaps we
> need to consider also little stickers to put on our badges to indicate
> that we prefer "a certain physical distance" and warn others that we may
> be sensitive to closeness so they be aware it might be an issue ?

+1, this is a suggestion worth exploring (is there a feedback page
already on the wiki, where to add it?).

If you see a "fi-N" on someone's badge you may remember the advice
"Never hug, kiss or touch a Finn"
<http://www.ediplomat.com/np/cultural_etiquette/ce_fi.htm>, but not
everybody may be expected to walk around with a cultural etiquette
matrix for 200 cultures.

(At Wikimania I usually also wear Wikiquote and sister project stickers
and pins so that people are warned that, if they use language which
assumes "Wikipedia" or "English [Wikipedia]" or other discriminations of
some projects, I will definitely take offense and object to it.)

Federico

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Re: Sad news

Ilario Valdelli-2
In reply to this post by Romaine Wiki-2

Ciao Romaine,

I have not understood (really)... but people cannot tell you, politely, "don't stay so close to me" or "don't touch my shoulders" or "don't speak so loud" instead of reporting to someone else?

Kind regards


On 19/07/2018 21:30, Romaine Wiki wrote:

- People say I have been talking to loud, however I do not know where that was, but for those who complained about that: I am very sorry, not my intention. Please be aware I have a hearing problem and I do hear myself much less, as well as I have periodically tinnitus.
I would appreciate it very much if anyone who notices I speak to loud, to tell me, I do not want to disturb or invasive or ...

- People have said that with some people I have been standing to close to them or I may have touched a shoulder. I am very very sorry if that gave anyone a bad feeling. Such is never my intention. Because of my bad hearing I might also stand closer to people.
I am pretty sensitive myself to this as well, and I always try to respect the personal space of others as I would love anyone at the conference to feel well.



-- 
Ilario Valdelli
Wikimedia CH
Verein zur Förderung Freien Wissens
Association pour l’avancement des connaissances libre
Associazione per il sostegno alla conoscenza libera
Switzerland - 8008 Zürich
Tel: +41764821371
http://www.wikimedia.ch

Virus-free. www.avast.com

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Re: Sad news

Deryck Chan
In reply to this post by James Alexander-4
This is the second time I remember that the Friendly Space Policy was invoked to remove a Wikimania attendee from a situation, presumably because of in-person misconduct on their part, where the removal was made public but the reason of removal was kept secret.

The problem with such secretive invocations of Friendly Space is that it is very difficult, as Reem and others have pointed out, to not see this as a punishment.

I understand that it is very difficult to balance the specific, personal sensitivities and cultural preferences of several hundred people from different cultures. But as this discussion has shown, it is counter-productive to use Friendly Space this way, because other Wikimaniacs are left worrying what the appropriate behaviour is supposed to be.

I don't know the details of this incident because it wasn't public. But from what I know of Romaine from previous Wikimanias, I'm disappointed that this incident couldn't have been handled behind the scenes with T&S and the people involved. The fact that Romaine felt the need to go public about his removal as an organiser showed mis-handling of process.

Well, actually the previous time was 6 years ago, so maybe we're doing well. We did try reforming the friendly space policy around 2013-14 but couldn't agree on something better at the time... The doors of improvement always stay open for the Wikimedia movement.

--Deryck

On 20 July 2018 at 11:28, James Alexander <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

James

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)
Wikimedia Foundation



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Re: Sad news

Sam Oyeyele
I believe the best way to avoid this kind of situation in the future, is to have tags specifically to indicate a need for personal space or something.

From what I have read so far, Romaine has done nothing "out of the ordinary" (based on my cultural perspective); and he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment/sanction/punishment/etc.

I should also state that I have met Romaine a couple of times, and he is indeed a very nice man, who always means the best.

Sam.

On 25 Jul 2018 16:41, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is the second time I remember that the Friendly Space Policy was invoked to remove a Wikimania attendee from a situation, presumably because of in-person misconduct on their part, where the removal was made public but the reason of removal was kept secret.

The problem with such secretive invocations of Friendly Space is that it is very difficult, as Reem and others have pointed out, to not see this as a punishment.

I understand that it is very difficult to balance the specific, personal sensitivities and cultural preferences of several hundred people from different cultures. But as this discussion has shown, it is counter-productive to use Friendly Space this way, because other Wikimaniacs are left worrying what the appropriate behaviour is supposed to be.

I don't know the details of this incident because it wasn't public. But from what I know of Romaine from previous Wikimanias, I'm disappointed that this incident couldn't have been handled behind the scenes with T&S and the people involved. The fact that Romaine felt the need to go public about his removal as an organiser showed mis-handling of process.

Well, actually the previous time was 6 years ago, so maybe we're doing well. We did try reforming the friendly space policy around 2013-14 but couldn't agree on something better at the time... The doors of improvement always stay open for the Wikimedia movement.

--Deryck

On 20 July 2018 at 11:28, James Alexander <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

James

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)
Wikimedia Foundation




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Re: Sad news

Deryck Chan
I look forward to "hug me" / "don't touch me" stickers being issued next year Q(^_^Q)

Indeed we do "don't photograph me" stickers already so "personal space needed" stickers sound like a natural extension.

Deryck
(multicultural / "hug me")

On 27 July 2018 at 15:31, Sam Oyeyele <[hidden email]> wrote:
I believe the best way to avoid this kind of situation in the future, is to have tags specifically to indicate a need for personal space or something.

From what I have read so far, Romaine has done nothing "out of the ordinary" (based on my cultural perspective); and he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment/sanction/punishment/etc.

I should also state that I have met Romaine a couple of times, and he is indeed a very nice man, who always means the best.

Sam.

On 25 Jul 2018 16:41, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is the second time I remember that the Friendly Space Policy was invoked to remove a Wikimania attendee from a situation, presumably because of in-person misconduct on their part, where the removal was made public but the reason of removal was kept secret.

The problem with such secretive invocations of Friendly Space is that it is very difficult, as Reem and others have pointed out, to not see this as a punishment.

I understand that it is very difficult to balance the specific, personal sensitivities and cultural preferences of several hundred people from different cultures. But as this discussion has shown, it is counter-productive to use Friendly Space this way, because other Wikimaniacs are left worrying what the appropriate behaviour is supposed to be.

I don't know the details of this incident because it wasn't public. But from what I know of Romaine from previous Wikimanias, I'm disappointed that this incident couldn't have been handled behind the scenes with T&S and the people involved. The fact that Romaine felt the need to go public about his removal as an organiser showed mis-handling of process.

Well, actually the previous time was 6 years ago, so maybe we're doing well. We did try reforming the friendly space policy around 2013-14 but couldn't agree on something better at the time... The doors of improvement always stay open for the Wikimedia movement.

--Deryck

On 20 July 2018 at 11:28, James Alexander <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

James

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)
Wikimedia Foundation




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Friendly Space Policy (was: Sad news)

Lodewijk
I hope that the WMF Trust & Safety dept will soon some with a roadmap how to effectively evaluate this process with examples we can actually discuss without violating privacy. (I made some suggestions in person, but will leave it in their capable hands to take a long overdue leadership role in this conversation). 

My main concern is that I heard too many people ridiculing the friendly space policy in the past week - mostly people who would likely never violate it, but seemingly no longer feel empowered by it, feel no longer that it represents a best practice they should hold people to. Maybe the phrasing was never to the standards that they held, maybe it is a recent development. But it's high time to review things together with the wider community. If a policy like this is not supported broadly, I doubt it will ever be a success.

Lodewijk



On Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 5:29 PM Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
I look forward to "hug me" / "don't touch me" stickers being issued next year Q(^_^Q)

Indeed we do "don't photograph me" stickers already so "personal space needed" stickers sound like a natural extension.

Deryck
(multicultural / "hug me")

On 27 July 2018 at 15:31, Sam Oyeyele <[hidden email]> wrote:
I believe the best way to avoid this kind of situation in the future, is to have tags specifically to indicate a need for personal space or something.

From what I have read so far, Romaine has done nothing "out of the ordinary" (based on my cultural perspective); and he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment/sanction/punishment/etc.

I should also state that I have met Romaine a couple of times, and he is indeed a very nice man, who always means the best.

Sam.

On 25 Jul 2018 16:41, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is the second time I remember that the Friendly Space Policy was invoked to remove a Wikimania attendee from a situation, presumably because of in-person misconduct on their part, where the removal was made public but the reason of removal was kept secret.

The problem with such secretive invocations of Friendly Space is that it is very difficult, as Reem and others have pointed out, to not see this as a punishment.

I understand that it is very difficult to balance the specific, personal sensitivities and cultural preferences of several hundred people from different cultures. But as this discussion has shown, it is counter-productive to use Friendly Space this way, because other Wikimaniacs are left worrying what the appropriate behaviour is supposed to be.

I don't know the details of this incident because it wasn't public. But from what I know of Romaine from previous Wikimanias, I'm disappointed that this incident couldn't have been handled behind the scenes with T&S and the people involved. The fact that Romaine felt the need to go public about his removal as an organiser showed mis-handling of process.

Well, actually the previous time was 6 years ago, so maybe we're doing well. We did try reforming the friendly space policy around 2013-14 but couldn't agree on something better at the time... The doors of improvement always stay open for the Wikimedia movement.

--Deryck

On 20 July 2018 at 11:28, James Alexander <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

James

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)
Wikimedia Foundation




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Re: Friendly Space Policy (was: Sad news)

Gnangarra
I think the problem is that many Wikimedians are very good at interpreting policies in to definite rules to suit their point of view, and we struggle to recognise that the spirit of a policy is more important. When that happens we write more complexity in to policies rather than keeping it simple and giving trust that we can reach reasonable outcomes.

Simply stated the policy is; 

everyone should have the ability to contribute without fear, intimidation, or recrimination.

everything that comes next become the tools for which to harness the power of these policies, there is never going to be a simple set of words to guide us because once we accept that someone has been harmed we then expect a response that lays blame with another who intern must be punished.   Its this flip side that make the policy a joke because someone now has their ability to contribute laced with fear(I can say anything), intimidation(I cant do that again or I'll be sent packing) and recrimination(I cant do what I'm here to do and I wont be able to attend any future events).   The safe space policy isnt meant to quell discussion, temper a persons enthusiasm, nor change their culture,  it there solely to enable everyone to safely and freely contribute. 

On 29 July 2018 at 02:52, Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:
I hope that the WMF Trust & Safety dept will soon some with a roadmap how to effectively evaluate this process with examples we can actually discuss without violating privacy. (I made some suggestions in person, but will leave it in their capable hands to take a long overdue leadership role in this conversation). 

My main concern is that I heard too many people ridiculing the friendly space policy in the past week - mostly people who would likely never violate it, but seemingly no longer feel empowered by it, feel no longer that it represents a best practice they should hold people to. Maybe the phrasing was never to the standards that they held, maybe it is a recent development. But it's high time to review things together with the wider community. If a policy like this is not supported broadly, I doubt it will ever be a success.

Lodewijk



On Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 5:29 PM Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
I look forward to "hug me" / "don't touch me" stickers being issued next year Q(^_^Q)

Indeed we do "don't photograph me" stickers already so "personal space needed" stickers sound like a natural extension.

Deryck
(multicultural / "hug me")

On 27 July 2018 at 15:31, Sam Oyeyele <[hidden email]> wrote:
I believe the best way to avoid this kind of situation in the future, is to have tags specifically to indicate a need for personal space or something.

From what I have read so far, Romaine has done nothing "out of the ordinary" (based on my cultural perspective); and he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment/sanction/punishment/etc.

I should also state that I have met Romaine a couple of times, and he is indeed a very nice man, who always means the best.

Sam.

On 25 Jul 2018 16:41, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is the second time I remember that the Friendly Space Policy was invoked to remove a Wikimania attendee from a situation, presumably because of in-person misconduct on their part, where the removal was made public but the reason of removal was kept secret.

The problem with such secretive invocations of Friendly Space is that it is very difficult, as Reem and others have pointed out, to not see this as a punishment.

I understand that it is very difficult to balance the specific, personal sensitivities and cultural preferences of several hundred people from different cultures. But as this discussion has shown, it is counter-productive to use Friendly Space this way, because other Wikimaniacs are left worrying what the appropriate behaviour is supposed to be.

I don't know the details of this incident because it wasn't public. But from what I know of Romaine from previous Wikimanias, I'm disappointed that this incident couldn't have been handled behind the scenes with T&S and the people involved. The fact that Romaine felt the need to go public about his removal as an organiser showed mis-handling of process.

Well, actually the previous time was 6 years ago, so maybe we're doing well. We did try reforming the friendly space policy around 2013-14 but couldn't agree on something better at the time... The doors of improvement always stay open for the Wikimedia movement.

--Deryck

On 20 July 2018 at 11:28, James Alexander <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

James

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)
Wikimedia Foundation




_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


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https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l

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--
Out now: A.Gaynor, P. Newman and P. Jennings (eds.), Never Again: Reflections on Environmental Responsibility after Roe 8, UWAP, 2017.  Order here.


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Re: Friendly Space Policy (was: Sad news)

Peter Southwood

Unfortunately, almost every tool can be used as a weapon.

Cheers,

Peter

 

From: Wikimania-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Gnangarra
Sent: 29 July 2018 04:45
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Friendly Space Policy (was: Sad news)

 

I think the problem is that many Wikimedians are very good at interpreting policies in to definite rules to suit their point of view, and we struggle to recognise that the spirit of a policy is more important. When that happens we write more complexity in to policies rather than keeping it simple and giving trust that we can reach reasonable outcomes.

 

Simply stated the policy is; 

 

everyone should have the ability to contribute without fear, intimidation, or recrimination.

 

everything that comes next become the tools for which to harness the power of these policies, there is never going to be a simple set of words to guide us because once we accept that someone has been harmed we then expect a response that lays blame with another who intern must be punished.   Its this flip side that make the policy a joke because someone now has their ability to contribute laced with fear(I can say anything), intimidation(I cant do that again or I'll be sent packing) and recrimination(I cant do what I'm here to do and I wont be able to attend any future events).   The safe space policy isnt meant to quell discussion, temper a persons enthusiasm, nor change their culture,  it there solely to enable everyone to safely and freely contribute. 

 

On 29 July 2018 at 02:52, Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:

I hope that the WMF Trust & Safety dept will soon some with a roadmap how to effectively evaluate this process with examples we can actually discuss without violating privacy. (I made some suggestions in person, but will leave it in their capable hands to take a long overdue leadership role in this conversation). 

 

My main concern is that I heard too many people ridiculing the friendly space policy in the past week - mostly people who would likely never violate it, but seemingly no longer feel empowered by it, feel no longer that it represents a best practice they should hold people to. Maybe the phrasing was never to the standards that they held, maybe it is a recent development. But it's high time to review things together with the wider community. If a policy like this is not supported broadly, I doubt it will ever be a success.

 

Lodewijk

 

 

 

On Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 5:29 PM Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

I look forward to "hug me" / "don't touch me" stickers being issued next year Q(^_^Q)

 

Indeed we do "don't photograph me" stickers already so "personal space needed" stickers sound like a natural extension.

 

Deryck

(multicultural / "hug me")

 

On 27 July 2018 at 15:31, Sam Oyeyele <[hidden email]> wrote:

I believe the best way to avoid this kind of situation in the future, is to have tags specifically to indicate a need for personal space or something.

 

From what I have read so far, Romaine has done nothing "out of the ordinary" (based on my cultural perspective); and he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment/sanction/punishment/etc.

 

I should also state that I have met Romaine a couple of times, and he is indeed a very nice man, who always means the best.

 

Sam.

 

On 25 Jul 2018 16:41, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:

This is the second time I remember that the Friendly Space Policy was invoked to remove a Wikimania attendee from a situation, presumably because of in-person misconduct on their part, where the removal was made public but the reason of removal was kept secret.

 

The problem with such secretive invocations of Friendly Space is that it is very difficult, as Reem and others have pointed out, to not see this as a punishment.

 

I understand that it is very difficult to balance the specific, personal sensitivities and cultural preferences of several hundred people from different cultures. But as this discussion has shown, it is counter-productive to use Friendly Space this way, because other Wikimaniacs are left worrying what the appropriate behaviour is supposed to be.

 

I don't know the details of this incident because it wasn't public. But from what I know of Romaine from previous Wikimanias, I'm disappointed that this incident couldn't have been handled behind the scenes with T&S and the people involved. The fact that Romaine felt the need to go public about his removal as an organiser showed mis-handling of process.

 

Well, actually the previous time was 6 years ago, so maybe we're doing well. We did try reforming the friendly space policy around 2013-14 but couldn't agree on something better at the time... The doors of improvement always stay open for the Wikimedia movement.

 

--Deryck

 

On 20 July 2018 at 11:28, James Alexander <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hey all,

 

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

 

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

 

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

 

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

 

James

 

James Alexander

Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)

Wikimedia Foundation

 

 

 


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Re: Friendly Space Policy (was: Sad news)

Mina Theofilatou-2
In reply to this post by Lodewijk
People: our movement is founded on TRANSPARENCY. Which is - sadly - totally lacking in the Support and Safety Department. 

The Friendly Spaces policy supposedly protects Wikimedians against threat: examples of such have been provided. Romaine's behaviour quite simply does not fall under the "threat" category. 

I specifically requested in the previous thread that SuSa at least explained to us what the "threat" was. Numerous Wikimedians from all over the world who gathered in Cape Town expressed our support both online and in person to a respected Wikimedian who is dedicated to the movement and has offered so tremendously to Wikimania (the three I have attended, and can thus refer to. From my point of view, Romaine is the ONLY volunteer I can remember running around to make sure everything is running smoothly since my first day in Mexico City).

 I am repeating my plea here: what is it that roughly 90% of the participants - from the responses I have read and the support I witnessed in person - that we don't get????

That said, I have personal experience of the shortcomings in the SuSa dept. No need to go into details here.

In closing, let me just say that I have connected the dots and I have a pretty good idea of who complained and why this is being kept secret. Elusive as this last statement may seem, it is no more elusive than James's initial account of his decision on how to handle the incident (so please James don't accuse me of speculating: you're the one who's leading me in that direction. I am overwhelmed by your injustice against Romaine and if you really are interested in resolving this issue and the bewilderment of the community once and for all, it's quite easy: just be open about what really happened)

Romaine you have my unwavering support, regardless of the last word to this incident. We need nice, warm, fun, hard-working and enthusiastic people like you in the movement :) 

Best,
Mina

On Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 21:52 Lodewijk, <[hidden email]> wrote:
I hope that the WMF Trust & Safety dept will soon some with a roadmap how to effectively evaluate this process with examples we can actually discuss without violating privacy. (I made some suggestions in person, but will leave it in their capable hands to take a long overdue leadership role in this conversation). 

My main concern is that I heard too many people ridiculing the friendly space policy in the past week - mostly people who would likely never violate it, but seemingly no longer feel empowered by it, feel no longer that it represents a best practice they should hold people to. Maybe the phrasing was never to the standards that they held, maybe it is a recent development. But it's high time to review things together with the wider community. If a policy like this is not supported broadly, I doubt it will ever be a success.

Lodewijk



On Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 5:29 PM Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
I look forward to "hug me" / "don't touch me" stickers being issued next year Q(^_^Q)

Indeed we do "don't photograph me" stickers already so "personal space needed" stickers sound like a natural extension.

Deryck
(multicultural / "hug me")

On 27 July 2018 at 15:31, Sam Oyeyele <[hidden email]> wrote:
I believe the best way to avoid this kind of situation in the future, is to have tags specifically to indicate a need for personal space or something.

From what I have read so far, Romaine has done nothing "out of the ordinary" (based on my cultural perspective); and he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment/sanction/punishment/etc.

I should also state that I have met Romaine a couple of times, and he is indeed a very nice man, who always means the best.

Sam.

On 25 Jul 2018 16:41, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is the second time I remember that the Friendly Space Policy was invoked to remove a Wikimania attendee from a situation, presumably because of in-person misconduct on their part, where the removal was made public but the reason of removal was kept secret.

The problem with such secretive invocations of Friendly Space is that it is very difficult, as Reem and others have pointed out, to not see this as a punishment.

I understand that it is very difficult to balance the specific, personal sensitivities and cultural preferences of several hundred people from different cultures. But as this discussion has shown, it is counter-productive to use Friendly Space this way, because other Wikimaniacs are left worrying what the appropriate behaviour is supposed to be.

I don't know the details of this incident because it wasn't public. But from what I know of Romaine from previous Wikimanias, I'm disappointed that this incident couldn't have been handled behind the scenes with T&S and the people involved. The fact that Romaine felt the need to go public about his removal as an organiser showed mis-handling of process.

Well, actually the previous time was 6 years ago, so maybe we're doing well. We did try reforming the friendly space policy around 2013-14 but couldn't agree on something better at the time... The doors of improvement always stay open for the Wikimedia movement.

--Deryck

On 20 July 2018 at 11:28, James Alexander <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

James

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)
Wikimedia Foundation




_______________________________________________
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[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


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[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
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[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l

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Re: Friendly Space Policy (was: Sad news)

Lodewijk
Hi Mina, 

I intentionally started a new thread to be able to have a more abstract discussion about the general policy. I would highly appreciate it if you won't bring it back to the single case. 

Thank you. 

Lodewijk

On Sun, Jul 29, 2018 at 11:48 AM Mina Theofilatou <[hidden email]> wrote:
People: our movement is founded on TRANSPARENCY. Which is - sadly - totally lacking in the Support and Safety Department. 

The Friendly Spaces policy supposedly protects Wikimedians against threat: examples of such have been provided. Romaine's behaviour quite simply does not fall under the "threat" category. 

I specifically requested in the previous thread that SuSa at least explained to us what the "threat" was. Numerous Wikimedians from all over the world who gathered in Cape Town expressed our support both online and in person to a respected Wikimedian who is dedicated to the movement and has offered so tremendously to Wikimania (the three I have attended, and can thus refer to. From my point of view, Romaine is the ONLY volunteer I can remember running around to make sure everything is running smoothly since my first day in Mexico City).

 I am repeating my plea here: what is it that roughly 90% of the participants - from the responses I have read and the support I witnessed in person - that we don't get????

That said, I have personal experience of the shortcomings in the SuSa dept. No need to go into details here.

In closing, let me just say that I have connected the dots and I have a pretty good idea of who complained and why this is being kept secret. Elusive as this last statement may seem, it is no more elusive than James's initial account of his decision on how to handle the incident (so please James don't accuse me of speculating: you're the one who's leading me in that direction. I am overwhelmed by your injustice against Romaine and if you really are interested in resolving this issue and the bewilderment of the community once and for all, it's quite easy: just be open about what really happened)

Romaine you have my unwavering support, regardless of the last word to this incident. We need nice, warm, fun, hard-working and enthusiastic people like you in the movement :) 

Best,
Mina

On Sat, 28 Jul 2018, 21:52 Lodewijk, <[hidden email]> wrote:
I hope that the WMF Trust & Safety dept will soon some with a roadmap how to effectively evaluate this process with examples we can actually discuss without violating privacy. (I made some suggestions in person, but will leave it in their capable hands to take a long overdue leadership role in this conversation). 

My main concern is that I heard too many people ridiculing the friendly space policy in the past week - mostly people who would likely never violate it, but seemingly no longer feel empowered by it, feel no longer that it represents a best practice they should hold people to. Maybe the phrasing was never to the standards that they held, maybe it is a recent development. But it's high time to review things together with the wider community. If a policy like this is not supported broadly, I doubt it will ever be a success.

Lodewijk



On Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 5:29 PM Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
I look forward to "hug me" / "don't touch me" stickers being issued next year Q(^_^Q)

Indeed we do "don't photograph me" stickers already so "personal space needed" stickers sound like a natural extension.

Deryck
(multicultural / "hug me")

On 27 July 2018 at 15:31, Sam Oyeyele <[hidden email]> wrote:
I believe the best way to avoid this kind of situation in the future, is to have tags specifically to indicate a need for personal space or something.

From what I have read so far, Romaine has done nothing "out of the ordinary" (based on my cultural perspective); and he doesn't deserve this kind of treatment/sanction/punishment/etc.

I should also state that I have met Romaine a couple of times, and he is indeed a very nice man, who always means the best.

Sam.

On 25 Jul 2018 16:41, Deryck Chan <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is the second time I remember that the Friendly Space Policy was invoked to remove a Wikimania attendee from a situation, presumably because of in-person misconduct on their part, where the removal was made public but the reason of removal was kept secret.

The problem with such secretive invocations of Friendly Space is that it is very difficult, as Reem and others have pointed out, to not see this as a punishment.

I understand that it is very difficult to balance the specific, personal sensitivities and cultural preferences of several hundred people from different cultures. But as this discussion has shown, it is counter-productive to use Friendly Space this way, because other Wikimaniacs are left worrying what the appropriate behaviour is supposed to be.

I don't know the details of this incident because it wasn't public. But from what I know of Romaine from previous Wikimanias, I'm disappointed that this incident couldn't have been handled behind the scenes with T&S and the people involved. The fact that Romaine felt the need to go public about his removal as an organiser showed mis-handling of process.

Well, actually the previous time was 6 years ago, so maybe we're doing well. We did try reforming the friendly space policy around 2013-14 but couldn't agree on something better at the time... The doors of improvement always stay open for the Wikimedia movement.

--Deryck

On 20 July 2018 at 11:28, James Alexander <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

I am, as always, sorry, that this has spilled out into the public sphere more I do not think that is ever a good thing as discussion of specific situations like this only serves to increase discomfort, make people feel even less safe and make victims of everyone.

Event Safety and Friendly Spaces is a top priority of any conference whether big or small as well as one of the issues that can be most difficult to deal with since it is always a balance of situations, feelings and people who are frequently acting in good faith. I can confirm that Trust & Safety was involved here and, like most people who are working on Friendly Spaces, we never aim to take serious actions if we are able to avoid it. Most issues are dealt with by local attendees or organizing volunteers with only short reminders or chats and escalate from there only as things become more serious or repetitive. The same is true for T&S who generally doesn't even become involved until it is a larger situation. I will admit that whenever a local organizer or volunteer is involved the seriousness is increased some because they are, rightly or wrongly, seen as in a position of influence and power which amplifies any and all issues that arise. It does not, however, change the focus of trying to take the least amount of actions possible.

I will be the first to admit (and did when talking to Romaine yesterday) that he has done an enormous amount of great work for events and nothing we did was meant to demean that even if it felt that way to Romaine. Like any Friendly Spaces actions nothing we did was meant as a punishment (even though, again, I understand it can feel that way) but was done because we felt they were the best thing to do for event safety. I can certainly guarantee that the decision was not taken lightly.

As many have noted the entire story is not out in the open and, honestly, won't be. I know that won't make everyone happy but unfortunately is almost always going to be the case for specific cases. If you want to speak about process questions and the like, the team (including myself) is certainly willing to do so. We have a table on the 2nd floor or you can grab one of us around the conference.

James

James Alexander
Manager, Trust & Safety (Operations)
Wikimedia Foundation




_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l


_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
_______________________________________________
Wikimania-l mailing list
[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l
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[hidden email]
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimania-l

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123