Some recent posts here have provoked what seem to me to be unmerited
rebukes from members of WMF staff and board. In one case comments to the
effect that a Board member's new job might lead to a conflict of interest
led to a rebuke from the Board's chair "I’m really sad to witness the tone
of certain emails in this thread ... respect is never optional" (In the
interests of disclosure, one of the "certain emails" referred to in this
lofty pronouncement, although not identified as such, was probably mine).
In another, a posting pointing out an inconsistency between various public
statetements on the important question of privacy for project users lead to
a rebuke from the WMF Head of Research "I am saddened to see that – instead
of asking (legitimate) questions to clarify how data is collected and
shared – you are assuming bad faith, publicly undermining people across
multiple teams at Wikimedia".
In my view neither of these rebukes were merited, and represent attempts to
close down discussion on issues that were being raised and discussed in a
legitimate, constructive and orderly manner. Just because opinions are
unwelcome to board or staff members does not in itself make them
illegitimate, disrepecttful or bad taith. Board and staff members are not
in a position of superiority over the volunteers, wih some sort of
authorisation to rebuke or reward them. They and we are fellow workers in
the mission to deliver human knowledge.
Since however, board and staff members are so concerned about respect and
good faith, perhaps they would like demonstrate their commitment by being
more willing to extend those courtesies to members of the volunteer
communty. A way of doing that would be to assume good faith, actually read
comments and respond in a helpful and constructive way. Some staff and
board members are exemplary in their engagement with the community. Some,
sadly, have been quite the opposite.
On Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 7:29 PM, Rogol Domedonfors <[hidden email]>
> Since however, board and staff members are so concerned about respect and
> good faith, perhaps they would like demonstrate their commitment by being
> more willing to extend those courtesies to members of the volunteer
> communty. A way of doing that would be to assume good faith, actually read
> comments and respond in a helpful and constructive way. Some staff and
> board members are exemplary in their engagement with the community. Some,
> sadly, have been quite the opposite.
I think you're right that we all need to work hard to be civil, and that
always assuming good faith is not something we're born with, it requires
work, and will.
One of the lessons from Wikimedia, that I have learnt and that I value a
lot, is that it is possible to focus on valid and positive parts of
messages rather than on everything else, even if the other part dominates -
and I agree with you that we should all aim to do that.
I personally did not read the emails you quote as disrespectful or
purposedly stifling discussion, but of course I understand that