On 10 Mar 2016, at 5:18 PM, Erik Moeller
2016-03-09 16:56 GMT-08:00 Pete Forsyth <peteforsyth(a)gmail.com>om>:
I feel this message can provide important insight
into the dynamics
surrounding James H.'s dismissal, and various people have expressed
interest in seeing it, so I'm forwarding it to the list. (For what it's
worth, I did check with James H.; he had no objection to my sharing it.)
Pete, regardless of Jimmy's words in this email, like others, I fail
to see how it's okay to share a private email to this list. I can
think of a few instances where this might be ethically defensible --
like actual fraud being committed -- but this is not one of them. It's
totally fair for people to ask Jimmy to clear the air on stuff
himself, but this crosses the line, at least from my point of view.
This comes down to giving a person you're corresponding with an
honest, open channel by which they can apologize, clarify, and make
things right. By violating that private channel you're making it
implicitly impossible to have that kind of conversation.
Erik, that was an unsolicited email sent to James *and* Peter. It was addressed to
James, but yet Jimmy sent it to Peter, and in it he alleged that “one possibility”
is that James is a liar. The other is that he is too emotionally involved and it
coloured his thinking. Why did Jimmy feel the need to send such a potentially
damaging set of accusations to James and cc in Peter?
Oliver has said it best - that’s emotional gaslighting and it’s highly manipulative.
Telling James that he has a low EQ is focusing on James’ emotions and has nothing
to do with what James wanted answering. He wants Jimmy to give a clear understanding
as to why he was removed.
James’ concerns about a search engine are still legitimate. There was indeed a secret
plan that Jimmy claims he didn’t know about until well after October - WAY after
October. It’s understandable and quite justifiable that in October James was very
concerned that there was a plan in the WMF for a competing search engine for Google.
So now Jimmy is still maintaining the line, which he has repeated more than a number of
times now, in public and evidently in private (yet takes care to cc in Pete) that James
is a liar, or has serious emotional or psychological issues. That’s a strange tactic,
and I for one am very glad that it’s now in the open. Trying to suggest that there is
emotional trauma is a good way to undermine someone’s confidence. And the way this was
done was to use the fallacy of the undistributed middle; which is:
James could be a liar
James could have poor memory or low emotional intelligence
James might be emotionally traumatised
James’ statements therefore don’t line up with the facts
In fact, James in my view is none of those things. Frankly, it would be laughable to
think that someone who deals with life and death situations in an ER for as long as
James has would be as emotionally traumatised as Jimmy suggests. And nothing in
James’ emails or public utterances has been crazy, and everything he’s written so far
is level-headed and attempted to deal with facts and events. Possibly James got
some things wrong, but that doesn’t make him any of the alternatives given by Jimmy.
Furthermore, Jimmy’s language (“liar”, “low emotional intelligence”, etc.) is not
language I would expect to see in an email attempting to reconcile and hold a
reasonable discussion. Imagine that James was someone who did have, as Jimmy said,
“low emotional intelligence” or who is “emotionally traumatised”. I wonder what the
effect on them when they get an email like this from a powerful person who helped
remove the individual from a hard-fought for position within a movement that person
holds dear and is dedicated to working on?
As for the drama - Jimmy can hardly be complaining about drama. Calling someone a
liar, which he has done publicly now a few times, can possibly be excused the first
time as an outburst due to a highly stressful situation. When it is said over and
over, and inside “private” communications then it needs to be called out as publicly
So Erik, Peter did a very difficult thing. In fact, it’s very brave because it leaves
him open to accusations that he was “leaking” private correspondence. If Peter reveals
it, then he knows some will see it poorly. Yet that email was unsolicited. None of the
information in that email is private, except for the appalling way that Jimmy wrote it.
There’s nothing in that email that Jimmy couldn’t have stated publicly. Except, of
course, if he’d written that directly to the mailing list there would have been an
uproar because it was out of line and manipulative.
I am incredibly surprised by this behaviour, and deeply saddened by it. It’s not