But is it avoidable?
From: Wikimedia-l [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Andreas
Sent: Thursday, 03 March 2016 2:37 AM
To: Wikimedia Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia Armenia candidate for the board
I hear you. My apologies to Susanna and the list for anything I have said that cast
aspersions on Susanna's character.
Nevertheless, I remain concerned. She is part of a state committee under the authority of
the Armenian Minister of Education and Science, who along with other senior political
figures has repeatedly been a featured speaker at Wikimedia Armenia events during her
tenure as the President of Wikimedia Armenia.
I do not consider that sort of government proximity healthy or advisable.
On Thu, Mar 3, 2016 at 12:24 AM, Asaf Bartov <abartov(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
I would like to add that I have been following
Susanna's work in
Armenia since 2011, and have had occasion to evaluate it as a grants officer.
During these five years, Susanna has been an exemplary Wikimedian,
building community around her, empowering other volunteers to do their
best work, and building partnerships with cultural institutions as
well as government in her country. I have had the pleasure of
visiting Armenia last year and seeing up close one of Susanna's
impressive projects -- the Wikicamp -- as well as attending and
speaking at a conference at Matenadaran (the national
archive) and meeting many Armenian Wikipedians.
Nothing I have seen leads me to be concerned about Susanna's
commitment to movement values, *despite* working in a country
struggling with corruption, ongoing military conflict, and
relatively weak democratic discipline. Indeed, I have personally
witnessed Susanna *resist* attempts at co-optation of Wikimedia Armenia's work.
I encourage Andreas to retract his accusations ("clearly" etc.).
Expressing a concern that there *might* be government interference was
perhaps legitimate, but proceeding to besmirch Susanna and her work
without evidence is unacceptable.
 let us remember countries in the west struggle with tremendous
corruption too, albeit manifested more financially than ideologically.
On Wed, Mar 2, 2016 at 4:10 PM, Cristian Consonni
2016-03-03 0:15 GMT+01:00 Andreas Kolbe
> I don't know Susanna, and in fact until yesterday had never heard
well be a delightful and charming person with a genuine
for open knowledge. There are after all many
> no political sensitivity or relevance at all. But she is clearly
> > government-sponsored effort to control the Armenian Wikipedia.
> 2016-03-03 0:26 GMT+01:00 Risker
> > Wow, Andreas. That's taking several major leaps of logic.
> > Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Any reason why you brought
> > these rather extraordinary assumptions to this mailing list before
> > Susanna had even
> > a chance to respond to your question at her nomination page?
> 2016-03-03 0:33 GMT+01:00 Nathan
> > Is there any actual connection between Susanna and the high-level
> > government interest or effort around the Armenian Wikipedia? What
> > I'm asking is if there is anything here, other than supposition
> > that
> > she is Armenian and the Armenian government is interested in
> > Wikipedia
> > Susanna must be guilty of corruption and repression by association?
> You are making very strong and,
what's worse, completely
> unsubstantiated accusations towards a person while admitting of not
> knowing her, her history and her contributions to the movement.
> The only person that thinks that
"she [Susanna] is clearly part of
> a government-sponsored effort to control the Armenian Wikipedia" is you.
> As Risker already noted your
reasoning contains majors leaps of
> logic and I find that your behavior is frankly appalling. As Nathan
> said you have no evidence to support anything of what you have said
> besides the fact that Susanna is Armenian.
> The FDC reviewed in May 2015 the
activities of Wikimedia Armenia in
> the APG 2014/2015 round 2  and found all programs to be
> volunteer-led and well-aligned with the values and the mission of
> the Wikimedia movement. The FDC judged Wikimedia Armenia to be "a
> grassroots organization with a strong volunteer base. It is small,
> flexible, and able to engage with a wide range of volunteers through
> its projects.". The evaluation of the FDC of Wikimedia Armenia
> was a praise (and a recommendation for full funding). Not in a
> single moment there was the least shred of doubt that the activities
> of Wikimedia Armenia could go against the values of the movement.
> Never there was even the remote suspicion of Wikimedia Armenia being
> part of the government-led "scheme" to oppress people that you are
> In the occasion of the APG proposal (and besides that, at any time)
> there were and there are several avenues to criticize - also
> privately and anonymously, if one so needs or wishes - what the
> chapter does and what the people in the chapter do and there was not
> a single instance of any kind of accusation like the ones that you
> are making from nothing.
> Your accusation are an insult to all
the volunteers in Wikimedia
> Armenia, and I think you owe them an apology, especially to Susanna.
> I want you to know that I find this
behavior to be toxic and that in
> my opinion you are harming the people in the movement and its mission.
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