The following is the text of a letter I just sent to the Board of Trustees.
A tale from the trenches
I wake up every day short on sleep, check staff mail, check wikimedia-l,
check the facebook discussion group, check signpost comments, check irc,
check officewiki recent changes, check wikimediafoundation recent changes...
I gear myself up to learn who may have left today, what they will have
said, to digest the outpouring of support and sadness from others, and the
deafening silence from those who are in a position to put an end to all of
I go over the reasons again in my mind that we're in this crisis: bad
hirings, decisions in secret, dissembling and coverups about the processes
that led to those decisions; refusal or inability to state a clear vision,
let alone get buy-in or the involvement of staff/community in shaping that
vision; restructuring the organization following these same broken
processes. And so much more.
Make no mistake, this is not just about an ED. It's also about failure of
oversight, powerlessness of staff, and a culture of exclusion, among other
things. If, as I hope, the Board acts decisively to remove the current ED,
that will only be the first step in a mountain of work ahead of us. Hard,
painful, exhausting work. But we can't begin to get started on it until
that first step is taken.
In November at The Meeting (you all know which one I mean), Jimmy Wales
called on all of us to give Lila Tretikov a second chance, a chance to
rebuild the trust that had been lost. We're well beyond that point now.
That trust is irrevocably broken. It's possible that she would be able to
play a part in the healing and regrouping that must happen within the WMF
going forwards, but only as a private individual. I would have to have
some distance from things in order to figure that out, and none of us has
that right now. What I do know is that the current situation is toxic, and
getting increasingly more so.
We're bleeding out. Slowly at first, but it's a just matter of time--and
probably not much of it--before that trickle turns into a flood. I plead
with the one organization that has the ability to stop it, to step in and
tech gnome, WMF staff