With another misleading public statement from Maor regarding the Brazilian situation I would like to publicly ask Affcom to clarify what was inaccurate in my report. 

It would also be a good idea to have responses on the page Affcom created over 2 months ago asking for questions and has abandoned without responses. [1]

Chico Venancio

Em dom, 14 de out de 2018 11:44, Maor Malul <maor_x@zoho.com> escreveu:


As AffCom, we appreciate the interest in the situation with Wikimedia Portugal that you have expressed on this thread. Our current focus is on working to understand and resolve the conflicts and issues related to Wikimedia Portugal, as well as attend to our other duties. However, we did want to send a message to this list to clarify some points.

First, we would like to caution readers of this list against making conclusions regarding this particular situation based solely on the information that has been shared here. This thread does not present a complete and accurate picture of the situation in Portugal (or the situation in Brazil, for that matter). Though not comprehensive, we would like to provide a brief summary of the situation, based on the information AffCom has received.

As has mostly been outlined previously in this thread, after WMPT’s years of inactivity, recently, multiple individuals have become involved trying to create activity and revitalize the chapter. However, those individuals have conflicted with each other. Things escalated quickly, with various accusations and threats being made. Earlier this year, AffCom was informed of the conflict by the parties and began communicating with the individuals involved. Despite AffCom's efforts to de-escalate the situation, certain individual actions have kept intensifying it. As the conflict was preventing the chapter from being able to engage in productive activity, AffCom took the step of suspension, with clear requirements for the chapter to meet to lift the suspension and avoid de-recognition.

One of the larger issues that WMPT has had to address is the lack of clear leadership of the chapter following its two previous general assemblies. As detailed in the suspension notice, there were issues reported to AffCom related to both IX General Assembly (held on December 14, 2017) as well as X General Assembly (held on April 15, 2018). In both cases, the best information available to AffCom suggests that the meetings did not comply with the relevant portions of the Chapter's bylaws and may not have complied with applicable local laws. Wikimedia organizations are expected to fulfill all of their legal and organizational governance requirements. These issues prompted the requirement that WMPT convene a new assembly and elections process (held on September 1, 2018), with the goal of holding an assembly which clearly follows the relevant procedural requirements.

Along with convening the assembly, WMPT has currently met the requirements based on the timeline set in the suspension notice from AffCom in July. They submitted their required materials on time, and now AffCom is reviewing them. However, AffCom has also received other information relating to the chapter's compliance with particular governance requirements. AffCom is currently evaluating this information along with the materials submitted by the chapter. AffCom will be in touch with the chapter regarding any additional information we need.

We want to emphasize that Wikimedia Portugal is not being held to a different or higher standard compared to other chapters, but is being held to the standard expectations for chapter status. While we understand that monitoring of compliance with those expectations may have been less consistent in the past, we have been working in recent years to ensure that all chapters are meeting the same basic standards. When a chapter is not in compliance, there are several reminders and opportunities for correction in advance of suspension. We suspend a chapter only if it does not self-correct in response to the repeated reminders and/or warnings.  Once a chapter is suspended, we strive to provide a reasonable window for remediation.

Wikimedia Portugal has been on the committee’s radar due to its years of minimal activity. As further conflict issues have surfaced, concerns over the group’s capacity have grown. The committee however has no wish to “kill” the community, but to ensure they are able to operate in a way that upholds Wikimedia movement values and expectations for affiliate organizations. A community cannot work effectively if its members are spending all their energy on an internal conflict. Significant internal conflict can also reflect poorly on the movement as a whole.

We have responded to this thread because we felt we should weigh in. However, we cannot commit to continuing to participate in this conversation on wikimedia-l. The committee needs to focus our time and energy on trying to find and work toward the outcome in Portugal that is best for the Wikimedia movement. That said, we will do our best to monitor responses on this thread and take note of the questions, concerns, and criticisms expressed here.

We encourage you also to share your thoughts and ideas relating to questions of movement governance and organization in the relevant movement strategy conversations:


Regards, Maor

On Behalf of the Affiliations Committee

On 10/10/2018 8:31 p.m., Samuel Klein wrote:
Gonçalo, Goethe, and all: Thank you for your work, which I appreciate dearly, and for the public discussion.  I can also imagine this was a very hard letter to write.  

Paulo, to your concerns: 
for a Foundation-run committee[3] that apparently wants to kill us at all costs.

Euh... surely not  .v_v.  
These troubles can come up in good faith, when two groups work intently and separately on the same issue, ando d not talk openly to one another for reasons of imagined duty + propriety.  Tossing insults back and forth just makes it easier for people to shut down communication.  

Somehow I suspect that invocations of The Law and the intervention of legal anxieties (with their preoccupations with secrecy) has led to much of the trouble here.  So Pine, to your point: /more/ legal counsel reporting to only one of the parties involved might not help.  On the other hand, we as a movement deciding to share more openly our internal discussions around legal concerns — even if this means taking on slightly more legal risk — would reduce some of these evident social risks. 


On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 8:47 AM Paulo Santos Perneta <paulosperneta@gmail.com> wrote:
Some time ago, a Wikimedian friend told me AffCom is like the physician
that comes to help with the cure when an Affiliate is ill. But that's
really what they were in this WMPT case? This is a very bizarre situation,
of which I'm personally having a lot of difficulties finding rational
answers to it, let alone any conclusion. All I can offer is a personal
account of the situation, to those who would be kind enough to have an
interest on this case.

Last May we at WMPT were really not expecting seeing AffCom bursting
through the room in an emergency intervention, fixing what didn't need to
be fixed, and willing to moderate what didn't need any moderation. As in
the proverbial Monty Phyton scene[1], they quickly became the problem

Many of us at WMPT are long-term Wikimedian volunteers, some of us for more
than a decade already, in perfect good standing in our communities, where
we hold and held responsibility roles. It includes current and former
bureaucrats, sysops, ArbCom members, very active contributors to a number
of Wikimedia projects. Most of us are founding members or directly
connected to WMPT since its inception in 2009.

Last March, when we took on ourselves this mission of fix and rebuild
Wikimedia Portugal, who had been dormant for about 5 years, we were not
expecting to face such a mighty and impenetrable adversary as AffCom has
proven to be.
For six months already we have been embroiled by AffCom in this Kafkian
suspension process, where we are generally not told what the accusations
are, and much less who is accusing us. It has been extremely painful,
exhausting, and frustrating for everyone involved.

We reached our limit. A number of us are now seriously considering
abandoning not only the chapter, but the Wikimedia projects entirely, if we
continue not being treated with the fairness and transparency we deserve.
It truly begs the existential question of what are we all doing here,
dedicating countless and very valuable hours of our lives for a Movement
that lets this happen, for a Foundation-run committee[3] that apparently
wants to kill us at all costs.

Personally, I'm still confident that we'll successfully pass through this
probation, and everything will become again the very optimistic scenario we
all had last April, when we successfully elected a working board, and
started working with great dedication in the many projects we have now
running here in Portugal. I can only imagine how painful it was and is
being for Gonçalo, to came here making this situation public and sharing it
with everybody. We all have our dignity, nobody at WMPT likes this at all.
For many months we tried to cope with this discreet and silently. But
everything has a limit.



[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spanish_Inquisition_(Monty_Python)
[2] - As AffCom seems to be, despite what is written in their Meta page(

GoEthe.wiki <goethe.wiki@gmail.com> escreveu no dia terça, 9/10/2018 à(s)

> The original message was rejected due to a filter rule match, but you can
> access it here:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediapt/2018-October/002698.html
> I am sending it below without the links. Please access the link above for
> the full version.
> __________
> Sorry in advance for the lengthy email – the tl;dr version is: Wikimedia
> Portugal has done all it was asked to do, so the suspension that was held
> conditional to performing those steps must be lifted accordingly. For the
> sake of transparency, we are sending this out to not only the AffCom
> mailing list, but also Wikimedia-l and WikimediaPT-l.
> _________
> Dear members of AffCom,
> (cc to the Wikimedia Portugal mailing list, Wikimedia mailing list)
> Last 5th October we were again surprised by the content of your email
> (quoted below) in response to us completing the roadmap we had agreed upon
> in order to remove the suspension of Wikimedia Portugal. On that message,
> you say you have once more received information whose substantiation is not
> mentioned, from sources that are not disclosed. And still you seem to
> accept it as the truth without even providing us with the opportunity to
> get properly acquainted with it, let alone rebate or contradict it. While
> you speak of transparency, that message is unsettlingly opaque, as have
> been multiple such messages relayed to us in the course of this whole
> process.
> As you are well aware, Wikimedia Portugal was faced in March with a
> situation where the president of the Board, João Vasconcelos, became
> demissionary without any previous warning [1]. It should be noted that when
> Vasconcelos was elected as president of the Board back in 2015, he wasn’t
> elected based on any background as a Wikimedia editor, as he has no history
> of contribution to any of the Wikimedia projects, but rather on his self
> proclaimed merits on organisational and conflict management (!). Despite
> the best efforts of several people from Wikimedia Portugal over the years,
> Vasconcelos sadly never really integrated well neither on Wikimedia
> Portugal, nor in the Portuguese Wikimedia community.
> So, in light of what looked like an existential threat for WMPT, I and a
> number of other WMPT members have publicly and transparently mobilized
> ourselves to organize an extraordinary General Election to elect the new
> Board. Vasconcelos was probably expecting/hoping that we would ask him to
> stay. But we have seen this sort of behavior elsewhere [a].We didn't.
> Instead, we handled the situation cooperatively, as a group, openly.
> Vasconcelos never voiced any desire to take part on this collective
> solution-building, as evidenced by his silence from the discussion on the
> Wikimedia Portugal mailing list in March [2] and April [3]. He was welcome
> to do so. His only message to the mailing list was two days (13 April)
> before the 15 April General Assembly, announcing that he considered the
> planned General Assembly null [4]. Given the lack of legal standing for
> that claim, we carried on with the General Assembly (the transparent,
> inclusive, democratic governing body of associations), summoned according
> to our by-laws. This General Assembly successfully elected new governing
> bodies, including the Board of Directors.
> In May we were surprised by a message from AffCom demanding that we stop
> taking part in a conflict, and "refrain from representing ourselves as
> representatives of Wikimedia Portugal" (see quoted message in [5]
> <https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediapt/2018-May/002621.html
> >).This
> was the very first time the Committee contacted Wikimedia Portugal about
> this case. The message provided no legal precedent or framework for this
> demand, no indication of what this conflict was, or why AffCom thought the
> Board was a part of it.
> From what we understood, Vasconcelos went to the Wikimedia Conference in
> Berlin, where he seems to have convinced AffCom that our General Assembly
> of 15 April was legally void.
> We have repeatedly provided concrete evidence that t it was not the case,
> including quoting relevant court decisions backing this [6]
> <
> https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/(https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/private/wikimedia-pt-internal/2018-July/002414.html
> >.
> In response, AffCom reported having no time to read through legal texts,
> and therefore not being able to assess the validity of our declarations,
> but that is beyond our control. And yet AffCom accepted Vasconcelos’
> version without question. It is a legal imperative to be held innocent
> until proven guilty, and until it is legally proven there was some
> wrongdoing, General Assemblies are valid and binding.
> After the April General Assembly we were working, in addition to our
> activities and programs, to put the association in order in terms of
> obligations to the Portuguese state and the tax authorities, providing
> access to WMPT’s bank account to the persons designated on the 15 April GA,
> and so on. Things were getting on track...
> We were surprised again in July by a message from AffCom temporarily
> suspending Wikimedia Portugal’s recognition as a Wikimedia chapter [7]. In
> that message for the first time you laid out a concrete roadmap that, if
> followed (as we understood), would lead to lifting the suspension. The
> roadmap set out a list of demands from AffCom which we diligently
> fulfilled, even well ahead of the required deadlines. We organized and held
> a new General Assembly in September, summoned according to the
> interpretation of the Portuguese Civil Code that AffCom relayed to us (with
> the exception of anything we believed would make the proceeding illegal,
> which was communicated in due time to AffCom). This General Assembly had
> the same result as before [8]. The Assembly was normally held, despite
> severe attempts of sabotage from Vasconcelos, reported in due time to
> AffCom, Legal and the Safety team. In addition to the minutes [9], an audio
> recording of the assembly is available in Commons [10] ; video recording is
> also available on request.
> We then submitted our overdue Financial Report [11], demonstrated support
> from the community to the continuation of the chapter [12], and wrote a
> plan for improved chapter capacity [13]. All should be good now...
> Having done all this, despite our disagreement that a new Assembly was
> needed in the first place, we are now again surprised by the reception of
> the opaque message I mention in the beginning, sent by AffCom to my email
> (quoted below) affirming that the Committee had received reports from
> unstated persons with unspecified concerns about the General Assembly and
> the capacity of Wikimedia Portugal to run as a chapter. The message claims
> that "there were a number of issues with lack of transparency [as well as
> with] providing an opportunity to participate in an open, organizational
> process" while not specifying these issues at all. Your message questions
> whether we are "prepared as an Affiliate to prevent disruption in [our]
> organization's collective pursuit of the movement’s mission", even though
> we have so far been able to handle every attempt at disruption from
> Vasconcelos.
> If we rolled up our sleeves to activate the scattered energies of a stale
> organization in order to prepare and execute April’s General Assembly, it
> was because we were convinced that Wikimedia Portugal had a viable future
> ahead, and was of value to the Wikimedia movement. At the time, the actions
> of Vasconcelos were so absurd that the reaction to them even spurred some
> founders and (by then) inactive members of WMPT to offer their help in
> reestablishing a functional organization. Along with the help of a number
> of historic as well as new members who have been steadily returning and
> joining our ranks, that’s precisely what we are achieving.
> That’s why we’ve been working on fulfilling the AffCom roadmap requests,
> even if we didn’t like or agree with some aspects of it. All things
> considered, it was a clear path to resolving our situation, and we found
> that parts of it could be useful to the chapter. But AffCom’s validation of
> Vasconcelos’ actions and claims, even if unintentional, have real
> consequences for the mental state and safety of our members.
> Back in March, when Vasconcelos claimed he had requested our bank to lock
> the chapter’s bank account, started a process at the Public Prosecution
> Service, and he had talked with an attorney on that subject, can you
> imagine what André, our treasurer, felt waiting in line in the bank until
> he found what really happened? In the end, the bank account had not been
> locked because of any court order or legal reason as Vasconcelos implied,
> but rather because someone had tried to access the bank account without the
> proper credentials, and the system automatically locked the account.
> Before the General Assembly in September, Vasconcelos sent out legal
> threats and even menaces of police intervention to anyone participating. We
> still went through with it, but can you imagine how we felt, the pressure
> that was under some of us? It was all a bluff in the end, but this is what
> you put us through.
> Notwithstanding, WMPT activities were happening in parallel. They are
> listed on our activities plan for anyone to see [14], and more are planned.
> After several years of inactivity, we are happy to be on a sustainable
> growth path, gradually building capacity and doing the best we can with the
> resources available to us. We’ve also been using our personal contacts with
> other movements in order to increase our organization’s capacity. Ana,
> newly appointed to the Board, has just returned from Wiki Takes Zamora,
> where she was learning from Wikimedia Spain, relaunching the collaboration
> between both chapters. Two of the events we have planned for November are
> using this paradigm. We’ll celebrate Wikidata’s sixth anniversary with a
> local group of data enthusiasts in Porto, and near Lisbon we’re helping
> with the organization and will participate in a FOSS event, so in both
> cases we’ll also acquire event organization skills. This growth path is in
> peril if you continue to undermine our efforts.
> Over the last half year we’ve been attacked, offended, insulted, received
> multiple threats of judicial action by Vasconcelos, and even an actual
> intimidatory letter from a lawyer working for him (but purportedly on
> behalf of WMPT); and during this entire time we’ve tried not to escalate
> the situation, not to engage with such attempts at direct confrontation,
> nor make them public. You force us now to disclose this in order to clear
> our name and set the record straight. With the help and support of the
> legal and security departments of the Wikimedia Foundation, we have dealt
> with the actions of Vasconcelos so far. And we will follow the disciplinary
> procedures foreseen for these situations in our bylaws which may result in
> his removal from the chapter.
> We’ve repeatedly complied in unusually strict terms with legal
> requirements, and with AffCom’s roadmap, while dealing with Vasconcelos’
> actions as privately as we could in order not to affect the public image of
> the Wikimedia movement, nor its community – but honestly, we’re reaching
> the point of exhaustion in light of AffCom’s puzzling behavior along this
> process. We understand that AffCom may have reserves regarding our future,
> but the way it is dealing with the situation is clearly counterproductive.
> How can AffCom keep making new accusations without at least asking us for
> information or confirmations?
> Currently, our major source of disruption, distress and anxiety is each new
> message we receive from AffCom, as they repeatedly defy our expectations of
> a partner claiming to be attempting to help us getting back on our feet. We
> are actually wary that the next address could be an announcement that
> Wikimedia Portugal has been de-recognized, even after we have passed our
> “road of trials”, due to the ever moving goalposts. Several of our key
> people have reported insomnia, including myself, after receiving your
> communications. We’re reaching our physical, psychological, and
> motivational limit, in great part due to AffCom’s actions and inexplicable
> lack of support and transparency.
> It is time to stop this! Despite what we still believe were your best
> intentions, AffCom has inadvertently caused significant destabilization for
> Wikimedia Portugal.
> Please honor your part of the compromise, lift this suspension and let us
> proceed in the productive pursuit of our collective mission.
> Regards,
> Gonçalo
> Gonçalo Themudo
> *Presidente*
> *Wikimedia Portugal*
> *Email: *goethe.wiki@gmail.com
> *Website: *http://pt.wikimedia.org <https://sites.google.com/view/themudo>
> *Imagine um mundo onde cada ser humano pode partilhar livremente a soma de
> todo o conhecimento, na sua própria língua.*
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Samuel Klein          @metasj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266

Affiliations Committee mailing list

"Jülüjain wane mmakat ein kapülain tü alijunakalirua jee wayuukanairua junain ekerolaa alümüin supüshuwayale etijaanaka. Ayatashi waya junain."
Maor Malul
Socio, A.C. Wikimedia Venezuela | RIF J-40129321-2 | www.wikimedia.org.ve
Member, Wikimedia Israel | www.wikimedia.org.il
Member, Wikimedia Foundation Affiliations Committee
Phone: +972-52-4869915
Twitter: @maor_x

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