[Wikimedia-l] Go away, community (from WMF wiki at least)

Theo10011 de10011 at gmail.com
Mon May 13 06:54:40 UTC 2013

Hi Casey

First, I miss seeing you around, in case you are not omnipresent anymore.

On Mon, May 13, 2013 at 10:35 AM, Casey Brown <lists at caseybrown.org> wrote:

> On Sun, May 12, 2013 at 8:28 PM, Theo10011 <de10011 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Try and be a bit nicer please. Gayle is still relatively new and this
> level
> > of scrutiny might be jarring for someone.
> Comments like these have always bothered me.
> Gayle isn't some random secretary or new run-of-the-mill employee. She
> is a C-level staff member who has been here for more than a year and
> made a policy decision that people have feedback on. While the
> feedback may not have come in the nicest form, it is still valid and
> we can't just ignore it because "it wasn't nice enough". As a high
> level staff member in charge of your own department, you need to deal
> with it -- this is one thing that comes with the job, unfortunately.
> It's an insult to Gayle to assume that she will not be able to handle
> criticism or answer people's responses. A C-level staff member needs
> to be able to handle this "scrutiny", even high level scrutiny, when
> they were the one that made the call, and I'm sure she's more than
> capable of doing that.
Fair point. I'll concede that one, I might have a soft spot for certain
people for no apparent reason. Out of anyone else affected perhaps you're
truly the really slighted party in all of this, and it really wouldn't be
my place to tell you to be nicer.

I still find out in bits and pieces how many things Casey handled. You and
Cary made these issues disappear and made a lot more currently broken
things function. The cracks seem to be showing more these days, which lends
credence to a theory that you and Cary might have acted as buffer points on
some of these things. As both of you became more inactive, minor things
start generating more friction.

Perhaps, it's a bit of maturity that makes the difference here, but there
is no real-world implication of "C-Level" - they have these tiers that
supposedly imply something in staff but they aren't born different or sent
to army camps for training - they are just people. You know, people
fumbling around, making mistakes, accidentally pissing other people off. We
all stumbled our way here I think, no one started editing perfectly or
never said a wrong thing or made a faux-pas - I made 4 today. Yes, some
people handle criticism better than others, but I can tell your from
witnessing it first-hand that being singled out by ~100 strangers is an
emotionally taxing experience. Or maybe the gender gap discussions have
sensitized me too much :P and I'm being biased.

Lastly, I'll ask again, what was the expectation here? "Yes, I took some
time out between clubbing baby seals, and kicking blind people, to take
away flags I don't understand, from strangers I don't know. You know,
because I'm evil like that" - nothing short of that would have gratified
the current quest. There are two possible reasons, either someone else on
staff asked or Ms. Young wasn't provided all the facts and didn't realize
the implications. Both involve implicating another staff member, the course
she took seems evident that it's not the road she wants to go down. While I
don't agree, given her position, I can empathize.

> [Note that I'm speaking generally -- I personally think Gayle can
> handle criticism and she seems very nice. She also probably had no
> idea this would create dramz. My comment is directed towards the
> general "omg think of the staff member!" response to criticism that is
> systemic in our movement.]

You've actually read my mail on those other lists, do you really think I'm
the one to say "omg think of the staff member!" ? I recall arguing the
opposite on at least 3 very visible occasions.

On the other hand, I had deja vu reading Philippe's email. Between the two,
I think Gayle is far more pensive than Philippe's appears to be. It's
almost combative. He agrees that he advised her wrong, and then spends the
latter half chastising the tone on IRC and emails, and ends with a familiar
sign-off. I vehemently believe he had more to do with this than just being
the trigger-man. Considering how long he's known Mz, the amount of
interactions they've had, even the times Mz has helped Philippe. He knew
the reaction, perhaps why this was done first without warning in this way.
I would point out "seven years ago the WMF was paralyzed from lack of
strategy and direction" - and say I can really make an argument that it's
actually the other way round. The strategy then was to grow. Now it's
running in every direction and switching mid-stream - you can start from
global development, to the education program and find a lot in between.


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