QUOTE(thekohser @ Sun 5th February 2012, 11:56am)
As a result of her involvement, she been subjected to death threats, threats of rape, bullying and other harassment from men who represent a wide spectrum of the leadership inside WMF projects.
I think what we have here is simply horrid parsing of the English language by "LauraHale".
I think Laura meant to write: "As a result of her involvement, she (has) been subjected to death threats, threats of rape, bullying and other harassment from men. Men also happen to represent a wide spectrum of the leadership inside WMF projects."
Unlikely, though we could ask Laura, I suppose. That doesn't fit with "wide spectrum
of the leadership."
"Men represent a wide spectrum of the leadership" would be an odd expression. "Wide spectrum" is an inclusive term, implying diversity. Why even say this, this way? "Men" *are* the *majority* of "leaders" in WMF project, they don't "represent" a "wide spectrum." No, one would use language like this if one was implying that a "wide spectrum of the leadership" was abusive men.
Meaning that there are minor leaders who are abusive, and major ones, ones only active on-wiki, perhaps anonymous, and ones who are using real identity, perhaps active in WMF structure.
Rather, Greg, I suspect you are creatively parsing. If Laura says that's what she meant, that would be fine! We all make mistakes.
However, that was put up by Laura on 22 December 2011, and edited a number of times by both Laura and Beria. These are serious charges, as stated.
Parsing it, and with what I see people often do, and without any lying, the charges might be exaggerated. For example, how many death threats has she received, from how many people?
(Exaggerated does not mean wrong. Even one incident of threat of death or rape is very serious.)
Sometimes a single cause is behind a plural report. That was done when Wilhelmina Will was harassed. A single possible copyvio, found in the Sandbox by her and, with consultation with an admin, moved to article space, became, through Blechnic, "posts copyvios." And, by the way, was taken that way by the mob at AN/I. If they even looked at a diff, they saw a copyvio and then, being human, might assume that everything else said was accurate. A single silly comment, expressing her personal outrage, becomes "makes uncivil comments." Etc.
There are charges, the first two in plural:
1. Death threats.
2. Threats of rape.
4. Other harassment.
I don't doubt that she's been subject to harassment. Comments about her beauty here could be considered harassment, though it's a bit of a stretch. It occurs to me to tell a story. I was recently at a course, and had offered to watch the door, and I was sitting with another person assisting. A young woman, quite cute, came up and started to invite us to register in a particular, different seminar. We both knew what was going on, she was practicing a certain aspect of the education. Anyway, I think my friend thought she might be using her cuteness. He's gay, which might be relevant. He said to her, smiling, "If I told you you have a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"
She took it in stride, hardly missed a beat. However, that was sexual harassment. It was contrary to the policy of the organization. If she'd complained, he might easily have been barred from any further assisting. On the other hand, he didn't care.
I think he was actually conveying a message to her, or maybe he was merely irritated by what he saw as over-persistence. People are complicated, they are not cardboard cut-outs, Good and Bad, with nothing in between.
I do know of one incident of WMF death threat, a sitting arbitrator was threatened with harm to him and his family, and they knew where he lived, and the threat was delivered face-to-face, apparently, in England. He resigned, he told me it just wasn't worth it. Beria is operating on a level where she might also start to come into the cross-hairs of the kinds of interests that would have been behind the threat to the arbitrator.
I'd have preferred for him to blow the whistle, but ... it was his family, after all, his decision, and I have to respect that.
Most Wikipedians are quite naive about all this. There are interests with billions of dollars at stake, who very much want Wikipedia to slant one way. I would be astonished if they haven't bought any administrators. Greg showed how easy it was, in fact. Trivial, if you have a serious interest and patience and money. It would not be difficult, either, to get onto ArbComm. Just analyze what gets people elected, then behave that way for a period.
And don't act on your interests unless you have adequate cover. Don't fight battles that you will lose, but if you err, then lose some battles, gracefully, pretending complete non-attachment, if you haven't developed adequate support.
What would it take to buy (or create) a dozen administrators, compared to the resources of these people? I'm not talking about socks, that's too risky. I'm talking about meat puppets, who would generally work for the benefit of the project, for that's the cover, and who would just occasionally have an odd opinion, shown in a small fraction of their edits, never insisting or staying put in a position. Individually.
It would be legal, folks. Highly corrupt, highly unethical, but not illegal. I'm claiming it would be unethical, but the individuals involved might see it differently, perhaps they would think that the cause was good enough to justify secrecy and deception. Depends.
An adhocracy like Wikipedia, then, is easily subject to corruption, if skillfully done. It could explains a lot about certain incidents, eh? Naive editors imagine that true bad guys will have handlebar moustaches and behave with incivility, etc. Don't they also wear black hats?
Nope. The opposite. They will be models of reasonableness. Unless you look seriously and carefully at long-term behavior, which would show perplexing anomalies, inconsistencies, perhaps. Difficult to detect. The protection against this would have to depend, not on identifying COI editors, but on structure that makes it irrelevant, by distributing power more broadly. Alternatively, there is the strong-leader model. If the leader is not corruptible, that can be secure. Until he or she dies or moves on, that is.
These people will not want to change the structure unless it increases their personal power, that would be one characteristic. Difficult to tease out from normal human behavior.
I'd like to encourage Beria to share her experiences, with other women, as apparently she's intending to do at the camp. Women can do together what they might not be able to do alone. That's true for men, too.
Selina, you planning on going? You'd be popping your anonymity, at least before some. Might be worth it. I'd think it would be fun, one of my own prime criteria for decision-making.