There have been fresh developments in an ongoing controversy within the leadership of the Wikimedia France chapter (WMFR). At the centre is the management and governance of the chapter, including conflicts of interest, board resignations, resignations by volunteer project leaders, the dismissal of staff, and the expulsion of members. Some 70 members have signed a call for an early general assembly, which is now being scheduled.
Threads on French Wikipedia's Bistro (a central discussion point for editors) have raised related issues on 26 and 27 June; many further discussions regarding WMFR have occurred since 8 July. Several chapter members have developed a timeline (in French, English translation available) of events dating back to 2013; the hashtag #wmfrgate has been used on Twitter.
In an email, forwarded to the Wikimedia-l mailing list by Chris Keating, five of the seven WMFR board members describe their view of the situation. According to Keating:
Topics covered include:
- How WMFR feels community members are "destabilising and denigrating" the chapter, and how Wikimedia France is responding by expelling some of those people from the organisation, threatening them with legal action, and temporarily closing its email discussion list
- Accusations that Christophe Henner has personally manipulated the FDC [Funds Dissemination Committee] process to cut WMFR's funding
- Also, a statement from WMFR that the WMF is also considering withdrawing WMFR's chapter agreement
The Wikimedia Foundation has responded to the email. Katy Love, Director of Resources, writes:
|“||We find many aspects of this public email disturbing and contrary to the values of the Wikimedia movement. ... The current situation with Wikimédia France is creating great strain on the French community, former and current staff of Wikimédia France, and concerned volunteers around the world. We recognize that the situation must be resolved soon, in the interests of the Wikimedia projects and vision.||”|
WMF staff will conduct a site visit, which will involve "working with Wikimédia France to initiate an independent governance review". Funding to WMFR is conditional on such a site visit and governance review, as well as making progress on implementing the resulting recommendations.
Wikimedia Foundation Communications Director, Juliet Barbara, told the Signpost:
Allegations about the FDC process in Wikimédia France’s recent email to its membership have no merit. They were rejected by the Wikimedia Foundation Board, which strongly endorsed the results and independence of the FDC process and denied Wikimédia France’s appeal of that recommendation. Based on his past relationship with Wikimédia France, Christophe was not present during any FDC discussions related to WMFR at the Round 2 discussions held in May. He also formally recused himself from the Board’s investigation and handling of Wikimedia France’s appeal and abstained from voting on the Wikimédia France section of the Board's resolution.
WMF team changes
Following on from last month's changes (see previous Signpost coverage), Trevor Parscal has announced some further adjustments on the Wikitech-l mailing list. The Language and Collaboration teams merged to become the Global Collaboration team. Runa Bhattacharjee will manage the combined team. Meanwhile, Dan Garry joined the team responsible for editing tools like VisualEditor, now renamed the Editing team. This allows James Forrester to "step away from his 5-year stint as the Product Manager for VisualEditor and focus on leading product for Contributors".
- New user-groups: The Affiliations Committee announced the approval of this week's newest Wikimedia movement affiliates, the Wikipedia Library User Group and the Hindi Wikimedians User Group.
- New administrators: The Signpost welcomes the English Wikipedia's newest administrators, Anarchyte and GeneralizationsAreBad.
- Milestones: The following Wikipedia project reached milestones: 5,000 – North Frisian (3 July 2017)
- Movement strategy update: The summary of the Wikimedia Movement Strategy Cycle 2 discussions is now available on Meta. You can join the Cycle 3 discussions regarding identified challenges, which take place weekly until the end of July.
- Final annual plan: The final version of the WMF's 2017/18 Annual Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees on June 16th, and has been published on Meta.
- Wikimedia Conference Report: The grant report for the Wikimedia Conference 2017 is available on Meta, along with session documentation.