Christophe Henner announces the apointment of Nathalie Martin as Executive director (ED), effective October 1. The WMFR board allows a high degree of autonomy to the director. She is handed over the management of Human ressources issues and employees. All the future recruitments are handled directly by her without the board having any influence in the process.
Since then, she has been denied allowed membership.
Adrienne Alix, program Director, leaves following her recruitment as campaign coordinator at the Quadrature du Net
Requested amount : 600 000 € ($826,062)
Allotted amount : 600 000 € ($826,062)
Allotted amount in 2013 : 400 155 € ($525,000)
The FDC (Fund Dissemination Committe) is a committee constituted by wikimedian volunteers who evaluate and allot funding to local chapters. The recommandations of the FDC serve as a basis to the WMF board to vote the allocation of the funds to chapters.
In 2014 the FDC recognizes the scope of the work done by the WMF and allocates all requested funds. nevertheless, it underlines the fact that the most impactful projects are the ones costing less, and that Wikimedia France does not raise funds outside of the Wikimedia movement. It also expresses concern on the program extension in Africa like Afripedia, that could hinder development of local communities.
Nathalie Martin recruits Cyrille Bertin, her husband.
Requested amount: 600 000 €
Allotted amount: 540 000 €
Allotted amount in 2014: 600 000 €
The FDC appreciates innovative initiatives like Wikicheese, the increase in membership and local groups. However, it raises concern about the increase of 20% of the budget dedicated to staff. The FDC points to the difficulty in expressing strategy in concrete terms, and the ambitious objectives which look as hard to achieve. Finally, it suggests to tackle gender inequality between men and women.
Le Conseil d'administration décide de faire appliquer la politique de gestion des conflits d'intérêts telle que formulée dans sa version du 23 mai 2015.
Rémy Gerbet rejoint Wikimédia France dans un premier temps pour y faire un Service Civique puis sera recruté comme chargé de mission politique territoriale
Announcement du départ de Jean-Philippe Kmiec, chargé de mission communication et événementiel. Son départ est annoncé par Cyrille qui évoque "d'autres perspectives professionnelles" pour justifier le départ du chargé de communication. Jean-Philippe n'adressera aucun message de départ aux membres.
Dans le même message est communiqué l'offre d'emploi pour son ou sa remplaçante
Requested amount: 636 000 €
Allotted amount: 570 000 €
Allotted amount in 2015: 540 000 €
The FDC recommends that WMFR concentrates on a few high impactful projects rather than achieving limited impact on numerous projects. It underlines that the online impact as measured by the metrics does not correcpond to what one could expect. It also recommends to assess the sustainability of local communities once the project is over. The WMFR dependency on APG grants is stressed once more, and a diversification of sources of funding is recommended, as well as more use of in-kind contributions. The FDC advises the promotion of regional projects and the development of local communities, citing the Summer of regions (l'Eté des régions) as example. It upraises online survays, but expresses doubts that the result are being efficiently used.
The WMFR Board elects Emeric Vallespi as new president (he was formally vice president).
There is a possibility to place banners atthe top of all wikimedia projects. Rules define the wa these banners can be put in place. Only the WMF or the community can ask for one of these banners to be put up on the website. The WMFR president and director have taken the initiative of putting up such a banner. This banner has been deployed without community consultation, and the French cly.ommunity had it removed swiftly. Benoît Prieur resigned from the WMFR Board following the refusal of the diretor and president to admit their responsibility in the affair. The discussions on the list are tense and threatening during and in the aftermath of the affair.
Jules Xénard (Jules78120) annnounces his recruitment as community engager (he is the contact person between community and the wikimedians). Previous to that he was working as project manager in education in the context of his civic service.
5 candidates to the board present themselves under the banner "TOM" (Transparency, Openess and Diversity for the association). They point to what they felt were critical issues. No candidate was elected, but the two highest scores reached 75 voices.
Manuel Fauveau (79), Marie-Alice Mathis (86), Jean-Frédéric Berthelot (86), Caroline Becker (89), Samuel Le Goff (90), Pierre-Selim Huard (95)
Anne Baumstimler (53 voix), Dominique Cambrésy (63), Lucas Lévêque (68), Natacha Rault (75), Marin Dubroca-Voisin (75)
The mail announcing the new method of moderation " During the general assembly, the violence of the exchanges on the discussion llists was evoked. The direction decided that messages on this list would be moderated before publication. The messages voilating the code of use for discussions lists will be rejected".
The moderation progressively becomes a tool of censorship, rejecting numerous messages under the motive that they contain reference to an employee or criticism concerning the direction (as in the case in june 2017 for an annoucement of the group in Lyon called cabale lyonnaise).
Benoit Prieur receives by mail a letter with threats of a legal procedure from the law firm Hugot, mandated by the CA then in place. As he was often absent from his home at that moment, he did not go and fetch the registered letter that was sent to him. In january 2017, he receives the letter that has been sent to him a second time.
The meeting is held with members of the board, employees and referents. Referents represent local regional gor thematic oups within Wikimedia France and are chosen within the groups and validated by the board.
Harmonia Amanda who is a very active member of Wikimedia France, quits the association during the week-end following an altercation with the Director and the President, which mainly concerned the fact taht the diversity code of conduct adopted within the Wikimedia movement was not respected. Several months afterwards, Harmonia publishes a public explanation of what happened during the startegy week end. Harmonia was referent for the Wikidata group and organized Wikidata workshops in the offices of Wikimedia France in Paris. Since she resigned from her referent role, she still organizes the workshops outside of the association. The director asked an employee to organize other workshops in paralel, competing with Harmonia's.
On the 11th of May, Emeric confirms in a mail sent on the WMFR discussion lists that he has learnt on the 16th of february that a WMF investigation procedure on harrassment has been launched by the Wikimedia Foundation on the behalf of Harmonia. Caroline Becker, at he time member of the board, was allegedly heard by the WMF in the context of this investigation.
Emeric indicates that a WMF employee allegedly told him thet "Wikimedia France is risking the revocation of the Grant agreement (by the means of which Wikimedia France can ask for grants and employ 10 people) and underlines that this has been confirmed to Harmonia, without putting the association in copy of the mail.Several other persons of the WMF were involved in the discussions relative to the investigation on harrassment facts. These persons were questioned afterwards (in particular during the WikimediaCon in Berlin) and only replied that their lawyer advised them not to say anything concerning this matter.
In charge of regional development and Summer of regions, Pierre-Antoine quits Wikimedia France after three years in this position. A passionate advocate of open source and common goods in general, he indicates that he is not quitting the Wikimedia movement and wishes to continue his implication in a different way.
Caroline Becker (Léna) member of the WMFR Board resigns. The resignation is not announced on the discussion lists. Edouard Hue, member of the board, modifies the mate pages listing the members of the board. In May, Emeric Vallespi, presiident of the board, provides an explanation for Caroline's resignation. He indicates that Caroline was sollicited by the Wikimedia Foundation in the context of the investigation concerning alleged harasssment of Harmoina. He writes:
"At no moment did Caroline, member of the board notifiy teh association of the exixtence of such an investigation, although it jeoparduzes the existence of the association, and to which she proviided assistance. Thie harm is further aggravated by tha fact that Nathalie Martin, the director of the association is tarheted in the procedure as well. As memver of the board, Caroline is also the employer of the director, and has to respect legaé processes to guarantee her protection. After such an serious misconduct, the relationship of trust being broken, Caroline Becker could not anymore remain a member of the board. She preferred to resign before the launching of a revocation procedure was enacted."
"The recent mail concerning the fundraising has largely surprized, and what's more deeply saddened me."
She indicates she resigned mostly so that she could avoid supporting the critics towards the FDC. the association loses a valuable intermediary with the foundation, Caroline being a member od the Grant Advisory Committee, which evaluates the funding requests linked to projects and events.
Manuel Fauveau (Kikuyu3) resigns from the WMFR Board. The resignation is not announced on the general discussison list, although Edouard Hue, member of the board modifies the meta page listing the board members. Some questions are asked via Twitter. Manuel does not give a public explanation to his resignation. According to Emeric, his resignation is due to personnal reasons only and not to a disagreement with the head of the association. However, Manuel also resigns from his position of board member of Vikidia. He justifies his Vikidia resignation as a move to avoid any negative consequances for Vikidia given the tight rellationship between WMFR and Vikidia, following his resignation from the WMFR board.
The campaign aimed at questioning candidates to the presidential elections to make them adopt an official position in their program concerning the free sharing of knowledge.
The annual meeting of Wikimedia organisations takes place in Berlin. This year, 300 persons gather to attend, 2 persons from each organisaiton and several other members of local boards to discuss the futiure of the Wikimedia movement. The associations usually chose representants from their board (often the president) and membres of the staff (often the director). Neither Nathalie nor Emeric participate, they are both at an event called Moustics. The representants of Wikimedia France are Pierre Selim, Xavier and Cyrille.
He is appointed as secretary general, in charge of the management of the paid staff, finance and accounts. The information is not announced on the general Wikimedia France discussion list. Nevertheless the information is added on Meta by "Lundi Novembre"
The FDC expresses concerns over the recent revision of the staffing model of wikimedia France, where 9 employees are placed under direct supervision of a secretary general (COO) which is the sole position reporting directly to the executive director. No motivation is expressed to justify the need for WMFr to have two executive managers for such a small number of employees.
Xavier Cailleau, responsible of institutional relations is "moved" to "strategical support. The information is not given on the general discussion list. On the other hand, "Lundi Novembre" adds the information to meta
Pierre-Selim Huard (PierreSelim) resigns from the Wikimedia France board. The information is not posted on the general discussion list. Pierre-Selim himself will post the changes in the status of the board on meta on April 28:
La démission de Jean-Frédéric Berthelot (Jean-Frédéric) is the 4th resignation from the board in less than 3 months. The resignations are all mentioned together on the discussion list by Emeric. No eventual questioning of the board is done, the criticisms center on the individuals who have resigned.
In the same message, Emeric announces that the board has designated two persons from outside of the movement and of the association (Florence Raymond and Louise Merzeau) to compemsate for the dearth of board members (Emeric will later state that co-optations were considered before people resigned to fill in administrator positions left vacant at the 2015 GA). The two new board members are presented to the association members, but no Wikimedia username is given. Since then, neither one has posted on the lists to share with the members. By looking up the changes to Wikimembre (https://membres.wikimedia.fr/D%C3%A9cision:2016-2017 ), le project usernames are Floraymond for Florence Raymond and Mediolog for Louise Merzeau.
Émeric sends an email, approuved by the board, explaining the departures, denying any governance problems. Émeric explicitely talks about the origin of the resignations as being "the exceptional threats to the organization due to the non-respect of civil and legal obligations incumbent to the leaders of an association" but not being "political disagreements within the board".
EIn an answer to Émeric's email, @K_rho, a board member who had resigned, gives some explanations about her resignation on Twitter, emphasizing that a disagreement about the governance of the association was indeed at the root. She adds to her tweet a copy of the resignation email she sent to the board on February 21.
Émeric is officially a substitute candidate for the legislativ elections within the "En Marche" political mouvement. The information is not given on the general discussion list by the director. It is a member, "Mathis", who informs the rest of the association about this situation on May 25.
dans l'après-midi, un large nombre de membres et contractuels de l'association sont désinscrits de la liste de discussion (par son administrateur). Dans le même temps, des accès administrateurs au système CIVICRM sont ôtés aux "simples" membres qui en avaient l'accès.
Émeric sends an email in the evening to the discussion list accusing three of the resigning board members of threatening the existence of the association. According to him, the resignations are part of a more general conspiracy (check the list for the exact terms). This email also talks about a harassment investigation started by the WMF on February 16 2017, which was abandoned later on
Anna Torres of the Argentina chapter complains about the negative value judgement induced by the terms employed by Wikimedia France to qualify the Argentenian MOOC in front of the FDC.
We are very surprised and unhappy by your negative reference to our work in the discussion of your staff assessment.
The assessment did not come from the WikiMOOC team, but could potentially cause prejudice, while up to then the Argentinan MOOC team showed support for the project.
The Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) considers the grant application from Wikimedia France very negatively
Requested amount: 686 000 €
Amount recommended by the FDC: 343 000 €
Amount allocated the previous year: 570 000 €
The FDC considers Wikimedia France's grant application very negatively. It recommends allocating 50% of the funds requested because the results are not commensurate with the funds received, as explained in the two previous recommendations of the FDC. It also believes that the potential for significant, clear and measurable results from this year's bid is not sufficient to qualify for the requested funding. In addition, the FDC is concerned about the recent developments in the organization of the association and its governance (many resignations of employees and members of the Board, a two-headed system at the management level, etc.). The FDC recommends that Wikimedia France undertake a review of its governance.
In commenting on the FDC's recommendation, Nathalie (the association's director) says:
This is not a problem of communication, or mediation ... it is an organizational dysfunction (of the FDC - Editor's note) but that is not attributable to Wikimedia France."
She goes on to say:
When some people realized that the investigation (for harassment - editor's note) was not credible as initially announced, because it did not answer to any fair and transparent process. It was abandoned and replaced by an an outrageously negative assessment that goes so far as to worry about the sustainability of Wikimedia France! This assessment has influenced the FDC's proposal to cut [the grant], since the figure put forward by the volunteers is based on the study done by employees of the Foundation."
Note: The FDC is a committee made up of volunteers who are part of the Wikimedia movement.
Édouard, on behalf of Wikimedia France indicates on the discussion page for the recommendation,
"it seems to us the Fund Dissemination Committee is overstepping its bounds when it makes the funding of an affiliate contingent on its evaluation of their organisational structure. Indeed, operational organisation of the staff is the employer’s exclusive prerogative."
Local group volunteer coordinators are invited to a "live chat time" on the association's Mumble "so that [we] are not put in difficulty by the questions of the members of our respective groups." Pyb, Mathis and Vigneron (late) are there; from the board of directors and management are Samuel, Floflo, Marie-Alice, Nathalie and Cyrille. This discussion session eventually turns into Pyb's request, supported by Mathis, for the resignation of the Board and the organization of a special General Assembly, as a prerequisite for any discussion.
After failing to explain the reasons for the 40% resignation of the Board of Directors and in light of the recommendations issued by the FDC, several people suggested that a new General Assembly would be necessary to elect a new Board of Directors. The current Board of Directors refuses.
Tweets in favour of the political party La République En Marche (LREM) are sent from the association twitter account @WLE_fr. The tweets are deleted after several hours by VIGNERON, a volunteer.
She had joined the association on January 21, 2013. She declares in her message that she
discovered an association with motivated but disorganized actors. Today, the association is a model chapter and I am proud of its evolution.
She quits the association to find a job nearer to her home.
Benoit Prieur learns that his membership renewal request has been rejected by the Board (article 3 of the statutes). On June 25, no reimbursement of the 12 euros and no particular action concerning the fiscal receipt has been issued. No justification was given. The renewal of at least another member, at the beginning of May, is not validated directly by the secretary, and sent for approval to the board.
The renewal of at least one member is not validated by the secretary and condititonned to the approval of the board.
The Wikimedia France board sends an official complaint to the Ombudsperson of the Wikimedia Foundation concerning the second round of financing by the FDC. The board also appeals the FDC's recommendation of the FDC to the Wikimedia Foundation board of trustees. The annoucement of the complaint is public on meta, but is not formally announced to the Wikimedia France members. The details of the complaint are presented as confidential, and only submitted to the ombudsman and the board of the WMF.
A complaint against the FDC process during 2016–17 APG round 2 has been submitted through e-mail by the Board of Wikimédia France to the FDC ombudsperson. An appeal on FDC's recommendations has also been submitted to WMF Board's liaisons. At the moment, the Board of Wikimédia France has chosen for legal reasons not to release publicly the content of these pleads.
Nathalie Martin accepts to hire Antoine Lesieur as a trainee for summer 2017 to work on lobbying. In the meantime Antoine becomes the president of a new political movement.
Emeric Vallespi becomes a mentor for Antoine Lesieur's politcal party (https://www.poledesjeunesreformateurs.com/nos-soutiens). Emeric does not present any COI declaration to the internal assessment group within Wikimedia France.
Pierre-Yves Beaudouin (Pyb) resigns from his referent role in the photography working group and the Paris local group.
The Lyon local group chooses to become independent of the Wikimedia France association.
It could be noted that like many other emails sent to the discussion list the past months, the initial declaration was censored. The author was requested to rewrite the sentence about "the denounciation of the policies governing the participation of Wikimedia France in supporting local projects, notably on the financial level wher opacity reigns." so that the post be acceptable and published on the list.
Edouard announces on the discussion list that "The president of Wikimedia France, Émeric Vallespi, has been elected this Sunday as substitute deputy for the twelth Yvelines district". He adds that
"the board will meet soon to evaluate Émeric's situation. We will of course keep you informed."A few members congratulate Edouard for this clear and precise information. No message of public congratulation is addressed to Émeric.
After the declaration of independance of the "Cabale de la Quenelle", Cyrille sends an email to the discussion list with a few details. Among other things, the group must from now on write their own funding requests to various organizations (in spite of the fact that a few members of the group are also members of Wikimedia France) and reminds them that the group will also be responsible for insurance during their activities and that they will have to make sure that they have the right to use WMF trade marks.
Jules was relieved of duties while waiting for a decision on a sanction which could include firing him. Le WMFr directors demanded that he "censor" certain parts of the "Wikilettre n°82" which he refused to do. Jules ended up publishing this issue of the Wikilettre without censorship and with the names of the different authors.
Jules had been recruited to consolidate ties with the community, according to the official response from WMFr in the answer to the FDC.
Moreover, we are criticized for the lack of connection with the community, even though we have recruited Jules Xénard, a well-known contributor, to strengthen and further develop this link with the communities. (source)
VIGNERON resigns from his referent role in the communication working group and the Rennes local group. He sends an email on the discussion lists in which he states:
I strongly strongly recommend to the current management to think about their future outside of the association.
Envlh sends a request for an anticipated General Assembly to the members on the discussion lists and invites members supporting this to register on a dedicated page:
Emeric Vallespi resigns from his position as president of Wikimedia France but remains on the board. There will be a "strict supervision of his participation in lobbying activities" by two members of the board (FloFlo and Guillaume) and by the executive director (Nathalie).
Wikimédia France recevra la moité de la somme demandée, sous réserve qu'elle entame les changements structurels recommandés.
The Board of Trustees provisionally approves the financial funding allocation recommendations of the Funds Dissemination for 2016-17 (Round 2) for Wikimedia France, contingent on the Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director's satisfaction with the organization's progress on following the Funds Dissemination Committee's recommendations and other financial and governance best practices.
Wikimedia France is soliciting financial contributions to set up an endowment fund independent from the association
On July 3, a French foundation indicates it has been solicited by Wikimedia France to particpate in the funding of a new endowment fund that does not yet exist. This has been done by e-mail, sent by a paid trainee of Wikimedia France, in the name of the association, and requested a meeting between the potential donor and Nathalie Martin. The solicitation was accompanied by a presentation using the Wikipedia logo (registered trade mark of the Wikimedia Foundation). Questions were raised a first time on the WMFR discusison lists concerning this endowment fund, but the management refused to answer. The second email requesting more information was moderated and rejected. It was not possible to find any trace of a decision or a discussion concerning the creation and support of an endowment fund by Wikimedia France.
This information was published on the new public discussion list hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation: https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediafr/
Little less than one year after his recruitement as community liaiser and outreach, Jules Xénard (Jules78120) is made redundant for alleged serious misconduct. He declares:
I have always acted in the interest of teh association, with the due respect to volunteers and contributors and in conformity with my ethical values. No misconduct.
Several Wikimedians are notified that their renewal or membership request is rejected by Wikimedia France:
The Board recognize later its error in the case concerninf Mathis B.
- Mathis B
- Nattes à chat (renewal)
- Coyotedu57 ((membership request in his case)
- PierreSelim (radiation)
All these refusals stem from the application of article 3 of the statutes. The internal regulations (RI, or bylaws) describes how the rules are applied.
At the initiative of Envel Le Hir, 70 persons signed the appeal to have an anticipated GA which is usually held in October. In comparison, 139 and 134 persons took part in the votes during the two last General Assemblies (respectively in 2016 and 2015).
In response to this criticism, the chapter shut down its own mailing list. The remaining board members sent the following remarkable letter to its members before closing the list. The letter tries to defend the chapter Association by attacking its critics, putting them on a blacklist that bars them from membership, and threatening to sue them. It also claims that concerns about its activity are in fact a conspiracy against its ED. It is such an startling and provocative document that I have translated it below, for annotation and comments.
The Board of Wikimédia France uses its right to reply.
Nathalie Martin, leaves Wikimédia France as Executive Director atfer four years.