Arbcom and hostile work environment

[Note: this is from the anonymous letter posted at the current Arbcom gender case. The letter contains a wealth of interesting links.  One of the most interesting is the last one, on Bullying in the Workplace.]

Text of letter:

To [the] point about “hostile work environment”, the Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to building an encyclopedia. They work with other organizations and commercial services in distributing their product,[126] an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. People who build the content are volunteers, and while they may leave at any time,[127] there have been a few court rulings in the USA, whom have legal jurisdiction over the Florida incorporated Wikimedia Foundation, that explicitly demonstrate that volunteers have the same “employment” rights to be free of a hostile work environment that their paid employees have a right to.[128][129] The right to be free of a hostile work environment extends beyond the person being subjected directly to the behavior. [130] As Wikimedia has become more professionalized with students completing coursework, semi-professional editors working on community and content development as part of their employment, grants from the Wikimedia Foundation supporting work that leads to content development and community growth aimed at new content development,[131] open tolerance of harassment of women (and other groups such as people with different sexual orientations, of different nationalities, people with disabilities, etc.) is just that with increasing potential to demonstrate real damages.[132]

Beyond that, the tolerance for such behavior sends a clear and overriding message to women that they are not wanted[133] and the current advice to women of ignore has proven largely ineffective. Openly encouraging such behavior as that status quo and providing zero resource to fix it other than escalating the situation through non-functional dispute resolution processes makes Wikipedia prime for its own version of GamerGate.[134][135][136] At some point, the Wikimedia Foundation may very well find itself having to do what Adobe did.[137][138] The only reason that has not happened to date is because many of the women who have dealt with sexually based harassment, have had their employment targeted because they are female, have had their academic work targeted because they are and dealt with gender specific crap have either lacked the media resources to put the story out there, cannot take the professional risk of exposing the systemic problem or at their hearts of hearts believe so much in the movement (where editors seek to actively destroy them because they are women) that they have not willingly thrown the Wikimedia Foundation under the bus. The last part is probably the most important reason. <names redacted> are prime examples.

The tactics being employed in general on English Wikipedia towards women as a form of harassment include: Sabotaging a person’s contribution, Post complaint retaliation, name calling, threatening punishment, Interfering with employment, Boasting of own success and proficiency with the intention of using this success as a weapon. For all of these, the research has shown that males are much more likely to engaged in these forms of harassment.[139] The type of harassment given to males is markedly different, and the type of harassment women are more likely to engage in compared to males is markedly different. English Wikipedia provides a format where male specific harassment techniques are much easier to do, and do effectively. Given the already large male participation numbers in pure percentages, … Go back to hostile work environment.


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