Response from Williams-81019 Public Case Review

0 votes
1.5k views

Following is John Williams' (formerly Williams-81019) response to his public case review. The response is lengthy and so will be continued in comments:

I absolutely without a doubt love WikiTree.  I don’t believe I have ever said anything negative about this exceptional program.  I am sorry if anyone ever saw an example where I disparaged the WikiTree website and its goals.  There is a difference between criticizing WikiTree’s Leaders and WikiTree’s website and its goals.  In my humble opinion, just because WikiTree has a solid reputation, that does not mean there isn’t room for improvement.  

WikiTree’s status and the status of its Leaders are not always the same because they often don’t go hand in hand because there are many facts that support the conclusion that at times, they can even be mutually exclusive.  However, WikiTree does have some amazing Leaders and I have learned a lot from them and I am so grateful for the time I have spent with many of them.  Even though there are too many to mention by name, the great thing about these beautiful people is they all know who they are. They are some of the finest people I have ever met.  They have so much character and warmth of personality.  Their desire to welcome others to collaborate is a witness to the fact that I could live to be old as Methuselah and I would probably not find anybody else in any organization who I could even compare them with and it has been one of the highlights of my life in getting to know them.  I also believe in the goals of WikiTree and its founder.  However, I fear that if leadership is misled by certain members of the WikiTree Team or other WikiTree Leaders who have other goals, I think we could lose a good thing.  It is unfortunate that some have their own agenda which is not in sync with WikiTree’s goals.  Even though forever is a long time, I especially believe in WikiTree’s legacy of keeping WikiTree free forever.

I have made numerous wonderful discoveries with significant connections to so many historical figures and so many wonderful ancestors and cousins, that it absolutely blows my mind!  Considering the humble place where I am from, if you told me about some of the discoveries I have made, I would have thought you were definitely pulling my leg.  We may not like all our discoveries about our ancestors, but I claim them all because they are a reason for our existence and we are a reason for theirs.  I have also made connections to so many “Wonderful WikiTreers” in my short amount of time and I also awarded many of them at all levels with a Wonderful WikiTreer award.  If I had the power, I would award each and every WikiTreer who has worked so hard and has not received one of those awards yet. Actually, the irony is that even though some people on WikiTree’s Appreciation Team are so concerned with the devaluation with WikiTree’s awards because so many feel that too many awards are issued as it is, if I could, I would still be tempted to give a Wonderful WikiTreer award to everyone just for being a member.  

I appreciate my former fellow WikiTreers more than anyone will ever know.  WikiTree is full of beautiful, selfless people from the Greeter to the Sourcerer and from the Data Doctor to the Connector who willingly donate their time which in my opinion is invaluable.  Consequently, we should never allow a few people who are not in sync with WikiTree to tarnish its image.  I hope everyone continues to polish it by donating their precious time.  I know I was happy to donate my time to help it shine.

Due to all these wonderful discoveries, I felt I needed to somehow return the favor.  Consequently, I joined many Projects and I worked day and night to learn as much as I could about this exceptional program in order to contribute to it.  During the few months I was a member, I contributed almost 15,000 contributions in a very short time span and I was so proud of the work I did.  I had about 45 badges including many 1000 count contribution badges as well as winning trophy badges and had won about 4 Saturday Sourcing Sprints.  I had also contributed over 1,000 corrections and helped win the Clean-a-Thon.  I was proud of my contributions and I was more than satisfied with the awards I received.  I really still believe that we get out of WikiTree what we put into it.  While some may not have valued my work, my thank you feed and all my awards suggest otherwise.  I was also proud of the fact that I had at least a 10% thank you ratio by comparing the total number of thank yous I received in my thank you feed compared to my total contributions.

Even though I wished my ratio was even higher, I am proud to say my thank you ratio was much higher in comparison to certain Leaders, Mentors and Mediators.  I was honored that my work was appreciated so much by so many fellow members of WikiTree.  As much as I have boasted about WikiTree to others and how special I felt to be a part of it, my values were not in sync with certain Leaders and their questionable practices included in the way they manage WikiTree.

During my mentorship with Member A who was my mentor, we came to a resolution in response to my unnecessary, arbitrary referral as a result of those Leaders who were in collusion against me and I had agreed to all their recommendations as a result of my arbitrary mentorship.  I was told if I didn’t agree to all the conditions resulting from the mentorship, I would lose my privileges with WikiTree and my account could be closed.  I was never told these conditions were temporary as others have been led to believe.  Since I was so proud to be a member of WikiTree and was honored to be included in such a wonderful program, I didn’t want to lose my account.  As a result, I agreed to the conditions set forth.  Since I had no choice in this situation, I felt like I had a gun to my head and I feel it was an unpleasant and arbitrary process. I felt like I was forced into it and since it felt like I had a gun to my head, it gave me an enormous amount of stress which only exacerbated certain medical conditions I have and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  That is why I am submitting this response to my public review where I was promised every file and email would be released in my case and I am requesting those files and emails to be released. As I already mentioned in a previous email, I plan on creating a Google indexed blog so the whole world can see just how unfairly I have been treated by WikiTree’s Leaders.  I pray nobody ever has to be subjected to what I have been put through with WikiTree’s Leaders who were very arbitrary in administering my arbitrary mentorship and subsequent unilateral mediation. 

After I came to a resolution with my mentorship, everything was running smoothly for about a week or so.  However, over a week later my mentor Member A claimed they were editing a pre-1500 profile for one of my ancestors and as it just happened, they said I added an image of a coat of arms to the same pre-1500 profile while they claimed they were editing it at the same time.  I have reason to believe it wasn’t a coincidence because I believe some things are just too coincidental to be regarded as mere coincidence. Since all my work was being monitored during my mentorship, I believe this was an entry point Member A sought to create an issue that could lead to additional conflict.  I believe they are a defiant instigator and they sought an opportunity to create additional conflict and went for it.  Member A said they got upset with me because they said when I added an image to the same profile at the same time they were working on it, it interrupted their work flow and prevented them from editing the same profile.  How is that even possible? 

in The Tree House by Admin WikiTree G2G1 (1.4k points)
edited by Admin WikiTree

Member A then started accusing me of skirting around the pre-1500 requirement by adding the image and what’s more, they said I knew it!  What they were doing was making an assumption that I was wrong when as it turns out, they were the one who was wrong.  When I told them it wasn’t required, they became very upset, defiant and belligerent.  Their defiance contributed to a very tenuous situation which only contributed to additional conflict and stress.  Since I disagreed with their accusation, I guess they got the impression I was being defiant.  However, they were the one who was being defiant.  What they didn’t know was several months ago I had already received clarification on this issue in a G2G post.  They wanted proof that it wasn’t required.  I told them I would get them the proof of how I sought clarification in the G2G forum many months prior to this since I had previously taken the unnecessary steps of going above and beyond what was required of me when I sought clarification on this issue.

I told them I would search for the message on G2G I posted to get clarification on a copyright concern where it was also revealed that I didn’t need permission to post images to pre-1500 profiles. I included an example in the post and I was told by Member B, who is a WikiTree Leader, that “Anyone can add images to profiles regardless of the time period in which the person lived.”  I was even given a favorable complimentary comment about the example of my work I included.  As you can see in the example, I was very thorough in my sourcing.  As we all know there are many examples where others have submitted images without even providing any text whatsoever in the comments section such as the image of my favorite coats of arms.  You will notice not one word of sourcing was added to this image.  However, since I was trying to be responsible, I just thought I should mention what I intended to do in the G2G post because I didn’t have any experience with copyright issues.  However, anyone with any common sense at all should attempt to use proper sourcing whenever an image is added to WikiTree to ensure that the image is in the public domain and I was looking out for our beloved WikiTree and also needed clarification with it.

I got the impression Member A didn’t believe me because at the time they requested the G2G link where I got permission for this issue.  I told them I would try to find it.  Meanwhile, they got too impatient while waiting for the link and from what I can gather, they decided to go directly to some WikiTree Leaders message board to seek guidance on this issue.  I guess in their accusatory manner, they made the same accusation in this Leaders forum and suggested that I was skirting around the pre-1500 certification requirement to add images to any pre-1500 profiles when evidently they weren’t aware that it wasn’t required.   Apparently, they got shot down in that Leaders group because apparently they were informed it wasn’t necessary to have pre-1500 certification to add images to pre-1500 profiles since it had never been a requirement.  However, I get the impression because they always have to be right, they probably are lobbying for a change in the policy as we speak to make themselves look better and provide themself with some relief from all the embarrassment they suffered from being wrong and are likely seeking some vindication.  Either that or they are probably going to get someone to do it on their behalf which at this point wouldn't surprise me because at this point that is something I would expect from them.  In fact, I expect to see an update on this issue at any moment which will further confirm my suspicion.

When I found the G2G link, I directed them to the G2G forum post where I received permission by another Leader to add these images.   Evidently, because I didn’t give them the link before they went to the Leaders message board, I got the impression they were embarrassed because they got shot down in their accusation that I was skirting around the requirements because apparently they were set straight when they were advised that I didn’t need permission to add images to a pre-1500 profile because that is not part of the current policy.  Eventually, when I directed them to the link, they suddenly changed their mind and responded by saying something sarcastic and said something like I could add all the images I wanted to those pre-1500 profiles.

If Member A was a little more patient, this may have been a moot point anyway because I was going to submit my work on the England Orphan Trail to be considered for the pre-1500 certification.  Member C, who was my trailblazer, told me they were very impressed with the amount of work I did on the profiles for the trail and they said that I could use the work to be considered for pre-1500 certification.  In fact, they were so impressed with my work, they told me that usually it is required to work on several profiles at each level of the England Orphan Trail before graduating from the program, but I only needed to work on one more profile and I would be finished with the entire program.  They also approved my graduation from the England Orphan Trail and sent me the code in an email to use in a sticker to feature on my profile page.  They later advised me they sent me the wrong code and they meant to send me the code for graduating from the first level of the trail and not the entire program. 

Shortly after they sent my graduation sticker, it was at the height of the spread of the Coronavirus when WikiTree saw a substantial increase in its enrollment of new members as a result of people looking for a way to spend their time while they were home during the lock-down.  In fact, I noticed there was an increase as much as 25% or more.  Consequently, I emailed Member C and I also advised the Leader of the England Project that I would get back to the England Orphan Trail as soon as my activities with the Greeters Project slowed down.  They said that was fine with them.  After all, I believe they believe there is only so much a person can do.  However, even though I notified Member C that I would eventually return, my account eventually became suspended and I was not able to finish it.  From all the comments they have been placing as a result of my public review and without knowing all the facts, I gather they are very disappointed in me and they obviously think I was wasting their valuable time.  However, if anyone knows better than making a judgement on someone else before they hear all the facts, it should be them.

Shortly thereafter, I was placed in the mentorship/mediation process where my account was suspended due to a disagreement I had in the Greeters Project where a Member D asked me to change my profile image which was the American flag.  I believe this was a decision I made which proved to cause some tension between Member D and myself.  However, if I had to make the decision again, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Actually, I was surprised with Member D’s attitude toward this issue considering how closely their family is tied to the US military.  Since WikiTree is a global website, we need to value its diversity which includes America which is where the company began and is home to its operations.  The people of the United States of America are included in that diversity.  Perhaps, they had a member of their family who got a raw deal at some point from our government and that may have been the source for disdain for the American flag.  Consequently, this relationship began to deteriorate and would never recover.

I still find it hard to believe that they asked me to remove the American flag as my profile picture considering what it should mean to their family.  I am not sure what their motives were for disgracing the reputation and diversity of their family and its inclusion in American culture.  It only makes me wonder if someone else put them up to it because I can’t make any sense in why they would make such a heinous suggestion.  I am not saying their family’s contributions to America shouldn’t be appreciated, but their actions most certainly are not patriotic.  Since America has played such a huge part in diversity in the world, it just doesn’t make sense why they would not value the diversity in America, especially the role it has played in the composition of WikiTree’s global collaborative tree which is the very definition of diversity.  Maybe it’s because they live where they may not get a chance to interact with other cultures as much as they would if they lived in another part of the country.   However, notwithstanding their ethnocentrism, they still should be educated enough to know that America is still the most globalized nation on Earth with more diversity than anywhere else.

In another unpleasant situation involving Member D, as a WikiTree Greeter, I had a greeting shift that I had already reserved as a Standby Greeter for someone else who needed a substitute also known as a Standby while their spouse had surgery.  When someone is unable to complete their shift, they were instructed to highlight their shift on the calendar by changing their shift’s color from green to red and to add the words “coverage needed” which is what the initial Greeter did.  As the Greeters’ instructions showed, anytime we substituted for another Greeter, we were instructed to place our names on the Greeters schedule as a substitute/standby and highlight the slot card in yellow so it will be salient and others including Member D would notice the time slot card or shift had been reserved. By changing the colors of the slots, they became much more noticeable and it helped draw attention to any changed scheduled shifts.  Consequently, anyone who viewed the calendar would see that the initial Greeter needed a substitute and I had filled that need as a Standby Greeter since I had also added a shift in yellow which was immediately next to the initial Greeter’s shift in red.

Even though not everyone is required to use the calendar, it is a valuable tool and is without a doubt the best way to let others know who was greeting during certain shifts.  The purpose of changing the color on the calendar for changed shifts was to make it more salient to anyone who viewed the schedule and it was a great way to draw their attention to the calendar and everyone could see right way if there were any changes.  All that was required to keep track of who was greeting at a certain time was to spend a few seconds at the most to view the schedule on the Greeters Google calendar.  Even though we also used a sign-in sheet, the calendar was a better tool for planning.  It allowed others to take only a few seconds which was the maximum time it would take to view the calendar to see whose turn it was to greet. Consequently, the main purpose of the calendar was for planning all those shifts and any subsequent changes to those shifts in order to prevent trespassing on someone else’s shift.  It only takes a few seconds to glance at the Greeters Google calendar in order to see whose turn it was to greet.

I followed the instructions and placed my name on the schedule as instructed.  As a result, Member D clearly saw where I had already reserved the slot as a Standby Greeter with a shift highlighted with a yellow color.  A little later after I had already changed the calendar to yellow to reflect my intention to be a Standby Greeter and provide coverage for that shift, I noticed Member D went back to the calendar and later added text to the original shift which the original Greeter had changed to red.  However, just before Member D added the text to the red card slot, I thought I better get proof that I had added a yellow shift to the calendar since I was in a precarious situation and I wanted proof that I had previously changed the card slot to yellow.  Consequently, I took a screenshot of the calendar which showed where I added a yellow card slot to the calendar and as it happened Member D had not yet added anything to the calendar which proves they had seen my reservation on the calendar before they later added text to the original card slot.  As proof of the date and time I took the screenshot where there is a progression bar that is juxtaposed over the calendar which shows on that particular shift how much time had lapsed for that shift and how far along we were in that particular shift and how much time was left on that shift.  I took this screenshot before Member D later added text to the original red card slot also stating they were providing coverage which proves they saw my shift in yellow before they added text to the original time slot shown in red.  Consequently, I had proof that I had already added my slot before they added text to the original slot. 

That was the first time I ever saw anybody add text to the description box to revise the card slot.  Member D thought they were being clever by making it look like they had given notice that they were the first person to offer to cover the time slot.  The reason why they didn’t add a yellow time slot as instructed was because I already had added the yellow card slot because I was there first.  If they had intended to cover the shift as a Standby Greeter, then they would have placed a yellow card slot on the calendar as instructed.  They couldn't place a yellow time card slot because I had already placed one there which proves they were the one who broke the rules.  Consequently, they committed a violation of our Greeters’ instructions and rules.  They were unable to use the excuse that they did not know that I had already reserved the aforementioned shift since they saw it when they violated the rules when they added text in the description box for the red card slot stating they were going to provide coverage after I had already reserved my slot in yellow to provide coverage.  Only about a week or two earlier, we were previously advised in the Greeters Google group that we weren’t allowed to revise anyone’s time slot by adding text to the description box for the various card slots.  It was against the rules which they violated.  They broke the rules and they know they did.

Even if they had not seen my reservation on the calendar, it still was no excuse for not knowing about my reservation because the Greeters are required to read the messages in the Greeters Google group where I had responded to the other person’s initial request for a standby substitute Greeter.  I was more than happy to help out the initial Greeter while they were unable to greet during that time slot since their spouse was going to have surgery during that time.  Later that day, I explained the situation to Member E, but they took their fellow Leader’s side and told me that not all Greeters look at the schedule and they are not required to do so.  However, they must really think I am dumb as a rock if they expect me to believe that as a leader Member D doesn’t check the calendar.  Member E had no right to belittle me by insulting my intelligence by suggesting that a fellow Leader does not look at the calendar.  They must really think I am gullible and would believe just about anything.  However, even if that was the case, that was no excuse for Member D to claim that they didn’t know I was supposed to be greeting during that slot because they would have also seen where I had volunteered to cover that time slot in the Greeters Google group. 

I also have proof in the form of a screenshot of the calendar where I had already added my slot in yellow before Member D later added text to the original red slot which proves they had already seen my card slot highlighted in yellow when they later added the text stating that they also would be providing coverage after I had already reserved it in yellow.  I also had already stated my intention to serve as a standby Greeter for the original slot on the schedule in the Greeters Google group.  I was also instructed that when Member D added the additional script to the red slot for the initial Greeter, they had violated our instructions.  Previously, I was instructed that nobody else should ever add any text to the “add description” box including adding their names to someone else’s slot in the description box because the person who initially reserved the slot may not see it because the Greeters don’t always look at the calendar since it is not required. Consequently adding text to the description box was not seen as a valid way to send notice to the original Greeter because the original Greeter may not always check the calendar.  That doesn’t make any sense because if the initial Greeter added their slot and later changed it from green to red which was an indication they needed coverage, then it is likely they will later check it again to see if they had been provided with coverage when someone added a yellow card slot which was an indication they were being covered.  The original Greeter almost always checks back on the calendar to see if they have coverage because they likely want to rest assured that their time slot was being covered because our Greeters are so conscientious about their duties, they often check to see if they have coverage because they are so responsible.

I still don’t understand why Member D took the actions that they did. When it came time for me to begin greeting as a Standy Greeter, I had noticed Member D was already signed in and was currently greeting during my slot.  As a result of noticing they had taken over my greeting slot and was already signed in on the sign-in sheet and was currently greeting, I thanked them 3 times as instructed because we were advised that is one way we are instructed to notify someone when they are trespassing on someone else’s shift and it is a way for the trespasser to take a hint that it was time for them to stop greeting and let the other person take over.  I also sent them a message which initially went unanswered.  I waited a little while and since they did not greet anyone else during that time period of inactivity while I was waiting for them to respond, I believed the delay in their greeting suggested they got the message and discontinued greeting in order for me to take over.  Consequently, I began greeting.  However, they also started greeting once again immediately after I signed in.  It was almost as if they were purposely delaying their greeting and was just waiting for me to sign in to begin greeting so they could also begin greeting again in order to claim that I was trespassing against them when in actuality, they were the one who was trespassing on my previously reserved time slot. I believe they were waiting in the lurches in order to set me up with conflict in order to file an MIR for a mentorship against me.

As a result, we were both greeting at the same time.  However, as soon as I noticed they were also greeting, that was when I immediately discontinued greeting and I signed out of the sign-in sheet to let Member D continue greeting.  Member D claimed they became very upset with me because we were both greeting at the same time.  I sent them a message stating that I was sorry because I was a new Greeter and I didn’t want to ruffle any feathers.  However, they claimed that I did not follow the rules since they thought I was trespassing on her territory and they pushed this situation with the backing of Member E to a Mediator which was unnecessary.  After all, I apologized to them when they were the one who did not follow instructions.  If anyone should have apologized to anyone, they should have apologized to me because they were the one who broke the rules.  They should have discontinued greeting after I had thanked them 3 times and received a message from me.  However, they ignored my efforts and were in violation of the Greeters’ rules. 

After I explained why my situation after it had been referred to a Mentor, everything was resolved.  I agreed to discontinue my duties as a Greeter because I believe Member D forwarded my case to mentorship as a way to get back at me for a tenuous situation I previously had with Member F.  Member F and Member D are great friends and they have often appeared together in numerous WikiTree videos produced during the various marathons as well as other WikiTree video chats.  Since they are such close friends, I believe Member D was carrying water for their good friend Member F.  I have noticed that is a disturbing practice I have noticed in the operations of WikiTree where one Leader will have another Leader carry out disciplinary actions on behalf of the other Leader in order to perpetuate reprisal as a way to pay back someone for offending their friend. 

Previously, I had noticed where Member F was very behind in some of their duties.  I had just joined WikiTree and I had no idea they had other personal reasons why they had gotten behind in fulfilling their duties.  I had noticed where they had not responded to several requests to join certain Projects including my requests to join certain Projects.  According to the G2G forum, they had not answered some of those requests in many months.  In one case, they had not answered requests to join a Project in over a year!  In another Project, they had not responded to answers to a request for members to join certain Projects in as much as 6 months ago.  Since I was one of the people who responded to the requests on G2G to join certain Projects, I noticed a trend. As a new member of WikiTree, I couldn’t understand why someone would send an invitation in the G2G forum for others to join a Project, but would not follow up by issuing badges showing they were accepted into the Project.  I had also earned a couple badges that had not been awarded.   There were many examples where Member F was behind in their duties.  Consequently, I had to get help from another Leader. 

Eventually, late one night Member F had finally responded to an email I sent them after I had already sent a previously unanswered email.  During our exchanged emails, I told them I had noticed where they had gotten behind with their duties and I asked them if they needed any assistance to get caught up on their duties.  I guess they were offended that I had the audacity to offer them any help as well as the temerity to ask them why they needed to do everything for WikiTree as implied on their profile page and I asked them why they don’t delegate more than they do, especially for trivial matters where anyone would be qualified to help.   I don’t understand the need for them to complete the time consuming tedious functions that anybody else could do.  I thought if they could relinquish some of their duties, they could focus on higher level administrative functions.  Anybody who has a degree in business management or has been or is a manager knows they are supposed to delegate which is a sign of a good manager.  They then became very defensive and posted a message on G2G stating that I accused them of not sufficiently delegating any of their less important duties.  I guess they felt I was accusing them of trying to “run the whole show” all by themself because as an insecure person, they likely feel the need for the attention and constant praise they receive when they try to do everything on their own including any tedious tasks that are more trivial than other more important matters.  They sought confirmation about how well they fulfill their duties by asking others in their G2G post.  What did Member F expect others to say about how well they fulfill their duties?  Anybody with any common sense at all knows not to criticize them in an open forum such as G2G unless they suffer from their reprisal, especially since I was advised they often seek retribution on anyone they believe may cause them any grief.  They may not directly execute any reprisal, but they have a habit of getting their fellow Leaders such as Member D to do their dirty work for them on their behalf!  In their sneaky way, they thought it wouldn’t look like they were behind it.

I believe Member F has been out to get me ever since we had the email exchanges where in the heat of the moment they reacted by placing the message about our disagreement on G2G about their lack of delegation.  I was also advised during the mentorship that I was forbidden from criticizing or talking about any other Leaders such as Member F to any other Leaders.  However, they are allowed to say anything they please about anyone such as they did with me on the G2G forum.  How is that even fair?

After numerous emails exchanged with my mentor Member A, I had resolved the issue concerning the disagreement I had with my participation in the Greeters Project where I had received numerous Wonderful WikiTreer awards and numerous thank you messages in emails I had received from grateful new members of WikiTree where I had offered assistance with certain issues we usually resolved sometimes as our roles as Greeters even if it wasn’t required.  Any Greeter can tell you that the job involved way more than just placing a welcome message on the comments section of our new members’ profile pages and this job requires a lot of time in training since we also play a great part as guardians in preventing unwanted advertising from spammers.  I was told I was a good Greeter by various Leaders and they appreciated all my effort.  I had made such an impact with my role as a Greeter, I was even offered a Greeter Emeritus status sticker and I was given the code for it in an email.  At first, I told another Greeter I felt self-conscious about using that sticker because I had only been a Greeter for about 2 months.  I thought it might seem disrespectful to other veteran Greeters if I used the sticker since others had earned the Emeritus Greeter sticker for years of service, yet I received the same sticker for only 2 months of service.  I was told nobody had ever made such an impact on the Greeters Project that they were awarded with that sticker with such a short time of service.  I believe this proves that I was an exceptional Greeter because I gave it my all!

Later during my mentorship, my mentor Member A changed their mind yet again about whether I could post images which spoke volumes to their lack of credibility because in another email, they changed their mind again and suggested that I needed to stop it because the images I added were wrong.  At that point, I didn't know what to believe due to their being so irrational and unable to make up their mind on the situation.  They initially said something I did was wrong.  However, they then changed their mind only to later change their mind yet again and went back to their original position.  Are you following me because I was definitely confused by their irrationality and indecision?  I honestly couldn't tell if they were coming or going.  Actually, I am not sure they did either!  I thought their mind was playing tricks on them.  However, I told them I had used what I considered a reliable source which was Wikipedia and if you take a look at any example of the text I used in the comments section for each image I added, you will see where I had more than sufficiently added enough text in the comments section to each image I added, especially since I can show you examples where other people have added images without even using one word of sourcing.  I was even given a compliment by another Leader on how thorough I was with my sourcing.  I even received a complimentary comment on one of the images since the images I added were an improvement as thumbnails, especially since other images were added by others where they left the comments section completely blank with absolutely no sources whatsoever which possibly could open WikiTree up to copyright infringement litigation.  At least I tried in comparison to others who made no effort whatsoever.  However, I decided to be the bigger person and I tried to pacify Member A’s petulant demands and I stopped adding any more images.  Since they became so irrational in their behavior, I was really starting to be concerned that maybe they shouldn't even be a mentor since they lack such credibility.

A day or so after that, all of a sudden their good friend Member G decided to undo many of the images I had added which made me very suspicious of the timing.  Anybody with any common sense at all would be suspicious.  I asked Member A about it and they gave me the impression they acted as if they didn’t know anything about it.  Member A came right out and accused me of being paranoid.  What kind of mediator would call another colleague a name with a derogatory insinuation?  That is poor behavior and reflects not only poorly on their character, but they should also reflect on how that action reflects on their sacred role as a mentor and Leader in WikiTree.  They ought to be embarrassed!  They act like they are still a child in elementary school with their petty demands and the need to get their way.  I then suggested it was awfully convenient that this other Leader had reversed my work only a day after we had discussed it.  Member A tried to come up with something because they then implied that adding images of coats of arms was such an esoteric concept that I was not intelligent enough to understand the concept of heraldry.  They didn't use the word esoteric and that is my choice of word to reflect their action.  I don't remember their exact phrase, but I can forward the email to you if you haven't already seen it.  In fact, I am going to assume you have read these emails supplied by my mentor which should be made available which confirm everything I have said.  If you haven't, then you are in for quite a surprise!  Now that I think about it, I should demand an apology from them for discounting my intelligence by suggesting I didn’t know what I was doing even though I was sufficiently using a good source.

At first, I gave them the benefit of the doubt that I could be wrong.  However, that was when I noticed this other Leader reversed numerous images I had posted and reversed one right after the other in rapid succession and hardly spent any time between these reversals which suggest they had not done any research on to gather any sources to support their actions to remove the sources I had previously added to numerous profiles.  According to Member G’s contribution history, they were spending only about a minute at a time reversing each of these images as shown below.  They obviously were not taking the proper amount of time to research their position.  Otherwise, they would not have reversed so many so quickly and only spent about a minute or less between each reversal as shown below in the applicable section of their contribution history…

 

13:18: Member G edited the Primary Photo for James Tuchet.

13:18: Member G edited the data on James Tuchet.

13:18: Member G edited the Primary Photo for Rowland Hayward.

13:18: Member G edited the data on Rowland Hayward.

13:17: Member G edited the Primary Photo for John FitzThomas.

13:17: Member G edited the data on John FitzThomas.

13:17: Member G edited the Status Indicators for John FitzThomas.

13:15: Member G edited the Primary Photo for Hugues de la Marche .

13:15: Member G edited the Photo Date on Hughes de la Marche.

13:14:Member G edited the Primary Photo for Reynold de Grey.

13:14: Member G edited the data on Reynold de Grey.

13:14: Member G edited the Primary Photo for Lionel de Welles.

13:14: Member G edited the data on Lionel de Welles.

13:13: Member G edited the Primary Photo for Walter Blount.

13:13: Member G edited the data on Walter Blount.

13:13: Member G edited the Primary Photo for Aodh de Ross.

13:13: Member G edited the data on Aodh de Ross.

13:12: Member G edited the Primary Photo for Michael de la Pole.

 

In all the images I added that Member G removed, I then told Member A I had used Wikipedia as a source.  They responded by stating Wikipedia was often wrong.  Of course, they can be wrong because no source is perfect, but even WikiTree often uses it as a source which implies they think WikiTree is being hypocritical in its methods.  If they don’t like WikiTree’s methods of operation and the sources it uses, then maybe they should consider another platform just as some may imply that I am being hypocritical of WikiTree when I sing its praises, but have made recommendations for improvement. 

Member H who was my mediator suggested I was being a hypocrite because I had suggested any improvements to WikiTree.  Why is an implication being made that I am a hypocrite because I like WikiTree so much that I would like to see any improvements made which could make it shine even more than it already does?  If I am such a big hypocrite, then doesn't that mean that any suggestion or improvements made by countless others in a member-focused dynamic organization suggest they are also hypocrites?  If you feel I shouldn't be making suggestions for improvement, then I can stop.  However, any "hacks" I may use may not be for anyone else and nobody else has to use them!  Nobody has shown me where any "hacks" I have used are against the rules in any instruction pages.  In one example, even Member I told me that a method I had used wasn't against the rules.  However, if there is ever a case where someone doesn't feel comfortable with a "hack" I have used, all they have to do is ask me to discontinue use of the "hack".  However, at the time I had not told Member F how this other Leader spent as little as a minute between those reversals which suggested Member G didn’t spend much time at all on researching their position on reversing those images and just went willy-nilly reversing my work without any justification by showing their sources which suggested they were determined to get back at me on behalf of their good friend by carrying water for them. 

I then asked Member A what Member G’s sources were to reverse my work and requested them find out for me because I didn't want to create any conflict with this other Leader.  Was I wrong to ask for justification?  Considering I was already in the mentoring process, do you suggest that I should have created additional conflict by confronting this other Leader?   That’s when they got evasive.  I had to request on more than one occasion that they find out the sources Member G used and they refused to honor my request to ask the other Leader for the sources to justify their actions.  They may argue semantics, but for all intents and purposes, they refused to honor my request.  I then asked them why I should just take their word for it without any proof and I asked them if they often took other people’s word without any proof or sources.  That’s when things went south real quick. 

I suggested that if they weren’t going to be my advocate in this, then they were showing malfeasance in my advocacy since they had previously promised to be my advocate.  They had broken their promise to me to work with me in harmony.  They then became even more belligerent and got upset with me when I said someone else had come up with a solution which gave me the impression they were extremely offended and that was when they then suggested that other person who offered me assistance should be my new mentor because they were no longer going to be my mentor and were referring my case to mediation. This was only further proof of their malfeasance.  Since they couldn't come up with a solution without creating additional conflict, I guess they didn’t know how to explain it.  They should have come up with a solution that would have avoided creating additional conflict such as the conflict that would have undoubtedly occurred if I had discussed this directly with the other Leader who was seeking reprisal on their behalf and reversing my work.  I guess it implied it was just another example of their malfeasance since they couldn’t come up with a solution on their own.  I guess they felt further embarrassment because someone else had to help me which I guess they felt made them look badly. That's on them and not me.  If they can't handle the results, then maybe they shouldn't be a mentor.

If you were dealing with someone you felt was so irrational, wouldn't you have sought assistance from someone else if your advocate was useless in providing advocacy or any help.  By the way, what is the protocol to follow if you find that your mediator is not helping you?  If they are so sensitive and insecure in how they might feel as a result of their actions or lack thereof, then perhaps they should resign from their position as a mentor.  It's not that I have floccinaucinihilipilification for people who are incapable of doing their job, I just have an intolerance for people such as them who refuse to do their job.  They have only been a mentor for about 6 months.  Perhaps, if they gain more experience, they may be able to improve, but I just feel they are so insecure in their position and are so intransigent, they are incapable of changing and have no place as a mentor.  This makes me wonder what experience they have and what criteria is used to become a mentor because using them as an example, it suggests anyone can do the job except for them.  It gives the impression anyone could do it and someone who has only been with WikiTree a few months has enough experience to become one.  Oh, wait a minute, I think I know an example where someone with only a few months experience has actually become a mentor.  How is anyone who has only been with WikiTree for a few months in any position to judge others while they are in the mentoring process?  Why would anybody be expected to take advice from someone who has such little experience?  God forbid someday they should advance to a mediator because someday they may just be your mediator. Something tells me they couldn't hold a candle to you in that position.  I just hope by then, it's not too late for you because if you don't act in a way they expect, they may just get their friend to come after you like they did with me!  As a mentor, they shouldn't take things so personal, especially any shortcomings they may have as a mentor.  If they feel they have shortcomings as a mentor to the point where the mentee feels a need to get help from someone else who is better equipped to provide assistance, then perhaps they shouldn't be a mentor.  While I can understand they are not perfect as a mentor, they could do a much better job than they have.

I actually feel I am owed an apology for their lack of advocacy since they broke their promise to me, not to mention the action their good friend Member G took against me in the form of reprisal who decided to carry their water because they were so incapable of doing it themself.  However, Member G shouldn't have vandalized the tree by reversing my work I had done.  They accused me of vandalizing WikiTree’s global collaborative tree, but they were the one who was vandalizing the tree by removing someone else’s fully sourced work in contributing to the tree.  However, I forgive them.  I can only try to follow the rules.  Initially I was told that they were told to ask me to remove the link to the rules.  I asked them who told them.  They then replied by saying nobody asked them and it was them.  That makes them a liar.  I hope Member I also shares my floccinaucinihilipilification for the mendacity of some of WikiTree’s Leaders.  Many people have told me leadership changes and eventually those who have done me wrong, will likely suffer God’s vengeance.  I would never attempt to steal this righteousness from God because I know his will be done.  Below is the link I was forced to remove and I believe reflect values that we all should uphold: Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council

I have never been exposed to so much stress in all my life as I have been while I have been in communication with Member A.  I have repeatedly had to ask them to stand down because of the way they have only exacerbated my medical conditions to the point where I have actually needed to see a doctor for all the stress they have caused me.  Even though I tried to retain my HIPAA rights, I have even discussed this with others at WikiTree.  I have the emails to show it.  Most people would seek a remedy such as an apology or another legal remedy.  Please, tell me what you would have done in this situation.  I feel like I have been placed in a catch-22 since their good friend got involved and contributed to making this such an untenable, stressful situation.  Now, maybe I am expecting too much, but I got the impression you were aware of all of this in the emails you read which they provided. Were you aware of my side of things?  Have you seen the emails I have referenced?  If not, please let me know and I will refer you to them.  Is this the first time you were aware of any of it? 

During my mediation, my mediator stated I was using what they referred to as “hacks” in my activities relating to WikiTree.  In one example, Member H referenced a “hack” I discovered I could use as a communication tool when my account was suspended.  This “hack” they were referring to is the absent sticker you can place on your account when you are inactive.  Please notice that this is the same “hack” Member H is currently using on their account.  If you go to their page, they are using the very same “hack” they referenced that insinuated I was a hypocrite.  If they are currently using the same “hack” in the same manner which they implied I was a hypocrite, what does that say about them since they are currently using this sticker in the same way?  So, in addition to being called paranoid by Member A, Member H who was my mediator suggested I was being a hypocrite because I had suggested any improvements to WikiTree. How would any members of WikiTree feel if they were also called those names to disparage their character?

During my mediation, my mediator never responded to even one of the many questions I asked them in my official response to my mediation.  Maybe they were speechless.  Perhaps, they were so “shellacked” by how poorly I was treated, they may have become catatonic because I don’t know how to explain their lack of communication or response.  Please let me know why they didn’t respond to any of my questions.  I believe it is because my mediation was advanced to the WikiTree Team by Member F as reprisal because I was never supplied with a specific example where I violated Wikitree’s rules after I forcibly agreed to my mediator’s suggestions.   I have never received a copy of the referral of my case to the WikiTree Team.  I still haven’t received any answers to any of the questions I asked in my response to my mediation.  For convenience, many of them are included here once again in this correspondence, but for convenience in identification, they all have been placed in bold-faced type to make them appear more salient.  Perhaps, this time I might just get some answers.

As Member F stated, even if I responded to this “public” review, my account will never be reopened.  However, I am not so much concerned with that as I am in trying to prevent anyone else from going through what I have been put through by certain WikiTree Leaders. This is not the last you have heard from me and I plan on placing every file and email I ever received during this mentorship/mediation process in a Google indexed blog.  I have often heard that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” and I guess it’s true because I feel like I have been put through hell! 

Member F knows this is all happened because they want to execute reprisal against me because they became so upset and embarrassed with me because I pointed out their unfulfilled duties to another Leader and when I asked them about it and had the audacity to offer them assistance, I feel they became irate, unfair, irrational and possibly unbalanced.  I guess nobody has stood up to their bullying before and as I understand it, I am the first person to request a “public” review.  Member F should know one of the first things you learn in a Business Policy class is that “cooler heads prevail”.  I can only pray for them and that their intransigence will subside because I don’t want anyone to have the same negative experience I have had with them.

Many people have judged me without knowing all the facts.  I can only respond by quoting scripture.  Since Member F makes a claim on their page which states “I'm religious”, I went to a gathering recently and spoke to an elder about this whole situation.  The people I met at the research room truly were some of the nicest people I have ever met in my entire life and I don’t understand how Member F is the way they are.  I was told that the best way to get them to understand their behavior, is to forward them the following scripture…

Matthew 7

1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

4 How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

As I previously mentioned, I have also made connections to so many “Wonderful WikiTreers” in my short amount of time.  They say the measure of a person is how much they impact the lives of others.  Well, I can honestly say those “Wonderful WikiTreers” have greatly impacted my life and I will be forever grateful.  Notwithstanding all the affection I have for WikiTree and its members, I am begging you to never treat a fellow WikiTreer as I have been treated.  After my account was so arbitrarily closed, I felt like I was broken and lost my best friend.  I still sometimes spend as much as an hour or more on certain days “climbing the tree” and I appreciate my former fellow WikiTreers more than anyone will ever know.  Even though I may be broken, the beautiful part is how I can appreciate the irony in knowing that with the help of many of my dearest Wonderful WikiTree friends, I have survived! 

Even though I have often heard that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, I believe even Member F may have their reasons for the way they have behaved.  Notwithstanding how badly I was treated by Member F, I will still pray for them.  I truly appreciate all they do for WikiTree.  Due to everything they do and since their profile page states “because they do so ... darn ... much”, I don’t understand their actions relating to me, but I know with all my heart there must be a beautiful side to them and they deserve to be happy.  Even though they do so much for WikiTree, I still stand by my statement that they don’t have to do everything as they would like others to believe.  Perhaps, they need the attention, but they don’t have to do so much.  Maybe they won’t feel the need to do so much since they now have other places to focus their time.  I wish nothing but the best for them because even though I have never witnessed it, I believe deep down inside there is a good soul there.  I pray someday it will emerge and what a happy and beautiful day it will be for everyone, especially our beloved WikiTree. 

For anyone interested in comparing John's statement to WikiTree's, the re-shown, but closed, review thread has no comments and so does not show the entire WikiTree summary.  Fortunately, someone saved it here

The entire original post is is now there. It looks like Abby didn't realize there were two parts to it when she unhid it.

It would be nice if people would stop playing the invisible man with posts to this thread.

(This is not off-topic, but is directly related to posts being made and then being removed, thus making following along rather difficult.)

Just to clarfiy, some members have hidden their own posts. They were not hidden by moderators.
Melanie, I hid my own comments. And looking at this page, every comment/answer that has been hidden has been hidden by the very person who posted it.

Maybe people have had enough.  

Maybe the 9,955 words above tell us all we need to know.
Just to clarfiy, some members have hidden their own posts. They were not hidden by moderators.

-

Thanks for that information, Eowyn.  

(It doesn't change the frustration that one moment there is a comment, the next it's gone -- but c'est la vie, I guess.)

I hid an answer because I had to cut some and move it to a comment. The length of time it took for my original answer to complete made me think that it was still too long ... thus resulting in my posting duplicate answers.

10 Answers

+28 votes
So let me get this straight:

Suck up to WikiTree (minus leaders, mediators, and mentors), suck up even more, boast about your own contributions, and then come in for the "kill" on the volunteer mediators, mentors, and a few others (I don't know, this rambles quite a bit and I think I lost track), and then quote the Christian bible to underscore just how righteous and sincere you are.

Brilliant plan. Unfortunately, it does not work for me. Yes, it's true that  I'm one of the leaders and I'm a mentor, likely fitting into your "water carrier" bucket, but I have a heart and soul and my own free will. I abide by the honor code while working at WikiTree (and even "IRL" because that's the way I am), and I believe that my fellow leaders, mentors, and mediators do as well. Your plan to divide and conquer, I pray, is doomed to fail.

Edited to correct typo
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (836k points)
edited by Natalie Trott
+20 votes
The only reply I can possibly have is

Do you want to be right, or, do you want to be happy?

Choose wisely it can effect the rest of your life.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+17 votes

I have never been involved with a Formal Mediation, so I reviewed the Help Page to understand the process. Formal Mediation states

"This is one message, not a conversation.  If they ask questions for clarification you may want to answer them, but it's recommended that you keep the private back-and-forth to a minimum."

From that statement, the Mediator is not supposed to respond to messages sent to them, other than to clarify the recommendation. They are only to determine if the person accepts or rejects the Recommendations given to them.

by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (532k points)
edited by Linda Peterson
+11 votes

I hesitate a lot to say anything really, as I was not involved and do not want to be. I have some experience in conflicts though.

I would just like to make the kind suggestion here, as the other post has been closed, that my recommendation would be to seek a real independent chair/host for the public posts in this review phase. This person could monitor all posts and ask people that are personally attached to take their time before responding or refrain from it at all. That person should have the right to close the option to comment, hide comments and answers, but only when being explicit about it. That is needed to remove any possible hint of being biased in the selection of what stays out there, and what not.

At this moment -with this software package- hidden posts are just gone, without a notice as to why making it a process prone for discussion why things happen.

This current post was initiated by admin, which is an improvement, but for me that is an entity, not a chairperson.

by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
+6 votes
Reading the other thread, what was the final reason (at the end, not the stuff that happened earlier in the process) why his account was deleted?  Was it the unsolicited private messages?
by Anonymous Nagel G2G6 Mach 3 (30.4k points)

You might want to review this page: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Conflict_Escalation

The decision to close the account is made by the Team. John Williams was escalated to the Team because he was in Mediation, accepted the terms of the Mediation and then immediately broke the terms of the agreement. This means automatic escalation to the Team. When a member is in Mediation, they are escalated to the Team if they disagree with the recommendation (unsuccessful Mediation). If they say yes but break the terms, the Mediation is also considered unsuccessful.

(edited for clarification)

As a side note, many (perhaps half?) of the members who are escalated to the Team do not have their account closed.

+29 votes
I'm not a leader and have no special knowledge of events.

I made a comment on the other, now closed thread,  saying that it was hard to make any real comment about fairness without seeing John's response.

I've spent some time with this response together with the earlier review statement and I also did a bit of date checking using information given in the response.  This has shown me that the clear conditions set following  mediation  by member E (as in the official summary) were breached very quickly.  I don't think the account was 'abitrarily closed'. It seems to me that the process was not rushed and right up to the end, John was given the opportunity to continue in membership.

 I couldn't be a mentor, I don't have the patience. It is remarkable that we have people willing to try to help. I hope that they will not be discouraged by the insinuations made about them.
by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (344k points)
+22 votes

Help:Conflict Escalation allows for Mediators and Team Members to discuss the specifics of the mentoring and mediation case in question during the public G2G review phase. As the Mediator during the Conflict Escalation process cited herein for John, I would like to formally take this opportunity to provide a rebuttal to the provided response in order to clear up some significant inaccuracies that have been expressed therein.

Before I dive into specifics, I want to note that it appears there was (and still is) a misunderstanding in the roles of Mentors and Mediators. Mentors and Mediators have specific roles and duties outlined for them, as noted on Help:Conflict Escalation and the associated (linked) pages. These roles have been cited in John’s reply herein and during the Conflict Escalation process (often incorrectly) and it gives the illusion that a lot more took place at specific stages than what actually occurred and misconstrued the true timeline of events.

For clarification, it is important to note that:

  1. Not all Leaders are Mediators or Mentors,

  2. Not all Mentors are Leaders, and

  3. All Mediators are Leaders.

With that said, I will address some issues that I was intimately familiar with, or was directly involved in, due to my participation in this escalation process as the assigned Mediator.

Shortly thereafter, I was placed in the mentorship/mediation process where my account was suspended due to a disagreement I had in the Greeters Project where a Member D asked me to change my profile image which was the American flag. 

John's account was not suspended at this stage. Suspension of an account only occurs during the Mediation and Team Escalation processes (or in certain cases of extreme vandalism and spam). John’s account was only blocked twice during this entire process (nearly three months into this Conflict Escalation process):

  1. Upon entering Formal Mediation on 20 July 2020; and

  2. Upon Escalation to the Team on 27 July 2020.

The discussion surrounding the usage of the American Flag took place in May 2020, and was not surrounding the use of the flag as a profile image as John has indicated.  In a comment transaction with a Team Member, John was notified that usage of an animated image in certain situations as he was doing (again, not as a profile image) was non-standard and could cause technical issues. John’s response was that he would continue to use the image in that way and if the Team Member wanted to discuss it further that should contact him directly through email.

by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (508k points)

In another unpleasant situation involving Member D, as a WikiTree Greeter, I had a greeting shift that I had already reserved as a Standby Greeter for someone else who needed a substitute also known as a Standby while their spouse had surgery… After I explained why my situation after it had been referred to a Mentor, everything was resolved.

This item was never fully resolved and remained a consideration throughout the entire process. Through a series of messages, John was asked repeatedly to follow project guidelines regarding the scheduling of shifts in the Greeters Project. John became argumentative with a member of the project and also stated that he refused to communicate with that member any further. In addition, John noted that his absence from the Greeters Project would cause a considerable impact to WikiTree. During mentoring, John’s response to many situations, including the argument noted, was that he was awarded numerous Wonderful WikiTreer Awards and he knew this made other members feel uncomfortable, which served as the basis for this “agenda or a vendetta” [the MIR] against him.

It is important to note here that the Greeters Project was not the only functional project in which John was having issues - and this has not been covered in John’s reply. This is evidenced through unwarranted and unapproved changes on a Project page (indicating that he was responsible for certain tasks even though they were already assigned to other members and that he would continue to “thank others on his own and not on be-half of the <project>,” and that “Consequently, he was not trespassing on someone else's duties or territory.”). As a result of this self produced wording and changes to the project page, many members started to receive duplicate messages from John and the originally assigned project member.

During our exchanged emails, I told them I had noticed where they had gotten behind with their duties and I asked them if they needed any assistance to get caught up on their duties … and I asked them why they don’t delegate more than they do, especially for trivial matters where anyone would be qualified to help. 

This is another instance in which John has used a creative license to describe an event he was involved with. Since John was not in a role in which any duties could be delegated to him (e.g., Project Leader, Project Coordinator, etc.), he assumed that no duties were ever delegated, which as other Project Leaders will know, is highly incorrect. This also fails to take into account that at WikiTree, we are all volunteers and do not have set schedules and our participation in certain areas can be affected by numerous internal or external factors.

I was also advised during the mentorship that I was forbidden from criticizing or talking about any other Leaders such as Member F to any other Leaders.

I am not sure why this is listed as a complaint. Help:Courtesy (not to mention common courtesy) dictate that we should not openly criticize or disparage others. We should instead remember to not WikiTree While Angry (DWWA), make an extra effort to sound polite and friendly, not be quick to take offense, and to be patient. I could not imagine any situation where criticizing another member either publicly or privately would ever be seen as normal behavior - no matter who was the brunt of the discussion, or who was involved in the discussion.

Once John entered the Formal Mediation stage of Conflict Escalation, there were quite a few issues, correspondence, and other items that had to be reviewed in order to understand the full scope of the situation. This review, due to the amount of correspondence and items needing to be reviewed, took over 50 hours over the course of 13 days. During this review, it was noted that there was a disconnect in how John verbally promoted the foundation and goals, guidelines, and benefits of WikiTree through his comments with other members, but that he failed to recognize or follow those same guidelines through his own actions.

Member H who was my mediator suggested I was being a hypocrite because I had suggested any improvements to WikiTree. 

As noted in the original review thread, the formal recommendation asked that John: “Read and acknowledge the procedure outlined on Developing New Rules. Throughout your time on WikiTree, if you feel that you have a better way of accomplishing something or would like to see a change made to the Styles & Standards, you will use these procedures as outlined and not bypass or otherwise try to implement these changes on your own.” I do not see where John was called or referred to as a hypocrite. 

At this point, yet unbeknownst at the time, John was actively communicating with other members while in Mediation, which should be noted that is against the Conflict Escalation process guidelines and included in the Mediation notice to members.  This can be evidenced through John’s own admission herein, and later emails and notification that surfaced after Mediation.

The following is an area in which we need to pay close attention, and is one of the areas where John’s response is highly misleading and used as a basis to deflect any attention.

During my mediation, my mediator stated I was using what they referred to as “hacks” in my activities relating to WikiTree.  

The hack that was referred to here is in relation to images on a profile. Since John was not pleased with the removal of a few of his badges, he uploaded an image of badges and strategically placed it on his profile in a way that would lead others to misinterpret his current roles with, and affiliations to, WikiTree.

In one example, Member H referenced a “hack” I discovered I could use as a communication tool when my account was suspended.

Separate from the above hack, yet as described, there was a bug in the system which was exploited as a way to edit or communicate information to others on WikiTree when the account was under suspension. Obviously, this is not an intended feature as an account suspension should affect all aspects of WikiTree (providing no access to edit information or encourage communication with others).

This “hack” they were referring to is the absent sticker you can place on your account when you are inactive.  Please notice that this is the same “hack” Member H is currently using on their account.  

If they are currently using the same “hack” in the same manner which they implied I was a hypocrite, what does that say about them since they are currently using this sticker in the same way?

As mentioned above, there are two different issues at play here. There was no indication of hack regarding the absent sticker, and while I do currently employ that sticker on my profile page, it should be fairly clear that conflating issues in order to call my moral character into question is further proof of the types of communication John frequents in, as was noted multiple times throughout the entire Conflict Escalation process.

During my mediation, my mediator never responded to even one of the many questions I asked them in my official response to my mediation.  Maybe they were speechless.  Perhaps, they were so “shellacked” by how poorly I was treated, they may have become catatonic because I don’t know how to explain their lack of communication or response.  Please let me know why they didn’t respond to any of my questions.

As Linda noted elsewhere in this thread: “...the Mediator is not supposed to respond to messages sent to them, other than to clarify the recommendation. They are only to determine if the person accepts or rejects the Recommendations given to them.”

Seeing as we are no longer in the Mediation process, I feel it is prudent for the sake of clarity that I provide a few responses to questions that have not yet been covered elsewhere.

1. “Were you aware of my side of things?  Have you seen the emails I have referenced?  If not, please let me know and I will refer you to them.  Is this the first time you were aware of any of it?

My response is that this is covered during Mediation and John had the opportunity to provide this additional information for consideration. The opening email to Mediation (sent on 25 Jun 2020), which was acknowledged and responded to by John (no 27 Jun 2020), states: Do you have any additional information you want me to know about regarding the situation below? Are there any private messages or e-mails you want to forward?

This was also brought up a second time on 17 Jul 2020. John submitted a response to the Formal Recommendation (2632 word email) in which he was again asked if he had any additional information he wanted me to know about or if there were any private messages or e-mails he wanted to forward to me. John chose not to do so, but decided to insist that I instead forward him all communications I had.
 

2. Oh, wait a minute, I think I know an example where someone with only a few months experience has actually become a mentor.  How is anyone who has only been with WikiTree for a few months in any position to judge others while they are in the mentoring process?  Why would anybody be expected to take advice from someone who has such little experience?  God forbid someday they should advance to a mediator because someday they may just be your mediator. Something tells me they couldn't hold a candle to you in that position.

As noted on Project:Mentors, the requirements for becoming a Mentor include being on WikiTree for longer than three months, having 1500+ contributions, are knowledgeable about WikiTree principles and procedures and knows how to find answers to questions, etc. Experience is also evaluated as a part of the onboarding process, and is not something I have ever seen taken lightly.

It is also important to note that Mentors are not designed to “judge others”, but to help provide clarification and assistance with using WikiTree. Also, Mentors cannot just advance to Mediator. This was covered in more depth at the start of the post, and is also why reviewing the WikiTree Roles were included as a part of the Formal Recommendation. This was seen as important in order to help clear up any misunderstandings on what exactly these roles were, and what functions they included. I would have to assume that by the varying layers of misinformation provided in John’s reply, these pages were not read as he agreed to.


They say the measure of a person is how much they impact the lives of others.

I would perhaps counter with “actions speak louder than words.”

+20 votes

John: I feel that I have to respond. 

1. I would like to start with the misunderstanding about adding an image to a pre-1500 profile. You had been told by Member B that “Anyone can add images to profiles regardless of the time period in which the person lived.” If you were told that, I would say that you were right to add the image. (Sadly, it took a while to find that post.)

In the meantime, the problem was how you communicated with the person or people who were dealing with this issue. It is normal that procedures will not be as clear as they should be. The issue is how you responded. In the explanation that followed you used terms to describe the other volunteers and their work such as, "sneaky way", "they have a habit of getting their fellow Leaders such as Member D to do their dirty work for them on their behalf""they are so insecure in their position and are so intransigent", "irrationality", "malfeasance", and "a child in elementary school with their petty demands and the need to get their way". If you use this kind of language when you tell the story, I wonder what kind of language you used when you and the other volunteers were trying to work out the issue. Making assumptions about people's motivation for their statements and using insulting language are not constructive ways to resolve problems.

2. The issue about the American flag was very well explained by Steve. The removal request was based on the fact that the "usage of an animated image in certain situations as he was doing (...) was non-standard and could cause technical issues."  Again the issue seems to be how you responded. Questioning people's patriotism as well as making assumptions about people's motivation for asking them to remove an image are neither constructive nor helpful and do not promote discourse.

3. I believe that the issue about the Greeters duty also started as a misunderstanding.  It is normal that procedures will not be as clear as they should be. You chose the calendar sign-up system and the other volunteer used the more conventional system. You may be right that the calendar system is useful, but as volunteers, we should respect the official system. Again, the issue is how you responded. In the explanation that followed you used terms to describe the other volunteers and their work such as, "I believe Member D forwarded my case to mentorship as a way to get back at me for a tenuous situation I previously had with Member F", "I believe Member D was carrying water for their good friend Member F",  and "I have noticed that is a disturbing practice I have noticed in the operations of WikiTree where one Leader will have another Leader carry out disciplinary actions on behalf of the other Leader in order to perpetuate reprisal as a way to pay back someone for offending their friend".

You objected to being called "paranoid". If you believe (as I do) that making this kind of statement about you is an inappropriate way to promote communication, then surely the phrases and terms that you are using are equally inappropriate. If you used these kinds of terms and phrases in your emails, you can understand why people might have been upset with you, why mediation was not successful, and why the decision to remove you was finally made.

by A. Creighton G2G6 Pilot (648k points)
edited by A. Creighton
+23 votes

Mr Williams joined the Greeters Project in March 2020. Shortly thereafter, he made some suggestions regarding the GoogleCalendar used by the Project which shows coverage of shifts. While suggestions for improvement to processes are welcome (evidence), changes take time and must accommodate everyone involved. His questions, the responses of other members of the Project, and the overall needs of the Project were considered. It was determined that the Greeters GoogleCalendar is for the convenience of those who are time zone challenged (myself especially). It is not, and will not be in the future, a requirement for participation in the Greeters Project. Members who do not use the Calendar have their shifts managed by a member of the Project Leadership Team (PLT). The Guidelines have been refined through use and most especially after it was discovered that we all see different colors based on our default Calendar colors (Dec 2019). On 28 April, a decision was made to limit shift changes to the affected shift holder or a member of the PLT due to several instances (not involving Mr Williams) of shifts accidentally being deleted or added without the recurring option set.

While 24/7 coverage is needed for the Greeters Project, there are shifts which are covered by members of the Standby Team rather than the Scheduled Team members. Sometimes these are due to schedule conflicts, others because no one is scheduled for the specific shift. The so called Standby Team is actually a misnomer because every member of the Project can and does stand in at times. This has always been an informal role, no more or less special than every other member of the Project.

On multiple instances, including two involving members of the PLT (May 7 and May 29), Mr Williams did not follow the protocols used for starting a shift. This resulted in distress to other members of the Project and in duplicate messages being sent to new members. The first instance resulted in a written formalization of the protocols which Scheduled Team members of the Project have always used for signing in and out. Unfortunately, the protocols apparently did not meet with Mr Williams approval as they did not include his suggestion to make the Calendar a requirement.

Mr Williams liked to add his Standby shifts to the calendar and often called attention to the number of hours he was covering. The result of his efforts, however, was actually a detriment to the Project in that he appeared to be overworking himself and other Greeters were not able to help when they had time because he had already put himself on the schedule for every non-scheduled shift. He seemed surprised to learn that, on a day that he did not schedule all the shifts, three other greeters stepped up. On the day for celebrating Mothers in the USA, over the course of one hour, Mr Williams requested the names of the members of the Standby Team via private email to multiple members of the PLT and then to the Group as a whole when answers were not provided in what he felt was a reasonable time. While I felt that his methods were disrespectful, they did lead to a further formalization of the protocols used by the Scheduled and Standby Teams.

The 29 May instance of Mr Williams not following the protocol is the one to which Mr. Williams refers in his response. The shift change mentioned was made by a member of the PLT in accordance with the rule that only the shift holder or a member of the PLT will make changes to the shifts. What Mr Williams has not mentioned is that he did not follow the protocols which had been formalized and which he had acknowledged.

As a result of the 29 May incident, a very long email from Mr Williams was waiting in my inbox on 30 May. In it, he stated that he would no longer communicate with one member of the PLT. He also stated "If you wish to discuss this further before I forward this matter on to [redacted Team member], please let me know." As part of an earlier email (12 May) on other issues, I had provided a link for the Project Leaders FAQ to Mr. Williams which includes which Team member to contact if he had an issue with project leaders. Since he did not intend to follow that procedure by addressing issues with the designated Team member, I copied [redacted Team member] with my 30 May response to him.

I filed his first MIR on 31 May after consultation with his unofficial mentor (assigned as part of the New member Help Request (NHR) for actions involving a different project) and the PLT. The action was taken after continued problems with courtesy and not following directions regarding the protocols used by members of the Greeters Project for signing in and out for shifts. Prior problems detailed in the 12 May email were, for the most part, taken care of with the help of his unofficial mentor so were not included.

by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (321k points)

The Mentor assigned to work the MIR I filed raised the question as to whether Mr Williams could return to Greeting. My response included the following:

Considering the accusations which were made against one of the co-leaders of the Project, both in the email directly to me and implied in the email to [redacted], I do not believe that it is in the best interests of the Greeters Project to have John stay on as a member.

I can not see how that would ever be a good working relationship and think that it would spill over in to the morale of the group as a whole.

Please note that in my email titled "WikiTree is not a Free-For-All," I gave John the information needed if he had issues with Leaders. While I have no desire to subject either of us to more email, I also do not feel that it is appropriate that he is making accusations of "vendettas," "cliques," and people who will "get even with him." We have Problems With Members processes for a reason; would you please reiterate that with him.

In addition, he currently has Category:Greeters on his profile. I would like that removed. He can replace it with this sticker if he so desires:

Project Logo... was a valued member of the Greeters Project who has moved to Emeritus status.

You may tell him the following if he asks:

Debi said that you were an enthusiastic Greeter who did good things for new members while you were part of the Project. She is disappointed that you and the Project were not a good fit but wishes you all the best in your other WikiTree endeavors.

The Sticker and final paragraph were included in hopes of not causing a further morale drop by Project members from the tip of the proverbial iceberg they had seen over the prior three months. The awarding of the Emeritus Sticker, in hindsight, was one of my dumber decisions. I will strive to do better for our Greeters Project as we go forward.

[edited for a missing word and missing formatting]

Thanks for giving this information, Debi. It does give a far better understanding of the things that happened (largely behind the scenes) and I appreciate how hard it is to explain the situation without exposing private information.
+18 votes

I know that several Leaders have already given information on some of the topics that I want to touch on, but I don't feel my response is complete without adding my own opinion. As I was involved with several of the relevant projects, I was privy to many of the interactions. This was an emotionally draining and/or stressful situation for many of the volunteers involved. I applaud all of them on their outstanding efforts to help the situation. Unfortunately, our collaborative community is just not a good fit for some people. I apologize for the length, but this was an issue that took several months to resolve. I tried to use the instances that John referred to publicly, as the large folders some of us have on this situation contain information deemed private. Each instance below is paired with the same (private) activity in other situations.

Repeated behavior #1: I was thanked many times, therefore all of my actions are okay.

This was detrimental to the mentoring process. Instead of working with the process, like most members do; there was little to no acceptance or admission of wrong-doing. Due to this, the Mentors involved were unable to direct this member on a more successful path. Examples:

  • "I have also made connections to so many “Wonderful WikiTreers” in my short amount of time and I also awarded many of them at all levels with a Wonderful WikiTreer award."
  • "While some may not have valued my work, my thank you feed and all my awards suggest otherwise."
  • "I included an example in the post and I was told by Member B, who is a WikiTree Leader, that “Anyone can add images to profiles regardless of the time period in which the person lived.” I was even given a favorable complimentary comment about the example of my work I included."
  • "I was told I was a good Greeter by various Leaders and they appreciated all my effort…. I believe this proves that I was an exceptional Greeter because I gave it my all!" Note: This type of response was echoed throughout the entire mentoring process.

Repeated behavior #2: There was no reason for this mentoring process, I've done nothing wrong.

This goes hand-in-hand with the above issue. Instead of working on changing activities that went against project or WikiTree rules, there were many instances of arguing about why he was "right," as a reason to not change. Examples:

  • "During my mentorship with Member A who was my mentor, we came to a resolution in response to my unnecessary, arbitrary referral as a result of those Leaders who were in collusion against me and I had agreed to all their recommendations as a result of my arbitrary mentorship."
  • ar·bi·trar·y based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.; (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority.
  • "Even though we also used a sign-in sheet, the calendar was a better tool for planning. …I followed the instructions and placed my name on the schedule as instructed. …Consequently, they committed a violation of our Greeters’ instructions and rules. ... I believed the delay in their greeting suggested they got the message and discontinued greeting in order for me to take over. Consequently, I began greeting." Note: This was not the only time this happened, and indicated a pattern of "my way is right." Debi Hoag gave a very good explanation of the Greeter standby process. (See relevant messages)
by Mindy Silva G2G6 Pilot (631k points)

Repeated behavior #3: I'm allowed to have my opinion, and tell it to whomever I like."

Every member is allowed to have their own opinion. As we are a collaborative community, that has clear expectations and standards; it was the methods he used that were less than admirable. Examples:

  • John was asked to speak to the person he had issues with, or his Mentor, instead of contacting multiple other project members and complaining. He stated it was his constitutional right and could say whatever he liked.
  • There was more than one request to address project issues with the project leadership as a whole. Instead, he would send out many emails to different individuals (some were not in the named project) until he got a response that he liked. He would then quote that "answer" back to the others.
  • Once many members within a disrupted project were uneasy about the entire situation, there were comments made about how "many of the members are ready to leave the project because of me." It was relayed to us that they were angry about how we treated him, and included no realization or acceptance that his behavior is what was disruptive and uncomfortable.

Repeat behavior #4: Believing he was right and everyone else was wrong, he found it acceptable to disrespect the volunteer members involved and even insinuate their behavior was less than reputable. Examples:

  • "but in my opinion she has some sort of vendetta against me and others are starting to notice. Consequently, if she continues in this type of behavior, I make have to address it. .... There is no satisfaction to be had from pointing out in the public that she was the one who was wrong. So, I don't want to compromise any ambitions [Volunteer] may have. "
  • "Perhaps, they had a member of their family who got a raw deal at some point from our government and that may have been the source for disdain for the American flag. … I am not saying their family’s contributions to America shouldn’t be appreciated, but their actions most certainly are not patriotic."
  • "However, I decided to be the bigger person and I tried to pacify Member A’s petulant demands and I stopped adding any more images. Since they became so irrational in their behavior, I was really starting to be concerned that maybe they shouldn't even be a mentor since they lack such credibility." Note: This was actually told to his Mentor, with no regard to how that person might take it.
  • "That is poor behavior and reflects not only poorly on their character, but they should also reflect on how that action reflects on their sacred role as a mentor and Leader in WikiTree. They ought to be embarrassed! They act like they are still a child in elementary school with their petty demands and the need to get their way."

Repeat behavior #5: I had no choices in this matter.

  • There were several defensive reactions after being asked to change something. Instead of using the suggested processes in place to make changes to WikiTree standards, there were continued statements that he was not allowed to have choices or institute change.
  • "Since I had no choice in this situation, I felt like I had a gun to my head and I feel it was an unpleasant and arbitrary process." Note: There were always choices presented. Following the rules that the rest of the community did was the recommended choice. The choice to disregard rules, disrespect people, and cause distress within the projects was his decision.

In conclusion, I feel that the process was carried out fairly. The failure of the member to remain in the community was through choices that member made, and not the many volunteers that tried to point him in a successful direction.

[Edited to correct a typo]

As I was concerned that my response would be too lengthy for a G2G post, I only used the first few examples for each. The rest of the examples, and the tracking and timeline on the Greeter shift in questions, can be found on this page.

Thank you for providing more information, Mindy.

Related questions

+40 votes
23 answers
3.5k views asked Aug 15, 2020 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
+20 votes
1 answer
97 views asked Jun 26 in Appreciation by Joelle Colville-Hanson G2G6 Pilot (118k points)
+28 votes
7 answers
+5 votes
1 answer
+7 votes
1 answer
146 views asked Oct 22, 2016 in The Tree House by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (711k points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright

...