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Silva-1055 Work Space 20

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 25 Aug 2020
Location: WikiTreemap
Profile manager: Mindy Silva private message [send private message]
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John Williams Mentoring Process

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)
  • "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." (I've used this example twice intentionally, as it applies to more than one issue)
  • As Julie Ricketts pointed out: "John was not asked to leave because he was rude. He was asked to leave because he was unable to follow the established standards and procedures."
  • There was a lack of understanding why the Wonderful WikiTreer post that Greeter Leader Debi Hoag his was innapropriate. Using the words "Terrogenealogist" and insinuating that we had destructive terrorists spreading propaganda in our forum was not an accurate assessment.
  • As a few members had mentioned that he had a nice profile, he felt that the Mentor (and others) requests to change objectionable links or images were unreasonable. More than once, he said "My way is right because.... and I won't change it until somebody makes me."
  • "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."
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.
  • The option to use the process Problems With Members was supplied more than once. In each instance we instead received multiple messages from members that he was negatively gossiping.
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:
  • "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."
  • "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. "
  • "It is unfortunate that some have their own agenda which is not in sync with WikiTree’s goals."
  • "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."
  • "I believe they are a defiant instigator and they sought an opportunity to create additional conflict and went for it."
  • "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."
  • "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."
  • "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."
Carry the water: v. to take on the primary responsibility; to ensure that something is accomplished, usually even though it may be someone else's job.
Water carrier: A project manager who adds no productivity; this individual just carries information between teams, losing parts of the message as they go (like water spilling from a bucket).
Note: I have no knowledge of any Leader not spending a lot of time on WikiTree. We all have families and "real lives," but somehow make the time to lead our projects and be there for our members.
  • "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 …"
  • "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."
  • "This was only further proof of their malfeasance."
  • There was a threat made to one of his Mentors that he would file a Mentor Intervention Request (MIR) if he was not given the information he demanded, and because he was angry that he was being questioned.
  • While the volunteers kept the mentoring information private, there were several instances where this member posted publicly about the "bad behavior" of the volunteer or the process itself.
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 weas 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.
(Return to G2G post)

Shift Overlap

Note: The email chain that shows a response by John Williams, but no offer to cover the shift, is private (I have a copy in my files). This situation was all handled via private email. No "public" posting occurred as the Greeter Leaders attempted to resolve it. Right after this happened, he submitted a long complaint about the person on another issue that did not happen.
John's comments: " "Standby while their spouse had surgery. … 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. 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…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 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."
  • 29 May 2020 12:17 pm EDT (4:17pm GMT)
Hi John,
I saw your thank you’s .. whats up? 😊
  • 29 May 2020 12:23 pm EDT (4:23 pm GMT)
Hello John,
I really need you to respond to me. My name was on the 12-2 shift EDT (4-6 GMT). You clicked thanks a few times, did not respond to my email or watch for me to stop greeting or sign out, and then started greeting over me. Some I had already greeted.
Please explain why this is happening, thanks!
(After a few minutes of no response, a note was made in the Calendar for [Greeter]'s missing shift)
  • 29 May 2020 12:29 pm EDT (4:29 pm GMT)
I can take over, unless you wish to continue.
  • 29 May 2020 12:35 pm EDT (4:35 pm GMT)
You can continue. It was my mistake, you can just disregard the email I sent you. I didn't receive any from you.
(Note: his last two emails were each on a different email sent to him, so he got them both)
  • 28 May 2020 1:28 pm EDT (5:28 pm GMT)
An email thread that carried into the next day. Though John commented, not one comment was to take over her shift. As Greeter Leaders we left the shift marked as red (needs to be covered).
  • 29 May 2020
Greeters Sign-in Page: (from the changes log)
Changes made by John Williams at 16:12, 29 May 2020.
== Greeter on Duty ==
([Greeter] 15:54, 29 May 2020 (UTC))
+Williams-81019 16:12, 29 May 2020 (UTC)
(Return to G2G post)


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