Incident Report: Deputy Asked to Step Away from Official Roles

After Hugh posted one incident report a few days ago, I feel bad to share another report now. Please, bear with me.

A few of the key elements working as a deputy in Community Team are respectful communication and helping to grow the local or global WordPress community. Deputies represent WordPress, and we grant a high level of trust to them from the beginning – at the same time, we also set some expectations. The Community Deputy Agreement outlines those expectations, and every deputy has signed the agreement.

A few experienced community team deputies have been meditating the issues between one local community and one community team deputy for almost a year. Unfortunately, that hasn’t resolved all conflicts, and some months ago, the situation resulted in a formal complaint about the behavior of the deputy in question. The complaint described the deputy communicating and behaving in a divisive, disrespectful manner with others in the local community as well as undermining community team goals by behaving as a gatekeeper in the local community.

A review board was formed, and it requested more information from the deputy in question, members of the local community, and other deputies who have been working with the deputy. The review board found that comprehensive additional information validated the claims in the original complaint. The deputy in question has undermined the community team goals by acting as a gatekeeper, and communicating and behaving towards the local community members in a disrespectful and deceptive manner.

During the mediation done previously, the deputy and representatives of the local community had agreed on certain things (refraining from gatekeeping behavior for example) to make the situation better. The review board found that the deputy has not followed through on this agreement. The deputy has also continued non-collaborative behavior, even after they were informed about the complaint and review process.

Based on the original complaint and comprehensive additional information, the review board had multiple lengthy and challenging discussions, not least because this is the first time the community team has faced this kind of problem.

In this case, the review board concluded that the deputy in question needs to step away from the deputy role. In addition to that, the person was asked to step away from any official roles (organizing, speaking, sponsoring and volunteering) in official WordPress events for a minimum of 12 months. This decision is severe, but the review board believes it to be the only way to allow the local community to revitalize fully. If the person wishes to be part of official WordPress events in any role other than attendee after the 12 months, they can apply for an official role at that time.

The review board included Andrea Middleton (@andreamiddleton), Birgit Pauli-Haack (@bph), Francesca Marano (@francina), Hugh Lashbrooke (@hlashbrooke), Kevin Cristiano (@kcristiano) and Timi Wahalahti (@sippis). Andrea facilitated the work of the review board but refrained from voting on the matter. Thank you all who shared information with us and helped the board come to this difficult decision, we hope that the local community can be revitalized and function more healthily going forward.

Edited after publication for grammar/typos by @chanthaboune. 23:53 UTC, Wed, Aug 28. The content was unchanged.

Edited after publication to make more clear what roles deputy was asked to step away. @sippis 2019-09-11 10:54