An increasing number of former workers of the Wikimedia Foundation which operates Wikipedia are speaking out, complaining of mistreatment, workplace abuse, neglect of reported misconduct, lying, and gaslighting.
On top of that, besides reports of bullying and other offenses, one former employee of the foundation now claims that employees on their way out are pressured to sign non-disclosure agreements.
As one former WF staffer commenting on Twitter has pointed out, it is extremely dubious that an educational, open-source NPO would make its workers sign NDAs upon leaving.
Multiple cases of mistreatment
James Hare, a former staffer of the Wikimedia Foundation went to a discussion area on Wikipedia to publish a statement on his experience working for the nonprofit.
He claimed that he was made fun of a number of times by senior management for his autism, which left him suffering post-traumatic stress.
Hare’s revelations led a few other former Wikipedia employees to disclose their own experiences of mistreatment at the foundation.
They also revealed that their complaints or any attempts to have the NPO change its abusive practices – such as trying to establish a formal staff union – only led the management to retaliate against them.
As Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, who is on the board of trustees of the foundation, when questioned by Wikipedia editors about the matter, said it wasn’t appropriate to appeal to him because he only saw himself as a member of the community.
In spite of the fact that the claims were suggesting the official complaint channels were inadequate, Wales sought to direct the questions that way.
After the stories were reported by Breitbart, even more former Wikimedia Foundation staffers have now come forward.
Wikimedia keeps quiet
Former senior manager of audience development at the foundation, Melody Kramer, said on Twitter that claims of misconduct “resonate” with her as a former employee.
She linked her post to a Twitter discussion of Wikipedia containing the abuse allegations.
A former product analyst at the nonprofit, Caroline Sinders, also made a statement to that end.
A former project manager of communications and outreach, Maria Cruz, has also revealed her own similar WF experience on Twitter.
She said she was faced with threatening behavior during meetings, while her misconduct reports were ignored.
In another tweet, Sinders expressed her misgivings about the fact that leaving employees are obliged to sign NDAs.
She revealed, however, that she didn’t sign one upon departing.
Kacie Harold, a former program officer dealing with foundation grants, disclosed that for many of the departing employees it is hard to refuse an NDA considering the fact that those may have gone underpaid and mistreated for years.
Sinders confirmed Harold’s conclusion.
She also said firing practices at the Wikimedia Foundation oftentimes involved managers acting without any warning.
She revealed that management would yell at and gaslight employees in order to make one work for two, and would issue confusing directives.
The Wikimedia Foundation hasn’t issued any formal comments on the accusations by former employees.
Founder Jimmy Wales himself has only said that the mistreatment claims were under investigation.