A response to The Daily Telegraph article

The Daily Telegraph ran an article online today referring to Ashley Van Haeften, Chair of Wikimedia UK. The story tells how Mr Van Haeften has been banned from editing the English language Wikipedia for a minimum of six months.

The Board of Wikimedia UK discussed this issue at their meeting last week. Minutes of this meeting are publicly available here. The meeting was not ‘secret’ although for obvious reasons the discussion regarding Ashley was held ‘in camera’, but held under normal conditions and is a matter of public record.

The Daily Telegraph has chosen its headline to create maximum impact. The reality is far, far more complex.

Following the board meeting, the statement below was sent to our mailing list.

“As some members of Wikimedia UK will know, our Chair, Ashley Van Haeften, user name Fae, has been the subject of sanctions by the Arbitration Committee of the English Wikipedia (Arbcom), the volunteer committee that exists to provide binding remedies to Wikipedia disputes. In particular, he has been banned from editing the English language Wikipedia for at least the next six months, after which he can appeal the ban.

“The Board of Wikimedia UK notes the decision of Arbcom.

“The Board is united in the view that this decision does not affect his role as a Trustee of the charity. His work at Wikimedia UK has always been enthusiastic and diligent. In particular, his knowledge of charity governance, and his ability to bring about consensus at WMUK’s board meetings, have been particularly valuable.

“The Board points out that the editing issues were fully public before, and during, the recent elections to the board, and were openly and publicly discussed. Our membership placed their trust in him by electing him as a Trustee. He was then elected unanimously as Chair of the Board. He continues to have the full support of the Board.”

Jon Davies Chief Executive, Wikimedia UK.