Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dirty Laundry

Italian street, with laundry hung to dryDirty Laundry, out for all to see... Image via Wikipedia

There is rather a nasty thread on WR right now, about me. I have been holding back because this whole thread is wrong on many levels. The following doesn't exactly put me in a very favorable light as far as interpersonal relationships go. So be it.

When I started editing on WP, my wife and I had been estranged for almost 10 years. We led completely separate lives. I was approached by a female Wikipedian and we had a short relationship. That led to a couple more, none lasting more than a few months. To me, at the time, these were serious, sincere relationships, not casual, and I am still on good terms with these women.

After some time, Josette and I started talking again. She decided to look into Wikipedia and LEGO to see if we might find some common ground, and by mid 2007 we had decided to get back together... it's been bumpy, I've made mistakes, and even backslid a couple of times, but we are trying very hard, we are still working at it, and things are getting better. The other women I had relationships with all understand that I have gone back to my wife and they all respect that. One benefit of this statement is to ensure that women that don't know the situation are now also aware of this.

I had heard vague rumors of stuff being shopped around to ArbCom, but until the last few days, I did not know what this was about, or who the person was that supposedly took offense and later raised a ruckus on WR. She gave me no indication of any problem at the time. Rather, she used phrasing like "mad 4 it" in response to my seeking permission as the conversation progressed.

While it is true that I have always been a flirt, this whole thing bothers me because I have always respected the women on WP and women in general. I am sorry if any woman feels I was out of line in my chatting, but I was always, I thought, careful to repeatedly check for permission, to ask if it was OK, and to always remember that "no means no". Even so, I'm sorry anyway, it should not have happened.

The important takeaways from this are:
  • None of this has any bearing on my carrying out my duties and responsibilities on the various wikis.
  • If you think someone is acting inappropriately and you don't like it, call them on it. Or get a friend to say something. Or just leave. Any of those things are better than engaging in whisper campaigns later.
  • The days of my looking for relationships, of having relationships, are in the past, and have been for quite a while, because I am committed to my relationship with my wife.

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