|By Wil Sinclair||
|July 11, 2014 03:43 AM EDT||
When I first created a petition supporting Greg Kohs’ right to attend WikiConference USA 2014, I did my research. I wanted to make 100% sure that I was not supporting someone who could plausibly present a threat to other attendees. What I found was a few incidents of overheated rhetoric and one thing that troubled me greatly. Greg Kohs had used homophobic hate speech to refer to a member of the Wikipedia community. It was a disgusting comment that won’t be repeated on my blog, but if you’d like to know more about it feel free to email me privately. I will send you the relevant links. It’s really not difficult to substantiate; I simply don’t care to drag this man through Greg’s bullshit again.
I’ll admit I had a hard time getting past that. But I decided that, in the extreme echo chamber that Wikipediocracy sometimes becomes, rhetoric might heat up so much that Greg’s anger might get the best of him. I told him that I didn’t believe that he was a bigot, but that another instance of hate speech would prove me wrong.
I was wrong. In the past day, he made light of that same incident referring to the same homosexual man by making an identical remark- only swapping his name out with a masculine pronoun. Here’s the final private email I will ever send to Greg Kohs with incidents of hate speech redacted:
Greg, I told you very clearly that if I ever saw any incidence of bigotry from you going forward, I’d be calling you on it. The first obvious incidence happened when you referred to a gay man by boldfacing <redacted>. Now you’ve made light of the same comment by boldfacing <redacted> in a new thread, referring to the same man:
Making light of hate speech is a clear-cut case of bigotry in my book. You disgust me. I still support the right of all non-threatening people to attend Wikipedia conferences, but I no longer support your right. Bigotry has no place in the Wikipedia community.
Best to you and yours. Please don’t contact me by private email again.
I should have practiced zero tolerance in this case. My sincerest apologies to anyone who may have been affected by Greg’s bigotry. Greg, consider yourself called out.
Filed under: Wikimedia