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Greg Kohs and Bigotry

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:
<redacted>.

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.

,Wil


Filed under: Wikimedia

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More Stories By Wil Sinclair

Wil Sinclair works on technologies that facilitate and encourage cloud adoption in the PHP community. His Simple Cloud API enables “cloud native” applications that can be deployed on all major clouds. He brings 10 years of experience in the software industry at companies from the smallest of startups to large multinationals such as Oracle and Amazon. Most recently he served as project lead on the leading PHP framework: Zend Framework.

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