Dear John,

I join the voice of many already in thanking you for taking over the TEI in such a complicated moment: for sure I don't envy you in this moment. 
I have to confess myself disappointed, though, for the statement that you have released (at long last). I hope you will then forgive me for going over these facts again, doing the contrary of what you have invited us to, namely getting over it and think of a brighter future. I am sorry, but I cannot think of a brighter future if do not make clear the dark present and even darker recent past. It is my belief that if we do not investigate what has happened and why so many people felt there was something that deserved to be reprimanded in what happened  (see the Council statement, for instance, which, I notice you have not mentioned in your statement), I don't see why it shouldn't happen again as there was nothing wrong in it, if we simply stick to the letter of the Bylaws. 
In fact  in your statement, in the report of "what happened", there is a constant reference to the Bylaws trying to demonstrate that the actions undertaken by the Board comply with them. We already knew that this was formally legitimate, otherwise Martin would have not felt the need to resign, and, as you say, if the Board has the right to appoint a chair, it has the right to dismiss her/him. What I and many others contend here is that such a serious action had been taken in total isolation from the rest of the TEI, in an authoritarian way, without even waiting for the full Board to be present. A vote of non confidence never happened before so one would have expected that this followed extremely serious issues which it would have been legitimate to expect they were shared at least with the Council, if not with a broader community.

This in my opinion reflects and demonstrates the attitude of the Board as whole of not expecting that its actions should be accountable in some way. All discussions within the Board happen behind close doors but this, in spite of the Bylaws and the custom, is not acceptable anymore, as the comments that have surrounded this event have demonstrated. The TEI 'works' as an encoding standard because it is has a bottom-up mechanism: people need elements, they propose them and the Council implements  them (more or less). The same mechanism enforces the SIGs: people get organised and make proposals. It is not surprise then if people felt personally involved in the governance, but the Board seem to ignore this.
It is with disappointment that I have noticed the same attitude in your statement: we have been told that there were some difficulties and hence a vote of non confidence has been cast. End of story. Not the slightest regret for the modality of doing it in such a way, for the consequences to the TEI community and TEI reputation. There were problems between members of the Board and the Chair and the Board decided to kick him off. Simple, eh?

I will now end my message quoting, with permission, Marjorie Burghard which posted yesterday a comment on Facebook and which I have reported on Tweeter: 
Am I the only one in the TEI community to feel as if we're told "OK kids, Mum and Dad had a fight, it's a grown-up thing and it's none of your business; now let's all have dinner nicely, and not a word about it at school, please, what would the neighbours think?"
I think I will go to bed without supper, myself. 


Dr Elena Pierazzo
Lecturer in Digital Humanities 
Chair of the Teaching Committee
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL

Phone: 0207-848-1949
Fax: 0207-848-2980
[log in to unmask]