I have decided to withdraw from actively editing on wikipedia. This does not mean that I will not occasionally take part in discussions or votes that I consider important, or indeed make some edits, but it does formalise an active reduction in my contributions to this project.
There is not a single particular reason as to why I have decided this but it is primarily because I think that wikipedia is increasingly a failed project in some respects. This issue has not been made all of a sudden, there has been a marked reduction in my edits in recent months and this issue is as much about lifestyle issues outside wikipedia as internal to wikipedia.
However for the reasons in wikipedia I wish to use this page to better expand and explain my rationale; in particular vandalism (and its higher forms) is the primary wikipedia reason. In wikipedia vandalism is of two types, as I see it, the opportunist and the structured.
Opportunist: Wikipedia has spectacularly failed to actively reduce these edits, the opportunist anon who blanks a page, bit of foul language, etc. Vandal removal bots simply revert these issues but do not actively reduce them. Pages set up to report obvious and sustained vandalism increasingly take the guise of form filling and box ticking when the quick involvement of a pro-active administrator slapping a quick block would be more appropriate. Mandatory user accounts for all could be another option. Some human initiative and good quality programming could start the ball rolling on banning these people.
Structured: This is the type of vandalism that greatly worries me, indeed more so than the opportunist anon. This is what I would refer to as structured vandalism, I do not believe that it is always done in bad faith, indeed I think by and large many of these editors are editing in good faith but may, regretfully, be misinformed at times, and there is not any workable mechanism in wikipedia to deal with it. Without citing specific instances or injuring any party it takes the form of “consensus” reformulation of pages against common sense and logic; the often blatant ignoring of policies and procedures; listing and deletion of fair use images; when every article becomes a compromise and every talk page a battleground; and one or two particularily notorious issues. These issues are typically decided by a small core group of hard liners who have sufficient time and energy to implement their policy.
I am not sure if other, more reasonable editors simply don’t exist or have decided to play more low key but the simple fact is that these small core groups can implement very profound changes. And the latter can be very amaturish.
Looking around wikipedia, particularly in the articles I have involved myself in, I notice a lot of the editors that I have collaborated with and involved with have moved on. And it may now be simply my time to do that too.