Wikipedia:Wikipediholic

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A Wikipediholic, wikiholic, Wikipediaholic, Wikipath, wikiaddict, or wikimaniac is someone who suffers from Wikipediholism, or obsession (addiction in some cases) with Wikipedia or other wikis. It is often considered an obscure form of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). One of the most common characteristics of the condition is the victim having a web browser window constantly open to the Recent Changes section of Wikipedia and/or other wikis (or in the condition's slightly milder form, one's Watchlist), and pressing the "Reload" or "Refresh" button with a high frequency (sometimes leading to carpal tunnel syndrome). Others have a bottle of Wikipedihol tablets by their desktop. Others click the "random page" button instead. Still others endlessly track and monitor the edits of users with whom they have become obsessed. This disorder can lead to a serious decrease in productivity in all other areas of the victim's life, like any other addiction. That is why they are called Wikipedia abusers, after all. Do not taunt their lack of girlfriends/boyfriends. It is but a mere illusion.

Probably incurable
  • Official Wikipediholism Test: If you think you are a Wikipediholic, please take this test for proper diagnosis. Note: This is quite long; set aside an hour or two to take this test.

This is a recent phenomenon – having been made possible by the creation of Wikipedia in January 2001 – and affects primarily computer programmers, academics, graduate students, gameshow contestants, people living in the suburbs, news junkies, the unemployed, the soon-to-be unemployed, people who are bored and, in general, people with multiple interests and high IQs. Telecommuters have also been known to exhibit this affliction.

Although people who fit those descriptions are welcome, especially the coconut monkeys, they should know that their fellow primates do not necessarily share their world-view, and that it may be better for wiki itself if they take a walk once in a while, and remember that their body consists of more than fingers, eyes, brain, and bladder. And that wiki exists to serve us, not as an end wholly in itself.

An alternative addiction is "wikistalking". Wikistalkers have gotten over their addiction to editing. However, they enjoy watching even the most minute changes. Most probably check Newpages continuously.

First signs of Wikipediholism[edit]

  • You always check all kinds of texts to see if they are wikified.
  • You turn from a reader to a writer.
  • You check your watchlist and talk page more than your email inbox.
  • You procrastinate things that have been important in your life.
  • You realize you are editing pages on a Thursday night.
  • You talk about Wikipedia frequently in daily life.
  • You have conversations with your sock puppet on the talk pages (This is against Wikipedia rules).
  • Your best friend is your sock puppet (Also against Wikipedia rules).
  • You start falling in love with your sockpuppet (Actually... this is not explicitly against Wikipedia rules... yet)
  • You understand the term 'sock puppet'.
  • Upon hearing the term "alcoholic", you catch yourself clarifying it to a complete stranger "Oh, you mean like a Wikipediholic only with alcohol".
  • Whenever your web-browser is closed, you feel a large sense of communal absence.
  • You have an account with one or more other Wikipedias or other Wikimedia projects.
  • You accidentally sign emails with four tildes, try to italicize with apostrophes, etc.
  • You try to edit your sent items on your email account, thinking that they can be updated.
  • You regularly write {{fact}} or {{cn}} in the margin of any book you are reading.[citation needed]
  • When you try to explain something, you have an urge to add wikilinks with "[[]]".
  • You get confused when you can't find the little blue edit markers on books and magazines.
  • You accidentally say "Does this spot on my hat look notable?"
  • When you close your eyes you see wiki code.
  • You have dreams about an anthropomorphic Wikipedia.
  • If so much as one thing you don't know comes across your mind, you bolt for the nearest computer to see if Wikipedia has a page on it.
    • If it does, you drop whatever you were doing before the urge took you and edit the page obsessively, whether you know the topic or not.
    • If it does not, you obsessively check every single paper encyclopedia you have and search six different search engines for information on the subject. Then you proceed to write three screens worth on the topic and create an article on it, which probably will never be seen or thought about by another being in a thousand years.
  • You start playing WikiLadders - the game where you open two random articles and try to get from the first to the second using only the links in the first and subsequent articles...
    • ...and then go back to try and do it again using fewer links.
  • You try editing magazines.
  • You skip an important date to look up references for an article on a subject you'd never even heard of before you discovered Wikipedia.
  • You turn up late for work and bleary-eyed after a particularly aggressive XfD (and you know what XfD means because you've looked it up already.)
  • Your state/provincial/territorial/national reference librarians know you by first name.
  • You add Wiki to most words in real life, and have sent letters to the Oxford University Press demanding that "wiki" be added as an official prefix.
  • You still live in your mother's basement at the age of 30+.
  • You read this far in the list.
  • Some Wikipediholics say this prayer before beginning a day long chain of edits.
The Wiki Prayer ([1], adapted from The Serenity Prayer),
God, grant me the serenity to accept the pages I cannot edit,
The courage to edit the pages I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

The Subterranean Wiki Prayer Revisited, Nos. 5 and 36

Johnny edits the Main Page
I re-write the Stone age
Napoleon and Shakespeare dress like a light bulb
We'll be here all night – refresh the same page

Motto

One edit is too many and a thousand is never enough.

See also:

The 12 steps of recovery for Wikipediholics

  1. We admitted we were powerless over Wikipedia; that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that an Author of Knowledge greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our obsession for editing and article creation over to the care of The Author of Knowledge as we understood Her or Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless knowledge inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to the Author of Knowledge, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our factual mistakes and gaps.
  6. Were entirely ready to have the Author of Knowledge remove all these factual defects.
  7. Humbly asked Her or Him to remove our shortcomings by motivating us to be diligent in our research and study.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed by spreading unverified rumors, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal knowledge inventories and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with the Author of Knowledge, as we understood Her or Him, praying only for knowledge of Her or His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to Wikipediholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

With all due reverence and respect to those who suffer from genuine addictions and have found relief and recovery through twelve-step programs, and equal respect for those who have tried and failed to do the same thing.

Those wishing to get rid of the habit, may wish to check themselves in the Clinic. Those who are sick of all these jokes and just want to talk to someone may wish to check the talk page.

The stages of Wikipediholism[edit]

Risk factors[edit]

Those who are the most at risk for catching the disease are those who have created an account, have access to a computer constantly and consistently, and who like the idea of a wiki. Those with Editcountitis may have elevated risk factors, as do hackers, Linux users, and Firefox enthusiasts (because of their exposure to open source technology).

When asked "do you want to be right or happy?", the Wikipediholic answers "be right!" without hesitation.

Early stages[edit]

The patient finds that he/she "likes" Wikipedia. He/she uses the Main Page as a bookmark and consults the articles for information. The patient contributes to articles that he/she finds lacking. He/she learns basic wiki markup. The patient can, however, give up now and cure themselves.

Middle stages[edit]

The patient uses the Main Page or their watchlist as bookmarks and their homepage. He/she reduces other online activities. The patient may join a WikiProject and contribute heavily to articles, as well as try editing outside the article and talk namespaces. He/she learns basic HTML and advanced wiki markup. The patient requests to become an Administrator, and proudly shows off his/her barnstars. Most refuse cures, which are still available.

When blocked, Wikipediholics have been known to grieve over their loss of editing privileges.

Late stages[edit]

The patient uses his/her watchlist as his/her homepage. He/she may also explore the Recent changes. The patient reduces other "real world" activities. He/she may join multiple WikiProjects and contribute very heavily to many articles, as well as trying to edit heavily outside the article and talk namespaces. The patient learns advanced HTML and master wiki markup. He/she becomes an Administrator. The patient may use third party software to edit Wikipedia, and accumulate many barnstars. The thought comes to him/her, while reading this page, "this isn't funny; my contributions to Wikipedia are extremely important". Cures become scarce.

Terminal stages[edit]

The patient uses the Recent changes as their homepage and identifies as a Recent changes patroller. He/she reduces all other activities besides those relating to "real world" health and Wikipedia (and sometimes endanger the former). The patient joins multiple WikiProjects and contributes very heavily to many articles, as well as to the core of running of Wikipedia. He/she masters HTML and rewrites the Manual of style. The patient requests to be a Bureaucrat or Wikimedia Foundation employee. He/she shuns third party software, preferring the "raw" Wikipedia experience. The patient has so many barnstars that he/she takes them off their userpage because they take up too much room and places them in a subpage of his/her userpage. Extreme denial may result, and cure is almost impossible. Terminal stages are when the wikipediholic spends an inordinate amount of times on Wikipedia, and may spend very little time eating, sleeping or washing due to the amount of time being spent on Wikipedia.

In extreme cases, the patient may begin publishing paper versions of Wikipedia and trying to make profit off of them.

Alternatives to cure[edit]

For those who see no end to their Wikipediholism, they may want to join the Department of Fun to keep things interesting. Also, keep an eye out for more Wikitivities. For instance, write songs like the parody Hotel Wikipedia and Staying Alive as laments of despair over lost and ruined lives.

You might also want to try a cure of wikipatch. In case of an "OMG" dire emergency and should all else fail, consider checking into the Clinic for Wikipediholics.

You might join troll organizations, but you will probably find very little solace there, since trolls have poor social support for each other, and they are still stuck here like the rest of us.

Perhaps the most effective solution of all is to embrace your Wikipediholism, accept it as part of your identity, and cherish it. Don't just admit it - brag about it! And if others call you a Wikipediholic, take that as a compliment. If they call you a troll, and they will, so what? Spread your Wikipediholism! It is only a good thing! We're all trolls here: Eventually.

Great Wikipediholics[edit]

In a class of their own (> 1 million edits)
Other honorable mentions (> half a million edits)

Treatment[edit]

Wikipediholism is a tongue-in-cheek term used to describe excessive time spent reading or editing Wikipedia. The term may be humorous, but the problem can be grave. Like any behavioral addiction, Wikipedia overuse may lead to job loss, divorce, bankruptcy, or worse. Fortunately, a variety of corrective strategies exist.

Recovering from Wikipediholism[edit]

Read this once every hour you spend on Wikipedia:

Wikipedia is a great project. It's good to help Wikipedia. It's a good pastime and it's very educational.

However:

  1. Every hour you spend at Wikipedia is an hour from your life. Do you have something more important to do? Do it first.
  2. Wikipedia may not help you realize your personal goals in life.
  3. Even though Wikipedia is educational, there may be other better ways of educating yourself. Wikipedia is not necessarily a substitute for them.
  4. Time is money. Are you sure you can afford the time to serve Wikipedia? If you can, that's well and good, but do so one hour at a time only.
  5. Sometimes it is necessary that you take a WikiBreak when you have something much more important to do. Moreover, it will help in rejuvenating yourself.

All the best. Remember, Wikipedia wants you to be the best person you can. It is not the goal of the project to steal the time you can use to improve your career prospects, learn new skills, spend time with family or friends, rejuvenate yourself, or use any way you wish. Remember, it's your time and you are donating it to Wikipedia. It is healthy to donate what you can afford to donate, but no more.

Corrective strategies[edit]

Wikipediholism can be a manifestation of problematic Internet use (PIU) and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Corrective strategies include content-control software, counselling, and cognitive-behavioural therapy.[1] Twelve-step programs are another option; Narcotics Anonymous is very accepting of problematic Internet users, and may be helpful.[2][3] In addition, for ADHD, medication can be helpful. Ask a doctor to point you to a mental-health professional you can afford. Or, you may write to us on the talk page and ask us for more help.

Software which may help[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "University of Notre Dame Counseling Center, "Self help – Lost in Cyberspace"". Retrieved 2009-11-11. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Roberts, Kevin J. (2010). Cyber junkie: escape the gaming and internet trap. Center City, Minn.: Hazelden. OCLC 555629713. 


See also[edit]