I am an historian specializing in international political economy, which allowed me to work on a diverse range of time and place on this site. I was a Wikipedia contributor from late 2002 to February 2005, and an administrator from May 2003 to February 2005.
Over the past couple of years, I was using a pseudonymous account, and the name I was using in my Wikipedia email account was not my own. Given Wikipedia's sketchy reputation in some circles, I wanted to avoid any possible negative consequences in the "real world"; and I did not want the less-than-friendly environment on Wikipedia to come back to haunt me off-line. Unfortunately, when the community knows you as 'just a number,' you don't tend to be treated so well.
I will no longer contribute to Wikipedia. The project is no longer workable. Wikipedia lack an authoritative public review process, fostering a total disregard for expertise in this community; whether nor not you are taken seriously depends not on the merit of your work but rather how many friends you have made with the users who dominate the mailing list, IRC, and the administrative pages.
Instead, we have a dispute resolution process fetishizing increasingly rigid (and idiosyncratic) community norms and customs without reference to who's writing encyclopedic material and who's not. As a result, far too much power and status is given to people who are frankly nothing more than trolls, as long as they're good at gaming the system. The admins are increasingly obsessive of process, disregarding the public credibility of the project. Far too many seem to get off on "patrolling" conflicts between other users that they do not understand, an aspect of Wikipedia that is poisoning the atmosphere.
Thus, in recent months I was spending more time dealing with users with no intention of writing encyclopedia content, who were spending many hours a day feeding off conflict between other users or were dumping sheer nonsense in as many articles as possible. I no longer have the patience to deal with this. (I will return if they are any changes allowing me to become a more efficacious user some day.)
I am a bit concerned about the articles on my watchlist, though. While I have lost faith in the project, many of these articles come up in the top 10-20 in google searches, so they are nevertheless important to the public in some respects. Please contact me by email if you want to prevent these articles from being hijacked by trolls and propagandists while I'm gone.
172 14:42, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)