User:C S/reality

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The reality of Wikipedia -- or, the stages of a Wikipedian's growth and development[edit]

600px|thumb|A subtle weakness of "anyone can edit" which has been pointed out by the highly observant

N00b[edit]

Starts editing Wikipedia. Thinks it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Loves exploring, finding wacky articles like sign of the horns. Creates new articles on random topics like California roll, maybe even delving into hot-button articles like Killian memos.

The beginning of disillusionment -- or, you are now an intermediate editor[edit]

Some events may lead to the beginning of disillusionment:

  • An article you worked so hard on and polished every little bit of, gets AFD'd by a passerby that writes, "Utter crap", or "unreferenced", or horror of horrors, "non-notable". Quickly skimming the dude's contributions, you see that he doesn't actually write any articles himself, only corrects typos and tags articles with AFD tags and remarks like "non-notable". Angrily, you write on his talk page, "hey retard, why don't you write some content instead of bothering important contributors like me?" He writes back, "Observe NPA and don't be a dick. Civility is the founding principle underlying everything here. Don't add unimportant stuff to Wikipedia and keep in mind what Wikipedia is not." At this point, you may either leave wikipedia or decide to stick it out, but ignore these very "helpful wiki gnomes".
  • You work hard on correcting mistakes in an article. Then Smartguy707 starts arguing with you, and you realize he hasn't even studied high school physics properly but is arguing with you about nuclear fusion. So to clear things up, you casually mention, "Dear Smartguy707, I am actually Professor Big Shot from Haa-vaad University. Since I design nuclear reactors, I think you should be aware that I am undoubtedly correct about the basic principles of nuclear fusion." You are shocked to get the response, "Dude, I don't care who you are. Please cite some sources to back up your ridiculous claims." Shocked as you are, you realize there is some merit to citing sources, so you excerpt the relevant material from standard university texts and perhaps even prestigious journal articles. Smartguy707 then retorts, "No, those sources clearly back up my facts. Do you need me to explain again why modern physicists like you don't have a proper understanding of Newton's laws?." At this point, you may leave Wikipedia (complete with rant on userpage stating wikipedia has to learn to respect experts blah blah), or you may still decide to stick it out on less controversial articles, like...hmm, maybe a disambiguation page like GNAA.

Serious Wikipedian-- or, you're now set on Wikipedia as the place to be and you're gonna make sure it doesn't become even crappier than it already is[edit]

  • You come back to Wikipedia, after short stints on scholarpedia and citizendium, where you learned that an online encyclopedia run by experts is pretty fucking boring (and not very useful either).
  • You run into a distinguished professor who starts edit warring, trying to change an article on a well-known topic to reflect his pet theory (unpublished, of course). He complains bitterly that he's arguing with a bunch of juvenile nitwits. You secretly know that some of the people he's arguing with are actually professors too, but you've long learned not to mention this. Thank goodness that when you complained long ago like this, you were on the correct side, right?
  • You create an article on an important topic, complete with references. Seconds later, it's been tagged with a gazillion templates, stating that your writing is confusing, the topic is too technical, and there needs to be a footnote after every word. Patiently you revert with an edit summary: "remove tagging by fucktard". By now, you know these people exist, but you also know they have ridiculously short attention spans so won't even notice the edit summary. But you decide to keep an eye on the article anyway. Who knows, they may come back. And when they do, they're in for a spanking.


The enlightenment -- or, how you learn not to care so much about things[edit]

  • After spanking some frivolous tagging gnomes (to make sure they don't do it again), you burn out. You let obnoxious tags remain on your articles. You no longer bother arguing with people who have stupid opinions or who can't understand plain English. But a surprising thing happens...other people start doing this for you.
  • Now, you don't bother caring most of the time. The crap level of Wikipedia seems consistent without your constant intervention. But occasionally, you delve into the garbage heap...you can't let inexperienced Wikipedians have all the fun.