I've since cooled to the project. As others have stated more eloquently before me, Wikipedia is far from perfect. Paradoxically, its biggest strength is also its biggest weakness: anyone can edit anything, in good faith or not, and with actual knowledge or not. Obvious vandalism is easily fixed, but sometimes errors (deliberate or not) are not so simple to spot, and incorrect information can remain in an article for years until an expert happens to notice and corrects the problem.
Unfortunately, such experts often do not feel welcome here. They must have enough time and patience to figure out Wikipedia's many rules and regulations lest their hard work be undone by well-meaning but lazy veterans who find it easier to hit the "undo" button than to wikify contributions that "look different". And when these real-world experts get understandably upset and insist that their added content is correct, they'll often receive a barrage of warnings on their user pages, sometimes leading to blocks or even getting kicked off Wikipedia altogether. I've seen many knowledgeable new editors jump right in and make potentially helpful contributions in their area of expertise only to see their work get instantly reverted. In almost every case, they soon conclude that Wikipedia is a waste of their valuable time and leave in frustration, which is not helpful if the mission of this project is to create a comprehensive and accurate encyclopedia.
These problems are often caused by veteran editors who, taking advantage of the openness of this site, have deputized themselves to rigidly enforce their own narrow interpretations of wikipolicy, often in a manner contrary to the spirit of those same rules. Many of these same folks also seem to relish engaging in petty, never-ending, and often irrational arguments about everything and anything. Witness verbal battles strewn across thousands and thousands of talk pages, including the unintentionally hilarious edit wars over ridiculously trivial items, the common-senseless obsession with potential copyright issues, and the vicious arguments over everything from spelling to punctuation (especially - OMG! - dashes) in endless Wikipedia manual of style discussions, just to name a few flashpoints. The consensus principal seems like a reasonable way to solve such problems, in theory. But in reality, it's often the editor or group of editors with lots of free time who gets their way regardless of whether the resulting policy or content decision makes any sense whatsoever.
Over time, all the annoying wiki-nonsense has nudged me out of the ranks of fully active editors. I've taken a series of wikibreaks over the years and have considered leaving for good. But I keep returning because, while Wikipedia’s processes are flawed, it has become an important source of information for people around the world, including my own students. As a teacher, I can't help coming back to make sure that the info presented here is accurate. So I do my part by (incrementally) expanding coverage of topics I know well and by fixing vandalism to articles that I've edited in the past.
This user is one of a handful of actual natives of the state of Florida.
Thanks for watching out for the evil and for the bad doing their work in the dark... Hafspajen (talk) 21:30, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
The Real Life Faithful Barnstar
The Real Life Barnstar is awarded to editors who make contributions both online and offline, by organizing wiki-related real-life events. What I want to say, if you still watching my page, why don't you jump in leaving some messages sometime and conversating a bit - time to time? Don't be shy! You are very much invited. Hafspajen (talk) 15:56, 15 June 2014 (UTC)