Wikipedia:Ignore all dramas
|This page in a nutshell: If the dramas prevent you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore them. With Ignore all rules being Wikipedia's first rule to consider, this should be the zeroth rule.|
Conflict is as addictive as cocaine, especially in a mature online community with a long history of grudges and petty vendettas; and as the encyclopedia ages, the articles mature, becoming harder and harder to improve. Conflict is the most usual substitute satisfaction, and it can become a source of easy entertainment for even the most long-term Wikipedians to watch the latest fights on the noticeboards, checking back again and again for witty ripostes and put-downs. It's much harder to write an encyclopedia article than it is to look through the latest shabby contributor's edits for evidence of wrongdoing, and write an indignant post about it.
A corollary to this rule, and a slightly nastier one, is this: ignore all drama queens. In any community of this size, there will be those whose primary contribution is to create and extend drama, and thereby call attention to themselves. They are often the least self-reflective of people, and the least likely to know that they themselves are a problem; and the best way to handle them is with a polite silence. Remember that not every stupidity requires an immediate answer; not every conspiracy theory needs immediate refutation; not every accusation requires a defense; and not every loud voice needs any more attention than does the barking of the neighbor's dog. Any pile of bullshit eventually decomposes naturally. (Naturally, linking to this essay in a discussion is not silence and is therefore disregarding its advice.)
We're still an encyclopedia, and we still need your help. Meanwhile, the requests for punishment, suggestions for the pillory, and lists of troublemakers for public humiliation and shaming are already well-staffed by those who love such places. Say something there only if you can say it well and politely, and it helps all concerned, causing no further harm.