Reading what ex-Wikipedians have to say

Regular readers will know that I had a very bad experience attempting to contribute to the Mithras article on Wikipedia, when I was the target of a deliberate campaign of violence and defamation by an obvious troll operating at least two accounts, who simply wanted to own my work and push a falsehood.  It ended with a corrupt administrator blocking me on a false accusation of sock puppeting.  I disabled my account and I’ve not been back, needless to say. 

But the experience left me wondering how many other honest contributors have had the same experience.  Today I’ve been reading around the entries on the Wikipediocracy blog.  They are well-written and well thought-out. 

I’ve also spent some time reading material at the Wikipedia Review forum, which contains more of the same, and there is also a Wikipediocracy forum, much of it written by people who are obviously still bleeding from the beatings they received.  

All this makes sad reading.  Out of it emerges a picture of a cess-pit full of vipers, in which, to change metaphors, ordinary contributors are little more than meat for the grinder. 

I’ve written there a short account myself of my own evil experience of Wikipedia administration (here).

Obviously the articles on these sites are very much the work of the disillusioned ex-Wikipedians; but none the less they represent a valuable corrective to the quite misleadingly positive impression that many people have of Wikipedia.  Most people suppose that the way Wikipedia represents itself is accurate.  Even those who have enough experience to realise that this presentation is not how things actually work, and that there is endless fighting involved, nevertheless tend to suppose (as I did) that the administration is honest at least in intent.  The testimonies of the ex-Wikipedians suggest very strongly otherwise. 

It is, of course, necessary to treat all these narratives with a degree of scepticism.  All these people are exiles; and, notoriously, the exile’s perspective on his homeland is distorted by his exile.  There is an undue willingness to believe evil of the ruling faction, and an undue willingness to suppose that anyone else notices.  Memory deceives, and, without any intention to mislead, a narrative can be constructed which is unbalanced.

But that said, it is quite eye-opening to see what is said there.

2 Responses to “Reading what ex-Wikipedians have to say”


  1. Andreas Kolbe

    Thank you very much for the mention and recommendation. I do want to point out though that not all (or even most) of the people on Wikipediocracy are Wikipedia exiles. The forum’s founding group, staff and membership have always included people who are active Wikipedians or Wikipedia administrators, as well as (among posting forum members) several Wikipedia arbitrators.

    Best,
    Andreas

  2. Roger Pearse

    I appreciate the correction – thank you. No reason why this should not be the case, of course.