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So, recently, I've been thinking. I've been thinking about the wiki as a whole, and in more recent days, I've been becoming more and more involved in the "dark side" of the wiki. But more on that later.
Basically, this blog isn't an excuse to rant, it isn't an outright bash of the wiki, it's not really even an attempt to chaange the wiki. All in all, this blog is just my chance to say why I've had thoughts about leaving the wiki so many times now. And it's also about why this wiki has always prevailed in keeping me around.
Always. It's always prevailed, and in those times of doubt, I've been able to remember why I love the wiki, and why I could never leave. I am literally obsessed with this wiki, and when I'm not in school, I'm almost always on. But recently, the thoughts of leaving have grown more frequent, and a lot stronger.
No, I'm not leaving the wiki, no, I'm not decreasing in activity, no, I'm not just joining the slew of users that have left the wiki in recent months, and even weeks. But yes, if some of the stuff to be mentioned later persists and grows stronger, I will be leaving the wiki.
Good things about the wiki
I have always held a strong belief that articles are what make this wiki what it is; the perfect Avatar fansite. For the average passerby, Avatar Wiki provides knowledge about practically everything there is to know about the show. Come on, I dare you to tell me what other site has information all about Iroh's sandal. Put simply, there isn't one. Why? Avatar Wiki is the ultimate A:TLA resource, simple as that. And let's not forget our uncanny ability to keep up with everything new about Korra. Not only are we the ultimate ATLA resource; we're that site that people check for updates about Korra.
Of course, all of this is made possible by one thing: Our users, our editors, and even our "anonymous contibutors." In other words, this is all made possible by our community.
In the next section, you will notice that all but one of my gripes about the wiki is related to the community. And months ago, those gripes wouldn't have even existed. The Avatar Wiki community has been on the downswing ever since I joined here over a year ago. Not to say that everything is bad; of course, there are some very strong things about our community. For example, we are absolutely phenomenal with handling leaks; when one pops up, it's gone. Simple as that. Then, there's the fact that all of our "higher" users seem to have made friends with each other. Yes, I said higher. Again, more on that later.
In any case, both of these were rather short; not much to say about the near-flawless information system, and the community. . .well, I have very little good to say about the community, to be quite honest. I like most of the users, I like the way it functions when looking from the outside, but. . . In any case, time for the next section.
As I said before, the articles are the very heart and soul of this wiki. And they give this wiki its reputation as a great ATLA and LoK resource. I only have one problem with them: the whole "Nick.com" policy. I know, I know, to be the best resource blah blah we have to do everything Nick does blah blah. . .heard it all before. But I've also heard that "it establishes notability." No, it doesn't; not at all, actually. So, let's just get this straight: because a hat that Aang wore in 317 was featured on Nick.com, it's suddenly notable and important? . . .No. I get that ATLA comes from Nickelodeon, and the logic behind the whole "It establishes notability" thing is quite thorough. Put simply, I just. . .don't agree with it. And as I said before, this blog is not intended to be one of those "chaange policy/wiki"-type blogs.
THIS is the bulk of this blog. THIS was, really, the entire point of me posting the blog in the first place.
Alright, to start:
I - Treatment of anonymous contributors
Yes. The way we treat the (in)famous "nonies". Obviously, there are some anonymous trolls/vandals/whatever else. But that is only, maybe, 40% of them. But what about the other 60%? The 60% who just want to express their opinions, contribute in our articles, and just be a part of this big, seemingly wonderful community without having to register? Why do they have to get a bad rep? Why is it that, because most trolls are anonymous contributors that we automatically assume that an anonymous is a troll? And I have a hard time believing that we all haven't done this a lot in the past, due to our getting sick and tired of the anonymous trolls. As said by somebody on IRC the other night, anonymous contributors are like rectaangles. A rule in math is that a square is a rectaangle, but a rectaangle is not a square. The same applies to anonymous contributors: A troll is (usually) anonymous, but an anonymous isn't a troll. Bottom line.
We encourage anonymous contributors to create accounts. But honestly, why would they? Recently, I've even seen anonymous contributors noticing how everyone cracks down on them. Why would they want to join a community like that? I sure as hell wouldn't. And the only reason I did was because, back in March of 2011, the attacks on anonymous contributors were not nearly as bad (Korra information contributed a lot to that).
We are told to assume good faith, unless something is obviously, undoubtably vandalism. And, well. . .see the next section.
II - Assume good faith
The golden rule of any wiki, be it Wikipedia, iCarly Wiki, Wookiepedia, or Avatar Wiki; no matter where, users are always told to assume good faith. In other words, when somebody makes an edit, assume that they made that edit out of pure desire to help, and to contribute. Even if the edit was terrible in quality, if it isn't clearly vandalism, assume that it was made with good intentions. Revert the edit, and give the editor some warm, friendly advice. This rule, imo, can mean the difference between a user sticking around or running away.
On Avatar Wiki, though, here's what happens. We see an anonymous contributor/very new user edit, we look to see what the edit was, and because of their status on the wiki (next section), we most likely think, "Oh, this guy's a troll!" or "Vandal alert!" And, in turn, we completely defy our own policy. Most likely, after we revert the edit, we go to message that well-meaning contributor, in a most likely rude manner. A simple rule to follow here: Practice what you preach. Instead of immediately jumping on a well-meaning, full-of-potential newbie, instead follow the policy: Assume good faith.
III - Wiki hierarchy
This is one that, in the back of our minds, we all know exists. We all know that users are divided into distinct categoies, and that we often times use those categories to define how "valuable" a user is. If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a hint:
4. Old rollbacks
5. Sorta old sorta new rollbacks
6. Old users who aren't rollbacks
7. New rollbacks
8. Sorta old sorta new users
9. Rational anonymous contributors
10. New users
11. Irrational anonymous contributors
12. Vandals, registered or not registered.
What you just looked at is the "ranking" of the users across the wiki. But let me tell you, I didn't create this; I only made the list. But we all know that, when we think of great wikians, we think of 888 and Vulmen, the admins, and the older rollbacks. And when we think of people who you just could do without, you think of vandals (which, granted, should happen), newer users, and anonymous contributors. And, oh, how I wish this wasn't so.
Here's what the hierarchy should look like:
1) Everybody except vandals.
But it doesn't. So, you may be asking, why is this an issue? In community discussions, have you never been hesitant to disagree with "the almighty 888"? I know I have. And it's not his fault, by any means. It's the fault of our own. Now, before I say this, know that I respect 888 and Vulmen and all of the admins more than you could imagine. But, to be honest, we make them out to be more than they are: good users with extra rights. Honestly, if you want to look at things from an editing perspective, there are lots of users who I would say are about on the same level as all of the 'crats and admins. The only difference is that they have administrator rights. So why is it that we worship the admins and detest some of the lower ones I mentioned? We certainly shouldn't. And, let's face it. We all do, or at least have at some point.
IV - Backstabbing/Arguments/Feuds/Whatever
Of course, everybody will say, "OH! This isn't an issue!" It is. I've backstabbed way more than my fair share of users, ask anyone who visits IRC. And I am really, truly ashamed of that, and trust me, I won't be doing it anymore. But it's not just me. Lots of others do it, and I'm certainly not going to name anybody; but it happens. Since I can't say names specifically, not much to say here. But, right now, I'm issuing public apologies to those who I've stabbed in the back. I hope you can forgive me, and if you can't, I understand. Just know that I honestly mean this. (And if your name is on here, you probably wouldn't expect it to be, for the record.)
Mysteria - Yes, I've said some mean things about you. But, at the end of the day, you are a really good user, and you didn't deserve what I've said at all. I hope you can forgive me, and I hope we can be friends.
KFB - Well, I've not necessarily said a ton about you. But I've said some things, especially in two cases where I've been quite upset with you. In any case, you're a great guy, and I shouldn't have said what I've said; please, forgive me.
Thailog - You barely even know me, and yet I've said some pretty bad things about you. If you're looking at this, and honestly, you're probably not, just know that I truly am sorry.
Teddybearlover - Again, doubt you're looking at this. And again, you've hardly met me. But again, I've unfairly been rude to you behind your back. I'm very sorry, honestly.
Plasmabender117 - Ok, this is the one that I feel the worst about. You've been my friend before, and now, I've been talking #%$& about you, and have ignored you on IRC. And let me say, I'm absolutely horrible to have done such things. And I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. If you can't, believe me, I get it.
All of you, I hope you're not too taken aback/upset by this. Considering you don't know me that well/like me very much, I hope things aren't too bad; but again, if they are, I understand totally.
Well, I don't think there's much else to say. Obviously, the point here was to point out some flaws/good things about the wiki, though moreso the flaws. As I said, the blog wasn't intended to bring about chaange in any way. Basically, I was hoping to call attention to these issues. And now that I have, I guess there's nothing else to say. So, um. . .yeah. See you all later.
Tee 06:17, April 4, 2012 (UTC)
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