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The Art of the Diva Quit

by Hersch

There are many reasons why a person will spend most of his or her waking hours online. For those who are drawn inexorably into the great teeming ant-farm of Web 2.0 (THL), there is the prospect of gaining approval from the digital masses for one’s incomparable wit, deep insights and incisive snark, without the downside of having to make actual personal contact. In fact, for those who deeply feel that they have no life, Web 2.0 offers the additional allure of being able to create one or more personas de novo, and then bask in the admiration that they receive from their online brethren.

For the standard social networking sites such as Facebook, approval comes in the form of “likes” for posted comments and images, as well as the deeper, more meaningful process of becoming “friends.” But at Wikipedia, with its pronounced element of MMORPGism, the system is more complex. Wikipedians have no permanent “friends,” only permanent interests. Control of article content is always paramount, because he who controls article content, wins. But because article content is dictated by “consensus,” one must have allies. Allies can help the contestant to game the consensus, and may rally to his defense against all sorts of counterattacks, including being hauled before the Drama Boards, as well as the inevitable accusations of sockpuppetry.

Therefore, cultivation of one’s allies is of crucial importance. It is generally a marriage of convenience; one’s allies seldom share one’s precise bias matrix, and for favors granted in WikiWarfare, one must mind the quid pro quo. The danger always exists that one’s allies may drift away and be less than fully attentive to one’s needs; after all, they have their own POVs to push. It is important to find ways to consolidate their support so that it is there when you need it most. These alliances will undergo stresses and trials, and should you come under major attack, such as with an Arbitration Committee case, some may jump ship in order to save their own skins. If things are not going your way under exigent circumstances, you may wish to consider the option of a Diva Quit.

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The Diva Quit phenomenon was first recognized and studied by Web 2.0 aficionados over a decade ago. However, it may be said that with the advent of Wikipedia, the tactic has come of age. In Wikipedia’s intensely manipulative environment of perpetual WikiWarfare, the opportunity to tug at the heartstrings of Teh Community may be just too good to pass up.

A well-executed Diva Quit will have several components. The basic premise, of course, is that you are quitting the project because you can no longer endure the grave mistreatment and the injustices that you have suffered for so long at the hands of your WikiOpponents, with the leadership of the project also bearing a major portion of the blame due to their connivance or indifference. This will be an opportunity for your allies to rally around you, either out of sympathy for your plight, or, more likely, because the humiliation you have suffered gives them an opportunity to attack some of your enemies who are also their enemies.

 

It is to be assumed, of course, that you actually haven’t the slightest intention of leaving for any significant amount of time. If you were really planning to move on, find a new hobby, or finally get a life, your Diva Quit would serve no purpose.

Your Diva Quit must be executed with finesse. It can provide an opportunity to lash your opponents with heightened vitriol because you are donning the mantle of a martyr to their malfeasance. Or, it may be helpful to assume an air of wistfulness and regret, because the Quit that has been forced upon you by your utterly unscrupulous opponents is now going to deprive the project of your exceptional talents and invaluable contributions, thus dealing a blow to your beloved project, a blow from which the project may well never recover.

Despite some naysayers, the Diva Quit is a time-honored and respected tactic at Wikipedia (and at many other Web 2.0 venues.) Many of Wikipedia’s most highly-regarded editors have successfully executed one or more Diva Quits. It is a good gambit to choose if you are on the verge of being blocked — that way, you have the initiative. The masters of the craft can deliver one Diva Quit after another without seeming to be crying wolf. So, if you find yourself in deep WikiDooDoo, you might want to consider the Diva Quit option. Good luck, and happy editing!

The following case history for noted editor Eric Corbett AKA Malleus Fatuorum (TCL) was compiled by Hex:

Eric Corbett’s Greatest Quits

24 May 2008 “You can stick your block where the sun don’t shine, I’m no longer willing to contribute to a project run by petty-minded individuals such as yourself.”

19 August 2008 “I had believed until fairly recently that I may in some small way be able to contribute to this encyclopedia. I see now that I was mistaken, and that I was simply wasting my time.”

10 June 2009 “This discussion is pointless and is unlikely to lead to anything productive. I do not share what I consider to be your rather precious of “incivility”, and I never will. If it’s a matter of playing by your rules or by mine then it’s a no-brainer. Bye-bye wikipedia.”

7 March 2009 “There is very little point in a block, as I have no intention of contributing to wikipedia ever again. So who’s the winner?”

9 February 2010 [Someone asks if it’s a bad time to request assistance on an article.] “No, a good time actually. I’ll be there shortly. [A few minutes later:] … Actually I won’t; I’m sick to death with this place.”

[A double whammy:]
15 October 2010 “This is just one incident too many for me. Unless I see someone swinging from a tree because of the events over the last day or so I don’t think I’ll be helping out here again.”
15 October 2010 “A project written by educated adults policed by school kids cannot possibly succeed. Something fundamental needs to change to here, and until it does you can count me out.”

4 February 2011 “Wikipedia values new contributors and degrades established contributors. Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that Dr. Blofeld is right, and like him I will be taking no further part here until there are some changes.”

26 October 2011 “While petty tyrants like you strut around this project I will not continue to contribute.”

6 April 2012 “I expected this kind of thing to happen after administrators were emboldened by the ArbCom case, so it’s now obviously time for Malleus to hang up his boots.”

4 July 2013 “You might as well make the block indefinite, as I won’t be coming back here while those like you are in charge.”

(28 October 2013 “Let me state my position bluntly; Wikipedia needs me far more than I need Wikipedia.”)
2 November 2013 “I’ve pondered, and what I’ve decided is that if Wikipedia thinks it doesn’t need me then I certainly don’t need it.”

(17 October 2014 “I’m not going anywhere. People deserve to know the truth about Jimbo.”)
13 November 2014 “If there are any sanctions imposed on me then I’ll be out of here. And quite likely even if there aren’t given this circus.”

1 March 2015 “In fact, I won’t be back at all unless and until I see some resolve to address these problems by, for instance, blocking the right people for once.”

 

Image credit: Flickr/jurvetson ~ licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

3 comments to The Art of the Diva Quit

  • Very enjoyable article. Makes me appreciate being away from it all. 🙂

  • Tarc

    Despite Jimbo Wales’ many protests, the WMF and vermin like Corbett need each other, they exist in a symbiotic and parasitic relationship. Corbett (and many others) get to enjoy the power trip of being a “valued content contributor”, relishing in being a royal dick to anyone and every one that criticizes him, particularly women. Good content brings eyeballs to the site, eyeballs bring donation dollars, donation dollars allow Jimbo and the WMF luminaries jet across the globe.

    If it wasn’t for Eric, Jimmy-boy would still be back peddling softcore porn at Bomis.

  • […] The Art of the Diva Quit | WikipediocracyThe danger always exists that one’s allies may drift away and be less than fully attentive to one’s needs; after all, they have their own POVs to push. It is important to find ways to consolidate their support so that it is there when you need it most. These alliances will undergo stresses and trials, and should you come under major attack, such as with an Arbitration Committee case, some may jump ship in order to save their own skins. If things are not going your way under exigent circumstances, you may wish to consider the option of a Diva Quit. […]