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 (T–H–L), 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.
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!
Image credit: Flickr/jurvetson ~ licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic