No, of course not!
That’s the simple answer, at least. After all, Wikipedia’s User:Jayjg is Bad News Personified: He’s a POV-pushin’, article-ownin’, checkuser-abusin’, personal-attackin’ son-of-a-whatever. And what’s more, he does it all completely anonymously. In effect, he’s the epitome of Wikipedia’s most questionable aspects, and yet he can hardly be said to be “getting away with it” - he’s at the center of a disproportionate number of nasty incidents that occur on Wikipedia, embattled, criticized, bashed, and targeted by pro-Wikipedians and anti-Wikipedians alike, on a near-constant basis. Very few people actually like him, sort of in the way nobody ever likes the dictator’s right-hand man, even while everyone seems to think the dictator himself is a “pretty good guy.”
And yet, I can’t help but feel rather sorry for him. Why is that, I ask myself?I’ve thought long and hard on this problem, and I think I’ve finally developed a workable theory.
Jayjg represents the pinnacle, the apotheosis if you will, of how far an anonymous person can get on Wikipedia. As it turns out, that’s pretty far indeed - Jayjg has practically every administrative power in the book. This is the promise of Wikipedia, the thing that draws people in: You can change things to your liking, you can influence the way the world’s most extensive encyclopedia-like website presents information, and if you work hard enough at it, you can specifically prevent others from doing that, too. Put simply, you can <em>control!</em> For the average interweb nerd-boy, that promise of control is Wikipedia’s flimsy lace nightgown, a teaser for what lies just beneath the surface, if only you can manage to get there. For people who have never had a taste of that kind of control, and who crave it, it’s like manna from Heaven. Once you’ve tasted it, you’re hooked, you can’t give it up, you just can’t get enough, as the song goes.
Meanwhile, you tell yourself it’s really your “duty,” your “responsibility” to ensure that Wikipedia is “accurate” and “troll-free” - and that you’re doing the world a favor by helping to ensure those things. After a while, you actually start to believe that yourself, and you might even start to tell others that too. And since it’s Wikipedia, most people are compelled to believe you - not doing so would be against the rules, after all. And nobody who breaks the rules stays around for long. (You’ll see to that!)
So, how much work, how much sheer effort, has Jayjg expended on Wikipedia? It must be hundreds of man-hours, maybe even thousands. After all, 6 hours a night, 6 days a week, for 3 years… math was never my forte, but that’s a lot of hours. Some people get paid as much as $250 or more for each hour of their time, but Jayjg puts those hours in gratis. And this is the thanks he gets? Near-constant bashing, allegations of misuse of his administrative “tools,” and accusations of unwarranted censorship? Who do these people think they are, he must wonder! The very thought of it must drive him bananas.
And yet, it’s almost undeniable now that the best thing that could happen, for all concerned, would be for him to vanish from Wikipedia forever. Indeed, as I type this, he’s been gone for over a week, and things are calming down, getting back to normal, and generally turning more pleasant. “Drama,” Wikipedia’s Official Public Enemy Number One, has declined significantly (though admittedly, it’s far too early to take any real meaning from such a decline).
But he’ll be back, I’m sure of it. After all, it’s his duty, his responsibility, and he’s doing the world a huge favor… right?