So I decided to take the suggestion about starting a new thread.
To clarify a few things. My academic interest is in online gaming subcultures such as WoW. My interest with the WP community is purely personal. Whatever I come up with, which might amount to nothing at all (although I highly doubt that), is going directly to the WR community.
One of the biggest problems with online communities is that there is very little money in it. Corporations tend to still look at communities as part of marketing's domain, and online communities like WP or Ravelry are still very young. How do you filter out the truth from the lies? Is there an ethical responsibility to the well-being of community members? Or is the responsibility ultimately to showing success. Facebook, MySpace, WP, and Ravelry are perceived to be successful ventures and yet I believe that we can't even begin to conceive some of the problems that these communities encourage and how they will play out in society.
If it's so easy to lie online, what's stopping people from dissembling in the real world and what happens when lies become so normal as to be accepted? What's the next step?
I love statistics, but they don't tell the whole story. 98% of a graduating high school class goes on to college, but what happens to them during college? What happens to them after college? What happens when they go out into the real world? 98% might be a great number at first glance, but what happens next? The whole picture is usually more accurate than a sliver of a number. But here's the other thing with statistics, they can't explain the why, which is a lot more important than the number of editors leaving.
Now, as for the big gorilla? Don't make eye contact, don't do anything threatening and carry a really big bunch of bananas behind my back to use as a bribe if necessary
So, this is something that's been mulling around my brain since last night that I really want to explore. While Jon and Greg visibly posted their distrust, there had to have been others who felt the same way and just didn't say anything. How horrific was the betrayal? Or was it just a bunch of small amounts that eventually leads to a straw breaking a camel's back? And if it is chronic, why have we allowed it to happen? I have my theories and it stems from the concept that when we don't have a face with a name, it's very easy to not look at those names as real people. And when we stop dehumanize others it becomes easier to behave in ways that are anti-social.