Tue 23rd February 2010, 4:41pm
Since suicide has been mentioned, I've claimed that there have likely been suicides triggered by abusive Wikipedia process (or lack of protective process), and this was pooh-poohed.
I was just reading a history
of the W.E.L.L.
, and it happened early on with that on-line community. It would be astonishing if it didn't happen with the much larger (and, in reality, more abusive, because of different reasonable expectations) Wikipedia community.
(I was there for a couple of years of that early history, and was one of the users who befriended Mark Ethan Smith -- I actually attended a court hearing for a case that had been filed -- and was then savaged as described. MES, indeed, scribbled much of her/his contributions as a result of my writing, because when s/he determined that I was Yet Another Abuser, s/he attempted to delete all my contributions to his/her conferences, saw that this made complete mincemeat of them, due to massive quotation by others, so the conferences themselves were deleted, removing months of his/her own work.)
I first saw, on the W.E.L.L, the frustrating situation where a community of on-line users steadfastly promotes its own impression of what had happened in some dispute, when simply reading the record, which was, for the first time, completely available, would result in a very different impression. Someone would complain about being abused. Others would react to the complaint as if it was the problem, without checking. Sometimes this reaction is appropriate, quite possibly most of the time. But when it's not, it's a killer, because the complainer then becomes completely frustrated and normally becomes even more assertive and therefore even more irritating to those who dislike complaints and it all spins out. And if I'd actually read the history and then dared to defend the complainant, I was "defending a disruptive user" who is being "uncivil" and who is obviously "obsessed." So now I was also a problem. Never got banned there, though, very few were banned.
It all goes way back, folks, there is nothing new under the sun, not really.