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Why I am leaving Wikipedia

For a number of weeks, I been having something of a nightmare experience while being involved with an article of importance to me, professionally - the Dissociative identity disorder article. I have achieved very little that is demonstrably constructive, and it has cost me prodigious amounts of time, something that is a precious resource for me.

I have learned first hand why there are so very few content experts involved with Wikipedia. Initially, I thought it odd, but no longer. From the moment I showed up at the DID article, making clear who I was (something I have always done - at my User Page and professional website), and what my interest was (I offered an critique of the article, and some suggestions as to where I thought it needed to go), I have been meet with attempts to control me, and outright hostile reactions. At no point was I welcomed. I was treated as if I know little about Wikipedia, not to mention the subject of the article itself. On its face, both of these reactions should seem illogical.

I have serious professional and personal commitments. I cannot give more than some of my time to WP. This means that people with significantly greater time resources than I have can run circles around me, and one editor certainly has employed that maneuver successfully, as he does with everyone who presents a challenge to his control of DID. He is directive, he is digressive, he keeps people tied up in endless conversation. The other day, I did a tabulation of the over 50 threads on the DID Talk page. The final post on 25 of them was by this editor, and that's not counting his forays onto various peoples user acct. Talk pages, where he also tends to have the last word. This appears to be not because he convinces many people of anything, but because he overwhelms them and wears them out. This is classic controlling behavior, something commonly seen in abusive people. I want to make it clear that I focus here on this one editor because his presence at the article is so dominating. This is not healthy for anyone.

I have vainly tried to point to there being a human resource problem at the article, and have framed it as an accessibility problem, directly related to the mental health disability of anyone with DID: they are vulnerable to abusive behavior, and at least 3 editors at the DID article have clearly been abusive to other editors with DID. There has been appalling little response to this by anyone other than me. Beyond this, at no point has anyone understood the issues I've raised other than those who have direct experience with DID. I have suggested that we need to understand that we do not serve ourselves or the article well by NOT making reasonable accommodations to see that these people are able to participate in contributing to the article. This still seems like a reasonable, if unheard, suggestion, to me.

Editors who evidence NO understanding of these issues whatsoever have obliterated my efforts to raise this issue and to offer a solution. I then have been told that, in effect, the only problem worth addressing is that I won't play by the rules (an opinion, not a finding). That being established merely by declaration, many people here are seeking to ban me from the topic. Well, that would certainly lead to article improvement, and to elevation of the status of Wikipedia, would it not? I think not.

My alleged issues with the rules (P&G) are a convenient myth constructed to stimulate exactly the response it has gotten here. I know the rules well enough, and don't have overt conflict with them, and have said so several times. However, as you all should know, the P&G states "If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it.". But not here, apparently, and I think that is for two reasons. The Wikipedia subculture is very important to most if not all of the editors involved with this issue on the Administrators' noticeboard. It is a major part, if not THE major part, of their lives. The P&G is the device which makes it hang together for them. Let go of the P&G, and chaos arises. OK, I get it. I was an anthropologist before I was a psychologist. You got here first; you own this place. We are outsiders, and not automatically welcome (obviously).

The result of this is stark: the only content expert to ever have had sustained (if futile) involvement with the article is leaving. So are most if not all of the present editors who actually have DID. An impressive achievement.

So, as I just said, I am leaving Wikipedia. I have given up. The experience I've had in this one little corner of the WP world is doubtlessly occurring in many other places, and that is a damning and dooming realization for me. The problem isn't anyone on this page, but rather the ruleset by which the organization functions, and organization support the project has. This is not easily fixable, and I won't try. This means that the Wikipedia Global Education Program, of which I am a part, cannot really attain its goals. Content experts and serious students may come here in increasing numbers, as a function of the WGEP's efforts, but they won't stay. That saddens me, and had I seen this in the beginning I wouldn't be here today.

I have no solution for you. In my profession we don't offer solutions to people who aren't asking for them. That's always a fool's errand. I won't deny being a fool in many ways, but I'm not that kind of fool.

As human beings, we are all in the same existential predicament, and from that point of view I wish you all the best, with all of my being. I don't know what more I can do. I do know that I will, from this point on, be doing it elsewhere.

[There is a bit more on this topic, here.]

Tom Cloyd (talk) 13:34, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia activities

Related professional activities

I am a psychotherapist (licensed, State of WA) with extensive clinical experience treating people with PTSD and DID (my specialties), anxiety disorders, and depression-related disorders. I have also done considerable work with people experiencing intimacy relationship issues. My formal training is in Counseling Psychology (M.S.) and Cultural Anthropology (M.A.).

I write a blog - SleightMind - on issues relating to psychotherapy and mental health in general.

I maintain a professional website for support of my services as a psychotherapist.

Involvement in Wikipedia Global Education Program - United States division

I am the Wikipedia Regional Ambassador for the "Great West" region of the United States Education Program - Region 9 - Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. My principal task in this role has been to locate and supervise university faculty interested in making Wikipedia editing part of one or more of their courses, and to locate and manage Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors to assist them.

About editing - ideas and tools






  • [citation needed] - {{Citation needed}}
  • [full citation needed] - {{Full}}
  • [unreliable source?] - {{Verify credibility|date=July 2011}} - (place BEFORE citation of questionable source; replace date with date of insertion).
  • [unreliable scientific source?] - {{SCIRS|date=August 2010}} - (place BEFORE citation of questionable source; replace date with date of insertion).
  • Resolved: This problem appears to be resolved. Tom Cloyd (talk) 20:08, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
    - {{Resolved|1=This problem appears to be resolved. <strong>[[User:Tomcloyd|Tom Cloyd]] ([[User talk:Tomcloyd|talk]])</strong>20:08, 26 April 2010 (UTC)}}
  • outdenting - example (accomplished with {{od}}

asdf asdf asdf asdf asdf

asdf asdf asdf asdf asdf
asdf asdf asdf asdf asdf
asdf asdf asdf asdf asdf

───────────────────────── asdf asdf asdf asdf asdf

asdf asdf asdf asdf asdf
asdf asdf asdf asdf asdf
asdf asdf asdf asdf asdf


This cannot be done using normal "wikimarkup". However, since it CAN be done using HTML tags, and the Wikipedia parser can understand HTML, we merely need to use that. So, to get this, for example:

  1. asdf
  2. asdf
  • asdf
  • asfs
  • asdf
    • asdf
    • asfs
  • asdf
  • ...enter this code in your edit page:


    (In this example, bullets are subordinate to numbers, but it can be done the other way around, also.)

    "But I don't know HTML!!!" Yeah, I understand. You need to use a WYSIWYG HTML editor. I strongly recommend the fine BlueGriffon Web Editor, which I use myself. You write text, it generates HTML. Switch to HTML view, and do a cut and paste.

    If you have DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) and are editing the DID article or its Talk page - please read this

    This may not be a safe place for you, but it should be

    In the time since I have participated, or tried to participate, in editing this article, I have witnessed an unwelcoming and even hostile attitude toward some editors here who have been open about their own DID diagnosis. There is also a distinctly hostile attitude emanating from multiple editors toward the legitimacy of the DID diagnosis, the legitimacy of the professional mental health treatment community, and to the science which distinctly and conclusively validates both.

    As a psychotherapist who treats people with DID, I am very concerned about this, for these reasons:

    • As someone with DID, you have been victimized enough.
    • As someone with DID, your ability to prevent further victimization is likely to be underdeveloped, such that you are an easy target for further abuse.
    • At Wikipedia, we are supposed to be welcoming.
    • At Wikipedia, we are supposed to assume good faith.
    • We have formal policies against:

    Denial of the legitimacy of DID, assertions that faked and "manufactured" DID are common, or assertions that the professional mental health community has any serious difficulty with the concept of DID is a psychological form of holocaust denial. It is an assault on the reality of the awfulness of your personal history and of the grave difficulty of your daily life with DID. The professional mental health community does not accept any of this. I personally am outraged by it.

    You have a right to be here. You have a right to feel safe here. At present, there are individuals here whose behavior indicates complete insensitivity to the fact that DID is invariably caused by extreme and chronic emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse. It is the most extreme of all formal diagnoses known to be caused by anxiety (a polite word for fear). People with DID are walking wounded, when they can "walk" at all.

    You should NOT have to come to this article, to this Talk page, and encounter such ignorance and insensitivity. However, we are not able assure you that this won't happen. What we can do is respond vigorously and decisively to unacceptable behavior here. Bullies assume you won't know how to respond or won't be able to. If you are alone, they may be right. But you are not alone here. There are several members of this editorial community who will not tolerate such behavior here. I am one of them.

    That you are even here at all is remarkable. If you have personal resources which make it possible for you actively to participate in the editing and discussion here, that is even more remarkable, and is a testament to your survival skills and essential character.

    AGAIN: You have a right to be here. You have a right to feel safe here. So what can we do to make it so?

    Watching, and acting - what WE can all do - what I WILL do

    Be assured that the Wikipedia community does NOT support abusive editors, and that there is a formal and active process for identifying and stopping abusive editing. However, this process usually has to be initiated by one or more editors who notice the problem and respond to it with corrective action, which can include an individual's being temporarily blocked, or permanently banned, from an article, or even from all of Wikipedia itself. The resolution process is often not as fast as we might like. Neverthless, we can do something distinct and decisive about bullies and abusers. We can and will take action when it is called for. If our action has legitimate basis, the Wikipedia community will support it.

    I have begun watching this Talk page, and Talk pages of individuals I know are here who have spoken of having DID. Chronic abuse victims usually don't have very good self-defense or boundary maintenance skills. They can too easily become easy targets for bullies and sociopaths. I will do what I can to catch edits here or on the Talk pages I am watching which suggest to me that abuse is being perpetrated. I will respond aggressively, for the good of the community. I am deeply involved in Wikipedia, and I find such behavior here as totally unacceptable as I do in the non-Wikipedia world.

    If you fear you may become a target for abusive editors, or think it has already happened, simply post a note on my Talk page, and I'll take it from there. I will first support your responding to the apparent abuse yourself (which doesn't preclude my responding as well). If you prefer, I can do it for you. It is NEVER just an issue concerning only you. It is a communitymental health and safety issue. It is therefore quite appropriate for either or both of us to respond to abusive editors to correct they problem they present.

    I may repost this message on the DID Talk page from time to time, if I think it necessary. A permanent copy will be on my own User Page, with a link to it from my User Talk page, so it may always be found there.

    I hope this message is helpful to you, and I welcome your constructive comment on it, especially if you are aware of additional ways to improve the editorial environment here which I have not mentioned. Just post a message on my Talk page.

    Tom Cloyd (talk) 07:54, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

    A barnstar for your userpage

    The Crackpot Mouse

    Fatmouse.jpg The Crackpot Mouse has been genetically modified to detect hotheadedness, political spin, and crackpottery. He will eat you if you fail to edit with humility, care, and impartiality. Otherwise, he is quite pleasant. Note that the mouse on the right is a trained ninja mouse, tasked to protect newcomers from being bitten. Thank you so much for your countless attempts to make the Dissociative Identity Disorder page free from crackpottery, hotheadedness and political spin while at the same time trying to protect those of us who are new editors and who have DID. You Rock! ~ty (talk) 17:21, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

    He he... this is so fitting right now to the events on the DID page. I could not resist!~ty (talk) 17:21, 31 January 2012 (UTC)