Academic Standards Disease

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The current version is a more serious treatment of this imaginary disease. See Academic standards disease.

Academic standards disease also called the academic standards kick is a highly contagious (theoretically curable) quasi-disease, the primary effect of which is a confusion of Wikipedia goals with academic ones. It affects a large number of current and former members of the Wikipedia community, but inadequate funding and poor record-keeping make accurate statistics impossible.

Symptoms[edit]

The onset of this disease is characterized by an excess of zeal, commonly provoked by vandals and the efforts needed to combat them, and soon evolving into conflicts with "non-experts" for their work ("caliber", "quality", "validity", "real encyclopedia" and "your shoddy-assed work" are terms often used by a carrier of AS-kick).

Diagnosis[edit]

The disease is confirmed when the victim treats non-expert (common) users as if they were actually disruptive vandals, and exaggerates the problem of vandalism to monumental proportions, typically calling for draconian hard security measures on the en-wiki and wikipedia-l w:mailing lists. They sooner or later lose touch with several core Wiki concepts such as community editing, consensus, respect, communication, and soft security.

Prognosis[edit]

The karmic retribution incurred by being unpleasant to bona fide Wikipedians on a daily basis is unpleasant to watch. The more one falls victim to the academic standards kick, the more the objects of the patient's derision will attempt to prove him or her wrong, and the greater the scrutiny of his or her actions.

In time, the patient will either be enlightened, and reform, or leave Wikipedia in disgust. Both outcomes represent a cure, of sorts.

Treatment[edit]

There is a divide among practitioners as to how to treat this disease. One side believes that such people can never be cured: 'they are a product of their pre-wiki generation, and like all old people, will sooner die than learn new tricks.'

The opposing view comes in various forms:

Harm reduction[edit]

Why not simply indulge your academic standards kick by writing on subjects that hoi polloi just can't grapple with? So, give up on en:global warming as a lost cause, forever doomed to arguments from clually challenged folks, and retreat to the relative safety of en:historical temperature record or en:UNFCCC. Add facts, and lots of them. Make some fantastic articles.

In time, the brilliance of your writing will shine like a beacon through Wikipedia, and participants in the general article (here en:global warming) will find themselves merely summarising your detailed articles, rather than filling up space with their own incoherent opinions.

This approach is not a cure, but it does allow the victim to retain compatibility with the Wikipedia ecosystem.


Actually, I thought the best course of action was to improve articles and lead by example ...-Anon

This is a perfect example of the typical high-risk user. Note the hubris required to make such a presumption that others will simply follow how they lead. This type of user is headed for a train wreck if their behaviour is not moderated. -Dr. S
That was me actually. What do you recommend, Dr S? -- Tarquin 19:19, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Lay off the amphetamines--go on a tofu diet. Listen to Yanni. Play ping pong. Sing the Star Spangled Banner while playing a eukelele. Meet Jerry Lewis (unless he's dead). Start telling total strangers "I love you and I'll do anything for you." -D.S

Is there anything wrong with WikiProjects, if they promote standards? I think they are very beneficial. Templates also make it easier to write articles (at least for me). LDan

You should come to my office for a checkup, LD I can see you Wednesday or Thursday. -D. S

I'm unsure if the point here is 1) shoddy work is ok cause it's human or 2) Be nicer to others - Marshman 22:11, 8 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Both your suggested points are moral points. Try not to think of this issue in terms of morality. Rather, consider the purely factual approach:
1) Much work on Wikipedia is shoddy, or is considered shoddy.
2) This has always been so, and will always remain so.
3) A certain attitude to work of this nature can be self-reinforcing.
4) This attitude has consequences that the patient may not desire.
It is not for the medical profession to debate the morality of disease: enough for them if they may describe the disease, and allow others to judge the ethics of the matter. --"Dr" MyRedDice
Well stated, Dr Dice. It appears that the above represents an important aspect of phase 2 denial-- where a carrier tries to reason with the disease itself--in the same way that people will attempt to barter or negotiate with the reality of their current situation, by shaking a fist at God. Clearly a sad, sad, case--one which personifies my original reasons for joining the medical profession. -Dr.Stevertigo