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Internet Authority Disease

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(English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

As the Internet became a sort of frontier for civilization, it was noticed that there was not some new egalitarian democratic playing field emerging. Rather, petty bureaucracies formed around those who had control of the various "territories" of the internet. Those who controlled the physical access to the servers and networks rose to authority in a way that surprised no one. After all, this was exactly analagous to what had happened in meatspace over thousands of years of history. However, the stranger phenomenon was of those who managed to somehow control these internet "territories" even though they had no legal or physical ownership of anything. In some cases, such as IRC, this ownership was enforced by built in devices such as "ops" status, and "kick" and "ban" routines in the program code enabling the authority to banish arbitrary people from these "territories". In other cases, though, it was by merely working their ass off that a general consensus would grow around a certain person being "leader.", for what does a leader need other than followers?

The Internet Authority Disease is a theory to explain how utterly addicted many internet "leaders" become to the sense of power they have on the internet, and the effects it has on their attitude towards the internet, their emotional state, and their feelings towards users.

Unfortunately it's not a very well developed theory at the moment.