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|This page in a nutshell: Scientists have noted that unflattering mentions at ANI are associated with an increased incidence of sudden-onset debilitating illness.|
Everyone does things they shouldn't, now and then, some more than others. Some prolific editors have – wittingly or unwittingly – built unfortunate reputations on the project for repeated edit warring and belligerent behavior. Occasionally this culminates in the opening of a WP:ANI thread discussing the imposition of restrictive sanctions or even community banning. Even admins are no exception: If an admin deletes pages on obviously notable topics too often, or pulls a controversial block on a longstanding editor, an angry mob may gather with torches and pitchforks and open an Arbitration Committee case request. How do you get out of that? The same way you do in real life – feign sickness, or in extreme situations death.
Supposing you're an ostensibly unblockable prolific editor with a long term pattern of incivility and edit warring who has exhausted the patience of respected senior community members, and you find yourself the subject of an ANI thread; or, supposing you’re an administrator who's done something really stupid, and the community is cross about it enough for you to be a subject of an Arbitration case request. What options have you got?
Admit fault.Hang on. You may be asked to voluntarily subject yourself to a WP:1RR, WP:IBAN, or WP:TBAN restriction. If you’re an administrator and you do that, you might even be asked to resign your tools. Then you can't block anyone, and you'll have resigned "under a cloud" so you'll never get them back! Naah.
- Argue that everyone else is wrong. That sounds like an awful lot of effort, and time spent away from your article ownership or block button. What fun's that?
- Accuse everyone of being a sockpuppet and
payget a checkuser to block them. The trouble is, these damn checkusers want diffs of all things. Who ever reads those?
Surely there's some other way of getting out of it. Well, why not simply call in sick? Nobody's ever going to question your actions if you're in poor health. So pull a sickie and watch for thread to close as "no action". (You don't have to actually say that you're sick. Simply going silent – as if you've fallen into a coma or inexplicably lost use of your fingers – until discussion peters out is an effective way to avoid sanctions: "[Username] hasn't edited since [date], so it looks like the disruption has stopped.")
The symptoms of ANI flu are sudden, and affect an editor’s ability to reply to criticism, no matter how egregious the conduct complained of. The only known cure is to close the ANI thread or Arbitration case in question, whereby the communication abilities are miraculously restored.
Be advised that if the community is really angry at you, an episode of ANI flu can be fatal.
Depending on context, accusing someone of ANI flu might be construed as a personal attack. You never know what's really going on with someone, so use this essay sparingly and in good faith (i.e. humorously).
Those playing ANI Possum may be quarantined (desysoped or blocked) to prevent further harm to the community.
In popular culture
The phrase was popularised by the 19th-century poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in his poem The Masque of Anarchy, which contains the line "Ye are ANI, they are flu". Likewise, it has been suggested as the origins of the UK Labour Party's slogan, under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, "For the ANI, not the flu".
- ^ Shelley, Percy Bysshe (1847). Shelley, Mrs. (ed.). The works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. pp. 231–235.
- ^ "Londoner's Diary: Do Jeremy Corbyn's Romantic words come from Shelley?". www.standard.co.uk. May 19, 2017.