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|This game in a nutshell: Wikipedia is all about winning. We win by any and all methods open to us. The content is our battleground and our edits; our artillery. Be bold! Dare to win and take no prisoners.
Roll-up! Roll-up! Dare to pit your wits against other Wikipedians in this no-holds-barred competition of self promotion, ego-mania, and above all one-upmanship!
At face value Wikipedia looks like a collaborative effort to build a free access encyclopedia. It appears to be a rich source of knowledge growing by the day; not so slowly and very surely. But in truth, Wikipedia is a thinly veiled game of points. Points can be accumulated in many ways but also lost in just as many ways. Think of it as snakes and ladders without the chance. We don't use dice; we use word-smithery and almost Machiavellian devices to twist and (hopefully) undermine other editors. The rewards aren't clear but the passion is obvious!
The aim of the game
In a nutshell, the aim of the game is to become a self-righteous snob whose ownership of all they survey is clear to all others. We must earn bragging rights by getting under our belts as many fruitless edits as possible so we can lay claim to them whenever and as often as possible. With enough edits under our belts we earn the right to display made up qualifications on our vastly bloated user pages alongside our myriad of userboxes, the aim of which is to wow and intimidate any who pass that way.
Further to our record of achievement we have our public image to keep up. It is of extreme importance to become known throughout the project as always having an opinion and always changing our opinion if it means we can extend the discussion. Extending any discussion or editing war is a tactic vital to learn, as it affords us ever greater opportunities to gain attention and of course, those ever valuable edit counts! Prolonged discussions and edit warring is technically quite difficult to do without actually having an opinion but there are some tricks that (when employed) can give the impression we are making valid statements when in truth we are simply stirring the shit. Equally, making multiple reverts of arguably valid article content can attain many edit counts, create several discussions and with luck, lead to administrative intervention (or fame as we prefer to think of it).
The rules are simple; there aren't any. Do whatever you like. The encouragement to be bold lies at the heart of Wikipedia and its interpretation is how the game is justified. If you want to do it, do it! Since the aim is to cause a fuss and accumulate points, the bolder we are the better. The egregiously brazen are streaming ahead so don't hold back. Really, think bull in a china shop. Get stuck in and get more out!
There may be no rules but there are dangers. A breed of players known as Administrators have gotten so good at bullshitting other editors, they have developed almost super powers. Their attention is rarely desirable. This is not to say they can't be useful, but be wary since the admins are playing this game too. If they get a chance to score... well, who can blame them? When they score they score big and may very well take down whole swathes of other players in the process. Their main weapon is the block but that is relatively easy to avoid. Where their greatest strength lies is in their omniscience. They know every page, every clause, every trick, and how to use them. Beyond that, they often team up. As a team they are simply unbeatable so the best advice is to tug on your forelock and back away bowing.
The admins are not the only pitfall but they are the most obvious and thus in fact the easiest to avoid. The more subtle dangers are (in no particular order):
- Having a conscience
- Seriously; right and wrong mean nothing here.
- Being principled
- If you don't change your mind as often as your underpants you've already lost.
- Wanting to get on with improving the Encyclopedia
- This one is a killer leaving us wide open to attack from all directions.
- Being friendly and/or helpful
- Never do anything for anyone if it doesn't earn you points.
- Being fallible
- Always have a set of bullshit excuses to hand just in case your previous bullshit is examined.
- And arguably above all, not taking the game seriously
- Absolutely everything we do is the most important thing ever! At least if we don't act like it is we will surely lose points to someone more ruthless.