Spent a little time yesterday browsing the Wikipedia-hating pastures of Wikipedia Review. Amid the paranoia and silliness, I came across a link to a WP page I'd never seen before: Missing Wikipedians. The page proved almost poignant.
This list of missing editors is where former Wikipedians go to...well, not exactly die. In fact, there's another list of deceased Wikipedians. I'll comment on that page when I'm feeling really wistful.
Some of the comments about missing editors were either sad or silly, depending on your personal cynicism index: "Very sad. Notheruser was a great contributor." "He will be missed by many." "A respected administrator; last edit August 1, 2006. His final edit summary was Last edit...good night."
That last edit summary struck me as a stylish way to bow out of the project. Maybe when I end this blog, I'll post a two-word "Good night" entry. Or "Good morning" if it's 9:00 AM.
I recognized several of the dearly departed. Essjay quit because of "the New Yorker mess." Yeah, I've edited the article. Katefan0 was hounded off the site in a very nasty episode. Zoe got p.o.ed at Jimbo and stormed out. Flcelloguy seemed like a very nice editor, but that weird thing called real life turned too busy for him. CharlotteWebb got tangled in a TOR web, which I never understood because I don't know what the Hades TOR is.
Many of the reasons cited for leaving boiled down to burnout: "lost interest", "closed up shop", "I just feel like part of a mob", "grew tired", "felt fed up", "time here has passed", "it wasn't fun anymore", "no interest", "nobody will listen to you", "just not fun anymore", "not worth my time", "gotten tired". When it gets to be a chore, it's time to find the door.
Some left over specific issues: advertising, administrator actions, the reward board, the userbox flapdoodle, "vandals, trolls, and malefactors", conflicts over particular articles, criticism on the user's talk page. The funniest exit line was: "This contributor is currently under the impression that Wikipeia is a complete waist of time. (except for a spelling lesson)." But most just up and left because they felt like up and leaving. As one note said: "Disappeared without any notice or indication of reason."
That's the way to go.