Qworty is a shtick. Qworty is an entertainment, an annoyance, a distraction, a put-on, a reading experience, a performance, a series of ironies, an inversion that you do or do not get. At times you might read excerpts from these texts in the news and you might take them—at your own peril—at surface value. Which any college English freshman would warn you not to do. And which any graduate student in literature would laugh at you for doing.
You came here because you were curious or provoked or perhaps even pissed-off. You didn’t come here to read about the many good things that I have done in my life, you didn’t come here to read about the sacrifices that I have made for other people, you didn’t come hear to read about the ways in which I have tried to make the world a better experience for others.
You came here, instead, to read some dirt. Or you came here, perhaps, to read an explication. You came here because you are curious to read what it says here. In all cases, what you are doing is reading.
What is reading? Reading is the psychological projection that you engage in as your eyeballs move over a text and you construct a meaning and a response in your own mind. Since texts themselves are inert and therefore don’t have emotions, the emotions you experience when I "make" you laugh or I "make" you angry or I "make" you sad or I "make" you feel compassion are not based on anything objective—they are not based on anything outside of you—they are based entirely on the subjectivity of who and what you are. Well, you can hardly blame the writer for that.
So when you ask “Who is Qworty?” be aware of the affective fallacy and the intentional fallacy. Be aware that not everybody has reacted to my words in the way that you do (because not everybody is like you), and be aware that anybody who is trying to guess my intentions as a writer is blowing the purest gas.
So who is Qworty? Qworty is one of the creators of text on Wikipedia.
And what is Wikipedia? Wikipedia is the great postmodern novel, the book that James Joyce might have written if he had lived long enough and could somehow convert himself into the finite number of monkeys who are writing this postmodern novel that is subtitled “the encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”
Wikipedia is pretty busy telling you what it is not—WP:NOT—so the question must be engaged, just what is Wikipedia, besides a poorly understood post-modern novel in perpetual progress?
Chess is a game that was created so that people might not actually kill each other in war. The Internet is a game created so that people might not actually kill each other—period. This is what I have come to believe.
I have been on the Internet from the beginning. First there was the Wild West of Usenet and message boards, where much of the “behavior”—if one is actually naïve enough to equate a text with a behavior—was infantile.
The second stage of Internet development was that of the Eternal Adolescent, the Internet looking at the world around it (and at itself) without yet having mastered the maturity of acceptance-of-consequences. The premier example of this “mid-development” Internet pathology is, of course, Wikipedia, with its procedural dramas and interpersonal tantrums and high-school edit-warring and social ostracisms (a block, anyone?) and so forth.
The adult stage of the Internet is, believe it or not, Facebook. You use your own name. You’re polite to everybody. Amazingly, these strangers are (almost always) polite in return. If you don’t always feel good about the Facebook experience, at least you’re not wasting three hours trying to track down an infuriating IP address.
I was never much interested in Wikipedia until I was attacked on Wikipedia. People from the real world, who had volunteered to be my enemies, came here to create “fictions”—in ordinary life known as “lies”—about me, so I came here to correct a few things.
But whether you consider a piece of writing to be a fiction or a lie or a hagiography or anything else, it is still only a text. It can’t actually hurt you, unless you decide, by living the affective fallacy, that your negative personal reaction is everybody else’s as well. And so I realized fairly quickly that Wikipedia, like a novel or chess, was a game, this one calling itself an encyclopedia, the way that the board game “Monopoly” might dare to call itself “the business world”—if anyone were foolish enough to believe that.
Part of the game goes like this: Wikipedia is "not truth." Wikipedia is only that which is “verifiable.” Wikipedia is only that which is “reliably sourced.” See WP:NOTTRUTH and WP:V and WP:RS. All of this is just another way of saying that Wikipedia, like any other text, is not reality.
A few thousand edits after my initial experience, Jimbo Wales himself became concerned about what had been done to me, particularly in light of the fact that one of the people textually “abusing” me had been a rogue admin. Jimbo approached me personally, on two separate occasions, and very kindly, and with much concern, asked me to name the people who had violated WP:BLP in their attacks on me.
I silently refused, however, to accept Jimbo’s help. Why? Because like many people, I had by then realized what little power Jimbo really has on the project. It long ago outgrew him and subsumed him, the monster obliterating its creator.
Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people out there, some of them planted in The Dying Official Media, who hate Jimbo. They hate him for various reasons, all of them dull to me, except when they try to use me against him in various ways. They do this even though Jimbo’s battles have nothing to do with me. It’s just more projection—more reading—more mental self-abuse by people who fail to realize that regardless of how much drama they’re projecting, all they’re dealing with are texts, not reality.
So what is a text? Why isn’t it reality?
You can answer these questions in your own driveway. After parking your car, take the owner’s manual out of the glove compartment and get out of the car and stand there, looking at the manual in your hand and looking at the car. Look at the manual. Look at the car. Keep doing it, back and forth.
Which one is the car?
Only the car is the car. What are you holding in your hand? You are holding a booklet containing text. It is not the car. It is not reality. It is only a text.
A piece of writing is not the same thing as the thing being “described.” Anybody who actually believes that there is an automobile inside an owner’s manual probably belongs in a psych ward, along with everyone who believes that video games or movies are “real.”
Or anyone who thinks Wikipedia is real.
Wikipedia is not reality and nothing happening on Wikipedia—or “behind the scenes at Wikipedia”—is real. So get the fuck over it.
A prospective employer, reading a text on the Internet, and then making hiring decisions or firing decisions based on what he has read “about” a person, is a fool. If you are hired, not hired, or fired by such a person, then you have been hired, not hired, or fired by a fool. You are dealing with a person who has gotten so turned around by the affective and intentional fallacies that he thinks that an inert text projected on a screen is the same thing as you.
If you want reality, go to your family. Go to your friends. Go to the people you love. Go to the people you hate, if you must. Darken the screen to black and go back out into the reality of your life.
If you are truly interested in learning about the drama or the terror or the narcissism or the sheer stupid human comedy perpetrated by text-mad volunteer editors—as well as the amusement of those few who recognize that it is only a game—then I suggest, again, that you go do something interesting in the real world instead.
It’s time to get over the Internet. It’s time to get over ourselves.