Uncyclomedia Projects:Das Experiment
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The controversial ongoing online research project, Uncyclomedia Projects:Das Experiment (or Das Experiment) was initiated by the non-profit organization, The Uncyclomedia Foundation. The main hypothesis was to isolate users on the comedy Wiki, Uncyclopedia with the idea of stripping them of their identities and seeing what the true ugliness of human nature would reveal itself. They were right and so far the project has revealed that middle class westerners should be encarcerated somewhere that makes Abu Ghraib look like the Four Seasons.
The Foundation's project was part funded by McDonalds who wanted to test how much obnoxious behavior would result in more of their lousy food being sold to children. Another large financier was Orkney County Council whose involvement came after a windfall of money from Iceland funded the project in the hope of taming the inbreeds with volunteer members of a "local guardian force" from and for their inbred population.
edit Initial testing
“Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo”
- ~ Doctor D-, the German born head of Das Experiment added this preface of the projects file
Usually the drama zone revolves around about sixteen users, but around five will do, along with any admin who will repeatedly declare peace whilst in a constant state of war - this adds to the spice to the mix. Of course its important to always stress that both the guards (admins) and the prisoners (users) write at some point otherwise the experiment would provide no conclusive results. The experiment would in effect become a bunch of arseholes voting on crap on the Internet nullifying any results that may be gleaned. The prerequisite is that all the subjects believe they are fighting for their own 'little vision' of what they think the site should be.
Once these particular conditions are fulfilled, then the slow and painful stage of de-individualization can begin. One little whiner/drama creator just blends into another. Other key features for all the candidates was that they would always edit Uncyclopedia and always for at least 16 hours each day non-stop or more, except for toilet breaks and to eat processed food. Poor diets and lifestyle are essential, as adults with full mental faculties would never willingly endure the degradation, shame and humiliation that comes with the experiment.
One other phenomenon, however common today, is the gamer culture. These pepped up aggressive adults only outlet is online where their rage can express itself without having the shit kicked out of their tubby guts. This gamer culture further reinforces the "unreality" amongst participants who gradually become completely dependent on the project after a time, ensuring greater clarity in the results. Specificically in the case of male test subjects as the female variants were either too intelligent to get involved or too stupid to really care - this meant that women would skew the blatantly biased hypothesis of the researchers.
edit Early Issues
Once the appropriate characters of various nationalities were assembled, a melting pot, if you will, then the experiment was under way. Some of the prisoners would routinely create mass hysteria prompting social games to pacify the rioter, with soothing words that it (being whatever the latest drama was about) had nothing to do with them and that they should cool off. Even free EuroiPods were delivered to show that guards were willing to try the carrot, whilst making it abundantly clear that the stick would be utilized if their authority continued to be questioned.
|I read somewhere the way to deal with this sort of situation.... Humiliation......|
Overtime elements of group-mind thinking allow even the most argumentative of contributors to become an established part of the community taking on their goals and methodology. Under normal circumstances this would lead to stagnation and a leveling out of internal conflicts initiating a period of contentment and serenity, so an ingenious solution was added to the experiment. New test subjects are continuously added, who have no knowledge of the inner workings of the community. As with most online communities passing judgment on matters they know very little about is the order of the day, leading to frustration and annoyance from more established test subjects who feel that length of time served presents them with more authority to say how the site should be run.
This could get out of hand, with a dramatic increases in prisoners founding popular areas of the site where they could mount resistances or gain mutual acknowledgement in their articles and ideas even if the community at large viewed there efforts as mentally stunted. Even where the rump of the community has some sympathy for the endeavors of these groups they invariably ruin it with their constant need for validation and reassurance. This creates fissiparous elements within the site as different ideologically opposed elements split off. This tended to be stupid prisoners versus the slightly less stupid prisoners. As soon as this becomes established however subjects are completely left open to admin/guard abuse as tyranny flourishes under mutual dissent.
edit Mild irritation to vicious passive aggression
Some admins found that the deliberate anti-authoritarian tendencies difficult to manage. This is because of the distances involved - it’s very easy to have a go at someone from the safety of ones own home, hundreds of miles away from repercussions. Similarly the odd blip of admin brutality is always easy to shrug off as a 'managerial' style, which might rub "some" people up the wrong way.
A tendency to develop passive aggressive tendencies was found amongst both the guards and the prisoners for example it was common to find statements along similar lines to this, "I'm totally fine with you and all the matters discussed here", however the real feelings would be expressed in ways similar to, 'I'll either just smugly give out subtle threats until I can ban you, or if I'm not an admin I'll create loads of forum posts with bitchy incendiary comments'. This created a great deal of conflict that can only be subtly discerned by the most dedicated observer.
The Mega Deletion Award along with Uncyclopedian of the Month/Year are good examples of the kind of manipulative award culture that takes place, both for the guard and for the users. Ultimately it's always important that the ratio of people who did little do deserve any praise of any kind are awarded these at a much higher level. These should include people who never write decent articles but merely report fellow subjects work to VFD etc. This creates an atmosphere of dissent among actual writers who question the high levels and titles given to people who contribute little to the project.
Many admins like winning the Mega Deletion Award, it proves early on that as Guards in the project that there tenure of contributing to the site is over. They must now remove content either by irritating little wankers voting for it or because another one of there aforementioned irritating little wankers adds a template. Either way this must not be a routine necessity, but a means of building dependence and addiction that was thought at the time would create more substantial results in the researchers favour. However the researchers were either removed from the project or became guards themselves, no longer able to tell that they had gazed into the abyss for too long.
How absurd in a Camus like way this must all seem, but the point is that they must not learn to question their duties now. Any dissent that some people seem to have been added to the community and their work is subtly quite destructive is the admin function of the guards - they must, before stopping vandal attacks hammer down any comment that some of the inmates are subtly undermining both themselves and the site with "Maintenance Fascism." Another vital component of the tests is that these inmates must have a sub par IQ and also contribute little while having very distinct and very vocal opinions on how others should contribute their work and the kind of work featured
edit When the project started getting out of control
Negotiating with some elements is just a waste of time as the very concept of sitting down and resolving a matter like an adult is completely out of the question. War is an aphrodisiac and online the consequences will be a be a mere weeks ban (if that depending on mitigating circumstances) for months of rioting and causing untold damage to the project. The Uncyclomedia project deemed this necessary part of obtaining the research grant, as financiers were keen to see some drama.
Of course the guards needed to step up their efforts to see the Wiki flourish and have some kind of userbase left after their despotism got out of hand (or any other 'ism' for that matter). Therefore they gradually weakened the effort to write articles by aiding and abetting the creation of usergroups, categorizing images, voting and also snitching on ban patrol. These useless people get awards and immunity from the admins, especially on highly suspect whoring and spam like activity or a wide range of very poor ideas on-site Policy. This gradual decline in guard power has meant that the experiment is surprisingly liberal, however only to people who edit the site in the most narrow and useless of ways.
“I'd for one like to say I think we should do things the way that everyone else has said in this forum along with <insert rubbish policy/possible additional symbolic title here>... Then I'll go back to uploading porn images and categorizing them so we have our very own Wikipedia style porn database and then I'll come and give you some more gems of my wisdom whilst I give my vote on articles written better than mine on VFD”
- ~ Typical moronical power hungry inmate desperate to score points
As such awards such as the indefblocked award have become a rarity. However ongoing passive aggressive activities take place, such as bandwagon voting, propaganda and "Cabal" like strategies for pressuring people to only do maintenance or write poorer articles or to devolve evermore of their admin responsibilities to morons. It was observed that this trend is rather like at a failing school where 'Prefects' would be appointed by incompetent lazy teachers. These morons of course have such low self-esteem they live in the unspoken hope of being one of the admins and will do any number of quasi-useful or useless 'jobs' on the site. Then they won't be useless or just like the rest of the inmates, who themselves often use them as yes men/goons for voting and nominating their articles.
This has seen the experiment warp out beyond the confines of the experiment, with members of the general public being beaten, harassed or locked up. This can also include vicious written abuse online from the prisoners, however the Guards often use this behavior to shore up unreasonable demands on the basis of threat, or they will channel the abuse to pursue a more liberal ban lite policy which they believe will make them more popular and less disliked by the inmate community. In recent years admins have wanted to sustain popularity off the back of possible inmate rebellion, or worse, lengthy forum dramas.
“At the end of the day, even if you don't like certain people here, they do some good sometimes although in a difficult to quantify sort of a way other than edit count... I'm sure you'll come to understand that whatever differing views we may all have, we and that small bunch of terrorists, power crazed hangers on and schizoid burned out writers can all get along to let the Wiki flourish”
- ~ One of the more reasonable admins responding to this extremely inimical article for all parties involved
The conclusions to be drawn from the ongoing experiment is that much of what goes on is completely outside the interest of people who actually like the site where the experiment is being set, namely Uncyclopedia, and aren't just pushing their own pseudo-intellectual agendas onto people who neither care or actually take the time to listen to their ill-thought out arguments. Of course no agenda can truly flourish under the current state of the experiment, as it is too weak to sustain any real values under which its collective efforts may be directed.
Some have commented however that the "Primum movens" of the experiment was the idea of coming to write articles and this may be where the community may direct it's efforts. Of course the baggage of having so many incapable of writing something decent will no doubt scupper any hopes of this. The Guards themselves remain in a difficult quandary, as the experiment has the crucial flaw that as new people are added, so new people are either faced with bothering to go write an article, or scheming to become guards themselves - unfortunately with some level of success.
To summarize, the main long term consequence is negligible, as most people on the website fail to recognize that they are indeed test subjects and are too dumb, crazy or egotistical to even recognize when they are having the piss taken out of them. And indeed, little useful data has been collected the data set that is currently published only demonstrates that the internet is filled with a lot of very unfortunate people indeed.
edit See also
- Passive–aggressive behavior - A highly common coping strategy among Uncylopedians participating in this experiment, be they the guards or the users.
- The History of the Decline and Fall of Uncyclopedia - A Study on the History of Uncyclopedia detailing many of the issues leading to its downfall.