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Wikipoleonic Complex is a rare delusional disorder suffered by users of publicly editable web sites, or "wikis." It is, in many respects, a more serious, dangerous, and sometimes psychopathic form of wikithuggery, and almost always occurs in wikithugs who receive little or no negative reinforcers or direct opposition from other members of the wiki community. Wiki users who are already borderline personalities in real life ("meatspace") are especially vulnerable to this disorder.
According to Dr. Sigmundheimer F. Rhoid, author of Petty Vicious Bastards: Imperialism and Conflict in Online Communities, Wikithugs who hold extreme political or religious views are especially prone to develop delusions of grandeur and obsessive-compulsive behavior within their online personas. "These are small, pathetic people in the real world," says Dr. Rhoid. "But on the Internet, they can pretend to be as big and important as they want to be, which is often pretty big and important indeed. But they don't actually see and experience the anger, resentment, and even genuine hatred their words produce, and if anyone criticizes them, they simply ignore it - or sometimes even deliberately misinterpret the criticism as a form of praise. These people have serious psychological problems, but because the symptoms only manifest themselves online, these conditions aren't taken seriously - or even noticed - until it's too late."
Another form of Wikipoleonic Complex sufferer is the "self-appointed avenger," a condition sometimes referred to as "Wikiwellington Complex" or "Lord Wikington Syndrome." This is a person who, in order to increase his or her own feelings of power and control, targets a particularly hateful or annoying wikithug and takes it upon himself (or herself) to start a "flame war" with that user, sometimes seriously disrupting the wiki and distracting administrators from the more important task of editing or deleting unwanted "trash" content, or otherwise patrolling the wiki to prevent abusive behavior by unregistered users. Ironically, this usually makes the Wikiwellington even more unpopular among the community than the Wikipoleon (or wikithug) he or she is in conflict with.
Unlike other wiki-related disorders such as wikipedepression and wikiphrenia, the symptoms of Wikipoleonic Complex are nearly always impossible to diagnose in "meatspace." A massively egomaniacal 14-year-old user may seem completely normal to his parents, teachers, and church elders, yet behave as a raging egomaniacal monster online.
In cyberspace, a wiki user with Wikipoleonic Complex is far easier to spot, as long as someone knows what "red flags" to look for. Such a user will normally stake out a "territory" in the form of a section, topic, or theme-area within the wiki which they can concentrate on and take control of. This then becomes their "power base," which is then defended by near-constant "reverts" and "redirects," and at the same time, slowly and methodically expanded until the "Wikipoleon" is either made an administrator or is successfully challenged by one or more other users. The Wikiwellington, however, while just as easy to spot, often uses "psychological warfare" tactics against the Wikipoleon that are far less predictable, and more difficult to recognize.
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Like the real Napoleon, who felt compelled to marry a Hapsburg princess to legitimize his self-proclaimed title of "emperor," a typical Wikipoleon will attempt to legitimize his power base by ingratiating himself with wiki administrators (often referred to as wikipedophiles). He will attempt to "court" the admins by participating in Instant Messaging and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) sessions with one or more of them, and may even divulge personal details to an administrator who takes the trouble to ask, all in an effort to seem helpful and unassuming to the individuals whose praise and respect he most urgently desires above all other things in his life.
Wikiwellingtons, on the other hand, disrespect and shun wiki administrators, seeing them as "Nevilles" and "Neros" for trying to either appease the Wikipoleon or "fiddle while Rome burns" (i.e., sit back in amusement while the wiki, which hundreds or even thousands of people have put considerable time and effort into building, deteriorates into a cesspool of petty bickering and personal rivalry).
Once the Wikipoleon feels secure in his power base, he will "make his move," using his hard-won position of respect and acceptance to begin promoting his personal agenda. This agenda could consist of almost anything, but the most common (and easily-spotted) items on the typical Wikipoleon's agenda are homophobia, militant religious beliefs, racism, hyper-conservatism, and (especially in the case of the Wikiwellington) hyper-anti-conservatism. Some Wikipoleons even go as far as attempting to "rationally" justify slavery, the Holocaust, and the War on Terra.
At some point, the Wikipoleon will (again, like Napoleon) overextend himself - weakening his position among other users and inviting abuse and criticism (usually in the form of "vandalism," or hostile editing) of his posted material. Given the Wikipoleon's limited amount of time and personal resources, he becomes forced to expend all of his energy in defending his "empire" from attack, to the point where he is unable to pursue his preferred activities of writing new articles (also known as "crap"), and "sucking up" to administrators.
Ultimately, the Wikipoleon is forced into full retreat, dogged by constant harassment and "rear-guard" actions by other users, many of whom he will (in some cases quite rightly) suspect as being sock puppets of any Wikiwellington type he is in conflict with.
In the end, the Wikipoleon is forced to enter into an "end-game" with his enemies on the wiki, and in most cases is defeated by them, depending on his level of intelligence and his willingness to adapt his tactics in order to preserve as much of his original power base as possible. However, like the rest of Europe during the Napoleonic Wars, Wikipoleons are never completely forgiven for their transgressions, and are finally exiled or "banned for life" from the wiki.
Because wiki software retains edit histories indefinitely, the Wikipoleon usually is then forced to assume a completely new identity, often by fully "inhabiting" an existing sock puppet. This usually leads directly to wikiphrenia, as the sock puppet identity is compelled to distance himself from the original user identity by joining his own critics in denouncing himself. It can also lead to a form of severe paranoia, known as Wikipersecution Complex.
In nearly all cases, an unsuccessful Wikipoleon will, in his new identity, attempt to reclaim his "lost empire" of wiki articles and links as quickly as possible. This attempt is usually transparent to other users, however, who by this time have become highly familiar with the Wikipoleon's writing style, sense of humor (or complete lack thereof), or tactics.
Unsuccessful attempts by users to reinvent themselves within a wiki community can easily lead to wikipedepression, which in turn can lead to full-blown depression or even suicide. In less extreme cases, however, the suicidal impulse is carried out online only, usually in the form of a wiki posting (or even an article) that informs the other members of the community of the user's intent to "go away and never come back," and often accompanied by vitriolic tirades against their perceived (and actual) persecutors.
Most wiki users, who tend to be deeply suspicious of authority and leadership behavior in general anyway, find the problem of Wikipoleons and Wikiwellingtons to be more of an annoyance than anything else. Still, the real issues implied by these disorders should not be overlooked. "These are real people we're talking about here, with real problems," claims Dr. Rhoid. "The internet has become such a force in our society now, people are starting to live their lives more online than off. Their online personas and identities become far more important to them than their real identities. Wikis and other online communities begin to take the place of physical human contact, and that's not good for people who are afflicted, or the families of those people. It's a laugh riot for everyone else, though."