What We Call Leaving

When people choose infocide they are doing two things: they are leaving and they are taking their stuff (information) with them when they go. (Hence, in English we have an idiom for those that leave in a huff as “taking their ball and going home.”) Even without the retraction of one’s self from a community, leaving is an intriguing behavior itself. We have many ways of speaking of this behavior with varied connotations including: resign, quit, drop-out, and take a break/holiday. Similarly, Wikipedia has templates that decorate the user pages of those that have gone missing, which I sort based on the how often a template is used.

Template # Description
Retired 2177 is no longer active [Wikipedia2010tr]
Wikibreak 1562 is taking a short wikibreak and will be back soon [Wikipedia2010tw]
Not here 514 may have left Wikipedia [Wikipedia2010tnh]
Semi-retired 427 is no longer very active [Wikipedia2011tsr]
User EX-WP 285 has decided to leave [Wikipedia2011tue]
Long wikibreak 231 is taking a long wikibreak and will be back [Wikipedia2010tlw]
Vacation [1,2,3] 116 is away on vacation [Wikipedia2010tv, Wikipedia2011tv, Wikipedia2010tv1]
Holiday 97 is away on holiday [Wikipedia2011th]
Temporarily inactive 66 temporarily inactive [Wikipedia2011tut]

Here we see significant redundancies (why 3 versions of a vacation template and a holiday template) but a few interesting features. First, these are self-declared absences — except for “Not Here.” Second, the absence might be more or less permanent. Three, the reason for absence is only specified in the case of a real world (e.g., holiday/vacation) though the EX-WP template implies dissatisfaction since one is purposefully no longer identifying as a Wikipedian.

Ported/Archived Responses

Joseph Reagle on 2011-12-16

Further thought: crawling all of the user pages that use these templates could be a neat corpus for large-scale content/discourse analysis.

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