When I first started editing Wikipedia, I really saw its potential to be a comprehensive resource on all matters both general and specific. I thought — and still think — that the Neutral Point of View policy is both a workable method and a desirable goal. In many discussions, I found myself challenged to better articulate my own perspective, as well as to better appreciate that of others. In many cases, I found myself working productively and cooperatively with people whose worldviews and beliefs were often totally at odds with my own. In these cases, we all accepted that NPOV is, ideally, descriptive, that a neutral, accurate, and dispassionate description of all aspects of a subject is the best approach.
The clouds gather
Unfortunately, as I continued to edit articles, often I found that cooperative spirit to be sadly lacking. There seemed to be an increasing tendency among many editors — both those I agreed with and those I did not — towards combativeness and disrespect. This was particularly true in cases relating to religion, with the attitude on one side that religious people (usually Christian) were trying to push a religious POV as the standard or norm; on the other, that those with more secular veiwpoints were not respecting or admitting the validity of any religious viewpoint at all. Conflicts often escalated quickly, with namecalling, revert wars, and generally unprofessional behaviour on both sides.
It seems to me that the strength of Wikipedia is also its weakness. While allowing anyone to edit opens the door to unlimited contributions on every possible subject, it also opens the door to disruptive and uncivil behaviour of every kind. The worst comes from those who become adept at gaming the system, recruiting like-minded editors to form cabals and alliances to combat "those evil (fill in the blank)-POV pushers". This makes any article with the most remotely controversial subject matter subject to constant and unproductive turf battles between self-appointed experts on all sides, whose only credentials are their high edit counts and their skill at discouraging or chasing away their perceived opponents.
After a couple of particularly bitter battles in December 2005 and January 2006, I decided to take a protracted wikibreak, which I have now decided to make permanent. With regret, I am leaving Wikipedia. While I hope that the Wikipedia community manages to develop a better system for providing reliable content and minimizing uncivil and unproductive debate, it will have to do it without me.
If I have offended anyone here by word, deed, or thought, I ask your forgiveness. Mine I give freely, without hesitation or qualification.
If anyone wants to contact me on this or any other subject, please send me an email here.
Goodbye, and God bless you all.