Drama is a term that comprises occasions at Uncyclopedia in which the inevitable disagreements among authors reach heights that someone views as depths, and continue to a degree that someone views as ill-advised or even dangerous to future collaborations.
That is, it may constitute drama to accuse something else of being drama. That means that writing an article on drama might itself be drama on wheels, and that this would be one of the sought-after "articles in the style of the thing they're about." (But this digresses into Navelism.)
Our writing guide, How To Be Funny And Not Just Stupid, describes several areas where disagreement may arise, from the choice of style for an article (matter-of-fact to wacky), the specific comedy strategy, and even who has the sharpest rhetorical lathe on which to turn phrases. Any given joke might be funny to someone in-the-know and not funny at all to someone, how you say, out-of-the-know — both of whom might argue that he is a more typical reader. HTBFANJS even says a sufficiently gifted author might flout HTBFANJS itself. And we might not all agree you are that gifted.
A classic source of eternal drama is between Uncyclopedians who think no one reads us because we have too many crappy articles and we are too slow to clean the place up — and authors who think no one writes here because we are too hasty to clean the place up.
Disagreements over all these issues are natural. The key is to "disagree without being disagreeable," an ironic cliché that arose in Congress, where everyone already is. A more objective statement is to be sure you are disagreeing about which text is preferable and not about which author is the bigger asshole.
Unfortunately, after a couple years at Uncyclopedia, not unlike a couple of years of marriage, everyone becomes familiar with all the assholes. Increasingly, authors argue not that you are wrong about an edit, but that you are always wrong. Drama becomes a useful term to use, against editors whose disagreements are turning into insults, by insulting them.
Drama occurs in the following places:
- Change Summaries. They should describe what your edit did, so you can find an edit in the History and so Patrollers can see what's going on in the wiki. When a Change Summary describes not the edit but the stupidity of the previous editor, they are drama, especially when they use ALL CAPITALS or exclamation points!!!!1!! Moreover, really bad editors don't know how to read Change Summaries to begin with.
- Talk Pages, called up with the Discussion tab at the top of any page, are to plan the comedy of a page; for instance, which directions to push the article on Israel, and not whether to push Israel into the sea. That may be drama, and a follow-on regarding what a comment says about the commenter is pure drama.
- In-line. Anyone who reads an article and types his reaction right into the text at best doesn't know about Talk Pages, and at worst doesn't belong here at all. He is "blogging, not editing." In the case of I.P. Anon, who often is in both groups, Admins may deal with him using the popular rule, "One edit? Just revert him and hope he has passed out by now." Or they may use the equally popular GOMEZ rule (Get Off My Editing Zoo) and unsheathe the ban-stick.
- User Talk Pages. Unsportsmanlike comments are most effectively taken straight to the target, at his talk page, though drama that is effective is still not a good thing. As with article Talk Pages, use these pages to work stuff out and not to fight.
- Forums. Users take their drama to the Village Dump for the same reason that McDonald's opens hundreds of franchises: Because they want to sell their bull to the widest possible audience. One thing worse than drama is a drama broadcast.
- Votes on articles. The worst place for drama is inside a ballot. No one ought to get the notion that his stuff is held off the main page, or deleted outright, just because it's his stuff.
- Votes on people. Whether Best-Editor-Of-The-Month or, God help us, oppage as an Admin, it is very hard to keep votes on persons from becoming personal. But one can try to comment on what he has done for the website, versus how he became so anal-retentive. Usually, the rules not only limit you to +1 vote but say you can't cast −1 vote at all.
As Burger King combines ingredients — foreign capital, resentful teenage help, and a sesame-seed bun — so too is Uncyclopedia an amalgam of all the right ingredients to produce jovial mirth. Drama risks making each one go away:
- Readers, because no one wants to read about your personal grudges.
- Authors, because especially the objects of said grudges do not want to read them.
- Admins, because arbitrating drama-fests is the most tedious job of all.
- You, because once your audience wanders away, you will look for a more populated forum at which to vent.
- The webhost, because after all of the above are gone, there is no one left to view the ads cross-selling the company's other wikis, or even ads for Erectile Dysfunction remedies, if the company should hire a Sales staff.
How to identify drama
Drama is a sliding scale, like those at Chris Christie's annual check-up. There are no firm boundaries at which childish discussion becomes abusive personal attack, but like Justice Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it." It is a gradual process, as when doctors go into "Public Health," of getting sick of fixing problems and wanting to fix people so that the problems stop recurring. Nevertheless, there are several tell-tale signs that drama is beginning:
- Number of participants. A drama-fest attracts Uncyclopedians like moths to a flame-war. This includes Uncyclopedians with no user page and no talk page, freshly manufactured for the sole purpose of piling on.
- Jump-the-shark formatting. A ballot that has turned into a drama-fest has a Comments section at least four times as long as the ballot itself. Indentation progresses until the text hugs the right margin for dear life and is as hard to read as assembly language. Editors use text size to indicate the huge importance they assign to their own points. Horizontal rules appear after every fifth bullet point. These mark an apparent change of opinion, which is actually the same opinion masquerading as a new opinion with sudden new indignancy. The resulting eye-strain becomes a new issue requiring baring of souls through deft knife-work.
- Amateur psychology. Most Uncyclopedians have no Ph.D., but during a drama-fest, all become experts, not at what a user did wrong, but exactly what trauma during puberty keeps winding him up to make the same-exact errors, and exactly how he needs to change. These experts especially try to convince the first-day Uncyclopedians mentioned above that the veteran currently in the Star Chamber needs a mix of therapy and confession.
- Isms. When a drama-fest reaches its apogee, isms may begin to blossom. These include stereotypes from racists and sexists. In other words, off-wiki opinions are imported for on-wiki battle.
The "off-wiki" point is key. Berating an Uncyclopedian, though it is drama, might please some of us, as you might say what we are thinking and you will get the punishment and we will not. However, if you have been banned or bullied somewhere else and intend to use us and our readers as a base to launch a counter-attack, there is no upside, for us or for you.
Freedom of speech
The U.S. Constitution famously protects freedom of speech. But equally famously, this ain't the U.S.; it is cyberspace, a sort of American version of the Channel Islands. More to the point, this is not exactly a democracy, but a collaborative writing project. We do vote on a lot of things, but the place also has attributes of a workplace.
Therefore, your belief that you have the right to say something offensive does not mean you should do so, nor that there will be no consequences if you do. Conversely, your belief that an utterance — or even an article — is offensive, does not constitute proof that it should be taken down.
In a drama war, the nuclear weapon is called the rage-quit. An Uncyclopedian asserts that either the debate itself, the way the debate is being conducted, or the fact that he is losing the debate, will cost the rest of us the services of said Uncyclopedian. In other words: I'm leaving, and it's your fault, to co-opt the title of a great Michael Moore movie.
Rage-quits are a failed strategy. If rage-quits worked, then Congressmen and Presidents who bravely declare they are going to retire at the end of the current term would suddenly be taken more seriously. Declaring you are going to quit means your survivors at Uncyclopedia don't need to lift a finger to accommodate your opinion. They have called your bluff; now you must really quit! or no one will take you seriously in the future.
The tactic of quitting first, no matter what drama Easter eggs you hide on the website to indicate whose fault it was that we lost you, is also a loser. You are gone. We may preserve your best rants (examples below), but we no longer care what you think.
Rage-non-quits are what environmentalists call more "sustainable." They are equally childish but no one has to go away. Simply concede the other Uncyclopedian's point, but add that you are only doing so because he used overtly childish arguments (though you could not rebut them) and you only wish to "save the wiki from even more drama." If you are lucky, you may reduce your adversary's credibility almost as much as you have reduced your own.
While the above responses may occasionally end a drama-fest, the usual method of finishing a dispute is an Admin Smackdown. This is always deferred until the drama has engulfed at least 40 users and occasioned at least 12 personal insults.
After a long and lengthy speech about how irritated the Admin is to have to sort out our squabbles like children, he reads the debate superficially and ends the debate arbitrarily. Both camps feel their views did not get an honest airing, both wonder if the Admin played personal favorites, and both go away wishing they could have been more polite and persuasive, as they were just about to convince their opponents.
If the Admin finds specific Uncyclopedians at fault, he may dish editing bans, or worse yet, post harsh, condescending messages laced with sarcasm.
Uncyclopedia's Old Masters
“Drama is for impotent little assholes, like all the admins of this site. Also, after I survived multiple dramathons, it's now my little bitch. Suck it drama.”
“Drama? What drama? This entire article is a hairy load of bollocks. There is no drama on Uncyclopedia - and if there was it would be terrible. Well, except for the time that that one article was put up for VFH, but that was because it was an in-joke. And when they deleted that other article, which wasn't an in-joke, it was self-referential humour. And that stuff about that picture that was supposedly racist, but that was taken down by the bloody jewish authorities. Oh, and that thing on that talk page. Yeah, there's drama here all the time, but it's good for the site to have a healthy exchange of views, no matter what the moron ahead of me said.”
“Hey, fuck you.”
“Luckily I'm not going to stoop to your level. Asshole!”
“I know that I'm only a Noob here, but I personally believe that...(rest of comment ignored)”
“You kids these days have it so easy. Back in my day, drama MEANT something! Whenever there was drama, the opposing sides would line up across a field, everyone armed with spoons, and we would all run at each other until one side or the other was completely eyeless. Whoever could see was the winner, and that's how we LIKED it! You hippies have NO IDEA what REAL drama is like, struggling to see past your long hair so you can read some misspelled rant written by a twelve-year-old a thousand miles away. Go back to France until you're ready to do drama like REAL men!”
“Every single fucking time. EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME. I got a couple of days with a modicum of peace and quiet and some idiot that believes that it's his GOD GIVEN RIGHT to rouse the herd comes over and writes a little piece of shitty speach such as this article. EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME. Now, ya`ll better make this article happy shiny people with little rainbows and carebears by the time I get back here, otherwise I will ban your ass and then use some more sarcasm on your talk page with you not being able to respond. EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME. SHEESH. GROW UP. ”
“HEY! Why did everyone ignore me? My Opinion is just as valuable as anyone elses. All these older users are a bunch of Fascist Assholes! And Mordillo, my article is the shiz!”
“The Greeks invented it so we can all blame Aeschylus..and Clemens177.”
“D is For Double redirects. R is for Redirects. A is for Article. M is for Matfen815. A is for All of the above. What does that spell? DRAMA!”
“Yep, I've had my fair share of drama here. I've been called 'gay' so many times I think I'm getting a psychological complex... PENIS!! Excuse me.”
“'You are wrong, I am right.' The anatomy of Uncyclopedia Drama, observe its subtle intricacies”
“Drama is like sex; flushed skin, sweating and cursing, and when it's over you go downstairs and make a sandwich.”
“All Muslims are cock sucking terrorists. When they're not sucking cock or fucking children, they're blowing up buildings full of innocent people in the name of their ass backwards religion. I swear, they're all so fucking stupid it's a miracle they don't forget to breathe. I've also never met a Muslim that didn't smell like three week old shit. This world would be so much better off if we rounded them all up and sunk them to the bottom of the ocean. It's okay for me to say this because I didn't show a drawing of a penis.”
“Before I make a quote about drama on Uncyclopedia, I want to know: can I get blocked for that? I wouldn't know as I'm just a noob here, even though I've had 10 years experience editing wikis and thus know more about how wikis should be run than any of you.”
You are all wrong, and I'm right
“And I even have a new header to prove it.”
“Look at that, little mofo can't even make a quote right little bitch lolz.”
“I HATE EVERYTHING ESPECIALLY YOU, <insert name here>!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
No, fuck you very much
“Here we shall have no talk of fanged bananas, tofu, or meat products.”