|This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.|
Dramacracy is a wiki governance system in which those who cause the most drama are the de facto rulers. Many wikis, while not intending to implement a dramacracy, nonetheless end up with one. Once a dramacracy is established, Sanger's Law makes it difficult to convert to a different kind of system, as dramacracies tend to attract drama queens/mongers. As people learn they can get their way by starting drama, even those who didn't have a tendency to act that way, or had such tendencies but would have kept them in check, tend to get in the habit of starting drama.
One particularly effective way of causing drama is to accuse another person of causing drama, since this opens the door to lots of other people getting involved as defenders and attackers of that user's behavior. Attempts to psychoanalyze fellow users often commence, with the goal of determining whether the person had the mens rea to be considered guilty of purposefully causing drama for the sake of the lulz, or whether he might have been sincere. In other cases, though, people argue that regardless of whether the user meant to cause trouble, the fact that he did in fact cause trouble means that he needs to be gotten rid of for the sake of keeping people happy who are demanding his head on a platter. Otherwise, the wiki might fracture.
If the leaders of the wiki were to firmly say, from the begining, "We must stick to our principles and not kick people off just because they say and do things you don't like" then each time this were done, drama queens would leave the wiki in small numbers. However, if the drama queens have been catered to, the wiki will likely have accumulated a large number of drama queens, and therefore any failure to cater to them in the future may lead to a mass exodus. Also, during this time, users who weren't drama queens have likely been exiled from the wiki or quit in disgust; thus, the departure of the drama queens would mean that the wiki would be left almost completely deserted.
Dramacracy is a majoritarian system, or more specifically a mobocratic system. The usual strategy of dramacrats who perceive themselves to be in the majority is to cause trouble where there was none, and hope whoever is in the minority on the issue at hand will be blamed for it. This typically works because most wikis operate based on rough consensus; or if there are leaders, they will get nervous if they perceive the majority faction is unhappy, and feel under pressure to get rid of the minority that is making them unhappy. But feeding the dramocratic beast in this way is only a temporary solution, as it will always come back for more later, when there is another dispute.
On the wikis where dramacracy rages wildest, dramacrats come to understand that being uncivil can actually work in their favor, since it leads people to panic and think, concerning the target of the incivility, "This person is provoking incivility! Get rid of him!" This is the opposite of how things work on Wikipedia, where the first person to be uncivil usually loses. However, even on Wikipedia, certain topics deemed to be flashpoints are dealt with on a dramacratic basis, with the person who put forth a view in a very civil and calm manner being deemed at fault for any ensuing drama.
Drama suppression attemptsEdit
Any attempt to suppress drama, especially pre-emptively, tends to also cause drama. It's just that the drama spills out of the site onto other sites (where people can express themselves more freely), or goes underground (e.g. in the form of sockpuppetry). Then it becomes necessary to try to suppress those other sites to the extent possible (e.g. by initiating reprisals on RationalWiki against those who post their dissident remarks elsewhere in the wikisphere) and try to root out sockpuppets (which, to be successful, often requires cultivating a paranoid mentality in which any new user who takes up a similar cause as the old user is suspect; this results in false accusations). We've seen Conservapedia go down that road, and to some extent RationalWiki has too. It's all done in the name of maintaining respectability, avoiding distractions, upholding sound values, etc. but the result speaks for itself.