Thanks for all the Fish Stack Exchange

I moderated two sites on the Stack Exchange network and was one of the highest rep users on another, participating pretty much since its inception as a platform. I just left it.

The goal of these sites, at least on the surface, is to create real compendiums of knowledge around a number of topics, such as Photography, Software Engineering, and more. For the longest time I believed in that goal, I actively supported it, but as time went on, my belief in it faded.

It faded in a never-ending stream of new users who never read how the site worked, users who felt they had a right to make demands of the moderators, users who would argue with you ad-nauseum, and more. It actually became a job just to keep up with that, to the point that answering or asking questions on my part basically dried up. At a certain point I asked myself why I still wanted to be an unpaid babysitter on these sites and I realized that I didn't anymore. It was a time sink that I could use for better things.

The model that Stack Exchange employs to generate content is based on reputation points. As users participate, they gain and lose reputation based, presumably, on the quality of their questions and answers. I say presumably, because it really depends on the site as to how effective that is and, to be honest, it seldom is. The reputation model, basically the gamification aspect of this, is also what leads to the aggression, the arguments,  and the frustration.

So farewell Stack Exchange. I may use the output from the site from time to time, I see it as payment for all the effort I put in to it over the years, but this ends my active participation.