After some thought, I have decided that being a Wikipedia editor is no longer for me. I first joined in 2002, and since then it's just gotten too big for my tastes. It's no longer about building a knowledge base as much as it's about determining policy. Newbies get bitten while perfectly legitimate articles and pictures, representing doubtless thousands of person-hours of work, get deleted because "policy wonks" think it doesn't meet the right guidelines - be them "notability" (an open-ended sham), the horrifically exclusive new fair use policy on pictures, or whatever else. Meanwhile, editors who continually add nonsense and cruft get a blind eye turned to, while legitimate editors are scorned. This is no longer a project I want to be associated with.
I'm sure quitting Wikipedia cold turkey, after it being the first website I check every morning, is going to be a challenge for me - but I'm certain that in the long run, my sanity and my blood pressure will be better for it. Maybe it's just because I want to work on my own projects without others interfering, but I can no longer write articles without fear of being reverted or having an AFD tag slapped on it.
Some more thoughts
It's been over a year and a half since I posted those above comments, and I've been thinking some more about the history of Wikipedia and where editors like me fit in. A note on my talk page saying that I am missed prompted me to write this.
When I first joined, my main objective was to begin articles or expand stubs on purely notable topics that I had an interest in...cities, towns, sports teams, TV shows. I wrote way too many articles on Canadian municipalities back around 2002-03, mostly 4-5 paragraphs long....location, population, main industries, brief historical sketch, throw a link to the city website at the bottom. The idea, at least in my mind, was that locals would expand on those stubs as time went on. That's all people asked for back then. And it was very rare that I received any gratitude for it. Some of those articles haven't changed much since I first wrote them.
As Wikipedia expanded, I turned my attention to other things, adding info where I saw fit (election results for instance) and embarking on a few ambitious projects. This is where the nitpickers started coming in. All of a sudden I got into arguments over semantics, ran into trolls, and had lengthy articles that I had written deleted, with no respect for the time I had put into what I thought was building an encyclopedia. It would have been late 2005 or early 2006 that I really started to notice a culture change. It had no longer become a collaborative project, it became a case of whoever yells the loudest gets their way....and I just wanted to edit at peace. By mid-2006, editing Wikipedia became a harrowing experience more than a fun one for me. I felt that Wikipedia had passed me by.
Every so often I come across something I or someone else started, but has remained unfinished or has fallen out of date....any number of election result articles for instance. The anal-retentive side of me sometimes still wants me to hit the "edit this page" button and get back to work, but I just know doing so would open up that can of worms again. That's not something I want to go through.
It's a shame, because in its early days Wikipedia was the perfect example of people collaborating for the greater good....and now it's become little more than a wasteland. Maybe if we could tear it all up and start over again, I'd come back. But for now, no.