There is a weird paradox to the tagline, coming to think of it.
I entered the Wikipedia world a month ago. Not long in the Earth's life span, but long enough in our ever-changing world. And in a month I have : written a few articles, corrected a few hundred spelling mistakes, found new friends and (much) more, probably made a few enemies (or I am on the verge of), worked more than have in half a year, spent more time on my computer than ever (my eyes are square, I swear), smoked more cigarettes than is healthy, slept way less than is allowed. According to the test, I am officially a Wikipediholic. An addict. So I suppose it is time to stand up and say "I am notafish and I am a Wikipediholic" with a bold smile and watery eyes and wait for the crowd to answer "Hello notafish" in one cheery tone. Since I am standing up, I might as well go all the way and try to understand what makes Wikipedia such an addictive thing. Let's see...
At first, there is a dream. Some crazy guy said he thought it'd be a good idea to share knowledge throughout the world and moreover, share it for free. Haha, I hear you say, that is not a dream, that is a utopia. Well, see for yourself. It's there, it works and it actually does what it is intended to do. So, first reason to be an addict, I suppose, is to share the dream. For free.
Yes, there is this free thing there. Once you enter the labyrinth of free software, free content, free images, free speech, free flight...you can't get out of it. There are a bunch of free freaks out there, most of them have a voice and use it to tell of a world where Microsoft will only appear in History books as the 'company that made us free' (ultimate paradox if there is one). Yeah, because if IE and other Offices weren't here, I suppose we wouldn't be here either. It takes a jailer to spark the fight for freedom. A free world though, is an interesting prospect and probably another good reason for becoming an addict. Especially if it's freedom for free.
There are people. Now, that sounds rather strange considering the fact that we all live in a virtual world (as opposed to Madonna's material world I suppose). There are still people out there (my parents for one) who don't get this. The fact that you can actually "meet" people in an all virtual environement. Well, if proof needed to be given, I met my best friend on the internet five years ago (it's her birthday today too) and I am these days discovering a Path I am loving all the way. So people there are. And it is so that Wikipedia actually gathers quite a crowd of semi-freaks, not better or worse than those I have met along the road in more real circumstances (ou know, in bars or at the beach or at school or at the office. And I had lived before this strange "no background" community type life in a little school lost in the middle of nowhere. The type of life in which what you have done, who you have been and what you have said actually does not matter. It's what you are then and there, that does the trick. Yet another reason to become an addict. For free.
On a more serious note, there is an amazing community to be looked upon at Wikipedia, as I suppose there was at UWC. The power games (which of course, don't involve any power at all, because power is that of the community, a rather shady definition if any), the struggles, the lightning reactions, the exacerbation of anything and everything, wikilove even, and wikimoney. It does take an interesting crowd to come to such paroxysms in everyday life. But then again, there's nothing much different from an everyday life. You cry, you rant, you laugh, you love, you despise, you vote, you discuss, you share. Be bold but stay cool, says the MainPage. A life program in itself. Addictive indeed. For free.
There is also, at least in my case, this twisted feeling about contributing your tiny stone to the building. You write an article, change a word here and there and that's it, you've actually "done" something worthed. A race for self esteem ? Just one of those good deeds that earn you Heaven ? The simple satisfaction of seeing your name in the history of an article ? Not sure, probably a bit of all of those. But addictive. And free.
Then of course, there is this thing about world domination. But I suppose this should more or less stay a secret. Now, that is addictive. Very. And still free.
I don't quite fathom yet all the whys and hows, but I know one thing. Whatever happens tomorrow, I will remember the journey through Wikipedia pages for a life time. I guess addiction isn't gotten rid of by just standing in front of people and saying you're an addict. But really...an addict, me ? Naaaaaaaa.