| Avatar Wiki Chronicles: On Blocking and Low-Quality Articles|
Minnichi - Editor
As I was pondering what to write for the WLS issue this weekend, I remembered the irony that the WLS tends to focus on writing itself. For a newsletter that revolves around anything fanon-related, why shouldn't we have content that reflects the essence of an actual fanon? And I mean that literally. Forget writing an article about the common trends of "life" in the fanon portal (my original plan) - I'm just plain-out writing about life here now. As in I've written this as a fanon author. You'll see what I mean.
(Not to mention this is probably more effective than a boring, lecturing column when it comes to discouraging people from writing low-quality articles...)
An unnamed girl exits her university with a yawn. She has long black hair and brown eyes, and she hates the school shuttle (which always leaves right as she reaches the stop). As she stands there waiting for the next one, stranded in the cold, icy wind, she pulls out her smartphone and checks the Wi-fi connection.
As soon as she types in her student ID and passcode for access, the world transforms.
With a crackling sound like thunder, the sky itself twists in crazy patterns until all that's left is a cloudy, beige-colored haze. The school's massive buildings also warp into strange things, growing into tall, elegant towers of Asian-inspired architecture. There are thousands of them in all shapes and sizes, each labeled for a very unique purpose. The girl is too used to them to offer anything more than a glance, however, and strolls down the beige-colored bridge that has begun to extend from beneath her feet. Her stone-covered hand raises to her mouth to stifle another yawn, and she lifts her face a little higher to see beneath the dark green brim of her pointed hat. And oh, she has a name now: Minnichi.
The green-robed inhabitant of this world - a world called "Avatar Wiki" - picks up her pace as she passes an unstable-looking building. Unstable as in it's basically a tall, cardboard box labeled "My Article." Those flimsy things have often cluttered up normal buildings to make the Wiki resemble more of a hobo community. However, Minnichi knows that there are fellow inhabitants here who prevent such things from happening - which is actually the main reason why she's hurrying past the cardboard box. She's barely gained a foot of space between herself and the hobo building when it suddenly lights ablaze with such force that she's flung forward face-first to the ground.
Sitting up slowly to recover and muttering grouchy gibberish under her breath, Minnichi turns around to see that a woman is hovering next to the pitiful building, high above the ground atop a little golden cloud. This user, dressed casually in a plain shirt and jeans, rests a hand on her waist as she examines her work. (In other words, watching the cardboard box burn to the ground.) Her blue-grey eyes reflect the image of the flames within them, and they gleam with the slightest hint of irritation. A messenger hawk lands on this woman's shoulder as she unrolls a fancy scroll with a header that reads "Page Deleted," but she's barely touched the tip of her quill to the paper when a haggard, enraged user suddenly rushes out from inside the burning cardboard box. Minnichi has no idea why this user even tried to stay in there that long, given that it collapses into a pile of ashes shortly after he leaves.
Tucking the quill back into her pocket, the woman on the golden cloud notices the carboard box-creating user pointing a menacing finger in her direction and peers back down at him. He's covered in ashes, practically growling through his gritted teeth, and overall just shaking with rage. "Why do you keep deleting my articles?!" he demands, taking no notice of the girl in green robes observing him in the distance.
It begins at her scalp and slowly travels down every long brown strand of hair, until they begin to defy gravity itself as they ignite. "I've told you many times already..." says the hovering woman, her unamused face now framed by long, deadly flames. "The content of your articles is completely irrelevant to the Wiki and its purpose, and you're getting down to your very last warning -"
"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, YOU (censored by the Wiki's community)"
"...Okay then, you've just ignored your very last warning. Like I've said countless times, I'll have to block you for six months due your behavior - starting now." The woman has already outstretched her hand even as she speaks, and she positions her palm down at the troll of a user.
He finally seems to realize that being blocked from this world is actually a possibility, and his eyes widen in fear as the flames begin to dance around the woman's fingers. "Wait!" he cries. "I'll make my next article about how great you are instead! Don't -"
It's too late. With a thrust of her arm, the woman shoots down a blast of fire that cracks open the ground upon impact. Minnichi has to shield her eyes from the blinding explosion that causes more dirt particles to fly all over her. When she looks back up, however, there's only a sizzling crater in the ground ahead. The troll is nowhere to be seen.
Blowing away some excess smoke rising from the tip of her finger, the woman sighs and examines the remains of the cardboard box once more, her hair flowing back down over her shoulders in its natural brown color. At last, she notices the green-robed girl still sitting in the distance, and she suddenly smiles. "Howdy, Minnichi!" She waves so cheerfully that one can wonder if the fire-blasting a few seconds ago had even occurred at all.
Minnichi cracks a little smile back, standing and dusting off her robes. "Hey, Lostris." She glances for a second at the smoking crater several feet away. "So, er, how's it going?"
"Oh, you know. Blocking trolls, fixing images, playing Twister with Thailog, the usual..." Lady Lostris floats down closer atop her golden cloud to better address her fellow user. It finally registers why Minnichi was sitting on the ground, and why the girl's face still has some dirt caked on its side. "Oh! I'm sorry, did I do that?" Lostris exclaims.
"Nah, it's cool," Minnichi replies with a shrug. "At least that guy's not around here anymore." The administrator gives an approving nod towards her crater. "But I always wondered," continues the green-robed girl. "What exactly - happens when you block someone? I mean, you just shot him with fire, so..."
Lady Lostris gives a merry laugh, sitting down casually so that her legs dangle over the edge of her cloud. "Honestly they don't feel a thing, don't worry," she explains. "It's the same for any blocked user; they just disappear completely from the earth without a trace, with no means of return unless we say so. The administrators just change up the methods they use to teleport the trolls away every now and then -" Just then, a deafening boom of thunder echoes across the sky as a massive, crackling branch of lightning strikes far away upon the the beige horizon. "And oh, that would be Thailog blocking a user," Lostris adds with a chuckle. "It just makes the process a little less mundane for us, you know?"
Minnichi nods silently as she makes out a barely visible figure hovering above the lightning-struck area in the distance, who's covered almost completely in black and appears to be tilting his head backwards with cackling laughter atop his golden cloud. "...Yeah, I can see that."
Two more messenger hawks suddenly fly into the scene. One of them perches on Lostris's shoulder again, while the other settles atop Minnichi's hat. The administrator is the first to detach her letter, sighing as she scans over it. "Well, I forgot to mention that blocked users have one form of communication: replying to the message that announced their block. She holds out her parchment for Minnichi to see, which is overflowing with raging, scribbling sentences along the lines of "You have to believe me - my evil sister did it!!!" Lostris shakes her head as she rolls back up the letter and sets it ablaze between her fingers. "He could at least try to change his handwriting..."
Minnichi sighs as well. "People these days..." Remembering about the hawk still perched atop her head, however, she reaches up and finally detaches her own letter. When she examines it, she discovers that there's nothing on the parchment at all other than a single, plainly written word: "Hello." The green-robed user rolls back up the letter at once and hurriedly stuffs it into her pocket. "Sorry Lostris," she says quickly. "Ima have to go see what KMP needs at the Ba Sing Se Times headquarters."
"Of course! Tell him I said hi," replies the female administrator. "I've got work to do, anyway..." She warily eyes a whole community of cardboard boxes in the distance. "See you around, then?"
"Yeah, see ya around. Later, LL!" And with that, Minnichi disappears with a flash of green into the beige horizon as she darts away, where she'll be sure to run into more Wiki troubles before she ever reaches the BSST headquarters...
Note: The two administrators mentioned are described based on Lady Lostris's and Thailog's corresponding illustrations from the most recent Ba Sing Se Times article.