Storytime! Sorry for the blogpost, but this issue pisses me off so bad.
I was one of the earliest pre-"Great Crash" contributers on TV Tropes. Back then, it was one of the most genuinely nice, friendly communities online. Clean language, few insults, spastic fights were very rare, casual atmosphere, and everyone was productive in contributing. In spite of this, we also had our fair share of good-natured ribbing, and even an "ultimate troll page" with genuinely harsh parody of each others sacred cows, but nobody got really butthurt over any of it. In addition, we were self-aware of the difference between proper terminology and our own in-jokes, never abusing our private vocabulary off-site unless we were linking to it. The inflow of newbies was dealt with by simply responding with greetings, education, and honesty, if they didn't like it, they left. If I were to summarize it, it would be "Encyclopedia Dramatica, without the porn, gore, and slurs".
What feat of administration accomplished this? There were no passwords, "accounts" consisted of just typing in a nickname whenever you posted something, anything could be done anonymously, moderation was nonexistant to the point where deletions/edits/locks/bans simply never happened. This state of affairs carried on for years.
Then came the faggotry. The admin started assigning mod positions, who then started intervening in disputes on the side of whoever was most aggrieved. Needless to say, this invariably meant illiterate tweens, the mentally ill, and trolls were protected from gentle rebuke, causing them to become more daring/retarded in their antics. Contrariwise, more reasonable regulars acquiesced to this treatment, until eventually the newfag/freak behavior (which usually targetted the regulars with the smallest capacity for bullshit first) got so bad as to make them unload, at which point the mods would of course repremand and eventually ban the good poster who was being annoyed rather than the cancer poster that was disrupting things, though they too would eventually be banned after reaching a level of cancer too great even for the admins. This process repeated itself, whittling down the population of uppity regulars who might stand up to the mods, while simultaneously justifying both additional powers for the mods, and more mod recruits. As this happened, the overall site admin was also corrupted by this common display of faggotry, and began to waver from his old standards of noninterference.
It is at this point that I should point out the site was roughly split between two subcommunities which didn't quite completely overlap, the wiki, and the forum. The forum was where the most intense faggotry started, including mods, activist moderation, and unbridled cancerposting, but it only gradually wormed its way into the much larger wiki. A culture-shift against fun (ideosyncratic article names, "troperese", the "SPOON vs. KNIVES" debate), "negativity", and "natter" (discussion inside articles) was gradually being mod-imposed on the wiki side, but enforcement was still too difficult. As a result, a third subcommunity was created, largely out of the forums, to suborn the wiki: The "Workshop"/"Trope Repair". This consisted of getting all the most cancerous nolife busybodies and mod-bootlickers together to hold "votes" in tiny rapidly moving forum circlejerk threads, the results of which were treated by the mods as setting precedent. Worst of all, the Workshop process was designed in such a way that if a vote failed to change anything from status quo, another thread could be created, and eventually the vote would go the busybody's way. By this process, the entire wiki was gradually eroded by the sort of personalities with a severe axe to grind.
Eventually, the cancer metastized when entire subfora (like IJBM) and groups of tropes on the wiki (YMMV, Darth Wiki) were separated out in a transparently obvious effort to ready them for purging. Finally, the hammer dropped, mass user bans, whole subfora wiped, masses of articles deleted or given "examples section-ectomies".
At that point, I finally left, and have never visited since. In summary, fuck mods.