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On Wikipedia, retiring is a word that editors use for the no-more-than-24-hour period in which they put a banner on their user page saying that they have retired. They usually include "this is the end of the world!!" change summary or something similar. During this period, users often walk away for a few hours (sometimes to go to bed). While this editor is away, other editors will arrive at that user's talk page. These editors will tell the user "please please don't go!" and "there's no reason you have to retire over this!" It is also important to note that these retirements often happen after this editor has lost a "battle" or "flame war" on Wikipedia.
Without fail, the user returns the next day and thanks everyone for giving the user love while they were away (often through the use of barnstars). This is not to be confused with wikibreaks which actually tend to last longer than retirements. Also note that the length of retirement is directly in relation to the user's age: younger users have shorter retirements (often referred to as bedtime).