Hate Wikipedia? Start Your Own

Have you all heard of Conservapedia? It bills itself as “a conservative encyclopedia you can trust,” and it is pretty fascinating. It has a strong pro-Christian, anti-liberal (and especially anti-N.Y. Times) bent, and is just one of several user-run encyclopedias that have taken root in response (or tribute) to Wikipedia. (Here are our previous posts on Wikipedia). These also include Uncyclopedia, a comic site that mocks Wikipedia with entries that contain not a single correct fact.

I hadn’t heard about Conservapedia until reading Alex Beam‘s piece in the Boston Globe, which calls it “the online encyclopedia for right-leaning wing nuts.” I am guessing that the folks who write Conservapedia would take issue with this, as least the “wing nut” part; they probably consider Beam, the Globe, and Wikipedia to be the real wing nuts.

Here are Conservapedia’s “Commandments,” or rules for posting. Among the more interesting rules:

Commandment No. 1: Everything you post must be true and verifiable. Do not copy from Wikipedia or elsewhere unless it was your original work.

And, perhaps the best barometer of the site’s aesthetic:

Commandment No. 4: When referencing dates based on the approximate birth of Jesus, give appropriate credit for the basis of the date (B.C. or A.D.). “BCE” and “CE” are unacceptable substitutes because they deny the historical basis.


egretman

Kind of like how The Colbert Report isn't really a conservative TV show…

If you have a beef against The Colbert Report why don't you just spill it?

palmd

As much as we would like it to be parody, a la www.blogs4brownback.com, it is the real deal. I've spoken with a lot of the folks on the site...they are dead serious.

Nathaniel

Kip: Everyone does realize Conservapedia is a humor site, making fun of conservatives, right?

As much as I wish that were true, this is clearly not a parody. There are literally thousands of pages of topics, and thousands more pages of discussion and history of revisions showing that even if it had originated as a parody, it is now truly what it claims to be: a white, Protestant, American, Young Earth Creationist version of an encyclopedia.

The Onion is a parody -- it has a nationwide professional writing staff and has been in publication for over a decade and doesn't have as many articles as Conservapedia does. This would be the single most elaborate parody in human history if it were one.

egretman

The Onion is a parody

Is it? Or is it only one version of events in a multiverse of infinite dimensions? And if there is an infinite number of dimensions, doesn't that mean one of them would have produce The Onion and it would pop out through a rift into this dimension?

I mean...it could happen.

Nathaniel

Since I work for the Onion, I'm pretty sure we're doing a parody. Or all these meetings have taken a wrong turn somewhere :)

egretman

Or all these meetings have taken a wrong turn somewhere

In an infinte multiverse, there is a universe in which "all these meetings have taken a wrong turn somewhere"

Good luck with that.

E.Wig

The best alternative to "Conservapedia" that I have found is http://www.rationalwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page .

They are a group of people actively combating the the lies and right-wing terrorism of "Conservapedia", and could certainly use a hand from all of you willing to help.

Remember we are talking about brainwashing young students here! So, anyone with some experience trolling and fighting back the way it has to be done, check out the RationalWiki.com

Therese

Conservapedia outright states that it started as a project of (conservatively-minded) high school-level home schoolers, who generally remain the main contributors (from my interaction with some whom I've the pleasure [?] to know by virtue of knowing extremely conservative home schoolers of that age).

http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservapedia:About

E.Wig

It is outright mind-control and grooming of young people to be the next generation of right-wing storm troopers.

Their articles, if you can call them that, are mostly without factual basis, and the place is run by YEC's (Young Earth Creationists) who believe our planet is only 6,000 years old, and deny all scientific evidence!

Anyone checking out http://www.rationalwiki.com will be treated to some rather complete documentation of Conservapedia's deceit.

dpm

I've seen a few stories like yours on Wikipedia alternatives recently. What the stories almost always fail to mention is that almost all of the alternatives run on the MediaWiki software, which the Wikipedia people wrote and made Open Source precisely so that people could set up competing wikis. In other words, from Wikipedia's perspective, these competitors represent not a backlash but a planned and desired outcome.

E.Wig

That's putting a good "spin" on it!

hoppdawg

Hey Dubner, don't forget GodTube!!!

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=c5280214e0486b273a5f&page=1&viewtype=&category=md

something is awkward about this... can't put my finger on what though.

palmd

Part of the problem is using Wiki format for what appears to be a fairly authoritarian project. WikiMedia thrives on free flow of information, so any project that wishes to restrict info may run into problems unless it closes itself to all but a few known editors.

dontknowmuch

filtering is comming from everywhere...check out

http://www.abunga.com/page.asp?display=about

they are filtering "non family friendly products"

Matty B

#29: "It is outright mind-control and grooming of young people to be the next generation of right-wing storm troopers."

Uh. OK. Let's not get too paranoid here. Most young people I know aren't frequenting sites like these for indoctination. They're too busy sharing the latest details about their bikini waxes to all of their friends on My Space.

I marvel at the indignation that emerges whenever a site/TV show/radio show like this gets some national attention. Calm down people. If you place your faith in the human being's ability to think rationally, you have nothing to worry about--right?

johnleemk

Actually, Dubner, I think the author of this Uncyclopedia article would beg to differ about Uncyclopedia's supposed lack of actual facts:

http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Gettysburg

Peter

I think that there is a great chance to serve niche markets with wiki's. http://www.disapedia.com is a wiki designed to just cover disabled issues. By having such a specific topic it is capable of covering topics that Wikipedia would never allow. Plus wiki is a great resource for collaborative work whether or not its for an encyclopedia.

ravager

A.D. is anno domini- in other words, latin. I thought conservatives were English only? After all, why learn the language of the people who killed Christ?

Conservapedia is a joke. Jimmy Wales even states in a Time article

(http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1601491,00.html)

that Wikipedia has a conservative bias. So is Conservapedia like an ESB? Extra Special Bitter to Wiki's Miller Bitter Beer Face?

egretman

"Darwin's theory was the specific characteristic of Nazism"
-Conservapedia 2007

yoshi

it should also be noted that conservapedia has a US -centric bent to it.