RationalWiki

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Rw_logo.png [ RationalWiki]
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Language: Multilingual
Engine: MediaWiki
Main topic: Pseudoscience
Wiki license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

This RationalWiki wiki is available in several different language versions as listed below:
en, ru

RationalWiki is an open wiki taking a critical look at pseudoscience and "Conservative" and Christian fundamentalist politics, through the use of side-by-side examinations and humor.

Stated goals are:

  • Analyzing and refuting the anti-science movement, ideas and people.
  • Analyzing and refuting the full range of crank ideas.
  • Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
  • Analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media.

As of January 2014, the original English language RationalWiki had about 395 active users. 530 users had sysop rights; any sysop may add or remove sysop rights. The block log is used as a chat line.

RationalWiki runs a large collection of specially customized extensions, most of which were created by Nx, implementing a wide range of features such as up-down voting (WIGO, or what-is-going-on), slider voting, a site wide intercom system, a signature checker, and easy Bible quotations.[1] The source code of most of these extensions has been made publicly available.

RationalWiki also has a namespace dedicated to Conservapedia[2] and a collection of recipes,[3] some of which are pseudo-recipes whose real purpose is to impart jokes[4] or religious commentary.[5] The site's slogan rotates among several dozen possibilities, some of which are weighted more heavily than others.[6]

History

RationalWiki started in May 2007 after a group of editors at Conservapedia were banned over ideological differences with the authorities there. Their edits had consisted mostly of debating on talk pages, attempting to counteract what they perceived to be overwhelming anti-scientific and far-right political biases. Although the site was called RationalWiki to highlight the apparent pro-scientific worldview of the founders, the content was largely weighted to the perceived lunacy of events at Conservapedia. As of January 2014, voting was ongoing concerning whether to expand RationalWiki's mission. It appeared unlikely that RationalWiki was going to explicitly embrace the idea of becoming a general encyclopedia.[7]

RationalWiki today

While Conservapedia continues to be a major source of traffic to RationalWiki (mainly, their What is going on at Conservapedia? page), they have branched out into many areas of skepticism. Many articles focus on unfounded medical claims, pseudoscience, and Biblical literalism. Despite a seemingly pro-atheist, anti-religious stance, some editors are practicing Christians, Jews, Muslims, or Odinists (among others) tending towards the more liberal aspects of their religion rather than fundamentalism. However, most of the regular contributers to RationalWiki are atheists.

The site works to refute a range of faith-based ideas as well as superstitions. They have critical material on Scientology, Christianity, Creationism, Astrology, "New Age" philosophy, and many others. It also comments critically on other Christian creationist wikis, like the relatively unnotable, if it weren't for their editors joining up to argue with the founder, A Storehouse of Knowledge (see RationalWiki: A Storehouse of Knowledge).

The website has an idiosyncratic sense of humour, which includes widespread intentional misspellings and other peculiar phrases. There are many "inside jokes", particularly in the material relating to Conservapedia, and the writing often has the tone of a close-knit social group. Some dialog takes place through log summaries for very short blocks [8]

RationalWiki has one or two great features — readers can vote on their "what Is Going On" pages; there are random text generators for entertainment purposes — usually for parodying various figures at Conservapedia.

Example of RationalWiki's perspective:-

As a site we have a point of view, and that point of view is that the scientific method and the information gained from its application is better than almost anything else humanity has come up with. We believe that the support of, profiting from and creation of pseudosciences is dangerous and wrong. RationalWiki:What is a RationalWiki article

Policies and guidelines

RationalWiki has a set of community standards to which it sometimes/somewhat adheres. For example, it states "Talk pages should never be deleted" but in actual practice, talk pages deemed to consist of trolling sometimes are deleted. Policies are few and readily disregarded.

Culture

RationalWikians generally tend to frown on editing articles from a non-leftist point of view, and favor instead having talk page discussions with dissenting viewpoints.

Critiques

Former Conservapedia sysop and A Storehouse of Knowledge founder Philip J. Rayment harshly criticized RationalWiki as, "[A] place of filthy and blasphemous language, replete with name-calling, smearing, innuendo, hypocrisy, and other undesirable attributes".[9] RationalWiki is often criticized as intolerant toward minority opinions. Encyclopedia Dramatica argues, "RationalWiki doesn't seem to realize that science is dynamic, and established theories may be rejected in the future."[10]

RationalWiki Foundation

In July 2010, ownership of the website transferred to a non-profit foundation called the RationalWiki Foundation.

See also

Similar wikis

  • Debatepedia wiki also discusses controversial topics – but puts both viewpoints side-by-side on the same page – RationalWiki also has side-by-side articles
  • Psiram – a wiki similar in attitude (multilingual)
RationalWiki wikis in these languages (edit)
English (en) • Russian / ру́сский (ru)