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.
RationalWiki runs a large collection of specially customized extensions allowing a wide range of features such as: up-down voting, slider voting, a site wide intercom system, and easy Bible quotations.
RationalWiki also has a namespace dedicated to Conservapedia.
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.
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 devout 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 a rather 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.
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
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".
Many of those critical of RationalWiki refer to the website as "RatWiki" or "IrrationalWiki". Libertapedia has a page critical of RW referring to it as "IrrationaWiki". Although Liberapedia is mostly supportive of the wiki, it is critical of its perceived conservative bias.
- RationalWikiWiki meta site for RationalWiki
- Liberapedia started as a parody of Conservapedia; it is a less formal wiki that is inclusive of both humor and serious content
- RationalWikiWikiWiki criticism and discussion site of RationalWiki and RationalWikiWiki
- 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)