# RationalWiki

RationalWiki (RW) is a community working together to explore and provide information about a range of topics centered around science, skepticism, and critical thinking. RationalWiki currently has 6,277 mainspace articles.

Our purpose here at RationalWiki includes:

1. Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement.
2. Documenting the full range of crank ideas.
3. Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
4. Analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media.

We welcome contributors, and encourage those who disagree with us to register and engage in constructive dialogue.

## How RationalWiki works

It's best to think of RationalWiki as a bunch of drunken skeptics down the pub pointing at bullshit and loudly shouting "BULLSHIT!" and then returning in the morning to add their references, maybe. Our good stuff is great, though.

 “”This is a goofy wiki, not ... Meet the Press or the Times of London. —P-Foster[1]

## RationalWiki is not an encyclopedia

While RationalWiki uses software originally developed for a well-known online encyclopedia, it is important to realize that we are not trying to be an encyclopedia. Wikis were originally developed as a tool for collaborative content creation, which is what we strive to do here.

Many aspects of the popular Web 2.0 paradigm have been incorporated into the site.

• The community has embraced the concept of wikis by creating an information source out of the collaborative editing of thousands of people.
• By encouraging original research and essays, the site has also incorporated many aspects of the blogging community.
• Discussion between members is facilitated on many levels such as debate articles, specific discussions on talk pages, and just coming together to talk about whatever is on our mind at the Saloon Bar. This focus on discussion captures the essence of Internet forums.
• We have a serious mission, but we're here because it's fun, and only stick around while it's still fun.

While many of our articles may look like encyclopedia entries, we go much further – we encourage original research and opinions on the topics we write about. We are on a Mission from God!

## History

See the main article on this topic: RationalWiki:History

RationalWiki 2.0 was created as an open editing wiki on May 22, 2007. Lulz ensued.

## Future

RationalWiki is gradually expanding, and has reached the point of creating a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation, the RationalWiki Foundation, which owns the infrastructure and basic copyrights. The Foundation is ultimately managed and run by the users of the site.

## Notability and repute

See the main article on this topic: RationalWiki:Monthly RW/Mentions

RationalWiki is a small site and hovers around 60,000 on Alexa's top 100,000 websites[2] and 18,000 in the US.[3] We usually come up on the second page on a Google search for a topic we have a page on, with a few exceptions where we are ranked very highly. We so far are not notable enough to have a Wikipedia article,[4] since we haven't "made the news" yet; however, we were mentioned in passing in an LA Times article about Conservapedia, and later an article in the UK Daily Telegraph drew heavily, with attribution, from our series of Internet laws.[5] Our articles get referenced by organizations ranging from the British legal magazine Benchmark[6] to the evil cabal known as Planned Parenthood.[7]

Our objective here is not to collect hits or increase the article tally for their own sakes, but to disseminate true and accurate information whilst debunking pseudoscience and other forays into anti-intellectualism. Remember, the truth is not a popularity contest.

## Criticism

See the main article on this topic: RationalWiki:Pissed at us

RationalWiki has numerous critics, roughly in two groups: those that take issue with the content and those who take issue with the style. Both tend to quickly degenerate into "so why do they call it RationalWiki, then?" This may be based on a slight confusion between rationality and rationalism – as no one ever thinks they're being irrational, they're likely to accuse anyone who disagrees with them as irrational. In principle, this point extends to RationalWiki itself, which declares everyone who doesn't follow its POV irrational – making the choice of title somewhat unfortunate and ironic.

The content critics are typically the fans of people or subjects that RationalWiki doesn't speak favorably of. Supporters of noted right-wing politician Ron Paul certainly aren't fans,[8] angry that someone, somewhere dares not declare Ron Paul to be the Second Coming. Ayn Rand fans do much the same. Other criticism of content is often directed at shorter and less complete articles.[9] RW's rating system goes part way to rectifying the issue of lower quality articles but is implemented in a completely ad hoc wikilike fashion.

RationalWiki's style is frequently criticized, with some objecting to the odd sense of humor (and the even odder one of humour) and getting upset that people aren't taking their idea of rationalism seriously. LessWrong bloggers and commentators in particular find it annoyingly irrational (with prior probability $-e^{i \pi}$). The LW founder, Eliezer Yudkowsky, once defended RW as a potential recruiting ground for hardcore rationalists but mostly as "clueless."[10] Issues with style, the so-called SPOV, also extend to bickering within RationalWiki itself when some editors will add in and others will remove snark – leading to inconsistent switches in the level of humour between pages.

Besides the criticism of the site's content, the organization of the RationalWiki community has also come under criticism, mostly from within; several editors believe that RationalWiki's traditional mobocracy is unsuitable for a larger and more diverse community of editors, while others believe to the contrary, enthusiastically standing up for the mobocracy against attempts to subvert or abolish it. Due in part to the resulting conflicts, a number of other websites have been set up by current and former RationalWiki editors in order to document the RationalWiki community's social dynamics.[11]

## Language sections

While the overwhelming majority of editors RationalWiki are English-speaking editors, RationalWiki also has articles written in other languages​​, namely:

### Russian section

Work on the Russian section started on 2 January 2011. Its specific tasks include consideration and analysis of the most meaningful statements of the site Creationwiki (especially those in Russian), as well as some other similar resources. In these tasks it seems useful to translate EvoWiki into Russian.

The objectives of the Russian section have much in common with those of well-known Russian projects like Lurkmore and Encyclopedia of pseudoscience. It differs from these projects in its way of presenting information (no usage of profanity and any other similar jargon; on the other hand, RationalWiki (English) has its own style of presentation, and the Russian section follows this example to a degree), as well as its content (attention is paid not so much to the description of the processes of interest to us, but rather to their analysis and critique).