|Into the world of|
|Society & Culture|
“”A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.
|—Agent K, Men in Black|
Groupthink occurs when individuals in a group fail to express their doubts about the group's dynamic, direction or decisions because of a desire to maintain consensus or conformity. Thus the group may be on a headlong rush to error or disaster and no-one speaks up because they don't want to rock the boat.
Affected group members tend to ignore their own doubts "for the good of the group." The group itself may also ignore external suggestions, and can become paranoid when faced with criticism, even when the criticism is helpful or well-meant. Groups are most vulnerable to the results of groupthink when their members are of similar backgrounds, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.
The term was coined by social psychologist Irving Janis in 1972, although others suggest the term originated with William H. Whyte of Fortune Magazine in 1952. It is related in some ways to the older concept of crowd psychology, although groupthink refers not to the spontaneous actions of crowds but to the activities of groups with a shared interest or objective, including many small groups, and groups of people who may be physically distanced from each other (e.g. people in an Internet community). The similarity of the term to doublethink may suggest that the naming convention was inspired by Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four.
 Role of the iconoclast
By the nature of human interaction a community's "drift" seems to be automatic. This drift is frequently kept in check by the iconoclast. An iconoclast seeks to redefine that which has come to be defined precisely because of the group's drift. This serves to shock the group out of the automatic "go with the flow" and the more insidious "go along to get along" attitudes which can eventually get in the way of the group's stated goals.
 Groupthink at RationalWiki
All groups suffer the danger of groupthink, as it is an unfortunate side-effect of just being merely human. Consequently, there are a few methods to avoid it. Namely; being open to criticism while remembering that some people really are cranks. Thus, criticism should be addressed thoroughly, rather than be ignored.
Groupthink is different from organised site-wide editing binges, such as the Great War to Remove All Red Links from RatWiki or the Bitch Fight to Remove All Ties to Conservapedia. It is more likely to occur when everyone agrees, gets sloppy with writing arguments or conclusions or generally leaving articles in a state of agreeable rhetoric. Luckily, we have some diversity of background and opinion here, which helps stop us from going off the deep end with, say, a US-centric or dogmatically atheistic perspective - this helps RationalWiki to remember that there just might be fairies at the bottom of the garden.
 Other uses
"Groupthink" is definitely the term to apply when you enter a social space and everyone tells you to fuck off.[citation NOT needed]
 See also
- Crowd psychology
- List of cognitive biases
- New Labour
- Concern troll
- Star Wars - both real and fictional!