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“”Unlike most websites, including Wikipedia, every one of our visitors is looking to us for life-changing answers, and we are not disappointing them. Thanks for helping educate a world hungry for the truth, which is a scarce commodity.
Conservapedia is a self-described conservative and fundamentalist Christian alternative to Wikipedia (a more accurate description is far-right authoritarian, American exceptionalist, corporatist, and borderline dominionist, which also seems to be Aschlafly's style of governance). The project began as an attempt to collaboratively develop an online encyclopedia free from the "liberal bias" that Conservapedia's founder-and-führer Andrew Schlafly argues that Wikipedia is deceptively riddled with. In recent years however, Conservapedia has devolved into a vanity project and soap box used by Andy to forward his own particular insights on matters political and scientific.
The site has few other regular editors and administrators, most of whom use it to publicize their own projects or to write articles on their own pet causes. There is, in effect, no way to speak of "Conservapedia" as a collective voice or as a reflection of the insights of a larger community; in contrast to open platforms like those of RationalWiki or Wikipedia, what goes on at the much more top-down controlled Conservapedia reflects nothing more than the views of Schlafly and the handful of people he currently trusts with full editing privileges. The problem is separating what Schlafly and his cohorts write as truth from what the trolls (and there are many) edit onto the site. Basically, the entire wiki has always been one giant exercise in Poe's Law. Way too many of the website's pages say their most recent edit was by either DavidB4-bot (a minor edit bot), Conservative, or 1990'sguy. Also, another problem is that, like RationalWiki, an unexplained mass abandonment by users happened back in 2009 for no apparent reason. They left a lot of stubs.
Conservapedia's front page is often packed with assorted bigotry directed at atheists, muslims, LGBT people, immigrants and many other marginalized groups, and its administrators ("sysops," in wiki parlance) see liberals, atheists, and "evolutionists" as the direct cause of society's ills. A favorite obsession of Conservapedians is being part of the solution by going after the evils of the world — notably Barack Obama, Richard Dawkins, video games, and that eternal seductress, homosexuality. To make their arguments appear in any way feasible, liberal (zing!) use is made of every fallacy in the book. Bathed in the just light of Conservapedian Admin Logic™, any failure to toe the party line on any given issue — even on the use of British spelling — is considered evidence that one is an infiltrator of the liberal
- 1 History
- 2 Management
- 3 Philosophical stances
- 4 Usefulness of Conservapedia
- 5 Inaccuracy of Conservapedia
- 6 Interesting gaps in Conservapedia
- 7 Conservapedia and fear of the unknown
- 8 Conservapedia's "news" blog
- 9 Conservapedia v. Wikipedia: A self-proclaimed jihad!
- 10 Justice at Conservapedia
- 11 Forms of censorship
- 12 Suspicions of parody
- 13 Impact of Conservapedia
- 14 What others have said about Conservapedia
- 15 Quotes
- 16 See also
- 17 External links
- 18 References
The site was launched on 21 November 2006 by Andrew Schlafly, spawn of professional anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, in an attempt to replace what he perceived as a liberal bias at Wikipedia with an, er... substantial conservative bias at Conservapedia, especially on issues where politics and fundamentalist Christianity overlap, such as creationism, evolution, sexuality, and morality.
Conservapedia was originally managed by Schlafly and a group of homeschooled teenagers known as "The Panel". However, the project quickly became Schlafly's alone, assisted by a small number of trusted sysops.
No prominent conservative politician, writer, or pundit (except Schlafly's mother on one of her podcasts) has ever aligned themself with, supported, or in any way recommended Conservapedia as an encyclopedia; given the poor quality of its content, aligning with Conservapedia would be an act of career suicide.
As a result of its extremist wingnut views, the site has attracted many parodists and vandals. Thus, Schlafly enacted various forms of censorship, and administrators have abused the "checkuser" function, and, when there was something of a community of admins, they engaged in groupthink-style rationalization of their actions. Because of a long history of parody and vandalism, often by editors associated with RationalWiki, new users are often blocked quickly if they at all run afoul of a sysop.
The combination of Schlafly's inept management and his inability to draw a community of dedicated, good-faith editors undermined any chance for the site to develop into a viable online encyclopedia. Conservapedia now exists on the fringes of the internet, with few editors and a small audience arguably consisting largely of RationalWiki editors who document Conservapedia's goings-on in obsessive detail.
Schlafly continues to edit the site, but many if not most of his edits are commentary on the site's front page, as opposed to work on the body of the site. Most non-Schlafly edits are simply links to the personal blogs run by the site's editors, attempts at parody, blatant vandalism, or bizarre messages from one particular editor to the Rationalwiki editors who enjoy antagonizing him.
Conservapedia is headed by Andrew Schlafly, the founder, sole remaining Bureaucrat, and Glorious Leader of Conservapedia. He is supported by his Administrators in the role of
monitoring the site banning dissenters and creating and referencing content quotemining and linking to their private blogs. Because these dozen or so people make up much of Conservapedia's active userbase, their opinions are disproportionately represented across the site as a whole.
While rules can be found in the Conservapedia Commandments, they are mostly honored in the breach, and the site's de facto policy is banning people for ideological differences, attempts at humor, or backtalk. The latest expansion on silencing differing opinions is the "Scorched Earth Editing Policy", where sysops ban someone and then undo all of that person's recent edits, just to make certain the filthy heretic didn't post any facts the sysops don't agree with. Users there have been warned not to delete content on threat of banning.
Those repulsed by Conservapedia can take comfort in the knowledge that a Wikipedia-like site can only thrive with a relatively free exchange of ideas and some tolerance for vandals, hoaxers, and crackpots. Thus the gang of beady-eyed zealots running Conservapedia are likely to stifle it to death while thinking they're 'protecting' it. For example, hundreds of pages have been locked so that nobody can 'deface' them, simultaneously preventing anyone from improving them.
In addition, Conservapedia had taken the extreme step of preventing any user from registering a new account unless it is morning to evening in the U.S. Nighttime editing in general is a restricted "privilege" that is rarely granted.
The management at Conservapedia also struggles with the wiki software. Some sysops do not even know how to unblock users.
The two groups of sysops on Conservapedia, Administrators and Bureaucrats, both are responsible for blocking users, undoing vandalism, and protecting articles, but only Bureaucrats can rename user accounts or change user rights. In addition, only certain sysops have the power to check account IPs (checkuser), hide revision history (oversight), and turn on/off the database (SiteAdmin).
- Aschlafly on CP, on RW: Bureaucrat with checkuser, oversight, SiteAdmin, and Schlafly Impenetrable Logic™. He founded Conservapedia as a bastion of conservative fact-ignoring creationism in 2006 and has been happily continuing this goal via liberal use of censure and banhammer ever since. Even through the lean times of the FBI incident and the Lenski affair, Andy has always bravely led Conservapedia away from addressing its foes.
- CPWebmaster: Bureaucrat with checkuser, oversight, and SiteAdmin. Joined/created as Andy's sockpuppet in 2007 and tried to help with the wiki software. Successfully enough to get Conservapedia online, not enough to keep sysops aware of anything other than blocking, or so it would seem from the block log. He/the account has been inactive/unused since 2010.
- Chippeterson: Bureaucrat with checkuser. Joined in 2007 to copy-paste large, incoherent sections of other people's work; became sysop to ban people for plagiarism. He has been inactive since 2011.
- CPanel: Administrator, created as the Conservapedia Student Panel's account in 2007, asked for improvements to the wiki and subsequently ignored by Aschlafly. The account has been unused since 2007.
- ChrisS: Administrator, joined in 2006, is proudly
and ironically"Home-Learnded". He has been inactive since 2008.
- CollegeRepublican: Administrator, joined in 2007, believed to be Andrew Schlafly's son due to his simultaneous impressive set of contributions and Administrator status. He has been inactive since 2007.
- SharonS: Bureaucrat with checkuser, joined in 2006. She has been inactive since 2009.
Conservapedia, also known as "The Trusworthy [sic] Encyclopedia", is an abnormal encyclopedia with an American Conservative Christian point of view. But what exactly does this mean? Some of Conservapedia's main tenets include:
- Pro-Biblical literalism
- Anti-"liberal" (whatever viewpoint that doesn't quite fit Conservapedia's views)
- Pro-Republican Party
- Anti-Democratic Party
- Anti-Green Party
- Pro-Christian Democracy, largely on account that they somehow still believe that European Catholic movements are still stuck in the Victorian era.
- Anti-Communism (obviously)
- Anti-gay rights (There are also some obvious implications of the site's obsession with homosexuality.)
- Pro-capital punishment
- Anti-public schools
- Anti-government (except when valiantly stopping homosexuality, abortion or atheism)
- Anti-science (unless "science" helps Young Earth Creationism)
- Pro-American (silent "A") (or at least they believe that) (Despite same-sex marriage, homosexuality, abortion being legal in the United States).
- Anti-relativity - both in the moral sense and in terms of physics. Schlafly calls Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 "liberal claptrap" which has no bearing on nuclear energy.
- Anti-black clothing, since black clothing makes one a God-hating liberal. More specifically a young mass murdering God hating liberal.
- Pro-Obama (embarassment of)
- Anti-video games
- Anti-black holes (Seriously. Apparently they stop people from reading the Bible.)
- Anti-overweight people
- Basically anti-everyone but them.
- And in case we forgot... anti-Obama
Usefulness of Conservapedia
Conservapedia is actually useful when arguing with various strains of religious fundamentalist, in ascertaining just what on earth they claim to think themselves. Of course, religious fundamentalists don't think themselves. They let their religious leaders think for them. Note that Wikipedia is also surprisingly detailed in delineating the various strains of creationist thought, should you wish to survey the rabbit hole before diving in head first.
As an encyclopedia, Conservapedia is not so useful. Whereas Wikipedia broadly covers virtually all subjects due to having a large community of editors with diverse interests, Conservapedia operates with a small and dysfunctional community of editors, fixated on certain subjects and inflexible attitudes.
As comedy, Conservapedia is amazing, as its inaccurate and heavily biased articles can kill you with laughter.
Most of the more active sysops are more interested in pursuing their various vendettas than in creating a diverse learning resource. There is an apparently high turnover of new editors, many of whom are either banned or soon give up on the wiki (although many of these may well be the same people signing up under an endless stream of pseudonyms), and there is a small number of devoted editors who tirelessly create detailed articles on their own individual interests.
This results in a disproportionate coverage of specialist subjects such as Japanese culture (thanks to JessicaT) and Middle-earth (thanks to Tolkiendil), a morbidly repetitive treatment of subjects such as atheism and homosexuality (largely the work of sysop Conservative), and many anti-liberal diatribes by Aschlafly himself. Meanwhile coverage of more common and academic subjects is confined to either useless stub articles, or plagiarized text pasted from other sources, along with a few articles or projects which have been started but obviously left unfinished and probably unnoticed.
Inaccuracy of Conservapedia
“”First get your facts; then you can distort them at your leisure
Conservapedia, like any encyclopedia (especially those using the open-editing wiki format), is prone to errors. There is, however, ample reason to believe that Conservapedia is far inferior to Wikipedia and that its articles are unreliable. Conservapedia's math and history articles have been criticized for a plethora of errors, while a numerical comparison of Conservapedia articles with articles in Wikipedia have shown Conservapedia's articles to be lagging in quality.
Conservapedia could actually surpass the folks at Wikipedia in terms of accuracy, coverage and comprehensiveness — after all, founder Andrew Schlafly did intend it to be a home-schooling tool — something which universities and schools do not view Wikipedia as being worthy of. However, it appears (from the wonderfully compact size of blurbs we purloin from Conservapedia for extension on Rational Wiki) that is not possible, given Conservapedia's stringent quality standards and policy of excluding miscreants who abuse their trust by vandalising the site.
In a blatant form of willful ignorance, Conservapedia ignores the existence of the Southern Strategy, posing the Ku Klux Klan as entirely a Democrat Party creation -- ignoring that Southern Democrats were Conservatives who began migrating to the GOP with Barry Goldwater's run for president. Indeed, the KKK were vehement supporters of Goldwater. And if one were to provide a reference for these facts, the edit will be reverted,, and user would be banned for v̶i̶o̶l̶a̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶S̶c̶h̶l̶a̶f̶l̶y̶ ̶I̶m̶p̶e̶n̶e̶t̶r̶a̶t̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶L̶o̶g̶i̶c̶™̶ "trolling."
Since 2016, Conservapedia has become increasing reliant upon breitbart.com as its data source, and incorrect or misstatements of facts are repeated without question from that source.
Interesting gaps in Conservapedia
Like the press of the now-defunct USSR, what Conservapedia doesn't say can be just as enlightening as what it does say. For example, for a long time various human bodily parts were banned from having entries on CP, leading to CP having thousands of words about why a woman shouldn't have an abortion, and not one word on the organs involved in getting her pregnant in the first place. This would seem to be related to the fact that their primary audience is home-schooled children, whom they feel should be shielded from such knowledge.
Furthermore, they often do not mention the liberal views held by many conservative politicians on certain issues. For example, Conservapedia's entry on Barry Goldwater, one of the most prominent champions of American Conservatism, does not mention that the long-time U.S. Senator (in many ways more a libertarian than conservative) was firmly pro-choice, nor that he was against the exclusion of gays from the military. Their article furthermore neither mentions that the Republican was good friends with Democratic U.S. Senator, and later President, John F. Kennedy, nor that at the end of his life, Barry Goldwater was becoming increasingly worried about the influence the Religious Right was gaining in the Republican Party. Although one might argue that these omissions might be because Conservapedia is pro-life, anti-gays in the military (and anti-gay in general), intent on defaming Kennedy (and any other "liberal"), and does not wish to be reminded of that one of their most beloved statesmen was in fierce disagreement with them on these issues, this explanation seems to go against their claimed goal of being unbiased, and even "trustworthy". By contrast, the Conservapedia article on conservative jurist and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia includes a section on areas where Justice Scalia's opinions differ from what Conservapedia considers to be conservatism.
Instances of lunacy
The articles sometimes purport what amounts to conspiracy theories in describing the ways in which those nefarious liberals attempt to manipulate politics and society. For example, in the Conservapedia entry on the Ku Klux Klan, it is claimed that the Klan's support of Donald Trump during the 2016 elections was in fact a scheme concocted by the organization to discredit the Trumpster. This is true, of course, because as everyone knows, the Klan was and still is closely connected with the Democratic Party, and by extension with liberals, and would therefore never dream of supporting a Republican candidate. These examples occasionally verge into Rightpedia territory: In the same article, it is actually claimed that all of the Klansmen who came out publicly in support of Trump were in fact liberals dressing up in Klan robes, and that they were funded by George Soros. Seriously.
Conservapedia and fear of the unknown
As is common with extremely conservative groups throughout history, much of their fear stems from unfamiliarity with diverse, nuanced situations and a tendency to believe others are conspiring against them. The former creates fear in the ultra-conservative mind that their position in society is not secure; the latter defines their obsession with security issues.
In the case of Conservapedia, these fears are realized in deletion of user pages and the site as a whole spending an inordinate amount of time tracking down vandalism and protecting pages.
Though certainly not all will agree, this “fear of the unknown” is often used to explain so-called “blind faith.”
Conservapedia's "news" blog
One of Conservapedia's more ludicrous features is the blog that is attached to its main page, titled "In the News" and often called "Main Page Right" or just "MPR." Outrageous, idiotic and brain-pain inducing, it nonetheless pales in comparison to the main page talk page, which is largely devoted to conversation about those "news" "articles". As of 2013, MPR is devoted to pimping various sysops' separate blogs; for example, Terry Hurlbut's recent contributions consist almost entirely of spamming MPR with links to Conservative News and Views. Since 2008, much of "In the News" has been devoted to criticizing Barack Obama, promoting various conspiracy theories related to his supposed Kenyan birth and Muslim religion, and praising anyone who opposes him, giving Conservapedia such unlikely bedfellows as Edward Snowden and Vladimir Putin. Stories alleging crimes in the news were caused by the violent-video-game playing habits of their perpetrators are one of Andy Schlafly's specialties, and he will often allege that the "liberal media" are covering up the connection between violent crime and video games.
Conservapedia v. Wikipedia: A self-proclaimed jihad!
Conservapedia claims 16 differences with Wikipedia that they assert make it far superior to what is often considered the best general resource on the web. The differences include the following:
- Provably false: Conservapedia claims Wikipedia is commercial because it is creating a for-profit search engine; it is not.
- Unfounded: Conservapedia claims that Wikipedia allows gossip; this is hard to prove or disprove.
- Frivolous: Conservapedia claims that they keep the number of templates in their articles down.
Conservapedia continually claims that Wikipedia is noneducational.
“”The real test of an "encyclopedia" is how clearly and concisely it explains something to an inquiring student or adult. Any objective evaluation of Wikipedia entries in terms of their ability to teach has to give Wikipedia an "F".
While Wikipedia may not be the most authoritative reference site on the web it certainly does not deserve an "F". Studies have shown that Wikipedia is comparable to or nearly as good as Encyclopædia Britannica which is universally accepted as a good educational resource. Additionally, Andy's very premise is flawed. The real test of an encyclopedia is not "how clearly and concisely it explains something to an inquiring student or adult." Rather it is how broad, accurate, and complete its coverage is. "Concise" is one of Andy's favorite words, by which he means "brief". By that measurement, CP is an excellent site. Unless you're explaining the evils of homosexuality, evolution, or atheism, the general rule on CP seems to be that a few sentences will do, and in some cases text is not even needed. They hold to that pretty well. Britannica, for example, is far from concise, and often not particularly clear. Andy, one must suppose, would assert that CP is a superior encyclopedia, a laughable assertion on any reasonable terms. In terms of coverage that is broad, accurate, or complete, CP gets at best a D-. Whatever one chooses to give Wikipedia, it's certainly much better than that.
Another common claim at Conservapedia is that Wikipedia is trafficking pornography to minors. Schlafly has stated on at least one occasion "Wikipedia is feeding pornography to children". Although Wikipedia does have many articles on sexuality, and even child sexuality, calling those articles pornography is specious. What is considered "pornographic imagery" is a subjective judgement, and Conservapedia itself is not free from nude pictures.
Justice at Conservapedia
The rule of law at Conservapedia is enforced by the sysops. There is a code of rules known as the Conservapedia Commandments but they are seldom followed. Blocking is rampant, partly because wandalism is also rampant, but also because discipline is handled so firmly and arbitrarily. In fact, Andrew Schlafly himself has sometimes commented that he finds it satisfying to block users. When he awarded blocking rights to RodWeathers (who later revealed himself to be a parodist), he told him that "This is one of the best aspects of Conservapedia, and you will find value in it". On another occasion he told Jpatt, "I find blocking to be good exercise".
One of the most commonly abused rules is an unofficial one not actually on the rule book, called the 90/10 rule, which states that editors must not make around 90% of their edits in the talk pages and only 10% in articles. This is enforced arbitrarily by sysops when they come across an editor who brings up a point they disagree with (no matter how well sourced or logical), or who just won't mind their own business about other people's blocks.
Commandment 1 says to not copy "from Wikipedia or elsewhere", but most users and even active sysops copy and paste on a regular basis. But when an editor copies and pastes an article that they disagree with, they will delete it for plagiarism. The Conservapedia article Arguments for the existence of God was copied and pasted and the user who created it admitted it in the edit summary saying "(copied from theopedia.com / public domain)". When an article was copied off RationalWiki (which is under the same licensing as Theopedia) they deleted it because it was "copied from RationalWiki".
Hypocritically, Schlafly pretends that they accept liberal contributions in support of intellectual freedom and his former protégé TK also made the same claim. What does that mean? They won’t always ban you for writing anything liberal so long as you don’t put it back after they’ve taken it out?
Forms of censorship
All editors must have an account to edit Conservapedia which is part of the mobocracy problem it perceives with Wikipedia. Conservapedia, however, is often far more guilty of one of their most common claims against Wikipedia: censorship. Conservapedia, for example, deleted a section of an article on persecution of Christians that pointed out Christians sometimes persecuted other religious sects, and in the article on the Intifada deleted an addition pointing out mildly that innocent Palestinians have also been killed. The more prolific of Conservapedia's
anti-liberal rants articles tend to be subject to long term edit protection, to prevent new users from editing in anything not to the liking of the administration staff. The list includes Conservapedia's articles on homosexuality, theory of evolution, and the always controversial Goat.
Another frequent practice is the banning by Conservapedia sysops of any members they don't agree with, censoring in a roundabout way by removing any opposing viewpoints. Andrew Schlafly is protected from criticism of his claims and "insights" by sysops who remove the critiques and block the editors responsible.
Conservapedia also uses checkuser to its own discretion for whatever reason it deems necessary; any hint of suspicion is enough to warrant a check.
Conservapedia also invites all editors to share their personal views on "Debate:" pages. However, if a user offers a personal view that is contrary to Conservapedia's ideology, it will be deleted and the user will be blocked for "inserting false information".
Currently, any references to RationalWiki in articles or talk pages are blocked by Conservapedia's spam filter. Any editor who tries a workaround (such as inserting an html "comment" in the word) will be insta-banned without any warning, and simply mentioning the site itself is a blockable offence, although this standard does not apply to certain Conservapedia administrators. The only place you can find RationalWiki at all is in the references for "Alleged unfulfilled Bible prophecy". One possible reason may be in an attempt to claim Liberapedia is their biggest competition, a wiki so small that the American Dad Wiki contains more articles, for crying out loud!
Conservapedia's sysops generally seem to be inclined to ban editors as quickly as possible, for even the most frivolous of reasons. At first, we thought that this was simply due to their massive tendencies towards paranoia and authoritarian abuse of power, but we now realize this serves a practical purpose as well. To maintain ideological purity and keep out their many imagined enemies, CP's sysops must vet every individual edit. The more users they have, the less possible this becomes.
It is also possible that the threat of a capricious infinite ban which permanently hangs over all normal users, combined with the 90/10 rule which discourages lengthy talk page discussions, has the effect of silencing any real debate and opposition to the ideology of the site.
The odds are high that in this all-encompassing net, a few editors who actually liked the site have found themselves kicked off it.
Night time editing
Night time editing is disabled in the United States, out of fear for high rates of vandalism, as indicated by the late "Senior Administrator", TK. Editing is prohibited from between 1am and 6am Eastern Standard Time, US. Users who attempt to edit during those hours will get a message that reads: "The action you have requested is limited to users in one of the groups: Administrators, edit."
Deletion and RevisionDelete log
Conservapedia has a very liberal "policy" in terms of what is eligible for deletion by administrators which, in turn, only fuels criticism of their censoring. For example, User and User talk pages of those who have been blocked (most likely for simply disagreeing with an admin), have not been active or had been exposed as parodists are usually deleted. On top of which, articles such as "Conservative deceit" (as opposed to its "Liberal deceit" article, which was later merged into "deceit") are protected from creation. Furthermore, plain vandalism is typically oversighted from public history out of fear of speculation. In particular, Sysop Ken is notorious for chronically deleting User and User talk pages of active users and common articles, only to restore and immediately protect them. Wikipedia and RationalWiki usually forbid such actions, unless requested.
Role of administrators
Administrators and bureaucrats have "final" authority over mediation and edit-warring which promotes a holier-than-thou attitude amongst new users. Because the block policy permits administrators to block based on premises which they deem appropriate, they are given very easily and usually to good faith editors. This in turn leads to censorship and groupthink conduct on Conservapedia because non-admin users can be blocked so quickly and often for frivolous reasons. Promotion to sysop is only done at a bureaucrat's discretion, which is almost always Andy.
In December 2010, Andy decided that the existing levels of censorship weren't enough, and asked his fellow sysops if "[there is] any easy way for me to internally block ALL foreign IPs, without blocking any American ones?" A couple of days later he had the answer: "In only 90 seconds I internally blocked and confirmed 6 major sources of the vandalism, none of which should affect access from the U.S. In total I've now internally blocked 7 major IP ranges: 77.*, 80.*, 81.*, 82.*, 84.*, 85.*, 86.*". The effect of this is to cause anybody trying to view Conservapedia from an IP address beginning with one of these octets to receive a "403 - Forbidden" error.
Conservapedia was caught up in several DDoS attacks in March and April 2011, an event which caused the site to go down for a few days. Some administrators responded by blocking the incoming IP addresses at server level. However, as most of these blocks were either in the /16 or even /8 range, this has resulted in large swathes of the world, especially countries other than the U.S.A., being unable to view Conservapedia at all.
Account creation and editing
With more normal people being informed of the appalling joke that Conservapedia is, "siteadmins" have the ability to lock the database, which disallows all account creation. It seems that they cannot be bothered constantly defending themselves against the sane or against the hordes of vandalism that naturally comes to the extremists amongst us, and thus it is easier to keep the site for themselves (although anyone can still email them for an account). Nevertheless, administrators also have the ability to even disallow any and all editing, except for those who are administrators. When this is enabled, the "edit" tab turns into a "view source" tab on every page, even if it is not protected.
Suspicions of parody
One theory which continually re-emerges is that Conservapedia is not run by the Religious Right at all; that instead it is an extreme parody of fringe loonbags, such as the Westboro Baptist Church, since it is hard to imagine such a large group of people being so wingnutty. Either way, though, it is undoubtedly true that if Conservapedia is written without irony, we should pity its authors rather than be angered by them, especially considering that even the authors cannot distinguish true conservative views from humorous satire.
It has also been speculated that Andy Schlafly is actually a closet liberal, but uses Conservapedia to hide this fact, primarily from his late mother. However, her death seems to have done nothing to stop Andy's rabid conservatism.
Impact of Conservapedia
Much speculation has been made about Conservapedia's relative impact on both the internet and political culture. Whilst Schlafly claims that "liberal" sites are on the decline, as demonstrated by the fact The Social Network didn't win the Academy Award it was nominated for, conservative websites, such as Conservapedia, are surging ahead.
Andrew Schlafly routinely states that Conservapedia gets lots of page views, and thus believes that people are using it as the encyclopedia it pretends to be. He is largely basing his page view statistics on the internal statistics of the MediaWiki software. However, these statistics are often misleading as they make no distinction between types of traffic, and can be easily manipulated by clickbots. Conservapedia routinely deletes and recreates articles that have inflated page view statistics as reported by the MediaWiki software, but the act of deletion alone confirms that the statistics have been manipulated and are thus unreliable. On top of this, Schlafly also says Wikipedia is deceitful for not using MediaWiki's statistics, even when these statistics are clearly unreliable and don't work in Wikimedia's heavily cached infrastructure anyway.
To give you an idea of what people are actually thinking about Conservapedia, googling Conservapedia yields more than half a million hits, though many are quite dubious. Ignoring the first two hits (which are for the site itself) nearly all the top results on google criticize or mock Conservapedia, with the exception, ironically, on listing #3, Wikipedia, which gives it about as fair an entry as one could hope for.
Reinforcement of viewpoint
Some homeschooled children in the 13 to 16 age range are quite likely to believe most or all of the stuff they read there, due to their only being exposed to right-wing Christian fundamentalism. In such sad cases, what Conservapedia presents builds on what they have already been taught. In short, Conservapedia might be said to engage in a form of brainwashing. Likewise, adults who have spent all their lives, or at least, many recent years, immersed in right-wing Christian fundamentalism are also likely to believe a great deal of what they read in Conservapedia.
Estimated percentage of readers in this category: 0.02%
Embarrassing the viewpoint
Genuinely sane conservatives are quite likely to be appalled at what they encounter while reading Conservapedia's version of "conservatism." Also, Conservapedia might reinforce the "ugly American" image abroad.
Estimated percentage of readers in this category: 0.03%
In this view, Conservapedia actually has no impact — people simply visit the site for a good mid-morning laugh, post-luncheon facepalm, and perhaps a before bed test of their irony meter's protection circuits.
Estimated percentage of readers in this category: 99.95%
Alexa.com, a website traffic ranking site, tracks visits by users of its Alexa Toolbar software, and offers one way to monitor the popularity of Conservapedia. In September 2007, the site received barely 5% the number of visits it received in March of 2007, when the blog frenzy brought it into the public eye.
As of the end of May 2011, Conservapedia's traffic is climbing back somewhat. Alexa currently estimates it being visited by only 0.00320% of the global Alexa userbase over a three month average — this is up 8% since the last period. Ranked as the 55,452nd most visited site on the Internet over a three-month average, this figure is 4,486 places higher than its position three months ago. People are reading less than they used to, with visitors now viewing 3.75 pages on the site on average — this is up 26%, but a long way down from the all-time high of nearly 6. Nearly half of visitors, 48.6%, only look at one page before leaving. Visitors spend 3.6 minutes a day on the website; this is up 22% from the last three-month period.
Conservapedia's page ranking has bounced back after sliding out of the top 100,000 (see right). Recently, however, artificially inflated readings, due to the use of so-called automatic "clickbots", as well as the recent DDoS attack, have inflated Conservapedia's Alexa ranking, making it an even less reliable indicator of performance than usual.
Over 67.5% of their total traffic is estimated to come from the United States, with another 4% from India.
Quantcast gives us some insight into who, in the US at least, is reading Conservapedia. As of mid-September 2009, it estimates that 101,000 US citizens visit Conservapedia monthly. It gives this description of its "average" visitor,
“”The typical visitor reads beliefnet.com, visits christiananswers.net, and shops at Zappos.
What others have said about Conservapedia
- But perhaps the most amusing alternative wiki may be Conservapedia, which defines itself as "a conservative, family-friendly Wiki encyclopedia" and whose contributor guidelines are cast as "commandments." - TIME Magazine
- "It is a detriment to conservative thought and movement." —TK, late Conservapedia sysop (one can only assume that the type of movement being referred to is of the bowel variety)
- "I've had bigger chunks'a corn in mah crap." —Fat Bastard
- I was banned and the reason given was, "I had some problems getting the page to load." —user "GoogleRonPaul"
- "You'll have more a accurate history of the world in the pages of MAD Magazine, and twice as truthful too" —Scatterbrain66
- "[A]s accurate as a catatonic drunkard’s line of urine" —Evan Maloney, Australian journalist
- "What a cheap, shameful, tawdry example of prejudice-dressed-up-as-truth this Conservapedia is." —Evan Maloney
- "I have never heard of any indication that it might be a Poe. Its self-satire powers are weapons-grade, however."
- Conservapedia has a low user rating on the Internet's "Web of Trust", a browser plug-in which warns users whenever they are about to navigate to an untrustworthy site. The rating is based on polling users of the plug-in, and sites are rated on four criteria: trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy, and child safety. The only category in which Conservapedia ranks high is privacy. It is unclear why it ranks low on child safety, except perhaps for its potential to influence children's minds for the worse.
- "Weird, wild wiki on which anything goes." – The Metro
What conservatives have said about Conservapedia
- "Yeah, the NYT loved Giuliani. And if that isn't enough, they can't even spell his name right."
- "Some of the science is a bit eccentric, too, as for example this article on unicorns."
- "I'll see your bad article and raise http://www.conservapedia.com/Evolution"
- "when you say eccentric I hope you mean insane".
- "I actually thought it was a satire site. Sort of like the Stephen Colbert of wikis. It's so over the top it is hard to believe it is serious."
- "I waver back and forth between believing it to be genuine and believing it to be an elaborate hoax."
- "I can't say that the stuff I have seen has done Conservatism any favors."
- "This is a horrible idea with even worse execution. Seeing lefty college kids try to build stuff like this is annoying, but I don't see how you can claim to be so far above them. At least they can format a page."
Similarly, a post condemning Wikipedia's new editorial controls was made to Hotair.com. After Conservapedia's name was mentioned in the comments section, the conservatives there also had very little good to say:
- "conservapedia fails as a worthwhile resource for conservatives".
- "on the 'right' you have conservapedia – which is an embarrassment".
- "The first time I saw a conservapedia article I was sure it was parody. I still check it out every now and then just for the entertainment value."
- "Conservapedia is a 'satire' wiki like Encyclopedia Dramatica."
- "the odd and rotten thing about conservapedia is that it wouldn’t even exist as it does were it not for the left’s use of it. I’ve never seen Conservapedia cited by a single conservative blog, yet the stats show that Conservapedia is at least very popular with the left. A Google search of 'conservapedia' returns 160,000 hits, 4,100 alone featuring the term 'wingnut,' and every one which is not a hit to Conservapedia itself is a hit to a leftwing site eager to accept and amplify Conservapedia’s claim to represent conservatism".
“”And now it's clear. These false truths are what God dislikes, these blasphemous lies perpetuated by liberal "scientists," who weren't even homeschooled and are therefore retarded, and then spread by evil websites just like Conservapedia. We all know who else presents these false truths; the serpent. The serpent...or those liberal, pussy, pink, socialist, feminist, lesbian, softy, anti-fascist communist bastards.
- Conservapedia itself!
- A blog about life near Conservapedia
- We couldn't make this up. Covers Conservapedia and other rantings from the loony right.
- Conservapedia Does the Olympics, Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- The very first content added to Conservapedia's main page.
- For a tell-tale Conservapedia article, check out their ridiculous article "Causes of Homosexuality", specifically the image to the upper right, sporting the following description: "Homosexuality is rare in Orthodox Jews" — implying that (if nothing else) the most piously God-fearin' Jews are almost doing as good as the American patriot Christians (a demographic in which homosexuality is a myth and nothing more).
Historic blog posts about Conservapedia
- Jon Swift: Conservapedia
- Michael Calore, Wired: What Would Jesus Wiki?
- Mark Frauenfelder, boingboing: Top ten most viewed pages on Wikipedia and Conservapedia
- Lester Haines, The Register: Need hard facts? Try Conservapedia
- Hey, at least 1990'sguy opposes the Conservative Bible Project.
- In a hypocritical stopped clock moment, Conservapedia actually opposes the Westboro Baptist Church for spreading hate. (cp:Westboro Baptist Church)
- LA times
- Sun Journal
- Conservapedia:Quick reference
- User Talk:Bohdan - History
- Johnswift on Conservapedia
- Conservapedia: Homeschooling
- Conservapedia: Gun Control
- Conservapedia:Global Warming
- Smallpox and vaccination on Conservapedia
- Conservapedia: United Nations
- Young mass murderes - Conservapedia
- "Wearing all black as a teenager is suggestive of anti-Christian beliefs. Other examples in this entry illustrate that. I welcome more evidence, but am not going to play dumb amid liberal denial by others. - Andy Schlafly 14:42, 15 March 2009 (EDT)"
- Capturebot image of Andy's black hole comment
- See CP:Category:Japan.
- See CP:Category:Middle-earth.
- See CP:Category:Atheism.
- See CP:Category:Homosexuality.
- Including virtually all of the "Conservapedia terms".
- See, for example, CP:Life in Medieval Times.
- Abstract Nonsense:Conservapedia
- E.g., http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Evergreen_State_College&diff=1354745&oldid=1351153
- There is no article for "penis" or "vagina". Currently they redirect to Human reproduction. Until September 2008, this article did not describe the sexual act, only the sperm and egg.
- CP:Differences with Wikipedia
- Wikimedia press realese
- CP:talk:examples of bias in wikipedia - diff
- A fine example is the Theoretical Physics article, with an equally brilliant edit history
- CP:talk:examples of bias in wikipedia - diff
- See Olympia, The Source, Cupid, and the Creation of Adam.
- He likes to boast about it too
- Conservapedia:User talk:Roopilots6
- Conservapedia:Blatant Plagiarism
- Conservapedia:Arguments for the existence of God - History
- Conservapedia:Homosexuality - Logs
- Conservapedia:Theory of evolution - Logs
- Conservapedia:Goat - Logs
- Actually there is no policy, they do whatever they damn well please. Even when blocking users, they can't be bothered to provide a reason many times.
- [[Conservapedia:Conservapedia Group|]] email "toggling a block of ALL foreign IPs" CP/31-60/727da2ed08f13d44.html
- Conservapedia Group email "90 seconds to block 6 nations" CP/31-60/a2416fb4e4eb26a1.html
- CP:Debate:How can we protect Conservapedia by distinguishing real conservative encyclopedia articles from satires written by liberals?
- They have since had two lesser peaks in visitors, in July due to the Los Angeles Times, and on their birthday in late November 2007 due to circulation on the internet of a screenshot showing their dubious fascination with "articles" on homosexuality.
- Time: Top 10 Wikipedia Moments - The Birth of Lostpedia and the Rest. January 15, 2011.
- Quote-mined from the articles title.
- Yeah he already is quoted but he is spot on.
- Skeptic's Guide to the Universe - Is Conservapedia genuinely this comically wrong?
- WOT report, draw your own conclusions.
- Weird, wild wiki on which anything goes
- Wikipedia set to tighten editorial control
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