Essay:Common criticisms of RationalWiki

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There are several common criticisms of RationalWiki (RW) as a source. It should be noted that attacking RW doesn't disprove its points.

It's a wiki[edit]

The obvious cautions that apply to using Wikipedia as a source apply to using RationalWiki as a source. Anyone can edit it, check the references, and so on.

It's got terrible tone[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Tone argument

True, RationalWiki has a "snarky" point of view, and sometimes it perhaps it goes a bit overboard. But that doesn't mean it's wrong.

It's biased[edit]

Basically the material presented is what a slightly left of centre atheist needs to win an internet debate.
Good on debunking theism and woo. Horrible on politics. Heavily biased.
See the main article on this topic: Appeal to bias

Is RW biased? Yes. All information is. However, "biased" does not necessarily mean "wrong", but merely "opinion-having". RW just hopes that its bias agrees with reality. If you think RW is wrong, there are several solutions.

It can't criticize ...[edit]

One decent way to tell if an arguer is closed-minded (and thus hopelessly, harmfully biased) is if they cannot accept or make any criticism of something they broadly support.

What can't RW criticize...

Category:Liberalism more broadly, or American-style Category:Social liberalism? For latter individuals, search for "moonbat".
Category:Conservatism. For various individuals, search for "wingnut".
Category:Authoritarianism, including but not limited to Category:Communism and Category:Fascism.
The Amazing Atheist, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris.
Category:Religion, especially Category:Apologetics and counter-apologetics, Category:Cults, and Category:Fundamentalism.
Category:Hard green.
(much of) Category:Environmentalism.
Category:Feminism. RationalWiki mainly criticizes wackier and ruder types such as TERFs and SWERFs, but there's overlap with "moonbat" (see above).
Category:Turdblossoms, Category:Site-related essays, RationalWiki talk:Community Standards

Don't believe it? Consider that RW has managed to piss off someone of essentially every ideology.


If bias bothers you, there are several solutions:

  1. Read other articles that are unrelated to the subject. If you still find articles you hate, see 2:
  2. Ignore the bias, read the cited sources, and see if RW is actually right. If you still disagree, see 3:
  3. Bring it up on the article's talk page, preferably with sources. If you fail to convince RW, see 4:
  4. Perhaps RationalWiki is at least partly correct...?

It's a shill[edit]

For the last goddamn time, RationalWiki is not even worth talking about. It is literally run by paid US government shills.
See the main article on this topic: Shill gambit

Is RW paid off to write disinformation articles? RW is entirely funded by volunteer donors (no ads!) and has criticized damn near everyone. It's hard to shill for someone when there's nobody to shill for.

It's definitely not a shill, because we're still awaiting those cheques.

It's insignificant[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Argumentum ad populum

Popularity has nothing to do with truth. RW isn't the most popular skeptic website. That said:

It censors dissent[edit]

Ah, yeah, I love their "free speech" claims. It's adorable they can even say it with a straight face.

Does it?

  • As a rule, RW treats talkpages as "public" property and does not remove content, excepting vandalism (such as spam, doxxing, or malevolent trolling).
  • As another rule, RW explicitly opposes ideological bans and supports only vandalism-related bans. A quick look at the block log reveals that most bans are joke bans from sysop to sysop, bans of spambots, or bans for vandalism.

If you think RW isn't living up to its standards, bring it to the Chicken Coop.

It's just ...[edit]

Rational Wiki is just as bad as conservapedia. There is no difference. They are both terrible. Hell I'd say worse. I think it is because conservapedia isn't hiding it's[sic] agenda. It is a conservative wiki and you know it. Rational Wiki is like "hey we are the rational ones. come read our rational wiki!"[sic]

Some people try to handwave RW via comparison.

See also[edit]

Readers of Rationalwiki vs readers of the Yellow Press.jpeg