Essay:RationalWiki has an image problem

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Essay.svg This essay is an original work by Kazitor.
It does not necessarily reflect the views expressed in RationalWiki's Mission Statement, but we welcome discussion of a broad range of ideas.
Unless otherwise stated, this is original content, released under CC-BY-SA 3.0 or any later version. See RationalWiki:Copyrights.
Feel free to make comments on the talk page, which will probably be far more interesting, and might reflect a broader range of RationalWiki editors' thoughts.
This text might change a bit while I attempt to clarify these thoughts, however the ideas represented should remain consistent.

Judging by the project pages and some old talk page comments, RationalWiki seems like a great place. All opposing views are eagerly welcomed and properly debated until both parties have learnt something new. But in the time I've been here, that's consistently shown not to be the case.

It seems the only thing the major users want to do is laugh at everyone who doesn't think the same way as them. Anyone changing the POV of an article is usually reverted without a word then blocked. Those who somehow know to take it to the talk page are insulted, derided, and occasionally blocked anyway.

Think of the whole "SPOV" thing. Ikanreed had the right idea when questioning its usefulness: articles shouldn't be 100% serious business, but that doesn't mean they must consist of insulting everyone who doesn't already agree with our take on the topic at hand.

Consider who the articles are written for. Is the intent to provide amusement for the editors of RationalWiki by taking it out against whichever stupid idea they encountered today, or is the intent to provide evidence and persuade others who don't already think the same?

What is the reputation of RationalWiki? It is perhaps vague awareness or endorsement amongst members of the sceptic community, but sheer contempt from anyone else who finds that their beliefs are being senselessly ridiculed. These attitudes are far from surprising when considering the typical nature of articles addressing high-profile topics.

Maybe I'm delusional, maybe the focus of RationalWiki really should be to sit in the corner laughing at everyone else. But I don't think that's what the goal ever has nor will be.

The problem isn't with the mission. It doesn't lie with what's outlined in project pages. This is the fault of users whose behaviour matches what is described above.

I like RationalWiki and what it tries to accomplish. If I didn't, I'd never have registered and stuck around for long enough to see the deeper problem. I have also felt this way for some time now but did nothing to remedy it apart from not acting in the same way. Only recently have I very rarely taken it up with individual users, but I really got the shits when I saw someone accused of trolling and being a sockpuppet just because they said some mean, bad things about asexuality on the relevant talk page.

I probably won't LANCB, but I've already lost a lot of motivation for editing frequently. I've stuck around because there are still things I can help out with, and naturally you lot would go berserk without an archiving bot :P

I can't think of much else to say right now. Please thoroughly read and absorb RationalWiki:Constructive dialogue and RationalWiki:Blocking policy. A fair few users could stand to go over those pages.