Essay:Rational Response

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Essay.svg This essay is an original work by Flippin.
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Response to request for information

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you for your reply. I would be happy to talk to you about this, perhaps later today or tomorrow. I’ve included answers to your questions below and you can decide for yourself if I am qualified to speak to this topic. If you would like to speak to anyone else, many of the users at Rationalwiki would be more than happy to do so—already several have emailed me to ask if I got in touch with you. But I’ll talk more about them later.

-- what's your background (age, profession, location) and how did you come to start contributing to Conservapedia?

I am a 33 year-old writer/editor from Grand Forks, ND. I began contributing to Conservapedia when I read about them on the internet. As a former college professor and graduate student studying rhetoric, their use of propaganda techniques fascinated me. Basically, I joined to see how they would be able to overcome the problem of satisfying “all the people, all the time.” Briefly, they intend to create a biased source of educational materials for home-schooled children. I am certain this could be accomplished with a single writer, or a team of dedicated writers, but not with an open-source media like CP. In a voyeuristic sense, I wanted to watch them fail.

-- what do you hope CP can accomplish? what do you hope readers learn from it?

I hope it brings a lot of attention to the fact that an ultra-conservative minority sees their triumph over public education, science and anything else they disagree with as (such as abortion) as inevitable, and further, almost divinely inspired. This is a pretty complicated topic, so I’m not sure how much detail you would like me to get into.

-- what are some of your favorite articles? which ones do the best job countering liberal bias?

My personal favorites are New Ordeal and Deceit. They are, frankly, nuts. I don’t think they do as much to counter liberal bias, as much as they actually foment it. How can anyone with a serious education read some of these entries and not guffaw at their utter absurdity?

-- what's the CP community like? (friendly, welcoming, angry, quick to block? a lot of vandals? any humorous examples of vandalism?) & -- what's this split with rationalwiki about?

There are many good examples of vandalism, you might see Rationalwiki’s entries on CP articles for some interesting moments. The community over there began as somewhat friendly when I joined a few months ago. They would allow you to disagree, but if things got too heated they would block a user until it cooled down. I noticed after a few days, that they see dissent as a kind of liberal fallacy. The obvious outcome was that users would begin to form sub-groups of more moderate conservatives and even liberals. After a few more weeks, these liberals began to self-identify. As we did so, one editor, tmtoulouse, would go to user pages and invite people one at a time to join him for a discussion about CP. The site he led us to was Rationalwiki. At first we just complained about CP, their policies, petty actions, etc. Then we began a process that was very similar some cyber-terror tactics (although much less sexy, frankly.) Basically, we wanted to cause CP editors/sysops to waste time dealing with us. This would not really bring the site down, but it would tie things in knots. It was very manipulative.
At some point, a CP sysop (we think TK) found his way to RW and learned who all of us were. He returned to CP and began systematically banning us from the site. Some RW editors jokingly note the similarity to the German “Kristalnacht.” Once many of us were banned, we began to think of a new way to covertly deal with CP, to create socks? Get to the press? We weren’t sure. Finally we settled on creating our own site as a direct response to CP’s propaganda. We think of ourselves as watchdogs for this crazy outfit. We are still pretty new (though many of our editors come from Wikipedia) and have just begun to compose pages. We welcome everyone, even vandals, and hope to provide an independent counterpoint to CP’s dogmatic approach.

The links below are useful introductions to our site:

Ultimately, we hope to move beyond just dealing with these yay-hoos and turning a scientific, skeptical eye toward all pseudo-scientific beliefs and propaganda. I think of it as Wikipedia, just with most articles on Bigfoot and UFO’s 
I can be reached at the number below, or by calling my cell at XXX-XXX-XXXX. I want to stress, we desire to be completely open about this project (in contrast to CP, which makes many decisions in private and without user input.) In that spirit, I will post this response to Rationalwiki at the following link:
Thank you for your time and attention.