Essay:Rationalwiki and Conservapedia, one editor's observation on the six-year itch

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Essay.svg This essay is an original work by PowderSmokeAndLeather.
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.

Facts: Without Conservapedia, Rationalwiki would not even exist, and without that specific history and the specific people who made that history, the character of Rationalwiki, if it could have existed, would be very different indeed. CP is a major part of our activity, and our relationship with it has quite probably been our best source for new people.

Other facts: We do really good work outside of our relationship with CP. We are smart, and we don't take no shit off nobody. That's a killer combination. We have proven ourselves more than capable of producing excellent material within our mission.

I wonder about how much longer these two things can co-exist...

Does the WP article about CP still have that quote from the LA Times where TK called us a “vandal site”? That was what, six years ago? And, as I write, a user on TWIGO CP is egging on another user to say something nasty online to a CP editor. (UPDATE: And last night I vaped an edit on this wiki in which a user boasted about "sending free stuff" to a CP user.)

This wiki is a small place. Any new visitor with any knowledge of wikis will get to Recent Changes pretty quickly, and from there it won't take him too long to figure out that two adult men on separate wikis are taunting each other like schoolchildren, or that a bunch of self-described "cool kids" are using the site to taunt the kids they don't like.

How healthy does that look? How likely does that make it for some big-deal blogger or God forbid, journalist, to use as a reference on vaccine denialism or some creationist Senator? Sure, we have a handful of positive shout-outs and references, but it's not a lot to show for millions of person-hours of work over six years. I wonder if a new model is viable. This is what I have in mind. It's a radical proposition, but, as with cancer, sometimes the best course of action for the long term is something that really hurts in the short term.

Get rid of everything about Conservapedia except a detailed, well referenced, take down of the site, updated as needed. Also keep our excellent take-down of Schlafly. That's gold, and he deserves to be exposed as the kind of “educator” he is.

Nobody else there matters, at least not to the level of importance we give them here. Ed Poor, Karajou, etc. are all of no importance whatsoever, and none of them deserve an article that is many times larger than our hundreds and hundreds of underdeveloped, stubby articles.

And nobody needs to use the tax-free status that we enjoy thanks to the people of the Great State of New Mexico (Thanks, guys! Gracias!!) to engage with User: C.

Spin it all off to its own website. Authorize the board to give someone control of all that material and float them enough cash to keep their server space working for a year.

RW takes a hit in terms of usership, and probably the folks who commit to it will have to pony up some dough for a while. But a couple of years without the distractions of CP, forcing this place to stand on its own two feet, might make it a better wiki.