Essay talk:Relative Quality of Conservapedia, Wikipedia and RationalWiki

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You might like to put this in essay until you've filled it out a bit? Susan... purrrrrr ... 09:14, 11 November 2007 (EST)

I knew it belonged outside the mainspace, but wasn't sure where. If you think Essay is a good place then please do the honours (I'm not quite sure how to). Totnesmartin 09:43, 11 November 2007 (EST)
Ok, but here the only person who can edit it is you, Totnesmartin.--Bobbing up 10:01, 11 November 2007 (EST)

Deduction for citation needed[edit]

I'd say that a 'citation needed'-tag is a sign of responsible editors checking the quality of the articles. In addition, I fear that adding the same tag to a CP article is a speedy road to being blocked and deleted - depending on who wrote the uncited text of course. Thus, I see this deduction as a dirty conservative trick to let CP win. Editor at CP 09:21, 11 November 2007 (EST)

I'd tend to agree. Andy and the others see "citation needed" tags as vandalism, so you'd not find them on most articles where they're desperately needed. Perhaps points deducted for major points that aren't cited? Also, I note that there are points gained for citing authoritative sources. How about deducting points for non-authoritative sources, such as blogs and dinner conversations. --Kels 09:33, 11 November 2007 (EST)
Perhaps you're right - I'd forgotten that RW effectively bans them. I'll remove it from the scoring system. Totnesmartin 09:43, 11 November 2007 (EST)
I think you meant CP there. I can't remember RW banning over something like that. --Kels 09:46, 11 November 2007 (EST)
Oh bugger. Time for my pills, I think! Totnesmartin 10:01, 11 November 2007 (EST)
Every now and then you do actually see a CP editor adding the tags. I don't think I've ever seen Andy do it, but Dan does semi-regularly and TK does once in a blue moon. Lurker 11:48, 11 November 2007 (EST)
I came across one today, so I'll leave it in.


Should maturity be a factor? A new wiki is likely to have just a few good articles & loads of stubs which wil gradually get filled out with time. Susan... purrrrrr ... 09:48, 11 November 2007 (EST)

Well, CP is a year old, CW 18 months, TinWiki a little older again and RW is the bambino of the set. Apart from us, they've all had time. In Wikipedia's five years or so, Digestive system and Twentieth century theatre are still stubs. I also think spelling "Conservapedia" properly in the title should be a factor... Totnesmartin 10:01, 11 November 2007 (EST)

Original work[edit]

You should also be careful to choose articles where all the wikis have original content. Specially after the introduction of contests (N.3 is starting tomorrow), CP editors (*) have started to copy paste from .gov and other sites. Not surprisingly, the quality of these articles is much better than the average Conservapedia article. Editor at CP 09:59, 11 November 2007 (EST)

(*) But not me.


I've moved this to essay but left the redirects - when it's more complete it can be moved back to mainspace. OK? Susan... purrrrrr ... 10:04, 11 November 2007 (EST)

Yeah, that's better. I'm planning a monthly-ish update on this page. Totnesmartin 10:10, 11 November 2007 (EST)


How are you selecting the articles? Susan... purrrrrr ... 10:30, 11 November 2007 (EST)

At first I was going to pick topics which every wiki would have an article on - but i soon realised there'd only be a few (eg Dinosaur, Jesus). I'm using the Random Article button, which should also remove personal bias on my part - no way would I have picked the Australian BB "highlights" article, or Kirchoff's voltage law, which I'd never heard of. Totnesmartin 11:13, 11 November 2007 (EST)

Kirchoff's voltage law[edit]

You don't have to log in to see the references; the editor just forgot to put in the reference section. Even if he hadn't, this technically doesn't change the scoring, according to your system. Lurker 11:39, 11 November 2007 (EST)

I didn't log in and I couldn't see the refs. I could see there was a ref, but not what it said. My view is that refs you can't see unless you edit the page don't count. For a statement to be useful it has to be seen. Totnesmartin 11:45, 11 November 2007 (EST)
(Errr I think I edited the wrong page right as it was being moved, hence the "odd place to lurk".) It's pretty basic wiki tech to click "edit" (or "view source" if you are blocked from editing) to see the wiki code. So the reference isn't useful for someone just reading it, but it's not that big a stretch to say that anyone who's edited a wiki would be able to figure it out. Lurker 15:00, 11 November 2007 (EST)
True, but remember that wikis like CP aren't (ostensibly) for the editors, they're for the readers. What counts is what you see on the screen. People shouldn't have to join up just to check the material. Totnesmartin 05:36, 12 November 2007 (EST)
If it were my rules, they'd get minus a million points for failing to use the phrase "potential difference" (voltage drops, my arse.) Perhaps in Jesusland, they don't believe in electrons? --Jeeves 11:46, 11 November 2007 (EST)
They're too small to see, scientists discovered them, they're not in the Bible. Electrons are definitely not welcome in Jesusland! Totnesmartin 11:55, 11 November 2007 (EST)
Also, if I marked down for factual blunders I'd be forever checking out Portuguese Indian Rupias or the Stargate project. I'd end up getting bored, and more bias would creep in. Hopefully this page will get better. Totnesmartin 12:00, 11 November 2007 (EST)


If I were to create a 98 word article, all in one section with proper references I would have an article worth two points (refs for particular statements, external references). If all I did was take those exact 100 words and cut them into two 49 word sections, it would be worth 4 points (refs for particular statements, external references, intro with links, references for every section).

Also, you should probably spell out your rules to be exactly how you score. As mentioned above, KVL shouldn't get a deduction for missing tags according to your rules, and contraception doesn't really qualify as "copy-and-paste", if you are also encouraging the use of references in your scoring system. I'm not saying these are quality articles; I'm saying your scoring and your scoring system don't match up. (I didn't check any of the other articles, just the ones with an explanation). Lurker 11:46, 11 November 2007 (EST)

Proposals for improving the scoring[edit]

  • Points for each good reference (no blogs, conversations, overhead on bus, this bloke down the pub said etc)
  • A point for each section over 100 words (not including cut-and pastes)
  • Minus a point for whole articles under 100 words.
  • Minus a point for neglect (typos, random stuff thown in ad hoc, which has gone unattended for x number of days). I spotted this on one or two pages.
  • 3 points and a gallon of hummus for any article that contains the word "goat".
  • 3.14159265358979323846 point for mentioning π.

Please add your own proposals. Preferably sensible ones!

Totnesmartin 12:14, 11 November 2007 (EST)
I rather think that we may end up defining what would be a good RW article - and then give ourselves a good score because our articles are RW ones. I know the goat and π are humerous references but I'm sure you get my drift. So it has to be a scoring system which could be fairly applied to other wikis. You could argue that it really should be a question of how close each wiki is to get to what it claims its own objectives are - not how close it gets to some external standard which includes things the wiki creators never cared about.--Bobbing up 05:48, 12 November 2007 (EST)
It would be good to score for (eg) how neutral WP is, or how right-wing CP is, but I'm not sure how you'd give points for tone, or things not said, without knowing the subject first anyway. And should we ("we?") award points for blatant drivel that fits its makers' purposes? CP on McCarthy is a hagiographic whitewash - why reward the lies? The wikis I'm checking all claim to be encyclopedias of some sort, and that's how I'll judge them, for now. Regarding scoring for being like RW - I'm trying to avoid that. RW isn't my first port of call, wiki-wise, so I haven't got my RW hat on when I'm doing this. I want to keep the scoring system neutral and fair otherwise it's pointless. Totnesmartin 10:44, 12 November 2007 (EST)

A thought[edit]

It seems to me that if this project should only be comparing encyclopedias, and hence including Rationalwiki, which makes no claim of being such, is a bit out of the scope. (The same might be true for Creationwiki, though I've never actually looked at it, so I'm not sure exactly what it tries to be.) Additionally, I think it might be beneficial to include Citizendium and Nupedia. Incusion of the latter, if nothing else, will prove how easy it is to game the scoring system by having 25 full, well-written, well referenced, encyclopedic articles as opposed to 2 million not quite so good ones. Which is the "better" encyclopedia? It seems Nupedia would get a much higher score than any of the others. And for fun, there's Truthopedia, which is well-cited, concise, and has 2 articles, each less than 10 words long. There are no citation needed tags or factual errors. By Andy's standards, it's an excellent encyclopedia. It would be interesting to see its score. DickTurpis 11:31, 12 November 2007 (EST)

Truthopedia scores a magnificent 2! Having it in proper categories rather than red ones would have got it another. I think i can see what's going to happen...
Citizendium and Nupedia - didn't think of them. They may have fewer articles, but at least they won't be full of Simpsons episodes, local sports teams and rap singles. And, does anybody know of a wiki-based alternative health encyclopedia? i'd like to cover one if there is one. Totnesmartin 12:34, 12 November 2007 (EST)
Citizendium's scores would be interesting to see. Nupedia doesn't really exist anymore, but I think you can still find the articles if you look; I believe there were only ever 24 or 25 (on some very esoteric topics). It would score very high, but as a general purpose encyclopedia it's entriely useless. Citizendium should also get a high score, but even CP has several times more articles than it does. The only real fair comparison is to look at articles on the same topic, and to judge by quality, not just length, tags, categories, ad the like. The fact that Truthopedia, probably the most useles thing ever written, got even 2 points shows that actual encyclopedicness isn't really being measured. DickTurpis 17:31, 12 November 2007 (EST)
Looks like I'm going to have to... oh, dock points for missing info (and hope I notice the gap)? Something like that.
I think that the specialist nature of e.g. RW or TinWiki means there won't be many topics that every wiki covers. We here create lots of stubs just to fill pesky redlinks, with no intention of fleshing them out, but I don't see anyone else doing so. This would eventually go against us. Ultimately I think that whatever scoring system I used, it would favour somebody over someone else. Perhaps I could trim it back to just CP and WP, and make direct article comparisons. Totnesmartin 18:28, 12 November 2007 (EST)

Another idea[edit]

Perhaps I could compare each site's last 5 featured articles? Hmm, think about that in the morning... time for zzzzz... Totnesmartin 18:28, 12 November 2007 (EST)


My apologies to anyone waiting for the December update of this, I've had a computer disaster at home and I'm having to do internet stuff in half-hour sessions at the library. This, sadly, precludes long article work. During the meanwhile, perhaps someone else could do a December version? Totnesmartin 06:57, 22 December 2007 (EST)