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A wiki is a website intended to be edited by its readers. Tim Berners-Lee used to consider wikis to be the realisation of his original peer-to-peer vision for the World Wide Web, but then he tripped on acid and became obsessed with 'Solid PODs'. They were invented in 1995 by programmer Ward Cunningham; the first wiki was the Portland Pattern Repository, a site to document computer programming design patterns. He derived the word "wiki" from the Hawaiian word wiki wiki, meaning "fast".
Epistemic walled garden wikis were an almost standard crank product in the past decade or so - e.g., Conservapedia, PESWiki, Wiki4CAM, or David de Hilster's multiple ghost sites. Someone cranks up a copy of Mediawiki, and fills it with self-linked essays. Perhaps fellow believers will show up, though usually they don’t. Open editing usually lasts until the first critic, functionally defined as an editor who contradicts the founder.
- 1 Efficacy
- 2 Notable English-language wikis
- 3 Crank wikis
- 4 Us!
- 5 Meta-wikis
- 6 Comparison chart
- 7 Wiki software
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
Among the various methods available to get your point across on the internet, the wiki is possibly the most cunning, if it can be kept up. Blogs need you to write something witty, incisive or thought provoking. Podcasts need you to say something witty, incisive and original and read it out convincingly (useful for people who like the sound of their own voice). Wikis, however, don't need that. All you have to do is start it up... and other people write your content for you. This means that you can pretend your point of view has wide support, without doing any work at all!
Notable English-language wikis
There are thousands of wikis in existence, varying hugely in quality and scale. These are a few of the most well-known examples, focusing on the wikis developed for anglophone audiences or with developed English versions.
The 800-pound gorilla of wikis, Wikipedia consists of over six million articles. (And that's just the English version. There are another 19 million in various other languages.) It is specifically an encyclopedia dedicated to amassing all the knowledge of the human race in one place. Its goals are not only to get this information together, but also to make it freely available. As a result, it makes extensive use of Creative Commons licensing to allow its content to be distributed. It is serious and quite dry in tone, but at least it's mostly accurate.[citation NOT needed]
wikiHow to installing antivirus software to reacting to an ugly baby. Its step-by-step guides usually include illustrations and references. While anyone can start an article on any subject, articles are subject to review, and are sometimes fact-checked by experts to ensure quality.
- Over 200,000 articles
- Over 2 million registered users
- 18 languages of articles
- Over 30 million views on its most popular article
It's notable for its incredibly friendly atmosphere, in which even obvious trolls are politely welcomed to contribute something positive to the community. (Though insisting on being a jerk is a surefire way to get banned.)
Scholarpedia is a peer-reviewed open-access encyclopedia written and maintained by scholarly experts from around the world. Scholarpedia is inspired by Wikipedia and aims to complement it by providing in-depth scholarly treatments of academic topics — although its licence is CC BY-NC-SA, so material can't be reused by wikis under a CC BY-SA licence. Their specific peer-review process is found here and articles accepted are published in the Scholarpedia journal. Recently, Scholarpedia has had rather few edits.
Citizendium was the original challenger to the crown of Wikipedia. Its main difference was that its editing policy was less open, requiring all users to register under their real name and allowing only "experts" to approve articles. While a decent enough idea, its attempts to define "expert" soon fell prey to credentialism — the academics were rapidly repelled, leaving room for cranks with spurious qualifications to hijack prominent articles, leading to pseudoscience topics being covered in a less than critical light. Launched at the start of 2007 with considerable mainstream publicity and claims that it would grow to rival Wikipedia's size, it grew slightly during its first year and then fizzled out. Although still limping along, it has far fewer contributors than the wiki you are reading now, RationalWiki.
Larry Sanger's later wiki project with Sam Kazemian. Basically formed from a bastardised fork of Wikipedia - but on the blockchain!!
Uncyclopedia, "the content-free encyclopedia", is a parody of Wikipedia. Inevitably, for a collaborative work of comedy, the quality and humour varies markedly, from some patches of excellent satire to lame nonsense propped up with tired internet memes.
There was originally one, independently operated, Uncyclopedia hosted at uncyclopedia.org. It was bought by
Wikia Fandom, and slowly assimilated over the years. It could at that time be found at uncyclopedia.wikia.com. Some users got sick of the ads, content warnings, terrible skin, and lack of site stats, and they created a fork (also called Uncyclopedia) which is now at uncyclopedia.co. Some users stayed at the Wikia Fandom site.
In February 2019,
Wikia Fandom announced the closure of its English-language version of Uncyclopedia due to its offensive content. The Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and Polish Uncyclopedias on Wikia Fandom also received takedown notices. Early May 14th 2019 all the Wikia Fandom Uncyclopedia sites were closed and most of the remaining contributors joined the .co site, with others moving to uncyclopedia.ca.
Uncyclopedia has an article about us, which appears to satirise a RationalWiki page, with vandalized edits from Conservapedians in Uncyclopedia's usual fashion. They also feature a "HowTo:Play RationalTroll" page in which they encourage people to vandalize RationalWiki and provide a score sheet based on how much disruption is achieved.
An election information site. While informative, it is not entirely unbiased. Mostly written by paid staff, with some edits by "carefully vetted" members of the public, each reviewed by staff before going live.
SourceWatch documents corporate and industry front groups and their FUD campaigns. It tends to concentrate on environmental issues like global warming denialism, however it covers a wide range of issues related to government and corporate PR.
TV Tropes catalogues and celebrates the many conventions, idioms, motifs, clichés, memes and writing tools used in television, film, literature and other fiction. Entries for each "trope" link to many others, and come with an extensive list of examples, since there is no notability barrier. It has a very strong love of almost everything, but especially Joss Whedon (the wiki grew out of a fansite for Buffy the Vampire Slayer), anime and the word "egregious"(You could even say that the usage of egregious on TV Tropes is...Egregious.). It is almost impossible to visit the website for less than
three six hours, a fact of which they themselves are quite boastful. They also have quite a few nice things to say about us.
WikiLeaks leaks things - embarrassing or incriminating documents and correspondence which governments or corporations do not wish to be published. Although it uses MediaWiki as its content management system and so looks a bit like Wikipedia, it is not really a wiki and is not publicly editable. All content is compiled by professional journalists, though anybody can submit evidence they want leaked. The founder, Julian Assange, has a bit of controversy surrounding him(to put it lightly), but that does not per se mean that the information of WikiLeaks is inaccurate.
This is what Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales actually does for a living. Originally called "WikiCities", then "Wikia", then "FANDOM" and now "Fandom" not written in all caps. It moved from wikia.com to fandom.com in 2019. It hosts over a hundred thousand wikis, almost all of which are for obsessive fans of a particular work of fiction or game. There is almost nothing that doesn't get a wiki. (Tropers call this The Wiki Rule.) Some are quite popular, while some have only two or three obsessive basement-dwelling editors.
Liberapedia is a sad attempt to be a left-wing response to Conservapedia. After coming close to death in 2008, it moved to Wikia, where, while it does well for a Wikia site, it is doing horribly for an online encyclopedia. The
only main editor is Proxima Centauri. It only has a few thousand articles, many of which are ripped from RationalWiki and/or have nothing to do with liberalism or the site's de facto secondary mission of antitheism. They have the issues of a stub pandemic and a severe lack of active users.[note 1] In a bizarre reverse of what many wikis go through when the editors leave Wikia, when Liberapedia moved to Wikia, the abandoned independent Liberapedia was higher on Google Search for about eight months.
The original travel wiki. After it was purchased by Internet Brands (IB) and was converted into a for-profit advertising hellhole with corporate admins who don't give a crap about the community, it became more and more outdated and irrelevant. Nowadays it is mostly used by spambots, touts and IB's paid admins trying to sweep the desert.
Irrelevant fork of even more obscure "Wikitravel" - claims to be about travel but has "travel topics" pages about basically anything and everything even very remotely related to it.[note 2] The main difference from Wikitravel is that it is run by the Wikimedia Foundation (the same folks who run Wikipedia) and is not for profit or advertisement driven. Unsurprisingly the Wikivoyage community is bigger than that at Wikitravel. However, due to Google slapping it with a huge "fork penalty" for initially having a lot of copied content from Wikitravel, you are unlikely to find its articles - even the good ones - through most search engines. In case you want to see for yourself here is a link for you.
A self-styled "non-academic encyclopedia", web portal, directory and almanac centered on the Philippines and subjects related to it. Unlike Wikipedia, the site was lenient towards original research and notability, which, combined with Filipinos' sense of vanity and narcissism, is definitely not a brilliant combination to be had. Gained controversy for its parent company being involved in the publication of allegedly erroneous textbooks, although Vibal Publishing House asserted that the project and the publishing house were operated separately. The site suffered a period of decay in recent years, with most of its edits being bizarre radio station articles from a notorious Filipino hoaxer with an apparent mental condition. According to their Facebook page, the site "underwent maintenance" on December 2017, but has stayed offline since then, and no further status updates were made, rendering it effectively defunct.
Communpedia describes itself as "communism, socialism and leftism-related free encyclopedia", and lives up to its name. Communpedia intends to reflect the "Common Point of View" of all leftists, and not a single perspective, such as Trotskyism or Stalinism. It is essentially the far left-wing equivalent of Conservapedia. In reality, its point of view is some combination of tankie beliefs and liberal vandalism. A small site, it consists mostly of articles about "heroic" communists and socialists, with some articles discussing problems in capitalist societies and others discussing the glorious lack of problems in communist societies. It has
atrocity-denying complimentary articles about North Korea and heaps disgustingly infatuated piles of praise upon Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Josef Stalin, and Mao Zedong.
The original wiki appears to be offline, though there's two forks: one on Wikia and one independent website. The one on Wikia seems to be more active. Currently though, its activity is rather lacking, and the wiki is fully of content copied from Wikipedia and Anarchopedia and undone vandalism.
Conservapedia, a very small project aiming to emulate Wikipedia from a socially conservative, American, and fundamentalist Christian point of view, involves several editors and administrators who had previously faced opposition to inserting their heavily biased point of view into Wikipedia articles. Some appear under aliases, apparently in order to distance themselves from their prior involvement with Wikipedia or possibly to fit in more with a common Conservapedia username scheme. As a whole, the site appears to have an unhealthy fascination with Wikipedia and its supposed faults. It is significant to note that many of what Conservapedia administrators consider faults in Wikipedia are often repeated, to a greater degree, on their own site. Just like Encyclopædia Dramatica, many of the editors are trolls. Unlike the trolls in ED, they are unwelcome, but it's hard to tell them apart from the real editors.
While being frustrated in their attempts to insert a respect for real world scientific facts at Conservapedia, the founders and most of the original editors of RationalWiki "met" each other.
Despite being full of flashing porn ads, the site's owner claimed it failed to make much money, and it was unilaterally taken down without warning in April 2011 and replaced with Oh Internet, a worksafe version of the same idea. ED itself was resurrected by hacker Ryan Cleary soon after.
A Storehouse of Knowledge
Just as Citizendium was a personal competitor to Wikipedia, A Storehouse of Knowledge was set up as a personal competitor to Conservapedia, promoting a "biblical worldview". Founded by (now ex-) Conservapedia user Philip J. Rayment in March 2009. It's like everyone wants their own pet wiki project. When will it end!?!?
Ameriwiki was another Conservapedia offshoot, founded by people fed up with the hostile control-freakery at CP. It was created in June 2011 by the user "George Fitzgerald" following a visit to RationalWiki discussing the concept for a right-wing American Christian website that wasn't as embarrassing as Conservapedia "by being much more tolerant and accepting to editors of other worldviews, and having a radically different blocking policy". It had over 1000 articles. The last project was apparently a drive to create actual encyclopaedic content; an Ameriwiki admin pirated Wikipedia's list of required articles and encouraged people to create the whole list. It initially became the latest haven for Conservapedia refugees, ranging from longtime editors such as Rob Smith to new users who were upset with Conservapedia's Conservative and his edit spree on bestiality.
The wiki was moved to its own domain, chaos ensued due to a single troll, the founder left and came back and left again, and three different offshoot wikis resulted in this chaos. Site owner "Sam Coulter," who took over after Fitzgerald left, ran the site until its demise, which was probably because Coulter stopped paying the bills. Only a few pages of this wiki have been archived.
Though saner than Conservapedia (though that's not saying much) the site still promoted some nonsense and shouldn't have been used as a trusworthy source. For instance: rampant New Deal denialism; Global warming denialism and violation of Gore's Law, which included saying that Al Gore believes "the life of human beings is comparable to that of trees", and treating environmentalism like a Gaia-worshiping secular religion; being hilariously anti-Obama, such as immediately bringing up Solyndra when talking about the stimulus package and calling him "pro-abortion". At least they weren't Birthers though.
CreationWiki is, as the name would seem to suggest, a creationist wiki. Editing is by approved members only, and non-creationists, if they are permitted access at all, are barred from contributing to articles. The number of active editors is, thankfully, very small.
Metapedia describes itself as "an electronic encyclopedia about culture, art, science, philosophy and politics", but could be more accurately described as an echo chamber for neo-Nazis to rant in. It covers somewhat controversial subjects, such as why homosexuality is a mental illness, how race is certainly a real thing, how science proves that people with dark skin are a bunch of damn dirty apes, and how Adolf Hitler was an under-appreciated visionary. It also seems to be all but dead. How sad.
Some articles are vaguely encyclopedic, some of the site may actually be useful, but source checking is not be their strong suit. Many articles consist of a summary of the "Official Narrative" and then alternative views, which get far more attention. Essentially, as long as it goes against the "official narrative" by some government or corporation, it's welcome. That means different articles contradict each other, as Wikispooks opposes both the Official Narrative and the Official Opposition Narrative. Essentially, as soon as some theory becomes vaguely credible and gathers some evidence, it is part of the Official (Opposition) Narrative and must therefore be a lie. It doesn't really matter who is the Official Narrative. In World War II, the Nazis, Soviets, and Allies were all lying to us. The Holocaust is a lie. The Reichstag fire is falsely claimed to be a potential false flag attack.
Among other things, they give room for articles alleging that we did not go to the moon, climate change is a lie, but also that fracking sucks and the fossil fuel industry are lying to us. The Holocaust both did and didn't happen in various ways. The Bilderberg Group probably controls both the IPCC and the oil industry, which are both bad and probably under one hood
RationalWiki is a
large and well respected very small project that was originally established to address and refute the likes of CreationWiki and Conservapedia from a rationalist point of view. As well as a wiki in an encyclopedic sense (with over 7000 content articles), it also doubles as a discussion forum. Although still primarily attracting traffic due to its commentary on Conservapedia, RationalWiki does have a few articles that appear in the top of Google's search rankings, thanks to its almost complete lack of notability requirements to write articles about any form of crank idea — the equivalent criterion at RW is "missionality."
A meta wiki about RationalWiki, which spawned other metawikis. RationalWikiWiki was closed to the public on November 14, 2012 but you can still keep track of its once furious editing pace at RationalWikiWikiWiki, and it had a pathetic reboot on Wikia (sadly now taken down). A few of its pages and talk pages were copied to here and can be found in Category:RationalWikiWiki.
Meta-Wiki is a project by the Wikimedia Foundation to
boost their ego document themselves. They likely would've named it Metapedia if, well, you know. It's the go-to wiki if you want to figure out how to do anything on MediaWiki, so you'll probably have to visit it at some point [note: superseded by MediaWiki.org which now holds all public MediaWiki technical information]. A great tool to help you fall asleep at night and even at day.
Meta-Wiki is also great if you want to know more about the
inner working of the Foundation [note: NOT the inner working which is already moved to foundation.wikimedia.org and also NOT the inner technology working which is hosted in wikitech.wikimedia.org]
|Wikipedia||Everyone||Nerds, vandals, paid editors, and vandal fighters||Everyone||Everyone (with internet access)|
|Simple English Wikipedia||All English speakers||Nerds and people banned from English Wikipedia||People learning English||Native English speakers looking for laughs|
|Wiktionary||Geeky linguists||Long-time Wikipedians||People looking for definitions of words||People who don't know about Dictionary.com|
|Wikibooks||People who like writing textbooks about obscure things||Long-time Wikipedians||People who like reading textbooks about obscure things||Lost people using Google|
|Wikiquote||People transcribing famous quotes made by famous people||People transcribing quotes from TV shows||People looking for lists of famous quotes||Nobody|
|Wikisource||People translating foreign-language public-domain texts to English||People copy-pasting English texts from Project Gutenberg||People who don't know about Project Gutenberg||More people than you think|
|Wikinews||Amateur journalists||Almost nobody||Long-time Wikipedians||Nobody|
|Wikiversity||Teachers||People only there for WikiJournal||Students||Almost nobody|
|Wikispecies||Amateur biologists||Nobody||Long-time Wikipedians||Nobody|
|Wikidata||Nerds and data scientists||Toxic nerds, SEO spammers, and vandals who get away with it||Nobody||People without a decent Wikipedia in their first language; people who don't know about Wikipedia|
|wikiHow||Everyone||A lot of super friendly people, kids, specialists, autistic people, and the occasional troll||Everybody||Everybody (including a few trolls)|
|Conservapedia||Homeschooling conservatives||Andy Schafly, his bootlickers, and some parodists||Homeschooled pupils||People looking for laughs and some borderline fascists|
|Citizendium||Academics||One guy and a fringe pseudoscientist||All humankind||The authors|
|TV Tropes||Amateur literary analysts||Fanfic enthusiasts and self-professed otaku||All nerdkind||The authors and people with nothing better to do|
|Encyclopaedia Dramatica||Meme lovers, funny people, stalkers, and trolls||Unfunny people, spambots, stalkers, and trolls||Newbs and trolls||Stalkers and trolls|
|Uncyclopedia||Funny people||Unfunny people, trolls||People with a sense of humor||Extremely bored Wikipedians|
|Liberapedia||Parodists||Proxima Centauri, Rushwrj13||Parodists||The authors|
|Fandom||Community-minded people who like writing wikis||Drooling monomaniacal fanboys||Community-minded people who like writing wikis||Drooling monomaniacal fanboys|
|ShoutWiki||Community-minded people who like writing wikis||People who don't like Wikia||Community-minded people who like writing wikis||Only there for the "bad webcomics" wiki|
|Miraheze||Community-minded people who like writing wikis||Wannabe critics, people banned from Fandom||Community-minded people who like writing wikis||Wannabe critics|
|Communpedia||Communists of the world||"Tribal"||Communists of the world||Probably not even Tribal|
|A Storehouse of Knowledge||Philip J. Rayment||Philip J. Rayment||All Christiankind||Not even the RationalWikians|
|CreationWiki||Vetted creationists||Almost no-one||All Christiankind||No-one|
|Wiki4CAM||Alternative medicine practitioners||No-one||Alternative medicine users||No-one|
|Metapedia||Nazis||Assorted alt-right loners||Nazis||Antifa sometimes|
|Wrongpedia||People making fun of Nazis||"KATMAKROFAN"||People with a sense of humor||Probably not even KATMAKROFAN|
|SourceWatch||Concerned citizens||Amateur journalists, moonbats, alties, PETA nuts||Citizens in Western democracies||Moonbats|
|Psiram||Skeptics||A few German skeptics||Skeptics|
|WikiChristian||Christians of the world||Almost nobody||Christians and soon-to-be-converted heathens||Nobody|
|Wikivoyage||People who don't like providing sources; touts||Business travellers and tourists||People who are too cheap for Lonely Planet|
|Wikitravel||Travellllllllers||Touts spambots paid admins, people with limited English, trolls||People who don't know about the Wikivoyage fork||Nobody|
|HoaxWiki||Skeptics||One ranting skeptic, with the occasional odd author||General public||Those that search for Dutch/Belgian conspiracist material and stumble upon this site|
|Religions Wiki||Skeptics, rational thinkers||A few anti-religious extremists||Soon to be de-converted theists||The authors|
|Everipedia||Everyone||Blockchain fans, paid editors whose articles got deleted from Wikipedia, and Larry Sanger||Everyone||The authors|
|RationalWiki||Rationalists||Drunk rationalists, goat fetishists, asinine pedants, power-drunk admins constantly banning each other, people who run jokes into the ground by making them way too long||Fledgling rationalists||Cynics, goat fetishists, and approximately one Christian high schooler who really hates the Republican party|
There are lots of wiki engines out there, but most public wikis of any note use MediaWiki. (The only one listed above that doesn't is TV Tropes, which uses a version of PMWiki that has been altered and stretched over time.) This is why almost every wiki out there using its default skin “Vector” looks more-or-less like Wikipedia.
Some prominent open source software sites (e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, X.org) favour MoinMoin, for some reason. (In the case of X.org, because it's written in Python rather than PHP.)
- Category:Wikis: Wikis we have articles about.
- Category:Wiki_logos: Wikis we have logos from.
- RationalWiki:Websites: Good, mostly nonwiki websites.
- RationalWiki:Webshites: Bad, mostly nonwiki websites.
- WikiIndex.org: A larger list of irrelevant wikis.
- Then again, most Wikia sites seem to either be virtually abandoned (some haven't been edited for years), run by one admin who acts as a dictator using other admins as proxies, or both (sometimes, a wiki only has one admin left active, who then proceeds to take control of the site).
- For example, Wikivoyage has pages on the Roman Empire and the the British Raj and a lengthy discussion of sunscreen that was even previously featured on the wiki's main page.
- TIM BERNERS-LEE. One Small Step for the Web... SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
- http://c2.com/cgi/wiki - still going, eighteen years later!
- How to Avoid Scams - wikiHow
- How to Install an Antivirus - wikiHow
- How to React to an Ugly Baby - wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- wikiHow: Statistics
- wikiHow: Popular pages
- Forum:A message from Fandom (archived) – archived
- on the .co site, on the .ca site.
- on the .co site, on the .ca site.
- Munroe, R. "Tab explosion." XKCD 609.
- Philippine Daily Inquirer article about the textbook scandal
- Long-term abuse/Bertrand101
- Roger Schlafly
- Ed Poor
- Examples of Bias in Wikipedia
- How Conservapedia Differs from Wikipedia
- Ameriwiki main page, Revision as of 13:36, 11 November 2011 by SamCoulter (Archived)
- and counting
- See screenshot here.
- See their article on Barack Obama: "Some conservatives have argued that there is doubt as to whether Obama was really born in the USA and therefore question his eligibility to be President, despite overwhelming evidence that he was born in Hawaii and is the legal President."
- FAQ Wikispooks
- The Holocaust "The Holocaust". Wikispooks.
- "Reichstag Fire". Wikispooks.
- "Moon landings conspiracy theories". Wikispooks.
- Climate Change “Climate Change” Wikispooks
- See, RationalWikiWiki and RationalWikiWikiWiki and maybe even ...