RationalWiki:Legal FAQ

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Who is RationalWiki? Who owns RationalWiki?

RationalWiki is one of the largest skeptical and rational-based content producers on the internet, covering a wide range of topics. For more details take a look at our article on ourselves, RationalWiki, and our newcomers guide.

RationalWiki is owned and operated by its members through the non-profit RationalMedia Foundation. The Foundation is run by a board of trustees who are long term members of the site, and elected by RationalWiki users.

Contact information

To contact the Foundation for most orders of business please e-mail us: foundation@rationalwiki.org

The Foundation mail address is:

The RationalWiki Foundation
122 Girard Avenue
Albuquerque, NM, 87106, USA

What is the relationship of the RationalMedia Foundation with the website?

For details see RationalWiki:RationalMedia Foundation/Role

The RationalMedia Foundation, its board and its officers are dedicated to providing for the technological and financial solvency for the RationalWiki website and related projects. It also helps promote growth and coverage of the site at large.

The content of the RationalWiki website does not reflect the official position of the Foundation, its board or its officers. The Foundation offers no editorial control over any of the content. Members of the board and officers of the Foundation may post on RationalWiki as members of the website, and nothing posted by these individuals should be construed as coming from them in an official capacity unless it is expressly stated as such.

Does the RationalMedia Foundation do political advocacy or endorse political content on RationalWiki?

No. We're prohibited from anything but limited non-partisan issues advocacy, voter education, and the like, which we have no present intention of providing. The RationalMedia Foundation does not exercise editorial control over or sanction any of content on RationalWiki, nor does it engage in or sanction political advocacy. Board members and corporate officers posting on RationalWiki are not doing so in an official capacity unless specifically stated. The Foundation's role in the day-to-day operations of RationalWiki is limited to those functions identified in its by-laws and described more generally in The RationalWiki Foundation's Role in the ownership and operation of RationalWiki.

The RationalMedia Foundation's tax exempt status absolutely prohibits it from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office on the federal, state, or local level. The prohibition includes any and all activities that favor or oppose any candidate(s) for public office. The RationalMedia Foundation is permitted to but is not presently engaging in non-partisan voter education and issues advocacy activities. See IRS Fact Sheet FS-2006-17 for a general description a 501(c)(3) public charity's obligations regarding election year activities and political campaign intervention.

What is RationalWiki's copyright policy?

For details see RationalWiki:Copyrights

RationalWiki's content is copyright CC-BY-SA and available for reuse by anyone as long as you attribute the source and maintain the same or similar copyright on the reused material and its derivatives.

What should I do if I believe RationalWiki is violating my copyright?

For details see RationalWiki:Copyright violations

The quickest remedy is to post a comment on the talk page where the copyrighted material is being used. Alternatively you can e-mail us at: legal@rationalwiki.org.

How accurate and timely are RationalWiki articles?

For details see RationalWiki:General disclaimer

RationalWiki is for general informational purposes only. Our users strive to make our articles as accurate and up-to-date as possible. However, as our content is 100 percent created by our volunteer user base we can not make any guarantees about its accuracy and timeliness. We encourage our readers to use our site as a stepping-stone for further research on topics they are interested in. Also, our talk pages are always open for discussion on any of the topics we cover!

Is RationalWiki giving medical advice?

For details see RationalWiki:Medical disclaimer

RationalWiki does not give medical advice. While we cover many medical topics and often review studies of the efficacy of purported medical procedures or medications, nothing written on this website should ever replace consultations with a qualified doctor. Do not make any medical decisions based solely on what you read here; take what information you have researched and questions you have to your doctor and make your decisions in consultation with professionals.

What should I do if I see defamatory material?

While some of RationalWiki's content is satirical (see RationalWiki:SPOV), defamatory material in articles is unwanted and should be removed. Keep in mind that just because you dislike something does not make it defamatory. Statements of opinion are never defamatory. Only false statements of fact may be defamatory. Truth is always a defense in these cases and content should only be removed if it is objectively false. Obvious cases may be removed by anyone but if your removal is reverted or if you think it might be at all controversial you might consider heading to the talk page to bring it up there and probe the community for consensus. Gaining consensus is the best way to assure the removal of such material by giving concerned editors an opportunity to explain why a particular statement of fact is or is not defamatory.

What should I do if I feel an article is attacking me, my company or my product?

For details see RationalWiki:Guide for individuals or companies we cover

The best solution is to engage us in a conversation. Every article has a talk page, start there, tell where you think we are wrong, provide us with specifics and evidence and we will work with you to make a better article. Just keep in mind our mission and point of view. Legal threats or angry confrontation will get you nowhere; also avoid editing the article directly without first talking about it. You will merely be reverted and nothing will change.

How are threats of harm to self or others handled?

RationalWiki takes all threats of harm to self or others very seriously. Such statements will be removed from the wiki and all relevant information about the editor (including IP address) will be forwarded to appropriate authorities.

What information is collected about me and how is privacy protected?

For details see RationalWiki:Privacy policy

Basic information is collected whenever you read, sign into, or edit the site. This information is no more than is ever collected by server logs when visiting any webpage. This information is primarily only used in aggregate form for tracking overall visitation and use of the RationalWiki website. Under some circumstances IP addresses may be retrieved by system administrators but will not be made publicly known. You get more privacy for signing up with a user name than editing as an IP.

We also strive to protect the privacy of our users. Information that is not volunteered by a user should not be posted on the site by other users. Most of the time, if this information is posted it will be deleted.

Is RationalWiki just a haven for vandals and hackers?

Because of RationalWiki's history and the nature of our content, certain detractors claim that RationalWiki editors plan and orchestrate unlawful "vandalism" and "hacking" using RationalWiki servers. This defamatory smear is categorically false. Smears of this nature are usually the province of intellectually and emotionally insecure griefers hellbent on quashing dissent. The RationalMedia Foundation does not permit use of its servers for any unlawful activity and attempts to orchestrate such activities from our website will not be tolerated. Posts calling for illegal activity, including hacking or attacking websites, will be deleted and the editors responsible for them may be disciplined or removed according to the will of the mob.

RationalWiki content is generated by its editors using services provided by a board of trustees using their real names. Accusations that RationalWiki, whether by its individual editors or the Foundation, supports vandalism, hacking or other illegal activities will be treated as personal defamatory attacks against RationalWiki editors and commercial defamation against the RationalMedia Foundation. Where such defamatory accusations are made on any RationalMedia Foundation project the editors or users may remove them. Don't be a dick.

What do I do if RationalWiki is down?

For details see RationalWiki:General disclaimer

The technical support staff of RationalWiki makes every effort to keep the site up and available. This is not always possible. Prolonged downtime due to upgrades or maintenance are usually announced well in advance with expected downtime. Sometimes acute issues strike that may take the site down for periods of time. During these down times the best source of information is our official tech blog.