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RationalWiki talk:Mission

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The mission should be updated[edit]

This discussion was moved here from RationalWiki talk:RationalMedia Foundation#The mission should be updated.

I feel as though the many articles present on the wiki are not entirely fitting to the mission's statements, but are interesting to keep. For example, a certain someone that names himself "Oswaldo" made multiple articles on past U.S presidents in the draftspace, none of which follow the mission statement. As a matter of fact, most articles regarding the past POTUS are almost never missional. I think the only few times it is missional is as follow: the article on John Kennedy since it covers his assassination and all the conspiracy theories surrounding it, then we have Obama who was told multiple times that his birth certificate is fake, finally we have Trump (It speaks for itself). None of the other articles regarding the past U.S presidents strike me as following the current mission statement which is as follow

  1. Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement;
  2. Documenting the full range of crank ideas;
  3. Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism;
  4. Analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media.

Though, I do not want to nominate any of them for deletion because they are interesting articles that cover U.S politics fairly well and the issue I am trying to raise is that based on the mission statement many articles on the wiki are worth deleting, including the good ones, if we strictly stick by it. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 23:19, 6 March 2021 (UTC)

I think the articles you mention show why this would be a bad idea, We’re not Wikipedia, we can’t compete with them, and we shouldn’t try to. If you want an account of the history of a past US presidency, you don’t turn to RationalWiki. The biggest offenders in this “outline” articles for various scientific concepts; you could delete every single one of them and lose nothing of value, their only purpose is to stop people clicking a Wikipedia link and leaving the site. Christopher (talk) 23:39, 6 March 2021 (UTC)
I don't really think we have to change the mission. We can just judge articles on a case by case basis with AFD votes.-Flandres (talk) 23:42, 6 March 2021 (UTC)
Christopher, please understand that this is serious, you're just poisoning the well there, and I am well aware this is not Wikipedia, again you are poisoning the well, I actually voted to delete an article with no citation that has clearly no business doing on RW. I only asked for an expansion of a clearly very limited set of rules that most articles on this wiki do not fall under and I want that to be addressed to the administrators on the RMF noticeboard. If it is not done then what will be allowed there from now on? There are plenty of interesting articles on U.S politics that would likely be deleted in the future if the mission statement is not revised. So, should we delete that Ronald Reagan article because it certainly does not fall under the mission statement. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 23:48, 6 March 2021 (UTC)
Actually, it does. Reagan promoted a lot of factually inaccurate right-wing crap over the years, supply side economics for one. Also, a lot of missional politicians today trace their ideological linage to him having a page on him is nice background. Again, I move this discussion is unnnesacry. Just judge on a case by case basis-it's not that hard or inconvenient.-Flandres (talk) 23:52, 6 March 2021 (UTC)
Either 1, those crank ideas don't appear anywhere on the article or 2, the information is obfuscated because I did not read anything of the sort. The closest to what you did mention, however, was the fact that Reagean made America more right-wing, I could not find anything about his alleged misinformation. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 00:00, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
So, even if we grant you all of your points (which is being way to generous but whatever) at worst you are saying his article needs to be re-written. It is still missional.-Flandres (talk) 00:08, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
[Three edit conflicts]If we were regularly deciding to keep articles that don’t fit the mission, the mission would need to be changed. Otherwise what’s the point of having it in the first place? I don’t think that’s the case however, and hope it stays that way.
I’m not poisoning the well, I’m trying to have a normal conversation. I know that you don’t like me, but I’d ask you try to look past that and stop throwing fallacies around. I moved the discussion because it didn’t concern the RMF, it concerned RationalWiki, and if we were going to change the mission statement it should be discussed somewhere prominent. Ronald Reagan was an authoritarian and believed in a lot of crank ideas, it definitely falls under the mission statement. You should probably explain what your proposed change to the mission statement might look like. Christopher (talk) 23:58, 6 March 2021 (UTC)
My idea of a better mission statement would entail covering politics (Not just fundamentalism nor authoritarianism), particularly right-wing/left-wing politics and how they differ and secondly, RW should cover the means by which people propagate crank ideas and how to effectively refute them (Youtube, Twitter, etc via Debating, Full-length documentaries, etc). There are likely more ideas that would benefit RW, but these two come to mind. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 00:07, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
The means by which the ideas propagate is already covered under bullet point 4, social media is media. Personally I think the sort of politics we should be covering is already covered under authoritarianism, fundamentalism, and crank ideas; ask the right person and they can already cover any political topic, we don’t need to make it even broader. Christopher (talk) 00:12, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Before you guys go any further, know that we have had this exact same argument very recently. Chris was just not active during it and superstar was not here at all. It went nowhere. I don't think there is much appetite to change the current mission statement. Sure, some of us interpret that mission differently, but that is what AfD votes are for. They give us a chance to see which interpretation has more support for a given article.-Flandres (talk) 00:03, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
If the discussion was contained in one thread, do you have a link? Christopher (talk) 00:06, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Hahahahaha, it most certainly was not contained in one thread. It also dived straight into "two factions of users just throw insults at each other" territory a lot.-Flandres (talk) 00:33, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Was I part of it? I don't remember any discussion happening. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 00:55, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
I don't think it even got to the point of a official, like, proposal. People just said "the mission is outdated," others said "we have too many political articles already" and a flame war ensued. I don't fault you for not remembering it-it's not like any of the (informal) discussions stayed on topic for long.-Flandres (talk) 00:57, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Many past presidents actually are missional due to having taken authoritarian policies, committed historical crimes, or having been the subject of pseudo historical revisionism. Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 00:11, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Just delete old draft pages that have not been updated in months and are not ready for mainspace. They don't need any discussion at all. Bongolian (talk) 02:05, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
We've had this discussion loads of times before. And whereas I don't believe anything about RationalWiki is set in stone, if it's just been brought on by discovering a bunch of old drafts about former US presidents, it's really not worth having again now. If you think any of those drafts are any good, then move them to main space. If other people think they don't belong here, they'll get nominated for deletion. Spud (talk) 03:31, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
I agree with Spud. (And others who have made similar points.)Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:22, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
The mision is something I regard as something fairly flexible. We aren't Wikipedia in the sense that we aren't an encyclopedia with the goal of being the "source of knowledge for everything that humanity has ever known" (the self-pretentious mission of the WMF). Rather, our coverage of politics is already on-mission. We cover authoritarianism in the sense that we are against it. The thing is that authoritarianism is a fairly universal mindset across the political spectrum (it's more an attribute of someone's beliefs than it is a specific version of beliefs, any kind of, so we by virtue of necessity cover all forms of it on the wiki, which makes our coverage of political topics relevant. As for those old presidents, most got consilidated into the article President of the United States, with at a glance the few that remain with their own articles having done notable crankery during their time in office. Draftspace articles can be cleaned out if they're not missional after a while, there's no real AfD process for them (although you shouldn't delete articles that are being actively worked on). Draftspace isn't indexed anyway so it barely harms the site. The mission therefore does not neat adjusting. Techpriest (I am Alpharius! / Pencil.png / Tux icon.png / Shield.png) 14:35, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Well yes. After stating the mission, the page itself goes on to say:
RationalWiki is not a general encyclopedia; it does not require articles on every known subject. However, the wiki's mainspace welcomes many articles that do not relate to the primary missions of RationalWiki providing that they are factually accurate and of interest to the community at large. These include articles on general science, historical events and important individuals throughout the world. The mission outlines what RationalWikians like to write about. As per most community standards, it's not a hard rule, but more of a suggestion. Articles that are wholly or mostly on-mission are likely to stay; those that aren't will probably go.
Which is what happens in reality.Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 16:07, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Some people cite the mission's statement to get an article deleted, and nobody is going to verify whether that article should stay due to it being an article on "general science, historical events and important individuals throughout the world". MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 16:12, 7 March 2021 (UTC)
Then I don't know what you are asking for. My understanding is that you want two things:
1. You want the mission statement page to say what it already says.
2. You want the community to act it the way it already does. (And if you don't like what people in the community say then you are free to say so up on any AFD's that happen.)
But I don't want to straw man your position, so what other thing do you want?Bob"Life is short and (insert adjective)" 14:32, 8 March 2021 (UTC)