Bronze-level article

Wiki

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Someone is wrong on
The Internet
Icon internet.svg
Log in:

A wiki is a website intended to be edited by its readers. Tim Berners-Lee considers wikis the realisation of his original peer-to-peer vision for the World Wide Web. They were invented in 1995 by programmer Ward Cunningham; the first wiki was the Portland Pattern Repository,[1] a site to document computer programming design patterns. He derived the word "wiki" from the Hawaiian word wiki wiki, meaning "fast".

Efficacy[edit]

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 wikis[edit]

There are thousands of wikis in existence, varying hugely in quality and scale. These are a few of the most well-known examples.

Wikipedia[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Wikipedia

The 800-pound gorilla of wikis, Wikipedia consists of over five million articles. (And that's just the English version. There are another 19 million in various other languages.[2]) 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]

Scholarpedia[edit]

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[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Citizendium

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.

Uncyclopedia[edit]

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, and slowly assimilated over the years. It can still 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 site. Both sites are active.

Uncyclopedia has an article about us here, which appears to satirise a RationalWiki page, with vandalized edits from Conservapedians in Uncyclopedia's usual fashion.

Ballotpedia[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Ballotpedia

A right-wing blog masquerading as a neutral election information site. Mostly written by paid staff, with some edits by "carefully vetted" members of the public, each reviewed by staff before going live.

Encyclopædia Dramatica[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Encyclopædia Dramatica

Encyclopædia Dramatica is a "lulz"-related wiki, populated largely by trolls. Article subjects included internet memes, users of various sites and forums, and their online dramas. NSFL!

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.

SourceWatch[edit]

See the main article on this topic: SourceWatch

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[edit]

See the main article on this topic: TV Tropes

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". It is almost impossible to visit the website for less than three six hours, a fact of which they themselves are quite boastful.[3] They also have quite a few nice things to say about us.

WikiLeaks[edit]

See the main article on this topic: WikiLeaks

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.

Wikia[edit]

This is what Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales actually does for a living. Originally called WikiCities and currently branded as "FANDOM powered by Wikia", it hosts over a hundred thousand wikis,[4] 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.

All Wikia wikis are under free content licenses.[note 1] Wikia wikis are not deleted if the community gets up and leaves. Several of them were abandoned when Wikia introduced a bloody awful new skin in October 2010 and their users created new wikis elsewhere, but the ad-filled, outdated, and vandalized Wikia-hosted versions remain higher ranked on Google. Wikia is home to Liberapedia and the original Uncyclopedia. Its biggest wiki is a wiki on colors, with over two million pages.[note 2]

Liberapedia[edit]

Teh logo.
Icon fun.svg For those of you in the mood, RationalWiki has a fun article about Liberalpedia.

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 3] 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.

Wikitravel[edit]

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.

Wikivoyage[edit]

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 4] 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.

Crank wikis[edit]

There are many obscure and dubious sites run by various cranks, far from the public radar, although many are well-known among RationalWiki editors, in relation to our site's mission.

Communpedia[edit]

Communpedia describes itself as "communism, socialism and leftism-related free encyclopedia",[5] 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 left-wing equivalent of Conservapedia. 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[6] and heaps disgustingly infatuated piles of praise upon Hugo Chavez,[7] Vladimir Lenin,[8] Leon Trotsky,[9] Josef Stalin,[10] and Mao Zedong.[11]

Founded in November 2010, it is currently the largest "active" wiki on socialism and/or communism, which isn't saying much. Currently, the vast majority of edits at Communpedia are done by just one editor, "Tribal",[12] with between 1 and 20 edits a day.

Communpedia doesn't mind RationalWiki,[13] probably because they really hate Conservapedia.[14]

The wiki appears to be offline, though another wiki named Communpedia is online on Wikia.

Conservapedia[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Conservapedia

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.[15][16] Some appear under aliases, apparently in order to distance themselves from their prior involvement with Wikipedia[17] or possibly to fit in more with a common Conservapedia username scheme.[18] As a whole, the site appears to have an unhealthy fascination with Wikipedia and its supposed faults.[19][20] 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.

A Storehouse of Knowledge[edit]

See the main article on this topic: 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[edit]

Ameriwiki was another Conservapedia offshoot, founded by people fed up with the hostile control-freakery at CP.[21] 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".[22][23] It had over 1000 articles.[24] 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.[25]

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 trustworthy 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.[26]

CreationWiki[edit]

See the main article on this topic: CreationWiki

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, unsurprisingly, very small.

Metapedia[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Metapedia

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.

WikiSpooks[edit]

WikiSpooks is a wiki collection of political conspiracy theories. It calls itself an "encyclopedia of deep politics". One might call it the nutty cousin of SourceWatch.

It claims that Wikipedia is censored[27] and that for the truth behind anything political, you need to be on Wikispooks.

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.[28] The Reichstag fire is falsely claimed to be a potential false flag attack.[29]

Among other things, they give room for articles alleging that we did not go to the moon,[30] 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?

Us![edit]

See the main article on this topic: RationalWiki

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 6000 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."

Meta-wikis[edit]

NOT to be confused with Metapedia.

RationalWikiWiki[edit]

See the main article on this topic: RationalWikiWiki

A meta wiki about RationalWiki, which spawned other metawikis.[31] RationalWikiWiki was closed to the public on November 14, 2012 but you can still keep track of its once furious editing pace at RationalWikiWikiWiki. A few of its pages and talk pages were copied to here and can be found in Category:RationalWikiWiki.

Meta-Wiki[edit]

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 (unless you're a Troper).

Comparison chart[edit]

Wiki Authors Readers
Intended Actual Intended Actual
Wikipedia All humankind All nerdkind All humankind All humankind (with internet access)
Conservapedia Home-schooling conservatives About 3 guys and some parodists Home-schooled pupils People looking for laughs and some borderline fascists
Citizendium Academics Ten guys and some fringe pseudoscientists All humankind The authors
TV Tropes Amateur literary analysts Fanfic enthusiasts and self-professed otaku All nerdkind The authors
Encyclopaedia Dramatica Trolls Trolls Trolls Internet nerdkind
Uncyclopedia Funny people Unfunny people Funny people Unfunny people
Liberapedia Parodists Proxima Centauri, Rushwrj13 Parodists Proxima Centauri, Rushwrj13
Wikia Community-minded people who like writing wikis Drooling monomaniacal fanboys Community-minded people who like writing wikis Drooling monomaniacal fanboys
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 Very few Nazis, possibly some parodists Nazis Anti-Nazis
SourceWatch Concerned citizens Amateur journalists, moonbats, alties, PETA nuts Citizens in Western democracies Moonbats
Psiram Skeptics A few German skeptics Skeptics Skeptics who haven't found RationalWiki
WikiChristian Christians of the world Almost nobody Christians and soon-to-be-converted heathens Nobody
Wikivoyage Travellers Voyagers 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
RationalWiki Rationalists Drunk rationalists, goat fetishists Fledgling rationalists Cynics, goat fetishists

Wiki software[edit]

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 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.)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Except Uncyclopedia, which was CC BY-NC-SA before it joined Wikia and so kept that license.
  2. We're serious.
  3. 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, or both (sometimes, a wiki only has one admin left, who then proceeds to take control of the site).
  4. 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.

References[edit]

  1. http://c2.com/cgi/wiki - still going, eighteen years later!
  2. http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesArticlesTotal.htm
  3. Munroe, R. "Tab explosion." XKCD 609.
  4. http://community.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Sarah_Manley/100,000_wikis_on_Wikia
  5. http://en.communpedia.org/Communpedia
  6. http://en.communpedia.org/Democratic_People%E2%80%99s_Republic_of_Korea
  7. http://en.communpedia.org/Hugo_Ch%C3%A1vez
  8. http://en.communpedia.org/Vladimir_Lenin
  9. http://en.communpedia.org/Leon_Trotsky
  10. http://en.communpedia.org/Joseph_Stalin
  11. http://en.communpedia.org/Mao_Zedong
  12. http://en.communpedia.org/index.php?title=Special:RecentChanges&limit=1000&days=365
  13. http://en.communpedia.org/RationalWiki
  14. http://en.communpedia.org/Conservapedia
  15. Roger Schlafly
  16. Ed Poor
  17. Conservative/kdbuffalo
  18. RobS/Nobs/Nobs01
  19. Examples of Bias in Wikipedia
  20. How Conservapedia Differs from Wikipedia
  21. Ameriwiki main page, Revision as of 13:36, 11 November 2011 by SamCoulter (Archived)
  22. Forum:Ameripedia?
  23. User:Ameripedia/Ameriwiki
  24. and counting
  25. See screenshot here.
  26. 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."
  27. FAQ Wikispooks
  28. The Holocaust {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  29. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  30. {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}
  31. See, RationalWikiWiki and RationalWikiWikiWiki and maybe even RationalWikiWikiWikisWiki...


Welcome to the Wikisphere. Please proceed with caution:
  A Storehouse of Knowledge  -  Anarchopedia  -  Citizendium  -  Conservapedia  -  CreationWiki  -  EvoWiki  -  Infogalactic  -  Knowino  -  Metapedia  -  New World Encyclopedia  -  PESWiki  -  Palaeos  -  Psiram  -  RationalWikiWiki  -  RationalWikiWikiWiki  -  RationalWiki (français)  -  Rightpedia  -  SourceWatch  -  TV Tropes  -  TruthWiki  -  Wiki4CAM  -  wikiFactor  -  WikiIslam  -  WikiSynergy  -  Wikipedia