Bad behavior at alternate wiki encyclopedia

Table of Content

Stephen Retherford writing at Sisyphus has been musing about CreationWiki and Conservapedia, two ideologically-driven alternatives to Wikipedia. Google them if you must; I won't honor them with a link. Irony being what it is, both use the MediaWiki software (and even the default template) that Wikipedia developed. Such ingratitude.

Alas, both projects are doomed to quick obscurity, which may or may not feed their well-cultivated sense of persecution. The gift economy (Wikipedia link, of course) that makes Wikipedia possible passively resists ideological confines. In a word, it is nearly impossible to maintain the critical mass such a project needs if you select-out most potential writers. (This is also true of more constrained projects, like intra-Unitarian Universalist wikis, I'm afraid, which is why I took mine down. I think small wiki projects need to be tightly managed.) Seeing that Conservapedia doesn't have entries for the Eagle Forum (depite its founder being the Eagle Forum's founder's son), the John Birch Society, or CWA, I can't think it'll go far. Apparently, one needs to be not only conservative but Christian- and American-minded to really participate. So much for Tories, say. Feh. A stinginess of spirit comes through.

But CreationWiki can be interesting but not for the reason its founders intended. Like Wikipedia (but unlike Conservapedia, which has an ambiguous copyright and license status) CreationWiki is released under the GNU Public License (GPL). This means there's a real, live creationist resource available for its critics to use without copyright fears, provided the terms of the GPL are honored.

3 Replies to “Bad behavior at alternate wiki encyclopedia”

  1. Personally, I love this stuff. It convinces no one who isn’t already ideologically on-board, but does use up precious conservative resources. Meanwhile, people such as myself who study American religion for a living are given a big free primary source to publish papers about.

  2. “Stephen Retherford writing at Sisyphus has been musing about CreationWiki and Conservapedia, two ideologically-driven alternatives to Wikipedia.”

    You say this as if Wikipedia itself is not ideologically-driven, which any informed person knows better. Wikipedia supports an ideology of democratization of resource materials as well as an ideology of open source (which can be a good or bad thing depending on how its enacted.) You yourself (as all people) are an ideologically driven person, so it should come to no surprise that there will be others who like you ardently promote their beliefs while departing from you in the particulars of them.

    “Alas, both projects are doomed to quick obscurity, which may or may not feed their well-cultivated sense of persecution. The gift economy (Wikipedia link, of course) that makes Wikipedia possible passively resists ideological confines. In a word, it is nearly impossible to maintain the critical mass such a project needs if you select-out most potential writers.”

    I’d argue that WIkipedia is probably doomed as well. Open source works great for software (Linux, BSD, et al) but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters in the quality of your work, whether you are editing source code or online encyclopedias. The recent controversy with now former Wiki editor EssJay (who was able to fake his credentials and had no formal expertise in many of the topics he edited) underscores the Achilles heel of an open encyclopedia- the utter lack of control in content.

    I’d also like to point out another former Wikipedia editor who went by the username Revolyob. He was a pedophile-advocate who for some time ran a blog called Pedalogues, espousing the supposed glories of sex between children and adults. For some time he posted content on Wikipedia that advocated the pedophile activity. After being banned, many in the Wikipedia community demanded that his user rights be restored and shortly thereafter, the ban was lifted.

    Personally, I’ll take the ideology of a few Creationists over that of those in charge of Wikipedia any day.

  3. There is a difference between editorial standards, with allows for an open diversity of opinion, and a worldview that voids its competition. If you can’t tell the difference, I can hardly help you.

    Given time, the truth will come out. Errors appear, clearer minds correct the faults. The open model is, if anything, superior as it doesn’t hide or defer its corrections like a conventional encyclopedia, or to continue the software metaphor, Microsoft. If you keep a lid on truth, by circumscribing what truth is before it can be discussed and digested, as with the CreationWiki et alia, it will be smothered. The bitter and wrathful way each Conservapedia and CreationWiki addresses Wikipedia — from which they are not prevented from participating — says volumes about what spirit they bear. You can keep company with them all you like; I shan’t be bothering you there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.