Confessions of an accidental Conservapedian

As Conservapedia sysop TK kindly reported on the comments area of my last blog entry, Conservapedia’s outage was due to a simple disk crash. TK has taken me to task for hanging out with the wiki vandals on RationalWiki after they picked up on my blog entry. I have to admit that he has a point. Although politically Conservapedia and I are poles apart, I don’t condone deliberate attempts to harm wikis, whether for entertainment purposes or otherwise. So I’ve stopped writing on RationalWiki. I do still contribute to the thread I started on the Guardian talk boards in November, however, “Conservapedia Classic Quotes”, wherein I suck from the teat of mirth at Conservapedia’s expense.

TK also says he’s boggled at how many people see conspiracies and whatnot, and “react so mad-dog” where Conservapedia’s founder, Andy Schlafly, is concerned. I take that one squarely on the chin. I really was beginning to suspect that Andy had panicked and taken the site down, when there were much simpler and more plausible explanations to hand.

I’ve been relentlessly scathing about Conservapedia’s awful content, but one thing the site does seem to have achieved is high search engine rankings for some of its more outrageous articles. Despite a quite low rank on Alexa, around a quarter of rushlimbaugh.com’s page view and reach, Conservapedia manages to make the top ten google hits for atheism, and is currently in the top five for homosexuality. That’s no mean achievement. I’m no expert on search engine strategies so I’m at a loss to explain how they have achieved this, because a Google search on links to the homosexuality article turns up mostly internal Conservapedia links and assorted dross. Perhaps–and this is a wild guess, you understand–it’s because they often link to that article internally from the main page, and there are many external links to the main page, albeit many of them from sites like this that deride or criticize Conservapedia. However it’s been done, though, it’s quite something.

I signed on to Conservapedia a few weeks ago to participate in a debate about the way in which Conservapedia organizes, how this differs from Wikipedia, and how I think Conservapedia could benefit by adopting some of the more successful strategies of Wikipedia. You can read about it here. Overall I think they were pretty polite and well mannered. I know Conservapedia sysop Ed Poor and he knows me, from Wikipedia which I joined in late 2004 when Ed was still a prominent member of the relatively tightly knit Wikipedia community of those early days. We’ve gone our separate ways but we can still communicate quite well because Wikipedia and Conservapedia have just enough common culture.

That in the age of polarized politics a godless homosexualist liberal like me and a Conservative Unificationist like Ed Poor can still communicate reasonably well is a good thing. I think Andrew listened kindly, too, though he did use his site-owner’s prerogative to berate me for Wikipedia’s faults.

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117 Responses

  1. very informative – thank you I’ve bookmarked this blog and will come back regularly

  2. In regard to google ranking, I think you are correct about mainpage linking in part. Note that User:Conservative at Conservapedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Kdbuffalo on Wikipedia) has spent a lot of time explicitly engaging in search engine optimization especially in regard to how he titles articles and how he links to them with internal links. That explains part of the search engine results. Moreover, when one of their articles gets in the top 10 on google he loudly trumpets it on the main page of Conservapedia as if it were an achievement. This is in sharp contrast to Wikipedia which makes no attempt to get high google ranking. We have high ranking because people link to us and the network of internal linking.

    (Incidentally, if liberals or moderates are worried about boosting conservapedia’s rankings when they link to mock it they should just use nofollow tags).

    Re: RationalWiki: TK is right to call you out on that. I joined RW fairly early on but didn’t participate when I got the impression that they were at some level a slightly more mature version of Encyclopedia Dramatica.

  3. Yes, it was a very bad error to post there. I know those guys are up to no good and the fact that they think they’re on my side is somewhat galling.

    I don’t mind posting on Conservapedia because I have a better chance of being crowned Miss World than being mistaken for a conservative.

  4. Tony,

    Contrairement à ce que vous dites, je pense que vous avez de nombreuses expositions en circulation des valeurs conservatrices, mon ami (contrary to what you say, I think you exhibit many outstanding conservative values, my friend!). :D

    I am a convert to the Roman Church, Tony, and also have that easy give and take with Ed and Andy Schlafly. What saddens me, as it does many of my friends and political acquaintances, is the general discourse among people has become so hateful. Having grown up with the presence of the Internet, of course, predictably, I blame it. Something to do with instant communications, and all of us getting an increasing intolerance of waiting for anything, and that seems to translate into less tolerance for anything we disagree with generally.

    When the founders of RW were expelled from Conservapedia for generally arguing without end and insisting on editing articles from a liberal POV, yet removing a conservative/Christian one citing NPOV, and the wanting of constant votes, straw polls and the like (something I see even Jimbo railing against now)they formed their own little club house, which is fine. Where they crossed the line was in deciding they needed/wanted/deserved to punish Conservapedia for not only its administration, but for every point of view/belief they disagreed with.

    One wonders what the members there would think upon meeting a Gay conservative, as several of my friends are! Being a Catholic, I am certainly not a believer in a “young earth”, yet I manage to interact and keep a respectful public face for those on CP who do. Likewise I manage the same with those who believe as Dawkins does, even though I know in my heart the Pope is correct, and that Intelligent Design is the only plausible explanation for our being.

    So long as their are people like Ed, you and Joshua, I have confidence in civilization enduring. So many on the Internet seem to choose even their friends based upon politics. That surely isn’t fulfilling the promise of the technology we have been handed, is it?

  5. One of my particular criticisms of Conservapedia is that it’s devoted to promoting a very sectarian, narrowly defined conservatism, based on an idiosyncratic and exclusive interpretation of the bible.

    I don’t think a proudly gay conservative would want to be associated with that site, because of the distorted view of homosexuality that it represents.

  6. While RW is certainly not for everyone, I would love to see some substantiation about claims that our site is “up to no good.”

    While some members of the site might create parody on CP that has nothing to do with our site itself. The only time in our history that you could claim that we were involved as a “site” was when TK managed to drag in some of our sysops into a secret club to destroy CP. He swings from side to side depending on his mood and where the power structure is most inclined to feed his inclinations of narcissism.

    JoshuaZ I am disappointed in your assessment, and while I am sympathetic that some of our high traffic areas like WIGO CP are not scholarly or serious I would also say that we have a lot of very good content on the site that is very serious and well researched and thought out. While you are welcome to your opinion I might suggest a little more exploration.

  7. I think the same was said about the Nazi’s and Stalin. “Just get to know them, and you will see they really aren’t 100% bad.”

    Fortunately for me, and bad for RW, Some of these people have three years of experience with me, the give and take of ideas, disagreements and agreement, on numerous topics. All civil, all above board.

    Then on the other hand, we have the word of known Internet vandals and disruptor’s, where weasel words and obfuscations are mouthed every now and then, to the effect that the users are not the site, yet on other occasions these same people mouth other words, saying the site is the people who use it. And the administrators of a site that is, top to bottom, all about hating those who don’t fit into their preconceived, unilateral box, encouraging and doing the “wink and nod” to the latest plan to attack this or that website.

    Dig deeper into that site, and read the horrible, vicious personal attacks on Andy Schlafly (his family even, his wife and kids), judged to be “scholarly” or passed off as “fun” by their administrators and users. So, don’t dig deeper under any circumstances. All one will find is pus.

  8. A little quick on the gun there with the Nazi and Stalin references there eh TK?

    You throw out terms randomly with no substantiation, but whatever. I don’t really give a damn about you because I know exactly who you are, and you know that I know as well. I have seen how you play all the sides and rejoice in sowing ill will across the board. You can keep playing your little games as long as you leave me out of them.

    There are close to a hundred regular dedicated contributors to our site who have created some wonderful content that has nothing at all to do with Andrew Schlafly or Conservapedia. It is an open wiki, and an open community with a diverse area of interest.

    The site’s web server is sitting on my desk and I have devoted countless hours to keep things running smoothly and I personally don’t really give a damn about CP. I don’t contribute to to any of the CP related stuff beyond the occasional comment if something catches my eye. The same can be said of a large number of the “top administrators” of the site.

    About the only thing I pay attention to are the truly crazy sysops like Brian McDonald who have created fantasies in their head that they are some warrior vindicator. If he ever realizes that his letters and phone calls have been completely ignored beyond creating a file for “stalker” I would imagine he would start polishing up his hunting rifle. It is merely a survival instinct.

  9. Tony,

    While one would never be wrong for criticizing Conservapedia, and I certainly have had my share of disagreements with many things there, you are not one of the haters who believe disagreement means the right to try and silence the POV’s you disagree with.

    And my remark about my Gay friends was made before I had any knowledge of anyone’s sexuality here. Yeah, I know the Lambda Delta was a big freakin clue, right? ;-)

    I know Gay conservatives are not comfortable with CP’s view of homosexuality, but they are comfortable with 70% of its content. Just so long as we find things of interest along our life journey, that tease us, challenge us, that is what matters to me.

  10. TK, I’m bisexual, married for over two decades, with two grown-up kids. Just so you know. The “lambda” is probably born from my liking for the Lisp programming language, though the blog name is intentionally meaningless.

    I’m also an atheist. I wonder what Conservative atheists think of Conservapedia’s usurpation of the name “conservative”.

    Tmtoulouse, just as TK argues that gay conservatives can live with a minority who are virulently anti-gay, you seem to be arguing that rationalists should live with a minority of intentional vandals.

    I’d prefer to see RationalWiki, which has the potential to be great, explicitly condemn vandalism and parody on Conservapedia. Its current ambivalent stance has the effect of condoning the vandalism, which is why, though I did post there briefly after the Conservapedia outage, I won’t continue to be associated with RationalWiki.

  11. That is a very different claim then. To me there is a difference between us, as a site, “being up to no good” and the fact that we associate with people that might be up to no good. I don’t think you fully appreciate the complexity of the issue here. RationalWiki was founded by people like myself or Dr. Paul Lipson (who is now a blogger at scienceblogs) who never once vandalized or entered any parody on the site. If you review my contributions at conservapedia I think you will find that my work is some of the best science on the site. Most of us were blocked because of our point of view, and as Conservapedia institutionalized the idea the blocking constructive users for supporting science was the way to go most of the good editors were lost.

    At that point I started e-mailing around the people who were blocked, saying, here is a group of people that it would be a shame if we just went our separate ways and never talked again. That is how RationalWiki was formed. When we “went public” we were reacting largely against the oppressiveness of CP and established a community zestiest that was on the opposite scale. We said we would not block anyone from the site, we were not to be run as a dictatorship but rather as a “mobacracy.” We didn’t define “rules” we set up guidelines. We wanted to be as open a community as possible.

    We do not even block vandalize and paradoist that strike against us. I have rewritten the core Mediawiki program to allow us to merely rate limit specific users but still allow them to post. The number of users we have blocked is tiny, and mostly they are IP addresses of established users that want to be forced to log in. We have gone out of our way, and invested lots of time in setting up community guidelines and fundamentally altering the way Mediawiki works to make our online community as open as possible.

    There is no single person that can define what the site condones or condemns. Every new user how is not actively vandalizing us is made a sysops. The damn server is sitting on my desk, I have as much control over it as any user possibly can and yet I have absolutely no clout to set policy as I may want it. There are some users that love the parody and encourage it, there are other users that condemn it and don’t like it, and there are others that don’t really care but find it funny. Most of the users don’t particularly like the vandalism and it is usually condemned universally.

    You don’t like that stance, fine, but what would you have us do when a user comes out and says “hey, I was that parodist on CP”? Should we berate them, drive them from our community,block them from editing or participating?

    We have made the decision as a site to not do that kind of thing. Each user has a right to discuss with that parodist what they think of what they did. They can express praise, disgust or complete disinterest. Again, RationalWiki is merely the mechanism to allow the interaction to take place. The actual “condemning” or “encouraging” is left to the individual members of the community.

    You are free to condemn us for that, but you should be aware that it is not the black and white issue that TK will try and paint. On-line communities are all over the place and there is a spectrum of openness, CP is not the most extreme on the oppressive end but it is getting there. RationalWiki is not the most extreme on the openness end but it maybe further than most are comfortable with.

    I think what we are doing is optimal to allow for people to freely and openly communicate, and participate in a project where they are made to feel important and welcome. Conservapedia will always be and Andrew Schlafly project. RationalWiki will always belong to its users. And I am damn proud of that.

  12. Joshua Zelinsky said:

    I joined RW fairly early on but didn’t participate when I got the impression that they were at some level a slightly more mature version of Encyclopedia Dramatica.

    In response, Tmtoulouse said:

    I am disappointed in your assessment, and while I am sympathetic that some of our high traffic areas like WIGO CP are not scholarly or serious I would also say that we have a lot of very good content on the site that is very serious and well researched and thought out.

    Unfortunately, there are a number of RationalWikians who want RationalWiki to be exactly like that: an Encyclopedia Dramatica for rationalists. And as long we continue respecting their beliefs about what RationalWiki should be for, the site itself will never achieve even its own modest goals.

  13. Tony, you’ve got it wrong. RationalWiki is probably Conservapedia’s biggest wiki-foe, but they do NOT condone vandalism of Conservapedia. People who DO perpetrate said vandalism often rush to RationalWiki to brag about it, but only because RW is known as CP’s principal enemy. RW’s exclusive mission is to refute and confront Conservapedia ideologically. Vandalism ain’t a part of it.

    As for TK, I’d counsel you to avoid him. Do some poking around on RW to see why. And Ed’s little nice guy charade is just that.

  14. Also, if you think that Conservapedia can be gay-friendly, you’re 100% wrong. Have you seen their articles? Click through them, starting

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Homosexuality#Further_Reading

    Here. Their official position is that homosexuality is a mental disorder best treated as such. They’re an abominable group, and don’t let one sweet-talking asp convince you otherwises.

  15. As an erstwhile contributor to Conservapedia I can confirm that many editors were evicted not for having a contrary POV but because they attempted to insert facts which didn’t fit in with the site’s biases and preconceptions. By posting truth that is substantiated by evidence rather than the “truth” as promulgated by Andy Schlafly, editors were branded as liberals and vandals.

    Despite TK’s compliment to Tony that “you are not one of the haters who believe disagreement means the right to try and silence the POV’s you disagree with” TK has been one of the strongest silencers of disagreement on Conservapedia. Even on talk pages where one would expect some robust debate those that espouse a contrary viewpoint are routinely blocked and their contributions erased.

    Many of us at RationalWiki were recruited by TK to damage Conservapedia “because of the children” (a reference to Schlalfly’s homeschoolers). While much of TK’s behind the scenes activities were done through IM and emails he created a bulletin board, (called the “Godspeed Board” in mockery of Schlafly’s affectation of ending his postings with the phrase Godspeed) where conspirators could meet as a group. In this bulletin board TK, who went by the pseudonym of NightTrain, encouraged users to “shovel shit on legitimate conservative editors at CP, making thinly veiled accounts at RW and getting TK or GL to block them.” He connived to provoke one long time conservative editor (HelpJazz) who had been blatantly overlooked in the award of night-edit rights to say something “public and emmbarassing” (see http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Image:TKsGodSpeedBoard1.jpg). So it is strange to see him now so vigorously defending the same site.
    For those that do not know, TK insulted Schlafly in a personal e-mail which caused him to be demoted of his admin rights. No longer with any power at CP TK then closed the Godspeed Board down. As a retaliation for losing his admin rights TK opened up the closed Google group used by Conservapedia admins (known as the Special Discussion Group or SDG) for private discussions about the site to many editors from RationalWiki. It has been site policy that RationalWiki should not host any of the private discussions from the SDG.

    TK has also been a significant contributor of plagiarized material on CP, one noted instance being his copying almost verbatim from Wikipedia the text of an article on UCLA (see http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/Conservapedia:Blatant_plagiarism/UCLA) and then having the gall to deny it.

    Having previously expressed his desire to be a bureaucrat at CP it is obvious that TK is making a bid to obtain this by proving his credentials in attacking editors at RationalWiki, the site generally, and erasing any history of RW editors at CP. Thereby presenting himself as the savior of Conservapedia.

    RationalWiki is a very broad church with viewpoints ranging from moderate conservatives to outright socialists, as well as variety of people of faith to those with none. RationalWiki’ mission is to confront and expose pseudo-science, superstition, bigotry and authoritarianism. There is a large focus on Conservapedia as it covers many of these topics and contains a number of strange individuals whose antics provide much mirth. However, as people from around the internet find Conservapedia and attempt to edit it with the idea that it is a wiki rather than personal blog of Andrew Schlalfy, they become disillusioned and often end up contributing to RationalWiki. We have no control over what they do or have done and do not condone outright vandalism or hacking. Those that boast about such activities are not welcomed because of them. Long term editors at RationalWiki have moved on and concern themselves with other topics relating to rationalism and scientific naturalism.

  16. I have recently become aware of Conservapaedia due to the post on Wonkette regarding the “hitlist” that was hosted on the site recently, and all my obsessive link-clicking has finally led me here. I’m not sure if it (the hitlist) was vandalism or not, but in all probability I don’t really think that it had anything to do with Rational wiki, I think what we’re seeing here is more of a persecution complex on the part of Conservapaedia’s staff.

    After reading the few posts regarding the same topic here, I decided to wander over to Conservapaedia and take a look at the site for myself. While not exactly my cup of tea, I decided to sign up and correct a few errors (spelling and the like) for myself. Imagine my surprise when I was informed that my IP had been blocked in advance for being a “proxy server in use by RW” (I assume RW refers to Rational wiki). I attempted again after resetting my router and trying a new IP address, with little success. Apparently, my entire ISP has been blocked.

    I headed over to Rational wiki in an attempt to see if I could discover what they had done to warrant an entire ISP from being blocked, and I was unable to find any pages along the lines of “Vandalism we’ve caused at Conservapaedia”. I was unable to find any page, as a matter of fact it seems to me that the existence of Rational wiki gives potential vandals a place to criticize Conservapaedia off-site, as opposed to placing their… “creative” satire on Conservapaedia itself. I’ve even seen posted in a few places that Rational wiki does not condone vandalism.

    From what I’ve observed over the last week or so, any vandalism done on Conservapaedia may indeed be pointed out at Rational wiki, and Conservapaedia is quick to blame Rational wiki for the damage, however there seems to be little reason for the accusations. It seems that Rational wiki has become the Conservapaedia scapegoat.

    Anyway, that’s enough ranting out of me. I think I might stick with Wikipedia. Interesting site Tony, I’ll be sure to keep you bookmarked!

  17. It’s an completely untrue assesment to say that RW condones or encourages vandalism at CP. Though I personally have burned well over one hundred socks at CP, none have ever been vandals and I have only ever been banned for attempting to correct the wildly inaccurate content in most articles there, or for debating a point of fact. The fact that the debates become endless is because the CP hierarchy is wilfully ostrich-like and cannot accept that they could be wrong. The number of crackpot theories put forward as utterly unsubstantiated fact at CP beggars belief, and the lack of any foundation in truth is neither as a result of resistance to supposed ‘liberal POV’ or NPOV, but instead is a stubborn and ignorant refusal to accept fact after fact after undisputed fact.

    That CP continues to exist with articles as stupidly argued as the Hollywood Breast Cancer ‘Mystery’, or articles as shamelessly biased and unsourced as the Barack Obama article is the principal reason CP has so many editors who disagree with it, and not because of any inherent desire to vandalize an opponents opinion. If you, TK, and other seniors at CP would only lift your head out of the sand for a moment and look at the world around you with less ignorant and paranoic sensibilities, you would find we at RW – and many other supposed ‘liberals’ – have a greater desire to share in the promotion of various opinions of supposed ‘knowledge’ than you might imagine. It’s the pushing of ignorance, stupidity and a total lack of cohesive reasoning in your arguments that cause the circular debates and thus the endless bans you enforce, not vandals.

  18. If you’re interested in some serious examination of Conservapedia and its craziness, check my blog –

    http://www.acandidworld.net/tag/conservapedia/

  19. Just to be clear, the “hitlist” as it is being called was my (perhaps weak) attempt at social commentary. You’ll notice it lasted untouched for several days which I think is a testament to CP’s tacit acceptance of hatred against those perceived to be liberal. I would posit that if Wonkette had not picked it up, it would still be there today.

    I’ve posted a longer explanation on RW, but it’s my contention that there is a fundamental difference between parody and vandalism. Vandalism is a purely destructive act. Parody exists to expose the ideological foolishness that already exists.

    I’ll also have it noted that socks I’ve had in the past have been banned not for parody, but simply for disagreeing with the CP line. “IWonder” was banned for writing an article about smallpox that stressed the efficacy of vaccination, in contravention to Andy’s anti-vaccination beliefs. That action generated some minor blogospheric notoriety. Likewise SSchultz was banned in the end for pointing out a sysop’s hypocrisy in copy-pasting from Wikipedia, though that account had been used to argue against Shaken Baby Syndrome, which drew Andy’s ire. None of these actions were taken with the advice or consent of anyone from RW. And moreover I see no issue with RW being a mix of satire and ideological refutation of CP.

    CP has a particularly distorted view of conservatism. I consider myself a conservative. I believe in things like small government and conservative fiscal policies. But because I do not endorse (or, like TK, pay lipservice to) Young Earth Creationism, Biblical Literalism (I’m not Christian), Vaccination hysteria, being Anti-atheism/homosexuality/Muslim/etc, or believing that liberals are deceitful horrible people, I’m persona-non-grata.

    TK would have you believe that this is an issue of trying to push a liberal POV, but some things are simply facts and admitting that certain facts exist is not POV pushing.

    Suggestions that Eric the Red did not land in Greenland, or that abortion causes breast cancer are demonstrably false statements, and yet they are being presented as gospel truth. What’s even more disturbing is that this information is being used to educate (and I use that word loosely) homeschooled children.

    It’s my belief that open speech is essential to learning, and I’m deeply disturbed that CP wants to be an educational resource but quells speech with brutal efficiency. I see no reason not to continue to speak against CP and the harm it does not just to society in general, but to conservatism in particular.

  20. As for Ed Poor, I was banned by Ed for several hours for providing evidence that Dr. Paul cameron’s research on Homosexuality was flawed and that his desired results were influencing his conclusions, as well as stacked the deck in his surveys. Ed is no better than anyone on that site.

    That was when I decided i had enough and made a bit of vandalism on one of their pet articles on liberals. Any site that uses Paul Cameron as a “Respected scientist” is definitely not gay friendly.

  21. While derailing this thread into a discussion of the individual sysops at CP is probably not ideal I would back up what others have said. Once you get past the smarmy surface Ed’s intrinsic hatred for those people who are different and smarter than he is makes him the biggest hypocrite and idiot at that site.

    I would take TK’s machinations, Brian McDonald’s (Karajou) psycho stalking and threats, Ken DeMyer’s (Conservative) SEO and horrible writing skills, even Andy’s McCarthy level paranoia about Liberals over Ed “uncle” Poor’s smile in your face stab you in your back idiocy.

  22. Trent is right. And Tony, I’m afraid with all our ranting about how much we hate the sysops, you’re not getting the full picture of “why.” So here goes.

    I admire and respect your ability to seek out, and take pride in, productive engagements with intelligent members of the “other side.” I feel that way because, in truth, that’s exactly what attracted me to Conservapedia two years ago. I joined with the intention of engaging in respectful debate, learning from the other side, and adding some balance to the site. This I did: I respectfully argued for evolution over creationism, pointing out logical fallacies, etc., and forcefully argued against their treatment of reparative therapy (aka “pray the gay away” – they were for it, and thought it necessary). To balance my productive debating time, I wrote practically their entire series on Constitutional Law, and one of their featured articles on Augustus Caesar. I even cultivated amicable relationships with some of their sysops, praising one of my most implacable opponents for his contributions to ideologically neutral articles on the Civil War, for example.

    The only problem was, that in the respectful debates that fellow travelers and I participated in, the “conservative” side kept losing. Enter TK, who cooked up phony reasons to tie us to on-site “vandalism,” which to that point neither I nor anyone else now at RationalWiki had partaken in, and we were gone. My attempts at respect and fair-dealing were for naught: for my trouble, sysops like TK cooked up zany conspiracy theories and built the image of “AmesG” into some horrible monster, attributing to me deeds that I’d neither done nor contemplated, until before long CP sysops were e-mailing me with threats of litigation or FBI investigations. All for editing their Wiki.

    Civil, productive debate with intelligent ideological opposites ought to be a goal of American society. But Conservapedia isn’t a place to engage in it.

    Don’t believe me? Try an experiment. Register on CP with a new user name – don’t use your name on this site, or they might treat you favorably to prove a point – and start editing. Respectfully challenge “conservative” viewpoints on important topics. And when you’re banned for “liberal bias” 15 minutes later, come tell us about it.

    I’m sorry they’re not what you think they are. But, to be fair, neither are we.

  23. After reading the comments made by our enlightened friends, I have noticed some minor problems. First among these is the assumption that there is a right to vandalize conservapedia in the name of giggles. There is no such right and never has been. Everyone who edits the site is a guest. I have never had a houseguest that peed on the carpet, or tried to graffiti the walls. Just because they hate the colour does not give them the right to deface it. Yet, when a conservative encyclopedia graciously allows guests in, they assume that they can write parody, that free speech applies. Vandalism is not and has never been recognized as free speech. Making that analogy or any other to justify it is morally wrong.

    Also, a countersite and vandal base isn’t necessary. There is already a plethora of information that contraindicates our message. Such sites only serve to provide drama and waste time.

    With regards to the assertion that we stifle criticism, it is laughable. The instances you mention are like coming into my house and arguing with me about the color of my bathroom tile. If someone is not intelligent enough to move to a obscure section where they can make a difference, they deserve the consequences.

  24. Geo.plrd,

    “With regards to the assertion that we stifle criticism, it is laughable.” This is an utterly inaccurate assessment. I was banned – repeatedly – simply for asking Andy for his statistical methods of analysis in coming to the conclusion that ‘Hollywood Values’ causes breast cancer. The only evidence he, and others, can provide is that “to deny it is absurd”. Such ignorant assertion is not what any court, scientist, doctor or junior school debating team would accept as ‘evidence’ to back up a theory.

    Evidently you consider asking for proof to back up a theory to be vandalism. But any reasonable person would consider it essential dialogue as part of intellectual debate, with the aim of coming to agreement on a topic.

  25. Dogged,

    So you believe that your intentions excuse your actions? Your statement seems to indicate that you think that you have a right to annoy someone, in the name of intellectual debate. In the real world, this would be harassment. Your lack of respect and multiple socks are why you were really blocked. Stop trying to spin the truth.

  26. Geo.plrd,

    Please explain exactly what it is about asking for someone’s methods of analysis that constitutes “annoyance” or “harassment”? Are you suggesting that none of information on CP may be challenged?

  27. Geo, you know I think you’re one of the better guys. But if you think CP doesn’t stifle counter-discussion, you’re not paying attention.

  28. Dogged;

    I said nothing about asking for someone’s statistics. i referred to annoying Andy by continually bothering him about them using sockpuppets, which is a sign of cowardice.

  29. Geo, you’re studiously avoiding the real issues raised above. I for one see through it.

  30. If CP didn’t make such a joke of itself there wouldn’t be so many vandals and parodists.

  31. Ames;

    The act of stifling discussion assumes that Conservapedia is a public forum. As any law student knows, the act of opening a place up to the public does not automatically guarantee rights. Try going to the guides in an art museum and continually harass them about the provenance of a piece. My point will be illustrated most effectively.

  32. Geo,

    Was it “bothering him” when I initially asked him about his methods? It led to a ban then, as it did again later.

  33. Geo,

    You are right, and your museum analogy is fair. However, what if the museum guides are asserting that Breughel painted the Mona Lisa? Wouldn’t you have the right to question their opinion?

  34. Dog, you nailed it. What’s more, pointing out that the Mona Lisa was not painted by Breughel gets you insulted and forcibly ejected from the museum for the rest of your natural life along with 65,000 people who live near you.

  35. EternalCritic;

    Thanks for bringing up the valid point of blaming the victim. If i applied your logic to life, then when it comes to trespassing and vandalism, if only the homeowner didn’t stick out, he wouldn’t have his house vandalised. Also, according to your reasoning, dressing provocatively causes rape. I strongly suggest you pray for clarity, as your method of thinking is one step on the road to death and cruelty.

  36. “Dog, you nailed it. What’s more, pointing out that the Mona Lisa was not painted by Breughel gets you insulted and forcibly ejected from the museum for the rest of your natural life along with 65,000 people who live near you.”

    If you harass a museum guide, you will get thrown out. It matters not if the nameplate is wrong, harassment is never justifiable.

  37. The act of stifling discussion assumes that Conservapedia is a public forum. As any law student knows, the act of opening a place up to the public does not automatically guarantee rights. Try going to the guides in an art museum and continually harass them about the provenance of a piece. My point will be illustrated most effectively.

    Geo – I understand the “public forum” vs. “nondesignated public” distinction in the context of the exercise of free speech in a physical public area. We’re not talking about the government’s ability to control Conservapedia.

    However, since the analogy is appropriate, consider this. A wiki open to public registration *is* as near an equivalent to a public forum as the internet can provide. If you’re honestly happier admitting that you close out all liberal commentary, then the options open to you are (1) make it a closed wiki, like Creationwiki; (2) make it an utterly non-public site like a forum, or; (3) stop frakking whining that the public is using your public site. The current state of affairs – with CP playing the prosecuted victim whenever someone disagrees with them – is irreconcilable with its putative commitment to objectivity, its mission of being the next Wikipedia, and its logistical openness.

    In short: YOU’RE A WIKI. EXPECT PEOPLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOU, OR ADMIT THAT YOU CAN’T HANDLE DISSENT & CLOSE REGISTRATION PERMANENTLY.

  38. “Geo,

    Was it “bothering him” when I initially asked him about his methods? It led to a ban then, as it did again later.”

    Using a sockpuppet to ask for information is a coward’s way as you aren’t honorable enough to use Name Rank and Serial Number in your request.

  39. The museum analogy is inapt: wikis are public-access, public-editable. Museums aren’t. If you want to make it a museum, then close registration.

  40. Geo,

    “It matters not if the nameplate is wrong, harassment is never justifiable.”

    Are you seriously suggesting this – that anyone can claim whatever they like, and no-one can ever challenge them? What kind of art gallery would that be?!!! Honestly Geo, I can’t believe that you think this, I really can’t – you’re not that crazy, and I know it. You’re really suggesting that a museum that opened with a show of Mayan relics, claiming them to be Etruscan, should be allowed to remain unquestioned?

  41. “Using a sockpuppet to ask for information is a coward’s way as you aren’t honorable enough to use Name Rank and Serial Number in your request.”

    Umm…I’m not in the miltary, but whatever – my first request for information on methodolgy was not as a sockpuppet.

    You still haven’t answered the question – was it “bothering him” when I initially asked him about his methods?

  42. Setting aside the obvious problems with the “museum” analogy for a minute…

    It’s even worse than “wrong nameplates,” Geo, and you know it. Andy’s claiming to be educating children, affirmatively harming them in the process by indoctrinating them with lies and partisan mumbo-jumbo that will hinder them in their academic growth for years to come.

  43. I forgot the punchline: concerned citizens should speak up in cases like that. And that’s what we’re doing.

  44. It was bothering him, Dog, because he knows he’s wrong but doesn’t like it when people call him on it :)

  45. “In short: YOU’RE A WIKI. EXPECT PEOPLE TO DISAGREE WITH YOU, OR ADMIT THAT YOU CAN’T HANDLE DISSENT & CLOSE REGISTRATION PERMANENTLY.”

    This has nothing to do with dissent, parody is vandalism. I shouldn’t have to expect vandalism. Its only because of a immoral self destructive mindset that we have vandalism.

  46. “The museum analogy is inapt: wikis are public-access, public-editable. Museums aren’t. If you want to make it a museum, then close registration.”

    Why? If a museum graciously invites artists to create murals or makes a studio, anyone is free to vandalize others work?

  47. Geo, you have a very strange definition of harassment if you believe that pointing out a factual error constitutes harassment. You seem to be suggesting that information put on CP by Andy et al is infallible and that to ask any question is a damnable offense.

    Plus, I would imagine a museum would be interested in accuracy and that a docent would be very unlikely to eject you for asking a single question.

  48. “stop frakking whining that the public is using your public site. The current state of affairs – with CP playing the prosecuted victim whenever someone disagrees with them”

    So we shouldn’t expect common courtesy from our guests? I am not surprised to see the liberal lack of manners has pervaded our culture. Just because we are gracious enough to offer you access, does not mean that we deserve vandalism. Dissent is perfectly fine, but what you reference is harassment.

  49. Geo, now you’ve turned your museum into an art studio :). You had to break your metaphor to make it work, proving my point.

    Anyways, I’m not defending parody. I’m just pointing out the tension between CP’s holding itself out as a public forum, and its actual conduct of shooting lib’ruls on sight. But I’ll say this about parody. If you either allowed productive venues for disagreement, aka, by not banning all lib’ruls, or didn’t have such a ridiculous worldview, parody wouldn’t be a problem.

  50. Geo, as I said, I’m talking about dissent, not vandalism. Do you deny that you’ve squelched all dissent?

  51. Not one of us contests that CP has been subject to vandalism and parody – it most certainly has. Yet you continue to insist that the questioning of someone’s methods of statistical analysis, unsubstantiated assertions or commentary is in itself vandalism. Can you not see the problem with this argument? If that is the case, why bother to have Talk pages at all? Why not simply turn it into a series of essays?

  52. “Dissent is perfectly fine”

    Interesting. How does this fit with your view that Andy’s opinions cannot be questioned?

  53. Personally I’m relieved to see Geo confirm that CP is not an encyclopedia but is, in fact, Andy’s cooperative blog. If Andy wants to have a blog, more power to him, but he should be honest and present it as such.

  54. “#

    Geo,

    “It matters not if the nameplate is wrong, harassment is never justifiable.”

    Are you seriously suggesting this – that anyone can claim whatever they like, and no-one can ever challenge them? What kind of art gallery would that be?!!! Honestly Geo, I can’t believe that you think this, I really can’t – you’re not that crazy, and I know it. You’re really suggesting that a museum that opened with a show of Mayan relics, claiming them to be Etruscan, should be allowed to remain unquestioned?

    You have taken my point out of context. There is a time and a place for criticism. The mainspace of conservapedia is simply not it. Simply because a museum mislabels artifacts does not give people magic marking priviledges.

  55. What about the talk pages, Geo? Are people allowed to discuss there? Are any people blocked for that?

  56. Personally I’m relieved to see Geo confirm that CP is not an encyclopedia but is, in fact, Andy’s cooperative blog. If Andy wants to have a blog, more power to him, but he should be honest and present it as such.

    Precisely. My only issue with CP is Andy’s refusal to admit that it is not, nor has it ever been, a legit public wiki.

  57. “#

    Personally I’m relieved to see Geo confirm that CP is not an encyclopedia but is, in fact, Andy’s cooperative blog. If Andy wants to have a blog, more power to him, but he should be honest and present it as such.”

    Conservapedia is no less an encyclopedia than Britannica. Just because you disagree with the facts presented does not give you the sovereign right to declare something a blog. As liberals like to claim, there is no right or wrong, there is only a subjective gray. Since you are asserting that there is a right and wrong, you as a liberal are a hypocrite.

  58. Geo, for some things – like the age of the earth – there IS a right and a wrong.

  59. Also, Britannica doesn’t purport to be editable by the public.

  60. Er, being liberal doesn’t make you a relativist that is for sure.

    There are clearly things that are wrong, in fact all our knowledge is wrong, it is just that somethings are MUCH more wrong than others.

  61. Geo,

    Clearly we’re working on different ideas of acceptable behavior. Can you please tell us the definitions of dissent and harassent?

    Also, if the mainspace is not the appropriate place to correct errors then can you please tell us what is the appropriate place? Should every edit be discussed on the talk pages before making any changes? Does this apply to all users or just non-sysops? And if all edits need to be discussed in advance then what is the purpose of the 90/10 rule?

    You can’t have it both ways, Geo. You can’t claim that it’s acceptable to have disagreements on the talk page while Andy threatens users with blocking due to the 90/10 rule, last wordism, or liberal deceit.

  62. “Setting aside the obvious problems with the “museum” analogy for a minute…

    It’s even worse than “wrong nameplates,” Geo, and you know it. Andy’s claiming to be educating children, affirmatively harming them in the process by indoctrinating them with lies and partisan mumbo-jumbo that will hinder them in their academic growth for years to come.”

    You obviously are incapable of understanding parental rights. The law you learned is severely lacking. Andy is educating youth with their parents consent. It is their right to educate their child as they see fit. The immoral revisionist education you want has interesting products, namely lazy and incompetent sheeple. Also, your ideal education leads to cruelty towards others and evil. When you compare, you can see the real value.

    Also, there is a site based section which you seem unaware of.

  63. You know as well as I do that the Debate section is deleted, ignored, and its users blocked.

    Further, YOU need to learn that the law isn’t the end of the question. Andy’s legally allowed to teach kids whatever he wants – and parents are legally allowed to trust their kids to him. That doesn’t mean either SHOULD engage in that course of action.

  64. Geo,

    I’m not a factual relativist. There are objective facts that are easily discovered, and there are a number of factual mistakes on CP. You suggest that facts are malleable depending on the wishes or preexisting beliefs of the learner. Your retreat to epistemological nihilism is truly amusing because philosophically it is the last refuge of the damned.

  65. “#

    Geo, now you’ve turned your museum into an art studio :) . You had to break your metaphor to make it work, proving my point.

    Anyways, I’m not defending parody. I’m just pointing out the tension between CP’s holding itself out as a public forum, and its actual conduct of shooting lib’ruls on sight. But I’ll say this about parody. If you either allowed productive venues for disagreement, aka, by not banning all lib’ruls, or didn’t have such a ridiculous worldview, parody wouldn’t be a problem.”

    If you want to switch to open studios, thats fine by me. Forums exist for liberals to endlessly expel air for no reason, encyclopedias have other and more important things to do.

  66. Forums exist for liberals to endlessly expel air for no reason, encyclopedias have other and more important things to do.

    Debate is the surest safeguard against idiocy. Glad to see you’ve switched into personal attacks though; tell me, if this were Conservapedia, when would we have been blocked?

  67. Yay, more randomly thrown out factoids about the evils of “normal education” with nothing to back them up!

    The primary issue with Andy’s “teaching” isn’t that it is wrong, the problem is it is so bad it is “not even wrong.”

    He is a horrible teacher, he doesn’t teach anything of subsistence, he is obsessed with teaching to a few key tests and working on memorization and his bizzare system of grading and “chivalry” is just barbaric.

  68. I have to go to a thingy. TMT & co., please carry on proving him wrong :)

  69. Wait

    Wait

    Wait

    Are you actually claiming that CP is an actual encyclopedia?

    Are you serious?

  70. “#

    “Dissent is perfectly fine”

    Interesting. How does this fit with your view that Andy’s opinions cannot be questioned?”

    CP is an insignificant portion of the internet. As I see it, you have plenty of room to engage in pointless debate elsewhere.

  71. One more thing: Geo, substituting a forum offsite and saying “let us be crazy” is fine, IF you acknowledge that you’re hostile to alternate viewpoints and close down public editing. Otherwise, you need to suck it up and acknowledge that “public wiki” means “public wiki.”

  72. “Geo: “Dissent is perfectly fine”

    Interesting. How does this fit with your view that Andy’s opinions cannot be questioned?”

    CP is an insignificant portion of the internet. As I see it, you have plenty of room to engage in pointless debate elsewhere.”

    Good, so you admit your hypocrisy. We’re making progress. CP is a blog, questioning the dear leader is not acceptable, and it’s ok because it’s our site.

    We’re making real progress.

  73. “Yay, more randomly thrown out factoids about the evils of “normal education” with nothing to back them up!

    The primary issue with Andy’s “teaching” isn’t that it is wrong, the problem is it is so bad it is “not even wrong.”

    He is a horrible teacher, he doesn’t teach anything of subsistence, he is obsessed with teaching to a few key tests and working on memorization and his bizzare system of grading and “chivalry” is just barbaric.”

    how about this then, Trent. The so called normal education doesn’t produce quality output. Rote learning has been used for thousands of years and has proven itself, unlike the fuzzy learning you liberals are so proud of.

    If your normal education is so great, why can’t many students fill out a few simple bubbles correctly?

    Bashing the collegeboard tests does a disservice to many people. Regardless of what you think of them, they offer a more rigorous course and the opportunity to receive college credit at a tremendously reduced price.

  74. Geo, how likely are creationism and homophobia to produce well-adjusted “quality output”?

  75. “One more thing: Geo, substituting a forum offsite and saying “let us be crazy” is fine, IF you acknowledge that you’re hostile to alternate viewpoints and close down public editing. Otherwise, you need to suck it up and acknowledge that “public wiki” means “public wiki.”

    You seem to be unable to stick to a uniform definition. A public wiki is not a public forum. Ask Wikipedia, if you are unable to tell the difference.

  76. Geo.plrd,

    Are you Andy? you sure sound a lot like him and move to insult people with ad hominem and straw man fallacies while avoid discussing the questions posed to you. Just because somebody asks somebody a question is not harassment.

  77. You keep saying these things but are not offering much in the way of facts for us to work off of.

    We have a whole article about how Schlafly’s teaching fails miserably.

    You merely say that modern educations “fails” how about statistics? Where there are problems they can usually be much more closely linked to socio-economic issues rather than some fundamental problem with modern education.

    But with out actual facts to work from it is really nothing more than “air” and all that.

  78. You seem to be unable to stick to a uniform definition. A public wiki is not a public forum. Ask Wikipedia, if you are unable to tell the difference.

    Wikipedia’s major rules are “be neutral and objective.” CP’s only rules are “be paleoconservative, YEC, or YEC-tolerant 100% of the time,” but they purport to be “be neutral and objective.” It’s that disjoint that’s troubling.

  79. “Conservapedia is no less an encyclopedia than Britannica.”

    Ignoring the ludicrous delusions of grandeur typical to the paranoid, let me ask again – if there is a factual inaccuracy in this wonderful encyclopedia project of yours, how is an editor to report it? Is it “harassment” to ask for the methodology of a particular analysis? Or should all content be simply accepted as written?

  80. “#

    Geo, how likely are creationism and homophobia to produce well-adjusted “quality output”?

    How does promiscuity and fuzzy education produce quality output. i have seen the output of a Christian education, and it leads to productivity and achievement.

    Your version leads to decay and filth.

  81. Decay and filth huh?

    Take a wild stab at the number of people in my school’s ph.D program that are a product of “fuzzy education” vs. “Christian education”?

  82. Geo,

    I have been asking one question, and one question only, all evening. PLEASE have a crack at answering it, instead of avoiding it with straw men.

    “if there is a factual inaccuracy in this wonderful encyclopedia project of yours, how is an editor to report it? Is it “harassment” to ask for the methodology of a particular analysis? Or should all content be simply accepted as written?”

  83. Geo, I know you’re getting bombarded from all sides here, but do you care to comment on the fact that you’ve clearly exposed your hypocrisy?

  84. The term “up to no good” presupposes that RW acts as a unitary entity. As others have explained above, that’s a false concept. RW doesn’t even act in the way that say, for instance, Anonymous does.

    It’s silly to say that RW is “up to no good” philosophically because RW is so open it cannot produce the unity of ideology/purpose required (vice CP) and it’s silly on a tactical level as well: I get the impression that enough CP sysops watch RW that any sort of ongoing op made public would quickly be shut down.

    TMT above made the point that RW was made to be the ideological opposite of CP. I would posit that by being so open, RW is actually the procedural opposite of CP.

  85. Dear Geo.plrd

    just because you say public education in comparison with christian education is promiscious, fuzzy, and evil does not make it so. It would be nice if you would actually use factual data or stats (not schafly stats either to back up your argument) that is the basis of presenting a logical coherent valid argument.

  86. Geo.pird:

    I was willing to allow the museum guide analogy slide initially, but I think it’s silly.

    Communication on wikis is asynchronous; while in the real world if you continually ask your museum guide/docent why the explanatory note says Brueghel painted the Mona Lisa you’d be distracting your guide/docent from some activity in the real world, online your guide/docent wouldn’t necessarily have to be distracted, or at least the distraction would be for a much shorter time, chosen at the convenience of the guide/docent. Online, there’s far less concern on the part of the docent that the annoying pest who has the audacity to be correct is distracting the docent from the other guy trying to steal the Mona Lisa.

    BTW, doesn’t MediaWiki have some sort of “ignore comment” feature, like GreaseMonkey’s “pie” script

  87. “#

    Geo, I know you’re getting bombarded from all sides here, but do you care to comment on the fact that you’ve clearly exposed your hypocrisy?

    I have to give you credit, your case is garbage, but you keep on trying. You can drop the facade of truth now, as everyone can clearly see your obfuscation.

  88. “#

    Geo.plrd,

    Are you Andy? you sure sound a lot like him and move to insult people with ad hominem and straw man fallacies while avoid discussing the questions posed to you. Just because somebody asks somebody a question is not harassment.

    I have you dead to rights and you know it. It is a trademark technique to resort to complaints of ad hominems when you have no other plank. I am done wasting my time trying to show you the light.

  89. Geo,

    Once again – if there is a factual inaccuracy in this encyclopedia project, how is an editor to report it or change it? Is it “harassment” to ask for the methodology of a particular analysis? Or should all content be simply accepted as written? Please giver a clear answer

  90. “I have to give you credit, your case is garbage, but you keep on trying. You can drop the facade of truth now, as everyone can clearly see your obfuscation.”

    Wow, oh wow, hello pot meet kettle

  91. Er you are, of course, free to leave at anytime and go play elsewhere. But declaring yourself the victor as you run from the fight is never the best strategy.

    Look Geo, I have have nothing against you, and have defended you repeatedly in public and in private for being one of the better people from CP.

    Next time come armed with some facts and not just platitudes and the discussion will go much smoother.

  92. Good Lord. Because it was off topic, I took the time to delete from my comment an entire section about how CP has no firm definition of “parody,” “vandalism,” or, for God’s sake, “liberal,” and how this renders all of CP’s blocks for such infringements suspect, only to find that the conversation has lurched into the “what dissent is allowable dissent” question. I could have posted the original comment on time and been in the flow of things.

    Anyway, for those of you still playing along at home, yes, CP sysops regularly block users who correct factual errors on CP articles, users who defend those edits on talk pages, and users who comment on such things on their own user page.

    An aside to TK: Questioning the bona fides of self-professed conservatives who complain about the lack of factual accuracy on CP on their user pages and stating that “there’s new sheriff in town,” they’d better watch their step is a sure fire way to piss off your fellow conservatives.

  93. “Geo:I have to give you credit, your case is garbage, but you keep on trying. You can drop the facade of truth now, as everyone can clearly see your obfuscation.”

    You want to try addressing any of my points, or are you just going to tuck tail? I think Andy calls that a Parthian shot, by the way.

  94. It’s notable that Geo never once attempted to answer the initial question, which was intended to get to an understanding of how CP defines vandalism. The answer appears to be, and please Geo correct me if I’m wrong – “We claim to be as good as Brittanica, but you can’t challenge a single fact on CP, and if you do, you are a vandal”.

    If you tend to see every problem as a nail…

  95. “have you dead to rights and you know it. It is a trademark technique to resort to complaints of ad hominems when you have no other plank. I am done wasting my time trying to show you the light.”

    LOL! you are either Andy or a parodist of Andy. do you even know what is an ad hominem fallacy? well have fun finding the light

  96. I’m sad to see that Geo turned so hostile and left. Geo, if you’re still reading this, you know that I know that you’re a good dude at heart. Your only fault in this whole scenario is getting in too deep and drinking the kool-aid. I know that if you take a step back you’ll see we’re right, and you can get on with your promising life outside of Conservapedia

  97. I don’t condone or support Conservapedia’s site policies, but I agree with Geo.plrd when he says: “Your statement seems to indicate that you think that you have a right to annoy someone, in the name of intellectual debate. In the real world, this would be harassment.”

    By all means, create parodies of Conservapedia articles, but please do not do that on Conservapedia. You would be banned from Wikipedia as a vandal if you abused Wikipedia in that way, Why should a Wikipedian like me regard vandalism on Conservapedia in any other light?

  98. I have written a new posting about RationalWiki user Stile4aly’s “coming clean” about his authorship of the “hit list” article.

    I’ve also switched this blog to full moderation mode. Please do comment, I’ll let all but the worst through, but I will be reading comments in advance and may add a brief note asking commenters to tone it down if I think they’re getting a little heated. I hope this will be acceptable. I do value all comments but I think the above discussion became rather personalized, in a way that wouldn’t have happened if I’d been there to keep discussion on track.

  99. “I strongly suggest you pray for clarity, as your method of thinking is one step on the road to death and cruelty.”

    As opposed to http://www.conservapedia.com/Obama
    or http://www.conservapedia.com/Homosexuality or http://www.conservapedia.com/Liberal or http://www.conservapedia.com/deceit?

    Thanks, but keep your prayers to yourself, I want nothing to do with them.

    As for your analogy fails. Rape cannot be reverted. Trespassing can cause further damage, as can real vandalism, in both money and repairs. Wikis? 2 seconds and a revert. hardly comparable. Slippery slope arguments are a joke.

  100. Eternal, that’s a standard argument made by vandals and it is simply wrong: If I had a sign on my property and you threw waterbased paint over it that would still be morally unacceptable even if it will wash off in a few days. Taking up a volunteer’s time isn’t acceptable. It doesn’t matter if that’s 2 seconds or 2 minutes.

  101. Josh, I agree, vandalism like the “MOAR HITLER” junk is puerile. My only problem with CP is that they treat legitimate argumentation as “vandalism,” and yet say they don’t.

  102. Does your sign say “No tresspassing, unless you toe the party line and accept lies as truth, which in the event you do not you will be shot”? No. It says No trespassing. There is no ideological disclaimer, and no caveat. Paradists on CP have eminently proven that absurdity to the point of vandalism is absolutely acceptable. So long as it makes them feel justified in their unsupported views.

    They enforce their rules arbitrarily, almost exclusively ideologically, and as long as you kiss up to Andy, you’re cool. Its not just vandalism and parody. Its eveyday activity on CP. For a great look at this playing itself out, check the career of near sysop “Bugler”

  103. Eternal, no one is being shot here. Comparisons that involve people being killed are a bit weak. Moreover even if my claimed rules about who I let on my property don’t match the actual rules that doesn’t justify trespassing.

  104. By saying so you prove your analogy is not so apt as you would like it to be. No one is trespassing here either. If you are treated punitively for something that was not against a rule, do you have a right to do somthing about that? Do you have a right to feel like you were wrongly maligned, and make a point about that in an essentially harmless manner? I would argue yes. If they insist on adding falsehoods and banning me for discussing, in a very civil manner mind, what’s wrong with adding some as a pointed criticism (since clearly rational discussion doesn’t work).

    I’m not defending random vandalism. I’m defending individual, what i see as justified, actions

  105. Wikipedia has as much right to ban someone as Conservapedia does (they are both private entities) but I would argue that those “rights” are absolute and one’s support of those rights shouldn’t depend upon how they are used by WP or CP (or RW, if it ever decides to ban users).

    Now, whether one should support how WP and CP use that right is something else, yes?

    My argument with CP is that legitimate attempts to change incorrect factual information get users blocked/banned due to their “parody,” “vandalism,” or “liberal deceit.” These terms are used interchangeably and the labeling of users often occur upon the user’s first edit.

    The activities that Andy and his sysops are engaging on CP are just as anti-social and anti-wiki as CP’s vandals (repeated deep burning of articles and talk comments, mercurial bans). Tony, I find it interesting that as a wiki proponent you don’t seem to be that troubled by this. I understand that CP is Andy’s sandbox and he can be as destructive to it as wants to be, but why on God’s green earth would he?

  106. Darkwater, I think we are in substantial agreement that Andrew Schlafly and the rest of Conservapedia’s management are on the wrong track because their management skills are poor. I don’t care why Andy and the others are such awful managers, and in any case any speculation I might make on that would be unhelpful.

    The converse question is: why should we care? Conservapedia’s daily reach (the number of people using it on any given day) is about 1/4000th that of Wikipedia, 1/150th that of The Guardian, Fox News, Washington Post and the like, and about 1/4th that of Rush Limbaugh’s website. It doesn’t matter what nonsense is on Conservapedia because hardly anybody is going to see it.

  107. [...] of this rare opportunity for mutual discussion. Both of Tony’s articles (the first on the site in general; the second on its recent parody affliction) and the comments sections are must-reads for [...]

  108. Tony, I don’t know how much we should care but in so far as Conservapedia is being used to educate children who are at an impressionable age it is a cause for concern.

    But there’s another issue that hasn’t been substantially addressed yet. Articles at Conservapedia aren’t just wrong due ideological grounds but are frequently just wrong period. For example, a few months ago “Kosher” was a featured article (they mean Kashrut but never mind that now). I noticed that the article had basic errors which anyone who knows anything about kashrut would recognize. Moreover, they were errors that would be corrected if anyone simply looked at the relevant verses in the Bible. For example, they asserted that a fish to be kosher it must have a skeleton and fins. This is wrong. A fish to be kosher must have fins and scales. And this was not the only error in the article on kashrut, just the most blatant. And this article was a featured article.

    After seeing this error I glanced through some of their other articles on topics related to Judaism and found other equally egregious errors such as severe errors about Jewish which holidays are or are not in the Bible. For example, Purim was listed as a holiday not being based in the Bible. This error struck me as particularly puzzling given that Purim has the entire Scroll of Esther dedicated to it.

    Conservapedia is not just ideologically motivated, they are sloppy, lazy and ignorant of basic Biblical facts. I am deeply concerned that anyone would use it is as a resource for anything other than possibly how to spell the word “liberal.”

    When Conservapedia was founded I was one of the first editors to join. I thought that it might server a real purpose and possibly be helpful to keep an eye on actual issues of bias in Wikipedia. That’s clearly not the case.

  109. Yes, I’m also a little saddened at the low content standards of Conservapedia. I’ve said elsewhere in this thread that I’m about the opposite of the spectrum that Conservapedia intends to reach, but a truly open, high quality reference work that happened to have a political bias (either to left or right) would be interesting and valuable. There are subjects that get neglected due to cultural bias and specialist projects like that, including but not limited to political minorities, would help in the way you suggest.

    I’m still hopeful of nudging the Conservapedians, or a subset of them who are intelligent and committed to the notion, in the direction of a Wikipedia-style structure, with open content and reasonably open editing. It may require a fork before it works, though. I think Andrew Schlafly is very much part of the problem.

  110. I agree,

    I have no problem with there being a thoughtful intelligent encyclopedia that may be from one point of view or another. I think it would be a good thing to actually have a legitimate debate what is at the heart of conservatism or liberalism. however, my problem with conservapedia is the fact that Andy Schafly is using it to espouse his own radical beliefs and shuts anybody out who has legitimate disagreements with him.

  111. My problem is with people on the Internet actually seeming to believe they have some “rights” to expect something else.

    The Internet is open to anyone, no matter if I disagree with what I see or not. Likewise, at the Daily Kos, no matter how many times I posted in their forums during the last election, they simply wouldn’t listen to reason or facts, and they completely shut me out!

    Have I made my point?

  112. TK – you made your point: Conservapedia is not intended to be encyclopedic, but is just a blog to state things the sysops like regardless of ”reason or facts”.

  113. BTW, it is less about ”rights” granted somehow in the internet, it is about judging a site according its own proclaimed standards. If you want to have your own little blog, fine, but if you proudly say ”we are more open and unbiased than wikipedia” – or make similar claims, people will take you at your word. And they will get disappointed, I’m afraid.

  114. After reading this entire conversation (a little too much free time today), I figured I’d throw in my two bits.

    I have been reading CP since I heard about it on NPR which was quite awhile ago, AmesG was even around then. So I have seen its evolution over the last couple of years. To say that CP tolerates and even encourages dissent is at best a disortion and at worst a lie.

    I joined CP for two reasons; 1-to learn more about wiki software & 2-to engage others on topics of which we might disagree and enlighten myself and maybe others to opposing veiwpoints. I would catoregize myself as a social liberal and a economic conservative. However, I no longer have any standing at CP. Shockingly enough, a sysop that I disagree with alot no longer has no standing at CP, PJR.

    Since I have been at CP, I have seen the place devolve to Andy’s personal forum. It is disturbing to see that any user that questions or diagrees with him is immediately (or nearly immediately) banned outright. Those that agree (or pretend to agree with Andy are wholeheartedly are promoted.

    This behaviour is most clearly demonstrated by the actions of the sysop/parodist Bugler over the last year. It dosen’t matter how abusive you are, if you tow Andy’s line, you will be accepted.

    I find many of CP’s articles, especially in science and math, shameful. But I do not dare to edit or even discuss them because to do so would result in a quick ban.

    I do not condone the vandalism that has gone on at CP. However, because of the harsh tactics the administration at CP has taken to eliminate all opposing veiwpoints, they have turned it into a game for would be vandals. In my opinion, it is CP’s actions in the past and currently that have brought this upon themselves.

  115. Somebody seems to have set up a website to track mentions of Conservapedia.

    http://conservapedia.info/

  116. “This behaviour is most clearly demonstrated by the actions of the sysop/parodist Bugler over the last year. It dosen’t matter how abusive you are, if you tow Andy’s line, you will be accepted.”

    btw, have the people bugler blocked in his rampage been unblocked. it seems that since bugler outed himself as a parodist the people he blocked should have a legitimate way to get back on the site if they haven’t been already.

  117. [...] of this rare opportunity for mutual discussion. Both of Tony’s articles (the first on the site in general; the second on its recent parody affliction) and the comments sections are must-reads for [...]

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