RationalWiki

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RationalWiki
Rational-wiki-screenshot.PNG
Type: Wiki
Founders: Trent Toulouse, ColinR[1]
Frontend Admins: RationalMedia Foundation
Server Admins: Trent Toulouse, Gerard
Writers: Teenage Redditors and cranky atheists
State: Active
Companies used: Linode, Register.com
Predecessors: Conservapedia
Successors: None
Prior URLs: Unknown
Alternate URLs: rationalwiki.com, ru.rationalwiki.org
URL: rationalwiki.org

RationalWiki (aka RW) is a technocratic liberal wiki which primarily promotes scientism, skepticism of holistic medicine, skepticism of supernatural claims, American liberal politics that were topical in the 2010s, and the mocking of racists.

The wiki generally didn't care about incel people until an inactive admin of an incel person forum tried to get an editor from here ousted from RationalWiki for removing links to one of his sites (that the editor from here had put up in the first place), after which RationalWiki began edit warring over incel related pages.

Politics[edit]

Users, as of 2022, are almost exclusively non-binary autistics who mimic popular Reddit talking points, as well as neoliberals (right-liberals) who dislike the US Republican Party. The wiki used to be fairly lefty between 2018-2020 but then became more neoliberal with the ostracization of a few former wiki leaders and active editors. The wiki is now permanently in a state of crisis as some of the old-guard is still there, under quiet disapproval of the new leadership, sometimes provoking very intense fights on their mod pages.

A few years ago, the most active Rationalwiki editor,[2] and one of the last relatively economic-left members of RationalWiki, named, "ravens"/"GodlessRavens", was chased off RationalWiki and started SocDem Wiki, but infused that wiki with a way more authoritarian political bent.

Writing for it[edit]

RationalWiki is mainly fun to write for because the frontend moderators are fairly incompetent at moderation.

The wiki was built with free speech ideals, but Mediawiki doesn't have any sort of dispute resolution that makes logical sense. After Nathan Larson and other abusers of free speech, they've given themselves a pass to not uphold any sort of free speech commitment for people they don't want to be around.

Its original egalitarian writing commitment also manifests in them automatically giving SysOp status to most of their userbase, which functions as a way to give users unwarranted self-importance which usually backfires.

The mods generally don't like to hold themselves to any normal, sane, or rational standard of accountability. The wiki claims it's run by mob rule, but it's mostly just 5-6 people, quite a few of whom are teenagers.

What is the wiki for though?[edit]

Their mission statement is vague enough for the moderators to interpret at will relative to the users they like and dislike. At times, articles that are purely social justice oriented are allowed, other times they are not.

Most articles on the wiki have few citations and are shallow, but the creation of pages is debated to death for some reason, rather than deleting existing pages with the same faults.

Activity[edit]

The wiki can be fairly inactive at times, even less active than this wiki. Users generally don't care about topics outside political drama, meaning one can write about any non-dramatic topic pretty much without interruption.

But do they actually debunk pseudoscience?[edit]

Many of their pages are poor attempts to debunk pseudoscience. They partly chose to focus on combatting alternative medicine, but have gone a bit too far in the opposite direction. Many of their pages come across as if they were written by a pharmaceutical representative. This is just one example.

Origin[edit]

The wiki was created as a reaction to the pseudoscience contained on Conservapedia, which was indeed rife with pseudoscience, with many vague references to Christian religious dogma as proof of various things. Not long afterward, people stopped taking Conservapedia seriously.

Languages[edit]

The wiki has a Russian language version, which is unmaintained, at ru.rationalwiki.org. There are 10 other languages interspersed in the English Rationalwiki under the Babel category. As far as non-English language articles, Rationalwiki has, in total:

  • 1,061 Russian language articles
  • 48 French language articles
  • 24 Spanish language articles
  • 23 Slovak language articles
  • 12 Chinese language articles
  • 12 Portuguese language articles
  • 11 Esperanto language articles
  • 9 Farsi language articles
  • 3 Dutch language articles
  • 2 German language articles
  • 2 Gaeilge‎ language articles
  • 2 Italian language articles

Rationalwiki Hierarchy[edit]

In order from most to least influential on the wiki, in theory, not practice:

Trent Toulouse[edit]

Psychology professor and academic guy. He's not particularly enthusiastic about the Rationalwiki project but is nonetheless proud of it. Self-admitted "MIA". He has been paying for the server out of his own pocket from 2021-2022. Occupies a "founder position" at the RationalMedia Foundation, the nonprofit and legal entity of RationalWiki. His 'founder position' role is supposed to be usurped by the RationalMedia trustees once they raise enough funds....

In theory, Trent has enormous leverage over the wiki even though he can be overthrown at any time. He chooses not to use this leverage. People respect him and he's been in this position since founding.

David Gerard and Tim Starling from Wikipedia boss fame[edit]

These two serve as secondary contacts to Trent for server work. Tim Starling (Principle Software Architect for the Wikimedia Foundation) does Mediawiki upgrades for RationalWiki every few years. David Gerard goes by the username Gerard. Both Tim and Gerard are mostly absent from daily wiki activities, although Gerard checks in very infrequently by choice.

RationalMedia Foundation trustees[edit]

Their job is to raise enough funds to get rid of the founder position.

RationalWiki Mods[edit]

These are also elected, but prefer to be anonymous as they do all of the wiki moderation on a contentious wiki. The composition of this crowd varies wildly, and is often filled by extremely bad actors, who even sometimes bully good faith editors, in a way that is not far off from Wikipedia bullying. But with the added bonus of childish personal insults on the wiki itself.

RationalWiki Sysops[edit]

As RationalWiki points out, these are glorified spam cleaners. In a stroke of genuis, they decide to give this position to anyone, ensuring there will always be user activity (as people like to feel important). In a stroke of madness, this policy makes everyone run around sanctioning each other all day. These are most of the editors. They do not edit any non-recent-event pages ever except for one users who's name starts with a 'B'.

Basically, sysops just sit back and wait to jeer at fellow sysops or anyone who's decided to take editing seriously. A really bad case of authority syndrome trumping fixing the wiki up. Most of the old articles on the wiki, while at some point entertaining are all in need of a redo or deletion. Users don't care, they'd rather sanction each other all day and discourage editing.

IP editors / transitory registered users[edit]

Like Wikipedia, these guys do most or all the heavy lifting on non-recent-event articles. They fill important gaps and create good original content that is not just news. If they decide to register and get that nearly automatic sysop position, then they face the potential of being sanctioned for simply ediitng in good faith, because a sysop wants to do that and that's all he knows makes a good Rationalwikipedian.

References

See also[edit]