Complaint Review: The RationalWiki Foundation
The RationalWiki Foundation RationalWiki, Rational-Wiki, RW, Rationalwiki.org, Rationalwiki.com, Trent Toulouse A website with a history of engaging in "cyber-vandalism" by its own admission, now a registered nonprofit organization. Albuquerque New Mexico
RationalWiki is a website that claims to exist to analyze and refute pseudoscience and the anti-science movement, document the full range of crank ideas, explore authoritarianism and fundamentalism, and explore how the said subjects are handled in the media. However, it didn't start out that way.
In the beginning, RationalWiki was created by a group of people upset with Conservapedia, a Media Wiki based encyclopedia project somewhat similar to Wikipedia. Early members of RationalWiki admittedly engaged in vandalism at Conservapedia, and there were many articles at RationalWiki mocking Conservapedia and its contributors. RationalWiki was much more a satire site (or arguably a cyberstalker/harassment site, depending on how one wants to interpret the laws of the land) than an informative site.
There are copyrighted images used on the site with a template, Template:Conservapirated, confessing that the site does not have the right to use the said images. [continued below]....
I can hear it now, you're thinking "So what, who cares about the past?" Well, many of the "old guard" editors from the early days of RationalWiki are still heavily involved in the site, and places like the "Saloon Bar" and "WIGO CP" are still going strong in the background, despite RationalWiki's attempt to shift to being a source of information. As a matter of fact, User:Human just posted in the Saloon Bar that the CEO of The RationalWiki Foundation, Trent Toulouse, is deliberately trying to "GET SUED by crazy people." Bear in mind, this is a website operating as some sort of charity, operating off of donations collected from the public, and not paying taxes. Perhaps this is something you should consider if you were thinking of donating to the RationalWiki Foundation, that your money may be going to an organization whose goal is to be sued.
RationalWiki is a wiki, like Wikipedia. Anyone can change the content of articles at RationalWiki. At one time, it was even possible for an IP editor (one without a registered account) to edit the templates appearing on the main page, and because, in those days, RationalWiki took pride in not blocking anyone long term, and never blocking IP ranges, it was possible for a single vandal to play cat and mouse with the site's sysops for hours or even days. In the mean time, another vandal could have inserted more subtle vandalism into articles without anyone noticing, because all of the RationalWikians would be busy reverting the other troll. (MarcusCicero, Fall Down, and Alyssa Bryant are examples of some of the more infamous vandals who trolled RationalWiki). On Wikipedia, contributions typically must be accompanied by references in reliable sources, and malicious edits are often caught and reverted by recent changes patrolers very quickly, but this is not always the case on RationalWiki. Certain claims may be allowed to exist at RationalWiki without references to back them up. Additionally, many of RationalWiki's articles are biased, unlike Wikipedia which adheres to a neutral point of view policy.
Some of the main contributors at RationalWiki engage in activities such as "block wars" where they just block each other with silly comments as the block reason, and participate in "headless chicken mode," sometimes abreviated HCM. In my opinion, many of the main contributors are immature. In my opinion, a student may want to think twice before citing RationalWiki in a school project.
A good resource for evaluating the reliability/maturity level of RationalWiki contributors is RationalWikiWiki, a site formerly run by RationalWikians to create articles about RationalWiki. Although that site is now defunct and has since been replaced with an e-cigarette website, its contents can still be found by searching for www.rationalwikiwiki.org at the Wayback Machine, found at www.archive.org.
Just some things you may want to consider if you were thinking of using RationalWiki as a source of information, or if you were thinking of donating to the Rational Wiki Foundation.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/01/2014 06:41 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/the-rationalwiki-foundation/albuquerque-new-mexico-87106/the-rationalwiki-foundation-rationalwiki-rational-wiki-rw-rationalwikiorg-rationalwi-1143383. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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