Wiki / Rational Wiki

Rational Wiki is a skeptics' wiki. It was created as a negative reaction to Conservapedia, but has since moved more into the direction of debunking, refuting, or poking fun at pseudoscience, religious fundamentalism, authoritarianism and other things that it doesn't like, per its stated mission statement:
  1. Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement.
  2. Analyzing and refuting crank ideas.
  3. Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
  4. Analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media.

Functionally, it's more like a group blog than an encyclopedia (which they themselves acknowledge), though it also has quite a lot in common with Robert Todd Carroll's Skeptic's Dictionary. It also has a page about TV Tropes. Overall, it has the general feel of a wiki mocking the types of people seen on Fundies Say the Darndest Things while also refuting all of their arguments.

It contains examples of the following:

  • Accentuate the Negative: Many articles on personalities and websites. The Reddit article, for instance, mainly cites subreddits known for their right-wing ideology, provocativeness or stupidity.
  • Antagonist in Mourning:
    • Conservapedia administrator TK passed away in December 2010, eliciting this response on RationalWiki.
    "RW noticed his absence and did the legwork to learn of his passing, while CP only seemed to learn of it afterwards (so quickly that it appears that they learned from RW), but have barely even noted the passing of one of their most prolific editors and authoritarian admins. In a truly surreal example of irony, asking about TK's death on Conservapedia can result in a permaban."
  • Arch-Enemy: Conservapedia is portrayed as this (the site was created as its opposite), though it's obvious that Rational Wiki views them as a loud annoyance more than anything. The site's articles on Conservapedia and Schlafly's antics often read like the history of the Soviet Union under Stalin.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Described as part of Haggard's Law, which states, "The louder and more frequent one's objections to homosexuality are, the more likely one is to be a homosexual." It even has a link back to the Armored Closet Gay trope page.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
  • Basement-Dweller: They coined the Logical Fallacy argumentum ad cellarium concerning the frequent accusations of this on the Internet. Of course, that doesn't stop them from using it themselves.
  • Canada, Eh?: With bilingual topic headers, no less.
  • Catch Phrase: Goat.
    • This is probably a reference to Matthew 25:31-46, where Jesus says that in the end times he will separate the sheep (his followers) from the goats (his detractors). Or maybe it's just because goats are awesome and tasty. Take your pick.
    • They consider Goat Simulator to be the "greatest game of all time." (the abbreviation of that entitlement is GOAT).
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: They actually (jokingly) mention the term in their France article.
  • Chuck Norris Facts: Subverted. Their article on the man includes a few claims in the style of the meme, but instead of making him look badass, they make him look pathetic, mostly focusing on his well-known hostility to the subject of same-sex marriage. In fact, RationalWiki is probably the only place on the whole Internet where Norris isn't treated as a Memetic Badass. Most of this is prompted by Norris' support for creationism, promoting bible study in public schools, homophobia, and other almost stereotypically religious conservative positions.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Their article on George Carlin, appropriately enough.
  • Creator Provincialism: There is a lot of coverage on the US and (to a lesser degree) Canada and the UK. Europe and other parts of the world - not so much. Just guess where almost all of the editors come from.
  • Cursed with Awesome: If you've been around long enough (a few weeks or days) and are generally thought to be trusworthy, you will be demoted to janitor (i.e. sysop). (Frivolous block wars are common, and encouraged; fortunately, in addition to non-serious block reasons (such as one that outright says "block war") there are options to make said blocks last only a few seconds, which help differentiate them from serious blocks.) If you anger the gods sufficiently, you may even be further demoted to the lowly, despicable position of bureaucrat.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • In the article disproving a global flood: "How was the fossil record sorted in an order convenient for evolution if they were laid down in the turmoil of a single flood? That is usually dismissed with a hand wave by saying the animals quickly sorted each other out based on their ability to compete for the shrinking high ground. The theory also fails to take into account fossilized plants, which show the same type of order as animal fossils, and which are not noted for their ability to flee rising floodwaters."
    • A similar example of deadpan snark is found on the page regarding the Peanut Butter Argument that life should arise naturally in a jar of peanut butter if evolution is true: "Critics of the argument have pointed out that sealed jars of peanut butter are not, generally speaking, billion year-old volcanic environments rich in ammonia and methane, being bombarded by high energy cosmic rays."
    • The official point of view is SPOV, which stands for scientific point of view and snarky point of view.
    • One of the best examples they have is in their article on George Tiller, an abortion provider who was murdered by a pro-"life" gunman in a church.
    Dr. Tiller was in his 267th trimester.
    • On "vaccinosis", an alleged illness supposedly caused by vaccines:
    WHO defines vaccinosis thusly: "Your search for vaccinosis did not match any documents." The CDC, on the other hand, define vaccinosis as: "No pages or documents were found containing 'vaccinosis'."
  • Don't Shoot the Message:
    • In-Universe, despite the site's general left-wing leanings, their article on Michael Moore is rather critical, claiming the only thing that puts him above Rush Limbaugh is his support of universal healthcare. Similarly, despite being a heavily atheistic site, they don't find the arguments of Christopher Hitchens very convincing. (In Hitchens' case, it's partially due to his pro-war position, but his religious positions come under fire as well.)
    • They treat left-wing cranks like just as harshly as they do right-wingers like WND, although they do perhaps have a numerical bias - likely due to the general leanings of their contributors - towards attacking the right. Even Noam Chomsky is criticized for his "highly questionable statements" regarding genocide at Srebenica, Kosovo, and Rwanda, and his quasi-defense of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson (they deny the placement of the article about him in the category "Extreme moonbattery" though, though they don't place him in "Left of reason" category either, see Only Sane Man for details).
    • They've treated people like Thunderf00t and The Amazing Atheist very critically, due to both's views on Feminism, and the former's views on Islam.
  • Dystopia Is Hard/Fascist, but Inefficient: Discussed in their analysis of authoritarianism and dictatorship and used an example of why authoritarianism is ultimately a bad idea.
  • Edit War: On RW, edit wars and even wheel wars are extremely common. So common, in fact, that accidental edit wars have become an issue - sysops assuming vandalism where there is none and performing knee-jerk reverts of edits without reading them, the original contributor re-adding the edit, and things kicking off from there.
  • The Fundamentalist: Described here.
  • Furry Fandom: Has a surprisingly (and refreshingly) fair and level-handed page about them here. Quite possibly one of the more accurate descriptions of the fandom to be found on the internet.
  • Gravity Is Only a Theory: All instances of such logic being used seriously are viciously torn apart. Anti-Intellectualism in general is subject to a slam.
  • Harmless Villain: The wiki lampshades how Conservapedia and the modern iteration of the Ku Klux Klan are basically this.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The original iteration of the site, which was a wiki with a strong, intentional political bias focused primarily on criticism of one website... created to counter a wiki with a strong, intentional political bias focused primarily on criticism of one website. Over the years, however, as Conservapedia has continued to fall into irrelevance, RW has mostly moved on from its obsession with Schlafly's site, and most of the many articles on Conservapedia minutiae have been consolidated or deleted.
  • The Horseshoe Effect: They call it the "horseshoe theory", the idea that the more radical a political group on either end of the spectrum gets, the more its worldview and rhetoric come to resemble that of the other side as opposed to the moderate center. Examples cited include the Communist Party vs. the John Birch Society, Che Guevara vs. Ayn Rand, transphobic radical feminists vs. MRAs and the religious right, and the pigs in Animal Farm becoming exactly like the humans they originally opposed.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: They refer to such statements as "deepity", in full Buffy Speak form (the term was coined by a teenage girl, even).
  • If Jesus, Then Aliens: The article on crank magnetism provides a justification of the trope, arguing that people who believe in one fringe religious/scientific/political viewpoint are inclined to believe a whole host of them due to the psychology that leads people to such positions in the first place.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Andrew Schlafly is the son of Phyllis Schlafly, the lady who fought so hard against the Equal Rights Act, claiming women would find freedom in their role as a homemaker. Anyone would grow up to be like Andrew in a home like that. The problem is, he shouldn't have been given internet access. The denizens aren't cutting him any slack, even with that in mind.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Described in their page on "Not Even Wrong", referring "to any statement, argument or explanation that can be neither correct nor incorrect, because it fails to meet the criteria by which correctness and incorrectness are determined." Given their skeptic and debunking mission, they run into this kind of thing a lot.
    • Similarly, their page on fractal wrongness:
    You are not just wrong. You are wrong at every conceivable level of resolution. Zooming in on any part of your worldview finds beliefs exactly as wrong as your entire worldview.
  • Insufferable Genius: Like TVT, RW encourages humor in their articles, and, like TVT, the comedic talents of their contributors vary wildly. Given that RW is usually censoriousnote , sometimes their articles cross the border between "witty" and "smug".
  • Just for Pun: A regular feature.
    "Indigo child" is not to be confused with "In dingo child", which is what your child might become if you misplace it in Australia.
    "Pseudoscience. Not to be confused with "Sudo: Science", when you tell your computer to perform experiments and accidentally create GLaDOS.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Any user who sticks around for a while and regularly makes edits will be saddled with the tedious responsibility of being a (ugh) Sysop.
  • The Lab Rat: Rational Wiki consists mainly of science geeks (with a few actual scientists and physicians scattered here and there). It is sometimes referred to as Rat Wiki, and its members are supposedly referred to as 'Rats' by those opposed to the site, although there is precisely zero evidence of anyone actually using this terminology.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: As described in the Chick Tracts article:
    This panel from a Chick tract makes even less sense in context. (It really does, check if you don't believe us.) Also, goats.