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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.

It contains examples of the following:

  • 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 it's opposite), though it's obvious that Rational Wiki views them as a loud annoyance more than anything.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Don't Shoot the Message:
    • In-Universe, despite the sites' general left-wing leanings, their article on Michael Moore is rather critical, claiming the only difference between him and Rush Limbaugh is that Moore supports 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 and pro-life positions, but his religious positions come under fire as well.
    • They treat left-wing cranks like Globalresearch.ca 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've treated people like Thunderf00t and The Amazing Athiest 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.
  • 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, RationalWiki 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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.
  • 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.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Pretty much the only countries that aren't criticized heavily are those in Scandinavia, though most editors are not from there. The United States gets hit particularly hard— it is practically obligatory to criticize it every time it is mentioned, though the vast majority of editors are American.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Ironclad describes himself as a "liberal, homosexual, socialist, atheist, black, British, history-degree-educated PhD-level academic bodybuilder".
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: On their article about Andrew Schlafly, to let us know that he really wants to make his own translation of The Bible, as he thinks that every current translation is too "liberal", applying Canon Discontinuity by removing some verses that are the basic tenets of Christianity in the process, even though he admits to having no knowledge of the original languages.
  • Not So Different: 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, transphobic radical feminists vs. MRAs and the religious right, and the pigs in Animal Farm becoming exactly like the humans they originally opposed.
  • Overly-Long Gag: Ted Haggard's article constantly states that he is not gay.
  • Poe's Law: Here.
  • Rogues Gallery: The site has a page devoted to people who have attacked it, many of them after themselves being attacked in RationalWiki articles. Amongst them are...
  • Rule of Funny: In full effect.
  • Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement: Averted. True to its name, a rationalist point of view is non-negotiable in the articles, and the site is not above criticizing any other site which does have this policy, accusing them of pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator by committing the Golden Mean Fallacy.
  • Running Gag:
    • Goats
    • Referring to Conservapedia as Schlafly's blog.
    • Ironclad's rebuttal of Conservapedia's World History Lectures makes constant references to liberals eating kittens.
    • Barack HUSSEIN Obama.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Prevalent, for example, in the article "Fairies". Often these tend to be Blatant Lies followed with the marker Do You Believe That? to hint to the reader that the author didn't actually believe that.
  • Science Is Bad and Measuring the Marigolds: Completely inverted.
  • Self-Demonstrating Article: Notably once inverted.
  • Self-Deprecation - Edited by "Drunk rationalists, goat fetishists".
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: It's somewhere between TV Tropes & Uncyclopedia. The main article on Andrew Schlafly is one of the few that is explicitly stated to be intended to be completely serious, though a parody article on him also exists. Regardless of the silliness or seriousness of a specific article, unless it's in the separate 'Fun' or 'Essay' sections of the site accuracy is non-negotiable (at least in theory).
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Their page for that is "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" which is German for "Children, Kitchen, and Church". Since they do a lot of analysis of fundamentalism, authoritarianism, and individuals with very firm ideas about traditional gender roles, this gets cross-linked a lot.
  • Straw Feminist: Averted. The site goes out of its way to delineate between the more agreeable and academic parts of the feminist movement and extremists like Cathy Brennan and Andrea Dworkin, while also criticizing the arguments of the men's rights movement and other anti-feminists. That said, they have little love for the more transphobic and sex-negative elements of second-wave feminism.
  • Take That:
    • Mostly against fundamentalists and authoritarians, though no one is completely spared, not even the site itself.
    • The wiki's origins as an anti-Conservapedia site still tend to show clearly in any article about a right-wing politician or political position; they don't even pretend to be neutral.
    • Even This Very Wiki is subject to a little criticism, most notably a rundown of The Second Google Incident. That said, the article used to be much more critical than it is now, even after the Incident.
    • The site can be very critical of left-wing views, too, if there is a significant overlap with an issue favored by the right-wing. For example, the site is harshly critical of the homeschooling movement, because in the site's view homeschoolers do not sufficiently socialize their kids, and the site takes potshots at both the left and right for their claims that the public school system has a negative impact on people. They do the same to people who are opposed to pharmaceutical solutions to problems (usually a right-wing issue, though gaining some ground on the left), since most other solutions are classified by Rational Wiki as "woo".
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: Addressed in Gender and Sysops, which aimed to encourage a more balanced gender representation.
  • Thing-O-Meter: The Irony Meter
  • Understatement: "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."
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: Their article on the Necronomicon which comes complete with their characteristic Deadpan Snark:
    "Since the time of Lovecraft, several real books have been written and published under the name Necronomicon, though none are known to have the mystical powers attributed to them by Lovecraft’s stories. This is generally thought to be the maximal-utility state of affairs by those who prefer not to have soul-eating eldritch cyclopean gibbering madnesses called into our world out of indescribable gulfs beyond all sane conceptions of space and time."
  • Troll: Marcus Cicero, LBHS Cheerleader, TK, Rob Smith, D Morris, take your pick. The site's dangerously lenient ban policy results in it being a veritable troll heaven—it takes weeks for the site's members to even decide that they might want to possibly ban someone, and even then it's pretty much always a short-term block that does little to actually stop the troll from vandalizing the site.
    • RW itself discourages replicating this behavior in kind on Conservapedia, as that site is funnier when it's genuine stupidity and not invented. Nevertheless, they indulge in it on their own site quite frequently; for instance, referring to Conservapedia sysop Karajou as "Kowardjou" because it annoys him.
  • TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life: Their now-deleted article Conservapedia:Boycott listed visiting TV Tropes as an alternative to reading Conservapedia and laughing at it. They added the comment "Kiss your spare time good-bye."
  • Turing Test: They have an article on it. They also mention it in the context of a Take That to purged CP sysop RobS, saying he is the only human to fail one:
    "Trying to engage in a rational discussion or argument with RobS is an exercise in futility. Rob may be the only human ever to fail a Turing test, in that after reading a couple of his replies you will be left believing you are actually arguing with a poorly designed computer program that takes keywords from what you posted and fashions pre-generated responses that have little to nothing to do with what you actually said to him. It can also be compared to arguing with a magic 8-ball containing an icosahedron in which every side mentions Communism."
  • Wiki Vandal: They call it Wandalism.
  • Word Salad Philosophy: They accuse famous libertarian philosopher Murray Rothbard of as much in their article on him.
  • Worthy Opponent: The general RW opinion of former Conservapedia sysop JessicaT, the Token Good Teammate of CP's admins. (Who turned out to be a sockpuppet for RW user Psygremlin.)
    • They also seem to have, if not affection or respect, then at least a degree of sympathy for CP users who genuinely try to contribute some original conservative thought before their dreams are pissed upon from great height by the Assfly.
  • You Are What You Hate: The wiki does not like Web 2.0 at all, claiming that it is dumbing down society and promoting pseudo-intellectualism, despite or perhaps because of the fact that, as a wiki, the site is part of Web 2.0 by definition, something they Lampshade at the end.
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