Monday, April 14, 2008

_____apedia.

It the Internet has one major flaw, it's that people tend to accept everything they read on it as fact. This is why websites like Snopes.com popped up, to debunk an awful lot of myths and hoaxes (never respond to an email round-robin without checking the first.)

Wikipedia is a particularly thorny problem when it comes to Internet credibility, since Wiki entries are actually contributed by users themselves - meaning people like you and I can go to a specific Wikipedia entry and change it as we see fit (just click on the 'Edit' button at the top of the page.)

As Stephen Colbert put it: "On Wikipedia, any user can change any entry, and if enough users agree with them, it becomes true. Together we can create a reality that we all agree on — the reality we just agreed on."

The good thing about Wikipedia, however, is that it's moderated by a dedicated and impartial team who remove malicious editing and require everything posted there to be backed up by some form of credible evidence (you'll spot the words 'citation needed' in some entries, signifying that the statement is not supported by evidence.)

This poses a problem for some people, who would love to have their opinions and beliefs endorsed by instant 'wikiality' - yet aren't willing to compromise by relying on something so erroneous as 'facts' and 'evidence' to back these beliefs up.

Hence the creation of 'Conservapedia.'

Truly one of the most cynical inventions in the Internet's history, Conservapedia is a 'Conservative Wikipedia.' It's like Wikipedia, except everything on it is written with a 'conservative' slant. It still demands all statements are backed up by facts - just not the sort of facts us regular folks would give credibility to.

For example, on discussing creationism, the Christian magazine 'Journal of Creation' is listed as a 'peer-reviewed scientific journal.' Which it's not. Not by any stretch of the imagination!

Conservapedia is one thing and one thing only. A place for conservatives to post their baseless theories onto the Internet and have them receive the vicarious credibility of being listed on a Google search engine. This in turn means they can link to Conservapedia as 'evidence' to support their ridiculous fantasies on blogs and in discussion forums.

1 comment:

Meghan said...

Interesting theories.

Whatever happened to relying on newspapers and books for facts?