Conservapedia

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Conservapedia

Conservapedia, launched on November 21, 2006, is a conservative, family-friendly Wiki encyclopedia. It was founded by teacher and attorney Andrew Schlafly with the help of several students from his fall 2006 World History class. In May 2008, Schlafly and some of his homeschooled students appeared on the CBC news program The Hour (see: Videos on Conservapedia ). On July 4th, 2013, Conservapedia was ranked the 65th most popular conservative website. Alexa was used as a benchmark.[1]

When a student handed in her paper using the date-markers “BCE” and "CE” from Wikipedia, Schlafly realized that Wikipedia, despite its claim of neutrality, contained bias against the achievements of Christianity and conservatism. Other occasions of liberal bias, including the reversion of factual edits about the 2005 Kansas Evolution Hearings, led to the creation and launch of Conservapedia.

Though Conservapedia originally contained mostly history articles, it has grown over several years to be a general reference, with information about history, math, science, politics, religion and other topics. It also contains debates, essays and educational resources.

In March 2007 it was picked up by the media, and faced a barrage of vandalism (See Examples of Moronic Vandalism by the "tolerant"). Ever since then, it has continued to grow, and now has tens of millions of page views, and enjoys prominence on search engines.

Contents

Leadership

Unlike Wikipedia, which bills itself as a democratic system and ends up functioning as a mobocracy, Conservapedia employs a hierarchy based on a merit system.

Andrew Schlafly is the chief administrator and is the most prolific editor, followed by bureaucrats, administrators, and regular editors. Editors who contribute substantial content may be promoted to administrator and bureaucrat, or gain extra user rights such as blocking power and uploading images.

Educational atmosphere

Due to the existence of essays and debates on Conservapedia, and conventions such as the "90/10 rule" and the use of real names, Conservapedia successfully fosters an educational environment. Because liberal bias is not allowed, much information that would be elsewhere censored can be found on Conservapedia; often it is one of the only places to find such information in one place.

Promoting Original Scholarship

Many pages tagged as essays are really more like projects, or are otherwise thought-provoking, giving Conservapedia some characteristics of a think tank. See Best New Conservative Words, The Coming Fifth Great Awakening in America, Top Causes of Rejecting Conservativism, Why Do Non-Conservatives Exist?, Disputed Biblical Translations, and Linguistic Analysis of Candidates.

Conservative Bible Project

On August 12, 2009, Conservapedia began an enormous scholarly enterprise, the Conservative Bible Project, which endeavors to retranslate scripture into modern English while emphasizing Biblical insights and counteracting liberal bias. As of Oct. 29, 2009, this project has translated about 30% of it, or about 2400 verses.

The project has been the subject of extensive discussion and debate throughout television, radio, and print media, as well as on the internet, and has succeeded in encouraging even its most strident liberal critics to read the bible in their efforts to refute it!

Differences with Wikipedia

Conservapedia strives to keep its articles concise, informative, family-friendly, and true to the facts, which often back up conservative ideas more than liberal ones. Rather than claim a neutral point of view and then insert bias, Conservapedia is clear that it seeks to give due credit to conservatism and Christianity. Schlafly said in regard to the point of view issue, "It's impossible for an encyclopedia to be neutral. I mean let's take a point of view, let's disclose that point of view to the reader." [2]

Wikipedia articles may contain trivia, gossip, profanity, and even pornographic/sexually explicit images. The latter three are prohibited on Conservapedia and trivia is largely discouraged.

The administrative hierarchy prevents Conservapedia from being hijacked by a faction, and thus preserves it from mobocracy, as discussed above.

Influential editors and users

  • Aschlafly is the username of the aforementioned founder of Conservapedia, Andrew Schlafly. He has contributed massively to Conservapedia since the beginning, authored many articles including the student lectures, and is the final authority on article content and user conduct.
  • Karajou was one of the original three who joined at the beginning of the influx in February 2007, amid massive media attention, and has been an extraordinary contributor ever since. The cartoons and many of the military history entries are his superb work.
  • Ed Poor, active at Conservapedia for many years, and at Wikipedia for more than seven years, was the first elected bureaucrat at Wikipedia and has been extremely influential at both sites. At Conservapedia, he has primarily aimed at accuracy, rationality, and user cooperation.
  • Jpatt has more than 13,000 edits and 2,000 blocks, and is phenomenal in identifying good stories and posting headlines for them.
  • TerryH, a fabulous writer and biblical scholar who graduated from Yale, has broken big stories here in addition to translating some of the Bible.
  • TK has made many substantive contributions since coming to Conservapedia over two years ago, and is known for his vigilance against vandals (RIP).
  • DeanS helped found the Conservapedia news project, and he is its main contributor. He has also worked on articles related to Mormonism.
  • SharonS has been an editor since the very beginning of Conservapedia, and was interviewed and quoted in a newspaper article to explain and defend the project.
  • RobSmith Created some of Conservapedia's most acclaimed articles, and was a tireless vandal fighter and researcher on the Socialist and Communist agendas.
  • RJJensen has a PhD in American Studies and has been a professor of history and political science at numerous schools. Professor Jensen has made significant contibutions to Conservapedia's historical articles.
  • Iduan has thousands of edits and his work on Templates has been particularly noteworthy.

Impact

Conservapedia has been praised and ridiculed in the media, on blogs, and on rival sites. Critics claim that it contains fringe viewpoints, while supporters note that it simply provides another viewpoint and an alternative to liberal bias.

  • Conservapedia provides information about the American people that liberal critics would rather hide: for example, nearly 50 percent of Americans reject evolution and embrace creationism, and even more want creationism taught alongside evolution in school. [3] Another example is the fact that atheists- often claiming to be more equipped to help their fellow men than religious people- actually give less to charity than believers, even when church giving is excluded.
  • Search results for controversial subjects such as atheism and evolution contain Conservapedia links within a few searches and often on the first page.[4][5]
  • Many biographical articles contain religious references and information about the person’s religion, much more so than Wikipedia. Editor and college student Tasha Jones, (Taj) said of this aspect, “It gives me a better understanding of how people feel religion relates to our lives.” [6]
  • Conservapedia is active in political advocacy. For example, it chartered a bus for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 March for Life.

References

  1. Conservapedia - 65th most popular conservative website
  2. Robert Siegel. Conservapedia: Data for Birds of a Political Feather?, npr.org, November 29, 2009.
  3. Bootie Cosgrove-Mather. Poll: Creationism Trumps Evolution, CBS News, November 22, 2004.
  4. atheism - Google Search
  5. theory of evolution - Google Search
  6. Stephanie Simon. A conservative's answer to Wikipedia, Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2007.

See also

External links


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