Essay:Truth and accuracy matter

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When reading or writing always keep in mind that truth and accuracy matter. The Conservapedia logo bears the caption, "The Trustworthy Encycolpedia," and hundreds of volunteers have worked hard over the past decade to build a reliable resource aimed at high school students and a high-school reading levels.

This is important work because printed encyclopedias have gone out of business and the most popular on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia does have a noticeable bias. In response, Conservapedia was founded to provide an unbiased resource particularly for the home-schooled student. The basic idea is for Conservapedia to earn the respect and trust of its readers by providing what the best of the public believes to be unbiased facts. When there is a difference between viewpoints, we state both viewpoints and allow the reader to decide. (Although the encyclopedia is called Conservapedia, we are striving for an unbiased article, not an article with a conservative bias. We are not expecting each user to compare both Conservapedia and Wikipedia and somehow average out the two to come to a middlepoint.)

Bias can come in two forms: selectively covering topics and leaving out facts inconsistent with a view point or presenting the facts in a biased way. Because Conservapedia is a volunteer project and people write about what interest them, some bias in selection of article topics in inevitable. While we cannot prevent that, we can remain open and welcoming to users who add new articles. If an entry does not reflect a general unbiased consensus, it can be added as an essay (like this one).

However, what topics Conservapedia does cover must be written in a careful unbiased manner to maintain the trust of our readers. Our articles should be carefully footnoted, and our words should be chosen carefully to accurately explain the facts and to avoid exaggeration. Conservapedia is not written to persuade or to argue -- the best of the public knows and understands the facts, and we are not here to convince anyone to support a political party, a politician, or a particular policy position. We can leave such advocacy to the editorial pages of the newspapers.

We must be careful in making absolute generalizations. We only write "All A is B" if that is always true, not just most of the time. We also avoid name-calling, by adding unnecessary adjectives in front of the subject of a sentence. We must also avoid exaggeration. We can criticize an environmental advocate for using five time the average household electric usage in his state without coming up with a statement that he uses 34 times as much due to a faulty comparison. Finally, we can treat both our readers and our article subjects with respect. A biography should not be an "attack piece" and should not include gossip about the subject's love life. We should also not try to shock our readers with swearing.

Conservapedia editors are dedicated volunteers and should be treated with respect. Every editor's opinion matters, and we should work to make Conservapedia a pleasant place to work.

In an era of fake news, foreign governments using social media to manipulate public opinion, and impolite public discourse, Conservapedia maintaining high standards is more important than ever. We are the trustworthy encyclopedia.

Comment by SamHB

While essays are supposed to be "owned" by a single individual, there are some things I'd like to say about truth and accuracy, and this essay seems to be just the right place for it.

Over the last several months I have become increasingly aware of, and disturbed by, the ease with which falsehoods and misrepresentations can find their way into articles. In the past, I've somewhat been able to keep up with it, pointing out that an article linked from a Conservapedia page does not say what the Conservapedia article says it does. But I can't come anywhere near to keeping up anymore.

I think this started with the Fake news article. I tried to make a few small edits to help maintain its accuracy, and I realized that I was falling behind. I couldn't keep up with the rate at which nonsense is being added.

It's very easy to pour garbage into an article. Doing the necessary research to get the facts right requires a much larger amount of painstaking work. The deck is stacked against those of us trying to get the facts straight.

So I tracked a few falsehoods down. One of them appears to have been vaped, and I didn't keep notes on it. I believe it was on mainpage talk. It said that James Fields (the guy who drove his car into a crowd at Charlottesville) was connected to, and supported by, Hillary Clinton and George Soros. I followed the link, and the article said nothing of the kind. It seems to have disappeared in a vaping. Another one that comes to mind is a claim that 35,000 people voted illegally in North Carolina 2016, and there is research to prove it. I tracked down that research. It describes a large project to go over voting lists across the country, looking for multiple people with the same name and date of birth, and checking their social security numbers. In a country with 300 million people, many hits on name and date of birth are likely to be found. But the article points out that most of those hits had different social security numbers, so they were false positives. Furthermore, the survey did not have access to data on whether people voted, so the actual hits could not be evaluated for fraudulent voting. I doubt that most people take the trouble to remove themselves from voting lists when they move. But this didn't stop the Conservapedia article from claiming that there were 35,000 instance of double voting.

It's just too much to keep up with.