The internet is a powerful source of information and thanks to Andy Schlafly it has become an educational tool.
So Andrew Schlafly’s little project has just turned 4 – which is something like 80 human years. Well, given the advanced state of senility the site finds itself in, it must be something close to that. Sadly, the event passed almost unnoticed on Conservapedia, although their “friends” over at RationalWiki, did put up a pretty “Happy Birthday” banner for them. Not much difference from previous years really, although we did have the awards for most “news” articles back in 2008… when there was still editors to award prizes to. RationalWiki couldn’t even be bothered to award the traditional (and we believe much-coveted) “Biggest Idiot at Conservapedia” award – citing general apathy and the realisation that the same idiots would win the same awards for the same reason for yet another year.
Fortunately, loyal minion Jpatt, took it upon himself to pen a small tribute to Conservapedia, in honour of their birthday. Of course, as with most things Conservapedia, it’s what the article doesn’t say that’s revealing, so I thought I’d take a few minutes out of my busy day to have a look at his tribute and add a few comments of my own.
November 21st, 2010 is the Feast of Christ the King and fittingly it is also Conservapedia Day. The premier wiki for all things American, Christian and Conservative. There is no other source quite like Conservapedia and in four short years, the site ranks high in web traffic ratings.
Ok, so we start with a reference to an obscure Catholic holy day. Fair enough I suppose, given that at least 4 of the remaining “senior” sysops are Catholic, or lapsed Catholics. However, “the premier wiki for all things American, Christian and Conservative” probably needs a little clarification. By adding the words “as seen through the world-view of one Andrew L Schlafly.” The “all things American” is probably true, as any editor from outside the USA is basically blocked until the entropy death of the universe (normally for liberal multi-culturism), plus the administrators of the site, with special mention of Schlafly, display an ignorance of the outside world – especially socially and politically – that would be laughable if it wasn’t for the fact they were intellectually dishonest enough to lie and cover up their shortcomings (through blocks and oversight) in order to maintain the illusion that “Andrew Schlafly is always right.”
Now, as a sign of notability, Andy places great emphasis on the number of pageviews (more on these later), as well as the site’s Alexa ranking (regardless of the problems with Alexa rankings). He’s also made claims about Conservapedia being the viable alternative to Wikipedia, and that CP would overtake WP one day. Well, they’ve got some work to do. Their Alexa ranking is currently 60,753, compared to WP’s 7.
As for the “Christian” bit, I’m pretty sure that given the fact that Andy is quite happy to re-translate the Bible (you know, the Holy Word of God) to conform to his randomly selected “best” new conservative words, plus his insistence on downgrading the miracles of Jesus to scientific phenomena in general and quantum physics in particular, it’s unlikely that most people who call themselves Christian would see Schlafly’s utterances as anything other than heresy. Indeed, that has been the general, over-riding reaction to news of the Conservative Bible Project.
The internet is a powerful source of information and thanks to Andy Schlafly it has become an educational tool. We all need to give thanks for the opportunity to express conservative ideals which are always under a microscope and censored by academia. The truth has always been under attack but today it maybe more so. More knowledge has been created in the electronic age than all of history combined. Disseminating what is right and wrong among the millions of exabytes available becomes a challenge that will only get worse. While we are all imperfect beings, only the truth will move mankind forward. If we are constantly fed a steady stream of propaganda, then right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right. Just like mankind, Conservapedia is not perfect but its foundation is built upon the rock of truth. This ensures this wiki’s survival even though outside forces seeks its demise. Nobody would believe this wiki lasted as long as it has. The current crop of administrators believe and know that there is nothing that compares to Conservapedia.
“[T]hanks to Andy Schlafly it has become an educational tool.” Using CP as an educational tool is akin to using a hammer and chisel for brain surgery – it’s messy, inaccurate and very, very unhealthy for the intended recipient. It’s quite possible that other people are starting to realise this too. After the “American History,” “World History,” and “Economics” lectures were all posted and managed on-line, the two most recent – “Writing” and “American Government” – the latter taught to something like the “largest high school American History class in the world” have vanished without a trace. In fact, Conservapedia’s main page now makes no claims at all about teaching educational courses to home-scholars.
Here’s a quick example of Schlafly’s question and marking style for his courses – ignoring for now the “girls get different papers” debacle:
Question: What do you find most inspiring about Christopher Columbus?”
Answer: “That he learning how to be a captain at age 10.”
Given the site’s rampant anti-science sentiment (relativity is a liberal plot, black holes stop people reading the Bible), combined with the general ignorance of the people running the site and there is no way one could possibly assign the label “educational resource” to Conservapedia. Unless it’s in a “this is how you don’t do things” way.
Then we get the persecution complex – Conservapedia is the truth, and outside sources want it shut down. Now, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nobody wants CP shut down, in fact the opinion has been expressed that there is a place for a well-managed conservative POV encyclopaedia. Conservapedia isn’t that and is never likely to be. It also has a passing acquaintance with the truth, which is defined as “whatever Andrew Schlafly says is the truth” and from which there is no deviance and no compromise. The sysops use abuse, creepy use of check-user, outright lies and of course, the block and oversight buttons to ensure Andy’s “truth” is the only truth on CP. Which makes the statement “the current crop of administrators believe and know that there is nothing that compares to Conservapedia” a wonderful piece of irony. When sites such as World Net Daily are starting to lie to the left of CP, you know they really are a unique site.
Conservapedia has already secured its future. When talking autos, you can’t discuss GM without talking Ford. When talking fast food, you can’t discuss McDonalds without talking about Burger King. When discussing wikis, you can’t talk Wikipedia without discussing Conservapedia. Even though Conservapedia is less than 1/10 the size of the biggest wiki of all, there is always the mention of Conservapedia by the media and that is good news for sure.
The analogy here is a strange one. It’s perfectly possible to talk McDonald’s without mentioning Burger King. Unless Jpatt is one of those who goes, “Well get me the Big Mac, but I really feel like a Whopper right now.” Likewise, it’s quite possible to talk about Wikipedia (or Uncyclopaedia, or Encyclopaedia Damatica) without mentioning Conservapeda. In fact, and it’s a sad fact, the only publicity Conservapedia has received over the past three years, has been overwhelmingly negative. Even conservative and religious sites have slammed the Conservative Bible Project, and things such as the Lenski Affair and “Relativity is a liberal plot” have made the site a laughing stock within the scientific community.
Even when CP does get a favourable review, such as Rowan Scarborough’s comparison between WP’s and CP’s coverage of conservative candidates, they still manage to shoot themselves in the foot – in this occasion, by having Karajou and Ed Poor pop up on the comments page, to illustrate that CP is managed by ignorant boors.
Finally, CP is not 1/10th the size of WP, and probably never will be. Ignoring talk pages, CP has 34,523 content pages, compared to WP’s 3,481,194. By my calculation, that’s 0.99% – 100 times smaller than Jpatt’s claim.
We owe a great deal to Conservapedia’s founder whose hard earned money permits the righteous to contribute. I give thanks and so should you. So in four more years, we will once again have this same discussion but the difference will be great. We will have surpassed a half-a-billion page views by then.
In conclusion, I echo the sentiment. We do owe Andy a debt of thanks. Without him, it would be virtually impossible to see the very worst of all that is intolerant, ignorant, vindictive, petty, biased and religiously closed-minded compressed into one ecosystem. Who knows, maybe one of those half a billion pageviews will result in one positive main stream media story. Maybe it’s fitting to let Wikipedia have the last word on pageviws: “This is not a measure of notability.”
So, happy birthday Conservapedia, may you have another wonderful four years, because my block should have expired by then.