Re: [asa] Conservapedia

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Thu Mar 01 2007 - 17:01:08 EST

Iain and Jack,

The accusation of hacking came from your comment about getting an
account. Obviously, the maintainers of the conservapedia don't want
just anybody to have an account. Your wanting to get an account and
add an article that appeared to be contrary to their purposes just
struck me the wrong way. I would suggest that conservapedia is not
like wikipedia (other than it uses wikipedia technology). There is no
neutral point of view in conservapedia. It has a "conservative" point
of view. I have often thought about having an ASA wikipedia on the
history of the ASA, topics of interest, etc. There would be group
authorship but it wouldn't be open the way wikipedia is. It would be
by people committed to the purposes of the ASA.

Sorry to be so heavy-spirited in what I know was a very light-hearted
thread. And, as some have noted, the whole operation may be a bit of
a hoax.


On Mar 1, 2007, at 1:25 PM, Iain Strachan wrote:

> Dear Terry,
> I think you misunderstood what I was saying.
> I wasn't proposing that I or anyone on ASA should "hack" onto the
> conservapedia website.
> What I was proposing was that I should, in the same spirit as
> Wikipedia, be able to obtain an account (as Indeed I have one on
> Wikipedia), and that I would contribute a balanced and neutral
> article on Theistic Evolution. An encyclopedia is supposed to be
> unbiassed, and conservapedia promotes itself as an encyclopedia. I
> therefore felt it was appropriate that they should have an article
> on TE.
> The reference to "hacking" was to the practice that often occurs on
> Wikipedia where other people try and distort the neutrality of
> articles by deliberately manipulating the text to bias it towards
> their own point of view. A fascinating example of this may be
> found on the Wikipedia article on "Electrical Sensitivity", where
> opposing factions are each trying to tweak it towards their viewpoint.
> I was suggesting that we should try and see if a genuinely
> unbiassed and neutral article on TE would suffer a similar fate &
> if it did to note the changes on a blog site and ask the question
> whether the conservapedia people are really interested in lack of
> bias (their criticism of Wikipedia is that it is liberal-biassed).
> So - to clarify - I was proposing to write an unbiassed article &
> then see if it really remained unbiassed. I'm sorry if I gave the
> opinion that I was proposing to hack the site. That was not my
> intention.
> However, it appears impossible to edit the Conservapedia site at
> the moment. You have to have a user ID to be able to edit the
> articles (you don't in Wikipedia), and they have disabled the
> facility to create a new account. It's easy to see why, because a
> lot of mischief was created by people giving themselves accounts.
> The spoof entry on "Tree Octopus" was originally created by a user
> calling themselves "TrueReaganConservative", and was a slight re-
> write of a spoof article from somewhere else.
> In a pluralistic society/world don't groups have the "right" to
> promulgate their views without critics' interference.
> Yes, but that's not the way Wikipedia (and other encyclopedias) are
> supposed to work Wikipedia promotes the concept of NPOV (Neutral
> Point Of View). Conservapedia is supposed to be a "clean"
> alternative to Wikipedia, and hence ought also to adhere to NPOV
> ideals. If it's just a site to promulgate conservative views, then
> it isn't an encyclopedia IMO. For all I know, Wikipedia might well
> be liberal-biassed, but if Conservapedia is to counter this, then
> it must be scrupulously unbiassed.
> Regards,
> Iain

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

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Received on Thu Mar 1 17:01:49 2007

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