Re: [asa] Conservapedia

From: Jack <>
Date: Thu Mar 01 2007 - 18:43:57 EST

Again I disagree with your interpretation of the intent of conservapedia. I
do not think that the web site is a hoax. I do think the intent was for it
to be open to anyone, but that the editors would edit with a conservative
bias, (or to them a neutral one.) Certainly if Iain wants to edit or
rewrite an article about biology or evolution on the website that is
factually incorrect, it is certainly within the conservapedia rules to do

This does not mean that the editors might interpret a factual post
differently, and edit or remove it as they see fit. But if it is done in
good faith, I certainly would not call it "hacking". In fact, I would
suggest that if there is a blatantly misleading or factually incorrect
article we are obligated to try to correct it.

This is from their page of what requirements there are to post:

The Conservapedia Commandments
From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This page is the only rule page on Conservapedia. These guidelines are kept
simple in order to avoid the arbitrary and biased enforcement that is
rampant on many other websites. If you would like to propose an amendment to
the Conservapedia Commandments click here

The Commandments
  1.. Everything you post must be true and verifiable.
  2.. Always cite and give credit to your sources, even if in the public
  3.. Edits/new pages must be family-friendly, clean, concise, and without
gossip or foul language.
  4.. When referencing dates based on the approximate birth of Jesus, give
appropriate credit for the basis of the date (B.C. or A.D.). "BCE" and "CE"
are unacceptable substitutes because they deny the historical basis. See CE.
  5.. As much as is possible, American spelling of words must be used.[1]
  6.. Do not post personal opinion on an encyclopedia entry. Opinions can be
posted on Talk:pages or on debate or discussion pages.
Edits which violate these rules will be deleted. Users who violate the rules
repeatedly will be blocked. A blatantly inappropriate entry, such as
vandalism or obscenity, can result in immediate blocking without warning.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Terry M. Gray" <>
To: <>
Cc: "ASA" <>
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2007 5:01 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Conservapedia

> 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.
> TG
> 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, 1 Mar 2007 18:43:57 -0500

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