I think virtually all people these days with access to the internet know of Wikipedia. Most people are also at least vaguely aware of the multitude of other wiki-style 'pedias' that have developed, including, for example, Wookieepedia for all things Star Wars. There is one such online encyclopedia, however, that is not as innocuously harmless (nor as cleverly named), and that is Conservapedia. My friend, Wisefly requested that I do a blog post discussing Conservapedia, as he decided my blog had healthy levels of liberal bias and social commentary that he didn't want to inject into his blog. As I am always flattered to get requests, I of course have decided to oblige.
To start off with, I think it is kind of ridiculous that the start of Conservapedia came about due to a student of its founder, Andrew Schlafly, using the Common Era style of dating (BCE and CE instead of BC and AD) after having seen it on Wikipedia. It is worth noting that the Common Era method of dating is identical to the Anno Domini method aside from the abbreviation used, so, while it is understandably a silly thing, is hardly anti-anything. Schlafly, however, took this to be evidence of the "liberal, anti-Christian, and anti-American bias" of Wikipedia and decided that something had to be done about it (in other words, create his own pocket of the internet where his own version of reality could reign supreme).
I have been unable to find an original source for this quotation, but I think it sums things up nicely: "Reality has a liberal bias." I mean, Wikipedia is not a political organization. It is an organization ostensibly based solely on verifiable fact, and makes every effort possible to remove bias of any sort. While it is impossible to remove all bias from writing, especially about controversial subjects, living persons, and competing entities, there is a strong effort to do so. I certainly don't troll the pages of Wikipedia looking for ideological confirmation of my deep-seated belief structure. That is not the point of an encyclopedia. To see the intense divorcement from reality that Conservapedia endures, one simply has to look at a couple articles. One particularly telling one is the Conservapedia article on Barack Obama. Within the first sentence, they use the word allegedly about his birth place and date (no doubt a shout-out to the crazies who insist that Barack Obama is not American and thus cannot be President). It then goes on to claim that Obama is an apparent Muslim (from whence did this become apparent?) who could use the Koran to be sworn into office. There is a reference, but if one decides to actually check what the reference is, not only is it from the Christian Science Monitor, it isn't even about Barack Obama. Instead, it is an outraged story about a congressman who actually is a Muslim wanting to use a Koran when taking his oath of office. I tried to read the rest of the article, but simply couldn't make it through (although the assertioan that Obama uses mind control was pretty hilarious).
It is unfortunate that people rarely follow references, because Conservapedia has a habit of giving references that are only tangentially related or directly contradictory to the statement they are making. For example, the article on PZ Myers used to state "In January 2008, Myers participated in a debate with Discovery Institute fellow Geoffrey Simmons on KMMS. He was unable to counter criticisms of the fossil record, in particular the absence of transitional forms in the whale fossil record. Geoffrey was invited back for an hour long talk the next week. PZ Myers now refuses to debate creation scientists." The reference given, however, was for a Youtube video hilariously (and accurately) titled, "PZ Myers destroys Geoffrey Simmons" (or something to that effect, the verb used may have been 'crushed' but unfortunately the video is no longer available). I am actually marginally impressed that Conservapedia has been somewhat mollified and now only states the first sentence.
Anyway, I could keep going, but it seems rather futile. Conservapedia is an insane mockery of an encyclopedia, divorced from reality and full of its own self-satisfied importance. It can be handy for a chuckle, though, and if you ever just need to shake your head in bafflement, peruse an article on Conservapedia. The most blood-boiling ones tend to be about either evolution or politics.