By now, most people should be aware of Thunderf00t’s brief, but spectacular, tenure at the Fox News of the godless world, freefromthoughtblogs, the embers of which are still flaring and showing little sign of subsiding.
I don’t won’t to go into the history or the rights and wrongs of that conflagration1. Suffice it to say it was a joy to watch, and one of several key recent episodes that are precipitating the baboon eschaton and nudging them towards the abyss they so richly deserve.
What I do want to look at is an item that popped up in one of my RSS feeds pointing to a biographical article on Thunderf00t at RationalWiki -
[Pastehtml mirror as of the time of this writing, August 19]
Now I’ve always looked at RW.org as one of the more reliable sites on the web2 – one of those rare ones you could have confidence in referring to without getting a second citation for most things. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will have the same degree of confidence any more. Yes, I will do that loathsome practice of mining it for quotes, but I do recommend having a look at the full article pointers above for yourselves. Things are already looking grim by the second paragraph -
“Cluelessness” leads to an article on one of FfTB‘s favourite curse words, “MRA”, which makes some superficial effort at objectivity, but can’t resist baboonising it with choice lines like -
Since they haven’t gained much influence as of yet, their activity seems to be mostly limited to whining about the “feminazis” or “femtards” on the internet… If you don’t eat beef jerky for every meal, idolize Chuck Norris, and tell your bitch to make you a damn sandwich, you’re probably a mangina and responsible for the ongoing “feminization” of our society.
Rational stuff. But whatever doubts about the current state of RW.org‘s integrity may be aroused thus far get a whole lot more doubtful with the “Sound familiar?” link that follows, which backs up and empties a manure truck all over TheAmazingAtheist/TJ Kincaid…
At this point I’m feeling kinda foolish about ever saying RW.org was a “reliable site”. And I am also wondering about the site’s mission statement that, amongst other things, claims to have the the lofty goal of “providing [articles that] are factually accurate and of interest to the community at large”.
It only gets worse from here. The section of key interest is Thunderf00t at Freethought Blogs. Again, I’m mining selectively, but I encourage folks to view the linked source for themselves -
Apparently, he made the mistake of assuming that if something is uninteresting to him, it is not important [with link to article on "privilege"3]… After the first exchange of posts, Thunderf00t went into CAPSLOCK MODE in order to prove how correct he was… Extensive criticism in the comments — including by people who had actually written the policy — indicated that he didn’t give a fuck about the issues involved. By this time, his blog had attracted a number of anti-feminist and/or anti-FtB commenters, who had trolled everybody else at FtB [no doubt meaning ERV]… Kicking Thunderf00t off turned out to be a rather good idea, especially in light of Tf00t’s unauthorized resubscription to the backchannel mailing list and subsequent release of emails discussing him after his firing. Jason Thibeault explains how he did it and mentions that the security issue has now been fixed; essentially, it allowed thunderf00t to re-subscribe, which he did less than 10 minutes after he was kicked off. Yep, Phil is not the messiah he’s a very naughty boy.
Fascinating and informative stuff. I now know that the “security issue” that has been “fixed” is baboon speak for “administrator incompetence”, f’rinstance. But seriously, there is nil information about the actual story that unfolded and the whole section is little more than a protracted trowelling of Thunderf00t whilst portraying FfTB in an innocent victim’s light. It completely omits the critical parts of the story, like the fact that Thunderf00t’s posts had not been removed because even now, long after his ejection, they were still earning more revenue than the next 10 top blogs after Pharyngula. Screw principle, this is business. And it also omits Brayton essentially wanting to renege paying Thunderf00t any of the earnings he is owed. Details, details… Can’t let those get in the way of a good lynching can we? Nothing however, beats the ultimate insult of linking to Lousy Canuck/Thibeault, the homo-hater, for full “authoritative” information about the whole debacle…
Of course, wikis are wikis. They are (usually) free for anyone to edit and the price you pay for this versatility is that the occasional beat up will go unnoticed. And this caveat allows the wiki admins a period of grace to be notified of gross misuse and to rectify it. In an ideal world anyway. This is where the sewer starts to really reek.
The articles Talk page makes for some very interesting reading -
[Pastehtml mirror as of the time of this writing, August 19]
The following entry makes for the most disturbing reading -
Everything PZ and FtB does is “right”? Anything tfoot did is “wrong”? No middle ground? Just checking here. I spent a fair amount of time editing the FTB paragraph to make it sound, uh, rational, and then some drive-by gangsta comes in and reverses my edits. I guess I could reverse his, and then we have a shooting war. So, just let me know if this wiki is a FTB haven and everything that PZ says is The Word Made Flesh. Do the facts matter at all, or is this just an EmotionWiki? –Petzl (talk) 07:28, 15 July 2012 (UTC)
Sounds all so terribly familiar. It is difficult to come to any conclusion other than that RationalWiki is no longer its own entity and is really little more than an extension of the freefromthoughtblogs propaganda mill.
As I said at the start of this article, this is disheartening, to put it quite mildly. In real terms, this means that RationalWiki can no longer be trusted or relied on, and that the assumption must be made that any information in it beyond the explanation of basic terminology is tainted. Do the folks that run RW.org care? Or are they really in cahoots with the baboons and sucking ass for acceptance?
Whatever the case, the general axiom in the godless and skeptic communities is that it takes far longer to build a credible reputation than it does to destroy it. Does this cause any concern to RationalWiki? If so, they need to regain a semblance of control. For the record, here is their full mission statement -
- Analyzing and refuting pseudoscience and the anti-science movement.
- Documenting the full range of crank ideas.
- Explorations of authoritarianism and fundamentalism.
- Analysis and criticism of how these subjects are handled in the media.
We welcome contributors, and encourage those who disagree with us to register and engage in constructive dialogue.
We also have a fifth, unofficial purpose, which is to provide people who agree with the previously-stated goals a place to just hang out and have fun with like-minded people.
RationalWiki is not a general encyclopedia; it does not require articles on every known subject. However, the wiki’s mainspace welcomes many articles that do not relate to the primary missions of RationalWiki providing that they are factually accurate and of interest to the community at large. These include articles on general science, historical events and important individuals throughout the world.
1 – OK, I will, but briefly and I will not discuss this further here. Thunderf00t is right, the baboons are wrong. End of story. They now have two assholes to shit out of and it was a joy to watch. Even the absurdity of the mailing list “hack” (that was nothing of the sort) is nowhere near the evil that it is painted to be – not a whole lot worse than when you get a crossed telephone line on someone else’s conversation and instead of hanging up, you keep on listening out of morbid curiosity. The whole “hack” hyperbole had one purpose and one purpose only – to deflect from the issue at hand: that FfTB is corrupt to the very core and serves no ones interests other than Brayton’s and Myers’.
2 – I know. I’m a naive a gullible shmuck. I accept that charge. Rub it in and get over it. In my defence, I have only ever used RW.org for terminology look ups, never for reference material.
3 -Which contains that classic line “Remember – if you have the luxury of only thinking about privilege sometimes, odds are good that you have a fair amount of it.”