User:Llwy-ar-lawr/not a wikipedia parody

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Uncyclopedia started out as a parody of Wikipedia. The articles were intended to parody Wikipedia's style, the templates parodied Wikipedia's templates (for example, {{cn2}}, which parodies {{citation needed}}) policies - and some articles - parodied Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. Uncyclopedia:Five pliers, for example, which parodies Wikipedia:Five pillars. The slogan - 'the content-free encyclopedia' - parodied Wikipedia's slogan 'the free encyclopedia'. All these things together, the website as a whole, parodied Wikipedia as a whole. A fractal, if you will.

However, there were a number of differences even from the beginning - and as time went by, things began to change; the wikis evolved in different directions.

Sister projects[edit]

Various sister projects, or Wikimedia projects, popped up alongside Wikipedia, and these were not mirrored by sister 'Uncyclomedia' projects but by different forms of Uncyclopedia articles. (These would in turn develop into namespaces, with separate front pages for each, but that is still very different from separate wikis which is what Wikimedia projects are.) The only exceptions are UnMeta and Uncyclomedia Commons/UnCommons, and the latter is in two different locations (http://commons.uncyclomedia.org and http://commons.uncyclomedia.co), neither of which are accessible to all Uncyclopedia wikis.

Uncyclopedia also created 'projects' that were not based on any Wikimedia project at all. HowTo is based on wikiHow and Why? is (AFAIK) totally original.

Templates[edit]

Uncyclopedia's templates started out mainly as copies of Wikipedia templates, often with humorous modifications to the text. Over time, however, Uncyclopedia templates grew outdated in comparison with their Wikipedian sisters, some Uncyclopedia templates were modified in various original ways as well, and others were never the same to begin with.

An example of an outdated template is {{citation needed}}. It appears the same as wikipedia:Template:Citation needed but the tooltips are different. The Uncyclopedia template states 'The material in the vicinity of this tag needs references to reliable sources', whereas the Wikipedia template states 'This claim needs references to reliable sources'. As of 29 December 2006 the templates were identical, but in this edit the Wikipedia template was changed, and the two would never be the same again.

An example of a template that was never the same or went in two different directions[1] is {{vfd}}, which is markedly different from the corresponding wikipedia:Template:Article for deletion[2] and does not even have the same name.

Policies and guidelines[edit]

Uncyclopedia's policies and guidelines - or collectively 'project pages' - were originally based on Wikipedia's project pages, often parodying them but sometimes just borrowing the idea. For example, Uncyclopedia:Five pliers (Wikipedia:Five pillars) and Uncyclopedia:Satirical point of view (Wikipedia:Neutral point of view; arguably more of a statement of fact than a parody). However, some of these grew apart as well, and some Uncyclopedia project pages seem to have been based on versions of Wikipedia pages that were already outdated when Uncyclopedia was founded: Uncyclopedia:Protected page guidelines would presumably have a counterpart in Wikipedia:Protected page guidelines, but the Wikipedia page of that name was moved to Wikipedia:Protected page in 2003, to Wikipedia:List of protected pages in 2006, and finally to Wikipedia:Lists of protected pages in 2008, and Wikipedia:Protected page guidelines now redirects to Wikipedia:Protection policy, to which there is no Uncyclopedia counterpart named Uncyclopedia:Protection policy.

Another such example is Uncyclopedia:Votes for deletion and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. Votes for deletion was originally called Uncyclopedia:Pages for deletion but was renamed in 2006, and Articles for deletion was never called Pages for deletion and was renamed from Votes for deletion to Articles for deletion in 2005. The name 'articles for deletion' is also designed to accommodate different voting[3] areas for different namespaces. These are (in addition to Wikipedia:Articles for deletion): Wikipedia:Templates for discussion (for templates), Wikipedia:Files for deletion (for files), Wikipedia:Possibly unfree files (what it says on the tin), Wikipedia:Categories for discussion (for categories), Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion (for redirects), and Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion (for anything that doesn't fit into the above categories).[4] Uncyclopedia has none of these, as has been previously stated. Finally, the procedures for listing an article at AFD and VFD are quite different, as well as the closing procedures and the general appearance of the votes/discussions (templates used to create them).[5]

Conclusion[edit]

There are many more examples of such differences between Uncyclopedia and Wikipedia that I will not list exhaustively because it would be too time-consuming. I have however listed enough examples and general patterns here that it should be reasonably clear that Uncyclopedia is not a parody of Wikipedia in the strict sense.

Some similarities do exist between the wikis. They are both wikis, they both run on the MediaWiki software, they both use the Vector skin, they have some of the same extensions, they are both non-profit and independently hosted (no wiki farms involved), and they share a few policies, guidelines and general principles. Even so, the differences between the two are impossible to ignore or rationalise away, and are a clear contradiction to the illusion that we are a parody of Wikipedia. Trying to make Uncyclopedia into nothing more and nothing less than a parody of Wikipedia would be like trying to make a wolf into a dog.

Part of the reason for this is that we are not a Wikimedia project. If we were, it would be much easier for us to keep up with Wikipedia and much less likely that we would veer off in our own direction, because the Wikimedia Foundation and various Wikimedians of one sort or another would apply their software updates to us as well (because we'd be on their servers) and would be constantly nudging us along the general Wikimedia path in some way or other. But instead we're off in our own little corner of the Internet, and if we're going to keep up with Wikimedia we have to do it ourselves, and of course we won't be paying as much attention because we're not connected and there aren't as many of us. We are also free to pursue and implement our own ideas because we are not crushed by an organisation that continually imposes its ideas on a large and diverse collection of wikis.[6]

In conclusion, Uncyclopedia is not a parody of Wikipedia and should never pretend to be one or consider pretending to be one. This is why I will always strongly oppose any major change made solely on the basis that Wikipedia does it that way. If we can't stand on our own feet, it's because we're too weak or stupid to try.

Notes[edit]

  1. It is unclear whether the Wikipedia template ever looked like the Uncyclopedia one. This is the original version of {{vfd}} and this is the version of {{article for deletion}} at the time, and they looked nothing alike then either.
  2. These are also different in usage: Wikipedia has several templates for nominating different namespaces for deletion, whereas Uncyclopedia has only the one for all namespaces.
  3. Wikipedians prefer the term !voting because voting is evil somehow. I don't entirely understand it and I am not strictly a Wikipedian so I will not use that term here.
  4. And that's not to mention the other stuff on {{deletion debates}}, which is yet another kettle of worms.
  5. I could go into all this if I really wanted to, but I don't. Not right now, anyway. You get the idea, though.
  6. This refers to the Wikimedia Foundation, but it could also refer to Wikia.