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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Wikipedia of the Alt-Right

Wired acknowledges the existence of Infogalactic:
Vox Day thinks that Wikipedia is the worst. But the things that bug him aren’t the typical complaints you’ll hear about the crowd-sourced encyclopedia—that it’s plagued by trolls, say, or that its pages on Pokémon lore are overly comprehensive.

Day is bothered because he believes that Wikipedia is a Democratic tool, run “by the left-wing thought police who administer it,” he tells me over email. Yet the millions of articles and stubs that make up the end product are used as fact. And that makes the science fiction writer and alt-right personality, who uses Vox Day as his pen name, angry.

So last fall, in the midst of a public debate about what, exactly, constitutes a fact, Day decided it was time to do something about the Wikipedia problem. He chose to launch his own version of it. He made a copy of the entire site and invited his followers to start rewriting its pages. “Wikipedia was the easiest and the most important of the social justice-converged social media giants to replace,” Day told me.

That site, Infogalactic, is made with Wikipedia’s MediaWiki software—so by design it looks a lot like Wikipedia. At first glance, so does its content. On the homepage is a featured article about peregrine falcons; a highlighted image of a Botticelli masterwork, housed in the Uffizi in Florence, is featured underneath.

But break into some of the more contentious topics and differences begin to emerge. On Infogalactic, Mike Cernovich is a respected bestselling author, “independent journalist,” “writer, attorney, and documentary filmmaker.” On Wikipedia, the Twitter pundit is a “social media personality, writer, and conspiracy theorist.”

The idea is that a stringent, Trump-supporting member of the alt-right shouldn’t have to read the same ideas as a Marxist, or a bleeding-heart college professor. (Day initially considered the tagline, "your universe, your view.”) But Infogalactic is only one of a number of crowdsourced encyclopedias tailored to various conservative factions....

On their own, none of these sites draws a huge audience. According to Alexa’s traffic rankings, Conservapedia is the 18,066th most popular site in the US. Infogalactic clocks in at 14,710. Wikipedia, by comparison, ranks fifth. But since last fall—just as the notion of alternative facts gained cultural primacy—such sites have seen a clear rise in traffic and interest.
Not bad, all things considered. I wouldn't say the thought policing at Wikipedia makes me angry, but that's pretty mild as the disqualify-and-discredit game goes. The reporter actually appears to recognize that there is a market for Infogalactic, he's just not sure about the extent of its appeal; there are no gotchas or kill quotes, just an accurate presentation of the current facts. And while it would have been nice if they'd mentioned our perspective filters and other plans for Phase Two, we don't have them up and running yet and so it's entirely fair to leave them out.

I'm just pleased to be informed that in less than nine months, Infogalactic has already surpassed Conservapedia. And if you want to help Infogalactic continue to grow, please support it by joining the Burn Unit and signing up for a monthly donation.

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45 Comments:

Blogger DeploraBard June 21, 2017 11:06 AM  

Good job. You're right, not a bad piece. Free publicity.

Anonymous basementhomebrewer June 21, 2017 11:08 AM  

He hints at the perspective filter but doesn't mention it out right. Mainly because he wanted to paint it as just another Conservapedia.

Blogger Durandel Almiras June 21, 2017 11:10 AM  

Still misleading of Wired, but I trust your judgement on this.

BTW, do you have any ideas as to why Tommy Robinson's time with Piers Morgan seems to be an outlier in the sage advice of DTTTM? I saw on Twitter him claiming that his booksales skyrocketed from being on the show.

Blogger Sillon Bono June 21, 2017 11:17 AM  

Durandel Almiras wrote:Still misleading of Wired, but I trust your judgement on this.

BTW, do you have any ideas as to why Tommy Robinson's time with Piers Morgan seems to be an outlier in the sage advice of DTTTM? I saw on Twitter him claiming that his booksales skyrocketed from being on the show.


Many normies notice something is off, as they feed off the MSM, can't put their finger on exactly what is it and suddenly seeing Tommy on TV with an explanation that makes some sense...

Anonymous Poli_Mis June 21, 2017 11:20 AM  

The Sextant plug-in is gold and may have something to do with surpassing Conservapedia so quickly.

Anonymous Wooly Covfefe June 21, 2017 11:20 AM  

Is there a browser that can display the Wired page without cutting off the edges of the text, making it unreadable? I've tried Brave, Pale Moon, and MS Edge so far. Is Wired's site broken? Because I'd like to read the whole thing.

Anonymous Wooly Covfefe June 21, 2017 11:24 AM  

Never mind. I didn't realize that it was an archive.is site, which is definitely broken on all my browsers. Searched for the Wired article, found it. Works.

Blogger Rabbi B June 21, 2017 11:30 AM  

The article was surprisingly fair-minded. Nice work, Vox.

Blogger Jon D. June 21, 2017 11:34 AM  

Great work, Vox. It'll only keep growing.

Anonymous VFM 4388 June 21, 2017 11:35 AM  

I actually found this blog 6 years ago because Conservapedia's news ticker featured a review of TIA. The cycle is complete.

Anonymous Arthur Krensberry June 21, 2017 11:35 AM  

VD, were you really allowed to copy the wikipedia content to bootstrap Infogalatic?

Anonymous VFM 4388 June 21, 2017 11:37 AM  

@11

All Wikipedia content is Creative Commons or similar license. So, yes.

Blogger VD June 21, 2017 11:37 AM  

VD, were you really allowed to copy the wikipedia content to bootstrap Infogalatic?

Of course. Everyone who abides by the license is. Wikipedia doesn't own any of the content.

Anonymous Looking Glass June 21, 2017 11:39 AM  

Seems like it was originally a hit piece and the author couldn't figure out what to do with it when no one would bite. It's an article that says little more than, "uhhh... these exist!". Kind of feels like an insult to call it even an article, as the second half just trails off into nothing.

Cernovich's 60 Minute sit-down is still paying off, as any alt-media pieces generally mentions him. (Thus increasing his exposure without easily tying him to anything.)

It's not really worth reading, if I'm honest. They haven't figured out much of a Narrative yet.

Lastly, isn't calling a Native American "angry" a racist & bigoted statement? Someone needs to check the current acceptable SocJus guidelines.

Anonymous Reenay June 21, 2017 11:42 AM  

I smirked at the part of the article that compared the articles on Mike Cernovich. They were trying to not-so-subtly mock Infogalactic as a "right-wing wingnut" kind of encyclopedia, but the comparison really destroyed that impression. After all, Wikipedia is the one shouting MUH CONSPIRACY THEORIES!!!" while Infogalactic sounds more neutral and professional.

Blogger Desdichado June 21, 2017 11:47 AM  

Arthur Krensberry wrote:VD, were you really allowed to copy the wikipedia content to bootstrap Infogalatic?
Have you really never heard of the Creative Commons license?

Anonymous Battlefrog June 21, 2017 11:59 AM  

The forking and the filters are what make Infogalactic truly viable. Conservapedia never stood a chance.

Blogger Timmy3 June 21, 2017 12:08 PM  

The paragraph on sources is the most instructive. Deny the source, deny facts. This is dangerous and the primary reason there's a dispute about bias.

Blogger RobertT June 21, 2017 12:15 PM  

That article could mark the day Infogalactic flipped into the mainstream.

Blogger Mastermind June 21, 2017 12:29 PM  

lol i click on the link and it sends me to an archive. vox is savage

Anonymous Aeoli Pera June 21, 2017 12:38 PM  

The journo writes like a 16 yo girl.

Anonymous andon June 21, 2017 12:45 PM  

Day is bothered because he believes that Wikipedia is a Democratic tool, run “by the left-wing thought police who administer it,” he tells me over email.

who doesnt believe this?

about 4-5 years ago (being naive) i sent an email to the RNC trying to warn them about how slanted wikipedia had become and that they should hire some people to work on adding the right's perspective.

Anonymous Anonymous Big Name Conservative Blogger June 21, 2017 12:53 PM  

Wrong move. NEVER talk to the media unless you get help from a professional like Mike Cernovich. Full disclosure: I now pay Mike a monthly retainer of $15000 a month to handle all my PR and to coach me on all matters related to media. If you are not paying Mike, big mistake.

Blogger VD June 21, 2017 12:59 PM  

Wrong move. NEVER talk to the media unless you get help from a professional like Mike Cernovich.

Why would you think I didn't talk to a professional who is Mike Cernovich about this? Did you not see who was the example given in the article?

Anonymous Philalethes June 21, 2017 1:27 PM  

I thought it was a pretty good article, considering that (so far as I'm aware) Wired (which I don't follow) is pretty thoroughly converged – but is very widely read and influential, so this is a plus for Infogalactic.

After a dozen or so years when due to illness I've been unable to work, I'm not in a position to contribute financially – nor do I have the energy to learn how to be an editor – but have been trying to spread the word by linking to IG rather than Wikipedia in forum posts and communications with friends (which I do often).

However, I find that nearly every time I go to IG, if there are any graphics on the Wikipedia page, some or all will be missing on the IG page. After several frustrating months I've given up on routinely linking to IG.

For instance, a random page (linked today on Wikipedia's home page) is on the Indian musical instrument Sarangi: the Wikipedia page has 4 photos, the Infogalactic page only 1, while two are represented by little notices in red type ("File:Sarangi tuning.jpg"), while another is missing entirely (it may have been added today, as the Wikipedia page says at the bottom that it was edited today).

I tried the page in Safari, Brave, Firefox and Chrome, all with the same result – so I don't think the problem is on my end. If I click on one of the little red notices, I'm taken to a Login page: "Please log in to upload files." Sorry, don't have the time/energy; I thought IG had software to do this job.

I see a link at the bottom of the Infogalactic page to "Pages with broken file links", but it's in red, which I thought (on Wikipedia anyway) refers to a not-yet-created page. However, the link at IG leads to a page listing apparently thousands of such pages. So looks like this problem has been noticed, but not yet solved.

I described this problem in a previous post here (to "A more accurate knowledge core,") which appears to have been deleted, I'm guessing because I somehow wasn't being "constructive". Well, all the future plans for IG sound great, but IMO until IG reliably imports all the existing content of a Wikipedia page, it simply cannot be characterized as a replacement.

The page on Mike Cernovich is excellent, and I will link to that; but I cannot routinely link to anything else at IG without tediously comparing the pages. Nor can I recommend IG to anybody who's not prepared to go through the same chore – which, after all, includes nearly all the people who currently use Wikipedia.

For another instance, six months ago I looked up the page on the Bisti Wilderness in New Mexico; I wanted to send the link to my brother, who had recently visited there. But the IG page was missing three of the four pictures on the Wikipedia page; so I sent him the Wikipedia link instead. Six months later, I see the page at IG is still missing the photos.

Of course it's up to you (the IG team) to determine where you want to put your energy, but I really don't think it makes sense to be building superstructure until you have the foundations working right.

Anonymous Wu Ming June 21, 2017 1:29 PM  

Infogalactic is much easier to use once you have the redirect extension.

Couldn't you have the instructions on how to automatically redirect from Wikipedia to Infogalactic on the homepage?

Blogger VD June 21, 2017 1:46 PM  

I really don't think it makes sense to be building superstructure until you have the foundations working right.

You have it entirely backwards. It is a huge waste of time - and bandwidth/money - to worry about the image display, when it is the way Wikipedia handles images that leads to tremendous inefficiency and performance issues. Either we spend time redoing it their way or we simply do it right our own way.

If you prefer left-wing information to missing pictures, that's your call. We're more concerned about the text.

Blogger Dave June 21, 2017 2:34 PM  

I'm just pleased to be informed that in less than nine months, Infogalactic has already surpassed Conservapedia.

Precisely what I thought as I read the report.

Also calling it a Democratic tool doesn't sound like Vox. And if we're referencing political parties, it should be a "Democrat tool" (insert joke here)

OpenID aew51183 June 21, 2017 2:39 PM  

After reading the first 2 pararaphs, the only burning question in my mind is: "Wired hires fifth-graders to write their columns"?

Anonymous VFM #6306 June 21, 2017 3:14 PM  

After reading the first 2 pararaphs, the only burning question in my mind is: "Wired hires fifth-graders to write their columns"?

They skirt both minimum wage and child labor laws by getting them to volunteer for public school credit in China.

Sure the quality isn't great, but they make it up on volume.

Blogger Lucas June 21, 2017 3:20 PM  

I like Conservapedia because its stance on creationism,abortion and fagotry. I will like Infopedia because its stance on ptetty much everything else.

Whatever happens, its good to have IG around

Anonymous lewrockwell June 21, 2017 4:13 PM  

"I wouldn't say the thought policing at Wikipedia makes me angry"

Why not? What is wrong with anger at being force fed bullshit at every turn, while being told/bullied/threatened to believe that is is 100% pure, universal, intrinsic truth?

I personally do not mind what other people believe, liberals or otherwise. My problem is having those people try to enforce ideas (and behaviors) on me based on nothing other than the supposed purity, perfection, and progressivism of their world view...a worldview that says i am evil and must be destroyed.

Blogger SemiSpook37 June 21, 2017 4:29 PM  

Philalethes wrote:but I really don't think it makes sense to be building superstructure until you have the foundations working right.

To echo VD, if you're really that hard up about some pictures, sign up, get them, and then upload them yourself. Nobody's stopping you.

Anonymous Philalethes June 21, 2017 4:44 PM  

…the way Wikipedia handles images that leads to tremendous inefficiency and performance issues. Either we spend time redoing it their way or we simply do it right our own way.

Well, you see, I didn't know that; there is no indication anywhere that I've seen on IG as to why so many pages are missing images. Perhaps a simple note on the Category:Pages with broken file links page: "The IG team is aware of this pervasive problem. Unfortunately, Wikipedia's code makes it difficult to import images. The Infogalactic team has determined that rewriting the code is far less expensive than trying to accommodate Wikipedia's code. We're working on it, but it will take a while." would help visitors like me, who are not on the IG team, understand what's happening.

If you prefer left-wing information to missing pictures….

Where did I say that? In fact, the two examples (out of many) that I linked have nothing to do with politics. If a subject has political implications where leftism is likely to be a factor in Wikipedia's coverage, I will check Infogalactic – and link there if the page is complete. For instance, as I wrote, I will link to IG about Mike Cernovich (Wikipedia doesn't even have a photo of him). But for anything else, I have simply found time spent at Infogalactic nonproductive, i.e. wasted. I have now returned to going to Wikipedia first.

Actually, I doubt that most visits to Wikipedia are about information where politics is an issue. What I did say is that I want to help IG replace Wikipedia, by linking to articles at IG instead, but I can't because most of them are glaringly incomplete – except, I would guess, those where politics is an issue, which will have received particular attention. So at present, IG remains an information source only for those who are already passionate with alt-right views – while it will turn away any user who comes there just to look around.

If I send somebody a link to the Mike Cernovich article at IG, and e then looks for another article there about some other subject, often (4/5, 9/10?) e'll find an article with missing graphics. And e probably won't be back anytime soon.

As a friend (not an enemy) of Infogalactic, I was simply pointing this out.

Anonymous Gertie June 21, 2017 5:04 PM  

I swear everything tech related is converged. I'm sitting through a webinar and it was suggested that we go to Buzzsumo for research. First thing I see: feminist drivel and anti-Trump propaganda on their landing page. Bring on the Alt-Tech revolution. I'm a Burn Unit baby and proud of it.

Blogger Cail Corishev June 21, 2017 5:19 PM  

I swear everything tech related is converged.

Pretty much. Other than new convergence-proofed projects like IG, you see the least convergence in old, hard-to-use tech that hasn't attracted anyone new in a decade or more. The easier something is to use and the more buzz there is around it, the more it'll already be dominated by entryist SJW and their enablers.

Blogger Doom June 21, 2017 6:31 PM  

As much as I grumble about some things, this is a solid. I don‘t expect time miracles. I‘d even accept 'thought that counts' on this one. But I don't think I will have to. Keep it up.

Blogger VD June 21, 2017 7:35 PM  

So at present, IG remains an information source only for those who are already passionate with alt-right views – while it will turn away any user who comes there just to look around.

That's obviously untrue. If pretty pictures are your main concern, stick to Tumbler. If you can't recommend Infogalactic for whatever reason, then don't. We're not interested in your advice because you have absolutely no idea of the various costs and benefits involved, or the various tradeoffs required.

We know exactly what percentage of the images have come over. And we're not even trying to bring them all over or seriously increase traffic at this point; we need to complete Phase Two first.

There is absolutely no need to point out the obvious to us. You need to understand that blindly copying Wikipedia is not our strategy.

Anonymous DirkH June 21, 2017 8:53 PM  

"So last fall, in the midst of a public debate about what, exactly, constitutes a fact"

Facts are tools of the patriarchy. We need a postmodern encyclopedia where EVERY article disputes and derides its own topic. Including postmodernism itself. And that should be its enforced policy. The NPOV, the New Point Of View.

Blogger wreckage June 21, 2017 10:30 PM  

@3 because even a hit piece gets him more exposure in one interview than he might have had in his entire previous career.

Anonymous Disciple of Kek June 21, 2017 10:43 PM  

I always thought it was funny that a conservative Wikipedia site is named "Conservopedia," yet one of the (even more) liberal Wikipedia sites is named "RationalWiki." This highlights how liberals love to pretend to be objective and "rational", compared to conservatives, who admit where they stand in issues.

Anonymous Crew June 22, 2017 12:07 AM  

Heh, CBS wants to do us in now:

I work for the CBS Evening News and we’re doing a story on alternative sites to Wikipedia. I was wondering if you had any notable fans or users of Infogalactic, either someone in the US government or a public figure, who has either praised or used the information on your site? Please let me know.

DNTTTM!

Blogger James June 22, 2017 12:02 PM  

Don't talk to the media. Except occasionally?

Blogger VD June 22, 2017 4:14 PM  

Don't talk to the media. Except occasionally?

It depends in what capacity. In a personal capacity, no. In a professional capacity, you have a responsibility to do so. What sort of moron doesn't understand that whoever is responsible for PR must talk to the press?

Blogger James June 22, 2017 6:01 PM  

That professional is a very broad category. I didn't see where you qualified your emphatic statement.

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