Uncyclopedia

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Uncyclopedia
Uncyclopedia logo notext.svg
Web address Several; see external links
Slogan The content-free encyclopedia that anyone can edit
Type of site Satirical wiki
Registration Optional (free)
Owner Works are owned by their authors (English-language version)
Created by Jonathan Huang and "Stillwaters"
Launched January 5, 2005 (fork launched on January 5, 2013)
Revenue Non-profit
Current status Active

Uncyclopedia is a satirical website that parodies Wikipedia. Its logo, a hollow potato, parodies Wikipedia's globe logo,[1] and it styles itself "the content-free encyclopedia", which is a parody of Wikipedia's "the free encyclopedia". Originally founded in 2005[2] as an English-language wiki, the project currently spans over 75 languages. The English version has approximately 30,000 pages of content, second only to the Portuguese.[3][4]

Various styles of humor are used as a vehicle for parody, from sophisticated satire to simple sarcasm, along with structured in-jokes and frequent non sequiturs. The site has garnered media attention for its articles on controversial subjects including religion, people, places and politics and pseudoscience.

Some Uncyclopedia articles contain graphics with a link to the corresponding Wikipedia article. A typical caption reads, "For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about" the subject.

History[edit]

A grab from the "About" page of Uncyclopedia highlighting its comical nature and satirical approach to Wikipedia with a link to this page.

Uncyclopedia was launched on January 5, 2005, by Jonathan Huang, known online as "Chronarion,"[5] and a partner called "Stillwaters" or "Euniana".[1]

Foreign-language Uncyclopedia-like projects are described below. Some of these are independent domains.[6] In 2007, 25% (or 20 out of 79) of the Uncyclopedia collection was hosted by Wikia.[5] Six dedicated non-Wikia servers host "Uncyclopedia Babel" content in various languages. To coordinate these projects (collectively, the "Uncyclomedia Babble Project") an Un-Meta wiki was created in 2006.[7]

Content[edit]

Uncyclopedia's content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license.[5] As of 2014, the English-language Uncyclopedia contains over 30,000 articles.[8]

Articles[edit]

Where available, Uncyclopedia makes use of visual aids as a complement to its text, such as these European hazard symbols that include dogs.

Uncyclopedia encourages satire that is close to, or resembles, the truth. However, many articles employ absurdist humor and little if any factual accuracy remains. For example, Uncyclopedia's article about Wikipedia claims that Wikipedia is a parody of Uncyclopedia, not the reverse.[9] Many articles on the site contradict each other, even articles on the same subject.

Like Wikipedia's "Five pillars", Uncyclopedia has "Five pliers", including "Satirical point of view".[10] Its code of conduct follows from three main rules: "Be funny and not just stupid", "Don't be a dick", and "Dance like you've never danced before!"[2][11]

Parodying Wikipedia's article review service Peer Review, Uncyclopedia has a "Pee Review" where authors seek review by other Uncyclopedians on humour, grammar, spelling, use of images, and overall presentation.[12][13] Users can post to other wiki pages to solicit coding help, and review or request user-edited images. Like Wikipedia, Uncyclopedia features articles and images on its front page. A system of user voting decides which articles and images to feature, usually deciding on aspects of humour and writing quality. The site also welcomes audio contributions such as narration of articles.

Uncyclopedia's articles often begin with quotations, usually misquoted, fictitiously attributed or entirely fabricated.[14] Among the most recurrent themes is the invention of quotes attributed to Oscar Wilde,[15] prompted by an article stating that inventing Wilde quotes was the "national sport of England", and themes such as "kitten huffing" (the inhalation of the souls of cats as a form of drug abuse).[2]

Much like Wikipedia, Uncyclopedia has policies concerning vanity articles, which are articles written by an individual associated with the subject of the page. Vanity articles were disallowed after many of them produced flame wars.[2] Uncyclopedia does not police conflict of interest but may delete submissions as non-notable on a case-by-case basis.

Uncyclomedia project Object of parody
UnBooks Wikibooks
UnNews Wikinews
Undictionary Wiktionary
Un-Bestiary Wikispecies
Uncycloversity Wikiversity
UnQuotable Wikiquote
UnScripts Wikisource
UnMeta Wikimedia Meta-Wiki
UnCommons Wikimedia Commons
UnTunes iTunes
UnVoyage Wikivoyage
HowTo wikiHow
Why? wikiAnswers
Un-Games Choose your own adventure books

Site-wide pranks[edit]

Some jokes involve the entire website, sometimes including a re-skin of the main page, such as with holiday themes. In 2012, as a parody of Wikipedia's black-out protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) et al., Uncyclopedia blocked all content for a day with a notice claiming to support the bills.[16] For one week in 2013, the Wikia site interrupted viewing with a claim that the site was unavailable, spoofing a notice on the NASA website during the United States federal government shutdown of 2013.[17] A tradition of April Fool's Day front page pranks occurs on the wiki recently including a "blood donation" plea banner to spoof wiki donation banners on 1 April 2014.[18]

Subprojects[edit]

As well as housing many articles designed to satirize Wikipedia-style content, Uncyclopedia contains several secondary projects (known as "UnProjects").[2][19] As of November 2007, there were 12 such projects,[20] each of which specializes in satire of a different information style. Many of these are directly analogous to Wikipedia's sister projects.

Press coverage[edit]

Uncyclopedia has been referenced in several well-known news publications from around the world, in addition to numerous local and regional newspapers and periodicals. In 2005, the Flying Spaghetti Monster entry from Uncyclopedia was mentioned in a New York Times column reporting the spread of so-called "Pastafarianism", the religion that worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster.[21] The column was then reprinted in other newspapers, including the Taipei Times.[22] The magazine .net featured an interview with Huang about Uncyclopedia in May 2007.[2] A number of other articles have been centred on specific entries on Uncyclopedia—most notably the article in the Arizona Daily Star, which focused on the Tucson, Arizona parody,[23] and the article in the Cyprus Mail, which focused on the Cyprus article.[24]

In addition to articles about specific entries on the wiki, several papers speak of the website in general—usually in a section devoted to technology or the Internet. This was the case when Uncyclopedia was referenced in the Boston Herald and The Guardian.[25][26] Although most articles mentioning Uncyclopedia are specific to the site, there are other articles about Wikia or Wikipedia that just mention its name briefly. These include the editorial in The Register discussing the Seigenthaler incident, in which Uncyclopedia was named only once.[27] It has also been listed as one of the "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites" in PC Magazine,[28] as well as among the "101 most useful websites" on the internet by The Sunday Telegraph.[29] Seattle Post-Intelligencer considers Uncyclopedia to be the wiki site equivalent of The Onion.[30]

Criticism and controversy[edit]

At various times, articles posted to Uncyclopedia, as well as Uncyclopedia itself, have generated criticism from King's College,[31] the North-West Evening Mail,[32] Northern Irish politician James McCarry,[33] civic leaders of Telford, Shropshire, UK,[34] the Sioux City Journal,[35] Hawke's Bay Today,[36] and Lochaber News.[37]

In January 2008, the Malaysian Internal Security Ministry issued a directive alerting newspaper editors not to trust Uncyclopedia. It said the article concerning Malaysia contained "untruths, insults and ridicule" and was demeaning to the country.[38][39] As of February 2010, Uncyclopedia is blocked from the People's Republic of China.[40]

The site uses a layout not unlike that of Wikipedia,[41] which may cause confusion to inexperienced users who misinterpret the content as factual.[42][43]

The logo of HowTo subproject in Absurdopedia. At trial, government experts characterized this logo as "the instruments for killing oneself".[44]

In November 2012, the satirical page "HowTo:Commit suicide" in the Russian Uncyclopedia (Absurdopedia) was legally prohibited by the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor). Absurdopedia administrator Edward Chernenko sued them under his right to science and culture guaranteed by the Russian Constitution, but unsuccessfully. During the proceedings, the Russian government and its experts claimed that Absurdopedia is intentionally trying to increase the number of child suicides in Russia by providing children with instructions for killing themselves.[44][45] The case is currently in the ECHR.[46]

In 2014, the page "HowTo:Make a bomb at home" in Absurdopedia was included into the Russian list of extremist materials.[47]

Uncyclopedia in other languages[edit]

The Uncyclopedia concept has been adapted to wikis in more than fifty other languages.[6] The UnNews project has similarly been replicated, under various localised names, in eighteen other languages.[48] The websites also invoke various parody languages such as "Portuñol" and "English But Louder". The first Uncyclopedias in languages other than English were created in June 2005, beginning with a French language version.[49] On February 20, 2008, the 50th language, Welsh, was added to the Uncyclopedia series.

Each language wiki is free to establish its own unique community identity, but most of the logos and names in use retain some semblance to those of the English-language version. For instance, as an "un-" encyclopedia, the encyclopedia is named "Uncyclopedia" in both English and German.

Some of the largest Uncyclopedias available in other languages are listed below.

Danish — Spademanns Leksikon[edit]

Spademanns Leksikon[50] was established in 2006 by the user Lhademmor. The name lacks the "pedia" of most Uncyclopedias, and the website does not use the jigsaw-potato logo but resembles the logo of the largest newspaper in Denmark, Ekstrabladet.

In 2012, the website contained over 6000 articles. Together with the Norwegian Ikkepedia, it accuses Swedes of having no sense of humor because of their poor Uncyclopedia. Website memes include use of Chuck Norris as a cult hero; writing in the style of Hans Christian Andersen, here claimed to be homosexual; and fictitious characters Omboo Hankvald, Hermod Spademann, Gubernichte Hankvald (Omboo's mother) and Troels Hartmann. Their image of God is very close to Barry White.[51]

Dutch — Oncyclopedia[edit]

The Dutch version started in June 2006. In half a year the number of articles grew to about 350. Though the number of pages in March 2007 was around 500, 150 short articles moved to the new daughter project, the "OnWoordenboek der Nederlandse Taal" (literally, "UnDictionary of the Dutch Language"), almost doubling the number of new contributions. In February 2007, a second project started: OnNieuws (UnNews), a news paper full of nonsense. This can be either fictional news or real news told in a funny way. Around March 15, 2007 the decision was made to change the name. [52] The Onziclopedie was renamed to Oncyclopedia (Neerlandica). Later more projects started: OnZinnen (Unquotable) ,[53] OnBoeken (UnBooks) [54] and the Oncycloversiteit (Uncycloversity).[55] Oncyclopedia also has its own fictional radio station (OnRadio) [56] [57] which is only available to hear on the weblog of the Oncyclopedia. The Oncy has become well known mostly because of the articles about Emo, Tokio Hotel and suicide. These articles have gotten a lot of criticism in the past, but the admins mostly didn't do anything with it, because as they say, it is mostly destructive commentary. Sometimes blocks follow, although this only happens in the case of swearing. [58] At the end of May 2011, the Oncyclopedia had more than 2,150 articles.[6]

Finally there is the "Oncyclopolis Project". [59] This gives the Oncyclopedia a fictional city-state, Oncyclopolis and its own ranking system (based on number of articles, user rights and user duty) comparable with the system of the Uncyclopedia.

Finnish — Hikipedia[edit]

Hikipedia (from Finnish hiki "sweat" and encyclopedia, a parody of the name "Wikipedia") is a Finnish language nonsense wiki founded in April 2005. Hikipedia was originally intended as an independent nonsense wiki and was only added to the Uncyclopedia project later. In 2011 Hikipedia had over 7000 articles and over 38000 pages.[60]

German — Kamelopedia[edit]

Kamelopedia[61] (from camel and encyclopedia) is a German-language satirical wiki characterized by a running gag of addressing users as camels and including camels in many contexts. Established in 2004 as an independent wiki, it shares inter-language links with the other Uncyclopedias and, like the others, is considered a parody of Wikipedia.[62][63][64]

Individual subprojects, modelled on the various Wikimedia Foundation projects, include Kamelionary (free dictionary), KameloNews (free news source), Kamelomedia Commons (free usable media files) and Kamelobooks (a library of humorous books).

German — Stupidedia[edit]

Main article: Stupidedia

Stupidedia (from stupid and encyclopedia) is an Austrian wiki featuring satirically themed and humorous articles.[65][66] It was created on December 17, 2004, by David Sowka, making it the first known humor wiki. In 2010 it joined the Uncyclopedia family, becoming one of the site's German language wikis. Stupidedia is the largest German language wiki of this kind with over 22,412 articles as of March 2014. Its slogan is "Wissen Sie Bescheid? Nein? Wir auch nicht!" (English: Do you know the score? No? Neither do we!).

Italian — Nonciclopedia[edit]

Nonciclopedia, the Italian language version, was founded on November 3, 2005 and features over 10,000 articles. Like Uncyclopedia, it has many secondary projects, like Manuali, a collection of fake or humorous tutorials about strange arguments (like How to conquer England in 4 steps),[67] the Horroscopo, a fake horoscope, NonNotizie, a parody of WikiNews and the Walk of Shame, a parody of the "Walk of Fame", which collects the best articles. Like most of the other languages' editions there is a space for the Article of the Week and some pages have related audio files containing a vocal narration of the page's content. Typical subjects of humour are Wikipedia, Chuck Norris, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Silvio Berlusconi, Emo subculture, Nietzsche, Germano Mosconi, the fictional state of Svervegia (literally Swederway) and people who vandalize Nonciclopedia in response to being offended by an article. Since Chuck Norris, Svervegia and Emo topics were abused, especially by newbie writers, they are not used anymore, if not in very rare occasions. In October 2011 Nonciclopedia was closed for a short while by the administrators after legal threats were issued by Vasco Rossi.[68] This has generated a strong protest movement on Facebook and other social networks.[68]

Japanese — Uncyclopedia[edit]

Uncyclopedia (Japanese: アンサイクロペディア Ansaikuropedeĭa), fourth-largest with just over ten thousand pages,[69] takes its name from the katakana transliteration of the word Uncyclopedia.[70] It was founded in December 2005.[71] Its "UnNews" section is known for posting stories that closely resemble real news stories, which has caused rumors and angry reactions on Twitter.

Portuguese — Desciclopédia[edit]

Desciclopédia, the Portuguese language version with over 40,000 pages, is the largest Uncyclopedia.[6] Founded in August 2005,[72] it purports to be the brainchild of the largely fictional Doutor Roberto (Portuguese for "Doctor Robert") a satire upon the late powerful owner of TV Globo, Roberto Marinho. This humour routinely targets regional Brazilian notables such as centenarian comedy actress Dercy Gonçalves, depicted as a cover model posed for a Playboy-like magazine Playold. Actress Cláudia Raia is portrayed as a stingray (Portuguese: raia).[73] Political leaders such as Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva (Portuguese: lula - "squid") also often fall victim to Desciclopédia's parodies,[74][75] along with singers, athletes and other public figures.[76]

Desciclopédia uses various domain hacks for individual secondary projects, which include Desnoticias ("noticias" is "news"), Descionário (with "dicionário" meaning "dictionary"), Deslivros (for books, "biblioteca" means "library"), and Desentrevistas ("entrevistas" meaning "interviews"). These would correspond to "UnNews", "UnDictionary", "UnBooks" and the exclusive-to-Desciclopédia "UnInterviews".

Russian — Absurdopedia[edit]

The Russian-language Uncyclopedia, Absurdopedia, was originally hosted by Wikia. In October 2010, a fork site was established at absurdopedia.net.[77]

Spanish — Inciclopedia[edit]

The Spanish Inciclopedia was established in February 2006[78] to accommodate content displaced by the closure of Spanish humour wiki Frikipedia. Frikipedia was shut down by the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores,[79] a Spanish organization for copyright who were angered by Frikipedia's entry on them.[78] Frikipedia was eventually relaunched. As October 2013 Inciclopedia has more than 10000 articles.

Notables such as Chilean folk singer El Monteaguilino and Senator Pedro Muñoz have expressed their discontent with Inciclopedia and the site's mockery of the Chilean flag and national symbols.[80] Noche Hache, a television program on Spain's TV Cuatro, also mentioned Inciclopedia among supporters of Eva Hache's joke candidacy to the presidency of Spain.[81]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e f "The brains behind Uncyclopedia". .net. May 3, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Uncyclopedia" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
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  5. ^ a b c "Uncyclopedia" (Wiki). Wikia. Retrieved November 15, 2007. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d "Uncyclopedia Babel" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved April 20, 2008. 
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  8. ^ "Uncyclopedia statistics" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved October 2, 2007. 
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  13. ^ "Template:Pee Review Table" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  14. ^ "In-jokes" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  15. ^ Sankar, Anand (October 10, 2006). "Surely, you must be joking!". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
  16. ^ "Forum:SOPA-protest blackout on the 18th. Join it?" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved April 8, 2012. 
  17. ^ "A reskin for the US government shutdown" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  18. ^ "A reskin for April Fool's Day 2014". April Fool's Day On The Web. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
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  21. ^ Boxer, Sarah (August 25, 2005). "But Is There Intelligent Spaghetti Out There?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2006. 
  22. ^ "'Pastafarianism' gains prominence and support in intelligent-design drive". Taipei Times. August 25, 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2006. 
  23. ^ "Online parody of Tucson not always funny, but interesting". Arizona Daily Star. August 18, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2006. [dead link]
    "Online parody of Tucson not always funny, but interesting". Arizona Daily Star via Wayback machine. February 14, 2007. Archived from the original on February 14, 2007. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  24. ^ Christou, Jean (2007). "Cyprus that great and peaceful island". Cyprus Mail. Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved November 6, 2007. 
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  27. ^ Orlowski, Andrew (December 12, 2005). "There's no Wikipedia entry for 'moral responsibility'". The Register. Retrieved June 24, 2006. 
  28. ^ "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites - Info, Reference, and Search". PC Magazine. August 27, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2007. 
  29. ^ Baker, David (March 30, 2008). "The 101 most useful websites". The Sunday Telegraph (London). p. 13. 
  30. ^ "What's Online". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. September 18, 2007. p. D6. 
  31. ^ Woulfe, Catherine (May 28, 2006). "Schools face new cyber bullying menace". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved July 20, 2006. 
  32. ^ "What do they know?". North-West Evening Mail. June 11, 2007. Archived from the original on February 14, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2007. 
  33. ^ Henry, Lesley-Anne (November 10, 2007). "War of words over Ulster 'Uncyclopedia'". Belfast Telegraph. Archived from the original on February 13, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2007. 
  34. ^ Johannsen, Tom (April 14, 2008). "Town's fury at 'Chav' slur". Shropshire Star. Retrieved April 16, 2008. 
  35. ^ Johnson, Laura (July 1, 2010). "Offended? Why does S.C. keep getting bashed on the Internet?". The Weekender. Retrieved July 27, 2010. 
  36. ^ Gray, Alistair (July 6, 2010). "'Flaxmurder' postings slammed". Hawke's Bay Today. Retrieved July 27, 2010. 
  37. ^ Bushnell, Helen (July 22, 2010). "Fort mocked in web spoof". Lochaber News. Retrieved July 27, 2010. 
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  40. ^ Websitepulse.com
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  43. ^ Lanigan, Judith (2007). The Hula Hoop. p. 146. 
  44. ^ a b (Russian) How we went to court against Rospotrebnadzor - Habrahabr, 03.04.2013.
  45. ^ (Russian) HowTo: sue the Rospotrebnadzor - Telekomza.ru, 03.04.2013
  46. ^ Appeal of access block to Absurdopedia was sent to ECHR - Ria Novosti, 17.12.2013(Russian)
  47. ^ Culinary receipts from "Absurdopedia" was included into the extremist materials list twice - TJournal, 05.05.2014(Russian)
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  50. ^ Spademanns Leksikon" (in Danish) (Wiki). Wikia. .
  51. ^ Gud (in Danish) Wikia
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  60. ^ Hikipedia page statistics
  61. ^ Kamelopedia
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  64. ^ The German-language Wikipedia has additional information on Kamelopedia.
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  68. ^ a b Vasco Rossi fa chiudere Nonciclopedia
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  76. ^ Folhateen (April 30, 2007), Os perigos da wikipédia. (in Brazilian Portuguese), Folha, p. 7 
  77. ^ List of former Wikia communities that have moved
  78. ^ a b "Inciclopedia" (Wiki). Wikia (in Spanish). Retrieved November 21, 2007. 
  79. ^ Pérez, Eduardo (February 22, 2008). "La SGAE gana el juicio contra 'Frikipedia' por vulnerar el derecho al honor". Indymedia. Archived from the original on May 19, 2008. Retrieved March 22, 2008. 
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  81. ^ "Noche Hache". TV Cuatro, Madrid (in Spanish). Retrieved March 23, 2008. 

External links[edit]