The logo of the SCP Foundation
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The SCP Foundation is a fictional organization that is the subject of a web-based collaborative writing project of the same name. The stories generated by the project describe the exploits of the Foundation, supposedly responsible for containing individuals, entities, locations, and objects that violate natural law (referred to as SCPs). The main written works on the SCP Foundation website are articles written in the style of structured internal documentation about the contained SCPs. The website also contains thousands of "Foundation Tales", short stories set within the universe of the SCP Foundation.
The SCP Foundation series has received praise for its ability to convey horror through its scientific and academic writing style, as well as for its high quality standards. The SCP Foundation has also inspired numerous spin-off works, including the video game SCP – Containment Breach.
Overview of series
In-universe, the SCP Foundation is a secret organization entrusted by governments around the globe to contain and study anomalous individuals, entities, locations, objects, and phenomena that defy natural law (referred to as "SCP objects", or colloquially as "SCPs" or "skips"). SCP objects, if left uncontained, pose a threat to humans—or, at the very least, to humanity's sense of reality and normalcy.
The existence of SCPs is kept secret by the SCP Foundation to prevent mass panic and related chaos, and to allow human civilization to function normally. When an SCP is discovered, the SCP Foundation deploys agents to either collect and transport the SCP to a Foundation facility, or to contain it at its location of discovery if transport is not possible. Once SCPs are contained, they are studied by Foundation scientists. Test subjects acquired by the Foundation (referred to as D-class) are used to interact with dangerous SCPs due to the danger posed by those SCPs and the expendability of the D-class.
The SCP Foundation maintains documentation for all of the SCPs in its custody, which can include or link to related reports and files. These documents describe the SCPs and include instructions for keeping them safely contained.
Examples of contained SCPs
- SCP-055 is something that causes anyone who examines it to forget its various characteristics, thus making it indescribable except in terms of what it is not.
- SCP-087 is a staircase that appears to descend downwards forever. The staircase is inhabited by SCP-087-1, which is described as a face without a mouth, pupils or nostrils.
- SCP-108 is a Nazi bunker system that is only accessible through a portal found in a woman's nose.
- SCP-173 is a humanoid statue composed of rebar, concrete and Krylon spray paint. It is stationary when directly observed, but attacks people when line of sight with it is broken.
- SCP-294 is a coffee machine that can dispense anything that does or can exist in liquid form.
- SCP-426 is a toaster which can only be referred to in the first person.
- SCP-1171 is a home whose windows are always covered in condensation; by writing in the condensation on the glass, it is possible to communicate with an extra-dimensional entity whose windows are likewise covered in condensation. This entity bears significant hostility towards humans, but does not know that the Foundation members are humans.
- SCP-1609 is a mulch that teleports into the lungs of anyone who approaches it in an aggressive fashion or while wearing a uniform. It was previously a peaceful chair that teleported to whichever nearby person felt they need to sit down, but it entered its current aggressive state after being inserted into a woodchipper by a rival organization.
- SCP-3008 is an IKEA retail store that has an infinite interior space with no outer physical bounds, causing those inside to be trapped. It contains a rudimentary civilization of those stuck inside.
On the SCP Foundation wiki, the majority of works are stand-alone articles that claim to be the “special containment procedures” of a given SCP object. In a standard containment procedure article, each SCP object is assigned a unique identification number; occasionally sub-numbers are assigned to items related to a particular object. The various SCP objects are then assigned an "object class" based on the difficulty of containing the SCP.[note 3] The documentation then outlines proper containment procedures and safety measures, and then describes the SCP object in question. Addenda, such as images, research data or status updates, may also be attached to the document. The reports are written in a pseudo-scientific tone and often "redact" information. As of April 2018, articles exist for over 3,700 SCP objects;[note 4] new articles are frequently added.
The SCP Foundation contains several hundred short stories referred to as "Foundation Tales". The stories are set within the world of the SCP Foundation, and often focus on or reference SCP Foundation staff or SCP entities. Gregory Burkart, writing for Blumhouse Productions, noted that some of the Foundation Tales had a dark and bleak tone, while others were "surprisingly light-hearted".
The SCP Foundation lacks a central canon, but stories on the wiki are frequently linked together to create larger narratives. Contributors have the ability to create "canons", which are clusters of SCPs and Foundation Tales with similar locations, characters and central plot. Many "canons" have hub pages that explain their basic concept and provide information such as timelines and character lists.
The SCP Foundation series originated in the "paranormal" /x/ forum of 4chan, where the first special containment procedure, SCP-173, was posted in 2007. Many other special containment procedures were created shortly after, inspired by SCP-173. A stand-alone wiki was created in January 2008 on the EditThis wiki hosting service to display the SCP articles. The EditThis website did not have moderators, or the ability to delete articles. Members communicated through individual article talk pages and the /x/ board; the website lacked a central discussion forum. In July 2008, the SCP Foundation series was transferred to its current Wikidot website after EditThis switched to a paid model.
The current Wikidot website contains numerous standard wiki features such as keyword searches and article lists. The wiki also contains a news hub, guides for writers and a central discussion forum. The wiki is moderated by staff teams; each team is responsible for a different function such as community outreach and discipline. Wikidot users are required to submit an application before they are allowed to post content. Every article on the wiki is assigned a discussion page, where members can evaluate and provide constructive criticism on submitted stories. The discussion pages are frequently used by authors to improve their stories. Members also have the ability to “upvote” articles they like and to “downvote” articles they dislike; articles that receive too many net downvotes are deleted. Writers from the Daily Dot and Bustle have noted that the website maintains strict quality control standards, and that sub-par content tends to be quickly removed.
The Wikidot website routinely holds creative writing contests to encourage submissions. For example, in November 2014, the SCP Foundation held a "Dystopia Contest" in which its members were encouraged to submit writings about the Foundation set in a bleak or degraded world.
The Wanderer's Library is a sister website to the SCP Foundation. It is set in the same universe as the SCP Foundation, but consists of fantastical stories rather than scientific reports. The SCP Foundation also maintains a forum on Reddit and a role-playing community. Apart from the original English community, twelve official foreign language branches exist.[note 1]
The SCP Foundation has received largely positive reviews. Michelle Starr of CNET praised the creepy nature of the series. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, writing for the Daily Dot, praised the originality of the SCP Foundation and described it as the "most uniquely compelling horror writing on the Internet". She noted that special containment procedures rarely contained gratuitous gore. Rather, the horror of the series was often established through the reports' "pragmatic" and "deadpan" style, as well as through the inclusion of detail. Lisa Suhay, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, also noted the SCP Foundation's "tongue-in-cheek style".
Alex Eichler, writing for io9, noted that the series had varying levels of quality and that some of the reports were dull or repetitive. However, he praised the SCP Foundation for not becoming overly dark, and for containing more light-hearted reports. Additionally, he praised the wide variety of concepts covered in the report, and noted that the SCP Foundation contained writings that would appeal to all readers.
Winston Cook-Wilson, writing for Inverse, compared the SCP Foundation to the writings of American author H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937). Like Lovecraft, SCP Foundation case files generally lack action sequences and are written in a pseudo-academic tone. Cook-Wilson argued that both Lovecraft’s works and those of the SCP Foundation were strengthened by the tensions between their detached scientific tone and the unsettling, horrific nature of the stories being told.
Bryan Alexander, writing in The New Digital Storytelling stated that the SCP Foundation is possibly “the most advanced achievement of wiki storytelling” due to the large-scale and recurring process through which the SCP Foundation’s user-base creates literary content.
The SCP Foundation has inspired numerous independent video games. SCP – Containment Breach, one of the most popular games based on the SCP Foundation, was released by Finnish developer Joonas Rikkonen in 2012. The player character is an unnamed D-class who attempts to escape from a containment facility. The player must avoid armed Foundation guards and escaped SCPs, including SCP-173.  The game includes a blink function which makes the player close their eyes, and allow SCP-173 to approach. Other video games include SCP-3008 (a planned multiplayer game set in SCP-3008), and SCP-087 (a horror game about walking down SCP-087).
In October of 2014, a stage play entitled "Welcome to the Ethics Committee" was performed in Dublin at the Smock Alley Theatre. The play focused on the SCP Foundation's Ethics Committee, a body that tries to limit unethical containment procedures.
- Official foreign language branches of the SCP Foundation exist in Chinese, German, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Thai, Spanish, Polish, Italian, French, Ukrainian and Portuguese.
- Registration is only required to submit works and projects. The site is free to view to people without an account.
- Frequently used object classes include:
- Safe: SCPs that are understood enough to be reliably contained.
- Euclid: SCPs that are either not understood enough to reliably contain or that behave in an unpredictable manner.
- Keter: SCPs that either cannot be fully contained or that require overly complex and elaborate procedures to contain.
- Thaumiel: SCPs used to contain other SCPs.
- Explained: SCPs whose anomalous effects can be fully explained by conventional science.
- Neutralized: SCPs that are either destroyed or cease anomalous behavior.
- Including deliberately humorous "joke" SCP objects and SCP objects that were archived in lieu of deletion.
- SCP Foundation Staff (24 July 2008). Main Page: "International Sites" table. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
- "scp-wiki.net Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 24 Jan 2018.
- Roget (17 February 2013). History Of The Universe: Part One. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
- DrClef (12 December 2012). Licensing Guide. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- Aelanna (17 March 2014). About the SCP Foundation. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 13 February 2015
- Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia (9 January 2014). "Meet the secret foundation that contains the world's paranormal artifacts". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- Starr, Michelle (11 August 2013). SCP Foundation web series coming to YouTube. CNET. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- Zaeyde (10 December 2009). "SCP-087". SCP Foundation. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- Eichler, Alex (21 February 2010). "Enter the SCP Foundation's Bottomless Catalog of the Weird". io9. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- Beschizza, Rob (29 June 2017). "Brilliant short story about being trapped in an infinite IKEA". Boing Boing. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
- Newsom, p.152
- Burkart, Gregory (29 October 2015). "Creepypasta: The Story Behind "The SCP Foundation"". Blumhouse Productions. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
- Aelanna; SCP Foundation Staff (23 April 2014). "Object Classes". SCP Foundation. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- Dinicola, Nick (1 December 2014). "Creepypasta Gaming: Where the Internet "Learns Our Fears"". PopMatters. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- List of pages tagged with scp, SCP Foundation. Retrieved 29 April 2018. Archived from the original on 29 April 2018.
- Tapscott, p. 122
- Alexander, p.72
- Tapscott, p. 122-123
- Varonas, Nico (4 February 2012). SCP-087: Escaleras a lo desconocido. NeoTeo. Retrieved 26 March 2015. "Esta es una comunidad de usuarios y de fanáticos del sci-fi y el terror..." (translation: "This is a community of users and of sci-fi and horror fans...")
- Pedullà, Lorenzo (25 July 2017) Cos'è la SCP Foundation?, Fantascienza.com. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- SCP Foundation Staff, Staff Structure. 05 Command. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
- Newsom, p. 154
- Tapscott, p. 117-118
- Peters, Lucia (13 October 2014). "The 10 Scariest Urban Legends on the Internet to Bring a Shiver to Your Spine This Halloween". Bustle. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- Tapscott, p.118
- Suhay, Lisa (10 November 2014). "Urban Druid writing contest: What's behind the dark-side fiction?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Tapscott, p. 115
- Sitterson, Aubrey (16 February 2016). "The 11 weirdest subreddits". Geek. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- Cook-Wilson, Winston (28 October 2015). "Scare Season: SCP, the Creepypasta for 'X-Files' and H.P. Lovecraft Fans". Inverse. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- Alexander p. 73
- Diver, p. 4 of chap. 5
- Chan, Stephanie (8 December 2017). SCP-3008 is survival horror in an unending Ikea purgatory. Venture Beat. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- Boring Aloof Gamer, The (27 June 2013). Cute Little Things- SCP: Containment Breach Review. Game Skinny. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- Smith, Adam (21 February 2012). "The Neverending Stairway: SCP-087". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Power, Una (8 October 2014). Welcome to the Ethics Committee. Belfield FM/UCD Student Radio. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015.
- Molleson, Kate (3 May 2016) Plug in to a feast of new music in Glasgow. Herald Scotland. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- Alexander, Bryan (2017). New Digital Storytelling, The: Creating Narratives with New Media--Revised and Updated Edition, 2nd Edition. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781440849619. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- Diver, Mike (2016). Indie Games: The Complete Introduction to Indie Gaming. Michael O'Mara Books. ISBN 9781910552353. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- Newsom, E. T. (2013). "Participatory storytelling and the new folklore of the digital age". PhD dissertation, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Abstract.
- Tapscott, Alan (2017) “Perceived Consistency and Coherence in Collaborative Story World”. Doctoral Thesis. Pompeu Fabra University