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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The main page of Uncyclopedia (retrieved May 24, 2019) is similar to Wikipedia's.
Type of site
Online encyclopedia, satire
OwnerWorks are owned by their authors
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (English-language version)
Created byJonathan "Chronarion" Huang,
URLEnglish Uncyclopedia:
en.uncyclopedia.co (2013 fork)
uncyclopedia.com (2019 fork)
LaunchedJanuary 5, 2005; 19 years ago (2005-01-05)
Current statusActive

Uncyclopedia is several forks of satirical online encyclopedias that parody Wikipedia. Its logo, a hollow "puzzle potato", parodies Wikipedia's globe puzzle logo,[2] and it styles itself as "the content-free encyclopedia", parodying Wikipedia's slogan of "the free encyclopedia" and likely as a play the fact that Wikipedia is described as a "free-content" encyclopedia. Founded in 2005[3] as an English-language wiki, the project spans more than 75 languages as well as several subprojects parodying other wikis. Uncyclopedia's name is a portmanteau of the prefix un- and the word encyclopedia.[4][5]

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

Many Uncyclopedia articles contain graphics with a link to the corresponding Wikipedia article; Uncyclopedia often denotes the corresponding Wikipedia article to its content as being listed "for those without comedic tastes", and Wikipedia's article written by "so-called experts".


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", and a partner known online as "Stillwaters".[2] It was originally situated at uncyclopedia.org. In July 2006, it was acquired by Fandom, then known as Wikia.[6]

In January 2013, some Uncyclopedia editors and administrators set up a fork of Uncyclopedia at en.uncyclopedia.co, in response to Wikia's censorship, insertion of advertising, and the imposition of content warnings.[7] Fandom ceased hosting its version of Uncyclopedia[8] on May 14, 2019, and the Fandom site (colloquially known as the "spoon", a play on "fork") moved to uncyclopedia.ca, and in September 2021 to uncyclopedia.com. In 2023, each of these English-language versions had approximately 37,000 content pages, second only to the Portuguese. The Fandom version of the site now shows only a "Not a valid community" landing page.

A third site, at mirror.uncyc.org, functions only as a mirror website with backup copies of some Uncyclopedia pages.


Uncyclopedia is built on the same MediaWiki software that Wikipedia uses. However, during Fandom's (Wikia's) hosting of Uncyclopedia, Fandom extensively modified its version of MediaWiki version 1.19, making the Fandom Uncyclopedia site incompatible with later MediaWiki versions. In May 2018, Fandom dropped support for the Monobook skin that its Uncyclopedia site had used to mimic Wikipedia, claiming this was necessary to achieve GDPR compliance,[9] and warned that local work-arounds could not be extended to new visitors and editors by default.[10] Since all Uncyclopedias split off or were removed from Fandom, they mostly switched to using Vector instead (with MinervaNeue on mobile), in order to continue parodying Wikipedia.

Uncyclopedia projects are run independently by their own members, though some users have accounts on multiple Uncyclopedias. They contain interlanguage links to each other, but there is no global governing organization comparable to the Wikimedia Foundation that oversees Wikipedia as well as its sister projects.


Uncyclopedia's content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license, although some content, notably images, is copyrighted.[4] Different Uncyclopedias sometimes have different licenses; for example, dÉsencyclopédie (French Uncyclopedia) is dual-licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 and the GFDL. As of May 2024, the English-language Uncyclopedia contains approximately 37,700 articles.[11]

Many articles on Uncyclopedia link to corresponding Wikipedia article on the subject, though denote Wikipedia's content as being written by "so-called experts"; this is most often denoted by Uncyclopedia articles with a corresponding Wikipedia article having a graphic located to the side of an article linking the related Wikipedia article to be used for "those without comedic tastes".[12]


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.[13] Many articles on the site contradict each other, even articles on the same subject.[citation needed]

Like Wikipedia's "Five pillars", Uncyclopedia has "Five pliers", including "Satirical point of view".[14] 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!"[3][15]

Parodying Wikipedia's article review service peer review, Uncyclopedia has a "Pee Review" where authors seek review by other Uncyclopedians on humor, grammar, spelling, use of images, and overall presentation.[16][17] 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 based on humor 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.[18] Among the most recurrent themes is the invention of quotes attributed to Oscar Wilde,[2] 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).[3]

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.[3] Uncyclopedia does not police conflict of interest but may delete submissions as non-notable on a case-by-case basis, using an AfD-like system called "Votes for deletion" (VfD) and a CSD-like system called "QuickVFD".

One of Uncyclopedia's most popular articles,[19] "AAAAAAAAA!", is a nonsensical page, with its content completely consisting of the upper case letter A with images and some punctuation marks.

Site-wide pranks

Uncyclopedia's logo for Wikipedia

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.[20] A tradition of April Fool's Day front page pranks occurs on the wiki, including a "blood donation" plea banner to spoof wiki donation banners on April 1, 2014.[21] For one week in 2013, the Wikia fork 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.[22]


Each year, Uncyclopedia writers create a list of 100 worst reflections of that year, marking website milestones or simply news. Most years, the creators of the list reveal that they have once again put off the list until the last second, and simply skip a large chunk to get to a hundred in time. Other Uncyclopedia traditions include creating a "top 10" list of articles for each year, chosen by popular vote.[citation needed]


Uncyclomedia project Object of parody
UnBooks Wikibooks
UnNews Wikinews
Undictionary Wiktionary
Un-Bestiary Wikispecies
Uncycloversity Wikiversity
UnQuotable Wikiquote
UnScripts Wikisource
UnMeta-Wiki Wikimedia Meta-Wiki
(Uncyclomedia Commons)
Wikimedia Commons
UnSignpost Wikipedia Signpost
UnTunes iTunes
UnVoyage Wikivoyage
HowTo wikiHow
Why? Answers.com
Un-Games Choose your own adventure books
UnDebate Debatepedia
UnPoetia Poetry (in general)
Undata Wikidata
UnReviews Reviews (in general)

As well as housing many articles designed to satirize Wikipedia-style content, Uncyclopedia contains several secondary projects (known as "UnProjects").[3][23] As of 2017, there were sixteen such subprojects,[24] each of which specializes in parody of a different information style. Many of these are directly analogous to Wikipedia's sister projects, while others such as UnTunes and HowTo parody projects completely unrelated to Wikipedia.

Press coverage

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 "Pastafarianism", the religion that worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster.[25] The column was then reprinted in other newspapers, including the Taipei Times.[26] The magazine .net featured an interview with Huang about Uncyclopedia in May 2007.[3] 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,[27] and the article in the Cyprus Mail, which focused on the Cyprus article.[28]

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.[29][30] 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.[31] It has also been listed as one of the "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites" in PC Magazine,[32] as well as among the "101 most useful websites" on the internet by The Sunday Telegraph.[33] Seattle Post-Intelligencer considers Uncyclopedia to be the wiki site equivalent of The Onion.[34]

Criticism and controversy

The mobile version of an Uncyclopedia article about itself

At various times, articles on Uncyclopedia have been subject to criticism from King's College (School, Auckland)[35] the North-West Evening Mail,[36] Northern Irish politician James McCarry,[37] civic leaders of Telford, Shropshire, UK,[38] the Sioux City Journal,[39] Hawke's Bay Today,[40] and Lochaber News.[41]

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.[42][43]

The site uses a layout that looks similar to Wikipedia's,[44] which may confuse inexperienced users who misinterpret the content as factual.[45][46]

In November 2012, the page "HowTo:Commit suicide" on the Russian-language Uncyclopedia (Absurdopedia) was legally prohibited by the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor). Absurdopedia administrator Edward Chernenko unsuccessfully sued them under his right to science and culture guaranteed by the Russian Constitution. 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.[47][48] As of 2013, the case is currently in the ECHR.[49]

In 2014, the page "HowTo:Make a bomb at home" on Absurdopedia was included in the Russian list of extremist materials.[50]

In August 2014, the logo displayed for Greggs on its Google profile was mistakenly temporarily switched to the logo used on Uncyclopedia's article on the subject at the Wikia site due to a caching issue, causing a PR crisis for the company.[51][52]

In 2017, two pages of Absurdopedia were banned in Russia: "HowTo:Bathe a cat" for "calls to violence against animals" and "HowTo:Make a nuclear bomb" for "information on manufacturing weapons".[53]

See also


  1. ^ "Uncyclopedia:Donate" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Sankar, Anand (November 6, 2006). "Surely, you must be joking!". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on February 25, 2007. Retrieved February 11, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The brains behind Uncyclopedia". .net. May 3, 2007. Archived from the original on December 1, 2007. Retrieved November 19, 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Uncyclopedia" (Wiki). Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  5. ^ "Desciclopédia" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Palmer, Craig L. (September 26, 2016). "Wikia is now Fandom powered by Wikia". Community Central. Wikia, Inc. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "Forks in the road – Uncyclopedia moving from Wikia, a discussion". Uncyclopedia.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  8. ^ "A message from Fandom". Uncyclopedia (Wikia). Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019. ... So we are looking again at Uncyc's content, and have decided that it's not the sort of thing that we want to host anymore.
  9. ^ Quievryn, Tim (May 21, 2018). "The Future of Monobook on FANDOM". Community Central. Wikia, Inc. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  10. ^ "R.I.P. Monobook – any aftermath plan?". Uncyclopedia (Wikia). Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  11. ^ "Uncyclopedia statistics" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  12. ^ "7 Top Sites Like Wikipedia That You Should Check Out in 2023". Niche Pursuits. February 15, 2022. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
  13. ^ "Uncyclopedia article about Wikipedia" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
  14. ^ "Uncyclopedia:Five pliers" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  15. ^ "Uncyclopedia:Rules" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  16. ^ "Uncyclopedia:Pee Review" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  17. ^ "Template:Pee Review Table" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  18. ^ "In-jokes" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  19. ^ "Top 10 Articles of 2005". Uncyclopedia. March 25, 2006. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  20. ^ "Forum:SOPA-protest blackout on the 18th. Join it?" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. January 24, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2012.
  21. ^ "A reskin for April Fool's Day 2014". April Fool's Day On The Web. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  22. ^ "A reskin for the US government shutdown". Uncyclopedia. Archived from the original (Wiki) on November 15, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
  23. ^ "Uncyclopedia:UnProject" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved November 19, 2007.
  24. ^ "Template:Sisterprojects" (Wiki). Uncyclopedia. Retrieved November 3, 2007.
  25. ^ Boxer, Sarah (August 25, 2005). "But Is There Intelligent Spaghetti Out There?". The New York Times. Retrieved July 18, 2006.
  26. ^ "'Pastafarianism' gains prominence and support in intelligent-design drive". Taipei Times. August 25, 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2006.
  27. ^ "Online parody of Tucson not always funny, but interesting". Arizona Daily Star. August 18, 2006. Archived from the original on August 22, 2006. Retrieved August 22, 2006.
    "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.
  28. ^ Christou, Jean (2007). "Cyprus that great and peaceful island". Cyprus Mail. Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved November 6, 2007.
  29. ^ Schorow, Stephanie (April 8, 2005). "This wiki-cool Web site lets Net surfers define world". Boston Herald. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2006.
  30. ^ Schofield, Jack (April 14, 2005). "Web Watch". Guardian Unlimited. London. Retrieved July 18, 2006.
  31. ^ Orlowski, Andrew (December 12, 2005). "There's no Wikipedia entry for 'moral responsibility'". The Register. Retrieved June 24, 2006.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites – Info, Reference, and Search". PC Magazine. August 27, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  33. ^ Baker, David (March 30, 2008). "The 101 most useful websites". The Sunday Telegraph. London. p. 13.
  34. ^ "What's Online". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. September 18, 2007. p. D6.
  35. ^ Woulfe, Catherine (May 28, 2006). "Schools face new cyber bullying menace". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved July 20, 2006.
  36. ^ "What do they know?". North-West Evening Mail. June 11, 2007. Archived from the original on November 17, 2007. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  37. ^ 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.
  38. ^ Johannsen, Tom (April 14, 2008). "Town's fury at 'Chav' slur". Shropshire Star. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2008.
  39. ^ Johnson, Laura (July 1, 2010). "Offended? Why does S.C. keep getting bashed on the Internet?". The Weekender. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  40. ^ Gray, Alistair (July 6, 2010). "'Flaxmurder' postings slammed". Hawke's Bay Today. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  41. ^ Bushnell, Helen (July 22, 2010). "Fort mocked in web spoof". Lochaber News. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  42. ^ Ooi, Jeff (January 15, 2008). "Alert over Uncyclopedia on Malaysia". CNET Asia. Archived from the original on January 26, 2008. Retrieved November 16, 2007.
  43. ^ 侮辱大马网站 内安部冀关注 (in Chinese). Kwong Wah Yit Poh. January 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
  44. ^ Ray, Rich (June 21, 2008). "Web Watch". Florida Times Union. Retrieved July 11, 2008.[dead link]
  45. ^ Schormann, Tobias (March 19, 2008). "Wikipedia Spoofs: Not So Serious, Pal". TechNewsWorld. Archived from the original on November 17, 2007. Retrieved March 19, 2008.
  46. ^ Lanigan, Judith (2007). The Hula Hoop. p. 146.
  47. ^ (in Russian) How we went to court against Rospotrebnadzor – Habrahabr, April 3, 2013.
  48. ^ "Как правильно: судиться с Роспотребнадзором". telekomza.ru.
  49. ^ Appeal of access block to Absurdopedia was sent to ECHR – Ria Novosti, 17.12.2013(in Russian)
  50. ^ Сулейманов, Султан (May 5, 2014). "Кулинарные рецепты с "Абсурдопедии" дважды внесли в список экстремистских материалов – Право на TJ". TJ.
  51. ^ "Greggs Google fail – was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius". Independent.co.uk. August 20, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  52. ^ "Greggs bakery shows how to handle a social media nightmare after offensive logo appears on Google". August 19, 2014. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  53. ^ Absurdopedia of real life – Roscomsvoboda, February 13, 2018.(in Russian)

External links