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Template:Tooshort Template:Infobox Website Template:Contains Japanese text Uncyclopedia, "the content-free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", was founded in 2005 as an English-language wiki featuring satirically themed articles. It is formatted as a parody of Wikipedia and aims ultimately to parody all encyclopedic subjects.[1] Originally an English-language wiki, the project currently spans over 50 languages with almost 100,000 pages of content.[2]

Its logo is a hollowed potato, named Sophia after the Gnostic deity, that serves as a spoof of Wikipedia's globe logo.[3][4]

History Edit

Uncyclopedia was launched on January 5, 2005 by Jonathan Huang, known online as "Chronarion",[5] and a pseudonymous partner called stillwaters.[3]

The idea for Uncyclopedia came from the English Wikipedia's now-defunct "Bad jokes and other deleted nonsense" page,[6] where Wikipedia's editors would sideline nonsense which they perceived as humorous but unsuitable for inclusion in the main encyclopædia.[4] Jonathan Huang and co-creator "stillwaters" decided to make a wiki with this type of content, and created Uncyclopedia on January 5, 2005.[5] Uncyclopedia's growing popularity resulted in it being voted Wikia's Featured Wikicity for November 2005, despite it not actually being a Wikicity.[7]

Originally an independent project, Uncyclopedia quickly outgrew its original webhost. Four months after its initial creation, the Uncyclopedia database took up ninety megabytes out of the one-hundred megabytes of database space allowed by webhost One & One, leading Huang to search for a new host.[8] On May 26, 2005, Angela Beesley, the vice president of Wikia, Inc., announced that Wikia would host Uncyclopedia and the site's license and domain name would remain unchanged.[8]

On July 10, 2006, Huang transferred ownership of the uncyclopedia.org domain name to Wikia.[9] Wikia's stated pretext for this acquisition was that Wikia's users wanted to create Uncyclopedias in other languages, and Wikia was uneasy about doing this with a domain they did not own.[9] Nonetheless, the majority of Uncyclopedia-related projects in other languages remain hosted under their own localised names, either as fully-independent domains or as subdomains of Wikia.com[2] The first dedicated server to solely host content from the growing Uncyclopedia Babel Project was deployed on July 21, 2006 to Vancouver, British Columbia under the uncyclopedia.info domain name.

Content Edit

Uncyclopedia's content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 license.[5] As with other Wikia sites, the full article database is freely available for online download.[10] As of November 2007, the English-language Uncyclopedia contains nearly 23,000 articles, making it one of the largest Wikia-hosted wikis.[11][12] It also has the most active users of any Wikia wiki as of February 2008, with over 200 more users than FFXIclopedia, the runner-up.[13]

Articles Edit

File:DogLabels.png

Uncyclopedia's stated goal is to "provide the world's misinformation in the least redeeming and most searingly sarcastic and humorous way possible, through satire".[5] Its articles contain information which is spoofed, fabricated or parodied to such an extent that very little factual accuracy remains. In a manner similar to Wikipedia's "Five pillars", Uncyclopedia has a core set of rules called the "Five pliers", including "Satirical point of view".[14] Despite all the policy pages that parody those of Wikipedia, Uncyclopedia has two main rules: "Be funny and not just stupid," and "Don't be a dick."[4]

The wiki has a system for reviewing articles for their humour, grammar, spelling, use of images, and overall presentation, named Pee Review to parody Wikipedia's article review service Peer Review.[15] Writers post their articles on the Pee Review project page for review by other Uncyclopedians.[16] Similarly, a reference desk exists as the "Reefer Desk" to offer review of humorous user-edited images.

One feature of Uncyclopedia's articles is the use of quotations, usually misquoted, fictitiously attributed or entirely fabricated. [17] Among the most recurrent themes is the invention of quotes that are attributed to Oscar Wilde,[18] a phenomenon which began with an article stating that inventing Wilde quotes was the “national sport of England”.[4] Themes such as "kitten huffing" (the inhalation of cats as a form of drug abuse) and misadventure involving "grues" (a reference to the Zork text adventure series, in which players are repeatedly eaten by these creatures) recur frequently.

Uncyclopedia administrators are challenged by a steady flow of articles that do not meet Uncyclopedia's standards. Much like Wikipedia, Uncyclopedia has policies concerning vanity articles, which are articles written by an individual associated with the subject of the page. Originally, vanity articles were welcomed as long as they were humorous. However, many of these articles degenerated into flamewars, and creation of vanity pages was therefore disallowed.[4]

Subprojects Edit

As well as housing many articles designed to satirize Wikipedia-style content, Uncyclopedia also contains several secondary projects (known as "UnProjects").[4][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.

Uncyclopedia project Object of parody
UnBooks Wikibooks
UnNews Wikinews
Undictionary Wiktionary
Un-Bestiary Wikispecies
Uncycloversity Wikiversity
Unquotable Wikiquote
UnScripts
UnSource
Wikisource
UnMeta-Wiki Wikimedia Meta-Wiki
UnCommons Wikimedia Commons
The Uncyclopedia Store The Wikipedia Store
UnTunes iTunes
HowTo wikiHow
Why? None

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 parody 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.[4] 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.[1] It has also been listed as one of the "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites" in PC Magazine,[27] as well as among the "101 most useful websites" on the internet by The Sunday Telegraph.[28]Seattle Post-Intelligencer considers Uncyclopedia to be "The Onion of wiki sites. You'll laugh aloud while browsing through Uncyclopedia's satirical and outlandish articles."[29]

Criticism Edit

Template:Wikinews In May 2006, The New Zealand Herald reported on school officials, including the headmaster of King's College, stating that Uncyclopedia and Bebo were "cyber bullying menace[s]". This was prompted by one Epsom Girls' Grammar School student's name and cellular phone number, along with an offensive message, being posted to Uncyclopedia without her knowledge. The individual in question stated that students commonly added full names and photographs to their own pages, drawing concern from several schooling establishments.[30] The report contributed to the imposition and reworking of the website's vanity and cyberbullying policies, which were only loosely enforced beforehand.[31][32][33]

The article on The Lake District was criticised in June 2007 as being offensive by councillors and tourism bosses, who called for stricter regulations on the site. The story was reported in British local newspaper the North-West Evening Mail,[34] but no policy changes were made as a result of this. In fact, the publicity generated by the issue prompted the Lake District article to be featured on Uncyclopedia's main page.[35] In a similar incident in November 2007, Uncyclopedia's article on Northern Ireland was criticised by Northern Irish politician James McCarry who branded the site "disgraceful" and vowed to, along with help from Moyle Council, "get it removed". Ardoyne councillor Conor Maskey and Portadown News creator Newton Emerson opposed McCarry, saying people should be more relaxed about the website. This story was reported in The Belfast Telegraph.[36]

A similar incident occurred in April 2008, when civic leaders of Telford, Shropshire, UK lashed out at an article calling the town “a world leader in the production and reproduction and re-reproduction of Chavs”.[37] Another article, this time about the Shropshire county town of Shrewsbury says the town is only famous for being the birthplace of Charles Darwin, and includes insults towards the residents describing them as monkeys who have evolved into sheep.[38]

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.[39][40] Uncyclopedia's users found this statement more humorous than serious, and subsequently parodied the directive in an UnNews article.[41][42]

The site uses an identical layout to Wikipedia[43] which causes confusion to users, for example mistaking the content as factual.[44]

Uncyclopedia in other languages Edit

The Uncyclopedia concept has been adapted to wikis in more than fifty other languages.[2] The UnNews project has similarly been replicated, under various localised names, in eighteen other languages.[45] The websites also invoke various spoof 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.[46] On February 20, 2008, the 50th language, Welsh, was added to the Uncyclopedia series.

While each language wiki is free to establish its own unique community identity, 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. It is "Desciclopédia" in Brazilian Portuguese and "dÉsencyclopédie" in French; both mean "dis-encyclopedia". The Spanish language "Inciclopédia" and Ukrainian language "Інциклопедія" both apply the negation "in-" to "encyclopedia" (Template:LangWithName, Template:LangWithName). In Italian "Nonciclopedia" is likewise constructed from the negation "non-" and the word "enciclopedia".

Some of the largest Uncyclopedias available in other languages are:

Japanese — Ansaikuropedia Edit

File:Uncyclopedia-japanese.png

Ansaikuropedia (Template:LangWithName), third-largest with just over ten thousand pages[47], takes its name from the katakana transliteration of the word Uncyclopedia.[48] The Japanese language Ansaikuropedia was founded in December 2005,[49] as was the Hebrew Eincyclopedia.

It uses its own unique logo, different from all other Uncyclopedias, and is hosted independently in Seoul, South Korea.

Spanish — Inciclopedia Edit

The Spanish Inciclopedia was established in February 2006[50] to accommodate content displaced by the closure of Spanish humour wiki Frikipedia. Frikipedia was shut down by the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores,[51] a Spanish organization for copyright who were angered by Frikipedia's entry on them.[50] Frikipedia was eventually relaunched.

Notables such as Chilean folk singer Monteaguilino and Senator Pedro Muñoz have expressed their discontent with Inciclopedia and the site's mockery of the Chilean flag and national symbols.[52]. 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 [53].

Portuguese — Desciclopédia Edit

Desciclopédia, the Portuguese language version with over ten thousand pages, is the second-largest Uncyclopedia.[2] Founded in August 2005,[54] it purports to be the brainchild of the largely-fictional Doctor Robert (Template:LangWithName). Desciclopédian humour routinely targets regional Brazilian notables such as centagenarian comedy actress Dercy Gonçalves, depicted as a cover model posed for a Playboy-like magazine Playold. Actress Cláudia Raia is portrayed as a stingray (Template:LangWithName).[55] Political leaders such as Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva (Template:LangWithName - "squid") also often fall victim to Desciclopédia's parodies[56][57], along with singers, athletes and other public figures[58].

Desciclopédia uses various domain hacks for individual secondary projects, which include Desnoticias ("notici.as" is "news"), Descionário (with "dicionár.io" meaning "dictionary"), Deslivros (for books, "bibliote.ca" means "library"), and Desentrevistas ("entre.vist.as" meaning "interviews"). These would correspond to "UnNews", "Undictionary", "UnBooks" and the exclusive-to-Desciclopédia "UnInterviews".

Servers Edit

Approximately half of the Uncyclopedia collection is hosted by Wikia;[5] there are also two dedicated non-Wikia servers co-located in Caledonia which host "Uncyclopedia Babel" project content in various languages.[59] To coordinate these projects (collectively, the "Uncyclomedia Babble Project") an Un-Meta wiki was created in 2006.[60] Template:Clear

References Edit

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External links Edit

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