Uncyclopedia is a website that parodies Wikipedia. Its logo, a hollow "puzzle potato", parodies Wikipedia's globe puzzle logo, and it styles itself "the content-free encyclopedia", parodying Wikipedia's slogan of "the free encyclopedia". Founded in 2005 as an English-language wiki, the project spans over 75 languages as well as several subprojects parodying other wikis. The English version has approximately 30,000 pages of content, second only to the Portuguese.
The content-free encyclopedia that anyone can edit
Type of site
|Owner||Works are owned by their authors, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 (English-language version)|
|Created by||Jonathan "Chronarion" Huang|
|Launched||January 5, 2005|
Various styles of humor are used as a vehicle 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. A typical caption reads, "For those without comedic tastes, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about [subject in question]."
Uncyclopedia was launched on January 5, 2005, by Jonathan Huang, known online as "Chronarion", and a partner known online as "Stillwaters". In July 2006, it was acquired by Wikia (now known as "Fandom").
In January 2013, some Uncyclopedia editors and administrators set up a fork of Uncyclopedia, in response to Wikia's censorship and the imposition of content warnings. The Wikia site remained open due to their staff's desire to keep the site running. There is also an additional site, which was set up originally to be only a mirror website.
Uncyclopedia is built on the same MediaWiki software that Wikipedia uses. However, Fandom has extensively modified its version of MediaWiki, hence the Fandom site running on an older version of the software that is 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. One of the administrators has written a work-around using CSS to continue mimicking Wikipedia, but Wikia personnel have warned that the work-arounds cannot be extended to new visitors and editors by default.
Foreign-language Uncyclopedia-like projects are described below. Some of these are independent domains: In 2007, 25% (or 20 out of 34) of the Uncyclopedia collection was hosted by Wikia. Six dedicated non-Wikia servers host "Uncyclopedia Babel" content in various languages. To coordinate these projects (collectively, the "Uncyclomedia Babel Project") an Un-Meta wiki was created in 2006.
Uncyclopedia projects are run independently by their own members. 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.
The Uncyclopedia hosted on Fandom had been scheduled for deletion due to concerns by Fandom staff of offensive content and was closed as of May 14, 2019. A mirror site had previously been set up by members of this community prior to the Fandom site's closure.
Uncyclopedia's content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license. As of November 2015, the English-language Uncyclopedia contains approximately 30,000 articles.
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. 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". 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!"
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. 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 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. Among the most recurrent themes is the invention of quotes attributed to Oscar Wilde, 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).
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. Uncyclopedia does not police conflict of interest but may delete submissions as non-notable on a case-by-case basis.
One of Uncyclopedia's most popular articles,[weasel words] AAAAAAAAA!, is a nonsensical page, with its content completely consisting of the upper case letter A and some punctuation marks. After its original writing in 2005, it has received popularity in internet memes.
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. 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. 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.
Each year, Uncyclopedia moderators create a list of 100 worst reflections of that year, sometimes marking milestones of that year, or simply news that had happened at that time. 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 100 in time.
|Uncyclomedia project||Object of parody|
|Un-Games||Choose your own adventure books|
As well as housing many articles designed to satirize Wikipedia-style content, Uncyclopedia contains several secondary projects (known as "UnProjects"). As of 2017, there were 16 such projects, 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.
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. The column was then reprinted in other newspapers, including the Taipei Times. The magazine .net featured an interview with Huang about Uncyclopedia in May 2007. 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, and the article in the Cyprus Mail, which focused on the Cyprus article.
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. 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. It has also been listed as one of the "Top 100 Undiscovered Web Sites" in PC Magazine, as well as among the "101 most useful websites" on the internet by The Sunday Telegraph. Seattle Post-Intelligencer considers Uncyclopedia to be the wiki site equivalent of The Onion.
Criticism and controversy
At various times, articles on Uncyclopedia have generated criticism from King's College, the North-West Evening Mail, Northern Irish politician James McCarry, civic leaders of Telford, Shropshire, UK, the Sioux City Journal, Hawke's Bay Today, and Lochaber News.
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.
In November 2012, the page "HowTo:Commit suicide" on the Russian-language 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. The case is currently in the ECHR.
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".
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.
Uncyclopedia in other languages
The Uncyclopedia concept has been adapted to wikis in more than fifty other languages. The UnNews project has similarly been replicated, under various localised names, in eighteen other languages. 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. 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
Spademanns Leksikon 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.
Arabic — Beidipedia
Literally "Egg pedia", the Arabic version contains satirical content.
Dutch — Oncyclopedia
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.  The Onziclopedie was renamed to Oncyclopedia (Neerlandica). Later more projects started: OnZinnen (Unquotable) , OnBoeken (UnBooks)  and the Oncycloversiteit (Uncycloversity). Oncyclopedia also has its own fictional radio station (OnRadio)  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.  At the end of May 2011, the Oncyclopedia had more than 2,150 articles.
Finally there is the "Oncyclopolis Project".  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
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.
German — Stupidedia
Stupidedia (from stupid and encyclopedia) is an Austrian wiki featuring satirically themed articles. 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[update]. Its slogan is "Wissen Sie Bescheid? Nein? Wir auch nicht!" (English: Do you know the score? No? Neither do we!).
Italian — Nonciclopedia
Nonciclopedia, the Italian language version, was founded on November 3, 2005, and features over 14,000 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), 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 on very rare occasions. In October 2011, Nonciclopedia was closed for a short while by the administrators after legal threats were issued by Vasco Rossi. This has generated a strong protest movement on Facebook and other social networks.
Japanese — Ansaikuropedia
Uncyclopedia (Japanese: アンサイクロペディア Ansaikuropedia), fourth-largest with just over ten thousand pages, takes its name from the katakana transliteration of the word Uncyclopedia. It was founded in December 2005. Its "UnNews" section is known for posting stories that closely resemble real news stories, which has caused rumors and angry reactions on Twitter.
Polish – Nonsensopedia
Nonsensopedia is a Polish project that was initially just a Polish version of Uncyclopedia, but has since diverged from other projects in the family. It was founded on 14 September 2005 and has since grown to over 19,000 pages. It was hosted on Wikicities (later Wikia), but has since moved to an independent host on nonsa.pl in March 2019. Contrary to other Uncyclopedias, it puts a larger focus on following copyright law and encourages users actively to upload only free content.
Portuguese — Desciclopédia
Desciclopédia, the Portuguese language version with over 50,000 pages, is the largest Uncyclopedia. Founded in August 2005, 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). Political leaders such as Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva (Portuguese: lula - "squid") also often fall victim to Desciclopédia's parodies, along with singers, athletes and other public figures.
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
The Russian language Uncyclopedia, Absurdopedia, was originally hosted by Wikia at absurdopedia.wikia.com on 24 February 2006. In October 2010, a fork site was established at absurdopedia.net In March 2019, the original Absurdopedia moved to the address absurdopedia.wiki as the "Olbanian" version of the project.
Spanish — Inciclopedia
The Spanish language Inciclopedia was established in February 2006 to accommodate content displaced by the closure of Spanish humour wiki Frikipedia. Frikipedia was shut down after being sued by the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores, a Spanish organization for copyright who were angered by Frikipedia's entry on them. Frikipedia was eventually relaunched. As of October 2013, Inciclopedia has more than 10,000 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. 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.
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