Recovered from Wikipedia's article on ED as of 14 October 05
Encyclopædia Dramatica's history began when a LiveJournal blogger from Seattle, Washington, nicknamed Jameth, started using Wikipedia, an on-line, user-modifiable wiki, and created an article about another LiveJournal blogger dubbed mediacrat. The article was subsequently deleted, despite heavy participation by LiveJournal users to keep the article.
Another LiveJournal user from Las Vegas, Nevada, User:Girlvinyl who is employed as a computer security expert, heard of the deletion of the LiveJournal-related article, and, as a response, came up with the idea of creating Encyclopædia Dramatica so LiveJournal users could write about LJ Drama and their Internet slang. Girlvinyl stated in a Wikipedia discussion that "[avoiding] vanity pages and personal flame wars on wikipedia is the reason Encyclopedia Dramatica exists."
Types of content
Many ED articles have ironic, sarcastic, profane, and black-humor tendencies. For example, the entry on Terri Schiavo states that she died as a result of dehydration because Jesse Jackson preferred to take advantage of the media attention rather than providing a Slurpee from his limousine.
Other common themes include:
- "Internet Law", with a crash course on libel, slander and copyright as applied to web forums;
- Articles about the world's countries that identify the number of 7-11 stores (and thus, Slurpee availability) as an important marker of world status;
- Mocking the self-important;
- Presenting an article as encyclopedic, yet breaking its established tone by reverting to a satirical commentary or criticism.
The Encyclopedia Dramatica makes sporadic attempts to weed out wiki pages that are "unfunny", a term for which the encyclopedia has its own definition. Critics charge that most of the site's jokes are repetitions of identical joke-telling formulas. Whereas fans typically revel in the site's specific brand of internet humor. The administrators may even temporarily ban users who create numerous "unfunny" articles. Because the MediaWiki software blocks IP addresses rather than user accounts, those who share an IP address with a banned user will also be blocked. The site's policy, as currently written, does not protect users from being banned by the administrators. This may have included the belief by some admins that text from Wikipedia being placed on the site would induce a ban, but there is no policy, official or unofficial, about this practice, and, in fact, text from and links to Wikipedia are often included on Encyclopedia Dramatica.
Encyclopedia Dramatica has a number of categories, which users can use as navigational aids. These categories cover topics such as LiveJournal, furries, sex, psychology, fan fiction and Internet trolls. The categories are rarely changed. While most of the encyclopedia is open content, the administrators forbid creation of new categories by non-admin editors.
- Many of the articles on Encyclopedia Dramatica are directly related to users of the world's largest blogging community, LiveJournal. Critics have charged that articles that caricature people exaggerate the facts for the purpose of humor may border on personal attack at times. The flare-up when these users come to Encyclopedia Dramatica to edit their own articles or threaten to employ vexatious litigation to remove the content provides additional humor to those who visit the site.
- In August 2005, a DMCA notice was issued against Uncyclopedia and Wikipedia seeking the removal of a picture of girlvinyl and, for Uncyclopedia, the Encyclopaedia Dramatica logo because the current copyright notice states that they were not authorized to host these images. Whilst this view was contested the images were removed, but the question of whether this is also a vexatious litigation tactic (in this instance, to cause information on the site's ownership to be removed from the articles) remains open.