Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of American Studies
The SCP Wiki is a collaborative creative writing website specializing in the bizarre and horrific. Within a fictional world, supernatural creatures threaten humanity’s survival. The Foundation, a shadowy organization, aims to secure and contain these entities and protect the human race from extinction. Each SCP article delineates in scientific tone the containment procedures of a particular entity.
There are four distinctive elements of the SCP Wiki. First, the community, with its large user base and amount of content, can only exist online because of the accessibility of information and collaboration.
Second, the writers’ artistic style intentionally mirrors the visual aesthetics of declassified government documents in order to lend realism to their own fictional works.
Third, the SCP Wiki community has collaboratively constructed an elaborate legend complex about the fictional Foundation, which they then engage with through writing and community participation. This demonstrates that, although it does not have to, reverse ostension, engagement with a self-made legend, can occur in a purely digital community.
Last, the community’s group formation and reverse ostensive practices are mutually co-constructing. Group members are drawn to the SCP Wiki because of their interest in the content, but the content only exists because group members collaboratively construct it.
This thesis explores the unique group formation and folklore processes used by the SCP Wiki community. Despite its geographically distant users, the Wiki’s community continues to grow. The SCP Wiki and its fiction work with the Foundation demonstrates how online communities engage with legend creation and ostension, and elucidates how reverse ostension and group formation interact.