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Old 21st February 2006, 10:46 PM   #1
MattusMaximus
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Skeptics needed for Wikipedia

Howdy all,

I just got this email from someone who runs a skeptic webring. I thought it might interest you all...

Cheers - Mattus

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Invitation

I would like to invite webmasters and site owners to begin editing Wikipedia and SkepticWiki. There are many subjects for skeptics to get involved with, and we really need help. There are plenty of loons out there doing the editing right now, and far too few skeptics to keep them at bay.

Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

SkepticWiki
http://www.skepticwiki.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page


Any coordination of efforts should be done by private email, since Wikipedia keeps a very public history of *every* little edit, and you can't get them removed. We don't need any accusations of a conspiracy!



My User page at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Fyslee

My "Talk" page ("discussion" tab) for any comments.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Fyslee



I keep an eye on users who keep editing articles to favor an unscientific POV. Likewise those who continually revert good edits in attempts at revisionism, censorship, whitewashing, or political correctness. One must present both sides of any controversy. To leave out one side amounts to promoting the other side's POV.

One particular user dominates the Chiropractic article in this manner and needs to be watched:

Levine2112



Some of the subjects in my "watchlist":

Alternative medicine
Anomalous phenomenon
Anti-Quackery Wikipedians
Applied kinesiology
Aspartame
B. J. Palmer
Barbara Loe Fisher
Chiropractic
Cold reading
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal Complementary and alternative medicine Daniel David Palmer Doctor of Chiropractic Evidence-based medicine Harris Coulter Inedia Innate intelligence James Randi Kevin Trudeau Life University List of oxymora Magnet therapy Manipulation Marcello Truzzi Mass marketing Mucoid plaque National Anti-Vaccination League National Vaccine Information Center Orthomolecular medicine Oxymoron Placebo effect Pseudoscience Quackbusters Quackery Quackpotwatch Quackwatch SCAM Scientology Skepticism Spinal adjustment Stephen Barrett Subluxation The National Council Against Health Fraud Vertebral subluxation Viera Scheibner


Some of the Categories in my watchlist:

Category:Alternative medicine
Category:Alternative medicine stubs
Category:Anti-Quackery Wikipedians
Category:Chiropractic
Category:Physical Therapist Wikipedians Category:Physical Therapists Category:Physician Wikipedians Category:Pseudoscience Category:Quackery Category:Skeptical Wikipedians Category:Wikipedians by profession


I hope to see more skeptics in action!


Regards,

Paul Lee
RingMaster

Skeptic Ring - http://l.webring.com/hub?ring=skeptic
Anti-Quackery Ring - http://g.webring.com/hub?ring=antiquackerysite

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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Old 22nd February 2006, 03:22 AM   #2
Angus McPresley
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Just the other day I cleaned up a very credulous and woo-full account of Anneliese Michel, a supposedly "possessed" woman who underwent an exorcism.

I'm sure there's lots of other articles in a similar vein...
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Old 22nd February 2006, 03:28 AM   #3
geni
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
Howdy all,
Any coordination of efforts should be done by private email, since Wikipedia keeps a very public history of *every* little edit, and you can't get them removed. We don't need any accusations of a conspiracy!
Umm how shall I put this. Coordination of efforts done by private email are a conspiracy.
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Old 22nd February 2006, 03:05 PM   #4
Beleth
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
I would like to invite webmasters and site owners to begin editing Wikipedia and SkepticWiki.
Thank the person who sent this to you for their gracious invitation, but I am afraid I must decline.

I have this aversion to having my words being edited by someone who doesn't know what they are talking about, or has an agenda that is different from the truth. Both of those types of people are in abundance on Wikipedia, and the ability for them to edit my words is the foundation on which Wikipedia is based.

No offense, geni.
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Old 22nd February 2006, 05:29 PM   #5
Ozymandias
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
Umm how shall I put this. Coordination of efforts done by private email are a conspiracy.
It's only a conspiracy if it's two or more people conspiring to commit a crime. There is no crime here.
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Old 22nd February 2006, 06:18 PM   #6
JayT
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Conspiracy? Lies, all lies I tell you !

Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
It's only a conspiracy if it's two or more people conspiring to commit a crime. There is no crime here.

It doesn't have to be a crime to be a conspiracy, just a sneaky effort of some kind involving two or more persons working secretly together to accomplish some agreed upon plan.

Plotting a surprise birthday party for someone is an example of a conspiracy, but the reason for the secrecy is not related to anything criminal or underhanded.



But I have my doubts about using the Wiki model for the given purposes, since any space alien that comes along can insert his authentic sounding scientific double talk into the articles and eventually the casual, not critical thinking adept reader, will never know who to believe anymore as the war against Woo rages on.

If an article, once validated for responsible content, could be locked to prevent unauthorised changes thereafter, then I would consider the idea more acceptable.

The idea is to present reliable, validated information and reduce confusion for the readers to a minimum and the Wiki model can't do that to my satisfaction in this case based on my studies of Wikipedia to date.
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Old 22nd February 2006, 06:33 PM   #7
Renfield
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Originally Posted by Angus McPresley View Post
Just the other day I cleaned up a very credulous and woo-full account of Anneliese Michel, a supposedly "possessed" woman who underwent an exorcism.

I'm sure there's lots of other articles in a similar vein...
How does this wikipedia thing work anyway? What stops it from becoming a neverending back and forth between opposing groups like skeptics and woo woo's or fans of Berry Manilow and soulles cynics.
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Old 22nd February 2006, 07:37 PM   #8
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Ditto

Originally Posted by Renfield View Post
How does this wikipedia thing work anyway? What stops it from becoming a neverending back and forth between opposing groups like skeptics and woo woo's or fans of Berry Manilow and soulles cynics.
That's the same idea behind my post above too.

It's an open invitation to incite the 'War of the Woos'

Reasoning with a Woo, is like trying to bargain with the Terminator for your life.
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Old 22nd February 2006, 08:17 PM   #9
Krash
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
Umm how shall I put this. Coordination of efforts done by private email are a conspiracy.
Yup.

People who come to Wikipedia with an agenda usually wind up shooting themselves in the foot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Krash

That's me. I edit far too much for my own good.
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Old 22nd February 2006, 08:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Renfield View Post
How does this wikipedia thing work anyway? What stops it from becoming a neverending back and forth between opposing groups like skeptics and woo woo's or fans of Berry Manilow and soulles cynics.
That happens so often, it has a name.
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Old 23rd February 2006, 03:03 AM   #11
Mojo
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
Any coordination of efforts should be done by private email, since Wikipedia keeps a very public history of *every* little edit, and you can't get them removed. We don't need any accusations of a conspiracy!
Probably not a good idea to post it here where it can be seen by anyone, then.
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Old 23rd February 2006, 03:22 AM   #12
geni
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Originally Posted by Ozymandias View Post
It's only a conspiracy if it's two or more people conspiring to commit a crime. There is no crime here.
Only becuase so far wikipedia admins do not form a significant voteing block.
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Old 23rd February 2006, 07:00 AM   #13
geni
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Originally Posted by Krash View Post
Yup.

People who come to Wikipedia with an agenda usually wind up shooting themselves in the foot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Krash

That's me. I edit far too much for my own good.
No you don't your editcount is perfectly healthly.
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Old 23rd February 2006, 07:03 AM   #14
geni
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Originally Posted by Renfield View Post
How does this wikipedia thing work anyway? What stops it from becoming a neverending back and forth between opposing groups like skeptics and woo woo's or fans of Berry Manilow and soulles cynics.
People don't seem to be able to handle intensive edit wars for much more than a couple of days so serious ones don't last very long. There is always RFC RFM and Arbcom if normal disscussion doesn't work.
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Old 23rd February 2006, 09:58 AM   #15
Krash
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
No you don't your editcount is perfectly healthly.
Yes, but my social life is currently on life-support.
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Old 24th February 2006, 08:17 AM   #16
joeybernard
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This is actually a good idea. I just finished correcting some misinformation being handed around locally here. We really should be doing the same in what is becoming a central information repository. People are using Wikipedia, regardless of how accurate or factual it is, so we should be trying to make sure that the information posted there is as accurate as possible. I'll have to get myself involved.
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Old 24th February 2006, 04:32 PM   #17
geni
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Originally Posted by joeybernard View Post
This is actually a good idea. I just finished correcting some misinformation being handed around locally here. We really should be doing the same in what is becoming a central information repository. People are using Wikipedia, regardless of how accurate or factual it is, so we should be trying to make sure that the information posted there is as accurate as possible. I'll have to get myself involved.
This may be a good start:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikiped...nal_Skepticism
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Old 2nd March 2006, 06:28 PM   #18
Marker
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Please contribute

I've just added comments to the John Edwards and Uri Geller articles and - when I get the time - will probably do a serious rewrite of the JE entry.

Ironically, I will probably be de-skepticising the articles in question. Dont hate me for this. An obviously biased article - albeit in a skeptical way - does not do us any good. If an article is perceived as being a "skepic's rant" it does us no favours and just provides fuel for the opposition. It is important to provide a NPOV (neutral point of view) but at the same time lay out the facts as clearly as possible.

If we have confidence that the facts speak for themselves then we dont have to speak for them...

Id like to encourage other members of this forum to contribute to Wikipedia wherever they can. Often the problem is not removing the woowooism but ensuring that the skeptical approach is represented in a way that isnt as obviously partisan as it often appears to be.

Contribute!
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Old 2nd March 2006, 06:39 PM   #19
Jeff Corey
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It's very discouraging. Articles I've corrected have lapsed back into the original inaccuracies. I've told students to treat any info there as if it were grafitti.
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