Tuesday, April 15, 2014

QED, Starry Nights Full of Space-Editing... and T-shirts!


This past week, our own Susan Gerbic appeared at QEDcon in Manchester, England! Susan has spearheaded multiple projects, not the least is our Wikipedia user group, and she shared ideas for getting involved "beyond the choir."


For the most part, this update has a bit of a theme to it. Several members of our user community got really excited about the then-upcoming relaunch of Cosmos, and wanted to learn more about its host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and some of the space-related enthusiasm he's generated. Additionally, we are also excited about the opportunities for citizen science participation in space and astronomy, as well as some of the folks who endeavor to perform educational outreach regarding that engagement.

Tyson's manned-spaceflight advocacy, including public speaking and testimony before the United States Senate, has inspired a nonprofit organization (Space Advocates) to launch a campaign, Penny4NASA, to advance a human-spaceflight agenda and the increasing of NASA's budget. In so doing, they've generated quite a bit of enthusiasm and a fair bit of coverage within the space enthusiast community.

Citizen science projects connect researchers with a wide user base and enable engaging educational and collaborative opportunities that are hard to imagine otherwise. As mentioned in a previous update, we performed a substantial expansion of Pamela Gay's biographical article, including newly sourced coverage of CosmoQuest, a citizen science community "bent on together advancing our understanding of the universe."

Editors Tad Callin and Kyle Hamar helped draft and support multimedia efforts on a brand new biographical article on Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society. Lakdawalla's research, educational outreach and coverage of all-things-planetary are worth checking out! On April 1 (April Fool's Day), the article was featured on Wikipedia's "Did You Know..." front page section, with a whimsical hook: "...that Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society has identified places where Martian drones can land on Earth?" (a playful April Fool's nod to her work evaluating Earth-based locations for testing Mars-bound UAV designs). This brought quite a few new viewers to the article (stats).


Conference season is upon us! Looking to show your support of the GSoW team? Wear one of these new T-shirts, available at EvolveFish.com, to show your support for our project.

Order here
(use coupon code "GSoW" for 10% off your order!)

Special thanks to Kyle Sanders of Carbon Dating for the design!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jan & Feb 2014 - We've been Busy!

I think you will find that GSoW has had a couple really busy months. We have completed more tasks in the last two months than we did in the 6 busiest months of 2013.  I am glowing with pride as I write this blog.  This is truly getting stuff done.

Things are just starting to come together with our forum.  I've taken over the training process and it is insane but I love it.  I assign tasks that are as simple as correcting spelling, rewording a paragraph, repairing a citation.  To difficult tasks like completely re-writing a page. 

Mostly new people are assigned what I call "backwards edits" mainly from podcast interviews.  I've made spreadsheets with every episode of specific podcasts, and then assign the new editor the task of listening and relistening to the interview and seeing if they can use the podcast to support or improve the Wikipedia page.  Most times I have not listened to the episode, and many times the new editor has not heard of the "target" before.  In other words this is the opposite of how most WP editors edit.  We are not starting with a "target" in mind and looking for sources to improve it, but having the citation and looking where to put it. 

This forces us to expand to people and organizations we have never heard of.  And it exposes our editors to podcasts and people they were unfamiliar with.  Once the podcast has been used as a citation, then that spreads the Skeptic Love to Wikipedia readers who might never have discovered that podcast.  We are working through entire podcasts and in time will be able to ask what percent of their website hits are coming from Wikipedia.  It might take a while, but we are here for the long haul.  

Below you will see many page improvements.  There are a few brand new page creations, but most are re-writes.  Many came from brand new editors who have joined since January.  They started with the assignment to add one backwards edit to a page, and then they were supposed to leave it alone and then start a new assignment.  But instead they got interested in the "target" and kept working on the page. 

This is just what we finished in January and February.  As I write this blog, there are many many more that are in the works, some are mostly done but we are waiting on audio, photos or just one more thing before launching the page.  

Our goal is to get as many as possible on the front page of Wikipedia as Did You Knows.  This is an outreach to the general Wikipedia reader who might never have heard of scientific skepticism.  We are also approaching our "targets" once we are almost done with the page and asking for an audio recording.  You will see a few on the pages below, and I think you will agree with me that it really brings the page alive. 

I want to quickly mention that I've tried to give a shout-out to the person(s) responsible for working on the page.  Usually there is one strong lead person.  But GSoW is a team, many people contribute to this effort.  People find photos and citations,  proofread and all kinds of other support functions.  And the audio team is working to clean up the audio, get the correct licensing, uploading and turning it into the correct format and adding it to the page.  In some cases you will find we have added closed-captioning to the audio.  I also have photo people who do their photoshop magic on images before we add them to the Wikipedia page.  There is a lot going on behind the curtain.

If any of this interests you, please consider joining our team.  We need people with all kinds of skills.  We do train and mentor.  Training does take a bit of a commitment, so approach us when you have some time to learn.  

Write to us at GSoWteam@gmail.com

And see below to catch up on what we have been doing in the media.  Also where you can meet us in person.     


Freedom from Religion Foundation (Chris and Bill)
Before &  After

Phil Plait - This page has been evolving since I started GSoW, it keeps getting improvements.  With the 14 citations that Nathan Miller has added I think we are done for awhile.  Before & After 

Alan Melikdjanian - Like Plait above, Melikdjanian's page was previously mentioned in a past blog as receiving a makeover.  This is Captain Disillusion, but all you cool cats already knew that.  Editor Kyle Hamar has managed to expand it even further. Before & After

Arthur T. Benjamin  -  Was on our to-do list because of an interview he had done with the Meet the Skeptic's podcast - Sean Whitcomb was given this as a backwards edit and kept going.  He has done a terrific job with this re-write. - Before & After 

Pamela Gay - Received a brand new page courtesy of senior editor Nathan Miller.  Nathan has been focusing on astronomy because of the release of Cosmos in March, we feel that once that is released the world will become more interested in science and the people associated with it. We need to have something for all those readers to find when they are searching.  In order to encourage outreach Nathan managed to get Gay's page featured on the front page of WP for 8 hours as a Did You Know? feature.  This gave Gay's page an additional 1,000 readers.

Burzynski Clinic' s Wikipedia page continues to be updated in English.  Now our German team has completed a rewrite of the English page.  

Edwina Rogers's page received a make-over from editor Tad Callin (who came to GSoW after reading a tweet from Phil Plait) Before & After 

Todd Robbins also received a mini-makeover by Christine Daley who heard of us from the Skepticality Podcast.  Before & After

Kylie Sturgess - one of the first to participate in our new Voice Intro Project.  She has a few updates and check out the new feature.  Really awesome isn't it?

I Sold my Soul on Ebay -  book by Hemant Mehta just got a makeover as well.  We are about to launch Mehta's personal page and felt that the book's page had to be in great shape as well.  Notice that the before only has 3 citations, hardly understand why this page existed on Wikipedia at all.  Before & After

Peter Mogyoros completed a quick makeover on Hungarian scientist Szilveszter E. Vizi. Before & After

Adam Rutherford - Richard did an amazing job with this rewrite I think you will find.  Before & After

Susan Haack's page was expanded from 9 citations to 12 by new editor Michael Bigelow who has just about finished GSoW training. There was a time that I was worried that Michael had disappeared from GSoW, I wrote to him and he said he has been busy reading her book. Before & After

Seth Shostak received some additional citations and improvements from Christine Daley, since these updates I have found several more citations, so expect to see Shostak's name back on this list.  Before & After 

Jerry Coyne also received a nice page remake from newish editor Kyle Hamar. Coyne came to my attention when he wrote about GSoW over the Sheldrake drama. Still I didn't look at his WP page until a month ago when I was going through old episodes of the Point of Inquiry podcast looking for backwards edits I use for training people. I looked at his page and asked Kyle, can you find anything else for this page, I think it looks a bit lean. Oh my gosh, Kyle could have written two WP pages for him. Before & After

Paul Offit was another rewrite from Kyle Hamar. Just like with Coyne, the Offit rewrite came because I assigned a backwards edit to Kyle, the page started with 17 citations, and Kyle has expanded it to 22. Before & After

Mark Edward received some small updates as well as audio.

James Underdown had audio added as well.

Maryam Namazie got a lot of attention from the Dutch powerhouse Leon Korteweg.  He and Ryan Harding re-wrote the English page (from 6 citations to 22) and then Leon and editor Rik Delaet translated that to create the Dutch page. English Before & After  -  Dutch  And this is a perfect example of how the World Wikipedia team works. 

Elizabeth Pisani's page was saved from deletion by another new editor Jay Young.  This page had 2 flags on it, notability and lack of citations.  I'm looking back at Jay's training thread on our forum and see that this was almost his first project with GSoW, he learned quickly.  At the time of this writing I see that we could not find a image, we tried many sources and Jay even contacted the TED people, but we didn't find one.  Before & After 

Emery Emery also received a brand new page.  This was another of Jay Young's creations, and now that I'm writing this blog I see we really handed him a lot of work. When you look at these pages it might not look like a lot of work, but really it is.  When we approached Emery and asked for audio, I realized that I really didn't know what the time limits were.  We were given a few examples that were all cookie cutter type examples.  Emery broke those rules as you will see when you review his page.  Quite refreshing.

Annie Laurie Gaylor - This was rewritten months ago by Chris Peterson but it slipped by getting mentioned in the blog.  Before & After 

Archie Cochrane - You might remember was mentioned last year as it was translated into Dutch.  But now editor Peter Trussell (who is still in training) rewrote the page in English.  Before & After 

John Allen Paulos - Rewrite work by Coen de Bruijn who is not completely finished with training yet. Coen will be joining the Dutch editing team when he is done. I should mention that this is another backwards edit from the Meet The Skeptic's podcast. Because I'm limited to English, I train in English. As the teams grow bigger, eventually we will be able to accommodate training non-English editors. Before & After

Ray Hyman - Now has a page in Dutch thanks to Rian van Lierop and Leon Korteweg

Bill Nye the Science Guy - Before the Nye vs Ham debate, GSoW took a look at the Bill Nye page which appeared to be in good shape. The Bill Nye the Science Guy page (yes it is a completely different page) had some citation issues. Jay Young took a look at it and gave it a quick makeover. Just in time too. GSoW believes that we need to have WP pages in great shape in order to make sure we have them ready for when the public becomes interested. Before & After

The following graphs are quite interesting.  The first one shows the spike on the Bill Nye page on Feb 5th the day of the debate.  

 This graph shows the spike for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry page on Feb 5th. The only mention of CSI on the Bill Nye page was a hyperlink under a photo.

Here are the results for the Bill Nye the Science Guy's page on Feb 5th.

Eugenie Scott seems to be always on this update list. We have translated her page into several languages the last year. I thought we were done with her English page. But newish editor Christine Daley went in and added even more. Current Page

Scientific American Magazine - Just received a rewrite in Portuguese, I think calling the page a re-write is being generous,  probably should just say Filipe Russo created the page brand new. I'm amazed that these pages were allowed to exist on Wikipedia.  Great work Filipe.  Before & After 

Jan Zaanen - This person knows what quantum actually means and probably can explain it too. This awesome re-write courtesy of Coen de Bruijn. Before & After

Atheist Manifesto - or maybe I should say Atheïstisch manifest has been newly created in Dutch by our prolific Leon Korteweg and Vera. 

Sanal Edamaruku was finished just in time to make this blog.  Thank you Lei Pinter and Christine Daley for such great improvements. Before & After

Lastly I was able to squeak in a photo on the Neil deGrasse Tyson page that I noticed on Facebook. The photographer was our very own Richard Saunders.  


Skepticality Podcast 

Our first Russian podcast -  Общество скептиков

Skeptical Connections Podcast 

Skeptic Zone Podcast - Richard Saunders and I discuss GSoW and my cancer treatments.


Where you can find us next... I will be speaking at QED in Manchester, England in April.  And of course you can find me hanging out at TAM in July in Las Vegas and SkeptiCal in Berkeley, CA in May.  

Our German team leader Michael  will be speaking at SkepKon in Germany in May. 

I think that is all we have scheduled at the moment.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Voice Intro Project - WikiMedia Commons

Ever so often you come across something that just makes you feel wonderful no matter how bad your day might have been.  This project is right up there with playing with a kitten or puppy, maybe better.

Voice Intro Project

The blog that started it all

GSoW is going full force with this.  I'm approaching everyone we have written a page for, and everyone I can think of that has a Wikipedia page.  This is so awesome.

Check out these examples in the English area.

So if you have access to someone who has a Wikipedia page (or is likely to have a Wikipedia page) please record them pronouncing their name, and a small intro about themselves. Date of birth, where born, occupation or whatever.

Record it as a .ogg file if you can.  Apparently there are helpers that will help with the conversion if needed. If you can upload it to Wikimedia Commons and send us the URL then I would be most grateful.  If not please just send the recording to us and we will do what we can to make this happen.

Please respond to GSoWteam@gmail.com

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jerry Andrus Revisited

Back in May 2012 I asked the skeptical community to join me and write one Wikipedia page in every language as a training exercise for my newly formed World Wikipedia project.  The page I selected was the Jerry Andrus page.  My reasons were various, but the main reason was because Andrus was a expert with optical illusions, and he only preformed those that he invented himself.  I felt that someone reading the Arabic, Swedish, Russian Wikipedia pages for Andrus would be able to click on the many videos we used as citations and enjoy and understand the illusions without having to understand the language.  And it would be something that could be shared with children and safe for the workplace and grandparents and well, everyone.  No controversy - 100% win for us.  That's how I see it, Andrus is a great stepping stone for skepticism,  he shows you can not believe your eyes, these illusions are amazing and marvelous.

So we started.  I rewrote the English page and launched in August 2012, then my team got started on the translations.  First Portuguese, then closely followed by Arabic, French, Spanish, Dutch, Russian and Swedish.

That was all in 2012, yesterday I revisited the Andrus page as I was writing the Year in Review page for GSoW and wondered what Andrus's view stats looked like.  So I opened up the handy-dandy stat tool and was shocked to see that Andrus on Dec 23 received over 800 page views.  That is quite amazing as he normally gets about 10 views a day.  And the views didn't stop, they trickled down a bit 698 the next day, 440 the next and so on.  Then I looked at the stats for the other language pages, same thing.  A big spike around the 24th.  Only the Spanish and Swedish pages didn't show a spike.  Now what could have caused that kind of hit world-wide?  I have Andrus on Google Alert and occasionally I do get an email, but nothing at all that week.

It didn't even dawn on me till a few hours later.  Mark Edward had shown me a T-Rex illusion that morning that was on his Facebook feed.  "Did you see this?" After a couple seconds I said, yeah, that is a copy of Jerry Andrus's dinosaur illusion.  When it dawned on me later to have another look at that video,  it had over 3 million views and mentioned Andrus in the notes.  One of my GSoW editors mentioned that the video had been on Dig a few days before and I guess the video went viral.  Now it turns out that our own Phil Plait has written about the video on his blog over at Slate magazine.  Plait mentioned that he met Andrus at a conference and suggests that people "look him up" he even included a link to his WP page.  The beauty of the illusion is so wonderful that this could appear just about anywhere.  Fox News anyone?  So tomorrow should really be interesting to re-visit the Andrus WP views.

This is just another example of why we need to have the backs of our skeptical spokespeople.  Even a very quiet page like Jerry's might just spring into action with no notice, we have to be prepared.

Think of it this way, before GSoW got involved, this is what the Andrus page looked like.  Does this look like a respected man in our community?  Does this engage the reader and encourage them to click on the other hyperlinks to learn more about scientific skepticism?  Does this show any of this man's personality?

Now look at the current page, the one that thousands will be viewing the next few days. Click on the hyperlinks from this page, I hope you will be pleasantly surprised that those pages (created by GSoW) are also in excellent shape, engaging and reflect beautifully on our cause.

We have thousands more of these pages to do.  If you would like to help out we are always looking to mentor and train more editors.  Please write to us at GSoWteam@gmail.com.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

GSoW Year End

I haven't done this before but thought before this becomes an overwhelming task I would release a list of articles GSoW has either rewritten or created from scratch.  Even though it has only been 2 and a half years, this took me several nights to put this list together.  I was pretty amazed to see everything in one place like this.  

Keep in mind GSoW is busy with all kinds of other edits as well as other support functions to train, mentor as well as keep the forum running.  These are just the more "glamorous" edits.

I'm so very proud of my people, these creations are no small task.  Keep watching through 2014, we have a lot planned.  Or better yet,  join the team.  GSoWteam@gmail.com


Brian Dunning  - Before - After

Sean Faircloth - Before  - After

Jennifer McCreigh -  Before  -  After

Ben Radford  - Before  - After

James Underdown - New page

Playing Gods - Before - After

Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture - Before - After

William B Davis - Before - After


Alison Gopnik - Before - After 

Sikivu Hutchinson - Before - After

Tom Flynn - Before - After

Robert Ingersoll Birthplace - Before - After

Kendrick Frazier - Before - After

Bryan & Baxter - New Page

Jennifer Ouellette - New Page

Tim Farley - New Page

Mary Roach - Before - After

Kiki Sanford - Before - After

Barry Beyerstein - Before - After

Jerry Andrus - Before - After

Jerry Andrus - Portuguese (our very first World page)
Jerry Andrus - Arabic
Jerry Andrus - Russian
Jerry Andrus - Spanish

James Alcock - Before - After

Loren Pankratz - New Page

Ray Hyman - Before - After

Skeptic's Toolbox - New Page

Penn & Teller - Portuguese - Before - After

Bob Carroll - French - Before - After

Bob Carroll - Dutch - New page

Nina Burleigh - Before - After

Indre Viskontas - New page

Bell Witch - Before - After

Vashti McCollum - Before - After

SkeptiCamp -  New Page

Reason Rally - Before - After 

The Steve Allen Theater - New Page


Erich von Däniken - Portuguese - Before - After

Indigo Children - Portuguese - New page 

Power Balance - Portuguese - New page

Paul Kurtz - Russian - Before - After

Mark Boslough - Before - After

Stuart Firestein - New page

Danielle Egnew - Before - After

Sara Mayhew - New page

Kenneth Feder - Before - After

Paul Kurtz - Portuguese - Before - After

Martin Gardner - Portuguese - Before - After

Phil Plait - Portuguese - New page 

Jerry Andrus - Swedish - New page

Karl Shuker - Before - After

Point of Inquiry - Before - After

Our Lady of Warraq - Before - After

SkeptiCamp - Spanish - New Page

James Randi - Dutch - Before - After

James Randi - Portuguese - Before - After

Michael Shermer - Dutch - Before - After

Devraha Baba - Before - After

Leo Igwe - Before - After

Leo Igwe - German
Leo Igwe - Dutch
Leo Igwe - Russian

Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers - Before - After

Donald Prothero - New Page

Skeptical Inquirer Magazine - Portuguese - New Page

10:23 Campaign - Portuguese - New Page

Ruth Hurmence Green - Before - After

Skeptic's Guide to the Universe - Portuguese - New Page

One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge - New Page

Long Island Medium - Portuguese - New Page

Stan Romanek - New Page

Sharon Hill - New Page

Desiree Schell - Before - After

Deseret Travers (psychic) - Page Deleted for not being noteworthy

Skeptic Magazine - Portuguese - New Page

Jeff Peckman - New Page

Child's Healthcare is a Legal Duty (CHILD) - Before - After

James Alcock - French - New Page

Rationalism - Before - After

Bad Astronomy - Before - After

ADE - 651 - Dutch - New Page

Gore Orphanage - Before - After

Phillip Klass - Before - After

Eugenie Scott - Portuguese - New Page
Eugenie Scott - Spanish - New Page

Neil deGrausse Tyson - Portuguese - Before - After 
Neil deGrausse Tyson - German - New Page
Neil deGrausse Tyson - Dutch - New Page

David Gorski - Before - After

Tracking the Chupacabra - New Page

Ronald Bailey - Before - After

Merseyside Skeptics - Before - After

Pascal's Wager - Dutch - New Page

Archie Cochrane - Dutch - New Page

Lawerence Krauss - Dutch - Before - After

Andrew Skolnick - Before - After

Bart Ehrman - Dutch - New Page

Bart Ehrman - Before - After

Chris French - Before - After

Dan Ariely - Before - After

Eddie Tabash - Before - After

Spontaneous Human Combustion - Before - After

Susan Blackmore - Before - After

Burzynski Clinic - Portuguese - New Page

Pet Psychic - Before - After

Rose Marks - New Page

Dutch Association for Critical Shots - Dutch - New Page

Annie Laurie Gaylor -  Before & After 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Egg Balancing and more (lots more)

Just so you know, all the conspiracy theories about GSoW you have been reading the last few months are true.  We are a bunch of mean skeptics that are doing everything we can to make sure every Wikipedia page is backed up with great noteworthy citations, proving all the claims made on the page.  Evidence rules!  We are always actively looking for more like-minded people to train in our guerrilla warfare.  I address the Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra drama near the bottom of this blog, as well as offer you a few videos, podcasts and blogs that have appeared about our project in the last month or so.

But before we get to all that nasty drama, I want you to see what we have really been doing with our time with a few of the more glamorous updates to Wikipedia.

One of my more devious editors, Nathan Miller just updated this page with an image.  I offer this as evidence of our nefarious conspiracy to improve Wikipedia.  EVIDENCE HERE  (insert evil laugh here while looking at this page)

From a brand new editor, CFI Fellow Andrew Skolnick's page was given a makeover.  Note: We are looking for a photo of Skolnick as well as a photo or two from his investigation with Ray Hyman of the Girl with the Normal eyes.  Before and After

From the Dutch team - Bart Ehrman's page received some improvements and updates on the English page first, then they translated it for Dutch readers.

UK Skeptic Chris French received a nice rewrite from the English team.  Before and After

Dan Ariely's page received a cleanup courtesy of our Lei Pinter.

You might want to sit down before looking at the before and after.  I met Eddie Tabash at CFI's Student Leadership conference in August.  When he learned that I am both a portrait photographer as well as a Wikipedia editor he asked if I could "someday" do something about the image on his WP page.  So I took him outside, snapped a couple shots and within 15 minutes he had a new image for his page.  That was that for a few months, but the page nagged at me, it badly needed a total re-write and I knew I would be seeing him in Oct at the CFI Summit.  So I put my nose to the grindstone and managed to get it re-written in time.   Before and After

Spontaneous Human Combustion was one of my biggest terrors as a child.  The idea that you could be walking down the street and suddenly burst into flames was horrifying.  I was told that even with STOP - DROP and ROLL you would not be able to put out the flames as they came from inside your body.  The thought still makes me shutter!  Why do we tell kids this kind of thing?  When I started editing WP this page was one of the first I visited and added a few citations from Ben Radford, Brian Dunning and Joe Nickell.  I also took out an entire section of examples of SHC that happened hundreds of years ago.  Regardless of all the edits I added and removed, this page needed more improvements, including a lot of organization.  This page has been a pet-peeve for Joe Nickell who tells everyone that it badly needs to be updated.  Just like with Tabash, I knew I would be seeing Nickell at the CFI Summit and wanted to surprise him with a newly rewritten page.  Editor Nathan Miller stepped up and pulled a few all-nighters (which is why we call him our vampire) and got it in shape just in time for the Summit.    Before and After   Guess how many people viewed the SHC page Nov 2013 before viewing this link.

Susan Blackmore received a makeover with a few new images, this page was improved by a member of GSoW along with the general WP editors.  Before and After

Burzynski Clinic page was updated with the FDA findings as well as the USA Today article. Then Portuguese editor Nix Dorf within a day came through with the newly created page translated into Portuguese.

Another brand new editor that found us from the Skeptic Zone podcast, Caitlin rewrote the Pet Psychic page.  Before and After  As you can see, sometimes this means that we remove most of the article, Caitlin removed dead links and unverified information, plus she cleaned up the grammar and made the article flow better.  In all she removed over 3,000 characters from the article.  We had a bit of a laugh during the discussions of this rewrite, I totally misunderstood what this page was about and kept suggesting that Caitlin look into Sheldrake and Wiseman's work with psychic dogs and not to forget Clever Hans and the investigation that the IIG did with Sparky the Wonder dog.  Finally someone explained that this is a WP page for PEOPLE who communicate with animals with their minds, not animals that communicate with people. Duh Susan.

This is our first news article.  Bill toiled over this page creation for quite some time.  Rose Marks and the family psychic fraud page is a bit different from a normal page, as it reads more as something that is updated as events unfold, and not something static.

Also from the Dutch team we see a rewrite of the Nederlandse Vereniging Kritisch Prikken  Dutch Association for Critical Shots page.  Apparently this is a anti-vac group formed by naturopaths.

Nix also finished improving the James Randi page in Portuguese.

Lei wanted to point out that we finally got a photo for the Vashti McCollum uploaded for her page. Thanks everyone that wrote to me giving suggestions on where to look.

****  The GSoW conspiracy  ****

The drama of Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra has almost been laughable.  Every morning for a few months I wondered "what is waiting for me in my inbox?"  Would you believe that there are more than 20 anti-GSoW blogs that have been written in the last few months.  Three came from a skeptic blogger who thinks we are making her job talking to the paranormal community more difficult. She thinks we should be working with their community to write WP pages.  My response is ... we already do this, its called being a Wikipedia editor. We might write an article, but once it is live, then it no longer belongs to us and we are at the mercy of all editors, paranormal believers and not.

I was attacked by all sorts, an astrologer wanted me to debate him.  Others made fun of my hats (can you imagine!) Rupert's latest blog misspelled my name, Susan Gerbik, so much for his investigative skills.  Tim Farley and I discuss the drama and what led up to it on this episode of Skepticality  Jerry Coyne jumps into the fray and defends us in a series of blogs.  This is the first one.  Here is a blog by an astrologer (not sure if it was the same one that challenged me) This is the first in a series by a person who tried to edit Sheldrakes page, got into arguments with just about everyone and ended up storming off complaining about my team. The really funny thing is that this person only made one tiny edit to the Sheldrake page and accused us of having an agenda, this person has only ever edited on the Sheldrake talk page and no where else on WP. Looking over my notes, this appears to be the very first blog from from all this drama and it dates back to 2012, and just tonight I discover that this person has written a book about this mess and I'm in it (with my name spelled correctly, Sheldrake are you listening?).  Amazing!

Must mention that Tim Farley did an awesome write-up investigation of the whole drama on his blog here.  They of course never read this.  Eyes - Wide - Shut

The stories and drama I'm sure will continue.  My team has been very open about what we edit.  In fact every single WP editor's edit history is available with a couple clicks. Its easy to find out who edited what, when and even the time they edited.  But they didn't care about that evidence stuff.  The only thing important is the conspiracy.  Its everywhere you know.  Well just read back a few months through my blogs and you can see the giant conspiracy we have been involved in.

Other mentions in the media recently...

This is a nice article written about us in Swedish for a blog called Borje Peratt explorer.

GSoW has joined the Candle in the Dark team - apparently

This is a very sweet blog by my friend Kitty all about my hats.  Its got lots of pretty photos too

Skeptic Blog - Mark Edward writes about GSoW and the Sheldrake/Chopra drama.

Susan Gerbic wondering if they can balance an egg on my head

Friday, September 27, 2013

New GSoW Forum - Species - Tyson - Krauss - Scott - Cochrane

The GSoW team is now officially moving from the cramped quarters of Facebook to a spacious custom designed forum.  This will really open up our teams to be able to train, mentor and move from language to language.  Expect to see a lot more from us as we work smarter.

The move of all the editors, files and creating help documents/videos have been keeping my "Away Team" busy for months. They wore their red shirts but we didn't lose a single person.  I want to give special thanks to several people who made this happen.  Our resident vampire, Nathan Miller, Chris Peterson, Bill Grieb, Leon Korteweg, Fred Green, Lei Pinter, Nix "Mini-me" Dorf, Ryan Harding, Zooterkin and Svetlana Bavykina.  But extra special thanks go to Walkiria "Paddling" Nubes and Julie Tominson for their relentless attention to the project.  

Dutch editor Emile Dingemans suggested we start a GSoW fan page on Facebook, and so we have.  It will work a bit like this blog, where you can follow and comment.  Here is the link to the Facebook Fan Page for GSoW, at the moment it appears to be full of photos of guerrillas, just our way of celebrating I guess. Of course the blog you are reading now is superior, as you can search for posts on specific topics of interest. Plus you will find a comment or three from Mabus the Internet troll for your reading pleasure.  I also know that there is at least one comment from the Amazing Randi himself on a post about his dear friend, Jerry Andrus.


Not everyone has been working on creating the forum, some remained editing Wikipedia as you will see. I should point out that GSoW is 
constantly editing on WP, small changes make a lot of difference, but to highlight all those changes would be too much to relate here.  I'm only highlighting the more glamorous changes with these our latest updates!  If you have questions or would like to join our team, please write to us at GSoWteam@gmail.com.

Nathan Miller updated the Wikipedia page for the film Species, and I'm sure you are asking yourself, how is that related to scientific skepticism?  Nathan wrote the Wikipedia page for Ben Radford's book "Tracking the Chupacabra", which explains how Radford believes the legend of the Chupacabra started.  Sorry to give away the conclusion but even knowing this, you will still find it a great read.  Just learning how poultry can appear to have all their blood drawn out of their bodies was worth the price of the book.   
Before and After   
The Dutch team seemed to develop a burst of energy this month. The Portuguese team better watch out, they might just loose the title of the most prolific non-English editors.

First up is Gok van Pascal, which in English is known as Pascal's Wager.  Leon Korteweg translated this using Dawkin's "The God Delusion".

Wim Vanderberghe translated the English page for Scotsman Archie Cochrane for Dutch readers.  Very interesting man and I'm glad Wim brought him to my attention, I'm sure you will agree.

Leon also translated the Neil deGrasse Tyson page into Dutch.  We are trying to get ready for the release of Cosmos in 2014 by getting all of the Wikipedia pages that are associated with the series, ready and waiting for the thousands of visitors that will be arriving..  We are making progress, English, Portuguese, German, and now Dutch are finished.

Leon decided that because Lawrence Krauss will be appearing with Richard Dawkins in The Unbelievers his WP page needed some work.  Consequentially Krauss will also be speaking in Amsterdam in October 2014 so even more important that the Dutch page be in great shape.  Look at the difference.   Here is the before link.  And now the after.

The Spanish team is slowing down this month, but still Nix Dorf managed to get another page translated. This time it was for Eugenie Scott, who just announced her retirement from the NCSE by the end of 2013.

That's all the updates I have for the moment.  There are a few that are only a couple days away from finishing, they will just have to wait as we want them completely done before launching them.


In case you have missed GSoW in the news, here are a few links to our more noteworthy shout-outs and interviews.

Two from Scot Bestows's blog Do You Think? This one features a conspiracy theory about the upcoming CFI Summit. Which BTW I've been asked to lecture at, so please try to make it.  His first blog on GSoW was one mainly about me being a Rational Hero for that week.

As usual every episode of Skepticality since January 2013 has had a podlet featuring GSoW.  And most of the Skeptical Connections podcasts have allowed me to record a segment, mostly I talk about how to get the skeptical message beyond the choir but please give them a listen, lots of great content from other people are in these episodes.

This was a blog by Robert Blaskiewicz which talked about what is being done RIGHT in the skeptical movement today and we were on that list.  Really cool.  Skeptical Humanities Blog

From a column I wrote for CFI about some of the pages we have written that concerns the history of scientific skepticism.

Ed Clint writing for the Richard Dawkins blog talks about how to get involved in skeptical activism.  Half the blog is given up to discussing GSoW, and the other half to another project I am active in, the Independent Investigative Group (IIG).

CFI asked me to lecture at their leadership conference this summer in New York.  Here are the videos of that lecture.

Janis Callister gave me a long interview allowing me to explain the GSoW project for the Just Skeptic's podcast.

The French language podcast Scepticisme Scientifique interviewed one of my French team members Christophe Michel about the GSoW project.

Sharon Hill's Doubtful News blog highlighted my JREF award from TAM 2013.

Our very own Chris Pederson was interviewed for Freethought Blog about her involvement with GSoW.

I was listed as one of the inspiring women at TAM 2013 on Ed Clint's blog.

Skeptoid Blog mentions the guest lecture given by Shane Greenup and GSoW Swedish team leader Philip Skogsberg at the European Skeptic Congress, held in Stockholm Sweden this August.  I was supported to be the one giving the lecture, but my oncologist would not allow me to travel from California to Sweden during this time.

Recorded at TAM 2013, I was a guest host for Virtual Skeptics podcast.


Upcoming events...

Wednesday October 9th, 2013 I will be lecturing for the Bay Area Skeptics in Berkeley, CA.  Here is more information.

October 24-27, 2013 find me at the CFISummit in Tacoma, WA.  Here is the website.

Saturday, Jan 18th, 2014 I will be lecturing for the Santa Barbara, CA Humanist Society.  (more info to follow)