I did not attend any lectures accept 10 minutes of Richard Wiseman's awesome lecture. And the two Sunday paper presenters who followed me. Ashley F. Miller was very well received with her lecture on "Emotions Aren’t the Enemy". I followed Michael Hartwell's polished lecture on "The Media Isn't Calling Your Skeptics Group, and It's Your Fault". Michael at one point in his presentation talked about how ridiculous would it look if an Alt Med Wikipedia page had no skeptical criticism on it. It was a perfect lead in for my talk. While I was in the room for the other papers I was focused on my notes and sadly didn't get to hear any of the other presentations. Guess I will have to wait for the DVD's.
I spent an enormous amount of time in the hallway mostly at the IIG table, meeting people and snapping pictures. It was such a blast. Besides hanging out with friends and the "Hug Me I'm Vaccinated" campaign (which was so well done, important and FREE) the best part about TAM was meeting people interested in talking about Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (and the Got your Wiki Back project).
Oh my gosh, what a blast it was to be up on stage and have all those people listening to me. I could have gone on for hours giving examples and answering questions...but I only got 15 minutes. I gave away maybe 200 business cards with the URL for here, so I can only hope. If you are new to this blog, Welcome! We really want you here, please look over the past posts, add us to your RSS feed and please, please, please comment.
About the presentation. I really had to cut way back on everything, giving a general overview of a project this big is really difficult. The examples I gave were Joe Nickell's article on Vassula Ryden (which Anna finished editing the same day I presented) and the JREF Pigasus Award to CVS Pharmacy. I have the video of my lecture and will clean it up and load it to my YouTube site. I'll let you know when that is finished but I suspect at least a week.
So here is the Wikipedia lowdown, I'll try to keep it in some kind of chronological order.
Sean Faircloth & Secular Coalition for America:
Wednesday night Stirling and I arrive at South Park Casino in Las Vegas and head to the Del Mar Bar, that's where everyone hangs out. I struck up a conversation with Sean Faircloth from the Secular Coalition for America, I have seen his lecture at least once before and I remember being very impressed. He is a great speaker with a "go get em" kind of personality that I can relate to. I had never visited his Wikipedia page nor the one for the SCA. I told him about the "Got your Wiki Back" project and asked if he had a picture on his page already.
He said he hated having his picture taken because he rarely came out looking good in pictures. So I sat him down and snapped one. I think it turned out rather well, and just added it as the main picture to his page. I moved the image that was already there to lower on the page (I thought it looked rather gray and dull, but it is one of those nice "action" shots that work well).
Sean told me that he had heard that it was possible to somehow link the names on his page to other links. He mentioned Richard Dawkins and several others. I explained that this should be an easy change and I would look into it when I got home. And this is exactly what I have done, if you look at the history of the page you will see the before and after. (click on the "view history" tab at the top of the page). I also went through the page and added hyperlinks to all the proper nouns throughout.
To add hyperlinks go to "edit" at the top of the page next to "view history". Then you will be looking at the HTML writing, every word or phrase that you want to hyperlink to you just put the [[ in front of the word, then ]] at the end of the word. Write something in the "edit summary" like "added several hyperlinks". Check the "watch this page" box so it can be added to your watchlist and you will know if someone has changed this page. Then hit "preview changes" and look at what you changed. If there is any red writing then something is wrong. In the case of Faircloth I tried to hyperlink to name Woody Kaplin and it came out red. Either Woody Kaplin does not have a Wikipedia page, or the name of his page is different than Woody Kaplin, maybe his real name is Robert Kaplin? Anyway, I'll leave that for someone else.
I linked to all the names which should have been done when the page was created. The page really needs a lot more work than I have time for. Someone with more writing skill than I have needs to go into "edit" and rewrite the page. This would take me hours to do correctly, but I'm sure one of you can finish it up in minutes. For example nearly every paragraph starts with "Faircloth this..." or "In (insert year) Faircloth...that".
Also if his page needs work I'm sure the SCA page needs the same kind of work. I didn't really look at the page but someone please check into it. (as usual if you are working on the page could you please comment). Just checked out the "discussion" page for the SCA, totally funny.
I am shocked to discover that he does not have a Wiki page, only a mention. I've got pictures waiting for a page to put them on...hint...hint...hint. His TAM9 blurb looks pretty impressive, I've seen him lecture a few times at skeptical events and I would think he needs a page as a part of the "We Got your Wiki Back" project.
You don't know how bad I want to put this picture on Saunders Wikipedia page. But I suppose I won't because he is really a good guy. I think it would jazz up the page quite a bit and it is a tribute to Randi.
Richard has one of those pages like Brian Dunnings that goes to a disambiguation page. Really would like to figure out how to fix this, but I don't have the skill.
While we are on the subject of changing pictures on sites that already have images, take a look at these two pictures I got. Would love to hear some opinions if these images should go on their pages.