Thursday, July 7, 2011

Use your Lists!

Part of the "We Got Your Wiki Back" Project

Lists dominate my life.  My boss teases me that I write things on my to-do list that I have already completed just so I have the pleasure of being able to cross it off.  Maybe he is right, I do like lists.  I like to know where I've been and where I need to go next.

I have discussed a ton of projects to be done with  Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia as well as the "We Got your Wiki Back" project, that I'm almost thinking I should back down on adding more items to the list.


This blog is about how to use lists to our advantage.  Maybe writing blurbs isn't your thing. Maybe your just starting out and want something simple to do, but still important.  Got just the thing for you.

Start with your favorite skeptical journal/magazine whatever.  Usually in the front of most of these magazines there is a list of people who are fellows of that organization.  JREF, Skeptical Inquirer, Skeptic Magazine and probably many more.  Probably choose the most recent publication so you have a current list.

In Skeptic Magazine I've found a list of people who are on the Editorial Board.  Looking up a random name "Gregory Forbes" I am able to find his Wikipedia page.  This page is a stub, badly maintained, hardly any information and clearly no picture.  Shame on us.  How will the general public view this man if he becomes a spokesman for skepticism today?  Even if he does not speak out for skepticism but still appears in the media readers are going to go to his page and not find a single mention of Skeptic Magazine.

Here is all we know about Gregory Forbes
Dr. Greg Forbes (born 1950) is The Weather Channel's current severe weather expert and has a significant research background in the areas of severe storms and tornadoes.
Born and raised near Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Forbes earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology at Pennsylvania State University. He studied tornadoes and severe thunderstorms at the University of Chicago, where he obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. There, Dr. Forbes studied under famous tornado scientist Ted Fujita and his thesis was regarding the 1974 Super Outbreak where he and Fujita made researches in areas hardest hit to help determine which thunderstorms can spawn the most intense tornadoes. It was by then, he discovered that the hook echo can produce the strongest tornadoes.
He has taught such classes as Severe Storms Seminar and Computer Applications in Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University before moving to The Weather Channel in Atlanta. He continues limited research and was on the development team of the Enhanced Fujita Scale which in 2007 replaced the original Fujita Scale from 1971.
That's it.  I just grabbed a random name off a list and this is what I found.  

Now lets take SI magazine.  Front cover of March/April 2011 shows a long list of fellows.  Lets pick another random name from the list.  "Jere Lipps" who was one of the first people I met when I went to my first "conference" in San Jose, CA in 2000.  I have never looked at Jere's Wikipedia page, but apparently he does have one.  Well guess this is where we stand on his page

He has been elected a fellow of eight organizations and serves on the board of directors of Micropaleotology Project and the Cushman Foundation.
Not a single mention that he has been actively involved in the skeptical movement and is a Fellow for CSI.  Why?

Have you heard about Project Steve?  Stirling, my son loves his Steve shirt and I've looked at it many many times and thought "very clever".  That shirt contains a list of 1,000 Steve and Stephanie scientists that support Evolution.  One quick blurb that links to Project Steve Wiki page as well as the National Center for Science Education website would be all it takes. I randomly looked for these people on Wikipedia and didn't find a page for any that I selected.  As we do find these pages a quick copy/paste of the blurb and citations you have already written would suffice.  Also check to see if they are on the American skeptic list of people.  (I just added Jere Lipps page, now we are up to 95 American Skeptics)

Looked at Stephen Jay Gould's Wikipedia page.  No mention of Project Steve on his page.  Just looked at his "Discussion" page and still no mention of it.  The reason why it is called Project Steve is because of Stephen Jay Gould.  Wow!  At least he has a picture. 

I'm sure you have your favorite lists.  Please help out this project if only by supplying ideas of lists we can use to get more skeptical content onto Wikipedia.


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