Monday, June 13, 2011

"We Got Your Wiki Back" ~Elizabeth Loftus on Wikipedia

Always a little terrifying when I start editing articles I know nothing about, but that isn't going to stop me from trying. If I get it wrong I'm sure one of the other editors will let me know.

Today while reading a May/June 2011 issue of Skeptical Inquirer Magazine I noticed an article about Elizabeth Loftus being named to the CSICOP Executive Council. Now I must have already read this as the article mentions Karen Stollznow also becoming a Fellow. But the Loftus's name stood out because I remember my friend Suzanne was mentored in college by her and today I noticed she is going to be speaking at TAM9.

So I took a quick look at her Wikipedia page and noticed that no where on the page is there anything mentioning that she belongs to any skeptical group, no references to any of the many articles (I searched SI's website) she has written for Skeptical Inquirer's Mag. How can this woman who is "the top-ranked woman on the "Review of General Psychology's" list of '100 Most Eminent Psychologists of the 20th Century'" and one of our very own, be totally ignored by our skeptical editors? I just don't understand it.

Well it is a fact, I looked at her discussion page thinking that maybe there was once a reference that maybe someone took off and a discussion happened because of it. But no. Nothing. She doesn't even have a picture.

So I updated her site with this reference to the SI article I had just read. On February 19, 2011 Committee For Skeptical Inquiry CSICOP fellow Elizabeth Loftus was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In her acceptance speech Loftus states that the word “freedom” is personally important to her, as when she began speaking out about repressed memory, she never imagined she would become “the target of organized, relentless vitriol and harassment”. Loftus feels that today's world is for science is a perilous one. If scientists want to preserve their freedoms they need to speak out “against even the most cherished beliefs that reflect unsubstantiated myths”.

Then I wanted to go even further and added this addition to an sentence that had already been written. Just squeezed in the reference to her being a CSICOP fellow. Loftus is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, the Department of Criminology, Law, and Society, and the Department of Cognitive Sciences, a Fellow of The Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine, and a Fellow of the Committee of Skeptical Inquiry's CSICOP Executive Council. She is also a Professor of Law.

I then cited both blurbs and linked them to SI articles. The first article is not "live" so people can't read it first hand, they will have to order the print version from SI's website or maybe go to the library to read it. The second article announcing that Loftus is now a Fellow of CSICOP is linked to the article on SI.

Okay there was still more work to be done. And I'm learning as I go also.

I went to Mark Edward's Wiki page, then selected the "Edit" tab, scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page and copied this phrase "[[Category:American skeptics]]" and added it to a LONG list of other categories on her site. Just a quick paste and that will assure a reader that if someone ever clicks on the hyperlink for American Skeptics (you find categories at the bottom of every well written Wiki page check them out) they will pull up Elizabeth Loftus's page.

These category lists can be pretty helpful in ways that I can't even imagine. When I was putting together a list of all the skeptics that needed a photo taken, I didn't know how to go about it. If I had known I could have gone to this American Skeptic page and just clicked on every hyperlink and collected the names of people missing a picture. Way easier than how I actually did it.

Anyway, there is also a Wikipedia site that is called Rational Skepticism which is behind the scenes for the editors. This site in my opinion is dormant. Which is one reason why I'm writing a blog off of Wikipedia and not on that site. I've posted several times on the site and no one has ever responded. There is a very long list of people who joined the Rational Skepticism site who want to edit, and it even lists their skills. But still I see nothing changing and no new comments. What a waste!

But, it is possible that it could become revived again! Maybe a new group of editors jazzed up and fresh might want to start Doing Something besides just adding their name to a list? Anyway there is a way to put on the discussion page a link back to the Rational Skepticism group so that maybe someday Elizabeth Loftus's page will be of such importance that someone will go to the trouble to start improving her site and adding blurbs from her articles and maybe even a picture.

The way to add it to her site is to again copy this link
{{Rational Skepticism|class=|importance=}} and paste it on the Discussion page at the top. Before you do this you should probably go to someone elses page that you know is well-done (like Carl Sagan or James Randi) and see what is on the discussion page (the edit area of the discussion page BTW). This way your edit will look professional too.

There is a ton of work to be done just on this one woman's page. As she will be a speaker at TAM9 lots more people should be looking on her Wikipedia page and exposed to skeptical articles that they didn't know about.

No comments:

Post a Comment