Friday, June 17, 2011

David Lazarus ~ using watchlists and catagories

Watch lists and Categories are a very quick way to put people on your "to-do" Wiki list. Discovered a new skeptic today, David Lazarus while reading the LA Times.  This man writes a consumer action column two days a week for the newspaper and also appears daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5.  He had written another article I chanced upon a month ago that made me think "who is this guy and why isn't he a part of our skeptic world."? 

Today was the clincher when I found this article called "Diabetes cure? Finding out can cost you $15,000".  In this investigation he looks into the claims of "Doctor" Jeff Hockings and his scam to fleece people out money to cure their diabetes. 

So here I go into Guerrilla Skeptic mode, guess I need a cape or something.  Anyway I'm all set to get on Hocking's wiki page and start hammering him, but he doesn't have a page.  Or any reference I can find on Wikipedia.  That really says something, this man is supposed to be able to cure Type 1 diabetes with a few "cleansings of the system" and some diet changes and herbs you can buy from his company.  You would think if it worked that he would be world famous.  Sadly its a scam and people are lining up at his "workshops" to learn more.  Anyway read the article to see how Lazarus exposes this fraud.

So I do the next best thing and go to Lazarus's Wiki page.  He does have a page but it badly needs updating, something I don't have time for at the moment.  So I did a few quick things that I wanted to share with you all.

I added him to the list of "American Skeptics" that appears at the bottom of his page.  I talk about this in another blog entry but here are the directions again.

I usually go to someone's page that I know is done correctly open up the "edit" page and you will see a ton of HTML writing.  Don't be overwhelmed.  Go all the way to the bottom and you will see something like this that I've taken from Dr. Eugenie Scott's edit page.
[[Category:Articles with inconsistent citation formats]]
[[Category:1945 births]]
[[Category:American anthropologists]]
[[Category:American humanists]]
[[Category:University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee alumni]]
[[Category:University of Missouri alumni]]
[[Category:Living people]]
[[Category:California State University, East Bay faculty]]
[[Category:National Academy of Sciences laureates]]
[[Category:American skeptics]]

Highlight and copy the last line here.  [[Category:American skeptics]] and then go to the edit page you are wanting to place this in and select the edit page.  Find where other Categories are listed and paste this link into the bottom of the list.  I suggest that you should always try to copy from a page where you know it is done correctly and not "type it in" on your own.  In this case if you had simply just typed it in and you capitalized the "S" in skeptic the you would not be getting the correct link.  Silly?  Well sorry that is the way Wikipedia works.

Anyway, next you want to "preview your changes" look at the bottom where it says "save page" and "watch this page".  Click on "preview" and you will see the edited page along with what looks like the real page.  Look it over.  If you see red writing where your change should be then you have not linked it correctly.  It might be something as simple as missing a [ or a Capital letter or something like that.  You need to review what you have done and keep looking at it making changes until you get it correct.  If you just can't figure it out you can ask here and I or someone will go in and see if we can help you out.  This is a learning process and it takes some confusing to get to where you figure out how to do things correctly.  I don't have a problem at all helping so don't be afraid to ask.

If you have gotten it correct and everything is either blue or black ink then hit "save" but first click the "watch this page" box and you MUST write in the "edit summary" box something about the change you made.  It could be as simple as saying I changed the spelling of a word, or added commas, or added the category.  Whatever it is, you aren't editing Wikipedia correctly if you don't write in that box.

When you are all done and pleased with yourself you might try clicking on the link you just inserted and making sure you did it correctly.  Clicking on American skeptics will bring you to this page.  Not very representative is it?  93 people on the list at the moment, I think that is a bit shy of the real number.  But as we get better at this the site will grow and we can use this list for all kinds of things.  Click on a few names and you can wander around seeing what needs to be done.  If you are really new at this and want something important to do, learn this step correctly and then go into every American Skeptic you can find on Wikipedia and add this category to their page.  This simple step will help a lot in the long run, and help you improve your confidence in editing.

Next I want to introduce you to the "watchlist" this can be found on the very top of any Wikipedia page.  Your user name should be on this line also.  If your name is in red type that means you have not yet set up a "user page" for yourself, which I would highly encourage.  It is a great way to give yourself some practice editing time and it allows others to get to know you.  Plus it gives you creds in the editing world.

Click on "my watchlist" and you will see all kinds of info from your past edits.  The top one should be the one you just finished editing.  The name of that site will be in blue (means it is linked correctly) and you can click on the "diff/hist" to see what was the difference from what was there before you edited and after.

Play around with these features to see what all you can do with this watchlist.  If someone makes a change on a page you have put on the list you will see it here.  This is an important helpful tool.  If someone is vandalizing a page you need to know right away so you can revert the edit (happens all the time to me) or respond to the edit or whatever.  Anyway once you play around with this and have a few pages on your watchlist you will get the hang of it.  Otherwise just post here and I'll answer your question.

Check out this group of categories.

[[Category: American skeptics]]
[[Category: Australian sceptics]]
[[Category: New Zealand sceptics]]
[[Category: Brazilian skeptics]]
[[Category: Indian skeptics]]
[[Category: Finnish sceptics]]
[[Category: British sceptics]]
[[Category: English skeptics]]
[[Category: Canadian skeptics]]

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