Sunday, June 19, 2011

James Van Praagh ~ How to Edit

With all the fame and fans supposedly licking the heels of grief vampires like Van Praagh you would think that their Wikipedia pages would be extra patrolled by the thousands that he has helped put in contact with their dead family and friends.  When in fact his page is rarely touched, and the criticism area has had very little action (just the one I will mention in a minute).  His page doesn't even have a picture, guess the paranormal community doesn't have Van Praagh's back, wonder why?

There already was a criticism area when I started editing his page, so I just added on the SI article by Joe Nickell.

Investigator Joe Nickell believes modern day self-proclaimed mediums like John Edward, Sylvia Browne, Rosemary Altea and James Van Praagh are avoiding the Victorian tradition of dark rooms, spirit handwriting and flying tambourines as these methods risk exposure. They instead use “mental mediumship” tactics like cold reading or gleaning information from sitters before hand (hot reading). Group readings also improve hits by making general statements with conviction, which will fit at least one person in the audience. Shows are carefully edited before airing to show only what appears to be hits and removing anything that does not reflect well on the medium. [9]
And the investigation by the IIG.  
In 2003 the IIG attended a taping of James Van Praagh's syndicated series “Beyond,” in order to document the difference between what actually occurred at the taping and how it appeared on TV after editing. As suspected, there were many significant differences, the IIG concluded that Van Praagh’s power emanates from the editing room. [10] [11]

While I had the Joe Nickell blurb and citation already completed I just mosied over to John Edward, Sylvia Browne and Rosemary Altea's pages and "tagged" their sites as well.

Caution Wiki Technology Below

When you do something like this you have to remember to "link" and "unlink" the Wikilinks to the apporate page.  Using the Joe Nickell example above, you have several names mentioned in your blurb.  Each person that is NOT ON THE PAGE you are editing needs to have [[ and ]] around the name.  If I am on Sylvia Browne's edit page then I remove the brackets from around her name.  [[Sylvia Browne]] and put them around the person whose page I'm not on.  

When you "preview changes" before you publish the article you will see that the names that have the [[ and ]] around them are in blue "hyperlink" color.  If you have red writing then you know something isn't linked right.  Misspelling or missing a middle initial ect.   That gets more complicated to sort out in this blog.  The easiest way to solve this problem is to open another "tab" on your browser and go to the Wikipedia page you are trying to link to.  Copy the name of the page and paste it into the page you are trying to edit.  

For example you might have problems linking to C Everett Koop's page unless you have a period after the C.  There are ways around this and it can get complicated but for now just copy from the page you are hoping to link to and paste it into the edit. 

Back to Van Praagh

Whenever you make an edit to any page (no matter how small) you need to write in the "Edit Summary" box a summary of whatever you just did.  And don't try to hide your edit by writing something other than what you did.  This is what someone who thought they were clever tried to do with Van Praagh.  On the watchlist (I explained on an earlier blog)whenever you refresh you will see all the pages that you have on your watchlist that have had any kind of change done to it.  The edit summary will tell you briefly what change was made, like "corrected misspelling of the word dozen" or maybe "revised comma use" or "added article by Joe Nickell".

Well someone named Booradley08 thought they would be clever and wrote "references removed" when what he/she did was remove the ENTIRE criticism section.  Not funny!  Editors might not think to check on something like a spelling error, but they would check in a flash if Booradley08 had written that they had removed the criticism section.

Thankfully I was in a curious mood that day and only 2 days passed before I noticed this edit.  You do not have to go through the entire page looking for what was changed.  You simply just click on "dif" and you can see "before and after" edits.

It is also possible for edits to be hidden by making a big change, correctly writing what you did, saving the page and then going back editing it again with a very small change, writing on the edit summary about the simple change and possibly the person watching the page will only notice the last change done (which was the small change).  I've done this by accident several times, and it is not ethical to hide your edits this way.  I'm only pointing this out in case if you are watching a page, you should look over changes carefully, maybe looking at the history of the page from time to time to see if someone is trying to hide the major edit.

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