Sunday, October 16, 2011

Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture

Quite a mouthful, further known on this page as ISSSC.  I received an email from CFI announcing a new Director, Barry Kosmin.  The email sat in my inbox for a week or so before I had time to read it over and see if I needed to update a WP page or two. 

I had not know of Kosmin or the ISSSC before, but I have known of the American Religious Identification Survey as I'm sure all you good skeptics have as well.  This is the group that every 20 years asks the question "When you die will you want a religious funeral?" and other questions in order to judge the religiously of Americas population.  Remember all the discussion of the new category "none"? Yep, that's the study that had us all talking.

Well I tried to look for Barry Kosmin's WP page as he is the author of 20 books on secularism and religion, and the founder of the ISSSC.  Seems like someone that should have his own page, guess not.  While searching for him on WP I found the page for the ISSSC and boy was that disappointing.  There were 4 flags on the page dating from 2008 for problems with formatting, notability , quoting primary sources and the like.  The two links to the ISSSC's own webpages were broken.  What a waste!

I ventured over to the ISSSC's web pages and followed the links they gave there to the media and so on and read a few articles about Kosmin.  Sounds like a pretty fascinating guy, too bad no one in our community has his Wiki back!  As I keep saying, it is extremely important that our spokespeople AND our organizations have well tended Wikipedia pages.  I know, I know these people/organizations have great websites.  Yes, that is true, but don't tell me.  The world is visiting these WP pages and are looking for answers to their questions.  Often times the WP page gets the same page rating on a search as the main website. Are we going to continue to allow the world to view these nasty WP pages, letting them think that they have so little importance and credibility that the community that should support them, doesn't? 

As I was saying, I spent about an hour reading over the articles on the ISSSC's page and cleaned up their WP page as best I could.  I removed one of the four flags at the top of the page.  There remains a lot to do.  They need more references to outside sources that mention their relevance.  The page needs an info box along with all the details.  I think it even needs a picture or two, if not of the building/office then maybe at one of their functions, even when they are at a lecture somewhere.  Does someone have a picture they can upload? 

Oodles remain to be done, but there is a big difference from what I found to what I left.  Here is a couple hours ago.  And here is the current page.  Maybe someone from the ISSSC could contact me at or leave a comment here pointing me in the direction of where I can find more citations. (WP does not want you to work on your own page)  And if there are problems with how the page currently looks then please also bring that to my attention. 

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