Monday, March 12, 2012

6th World Skeptics Congress

Exciting times in Berlin May 2012.  The 6th World Skeptics Congress will be hosting a wide array of speakers.  Some of them I'm already very familiar with, others I have no idea who they are.  So off to Wikipedia to discover who these people are that are representing the skeptical community. 

Regular readers already know where this is going... The We Got Your Wiki Back! project aims to support all the skeptical spokespeople's Wikipedia pages.  Because we know that people outside of our community are going to access these pages shame on us if we don't have their backs.  If we don't care about our spokespeople then why should anyone else?

So I'm going to access the pages of these speakers to see what the rest of the world is seeing when they do the same.  An added challenge, remember this is a world congress.  What do the pages look like in their native language? 

One more side note - If you haven't already read my blog Forget English: What the Rest of the World Sees you might want to check it out.  I talk about this same World Congress's message to combat Creationism and Medical Quackery.  Talk directly to the people needing the message (in their own language) by making sure Wikipedia pages related to Evolution/Creationism and medical quackery are all in good order, YOU might not use Wikipedia as a resource, but this isn't about preaching to the choir, its about getting the correct information in a place they will read... Wikipedia.

The Speakers...

Gerd Antes  -  No Wikipedia page exists in English or Deutsch

Anila Asghar -  No Wikipedia page exists

Johan Braeckman - Page exists but as a stub (more like a stub of a stub)

Chris French - Wikipedia page exists but needs work.

Luigi Garlaschelli - No Wikipedia page but mentioned here.

Dittmar Graf - No Wikipedia page - but mentioned on this page.

Harriet Hall - Great page

Sven Ove Hansson - Very nice page (needs a picture)

Holm Hummler - No Wikipedia page

Ray Hyman - Nice page

Walter Kramer - No Wikipedia page

Benedikt Matenaer - No Wikipedia page

Chris Mooney - Needs expanding but still a nice page

Simon Perry - No Wikipedia page

Massimo Polidoro - Good page in English - Page in Italian (but with a horrible picture)

James Randi - Awesome page with 40K hits in Feb 2012.  There is a page in Deutsch as well with 1,800 hits in Feb 2012.  French page got 700+ hits. 

Gita Sahgal - Very informative page

Eugenie Scott - Very nice page

Simon Singh - Awesome page! (received 6,600 hits in Feb 2012)

Samatha Stein - No Wikipedia page

Kylie Sturgess - Darn good page

Rebecca Watson - Already addressed the issues with this page here.

Jurgen Windeler - No Wikipedia page but mentioned here.

Tomasz Witzowski - No Wikipedia page

Its either hit or miss with these pages.  If no page exists then it is possible that person has not met the notability requirements for Wikipedia.  It is also possible that they do meet the requirements but no page has been created.

So what can we do to help?  

The pages that need help like Braeckman's page need someone to re-write the page.  The speakers from non-English speaking countries should also have pages in that language.  Everyone needs to have a nice picture taken of them (at the podium with the Skeptics World Congress logo) in the shot.  If we don't use the picture now (giving publicity to the Congress BTW) then we might use the picture later. 


  1. Just heard some the Public Relations person for the conference, she says that "on German Wikipedia: Gerd Antes and Jürgen Windeler do have a page."

    She suggested that I write to Dittmar Graf as he needs a page. I've written and am waiting to hear back.

    As usual we can not allow the subject to write the page themselves, but they can supply us with the needed citations (they are the most likely person to have them) as well as photographs.

    The PR person also assured me that when she gets the contact email for the photographer of the event she will hook me up with them.

    So good news!

  2. I have just requested this on the Facebook page and to forward it to other presenters. Thanks Susan!

  3. Thank you KS.

    Another point to photographers out there. You don't have to wait for the perfect picture of them standing at the podium. Ask each presenter to stand at the podium (before or after) for a staged shot. They can be smiling at the camera, or looking off into a pretend audience or pointing their finger or whatever. Kind of like wedding photography.

    And if you are a speaker. Please do everyone a favor. Don't put a water bottle on the podium, every shot we take is going to have that sticking in your face. Give the photographers the best shot possible.

  4. I'm pretty sure I don't meet the notability requirements!!

  5. Thanks Samantha! Never fear you have many more years of skeptical activism ahead of you. Do you understand how awesome it is that you are speaking at the World Congress?

    If you don't think so yet, thats fine. Collect all the citations you can, interviews, articles and pictures. Then lets talk again! Keep active. Any interview you do make sure you always squeeze in an obscure fact about you so that you have a much more interesting Wikipedia page in the future.

    I can see it now...

    Stein mentions to CNN reporter Wolf Blitzer that not only did she lead the investigation and bring down (insert name of evil overlord from the future) but she also makes her peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with potato chips inside the bread.


    1. Well, the Daily Mail called me small, mousey haired and personable... for the record I'm 5'4.

      I apparently have a very large axe to grind but I've got no room in the house for an axe!