Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Wikipedia - Global Climate Change

Thank you Tim Farley for bringing this article to my attention this morning.  BTW Tim, I love your blog Skeptical Software Tools.  I receive it right in my inbox and know I'm going to learn something new that will make advancing the skeptical movement cause even easier.  Just hope the good guys are reading also.


This article by POPSCI's reporter Dan Nosowitz tells one of the stories of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project.  We do not advocate vandalism, we advocate getting the message of science into the hands of people who need it, the readers of Wikipedia. 

I know very very little about global warming, so would be VERY uncomfortable editing a page about hurricanes or global climate change.  That is why we need a diversified team of editors who understand the rules of Wikipedia, what is allowed and what is not.  How to cite and how to work with other editors to make the best page possible.  Wikipedia is not a joke, it is where the majority of people get their information.  Even if they do not go directly to the Wikipedia page, we know that the reporters that are creating the media (radio, TV, print) are getting their information from the Wikipedia page.  Maybe not always cut and paste, but are influenced by the write-up, citations and hyperlinks to other pages.

Here is one paragraph from the above article that I cut and pasted here.   (my bolding)

When I told Jay Walsh about the back-and-forth regarding climate change, he said, "It doesn't surprise me to hear that. Climate change is a bastard--it's one of those really complicated topics within Wikipedia, because the [editors] are so science-focused." But he wasn't upset that one point of view had been steamrollered on a Wikipedia page that received more than half a million hits in three days--he was intrigued about how the process went, and about how it was eventually ironed out, in a way. "The article doesn't not do its work because of that," he said. Walsh talked about a "good faith" versus "bad faith" edit: Ken Mampel really thinks he is improving that page by eliminating an unclear passage about climate change, so that's a "good faith" edit. Which, for Wikipedians, means the system is working. But what about for those 500,000 readers who didn't get the full story?

Make sure you look at that Wikipedia article traffic statistics link in the middle of the paragraph, I use this tool several times a day and I know you will find it interesting to play around with too.  Just make sure that the name you insert in the search box is exactly the name on the page you want to look up.  Also you can see the hit count for different languages (again you have to put the name exactly as it is on that other language page)

So if you want to help out with the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project, please contact me at  You don't have to be an expert on anything, I need doers more than I need experts.  I do train. 

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