Friday, July 19, 2013

July Updates - Scott - Gorski - Tyson - Radford and MORE

WoW July is only halfway done and we have so much to talk about.  Lots going on with the GSoW team.  So in no special order lets get started.

The beauty of having a world team like GSoW  is that we can't all be in the same place at the same time.  While many of my team were at the Amaz!ng Meeting - TAM 2013, others were busily at work editing.  Nix Dorf released the Eugenie Scott page in Portuguese.

Neil deGrasse Tyson just received two rewrites, one in Portuguese by Luis Pratas, here is the Portuguese before,  the other, by new editor Michael Steinkeller in German.  By the way Michael joined after watching the JREF workshop video.  If you haven't seen it yet, it is located here.  One more thing, Michael almost didn't join because he has two small children, but somehow he is managing to find a few minutes to work on this project, remember folks you set your own pace at GSoW.

Here was a major event.  You would think that David Gorski already would have a Wikipedia page wouldn't you?  Well someone attempted to create one, but left it in such embarrassing condition we had to jump in and do it right.  This is what we found.  Okay hold your breath and now look at what we created. Introducing the new and improved David Gorski Wikipedia page! Not sure why I always say "Strong enough to stand an elephant on it" but that phrase keeps coming to mind when I think of this page rewrite. Thankfully we released the page rewrite in time for TAM, Gorski's page views tripled during that weekend.

Sometimes it is the little things that give me that kapow feeling.  We managed to get Gorski mentioned on the Steve Jobs page.  Its kinda lost in the mass that is Jobs page, but still with the hit count it receives, it can't hurt. Searching for "Gorski" on the page, I learned that according to Gorski, the 9 month delay with the cancer treatment may not have killed Jobs, interesting.  Another thing I just learned is that even now in June 2013, Jobs is ranked number 70 in top Wikipedia views.

Ben Radford's book Tracking the Chupacabra was front page of Wikipedia as a DYK.  Follows of the GSoW project know what that means, a ton of views for the 8 hour window it is up. Well the results are in, here are the view stats.  The ripple effect caused the page for Chupacabra to also receive a spike. And the movie Species as well.

Bill Grieb rewrote the WP page for Ronald Bailey (before) (after)

Another rewrite for Bill Grieb was this one for the Merseyside Skeptics, what a difference (before) (after)

Fresh new photos I took at TAM have been added to these pages... Daniel Loxton, Harriet Hall, Derek Colanduno, Mark Edward, Donald Prothero and Massimo Polidoro.  This isn't difficult to do, if you have a photo that you think would improve a WP page, please contact me and I'll walk you thought the process.

A GSoW team member reminded me that we are responsible for a lot of quick edits on Wikipedia that are pretty cool.  We do a lot more than just page rewrites.

Braco the gazer got a lot of attention from editors trying to get the first sentence of the article just right.  You would be surprised at how much time we can spend on a single word when dealing with believers and other WP editors.

Here's a fun one,  my son mentioned that Jenny McCarthy was going to be on The View, which led me to getting all ranty on Facebook skeptics needing to do something.  People quickly began posting links to noteworthy articles about this announcement.  I in turn threw the links over to my GSoW team and Nathan Miller quickly responded by successfully adding a couple of the links.  Since then other WP editors (not on my team) have added a whole section under the criticism section.  You will notice that not only is Bill Nye mentioned, but so is Derek Bartholomaus's Body Count website.  And just in time, Jenny isn't as popular as Steve Jobs, but she is sure rolling in the views this last week.

TAM 2013 was awesome.  I'm still not completely recovered.  Here are a few videos I created while there.  This first one is a 3-parter on Crowd-Sourced Activism.  I spoke with Shane Greenup (Rbutr) and Tim Farley (What's the Harm?) and had a major blast.

Susan in the Superwoman pose at the Crowd-Sourcing Workshop

Later in the afternoon I participated in the Preserving Skeptic History workshop with some of my favorite people, Daniel Loxton, Ray Hyman, Tim Farley and Robert Sheaffer. Special guest appearance by Susan Blackmore.

Here is a series of shots I took of people whose pages we created or rewrote along with the WP page. Just for fun.
Tim Farley

Robert Sheaffer

Leo Igwe
Sean Faircloth
Richard Saunders
Sara Mayhew

Recording a Skepticality episode
Recording a Virtual Skeptics episode
 The surprise of all surprises was the wonderful comments from James Randi and DJ Grothe when they presented me with the JREF award for Skepticism in the Public Interest,  It reads "With gratitude for your steadfast advocacy for skepticism on the World Wide Web and at the grass roots."

Backstage with DJ and Randi
Just of few of the GSoW team

Its all about having fun and changing the world

As you can image, we have far more work to do than editors to do it. Please contact me at if you have questions or would like to join the project.  For the last two years we have been working out of secret Facebook groups.  I'm happy to say we have outgrown Facebook.  In the next few weeks we will be moving to a custom built forum that will allow better communication between the language teams, as well as better training of new editors.  Just like the Facebook groups, the forum will be hidden away unless you have joined our team.

Thank you for your support, and I hope to hear from you soon.



  1. I don't have twitter or facebook, but I think this list of 'Channelled' texts is well worth a skeptical makeover being as it is little more than an advertisement for some really dubious material.

  2. Thank you Graham. Looks like this indeed needs work. But finding the time is another issue. We are moving to a forum in a couple weeks to avoid Facebook (which we have outgrown). You might want to consider joining us and then we can show you how to improve this page.

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