Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sunglasses Needed: March - April GSoW updates!

GSoW continues to shine through 2014.  We have been so busy with training and updates I almost forgot that there is a world outside GSoW that enjoys reading about all the changes we are making. Look at what we have done to bring quality articles about scientific skepticism to Wikipedia. 


First thing I want to show off is our Voice Intro project run by Kyle Hamar and Ryan Harding.  It has been a struggle working on how to make this as efficient as possible, but we think we have it figured out.  All editors are now trying to collect audio from their "targets" to make this project grow.  Its slow going but we are making progress.  This week we just added our first non-English audio to the list, check out Peter Erdi's Hungarian audio.

If you know of someone that who has a Wikipedia page and needs audio, please contact us at GSoWteam@gmail.com for instructions.  We are also featured on the main page of the Russian Skeptic organization. 


GSoW made the short list for an Ockham this year.  Very exciting to get this kind of recognition. Hopefully we will be able to impress the judges for next year. 


I've just returned from speaking at QED in Manchester, England.  What a frickin blast!  Several of my editors descended on the venue where we bonded and plotted.  We also had many new editors join us along the way.  I'm looking forward to all the great talent we can add to our team.  Thank you to two of my team photographers Robert McDermott and Andrew Merritt for allowing me to put my camera down from time to time knowing they would be everywhere getting the photos we needed.  See their work on many of the pages we have released.  Watch our podcast recording here and here

I'm going to give you only one link to look at if you are interested in what went down at QED, and that is to the one-stop website of Lanyrd.  I can't encourage you enough to become familiar with this conference site, when people add content here, everyone wins.  Here is the QED area, but as you explore you will find that most conferences are located here.  Anyone can add content, so please take a minute and help fill in the gaps from past conferences.  


One more thing if you would like to keep up-to-date on all things GSoW, please "like" our Facebook page here.


I think you will notice a theme with a lot of these pages, lots of focus on anything connected with Cosmos and astronomy.  Our thought is that when Cosmos is on TV and in the news, people will be curious about the program and the people surrounding it, it is in our best interest to make sure those readers are getting the best information and we also want to show off our spokes people.  

So put on your sunglasses as these updates should dazzle you.  Turn on HatNote to set the mood and enjoy our March-April updates!


Climate Scientist Andrew Dessler's page received a rewrite from Bill, complete with audio.  Before and After

QED speaker Coralie Colmez received a brand new page from editor Richard who noticed that her mother was also due for her own Wikipedia page so he made that happen.    Leila Schneps not only received a brand new page, but she was featured on the front page of Wikipedia as a Did You Know.  Check out the view stats for that day, total outreach, total win for our community.

Hemant Mehta was long over due for a page - Fred Green & Tad Callin spent long hours making that happen.  We knew we were also going to try for a Did You Know, but before we could nominate it we wanted to make sure Mehta's "I Sold my Soul on Ebay" page was in order.  So everything stalled until Jairo Arce & Christine Daley were able to get that page rewritten.  Even the Secular Student Alliance WP page received a spike in views.

The Mark Crislip/QuackCast page was an embarrassment. It is what I call a "non-scroller" which means you don't have to scroll to see the whole page.  Our community really should be ashamed that we allow pages like this to exist on Wikipedia.   Sean Whitcomb got to work and turned out this amazing transformation.  We contacted Mark for audio and I think he wins for funniest Intro Audio.  After

Rachael Dunlop now has a brand new page (with audio) written by new editor Sean Whitcomb. Rachael has been sitting on our list since we started collecting people to put on our list. She kept getting passed over, not because we were worried that there wouldn't be enough information, but because creating a page from scratch is a lot of work. I think Sean and team did a terrific job. Rachael was also featured on the front page of English Wikipedia as a Did You Know... Here are the stat views during that day.

Edinburgh Skeptics received a page rewrite from editor Julie.  This happened while I was at QED which was most exciting, loved bragging about it when I was traveling in Scotland.  Before & After

 Elizabeth Pisani another speaker at QED received a rewrite from editor Jay Young. Before & After

The Dutch category page for Cognitive Bias is now available for Dutch readers thanks to Emile Dingemans.

The MC of QED was Paul Zenon whose page also received a make-over.  Paul's page rewrite was something I attempted at the beginning of GSoW back in 2011 but just got to busy to finish.  Julie picked it up and finished just in time. Before & After

Angela Saini's page was one of those pages we kept thinking we were done with, but every time editor Christine Daley asked for feedback someone kept giving her more to add. Before & After  And then there is this sweet tweet...

Normally I don't assign work to be done.  Only in training, which is what happened in this case. GSoW was joined by a talented editor that wanted to join our team.  I had been thinking about the Audrey Santo page for some time and found that our new editor Andrea Crain was the perfect person to take it on.  And she sure did.  This will require some reading as the changes aren't as obvious as many of the above make-overs.  Before & After

A brand new page for Anne Nicol Gaylor was created by Sean Whitcomb. Keep an eye out for her page to be a DYK soon.

Brand new page for Emily Lakdawalla by Nathan Miller - And on April 1st the page was featured on the front page of Wikipedia as a Did You Know. And to keep up with the theme of the day, Nathan came up with a April Fools hook. See if you can spot it. Here are the view stats from the extra exposure she received that day.

Jennifer Michael Hecht received a rewrite by Jim Preston and this is Jim's first rewrite. Before & After

R. Joseph Hoffmann cleanup by Kevin Elsken. This is Kevin's first major improvement. Before & After

Not exactly one of our skeptical spokespeople, but Nellie Bly is someone you are going to enjoy reading about - Translated from English into Dutch by Vera de Kok & Leon Korteweg.

The Péter Érdi page had all kinds of citation problems and was an orphan (which means nothing links to it) before Peter Mogyoros got a hold of it and rewrote it.  This was Peter's first launched page.  It also has audio and once the page is launched in Hungarian (very soon) it will have our first non-English audio. Before & After 

Coen de Bruijn, Emile Dingemans and Leon Korteweg translated the Simon Singh page into Dutch.

Ray Hyman has been a focus of ours for almost two years, and has been translated into Portuguese and Dutch.  He now has a Wikipedia page in Spanish courtesy of Cristina.  

Brand New page in Dutch created for the series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey by Coen de Bruijn, Leon Korteweg and Wim Vandenberghe. And also Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey in Portuguese by Filipe Russo.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain now has a page in Dutch because of team leader Leon Korteweg .  

The Swedish Skeptic Society better known as Föreningen Vetenskap och Folkbildning now has a Dutch Wikipedia page thanks to Wim Vandenberghe and Leon Korteweg.

Here is an unusual one.  I lectured at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, NY summer 2013.  You might not realize it, but CFI has an amazing library full of donated personal libraries and just about everything in print that has anything to do with skepticism and the paranormal.  While there the librarian Tim Binga showed me Steve Allen collection.   Allen was interested in everything and collected information on many subjects.  This archive also has the original script for Allen's TV series Meeting of Minds and I snapped a few photos while browsing through the archive.  I uploaded the images and then assigned this page for a rewrite which Kevin Elsken took care of.  Before and After

A brand new page for the Oh, No Ross & Carrie Podcast by Sean Whitcomb. I had several editors that were hoping they would get to be the one that wrote this page. Sean was quickest on the draw.

Penny4NASA received a brand new page written by Nathan Miller.  This page sat for over a year incubating until it received enough notoriety for release.   Our plan was to add the mention of Penny4NASA to Neil deGrasse Tyson's WP page which we did months ago.  Only with Nathan's release of an actual page have we been able to really see the impact we have had.  With the popularity of Cosmos, Tyson's WP view stats have gone from 100,000 a month to 300,000+ a month.  In April 2014 his page was the 313 most viewed page in Wikipedia.  That is a unheard of number, a total win for science and scientific skepticism.  Possibly Penny4NASA has been fighting for media attention and some people may find them on Wikipedia totally independent from its mention on the Tyson page.  Nevertheless Penny4NASA's WP views are doing well, 1,445 in April 2014.   

And one more... this one has a bit of a story behind it, so bear with me. As you all know I was scheduled to appear at QED in Manchester, England. I asked my GSoW team to please help with the pages of all the speakers that would be at the conference. One of my new team members (who actually had been a WP editor for years but new to GSoW) Chris Allen was assigned the Nathan Phelps page rewrite. On our forum we discussed for over a month some of the changes Chris was making to the page, we went back and forth about all kinds of things. The page was nearly ready for release, but we had weeks left until QED, no real hurry.

One night I was scrolling through my Facebook feed I saw a post from Nathan Phelps saying that his father, Fred Phelps had just been taken to hospice. This is the kind of event that GSoW works so hard to be prepared for, one of our spokespeople making the news. Ok, Fred Phelps isn't one of our spokespeople.... but Nathan is. So I contacted one of my team leaders who would be the first one awake to get that page published. Ryan was in England (I'm in CA) and quickly proofread the page and managed to contact Chris and told him to publish it. The team worked wonderfully, and Chris was a trooper. He went to the Westboro Baptist and Fred Phelps pages and made sure that Nathan was mentioned on them. Nathan Phelps - Chris Allen Before & After

So then came Fred's death and the views to his Wikipedia page soared. Because of the ripple effect Nathan's page views also spiked. Here are the WBC views. This is a major win for Wikipedia and Scientific Skepticism.

Because the English page is in great shape, that means it is ready to be translated.  The Dutch team was quickest to respond and now Dutch Wikipedia readers can now read all about Nathan Phelps because of Leon Korteweg & Coen de Bruijn.


Here are a few recent interviews that explain GSoW and will keep you up-to-date on all things GSoW.  

In Portuguese - Nix Dorf explains GSoW to the Fronteiras da Ciencia podcast.

Susan after QED an interview by Eran Segev on Skeptic Zone.

QED attendee András Pintér's write-up on the conference in Hungarian

Susan being interviewed on Virtual Skeptics

Dave Gamble's blog responding to Rupert Sheldrakes accusations. (yes, this is still happening!)

Detailed blog by Tim Farley about the actual numbers concerning who is editing Wikipedia.

GSoW editor Peter Mogyoros is interviewed by a Slovakian podcast


Write to us at GSoWteam@gmail.com