Saturday, May 2, 2015

The March - April GSoW Updates

Thinking of joining GSoW? Want to know more about training? Check out our YouTube channel. We have interviews with our editors as well as short videos from past Skepticality podcasts. Most of your questions will be answered by this channel. We are updating the videos often so please subscribe and not miss a single one.


Here is an example of a unhappy Wikipedia editor who is using GSoW as an example of a group that is astroturfing. This person sites an old JREF lecture to say that GSoW is bullying and attacking believers. They say this great line "I hear them echoed on almost every talk page I visit these days".

To which another editor (non-GSoW) responds thanking GSoW for bringing in quality editors that follow the rules.

And one more. This is a very upset group that has launched a KickStarter for a book about Wikipedia and how it refuses to let the other side of medicine (quackery) in. How dare we insist on truth and citations and peer review. Give generously to this kickstarter as it will keep them busy for quite a while. "We will correct the errors and omissions with truthful, scientific data about the specific alternative health movements and modalities. " Seriously readers this is what GSoW deals with every day. Please, we have a lot of work to do and are fighting to make Wikipedia strong and accurate. If you are looking for a project that educates, and is amazingly important, look no further.  GSoW is where its at. Write to us at


Vaccination Team: This project is open to all trained team members. We are working on pro-vax and anti-vax Wikipedia pages. We are making small edits to pages like this one that now appears on Charlie Sheen's Wikipedia page (thanks to Gene) and is getting about 4K views a day.

Wendy Sue Swanson - editor Janyce Boynton - Brand New Page created Wendy Sue Swanson (born 1974) is a pediatrician, educator and author best known for her Seattle Mama Doc blog. As a doctor and a mother, Swanson advocates the use of online tools, such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, to strengthen communication between healthcare providers and patients. Swanson asserts that online technologies can assist patients and families in becoming stewards of their own health. Swanson has dedicated her career to helping physicians learn to use online tools more effectively in helping patients make informed decisions based in science. "While we don't have the capability just yet," Swanson states, "my goal is to prove that an empowered and informed patient reduces health care costs and improves outcomes.

This Did You Know? Appeared on the front page of Wikipedia May 2, 2015

Hungarian Team:

Measles - András G. Pintér - Before & After (Pseudoscientific claims added - Stefan Lanka and the €100 000 to be payed)

Härtlein Károly (huwiki) - András G. Pintér - Brand new page (well known science advocate in physics, chief organizer of Skeptics Conference in Budapest)

Kanyaró (huwiki) - András G. Pintér - Before & After (Hungarian Measles page. Antivax movement section and pseudoscience section added)

Szentágothai János (huwiki) - András G. Pintér - Before & After (the founder of the Hungarian skeptic movement. A section added, mentioning that fact.)

Hungarian Skeptic Society - András G. Pintér - Before & After

HLakos András - András G. Pintér - Brand new page (well known infectologist, MD, specializing in Lyme and other diseases spread by ticks, often debates anti-vax activists)

English Editing Teams:

Team Curie

Facilitated Communication was rewritten by a team of GSoW editors and some people outside GSoW - Facilitated Communication (FC) is a technique used by some caregivers and educators in an attempt to assist people with severe communication disabilities. There is widespread agreement within the scientific community and multiple disability advocacy organizations, that facilitators, not the person with the communication disability, are the source of messages obtained through FC.

Team Rydberg:

We are glad to announce our project has grown enough to launch a new English team! Janyce Boynton (previously on Team Curie) and Greg Neilson (previously on Team Sagan) have agreed to guide Team Rydberg, joined by a record number of members who've just finished their training. We hope to see many fresh and rewritten articles from them.

Team Sagan:

Amanda Bauer - Greg Neilson - Brand New Page - Amanda Elaine Bauer (born 26 May 1979) is an American professional astronomer and science communicator, currently working in Australia. She is a Research Astronomer at Australia's largest optical observatory, the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), where her principal field of research concerns how galaxies form, how they create new stars, and particularly why they stop creating new stars. She is better known to the public through her efforts as the AAO Public Outreach Officer.

Robert Sheaffer - Jim Preston - Before & After - Robert Sheaffer (born 1949) is a freelance writer and skeptic. He is an investigator of unidentified flying objects, having researched many sightings and written critiques of the hypothesis that UFOs are alien spacecraft. In addition to UFOs, his writings cover topics such as Christianity, academic feminism, the scientific theory of evolution, and creationism. He is the author of five books. Sheaffer writes for Skeptical Inquirer (where he contributes the regular "Psychic Vibrations" column), Fate Magazine, andSpaceflight. He was a founding member (with Philip J. Klass and James Oberg) of the UFO Subcommittee of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and is a fellow of that organization. He is a graduate of Northwestern University and a member of MENSA.

Association française pour l'information scientifique (French Association for Scientific Information) - This brand new page was translated from French to Dutch (see Dutch Team below) and then to English by Leon Korteweg, reviewed by Julie Tomlinson and Janyce Boynton.

Susan Gerbic - Kyle Hamar - Brand new page - Susan Marie Gerbic (born August 8, 1962) is an American professional portrait photographer and skeptical activist living in Salinas, California.Gerbic is the co-founder of Monterey County Skeptics, founder of Skeptic Action, leader of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW), a regular contributor to Skepticality, contributes to Skeptical Inquirer and a frequent speaker at skeptic conferences such as The Amazing Meet!ng (TAM), SkeptiCal and Question, Explore, Discover (QED). Susan Gerbic was born in Salinas, California to Anthony and Tressie Gerbic in 1962. Gerbic manages a Portrait Studio and has a B.A. in social history.

Julia Galef - as we announced in the Jan-Feb blog update, the Dutch team has fulfilled its promise done on 26 January to Julia Galef to create a brand new page about her. Emile Dingemans sought out all sources and wrote the text, Leon Korteweg helped him, Coen took the closeup picture and recorded a voice intro (which will be added later). Susan Gerbic and Michelle Franklin reviewed the text.

Heather Henderson - Susan Gerbic - Brand New Page - Heather Henderson, (born March 7, 1973), also known as Baby Heather, is a professional burlesque dancer, singer, model, filmmaker, producer and host for Ardent Atheists and Skeptically Yours podcasts. In 2012 Ardent Atheist won The People's Choice Podcast Awards in the religion inspiration category. In 1989-1991 Henderson was a regular on the nationally televised Dance Party USA show where she appeared as Baby Heather. In her teens Henderson released a single called Give it up Baby Heather which was given a positive review by Billboard Magazine. She currently is a member of Penn Jillette's No God Band and is a vocal activist for atheism and against psychics.

The Amaz!ing Meeting page rewrite Before & After - Susan Gerbic - The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) is an annual conference that focuses on science, skepticism, and critical thinking. The conference started in 2003 and is sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation or (JREF). Perennial speakers include Penn & Teller, Phil Plait, Michael Shermer and James 'The Amazing' Randi. Speakers at the four-day conference are selected from a variety of disciplines including scientific educators, magicians, and community activists. Outside the plenary sessions the conference includes workshops, additional panel discussions, music and magic performances and live taping of podcasts including the The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe.

NECSS - Brand New Page - Susan Gerbic - The Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS, pronounced as "nexus") is a four-day conference focusing on science and skepticism held each April in New York City. Its purpose is exploring the intersection of science, skepticism, the media, and society for the purpose of promoting a more rational world. It was founded in 2009, run jointly by the New York City Skeptics (NYCS) and the New England Skeptical Society (NESS). The Society for Science-Based Medicine joined as a full sponsor of the conference in 2015. Attendance is estimated at 400 people.

Recent Graduates Final Projects Team

Dave Thomas - editor David Brown - Before & After - Dave Thomas (born 1953) is a physicist and mathematician best known for his scientific skepticism research and writings. He is a graduate of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and his work includes the Roswell and Aztec UFO sightings, theBible Code, Climate Change, the 9/11 Truth Movement and Chemtrails. Many of Thomas' articles have been published in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

Lucie Green - editor James Williams - Before & After - Lucie Green (born c.1975) is a British astrophysicist, solar researcher, astronomer and science communicator. Since 2005 Green has been a Royal Society University Research Fellow (previously the Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow) at Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) of the University College London (UCL). Green also runs MSSL's public engagement programme and sits on the board of the European Solar Physics Division (ESPD) of the European Physical Society and the advisory board of theScience Museum.

Elizabeth Whelan - editor Gene Roseberry - Before & After - Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan (/ˈhwlən/; December 4, 1943 – September 11, 2014) was an epidemiologist best known for challenging government regulations in the consumer products, food, and pharmaceuticals industries that arose from faulty science. In 1978, she founded the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) to provide a formal foundation for her work. She also wrote, or co-wrote, more than 20 books and over 300 articles in scientific journals and laymen publications.

Jere Lipps - editor Jerod Lycett - Before & After - Jere Henry Lipps (August 28, 1939) is Director of the Dr. John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center and Curator of Paleontology at the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Lipps was the ninth Director of the museum (1989-1997)and chair of the department of Integrative Biology at Berkeley (1991–1994). He served as president of the Paleontological Societyin 1997, and the Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research Inc.

Carol Tavris - editor Lauren Carr - Before & After - Carol Anne Tavris (born September 17, 1944) is an American social psychologist and feminist. As a public intellectual, she has devoted her career to writing and lecturing about the contributions of psychological science to the beliefs and practices that guide people’s lives, and to criticizing “psychobabble,” “biobunk,” and pseudoscience. Her many writings have dealt with critical thinking,cognitive dissonance, anger, gender, and other topics in psychology.

Mark Edward - editor Cathy Smith - Before & After - Mark Edward (born Mark Edward Wilson, May 19, 1951, Los Angeles, CA) is a professional mentalist who specializes in magic of the mind. He wrote several books on mentalism, séance theory and production and appeared on television as both primary consultant and on-air performer in such diverse programming as A & E's Biography: "Houdini, the Great Escape," NBC's "The Other Side" and "Psychic Secrets Revealed," The Sci-Fi Channel's "Mysteries, Magic and Miracles," The Discovery Channel's "Forces Beyond," and on two episodes of The Learning Channel's "Exploring the Unknown." His featured segment as a spirit medium on the pilot episode of Showtime's "Penn & Teller's Bullshit!" series entitled "Speaking with the Dead" helped secure an Emmy Award nomination for that episode in 2002.

The Perry DeAngelis Wikipedia page received a 3-minute audio update from editor David Brown who received permission from the SGU to edit down audio Perryisms into something we could use for the Wikipedia page. The audio intro project is a GSoW "thing" be sure to check out our progress.

Dutch Team:

The Dutch team is currently focusing on two main projects: the Vaccination Project (see above) and Skeptical organisations in Europe (the latter of which non-GSoW Wikipedians can also participate in). We are working various Dutch vaccination articles, but cannot report any completed pages yet at this moment. However, on the front of documenting the European skeptical movement, the following has been achieved:
(De Vrije Gedachte CC BY-SA 4.0)

De Vrije Gedachte (The Free Thought), a Dutch association founded in 1856 for freethought, atheism, humanism, skepticism, secularism and free speech, was very small before Leon Korteweg got involved with it. He learnt that Tim de Vries was preparing a rewrite, but struggled with what to do next. Leon took over the project and with the assistance of several people including team member Emile Dingemans, photographer and editor of its magazine De Vrijdenker René van Elst, its then-chairman Anton van Hooff, and freethought historian Bert Gasenbeek, executed a major expansion. Right now, the page looks like THIS. An English translation is almost ready as well.

Skepsis ry, the Finnish skeptical association, was first improved in English (before - after) and then translated from English to Dutch by Leon Korteweg, checked by Wim Vandenberghe. However, seeing the Finnish article was much larger and up to date, they wanted to look for a Finnish translator to help expanding both English and Dutch pages. At QED 2015, Leon actually met a skeptic from Finland willing to aid us; we hope to cooperate with him to be able to tell more about Skepsis ry.

Association française pour l'information scientifique (French Association for Scientific Information) is a French group, one of the oldest skeptical organisations in the world, preceding the foundation of CSICOP by 8 years. It was translated to Dutch by Rik Delaet and corrected, improved and illustrated by Leon Korteweg: Association française pour l'information scientifique. Then it was translated to English, see Team Sagan.

CICAP - After Raffaella Vitali had improved and expanded the Italian and English articles of CICAP, the Italian skeptics, Leon Korteweg translated it to Dutch. The text was reviewed by Jurgen Voorneveld, a new associate of the Dutch team.

Wim and Leon are working with Norwegian skeptics to improve their article, and translate it to English and Dutch; we hope to report on those efforts when they come to fruition. We have contacted the Czech skeptics (they were busy testing hundreds of dowsers in Prague, but promised to get back to us). We established contact with COMCEPT - the Portuguese skeptics - who presented at QED, as well as the Greater Manchester Skeptics Society and Glasgow Skeptics. We are trying to get in touch with all other groups in Europe.

(Good Thinking CC BY-SA 4.0)

To our amused surprise, the page for the Good Thinking Society was launched just after QED by someone else! Snatched away right before we could start on it. Apparently we were not the only ones inspired by Michael Marshall's talk on Homeopathy in the UK last Saturday morning. But, as one can see, this article could use further expansion, so we might work on that in the next two months.

We have also launched the Wikiproject Skepticism on Dutch Wikipedia, to increase cooperation between skeptical Wikipedians; they don't have to be GSoW members to participate. We will see how this evolves.

Roguing Emile:

Emile Dingemans again performed many notable hit-and-run actions while "roguing" the Dutch Wikipedia:

  • Added news on the extrication of three psychics by the Belgian mentalist Gili during the Flemish TV-show Café Corsari. He let the psychics wander though and feel the Zuiderpershuis. All three psychics came with a similar story about a murder that had happened in the old factory. A fake story that Gili had put on the official website of Zuiderpershuis. (Added to three articles).
  • Gili Changes
  • Zuiderpershuis Changes
  • Café Corsari Changes
  • Added the biography of a Dutch atheist comedian who only several days later announced in his TV-show to become the first Pharaoh Arjen Henrik I of The Netherlands. He managed to receive enough signatures for his citizens' initiative, to have his idea suggested for discussion in the national parliament. This gave 2.000 hits on his Wikipedia page that day, where people could read about his struggle with his religious background and coming out as an atheist. Changes View statistics
  • Added skeptics criticism on Ayurveda. Changes
  • Updated and restructured several pages on Dutch patenting system: Octrooi; Octrooi in Nederland; Octrooi in België; Benelux Patent Platform; Benelux-Bureau voor de Intellectuele Eigendom; Europees Octrooibureau; Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland; Agentschap NL; Europees Octrooiverdrag.
  • Added section on International Agency for Research on Cancer's classification of glyphosate as 'probably carcinogenic', with criticism to the misunderstanding in popular media as if it was a risk analysis, and analysis by Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung. Changes
  • Update introduction of Dutch article on the controversial MSG (Monosodiumglutamate), pointing out that it is available in 'natural' products like tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms. Listing essential nutrients. Changes
  • Enlarged Massimo Pigliucci's page with information on the Rationally Speaking podcast. Changes

Italian Team:

European Council of Skeptical Organisations - Having been previously written in English, Dutch and Hungarian, the ECSO page has now been translated into Italian by our wonderful editor Raffaella Vitali.

Russian Team:

Общество скептиков (Skeptic Society) - Several writers, translators and reviewers worked on this multilingual project that resulted in three new articles about the Russian-speaking skeptical community founded by Kirill Alferov in 2013.

In Russian, the page was created by Katy, Jelena and Svetlana (with the aid of Leon and Kirill himself); in English translated by Jelena and Leon (reviewed by Janyce, James and Julie); in Dutch translated by Leon (reviewed by Emile).

GSoW mentions

András Pintér lectured about GSoW at the Budapesti Szkeptikus Konferencia in Hungarian on 28 March 2015.

The Skeptic Zone published an interview in English with GSoW Hungarian team leader András Pintér on 12 April 2015.

Leon Korteweg and Vera de Kok lectured about GSoW at The Hague Skeptics in the Pub in English on 3 April 2015.

Leon Korteweg lectured about GSoW at Vrijdenkerscafé Utrecht in Dutch on 13 April 2015.

András Pintér gave a talk in English about 'The authority problem' during SkeptiCamp Manchester 2015, preceding QED 2015. A part of the lecture was dedicated to Wikipedia and GSoW.

We're mentioned on the cover of Skepter, the Dutch skeptical magazine! Leon Korteweg's article appears on p. 39–41.