Tuesday, May 7, 2013

GSoW Rocks the Internet with Major Updates

Before I begin... we have breaking news.  Amanda Berry has been found! This is the same Amanda Berry that Sylvia Browne said was dead and "in water" back in 2004 when Berry's mother appeared on the Montel Williams Show.  We have updated the Browne, and Berry Wikipedia pages to reflect this info.  Things are happening fast and possible that the references to Browne may not stick.

Get ready - there are a lot this month -  in no special order... here they are.
Skeptical Inquirer Magazine - now has a new page in Portuguese.  Nix Dorf, Filipe Russo & Luis Pratas have been working on getting the licencing for this image for over a month.  Portuguese Wikipedia has some very strict rules and getting the magazine cover correctly added took far longer than the page translation. 

10:23 Campaign - Newly created for Portuguese readers - (Luis Pratas editor)

Mark Boslough - Nova interviewed Boslough for its program on meteors at the end of March 2013.  We were waiting for those viewers.  Look at what happened to the page view hits his Wikipedia page received during this time.

Ruth Hurmence Green - This is a rewrite (before) that editor Fredrick Green (no relation whats so ever besides how we are all related to each other) created.

Skeptic's Guide to the Universe - brand new page in Portuguese - (editor Luis Pratas)

JREF One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge - It was suggested by editor Rick Duffy that the challenge would probably receive more traffic if it were its own Wikipedia page. While there is still a mention on the JREF page, having its own page allows us to add a lot more content.  Rick also discovered when he was re-writing it, that many of the links were broken or missing.

Long Island Medium - Now in Portuguese.  Editor -  Luis Pratas

Stan Romanek - Rick Duffy created the Wikipedia page for this person several months ago.  We not only create pages for our skeptical spokespeople, but feel it is important to have well-written pages for our opposites.  Remember we are not writing Wikipedia pages for the skeptical choir, but for the general public. When people like Romanek are in the media, it is important that the public has a place (beside that person's personal website) in order to get information.

In this case, you can see from this stat tool, that Romanek has been in the media's eye.  People are going to his page to find out more about him, we are waiting for those people.

Sharon Hill - A brand new creation by Nathan Miller and team - this page will be featured on the front page of Wikipedia, May 8th from 4:00am - noon EST.  Please support the GSoW team during that 8 hour window by visiting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page and look for the Did You Know section.  This is a lot of fun (please share on your social networks)..  DYK is terrific outreach for our community as the majority of people who will be viewing this page are not skeptics.  Nathan is leaving a great little tease (called a hook) about Bigfoot so that should draw some extra attention.

Desiree Schell - rewritten by editor Chris Pederson.  Make sure you check out the before page.

And Psychic Fans your going to love this next one.  Check out the BEFORE page first.  Brand new editor Daniel Skitt decided to take on psychic Desert Tavares's Wikipedia page.  Personally it looks like Tavares (or one of her fans) wrote it.  Whoever it was did not know what they were doing and listed all the media appearances she has had.  Problem is they did not list the appearances, just the name of the show.

We loved the lede where they write that she is a "broadcast celebrity" and is the "daughter of internationally recognized artist, Luis Magin Florez".  A "celebrity" really?  "Internationally recognized artist"?  With no Wikipedia page?  That just seems odd.  Anyway, Daniel went through each citation and non-citation and found that just about everything went back to her own personal website.  He learned how to mark each claim with "citation needed" to keep himself organized, and we liked how that looked so much that we decided to keep that on the page when we re-published it.  It was either that or just deleting everything.

Nathan Miller carefully reworded the part about her making the predictions.  I hope that people reading the page understand what we were trying to say, that Tavares predicted it after the fact.  We left the page in much better shape than we found it.  It is now tagged with a notability flag, and we will move on to other pages.  Editors now have the choices to

1. Leave it alone
2. Delete it
3. Find all the citations

Skeptic Magazine - in Portuguese.  Just like with the Skeptical Inquirer Magazine release, the team had a mess trying to get the licensing correct for an image.  But now because of Nix Dorf, Rita and Luis Pratas, Skeptic Magazine is now live.  

CHILD - This is the first page rewrite of brand new editor Bill Grieb.  I had never heard of this organization before he started working on the rewrite, now after spending time with this page, I'm so glad we have this in great shape.  Facebook and Twitter were alive a couple weeks ago when the news broke that for the second time, parents had allowed their child to die while they prayed over them instead of seeking medical care.  CHILD works to change laws that prevent parents from being allowed to use loop-holes and claim religious exemptions.  Here is the before page.


This has been a busy month for our team.  We have added several new editors and as we do so, grow the amount of updates.  We are continually recruiting, and customize our training to whatever is needed to get you started.

Here are a few recent interviews and blogs about this project.  Please become involved and join us.


May 2, 2013 - American Freethought Podcast - (28:50) http://americanfreethought.libsyn.com/podcast-176-guerrilla-skepticism-on-wikipedia

April 28, 2013 - The Skeptical Libertarian Blog - Eric Hall - (this is a re-post of his March 16th blog for Skeptoid) -Snopes, "Liberal Bias," and Trusting the Internet - http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/04/27/snopes-liberal-bias-and-trusting-the-internet/

April 23, 2013 - Skepticality - http://www.skepticality.com/superlaw/#axzz2RK8pDXJw

April 20, 2013 - Amateur Skeptics podcast - http://amateurskeptics.com/AmateurSkeptics-083

April 10, 2013 - Skepticality - http://www.skepticality.com/#axzz2Q4t3tPC5

April 7, 2013 - Life the Universe & Everything Else podcast - http://lueepodcast.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/episode-53-hivaids-denial/



April 3, 2013 - The Virtual Skeptics (about 22 minutes in) - http://virtualskeptics.com/2013/04/03/virtual-skeptics-33-432013/

April 2, 2013 - Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter - (Bob Carroll) - http://www.skepdic.com/news/newsletter1204.html

April 2, 2013 - 360 Degree Skeptic Blog - (Andrew Bernardin) - http://360skeptic.com/2013/04/skepticism-and-wikipedia-a-call-for-volunteers/

April 2, 2013 - Florida Skeptics Blog - (Andrew Bernardin) http://floridaskeptics.com/2013/04/skepticism-and-wikipedia-a-call-for-volunteers/


March 26, 2013 - The Morning Heresy - CFI - http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/3_26_13/

March 26, 2013 - Skepticality podcast - http://www.skepticality.com/spot-the-bull/#axzz2Oi3HNgma


Sunday, May 5, 2013

How to Work with Disambiguation Pages and Redirects

Greetings all! My name is Nathan, and I have the good fortune to be guest-posting today about Disambiguation and Redirect pages on Wikipedia.

Disambiguation Pages, Redirects, and Keeping it Simple

Wikipedia has a lot of articles. I mean a WHOLE lot. And when I say a WHOLE LOT, I really mean that it ha- ...okay, I get it, you get it. There are even algorithms to describe how many there are.

But did you know that each of those articles is supposed to have its own, unique one-of-a-kind identifier? As you might imagine, this leads to some potential overlap. Remember back in 4th grade math class, when you had three Johns? Our intrepid teacher, Ms. Hypatia, came up with a disambiguation solution. We suddenly had Jon B., John J. and John P.

If you were to ask Ms. Hypatia about "John," she would likely prompt you for further input. Did you want B (who also spells his first name differently), J, or P? This is exactly how Wikipedia handles overlapping identifiers, with a Disambiguation page.

I created this guide out of an example article the GSoW team recently worked on:

  • Sharon Hill is a geologist in Pennsylvania, as well as a science writer and speaker, who has constructively contributed to the advancement of scientific skepticism.
  • Sharon Hill is a borough in Pennsylvania, United States with a population around 5,500.

We had a problem. When we went to publish a new biographical article for Hill, the page for “Sharon Hill” already existed, and would auto-redirect users to the “Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania” article. We could (and did) publish under "Sharon A. Hill," but that auto-redirect page had the potential to frustrate a lot of potential seekers.

We needed to change that Redirect into a Disambiguation page.

Step One: Edit the Redirect

If you go to a Redirect page (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAGETITLE) without disabling the “redirect” function, you would see something similar to the figure below:

The "redirect" function has auto-forwarded us to another page. Altering the URL by adding "?redirect=no" prevents this from occurring (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAGETITLE?redirect=no):

Disabling the “redirect” function allows us the option to edit the Redirect page.

Step Two: Create the Disambiguation Page

We create a Disambiguation page with something similar to the following code:

'''Sharon Hill''' may refer to:

* [[Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania]], a borough in [[Delaware County, Pennsylvania|Delaware County]], [[Pennsylvania]], [[United States]].
* [[Sharon A. Hill]], a geologist, science writer and speaker.


Obviously, you'd want to replace the above wiki-code with your own example. Saving this page in place of the old Redirect article will present users with a choice, as can be seen on the current Sharon Hill Disambiguation page.

Step Three: Clarify the Article(s)

In order to make it easier for users to identify which “Sharon Hill” they are reading about, and to make it easier for them to

{{about|TOPIC|TOPIC 2|ARTICLE (2)}}

In our case, using the following text...

{{about|Sharon A. Hill, the science writer and geologist|the city in the State of Pennsylvania|Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania}}

...results in:

This page is about Sharon A. Hill, science writer and geologist. For the borough in Pennsylvania, United States, see Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania.

being added to the header of the page. This makes it more obvious to the user which article they're viewing, and gives them the option to select the correct one if they've ended up in the wrong place.

In Conclusion

I hope this example has been helpful. Please keep in mind that not every situation is going to require the same handling. Sometimes Redirect pages will need to be replaced with Disambiguation pages. Sometimes not. You will need to adapt the steps in the above tutorial to meet your own requirements. If you are stuck, don't hesitate to ask another editor for help.