Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (Susan Gerbic)

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Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (Susan Gerbic)

Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (Susan Gerbic)


So in April 2017, that would just recently
passed, William Shatner, who’s better known as Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek
series, tweeted in support of the autism awareness month. So knowingly, or possibly unknowingly, William
Shatner was unaware of the controversy of Autism Speaks. So many in the autism community say that Autism
Speaks is anti-autism. Others point to promotion of past deeds they’ve
had were.. were anti-vacs ideals. And this was politely pointed out to William
Shatner and this all happened on Twitter. So you know what happened next, right. Shatner doubled down and was attacked, and
returned, and it got real ugly real quick. So David Gorski, who is a member of the skeptic
community, he writes for science-based medicine, he is an oncologist and he writes under the
name or Orak. But he gets a lot of flack for writing about
vaccine awareness, and lots of stuff he does, but it’s all usually medicine related. So he tried very nicely to explain to
William Shatner the controversy that the autism community has with (the) Autism Speaks group. So Shatner decided to Google David Gorski. Shatner finds anti-Gorsky sites and discredit
Gorski over Twitter and then Shatner is attacked again. So this Slate article by Allen Leibowitz
soon appeared and sums up the entire mess with these two statements. “A crank website can capture the mind of
a celebrity with 2.5 million followers and discredit one of the most reliable sites on
the internet. For shame.” And the reliable sites on the internet
he’s talking about are science-based medicine. You can’t understand the depth of the current
chaos… until you see William Shatner tweeting a site friendly to Health Ranger. And health Ranger is also Mike Adams or Natural
News. These are very discredited websites. So we have a problem. We have a big problem. This exchange not only sums up the problem
with Shatner but why, when the majority of evidences that is on the side of reason in
science, why are we having trouble getting the information we hold beyond the choir. So you supported the March for science? How many people went and were (sic) supported
it? I was there too. Wasn’t it great? It was so much fun. So it’s fun to see everybody all dressed up. And in this picture.. I took this.. I’m in Monterey County, Monterey area, Monterey
County in California, which is.. ah.. we had our March for science. And I took this photo because I am a professional
portrait photographer. I love it. I mean look at the woodpecker’s. Aren’t they.. aren’t they adorable. I mean they’re just so cute. Who else dressed up as a woodpecker? Everybody? Wow, okay. And I mean, look at the full guy’s socks over
here. Aren’t they cute? And he, with a purple hat, the pink hat. And he’s just so excited to be in this first
protest. We’re getting the youth all jazzed up, you
know. Come on science, all right! So I took this photo. I uploaded it to Wikimedia Commons and it’s
now resides on Wikipedia in an article. So that’s one thing that we were able to do. But now what? We’re all jazzed up. We’re raring to go. But jazzed up to do what and to go where? Right, so I’m gonna offer you a solution,I
hope. So I am Susan Gerbic. I am the leader and founder of the Guerrilla
Skeptics on Wikipedia project better known as GSoW. I’ll be using that acronym a lot because it’s
a lot less than Guerrilla Skeptics On Wikipedia. So GSoW. We are a Wikipedia editing team working to
improve, rewrite, create and support Wikipedia pages associated with scientific skepticism. We work on pages concerned with the paranormal,
alternative med, science, the history of the skeptic community and we have the backs of
the people in the front line. Those people who are getting a lot of
attacks. They are getting docs, so they’re getting
ridiculed, they’re possibly losing their freedoms and their livelihood and their jobs. So we are trying to have their backs, to make
sure that they’re in.. those Wikipedia pages are in great shape. So that they can put their best foot forward. So they can continue doing the work that they
need to be doing. We do this, GSoW does this, by recruiting,
training and mentoring science-minded people all over the world. We advocate for better communication and give
them a better outlet for the frustrations. And arguing on social media with people who
are not listening to what you are saying and they are not listening to.. reading the links
you are giving them. I have news for you they’re not.. the
believers are not.. don’t care. You can argue with them all day long and they’re
not reading it, they’re not hearing you, they’re just.. they’re not there. So the work that I.. my editors are doing
on Wikipedia allows them to be better educators and to keep my editors, blood pressure down. And probably they’ll have a better home life
because they’re not so angry and frustrated. So now to be fair. William Shatner might be a famous celebrity. Okay, yes, he’s a famous celebrity. But he is just some guy, right. He’s a guy with over 2.5 million Twitter followers
but essentially he is just a guy. We can’t expect him to understand the controversy
of Autism Speaks. That’s not his thing. He’s not a scientist. He’s just.. he’s just a guy, right? So.. let me see if I can figure out a
page [indecipherable] real quick, okay. There we go, sorry. We need to do a.. we, collectively we, and
everybody who’s watching.. this is live streamed on Facebook and periscope and you guys, and
everybody else, we need to do a better job of leaving good information in places people
can find, written in languages people read and written for the non-academic. Shatner did a Google search for David
Gorski and found only negative sites. We do not know why Shatner did not first go
to Wikipedia. As of a suggestion here, she says, “I’m
surprised that you didn’t just go to the Wikipedia which has all the links to scientific paper.” We don’t know why he didn’t go there. Possibly he discredits Wikipedia. It has a reputation. Maybe he thinks that’s just not the place
to go. Maybe he thinks the first views he gets are
the ones that are the accurate ones. Or possibly, as this Twitter person suggests,
that because maybe William Shatner, I don’t know, has anti-vaxxer use and he’s done past
Google searches that support anti-vax sites and that is why the search results for David
Gorski were at the top of the hit for that. So I don’t know, I’m not a.. I’m not a computer kind of person in that
way, but I’m sure you all have your own opinion. And maybe somebody could look into the Shatner
and see if he is anti-vax. I don’t know. What I do know is that David Gorski has
a strong Wikipedia page. And it was created by the GSoW Project in
March 2013. And we maintain it and that’s how I know it’s
a good Wikipedia page. Some people were curious who David Gorski
is and they went and they found his Wikipedia page. These are the stat views for that period. And I don’t know how well you can see this
because it’s light blue. But since GSoW created this page in 2013 it’s
already received sixty three thousand seven hundred and fifty pageviews. He averages about a hundred page views a day
and that number is off because I wrote the slide about five days ago. So you can see here’s his normal stat
views and then look here’s the page views on the day the twits.. the twits! Is that word? Is that word? It is now. That’s the days that the stats were high. And now this isn’t thousands, that’s only
four hundred right there. And you can see it comes down here to
two hundred, and a hundred, and fifty, and it goes back to normal. And then he has some some surges just because
of the normal things he does. Maybe this is the day his blog comes out or.. I don’t know. But this isn’t huge numbers, but it is
a huge number for David Gorski; four hundred page views. Whoever’s doing the math is so many thousands
times more percentage-wise, or whatever, than a normal view. But it’s a lot, it is a start, it is what
we can do. So some people were able to find that page. They were curious enough that they went from
Twitter to the wikipedia page. Or that woman who put the Wikipedia page URL
in that tweet they might have possibly clicked on that. So the goals of GSoW are mini, and grandiose,
and maybe even idealistic. Not only are we attempting to rewrite Wikipedia
concerning all these topics in all languages possible, which is probably thousands of pages. I don’t even want to know because I’m afraid
it would just.. really just discourage me. But we’re trying to do this, you know, you
know in a huge way. And our goal is to grow our community. Not only the GSoW community but the community
at large. I really support conferences and.. and efforts
to get our message out beyond the choir. But we also need to grow us, our people, the
people watching. All those people who are interested in scientific
skepticism. We need to find you. We need to motivate you. We need to train you and we need to support
you. We need to follow up, not just the people
but the projects that are happening. Some people join GSoW and they move on
to other projects. That happens and I’m fine with that. They meet other people who are like-minded. They learned about the community. They.. they find a networking and then sometimes
they go on to other projects. I have lots of people who are.. who have done
other things outside of GSoW. Some people stay with GSoW through the
whole time that we’re.. They were.. we’re working. And some do both. They’re also still podcasting, and blogging,
and lecturing, and writing books and articles. And they’re also still with the GSoW. Once you finish your training, you know, you
can do as you please. So most people stay involved in activism
of some kind once they have.. they have come to GSoW. Currently I have a team of 87 editors. They are located in our secret cabal. It is called a secret cabal and it’s in a
secret Facebook group. So if you’re joining the GSoW you have to
be able to go on Facebook. That’s just the way it is because that’s where
we work. Sorry for the.. for those few people. But we’re going to look at another aspect
of GSoW. How many people are aware of this clinic? [Burzynski] Oh, that’s a lot. Wow, okay, almost half the group. So thankfully Bob Moskowitz and others, including
David Gorski, have brought this clinic to our attention – the Burzynski clinic. GSoW did not write this Wikipedia page but
it has contributed to it and it helps to maintain it. And I should be clear GSoW does not hold
all the skeptics that exist on Wikipedia. Normal Wikipedia editors who follow Wikipedia
rules are editing under the rules of skepticism, which is citation needed. And that citation needs to be a pretty darn
good one if you’re going to be making it an unusual claim. Wikipedia would be Conserapedia in a month
if it was not for the awesome Wikipedia editors that exists outside of GSoW. They do a major lion’s share of the work [along
with] the robots that are patrolling Wikipedia all the time. The English Burzynski clinic page receives
about 350 pageviews a day. The Burzynski clinic is in Houston Texas but
it attracts people from all over the world. GSoW felt it needed to get this page translated
into other languages because that’s part of our mission is; to make sure that Wikipedia
pages are written in languages other than English so that people can read it and understand
it in the language that they’re most comfortable reading. So we translated it into Dutch, and this
is I think the first page that we translated. And it has received, at the time I made this
slide, 6,897 pageviews. And no, there will not be a test. You don’t have to write these numbers down. But I’m just trying to give you a feeling
of how many page views that gets almost nine thousand.. seven thousand pageviews. About 25 pageviews a day. We’ve also written in in German and that
has received a little over five thousand pageviews so far. And then also Portuguese, because of course,
you would do the same. And Portuguese has received about four thousand
pageviews. Four thousand page views of people going and
looking at the Burzynski clinic and Portuguese. That’s kind of interesting, right? And then we also decided to translate it to
Italian and I think it is more Bob Moskowitz encourageing us to do this. Because of this guy. So shot this out if you know who this
is. The young people in the audience probably
won’t know who’s Fabio is. But Fabio is a Burzynski supporter. He is a big supporter. He’s a true believer and when his sister was
dying of stage four cancer he brought her to the clinic where she died a few weeks later. She didn’t get her antineoplastons it was..
she was already too far along. She was extremely dehydrated when they brought
her and they basically gave her fluids and she lived a few weeks and that was it. So we felt that it’s possible that he
may be doing some kind of lectures or.. we didn’t know what he might do in Italian so
we felt that we better get the Wikipedia page made in Italian just in case some something
unforeseen happens. So my entire editing team, my entire editing
team on Italian, which is a joke because I only have one person. And we’ve asked on podcasts, and I begged
for the last two years, we can’t find any more Italian editors. And this is one woman, and her name is Rafaela,
and I’m just going to mention her really briefly because I want you to understand what are
the type of people who join my project. So Rafi is living in Italy. She has no skeptic groups near her that she..
there are skeptic groups in Italy but they’re not near her where she could get to. She was also working on her PhD in mathematics
so she’s busy. She’s got.. she’s got a full life and.. and
she still decided she wanted to join the GSoW project because she really wanted to give
back and do something. So she’s been working for me, oh gosh,
maybe it’s been a couple years now. So she mostly translates. We never use Google Translate. We only use.. when we translate a page we
only do it with a real native speaker. So the Burzynski page has already received
almost 3,000 pageviews. And then Bob Blaschuk had this other idea. He’s.. Bob Blaschuk, by the way, is not on the GSoW
team. But, you know, he’s a good friend and I have
a interested in the Burzynski, clinic whole thing. So he suggested that maybe we should put
it in Polish. Because Burzynski is Polish, right? So I didn’t have a Polish editor and I do
have one now and it’s Adam and he was the first to signed up on the Facebook live. Hi Adam. So we do have a Polish editor, but at
the time we didn’t. So what Bob blaskowitz did is he found somebody
who could translate the English page into Polish. And then one of my editors, Nathan Miller,
who is more or less, in this area here of Washington DC. Nathan went and translated the code and made
this page live in Polish without speaking Polish. It’s quite an achievement. I think maybe he can speak a little German
but he just managed to do it because it was so important. And I’ve mentioned how many page views
these other language pageviews have. Other pages like 3,000, 5,000, 7,000 pageviews. Well the Polish page is one of the most recent
ones we’ve translated. It’s already almost at 28,000 pageviews. So it’s being accessed and it’s not just being
accessed by just one or two random people. Because it’s in Polish it’s really making
a difference. This may, or may not, be one of the top pageviews
that’s in Polish Wikipedia. I’m sure it’s probably in the, maybe, the
top thousand. I don’t know. I’m just making it up, but we’re not recording
this, right? Okay. So we know with all these page views many
are probably not skeptics but they’re desperate families looking for help and they’re going
to fall into this clinic’s clutches if they don’t have good information. And hopefully some of the views are people
going to the page and then going, “Oh!” And then turning around and leaving and trying
to find some real help for themselves. We don’t know how. Okay, so what we wanted to do is we wanted
to see how much of a page is actually being accessed. And there was one way we figured out to do
this. Anybody know who Tyler Henry is? Okay, a couple of you guys. So this is Tyler Henry and I’m kind of glad
you don’t know who he is, but he’s been on my radar for a little over a year now. He’s brand new to the world of psychic mediumship. In January of 2016, so what about a year
and a half ago, the E network, which I know you all follow the E Network and Kim Kardashian
and.. and friends, you’re up-to-date on what’s going on in their season, right? So they almost just picked him up from
a psychic shop and gave him a reality show. That’s about what happened. There are a lot of people. Oh, I should mention it is just in its third
season. I think yesterday with season three. Believe it or not he’s still in business. Outside of the GSoW project there are
a lot of people who know me for the other activism I do and they would be absolutely
shocked to learn that I run Wikipedia editing group. I specialize in researching and writing about
people we call grief vampires. And I’ve done several stings with these
people, along with other friends of mine, and you can read all about the other work
I do by Googling my name Susan Gerbic and then add the word psychic and you should be
able to find all the different stings I’ve done; operation bumblebee, operation ice-cream
cone. This is operation Tater Tot and we have a
new one that’s going to be coming out hopefully in the next few months. It’s called Operation Pizza Roll. So you’ll be able to do that. Now I put this picture up here because
we all love Dr. Phil don’t we? What a sweetheart. He’s.. I’ve been told, and I know people who’ve been
on his show, he said to be the biggest skeptic of them all. Did you know that? We’ve been told that so many times, that he
is the biggest skeptic. But he’s just skeptically putting his arm
around him, you know? Right, right. So I’ve written a least six articles about
Tyler Henry for the skeptical Inquirer and as his chief critic I also have a Wikipedia
page and because I have a Wikipedia page. And because I’m his chief critic, then the
articles I write, which are being released in a noteworthy place, which is Skeptical
Inquirer online, my articles I write can go on to his Wikipedia page. Awesome! So here’s the page views for the Tyler
Henry page. Now remember we’re trying to figure out something. We’re trying to figure out, ‘are people looking
at the Wikipedia page and following the links and going somewhere else?’ So this shows a few peaks which all correspond
to the airing of his show. If you can see down here, at the end,
huge spikes. This is whenever the E network was really
marketing him. He just started January of 2016. I should also mention we did not write the
Wikipedia page for Tyler Henry. Somebody else did and they’ve been adding
criticism on. And then as we go up here this is season
two. You can see all these spikes, right? And then if we go down here you can see a
little bit more. And this probably is where they started promoting
him for season 3 on the E network. And this guy, at the time I wrote this, published
slides. Maybe five days ago, he’s already at 850,000
pageviews. That’s a lot of pages, right? But, keep in mind that if this man could do
what he says he does, communicate with the dead, he’d be getting over 850,00 pageviews
a day, right? We’d also be burning all text books because
we would have to rewrite physics, and so on. So. Now this is a Wikipedia page for Susan
Gerbic. I’m going to talk to the third person, which
is a lie. So this is the exact same time frame that
the Tyler Henry page is. And you can see these massive peaks right
here. And you can see another set of peaks and then
other massive peaks right here. So you can kind of see. Now let’s put those two pages together. Now this is logarithmic so this is 1,000’s
of pageviews. This is 100’s of pageviews. Again, I’m not so sure how well you guys can
see that with the light coloring but this is a site I use and they color it those colors. So you can see these peaks and lows are
exactly pretty much the same. It’s not pareidolia. I’m sure you would be able to tell it. But you can see there’s two little spots right
here that corresponding to two little spots right there, two little spots here to. They’re going from one page to the other. It’s obvious that they are doing so. Of course they’re not going to the scale
that we’d like them to do. The ten thousands and stuff like that. But they are accessing the Tyler Henry page. They’re probably watching TV and they’re saying,
“Who’s this guy who’s talking to the dead. I’ve never heard of Tyler Henry?” They’re Googling him and they’re coming up
with Wikipedia because it’s one of the first views they’re going to get is you’re going
to hit the link to Wikipedia. And then once they’re on the Wikipedia
page they’re looking at it and there’s a lot of criticism on his wikipedia page. And, but my name is mentioned in the lead,
which is a top part, so it’s probably why mine is getting more views than other people
who are also notable. Like Mark Edward and different people like
that. If you go down further you’ll see that
in the criticism section, because I know you’re all going to go Googled Tyler Henry to go
read about him. You’ll see there’s a lot of good criticism
in there that’s justified being there. Now what I don’t know is if anybody looked
at this? Because you guys are stat people. I’m sure you’re skeptics. You like numbers. Is anybody notice anything odd with the Susan
Gerbic views? What do you see Chip? [There’s a couple of dips there] There’s
dips, yeah. Now, wow. Look so you can see in here there’s this big
dip here. It doesn’t correspond here. Yeah, Chip of course would notice these
stats. And here’s another one here and there’s not
a correspondence right there. And is there another one? No this is this is normal it corresponds to
there. So what would cause that to happen because
the Wikipedia page for Tyler Henry is still working and functioning and everything’s fine. And the Susan Gerbic page is still functioning. But what would cause the views to go down? Does anybody have some ideas? [indecipherable] That’s right, very good. Somebody went in and erased the entire criticism
section for Tyler Henry. Okay? And then when it’s pointed out, and it’s
found, it was added back in. In a way it’s a good thing that happened
because I can use the slide as evidence that this is what’s going on. When the criticism is removed from the Tyler
Henry page then they’re not getting criticism because there’s no criticism to get and they
would have received criticism. They would have been able to find that. And then, of course they’d be able to go to
the citations and follow the links and see but what I’ve actually written e.g., the articles
themselves and the other people on the page. So this is a fastening, kind of like a
little double-blind kind of thing, I guess, it shows you that what happens when it works
out like that. So that’s a very interesting little thing. Now we know that it was [How long did
it take?] Oh this is maybe five days. [How long did it take for you to get it back
on?] Seconds, seconds. [indecipherable – it would do it in seconds]
A human being we go click, click, and then make a note. We know it was a believer. We know it was a supporter because every edit
on Wikipedia is an edit that you can see. It’s transparent. You can see every edit and there’s no conspiracy. It is totally out there, right? So we can see that the supporter had written
something like, “Oh you can’t have criticism on a living person’s page.” You’re like, “Oh yeah you can!” So, yes we can if it’s from a notable
source. You can’t put gossip and you can’t put blogs
and stuff like that. But if it’s coming from a notable source that’s
in a place that’s notable you sure can. So the criticism was taken out and added back
in. And this is maybe a week. This is maybe, I don’t know, three, two
or three, days, something like that. So it was a very long. But that was very interesting. So I have another story that I want to
show you. So in August 2016 the U.S. swim team showed
up with cupping marks all over their bodies. Right? The hickey things. A circle [hicky sound], okay, that’s my hickey
sound, okay. This led to the media and the public frantically
wanting to learn more. The media called in cupping practitioners
who came in and demonstrated how cupping “works.” People started looking for information and
many found the Wikipedia page. Essentially the lead, before the GSoW project
got involved. Again this is a lead, and this is what
most people read, and then they leave. They might look at this, and they might look
at this, and most people that’s all they read. So it’s really important that this, and this,
is in terrific shape. So when, before we got involved, which
is right at the beginning, right at the very beginning, the Wikipedia page could be, ‘You
could have read it and it would have said basically cupping is old and it works.’ That was pretty much summing up what used
to be there. So I and other Wikipedia editors, we got
wind of what was going on because you started seeing the media come through on our social
media. And we turn around and we said, “Oh no,
fix this.” So we got as far as getting the cupping therapy
lead taken care of. And now, after, you know, it’s been a year
almost, if you were to read it, and you condense it down to what it actually says, it says
something like, ‘it’s old, it does not work, and it might harm you.’ So here’s some of the pageview stats during
that time. So we’re talking thousands now, right? So this is the normal pageviews for the Wikipedia
page. They normally get about a 1,500 pageviews
a day. A day people! A day! Wow! So, we got work to do. This is one day – 106,000 pageviews. One day! And this is when the Olympics are happening,
August. August 6th, 7th, right around there. So here are these people on TV. Here’s these swimmers with these giant circle
hickeys on them, and the media is going, “Oh, we got to call in somebody.. we need.. we,
oh my gosh..”, scramble, scramble, scramble. And people are Googling cupping, “What
the heck is that?” And they’re all going to Wikipedia, well maybe
not all of them but there’s an awful lot. And you can see as these stats go down a little
bit each time. So it’s probably, oh, I don’t know, 200,000,
maybe over this little week, week-and-a-half, time. So it’s an awful lot of people who are looking
at these pageviews. Well, alright, insert GSoW. I’m trying to make sure that we get really
good information on Wikipedia pages. So one of the things that I did is I went
and I found people who are notable in our community. Who have written really good articles about
cupping, with very good citations, and I went and included them in the lead of the page. Because I didn’t have a lot of time and I
just included them to lead the page. And eventually it got moved to the body
of the page, which is probably where it should have been in the first place. And that’s where they reside right now. If you look at the cupping therapy Wikipedia
page you’ll find that we’ve mentioned a lot of different people in the lead who should
be there. They’re experts in this field of pseudoscience
and medical suicides, more or less. One of the people that you may know is Harriet
Hall. And there’s all sorts of other different kinds
of people. And you can look at that when you have time. All the people we put in there are people
who have really well-written Wikipedia pages. And you know how I know that? We wrote those pages, right? One of the things that I’ve been thinking
of for quite a while is that I said that I want to support people who are doing good
work and I want to support people who are in our community so that they can do a better
job. So what I wanted to do is I want those
people to be on the page so that when something like that happens the media you know the media
is losing money, or whatever, they’re, you know, they’re not able to do the research. They’re cutting back. So if they were able to go to the Wikipedia
page, because you know they’re going to, because, I don’t know what it is either. And they found experts on that page who have
written great readable articles. They could look at that and they could say,
“Hey, Harriet Hall. This one’s local to us let’s call her. Let’s get her in the media. Let’s get her on the camera.” And they could see somebody like Harriet Hall
has done other stuff in the past. And they can see that she’s just a well-spoken
person. And she’s able to, you know, she’s not a
nut purchase. Right? So they would be able to say, “Let’s call
her.” And then we also put other people on there
from other places around the world. Somebody from New Zealand, somebody from
Australia, a couple of people from England. So that the media all over the world would
be able to call in somebody in their timezone. You know, that kind of thing. So we’re kind of thinking that way. Now we didn’t get there completely in
time. We got close, but we now are prepared. But at the time. I am NOT psychic. I didn’t know that cupping was going to be
a thing that day. But that’s how you know I’m not psychic. And Tyler wasn’t in anyway. So, what we did is we tried to get those
people’s pages in great.. the pages already existed in great shape.. all the people who
put up there. So that was already done. But now in case the celebrities come back
and start bringing more media attention, which obviously it’s already starting. Somebody’s out there getting cupping and posting
on Instagram. And so this is a graph, again, it’s light-colored. Sorry. This is, again, hundreds, not thousands, which
we sure as heck would like. But these are four people that I mentioned;
Harriet Hall, Simon Singh, Mark Crislip and Edward Ernst. Four people in our community. Four people that we’ve worked on the Wikipedia
pages. And I know that Wikipedia pages are reputable
and people could look at them and go, ‘good job, this is somebody who’s sane and somebody
who’s well-spoken and well-written and has credentials to get on TV.’ And you could see the same spike over
and over. This is Simon Singh, the light green and he
has other reasons why his Wikipedia page views would be high. He hits about two hundered pageviews a day. And then some of these others they’re in the
hundreds or less, fifty and so on. So the same spike. So we know that during that window of time
that we had the information, and people were interested, and cupping people were going
over and looking at these pages. Hopefully the media will be the ones that
are hitting on that and trying to find them to come in and do a, you know, a interview
or at least getting their articles for criticism and being able to do that. So it’s not the thousands, we’d like tha. At least it’s something. So we have evidence on our side. But unless we can find creative ways to get
this information in places where people will find it, and in languages they understand,
then we’re always going to be fighting against fake news and celebrities on Twitter. We, again, we as a collective, we’re all
a very small percentage of the population that cares about this kind of thing. We need a bigger proportion to step up in
our communities. So doing GSoW training is a big task. I have one of my editors here, Pete. [indecipherable] He’d be happy to answer any
questions. I don’t. He’s one of my.. just recently finished training
and we need a bigger proportion of people to step up because doing the training is a
task. It’s self-paced. It’s all online and you all would receive
a personal trainer to guide you through every step. But once you’ve finished training, which
can take weeks or months, then we’re going to expect you to do some work. So it’s something that does takes some time
and is a commitment. And I’m going to point this out really
quickly before I finish. This is George Hrab. This is a project that you can do and help
us with. It has nothing to do with the skepticism movement
necessarily. You don’t have to join the GSoW project. This is an info box. Right? What a lot of Wikipedia pages miss are
great photos. And another thing that we’ve specialize in
is audio. And this is just them speaking saying, “My
name is George Hrab. I’m known for this famous.. this why I’m known
for this.” Some people tell jokes, some people do quotes,
but we like to get audio to put on the Wikipedia page so you can hear them pronounce their
name. You can hear them speak and it’s kind of fun. So everybody here has probably a cell
phone that is enough quality to get that audio and to get a photo. And I took that picture of him in January
in a conference in California, LA. But we need at least that. So if you know of somebody who has a Wikipedia
page that needs a nice current picture or audio. Do it! Take it! It doesn’t have to be the highest resolution
ever and then I can help you, just email me, and I’ll help you upload it. And this goes not just for the skeptics
in our world but also for the artists, the writers and the politicians. You’re in DC, after all. But anyway, there’s all kinds of places you
can get this information. So if you do know of other people who have
pages that need help we’re happy to help because we’re all about trying to improve Wikipedia
as a whole. I’m just focused mostly on the scientific
skepticism but we really do want to improve Wikipedia pages all over. So we’ve been collecting audio for a long
time. We’re a little bit over a hundred uploads. We tape people at conferences where we chase
them into corners and to quiet rooms. Okay, two minutes. I just need your audio right there. And this is a page, if you interesting in,
you can find. It’s got all kinds of different people’s
voices telling their little stories. And we have them, if they speak more than
one language, we tell them to actually do it. This is Dutch and this is English for the
same person. Here’s another person in Dutch. Here’s another Dutch one because I have a
Dutch person who’s just really into this. And I also have a Hungarian too, but it’s
kind of fun. In conclusion! Hey, hey. GSoW is making a difference. We are achieving our goals. We are doing great work but we’re a tiny little
group, 87 or 80 people, in the thousands of pages that need to be done. I need help, right? So obviously I’m here to recruit you. But it is the most popular website in.. well
it’s the tenth most popular website in the world. We are trying to get those noteworthy citations
onto a free and popular website written in languages other than English. Because it’s too important. We can’t just concentrate on English. There’s whole worlds of people out there who
don’t speak English or who would rather read the article in their native language. We’re also trying to get it written in
a non-academic style. You don’t have to be an expert. In fact we like people who are not experts
to work on a lot of the pages because then we know the page is going to be written in
a way that anybody can read it. We’re growing our GSoW activism community. I still need editors but we are still growing. But what I’m really worried about.. what I’m
really concerned about is the community outside of GSoW. The level of activism is low with none, or
lowly defined, goals and no way to measure our success. And this is just my opinion. But I think that we’re not growing. The skeptic community is dying. I think we’re starting to die. Not this group necessarily, because you guys
are doing great. You’re awesome! Meetups, lectures, all this. You’re videotaping it, and you have active
YouTube channel, and you have an active site. That is not normal you guys. This is not normal. I’m on every Facebook group you can imagine
that’s skeptic related. You guys are doing awesome. Very few are doing what you’re doing. I’m on almost every Facebook group that I
could find that has to do with skepticism of any kind. And they are they’re not maintaining their
websites, if they have a website, and they’re not maintaining their YouTube channels. You look at their sites and they’re like
a year or two out of date. They’re not maintaining it. They’re not getting the content out there. You attend conferences, or whatever, and they’re
filming it and then they go home and the videos somewhere. Nobody uploads it. So we’re not even growing ourselves. You know it’s great if you’ve got 200 people
in a room like today. Just kidding. But if you’ve got a lot of people in the room
I’m educating you. But let’s get beyond. We’ve got to get the other people excited
who couldn’t attend. They need to learn too. The other problem is, and this is obviously
not your greatest problem either, but you know I’m talking to a larger audience right
now. One or two people are doing all the work. When most people burn out, and they will,
the group fails. So Facebook’s are turning.. Facebook groups are turning into repository
of people sharing memes and articles and there’s no original content. That’s what you’re seeing on these pages. You can see it over and over. And the drama that ripped apart of our community
in 2012 and 2013. That may be the problem. Many people left in disgust. And I cannot blame them. It’s enough to fight against non-science nonsense
but to pit peer against peer was too much for a lot of people. And I’m here to tell you it’s over. We hit those people who were causing the most
problems. They have marginalized themselves into a corner. Some people would say they’re in safe spaces
now and they’re starting to eat their own. We need to heal and, all the people listening,
we need to heal and we need to come together. Those that are left over we need to come together
and we need to heal and build bridges. If you’re fortunate enough not to know
what I’m talking about, awesome! Thank your lucky stars, okay. But we’re human and Twitter still exists so
there’s still just a matter of time before we can find any way to be offended. And let’s hope we’ve learned our lesson. Remember the lecture is not over until
the video is uploaded and shared. The content of the conference is not over
until you have looked at the survey, and you’ve learned from it, and you pick the next dates. Funding needs to be found. But throwing money at a problem never works,
especially if there’s no way of measuring a success. We need people to step up, sponsor scholarships
for others to attend conferences, maintain the website, take the videos off the hard
drive and upload it. It’s not that hard. We can’t merely marched for science and
call it a win. We need to create organize motivate and fund
the projects and people that are doing the work. Let our scientists get back to doing what
they best do and they love. We need to have their backs and we need to
own this. Nothing. Alright. So here’s the fun part. Let me just find this website. I was going to show you a couple of numbers
just really quick before we get to Q&A. This is a site that is created after one
of the TAMs that I attended. I have a friend who is a.. there’s a lot of
people who help GSoW that are not GSoW adders. I have a large group of people who have done
amazing things for our project that make us work. Uploading photos and doing software things
for us. I wanted to be able to measure success,
right. One of my friends Jay Diamond said, “Susan!
Wonderful! What are you guys doing? How do you know if you’re doing anything?” It’s like, “Oh, my gosh, I don’t know.” So Jay talked me into trying to figure it
out. So I talked to a man and his name is the data
skeptic. So he created this for me. We went back and forth, him and I, just
like okay. I’m not a tech person so I didn’t really know
what I could do. So I kept asking him Kyle, Kyle Polish, thank
you, data skeptic. He has a podcast. Check him out. If you like stats, Chip, this is this podcast
you want to look at. So we created a site. This is private. So you guys are looking at something that’s
kind of cool. And we wanted to look at just the pages that
GSoW has written extensively, or completely rewritten, not just made a few changes to
because would be millions, and millions, and millions of pageviews if we would just look
at things. Because we make edits all the time that are
small paragraphs rewriting, reduce stuff all the time. But as of the last time this was done,
which was probably last night, the GSoW project involved in creating, or completely rewriting,
pages that have had 10,877,034 pageviews. That is a hell of a lot. That’s more than a podcast is going to get. These aren’t all skeptics. These are people who are probably not interested
in the.. you know, this is outside the choir. And I’m just going to do a couple of these
real quick so we can go to Q&A real quick. So you can see that I have it broken down
into our editors. I have it broken down into different topics. We have astronomy. We’ve written 32 pages that are associated
with astronomy because a lot of people are into it. Atheists 42. Books 20. Cryptids. CSI fellows, we have 60. We have TAM people, who spoke at Tam, have
written 86 pages. Medical stuff 24. The vaccine, we spent six months working on
things that had to do with vaccinations, we’ve written 12 pages. 6 on UFOs. And then we have other things here. I’ve broken it down into regions. But languages, this italian editor I was talking
about, Rafaela. She’s at 12 pages she’s created in between
her getting her PhD and now she’s a teacher. You know we’ve got 4 pages written in Hungarian,
3 in German, 2 in French. Dutch we’ve got 80. We have 1 in Arabic, that’s awesome. We don’t have an Arabic editor anymore. 10 in Russian. Portuguese is 16. Polish is 2 and Spanish is 7. So we’ve done some amazing things and
this is only the beginning for us. I’ve just retired in October so I’m just barely
starting out. Even though we’ve been editing.. we’ve kind
of been doing this for about seven or eight years now. So we are making a lot of difference in
the world and the farther we grow the more we can go do, the more we can see. Here’s Pete over here. You’ve created two pages, right? One of them you guys would love is called
Hell’s.. what is it Hell’s Angel. Hell’s Angel. Anybody know what Hells Angel is? Not the biker group. It’s a movie. Right? By Christopher Hitchens that criticizes Mother
Teresa and that was a fun page. We all are involved. Every time somebody writes a page we all are
involved. What was the second page you did? [Oh, Jeonhwa, he’s a science writer for
a very mainstream publications] Right. So now once you’re training, the very
end of training, you have to rewrite a page. That’s part of your training and that’s when
you did Hell’s Angel. Hell’s Angels? Hell’s Angel. [Hell’s Angel] Yeah, because the spellings
cut off. [the others a motorcycle] Yeah the others
a motorcycle group. And then once you leave training you could
do anything you want. Some people pick something off a list of people
we’ve got to get done. Some people have a favorite hobby or topic
that they want to work on. Some people will try and why did you pick
[indecipherable]? [I went down the list and picked one] So you
pick one off the list. So that’s [I didn’t know anything about
them and..] that’s the more interesting thing – find somebody who’s not on there. Okay, so questions. Yes ma’am. IL: If we could [indecipherable] they’re doing
sometimes usability testing where you have somebody sit in front of your website and
try to do some editing. Someone who’s never tried before just see. You shouldn’t have to workshop [I don’t
know] to be able to edit an article on Wikipedia. You should be able to [Somebody] but it says
edit [indecipherable] and then when it comes up and you start them doing your editing. But it’s really tough to do. It’s really, really tough. That’s why you must need months to be trained. Well there are they did have a edit source
that was an – I’m trying to think of what it is. It’s a way of doing – they look like you were
editing a Word document. So it came up a Word document where you just
go editing and insert and it was much easier. Some people still use that. I don’t use it. I just learned a different way with the
code. So I think the code is crazy. It’s like HTML. [It’s insane] But once you get it. To me I don’t really have a problem with it
now. IL: So after you edit [indecipherable] if
you process a page before it’s live. Right, that’s a great question. So what we do is we have a secret cabal on
Facebook. So what we do is we try to create anything
that’s extensively done – a long page, not just like a small edit. We will try to make a user page in something
called a sandbox. And we take the user page and we put it in
the secret cabal and the editor will say, “I’m almost done with this let’s go at it.” And then the other editors who are interested
they’ll go in and they’ll rip it apart. And it’s usually minor things like misspellings,
grammar, they don’t feel a sentence flows well, and then we have a lot of eyes looking
at it. And then once we’ve got that done people are
saying, “Well I found the citation over here, I found this.” Then we’ll make it live and then once it’s
live anybody on Wikipedia can edit it. And it’s totally encouraged. We don’t own the page and I don’t want anybody
to think we own a page. We usually walk away from the page because
we’ve got so much to do. But it’s inevitably, after all these people
have looked at it, and we put it up, some things misspelled as always. So we try to make sure that we’re are worse
critics. We’re really after that. Yes, who else? Yes. IL: Yeah because Wikipedia has the pattern
really insisting about citations for stuff. One, there’s a lot of citations we might want
to use that are pay wall. So people cannot necessarily get to see the
evidence there. The other issue is there’s a lot of stuff,
especially.. I deal with a lot of strong [indecipherable]
is what you gathered. IL: Okay, but where if don’t like your own
analysis done like your own analysis, or something like an editable problem, and you want to
be able to post that. But there’s the.. you have those citation
because there’s just no [cross talk] there’s no.. there’s no peer-reviewed journal about
screw-ups that people make that at some point [indecipherable]. So it becomes a little bit trickier to do
that. So I’m just wondering how that’s.. I mean I try to find openly.. an open access
journals for stuff but the coverage is not that great. Well we can use paywall journals. We hate doing that but we can if we really
have to. And I think they’ll put in the citation, ‘this
is behind a paywall.’ We can, and we have done, asked to have things
released. Especially if it’s older. You can say, “You know what? I’m trying to work on my Wikipedia page and
the only article we can find on this is behind this paywall. Can you release it?” And a lot of people, yeah, a lot of people
will do it if you ask nicely and tell them that it’ll get more views. And also you can’t do original research. So you can’t yourself, unless you’re notable,
you can’t put anything up. Everything has to be secondary sources. And it’s really important that we follow those
rules because we have to make sure that, you know, that the rules applied to skeptics are
the same as they apply to the pseudoscience world. We can’t expect them to abide by a certain
set of rules that we won’t abide by. So we can’t allow them to set up original
research or something that’s not well researched. So we have to make sure we follow the rules
correctly. Yes sir. IL: Once you have a page do you guys have
notification that something is going [indecipherable]. That’s a good question. So what we do is in the upper right hand corner
of every Wikipedia page there’s a star.. it’s white, it’s clear. And if you click on that star, and you’re
logged in to a Wikipedia account, it turns blue. And that just means that it’s added that page
to a watch list. So that anytime you sign on to Wikipedia you’ll
go to a little area that says watchlist. And you click on it and it will tell you every
change that’s been made to every page that’s on your watchlist. They’re not going to send you an email
saying somebody changed something. But you can look at that and, depending on
how many pages are on your watchlist, you know, you could go through it in a couple
minutes. And you could look and you go, “Yeah, yeah,
yeah, what? No I don’t think so.” Revert, you know. So you can do that. So that’s how Wikipedia works is by thousands
of people having things on watch lists and things like that so that they can tell if
something’s change. Like when the Susan Gerbic criticism was removed
from Tyler Henry’s page somebody said, “Oh wait, what’s going on?” It took a few days, in some cases for somebody
to notice that. More questions? Yes? IL: What happens when you get [indecipherable]
change something. Revert it, revert it back and back. Okay I get this question a lot. So I’m going to expand on that a little bit
because I probably.. something else’s has a bigger question. So anybody can edit Wikipedia. You do not have to be even logged in. So when somebody makes a change to Wikipedia
somebody can come in and edit and take out what you said. They could take it out and change it. It just takes two clicks, ‘click, click.’ Somebody else can come back in and edit
it back in. And then you have something called an edit
war. Well the rules of Wikipedia are the rules
I wish we would live by in society because it’s like, ‘be bold,’ but also some good
faith. And we try really hard not to be involved
in anything called the [indecipherable] editing war. I think there’s a there’s a rule, like, you’re
not suppose to go more than three. But on every Wikipedia page it’s a little
button that says ‘talk.’ And anybody can look at it. You don’t have to be logged in. You don’t have to have an account. If you look at the talk page that is a conversation
that editors are having with each other about the page construction. So what usually happens if somebody reverts
something, and somebody tries to revert it back, somebody will say, “Go to talk, we
need to talk about it.” And then you’ll see that they’re having a
discussion about why this is so important to you, or why that is. So really, at least in my world, in the GSoW
world, we don’t have very many editing wars. My editors are trained to back off. If it is a really big deal there’s no reason
to lose your sleep on it. There’s no reason to have your blood pressure
raised. We walk away. There’s so much else to be done. So if there’s an edit war going on walk away. Maybe come back in a month or so and it’s
probably taken care of. Or maybe they have a really good point
why it really shouldn’t be there. So you know we try to be respectful and be
adults about it. This isn’t Twitter. So that happens. And the other question I get, I’m just going
to expanded and pretend you asked me this question, because I’m psychic – I and you’re
asking it, we don’t get a lot of paranormal people coming in and taking things out. It really doesn’t happen that much. The most vandalism that’s happening on
Wikipedia are people who are like 13-year old troll kind of people that are going to
write swear words on pages and stuff like that. That’s the most vandalism most people see. But for the most part we really see very little
paranormal people who are going in and challenging like the Tyler Henry thing. That’s pretty unusual and they don’t really
understand the word ‘evidence’ and what that means necessarily. So they’re not usually great Wikipedia
editors because they don’t follow the rules like we do. They think, you know, somebody having a big
Twitter following is actually evidence of something and it’s like, ‘no that isn’t.’ So we don’t really have a lot of problem. And then when GSoW puts out a pages usually
it’s in such good shape there’s not much to challenge on the page. More questions? Does GSoW have access to paywall sites because
sometimes they have the paywall sites have the best? I have several people on my team that are
librarians, or are married to librarians, and apparently librarians love my project. They absolutely love the project. I know I can think of one woman right off
the top of my.. well one’s a librarian and she’s really into it. And another one her spouse is a librarian
and she comes home with a project and he’s like, “What do you got? What do you got? What are you going to do?” And he’ll code, he’s like at work you know. The next day he gives her all the sites and
he sends them to her and she’s like, “Look what I found,” you know. So we do have access to.. just because if
there’s a lot of people in my group that are professors, or students in college, and they
have access to LexisNexis and all the other stuff. So, yeah. So when I’m training somebody I tell them,
“You try to find all the sites you possibly can,” and then whenever they start to fail
at finding anything new then they post from the secret cabal they’ll say, “Alright,
I’m done. I can’t find anything.” And usually if there’s, you know, ten or twenty
more sites somebody will find for them and I just want them to attempt to try it first
because it’s their training and I want them to find out how it works and we learn from
each other. We’re constantly learning. I’m probably one of the least skills editor
on Wikipedia, which is, I don’t know why, I’m doing all the lecturing. But I am the least skilled because they all
surpassed me. They start out not knowing how to edit Wikipedia. Some of them are computer people but a lot
of them are just barely.. they can use computers but that’s it. They can barely use Facebook and they work
through it and then they outsource me. And I want to just plug this since I’m
thinking of it. I’ve got all these editors down here and we
don’t really compete with each other about how much page views we have. But it’s kind of a game. The person who has the most page views is
Nathan Miller and he’s the DC person who should be here. But Nathan Miller rewrote the Wikipedia
page that gets us our most page views. And guess what that would be? [indecipherable] No, it’s spontaneous human
combustion. So Nathan I’ve written a lot of pages. I’ve written 40-something pages, I don’t know. I’ve gone off the screen. But Nathan’s only written ten and he just
always beats me and it just gets on my nerves. So I have to keep trying to make more. Because he’s getting.. every time he gets a.. the spontaneous human
combustion page gets a page view then.. it’s over a million page views for spontaneous
human combustion. SE:
I assure you, as somebody is my witness, people are still interested in the pseudosciences. They are fascinated with the stuff. The things that you would never think anybody
cared about I promise you they are still accessing them on Wikipedia, because they are fascinated
with Bigfoot, and chupacabras, and vampires, and UFO stuff, and ghosts. It’s a living breathing community. They’re fascinated by it and I can prove
it because I know how many page views these pages are getting. So, you know, it’s still a vibrant community
that we need people to help us out because we got a lot of work to do. IL: How did you get involved in this project? So I’ve been involved in the skeptic community
for a while as a longtime reader of the the Skeptical Inquirer magazine. I was a member of the JREF forum back in the
day, and the communities before Facebook, and I was really looking for some way of getting
involved. So the JREF use to have – that’s the James
Randi Educational Foundation – it used to have cruises and it just so happened that
I was at a point in my life where I had enough on my credit card that I could go. So I would charge it on the credit card. So I went on a cruise and I found, you
know, I started attending events and I felt like I found my community. But I didn’t have any way of giving back. I was just the first one that sat in the audience
who just read the books, listened to the podcast, or whatever. I didn’t have any activism. I knew I wanted to do something but I
didn’t know what it was. And I went on a cruise to the Caribbean and
Tim Farley, Tim Farley has the website, ‘whatstheharm.net,’ he’s a tech kind of guy and has great ideas. And then I listen to what he’s talking about
and I kind of just took over the idea that he said, “We should be editing Wikipedia
and here’s why.” And he explained it, and he gave us some
code stuff, and some instructions, and I didn’t understand it and I just fell into it after
a few months. I started editing Wikipedia and made a million
mistakes and then Facebook started. So I went onto Facebook and I said, “I just
edited a Wikipedia page! I’m so proud of myself.” And then people, who I didn’t know, started
coming in and saying, “Really? What did you do? How’d you do that? What are you going to next?” And then, oh, okay, I was going to go over
here and do this. So then what happened is somebody said, “Well
maybe you should start a team.” And then somebody said, “Would you like
to speak our skeptic camp or our conference?” And you’re like, oh. And then I did a paper presentation at Tam
9 from outer space.. and I had to.. I mean they’re just like, “You got to do
fifteen minutes and it has to be blah, blah blah, like this. And like, “Oh my gosh I got to come up with
a name and all these things.” And so it just blew up from there because
everybody’s been.. and I’ve been all over the world and I’m going all over the world. I’ve lectured all over and I got more coming
up. Apparently people are interested in activism. Alight.

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