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Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

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Kitkat
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Kitkat on 18th August 2014, 22:47

Petitioning Wikipedia
Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia: Create and enforce new policies that allow for true scientific discourse about holistic approaches to healing.


3,737 signatures still needed for the PETITION.
11,263 people have signed in support so far.

Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, left the organization due to concerns about its integrity. He stated: "In some fields and some topics, there are groups who 'squat' on articles and insist on making them reflect their own specific biases. There is no credible mechanism to approve versions of articles.”

These pages are controlled by a few self-appointed “skeptics” who serve as de facto censors for Wikipedia. They clothe their objections in the language of the narrowest possible understanding of science in order to inhibit open discussion of innovation in health care. As gatekeepers for the status quo, they refuse discourse with leading edge research scientists and clinicians or, for that matter, anyone with a different point of view. Fair-minded referees should be given the responsibility of monitoring these important areas.

Click arrow HERE for more information and to sign the PETITION
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Umberto Cocopop
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 20th August 2014, 14:31

Why do you stick with this nonsense KK?

Surely you can see why an encyclopedia is reluctant to publish non-factual content. Content needs to be justified by evidence, not belief.

Scientific findings don't support these claims so any good encyclopedia will reflect that.

The place for "true scientific discourse"* is in scientific journals.



* Obviously a euphemism for "publishing what I believe".
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Kitkat on 20th August 2014, 18:22

Umberto Cocopop wrote:Why do you stick with this nonsense KK?

Surely you can see why an encyclopedia is reluctant to publish non-factual content. Content needs to be justified by evidence, not belief.
All very well to say that, Umbo, but that's just not what's happening.  Taking into consideration the type of behind-the-scenes militant activity and biased agendas operating through Wiki in more recent times (see http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormalia/2013/03/guerrilla-skeptics.html ), I think petitions such as these are needed from various sources, in an attempt to bring some kind of balance into the equation, or at least to highlight the kind of biased engineering that goes on in the Wikipedia pages.  (Trying to find that quote of Susan Gerbic in her recruiting drive to her 'band of guerilla skeptics' where she spoke of the "wonderful feeling of power" she gets when deleting the psychic stuff and the woo parapsychology on Wikipedia.) Can't find it now - most likely been deleted since, but I have it quoted word for word somewhere  angry  - sentiments most definitely not in keeping with the original aims of a neutral non-insular Wikipedia.

Larry Sanger (co-founder of Wikipedia along with Jimmy Wales) said in his parting post when he left in 2002:

All the best to Wikipedia and Wikipedians. May you continue   

  •    to be open and warmly welcoming, not insular,
  •    to be focused singlemindedly on writing an encyclopedia, not on Usenet-style debate,
  •    to recognize and praise the best work, work that is detailed, factual, well-informed, and well-referenced,
  •    to work to understand what neutrality requires and why it is so essential to and good for this project,
  •    to treat your fellow productive, well-meaning members of Wikipedia with respect and good will,
  •    to attract and honor good people who know a lot and can write about it well, and
  •    to show the door to trolls, vandals, and wiki-anarchists, who if permitted would waste your time and create a poisonous atmosphere here.


It has not continued so.  The reins need to be pulled in - and in order to do that the problems need to be highlighted and publicised.  One little petition may well be a futile stab in the dark, but at least might bring notice to the ordinary user of Wiki that things are not quite as they ought to be there.

Umberto Cocopop wrote:Scientific findings don't support these claims so any good encyclopedia will reflect that.

The place for "true scientific discourse"* is in scientific journals.
So, allow the entries - and let the areas for contention already provided on the Wiki pages show testament to that.  That's all they need to do - use it in the spirit of what it is [was originally] intended.  judge
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 20th August 2014, 20:38

Well I think a key with this issue is not falling for the conspiracy theory type ramblings of those who wish to promote their beliefs over evidence.

As long as the encyclopedia sticks to being fact based and well referenced it will continue to be successful.

There may well be a group of 'skeptics' who give themselves a daft name, but as long as all they're doing is ensuring the factual integrity of articles regarding fringe topics, and sticking to Wikipedia's rules, then they're actually doing the encyclopedia a big favour. As I've already pointed out, what would destroy Wikipedia would be if it ever gave up on its strict guidelines and allowed the likes of paranormalists or alt. meddlers free rein to promote their beliefs or interests.

I really don't accept that there's some sort of conspiracy going on here or some extreme form of bias against certain topics; it's simply a case of those who believe in unproven/disproved ideas reacting to the fact that they can't publish what they want - but that's for a good reason: they can't substantiate their claims.
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Kitkat on 20th August 2014, 21:02

Umberto Cocopop wrote:I really don't accept that there's some sort of conspiracy going on here or some extreme form of bias against certain topics; it's simply a case of those who believe in unproven/disproved ideas reacting to the fact that they can't publish what they want - but that's for a good reason: they can't substantiate their claims.

Unfortunately, that is exactly the false impression intended to become embedded in people's minds.  
All the more reason for people to be made aware of the real black and white picture.

Further more knowledgeable reading on the subject can be found in this  Compendium of Wikipedia Criticism
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 21st August 2014, 02:08

Kitkat wrote:Unfortunately, that is exactly the false impression intended to become embedded in people's minds.  
All the more reason for people to be made aware of the real black and white picture.

Ah! The old "that's what *they* want you to think" line.

I'm afraid that that's conspiracy theory type thinking in a nutshell.

This issue is about as credible as homeopaths complaining about the conspiracy of "big pharma" locking out their wonderful system of medicine from the mainstream.

The truth is: homeopathy doesn't get taken seriously because it doesn't work. There's no conspiracy, no bias, no hidden agenda - it's simply that the people who believe in homeopathy are wrong.

This silly issue is the same. It's just people moaning about conspiracy and bias etc., but that's not the case. They're simply wrong about what they believe.

Kitkat wrote:Further more knowledgeable reading on the subject can be found in this  Compendium of Wikipedia Criticism

It looks like the sour grapes of an ex-Wikipedia editor to me....

I'm sure that Wikipedia does have problems and there are concerns over its format, contributors and administrators. That doesn't mean that it's inherently biased against the paranormal and such like.
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Kitkat on 21st August 2014, 11:38

Umberto Cocopop wrote:I'm sure that Wikipedia does have problems and there are concerns over its format, contributors and administrators. That doesn't mean that it's inherently biased against the paranormal and such like.

Found it!

Interview with Susan Gerbic - What is Guerilla Skepticism?

http://www.skepticink.com/incredulous/2013/02/13/what-is-guerrilla-skepticism-sin-interviews-susan-gerbic/

Personally I love the psychic stuff. I enjoy finding pages that look like the “psychic” wrote it themselves and then I come in with the delete button.  It is really a powerful feeling.
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 21st August 2014, 17:05

From the article:

We follow all of the rules of Wikipedia.

A point worth noting (!)

Also...

We have many tactics to improve Wikipedia pages. Sometimes we discover pages that have woo all over them, claims that aren’t backed up with sources.  You know like psychics that claim they have found missing children and work for the police department. We remove all of that nonsense.

Personally I love the psychic stuff. I enjoy finding pages that look like the “psychic” wrote it themselves and then I come in with the delete button.  It is really a powerful feeling.

So what is it that you object to?

Is it the fact that she removes nonsense in accordance with Wikipedia's rules or that she enjoys doing so?

I think you might be focussing on the wrong aspect here.


As for "skeptical activism", I've been as big a critic of some of the stupid things they do as anyone, but I do actually think this idea is a good one - even if their name is awful.

It's an instance of where 'skeptics' can target their efforts in such a way that they have an impact on a relevant target audience rather than simply pandering to their own 'in group'.

It's the kind of smart thinking I was trying to advocate towards the end of UKS as a way of moving forward but too many shit-for-brains members were preoccupied with issues such as whether I was "anti Skeptics in the Pub" and such like. Rolling Eyes

As long as they're working within Wikipedia's rules then all they really are is a group of Wikipedia editors. The idea of being 'Guerilla Skeptics' is just some of the silly baggage that comes with self-identifying as a 'skeptic'.
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Kitkat on 22nd August 2014, 00:28

Umberto Cocopop wrote:From the article:

We follow all of the rules of Wikipedia.

A point worth noting (!)
That's what she says.  Of course she's going to say that.  Rolling Eyes 

We certainly don't see much of this essential guideline being followed:
to work to understand what neutrality requires and why it is so essential to and good for this project

Umberto Cocopop wrote:As long as they're working within Wikipedia's rules then all they really are is a group of Wikipedia editors
I also remember Susan Gerbic saying in her blog at the time of that interview when trying to recruit more people into her merry band of guerillas - that they didn't need to have any knowledge whatsoever about the  subjects which they would be editing ... and not to worry, she would instruct and train them in what they needed to do.  Sounds unbelievable, doesn't it .. but those telling words were there right from the beginning - and if you need the evidence of that, just look up in her blog from round about the same date as the interview posted previously.  I can't be bothered searching it out now, having to read back over such tripe, but I know what I read - check it out if you can be bothered.

Why are you sticking up for such activity, Umbo?  Surely you can see what's going on there?  Just reading in the transcript of that interview, you can see the blatant Appeal to Authority Fallacy in action (it was YOU that taught me about that one  cheesy ) strongly woven into the 'recruitment' fabric - (the list of 'noted' skeptic name-dropping is quite nauseating to witness).  You must be able to see it in action here - or is this something that only the 'bleevers' are capable and culpable of? )
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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Umberto Cocopop on 22nd August 2014, 21:20

Kitkat wrote:Why are you sticking up for such activity, Umbo?  Surely you can see what's going on there?

I'm not defending it at all - but that's because I don't see anything to defend.

Yes, I'm aware of the silliness of 'skeptics' and their 'Superhero Complex' in thinking they're some kind of real life Batman fighting the baddies of Woo! The term 'guerilla skeptic' being an example of the (often Randi inspired) language-of-war analogies that pervade their mindset. Everything is a 'battle' in the 'war' and so on.

But if you see through that silliness, the basic idea of helping out a user-editable encyclopedia that a great number of people looking for information read and keeping it free from non-factual content is a good one.

If people weren't trying to take advantage of Wikipedia and use its popularity to promote their own beliefs and/or interests then it wouldn't need watchdog editors to ensure the integrity of the content.

As long as they're sticking to the ethos and rules of Wikipedia then they're doing it a good service.

It's the people who want to promote their beliefs and self-interests who are the ones in the wrong.



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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Kitkat on 9th September 2014, 00:03

Robert McLuhan is getting stuck in, in a practical way concerning the suggested online encyclopedia of paraspychology.

http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormalia/2014/09/online-encyclopedia-update.html

I’ve been busy getting the SPR’s online encyclopedia going ...


To date I’ve commissioned about forty articles, of which half are completed. They’re in no particular order – topics are as various as Children’s Memories of a Past Life, Twin Telepathy, Photography in Psi Research, Meditation and Psi, Leonora Piper, the Million Dollar Challenge, the Enfield Poltergeist, etc. Everything will get covered eventually.

It is hoped to be up and running by  the middle of next year.

And - I'm so glad that someone has, at long last, come up with this idea of an alphabetical dictionary list. This is something I've long thought about that's greatly needed.  
study
Something I hadn’t originally planned, but have been becoming quite interested in, is the idea of lists. For instance I think we should have a ‘dictionary’ that lists items alphabetically with just a line or two or description and an appropriate link.

Really looking forward to this venture getting off the ground.  Badly needed. toast

It's all being done properly too.  I do think it's sounds very promising ...

After a lot of humming and harring I opted to follow the Wikipedia format, with intro, list of contents, and then various aspects treated under separate headings. It’s not that I think we should mindlessly imitate our main rival, far from it – I’m all for coming up with creative new approaches. But there are at least two good reasons for following Wikipedia’s example. One is that the format is tried and tested in an online context. Text needs to be broken up to be readable, particularly with longer articles. The other is it’s what readers expect. We mustn’t put barriers in the way, like obliging them to become familiar with a different format.

Big thumbs up for Robert McLuhan.   :thumb:
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Rational Wiki deletes essay criticizing Rational Wiki

Post by Kitkat on 25th April 2015, 19:37

The Wikipedia concerns continue ...

Amongst the list of people personally affected by the editing scandal on the Wike and Rational Wiki sites are Rome Viharo and Craig Weiler, both vociferous campaigners in this long-running farce.  (Rome Viharo's essay criticizing Rational Wiki has recently been deleted from the Wiki site).
Both Rome Viharo and Craig Weiler are participators here, where the issue is being discussed in detail.  At least one of the culprit admin editors has entered into the discussion here also:

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/rational-wiki-deletes-essay-criticizing-rational-wiki.2182/
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The new Psi Encyclopedia is launched - September 2016

Post by Kitkat on 10th September 2016, 14:19

update

The Psi Encyclopedia is a new collection of articles and case studies about psi research, the scientific investigation of psychic phenomena - launched in September 2016.  It's a work in progress, being created by the Society for Psychical Research in London.

For more detail, click HERE
 
Summary:
About Psi Research

‘Psi’ is the modern collective term for the psychic functions of telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis. Psi phenomena were studied by Fellows of the Royal Society, among others, in the late seventeenth century, and were noted in the late eighteenth century in relation to hypnosis. In the second half of the nineteenth century, scientists such as Robert Hare, William Crookes and Johann Zöllner began to uncover more evidence in their experiments with séance mediums. Systematic study began in 1882 with the founding in London of the Society for Psychical Research, which, besides investigating the claims of spirit mediums, carried out surveys of ‘spontaneous’ phenomena – experiences of telepathic connections, ghosts, apparitions and poltergeists, precognitive dreams and the like – and conducted the first formal experiments.

From the 1930s the focus switched to experimentation based on statistics, pioneered by Joseph Banks Rhine at Duke University in the US.  The Society for Psychical Research, Parapsychological Association and other privately-funded organisations continue to investigate psychic claims and carry out experiments, publishing the results in their peer-reviewed journals.

About the Psi Encyclopedia

There is now a vast research literature that validates the existence of psi as an anomalous, fleeting and little understood aspect of human experience. Psi researchers believe that it has been demonstrated many times over, and in a variety of contexts. But this remains controversial, since psi appears to contradict long-accepted scientific principles. In particular, accumulating evidence of links between mental experience and biological brain functions lead many to believe that the brain is the sole source of consciousness. Some scientists are known to sympathize with psi experimentalists, who use well-established statistical methods and robust methodology: the possibility of psychic experience has been seriously considered by an impressive number of Nobel prize winners and other eniment people. However, a vocal minority of sceptics –  often active in sceptic organisations – campaign in books, articles and in the media against psi research, disparaging it as 'pseudoscience' and disputing its conclusions.

In recent years this conflict has spread to the Internet, notably the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, where editors hostile to ‘fringe science’ routinely edit articles on psi research to make them conform to their view.  As a result, articles that were originally written by knowledgeable experts have become adulterated with misleading claims and assertions.

The Psi Encyclopedia is being created by the Society for Psychical Research, funded by a bequest, to provide a more informative view of psi research (also referred to as ‘psychical research’ and ‘parapsychology’), one that reflects the findings of experimenters and investigators.

Contents A-Z

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Re: Concerns with Wikipedia (and "filter bubbles") - Guerrilla Skeptics at Large

Post by Kitkat on 3rd March 2018, 23:29

I guess we all of us have to grow up at some time or other.  I'm glad to see that Hayley Stevens has at long last seen the light.

https://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/on-echo-chambers-skepticism-and-the-war/

1 March, 2018 ~ Hayley Stevens

In 2013- almost 5 years ago – I wrote a blog post about how the group who call themselves ‘Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia’ weren’t very good at communicating with people who believed in paranormal, supernatural, or conspiratorial ideas. I suggested that if they tried to communicate better, and found commonality with the people criticising them, they wouldn’t be so disliked for their editing of Wikipedia articles. I was naive, because I thought that all Skeptic activists- in their hearts -wanted to help people.

I have recently made the decision to no longer attend or speak at Skeptic-orientated events because I honestly believe that the whole movement is toxic. There are events, campaigners, localised groups, and people who do great stuff, but they’re the healthy remaining finger on a frostbitten hand. Sorry guys, but it’s the truth.

    Current date/time is 21st October 2018, 06:50