Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get a Life! Eric Zorn ~ Notoriety and Deletion on Wikipedia

Came across this really interesting article written in 2006 about several "rules" in Wikipedia.  This person Eric Zorn (this is such a difficult last name for me to see correctly, because the R and the N when they are lower case just blend and look like a m, its spelled ZORN)  is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.  In 2006 on a whim he decided to write a blog trying to start a Internet meme he called Zorm's Law.

Like a good self-promoter he went onto Wikipedia and published an article about this "law".  The problem was that there was no notoriety for the term, so all the references he cited were from his own blog.  Wikipedia editors didn't care for this self promotion and gathered for discussion.  The editors had the choice to Delete the article, Merge it into his personal page or allow the Zorn's Law page to stand on its own.

In this article Zorn discusses his experience.  I think the discussion (which is all included in the blog) makes for good reading for people learning how to edit Wikipedia.

I especially like this paragraph " This violates Wikipedia's rules, which forbid vanity postings and require validation from independent, credible sources.  After all, an encyclopedia without standards is just a dumping ground for words."

When you are looking at the "vote" at the end of the article, you can see how the editors make their vote in BOLD print.  You will also see that the editors really are quite funny, hopefully you can see yourself becoming one.

BTW really want to point out how neglected Zorn's personal Wikipedia page looks.   

Sunday, August 28, 2011

More very very basic Editing ~ Pet Psychics page as example

If you haven't already read This Blog, you might want to visit there first.  We worked on correcting spelling, adding and removing hyperlinks and how to use Watchlists. I'm going to continue editing the Pet Psychic Page as our example.  I do have an article by Karen Stollznow that I want to incorporate into the pet psychic page, I will try to explain my thinking as I edit the page as well as the "how-to" of doing so.  (NOTE: the hyperlink above to the pet psychic page is the one you should use if you are following along with this blog, it contains the page before making these changes. In other words the Before, if you just want to jump to the After then click here.)

As I said before, this is just a wall-o-text, most readers are going to be bogged down trying to read through it.  We need to get a bit more organized before proceeding with Karen's article.  I'm going to insert headings to help.

I don't want to re-write the article, just better organize it.  If you want to have a go at it after reading this blog, please do so.  That is part of the joy of Wikipedia.

We are looking at 7 paragraphs.  The lede (first paragraph) is okay, but I think that the criticism part where it starts "The scientific community has rejected all claims of psychic phenomena..." should be in its own section.  Also the 7th paragraph is about the history of pet psychics and should go towards the beginning. 

At the end of paragraph 3 there is this sentence "In recent years quantum physics has been able to redress the balance with experiments and meta-analyses of work on thought transfer".  I followed the citation at the bottom of the Wiki article and the author is this person.  Dean Radin, the citation is a book that he wrote in 2006, but it gives you no way of following the cite, no page numbers ect.  So this sentence will be removed from the pet psychic article.  If the original editor wants to put it back in then he/she will have to better reference it. 

The last sentence of paragraph 7 is badly worded, "The number of businesses offering pet psychic services has steadily increased but the industry remains unregulated and its claims unverifiable scientifically".  I think that sounds better. 

Love this line, "They claimed they could communicate telepathically,[28] then came the discovery that they could also communicate with animals...even animals that have died." What "discovery"?  Again referencing a paranormal book with no page number where this knowledge is coming from.  I Think this sentence will also change.  "They claimed they could communicate telepathically with animals living or dead."

This whole paragraph needs to go.  "Reasons for consulting a pet psychic vary, but typically center on bringing a troubled human and animal companion relationship to mutual satisfaction.[23][26] Bernadine Cruz, a veterinarian in Laguna Hills, California, states, "animal owners sometimes seek to center themselves through their pets, and whisperers make it easy."[2] Others pet psychics specialize in helping develop a better relationship with a household pet or competitive partnership with a horse." The veterinarian is not noteworthy, and the whole paragraph does nothing for the article. 

I'm going to clean this up further by adding paragraph headings.  This is done by typing ==name of heading==  the more = signs you use, the bigger the font the heading becomes.  So if you are adding a heading to an article that already exists use the same amount of = signs as are in the rest of the article. 

I'm going to insert headings called ==In the media== and ==Criticism of pet psychics== I've been told by other editors who keep changing my edits that Wikipedia does not capitalize every word in a heading even though I think it looks better that way. 

This paragraph seems to be getting a total pass... "
Parapsychologist Rupert Sheldrake claims that he has shown in experiments that some pets are psychic. A parrot, N'kisi, in New York uttered statistically more words that had to do with random cards her owner were looking at in another room in one series of experiments,[16] and in another series of experiments a dog, Jaytee, spent statistically more time at the window during the time his owner was on her way home (at random times) than other times when Jaytees owner was out"

I'm going to have to look into this article and see if there has been any investigation into it.  I just can't let these statements saying there is evidence for psychic pets go unchallenged.  But in true Wikipedia fashion I won't delete the paragraph, but look for something to add to it.  I know Richard Wiseman has done some experiments similar to Jaytee.  But what I would like to find is someone writing about Sheldrake's experiments. 

Okay, some time has passed and I've been reading about Sheldrake's dog coming home tests.  I found an article by Joe Nickell about pet psychics and he mentions Wichard Wiseman's replication of Sheldrake's experiment. Here is the part of Nickell's article that I'm going to glean from. 

The researchers responded to a suggestion by Rupert Sheldrake that just such a study be undertaken, and it followed a formal test of the alleged phenomenon by an Austrian television company. That test focused on an English woman and her dog and seemed successful. Wiseman et al. (1998) conducted four experiments designed to rule out the pet’s responding to routine or picking up sensory cues (either from the returning owner or from others aware of the expected time of return), as well as people’s selective memories and selective matching, and other possible normal explanations.

In all four experiments the dog failed to detect accurately when her owner set off for home, contradicting claims made on the basis of the previous (Austrian TV) study. The experiments suggested "that selective memory, multiple guesses and selective matching could often have sufficient scope to give an owner the impression of a paranormal effect."

Each editor of Wikipedia does this differently, I like to quote.  Wikipedia would rather you write it in your own words and quote only a bit, so lets give it a go here.  

"Replicating Sheldrake's experiment with Jaytee,  [[Richard Wiseman]] in 1998 designed four tests for a dog a Austrian television show felt had been successful knowing when its owner would return home.  Wiseman ruled out all cues and routines the dog could previously have been picking up.  When tested with these controls the dog failed all four tests.  [[JREF]] investigator [[Joe Nickell]] writes that "the experiments suggested "that selective memory, multiple guesses and selective matching could often have sufficient scope to give an owner the impression of a paranormal effect."

Can you improve on my writing? Probably!  Your welcome to edit the blurb on Wikipedia.

Now we need to cite it.  Here is the link to the article again.  The author is Joe Nickell, for Skeptical Inquirer Magazine,Volume 26.6, November / December 2002, article is called "Psychic Pets and Pet Psychics". Investigative Files is the name of his column This should be all we need to cite the article.  I'm placing this blurb right after the third paragraph where they reference Sheldrake.  I know that what I'm writing is criticism and should go under the criticism heading, but I want it to flow from the previous paragraph.  We can always change it. 

I find it easier to look for another journal reference located on the page I'm editing, copy and paste it where I want it to go (or on a word document somewhere else) then change all the details.  Lets try it.  I found this reference (called "cite web" there were other references that were called "cite book").

<ref name=Gracely>{{cite web |last=Gracely, Ph.D. |first=Ed J. |authorlink= |title=Why Extraordinary Claims Demand Extraordinary Proof |work=PhACT |year=1998 |url=|accessdate=2007-07-31}}</ref>

Here is what it looks like in the References area.  ^ Gracely, Ph.D., Ed J. (1998). "Why Extraordinary Claims Demand Extraordinary Proof". PhACT. Retrieved 2007-07-31.

Pretty intimidating looking isn't it?  If you want something to appear as a footnote then you must use something that starts with <ref and ends with </ref>    Everything must be changed exactly, so when you are doing something like this, try not to get distracted.  Do it at one sitting.

<ref name=Nickell>{{cite web |last=Nickell |first=Joe |authorlink= |title=Psychic Pets and Pet Psychics |work=Investigative Files |year=November-December 2002 |url= |accessdate=2011-08-27}}</ref>

This is what it looks like on "Preview"

^ Nickell, Joe (November-December 2002). "Psychic Pets and Pet Psychics". Investigative Files. Retrieved 2011-08-27.

Lets use Joe Nickell's article for another area on the page.   Here is what Joe writes about pet psychics.

People who are both devoted to their pets and credulous about the paranormal may easily fall prey to unsubstantiated claims of pet psychics. Some profess to treat animals’ emotional problems, for example, after supposedly communicating with them by ESP or other paranormal means, such as through astrology or assistance from the seer’s "spirit guides" (MacDougall 1983; Cooper and Noble 1996).

Having studied pet psychics at work—including Gerri Leigh (with whom I appeared on Springer) and Sonya Fitzpatrick (star of the Animal Planet channel’s The Pet Psychic)—I find that they impress audiences with some very simple ploys. Consciously or not, they are essentially using the same fortunetellers’ technique—"cold reading"—that is used for human subjects. This is an artful method of gleaning information from someone while giving the impression it is obtained mystically (Hyman 1977). After all, it is the pet owners, not the pets themselves, who "validate" the pronouncements. Here is a look at some of the common cold-reading techniques used by pet psychics.

These and other techniques help convince the credulous that pet psychics have telepathic or clairvoyant or other powers.

Lets glean something from this to use in the criticism section. 

[[Joe Nickell]] believes that [[cold reading]] is the reason why so many pet psychics look like they are communicating with animals.  Watching pet psychics like Gerri Leigh and [[Animal Planet]]'s [[Sonya Fitzpatrick]] work in front of an audience, their conversations with the animals appear to be impressive until you understand that "it is the pet owners, not the pets themselves, who "validate" the pronouncements."

We can use the exact same citation.   At first I didn't hyperlink to Joe Nickell, but looking at the "show preview" as I'm adding this on to the page, it seems it has been many paragraphs since Joe was linked, so I'm going to do it.  Also because I'm checking the "preview" each time I noticed that Gerri Leigh whom I had first tried to hyperlink to is giving me only red print.  I searched for her on Wikipedia and she does not have a page, so I'm removing the [[ ]] around her name. 

There might be more I can glean from Nickell's article, but lets move on.  Here is Karen Stollznow's article that brought me to use the pet psychic page as the example on how to edit.  Article called "The Ballad of Jed (and the Pet Psychic)" March 2003 for Skeptical Inquirer Magazine. 

Here are the parts that sum up the article (the conclusion), I will need to glean two or three sentences that will represent the article on the pet psychic page. 

On the basis of this session, Ann didn’t provide any evidence of psychic abilities but instead appeared to employ similar techniques, either consciously or not. As confirmed by Jed’s owners, Ann was completely inaccurate in her reading of Jed’s age, place of birth, background, behavior, health, and my health. The shelter “hit” was more miss, posed as a question, and then an uncertain claim with the caveat “think.” Most damning of all, Jed is not my cat, and my home is not his!
It’s an easy gig to speak on behalf of the voiceless. Animal communication, of a paranormal nature, presupposes that the pet is telepathic, is able to understand human language and thought, and able to “respond” in kind. “Interspecies communication” appears to be a visual and subjective or imaginative interpretation of the physical and behavioral traits of non-human animals. No matter how many commands your dog responds to, no matter how many words Koko can sign, no matter how many words your parrot can mimic, language is human-species specific. We don’t and can’t “know” what animals think. Despite our own linguistic abilities, it’s difficult enough to know what people think. 

I've already read the article several times, so writing it in my own words with very few quotes shouldn't be a problem.  

Linguistic professor [[Karen Stollznow]] writing for [[Australian Skeptics|The Skeptic]] magazine tested a pet psychic with a cat named Jed.  Not only was the psychic "completely inaccurate in her reading of Jed’s age, place of birth, background, behavior, health, and my health..." she was unable to tell that Jed was not her cat.  Stollznow concludes that "language is human-species specific. We don’t and can’t “know” what animals think."

Now our citation.  Lets just use Nickell's cite as a starting point, change out everything to apply to Karen's article.  

<ref name=Stollznow>{{cite web |last=Stollznow |first=Karen |authorlink= |title=The Ballad of Jed (and the Pet Psychic) |work= |year=March 2003 |url= |accessdate=2011-08-27}}</ref>

^ Stollznow, Karen (March 2003). "The Ballad of Jed (and the Pet Psychic)". Retrieved 2011-08-27.

Notice on the reference cite I left blank the "work=" area.  On Nickell's article I wrote "Investigative Files" on Karen's I didn't know what to write so I just left it blank.  The same thing was done on both Karen and Joe's cites where it says "authorlink=".  I didn't know what to write there so I left it blank.  The citation still footnotes and looks wonderful!   

So now I'm going to preview the page one more time, it is already on my watchlist.  I'm going to write "added two articles and reorganized the page" in the edit summary.  Then when I'm sure I'm completely done I will "publish" the page. 

So I'm done working on this page.  Please feel free to expand the article, rewrite it, fix grammar or whatever you think is needed.  Remember we are looking for neutral tones, let the reference you are citing speak for you.  I left almost everything that was in the page when I got to it, just moved things around and added the two articles. 

There were several things I almost did to make the skeptic side sound better, but I removed them.  For your learning sake this is what I didn't include (but wanted to).  Professor [[Richard Wiseman]] or [[Richard Wiseman]] PhD. 

The same thing with Joe Nickell.  I wanted to write "after years of experience investigating pet psychics..." this would also have been non-neutral, I'm sure I could have come up with references to his "years of experience" but it wouldn't have anything to do with the article.

I did include the words "Linguistic professor" for Karen's blurb.  I suppose that could be removed, but as I was quoting her about human communication, I felt that in this case it was an important part of the blurb. 

Just in case you were wondering how many people we can expect will read our newly improved pet psychic page... About 350 a month or 4,200 a year.  Is that a lot?  If I, Susan Gerbic were to write a blog about those same two articles and place it somewhere on the Internet for the world to read, I doubt that I could get that many reads.  Keep in mind that whether or not I wrote the blog, people are still going to be visiting the Wikipedia page.  I'd rather those 350 people find the Wiki page. 

As I said, I'm moving on to other Wikipedia articles that need improvement as well.  This one isn't perfect, but it is way better.  I hope you learned from my thought process, and maybe it will make you a better editor.  Improve on what I'm teaching you, and the only way to do that is to get out there and EDIT! 


Friday, August 26, 2011

Very, very basic editing how-to for Wikipedia: Example used is Pet Psychics page

(Example used is Pet Psychic page)

It seems from the numerous comments I receive that there is a need for a simple how-to blog. Scattered amongst my past blogs have been examples of how to edit pages focusing on the topic of that blog. I'm going to attempt to pull many of these helpful examples into one blog for easier reference. There are many tutorials existing on the Internet, including YouTube showing video of someone editing, and on Wikipedia itself.

I would also like to note that I am more than willing to virtually hold your hand through all the edits you feel you need help with. Please contact me here or on Facebook (Susan Gerbic) and I will do what needs to be done. Keep in mind that our correspondence may become fodder for a future blog.

So here are some of the things I've learned in the last
eight months of editing. Firstly, you must create an account with Wikipedia. You can edit anonymously, but nearly all of the edits I and other editors revert are from people too afraid to leave their name, just their IP address. Be proud of the changes you make, leave your name.

I am a Wikipedia editor. I was not hired, nor
did I apply for the position, nor was I approved. I registered, and that allows me to edit; but I must follow the rules. That's it. You can be an editor, also.

You do not have to start by creating new pages. Start by making simple edits like correcting grammar and spelling errors. Even punctuation improvement helps pages and gives the new editor confidence and skills.

Let's take a good look at a typical page. I'm heading over to the
Pet Psychic page for a quick edit. The link you follow in the sentence above is an old version by the time you read this blog. I'm going to be making some changes, so the current page will look differently.

First off, it is just a wall-o-text. How to wade through this? (
We are not editing for skeptical readers so much, but for the general reader.) First thing you notice is that there is red writing around the words animal communicators. This means that someone inserted a hyperlink to the phrase, but it does not actually go to a page. I just searched Wikipedia and did not find anything it could link to. So we need to clean this up. Here is how...

Sorry, the picture is kind of small, but you can just see the "
Edit" tab in blue. In the middle of "Read" and "View history.” Click on that tab. What you will now see is pretty scary looking—lots and lots of data. Don't be scared off.

You will see this "[[animal communicator]]s" on the
seventh line. The [[ and ]] brackets are used to hyperlink to other Wikipedia pages. When the hyperlink appears on the "read" page, it will be in blue writing. What is inside the [[ and ]] brackets must be exactly the page you want it to go to. Notice that the editor put the lower case "s" outside the brackets. They did this because, without it the sentence would not make sense. Here is the original sentence: "while others are more like animal communicators"

I am now going to remove the brackets from around the words. At the bottom of the page you will see this.

First you click on
the "Show preview" button.

You will see a bunch of red writing at the top saying that "this is only a preview.” You will also see the change I made. The words "animal communicators" are no longer in red ink.

Next, I am going to click the box next to "
Watch this page.” This means that whenever someone edits this page, I will get a notice on my watchlist. This way, I can quickly see if someone has reverted my edit or added anything else to the page.

Next, I will write something in that "
Edit summary" area. I'm going to write "took off hyperlink to animal communicators.” Then I'm going to hit the "Save page" button. All of these steps should be performed every time you edit.

Now, I'm going to show you what the watchlist looks like for this edit.

At the very top of the page on the right-hand side
are the words, "My watchlist.” I'm going to click on that and show you what I see.

Well, my watchlist page is quite
busy-looking, but here is pretty much what you will see on your own watchlist—the date and all the edit info. The "diff" means the difference between before I edited and after. "hist" means the history of the page’s edits. That is a very long list of past edits. The "Sgerbic" is me; if you click on it you will go to my Wikipedia editor page. Other editors leave messages there, it is also a place where editors can get to know each other. Having a page does give you credibility in the editing community, and I suggest you all make your own page (another blog someday). You can see where I wrote the reason for the edit.

Let’s see what else we can do with this page. What about the first paragraph? Wikipedia calls this a "lede.” Changing a lede can be a really big deal; some pages, like
Astrology and Homeopathy, have years of work in getting the lede just right. Wikipedia has to be neutral, and the lede needs to reflect that. Don't start changing ledes unless you look at the "Talk page" first. Find that tab on the left-hand side on the top and click on that.

You will see a bunch of pink blobs with kittens and a horse on them. This means that there are Wikipedia editors that are focusing on just the pages concerning cats and horses. Go figure. There is also an area for skepticism project. This is a now-dormant site where skeptics go to find what needs to be done. At the bottom of the page it says "This page was last modified on 12 May 2009 at 05:00."
It was over two years ago that anyone wrote anything on the talk page. This does not mean things have not been changed on the page the public views, only the talk page.

In my opinion, this page looks pretty dormant. If you wanted to change the lede somehow, or totally edit the page, I doubt that anyone would notice or care. The
Pet Psychic page is probably on several editors’ watchlists, so they will notice anything that changes and may scurry on over to look at your edit more closely. If you click on the "article" tab you will be taken back to the page everyone reads. Here is the lede again:
A pet psychic, animal communicator, or pet whisperer is a person who claims to be able to communicate psychically with animals.[1][2] Some pet psychics claim to be able to communicate with long-dead animals,[1] while others are more like animal communicators or animal psychologists.[3][4] Psychic refers to a claimed ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through what is described as extrasensory perception, or to those people said to have such abilities. Pet Whisperer is usually applied to a trainer like César Milan or Monty Roberts, who use their body language and the psychology of the dog or horse, to communicate with the animal.

I'm reading it through and I think the lede is pretty good. Neutral enough. I'm no grammar wizard, so I'm not confident enough to go around and change things. But some wording in this lede might be driving you nuts, feel free to make the changes. Just follow the directions of "preview,” "watch this page,” "edit summary," and then "save.”

I do notice something, two names that stand out, the editor seems to think the reader will know who these people are. I don't. So I'm going to copy the name "Monty Roberts" and put it in a Wiki search bar. (NOTE: I keep several tabs open on my screen so I don't have to close down the project I'm working on) Sure enough,
Monty Roberts is the horse whisperer I heard so much about. What about the other guy? This gets a bit more complicated, I will explain later; but first, let’s create Monty's hyperlink.

Remember, we need to go to the "
Edit" page and find the reference to Monty Roberts we want to hyperlink to. It is the very last sentence in the paragraph. I am going to put brackets around the words so it looks like this: [[Monty Roberts]]. Then at the bottom of the page I select "Preview" and make sure that it links blue. I have already checked "Watch this page.” Then, I write in the “Edit summary” box what I did. I'll write "hyperlinked to Monty Roberts page.” When that is correctly done, I can then "save.”

We are doing really well, so let’s try the more difficult step of linking
the "César Milan" page to the Pet Psychic page. When I copied the name and searched for it on Wikipedia it came up with this...

When I click on the blue "Cesar Millan" above, it is the man we want. Now I have a couple
of choices to make. I can change the spelling to Cesar Millan and that will be the end of it. Or I can keep the spelling of "César," which apparently is correct by looking at his page. The last name Millan was spelled incorrectly on the pet psychic page. If I just try to hyperlink to "César Millan" and then hit "Preview," it comes up red again. We need to do something else.

I want to make the reader see the words "César Millan" but link to the page for "Cesar Millan.” I learned by trial and
error; here is how I handle it. I scan the page I'm currently on and look for an edit that will help me do this edit. As I look through the edit page, in the middle of the third paragraph I see this [[Skepticism|skeptical]] weird looking thing. This means that the word "skeptical" is showing on the main screen, but it hyperlinks to the page called "Skepticism.” My laptop does not have that little line in between the two words anywhere on the keyboard. So I just copy the weird looking thing, and change out the words I want to use.

[[Cesar Millan|César Millan]]

Now on the edit screen where the name César Milan (with one
“l”) was, I'm going to copy and paste in my new edit. The edit looks like the following, first what the edit screen looks like, then what the finished edit looks like to someone reading the page.
Pet Whisperer is usually applied to a trainer like [[Cesar Millan|César Millan]] or [[Monty Roberts]], who use their body language and the psychology of the dog or horse, to communicate with the animal.
"Pet Whisperer is usually applied to a trainer like César Millan or Monty Roberts, who use their body language and the psychology of the dog or horse, to communicate with the animal. "

The first part
of the bracketed text is the correct spelling of the page you want to hyperlink to. The second part is what you want people to read. We don't want to overuse the hyperlinks either; it makes the page too busy-looking. So you really want to only hyperlink once to a term, not every time it occurs. I noticed that in the next paragraph they have hyperlinked to Cesar Millan. I'm going to remove the brackets and change the first name to César to be consistent throughout the article.

First I click "
Preview" then add this to the edit summary area, "Changed Cesar Millan hyperlinks" then when I'm sure I like all the changes, I click "save.”

When you have the edit screen open, you will notice the red wavy lines under words, usually meaning something is misspelled. Let’s see if there are some we can change quickly.
"Others pet psychics specialise in helping develop a better relationship with a household pet…"

"Others claim the animal does not need to be proximally close to the one doing the reading or even alive."

"specialise" should be "specialize" and "proximally" should be "proximately.” I made the spelling changes, then hit "preview"
and wrote something in the summary, "spelling," then "save page.”

We are all done!

I know that these changes we made are not earth-shattering Guerrilla Skepticism changes to the
Pet Psychic page. But what we did were all simple edits that are done all the time when you are editing. Gaining knowledge and confidence editing were just what I was looking for on this blog. I hope you find this helpful, please comment.


Friday, August 19, 2011

We Got Your Wiki Back! The Numbers from Nightline's Beyond Belief

You have all heard me go on and on about the need to improve the Wikipedia pages of our skeptical spokespeople.  This I call the "We Got Your Wiki Back!" project.  I've mentioned not only the reasons for doing so but whose pages desperately need help, and how you can help edit.

Today I want to talk about the numbers.  We can use our handy Wikipedia Statistics tool brought to us by Tim Farley.  I want to point out that this website is not exact to the day, because of time zones ect I believe that the stats are off by a day.  (again not sure)

I'm going to work just with the ABC Primetime Nightline "Beyond Belief" show that aired August 17, 2011.

The first segment featured a reporter investigating James Van Praagh, and being unimpressed with him, pretty much saying that he thinks he is cheating when he says he talks to dead people. Van Praagh did a reading on the reporter, giving some amazing hits.  But after the fact the reporter was able to pull up an interview he gave two years ago listing all the details that Van Praagh supposedly got.  This SWIFT blog pretty much sums everything up.

James Randi was also featured on the show, lets look at his Wikipedia hit statistics.

There is a clear jump with about 550 hits over what he had been trending that week.  Because Randi is all over the media it is unclear if the July 18th jump was because of Nightline or not. 

I think that the next featured skeptical spokesperson will give us better clearer results.  Banachek was very prominent in the show, using the stats tool we can see what his hit rate looked like for months even years before the Nightline show aired.  This next graph is from July 2011.

We see that he averages about 56 hits a day.  Because of TAM9 July 15-17 this might be the reason why the jump in numbers on July 17-18th. 

Banachek July 2011

Here is August 2011.  We clearly see a major jump in numbers hitting about an 800% increase over normal. 

Banachek August 1 - 18,  2011 

Something Van Praagh did in the media caused an upsurge of hits.  Looks like he normally gets about 200 hits a day, then suddenly in the 900's?  As I said I don't really follow his schedule (and don't watch TV) so these could be from the Nightline show.  I'm sure someone will clear this up for me.

What about other people featured on the show?  ABC reporter Josh Elliot is the one who interviewed Van Praagh.  By the way I think he did a terrific job and maybe the skeptical movement should approach him for future media coverage.

 Major jump.  Averaging 423 hits a day during August 2011, he has a 600% increase when the show aired.

Lets try one more.  The JREF was mentioned a few times on the show, did it see an increase in hits?

An increase, but not a significant amount like with Banachek.

Another person mentioned on the show (and his name appeared on the screen) was Dr. Gary Schwartz.  Lets look at his stats for August.

A small increase in hits, but nothing significant. 

Here is Allison DuBois's page stats for August.  The other psychic interviewed was Rebecca Rosen who does not have a Wikipedia page, but according to Nightline has a 2 year waiting list for readings.  Odd that if she has changed that many lives that she is not noteworthy enough to have her own page.  Remember Georgia O'Conner?  She has testimonies from thousands of people she has helped, you got it, no Wikipedia page. 

What does this all mean?

These are just the raw numbers, there are a lot of factors that could effect who gets hits and who does not.  Was the name written on the screen?  Van Praagh and Schwartz names were.

I think overall that I have made my point.  When our skeptical spokespeople are in the media, they are going to get an upswing in hits to their Wikipedia page.  People want to know who these people are.   What are we presenting to the world? 

Not only our spokespeople's pages need updating but so do the pages of people like Gary Schwartz.  Nightline went to a lot of trouble to mention that he was a Harvard Professor now working at the University of Arizona.  Major creds right?  Allison DuBois's page also needs some serious cleanup.

I'm sure the page for Psychic Kids could use some updating.  I think Banachek's powerful words would really help to spruce it up.  In fact I think Banachek's comments could be used all over these psychic's pages.  Hint Hint

What about this Nightline Show?  We need to get it up on the pages of all these people and onto the JREF page.  That's keeping things updated.

Get Editing!