From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A response to Rupert Sheldrake's blog post about his Wikipedia article
- Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia appears to have had no interaction with the Rupert Sheldrake article at all. I am not part of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia; I am not part of any skeptic group or Wikipedia group. There is no conspiracy or cabal here; there are simply editors trying to bring the article in line with Wikipedia policy. The only mention of Sheldrake on the GSW blog is a post from 2011 about the pet psychic article.
- Bringing the article in line with Wikipedia policy roughly means ensuring the views of mainstream science are made clear in relationship to Sheldrake's views. Doing this has no relevance to "scientific materialism" or belief in God or most any other metaphysical position.
- The crucial information that Sheldrake and his supporters are missing is that their problem is with Wikipedia policies, not with Wikipedians of any stripe. Wikipedia is a mainstream encyclopedia; it is not a place where fringe views are promoted above mainstream views or given equal validity to mainstream views.
- The TEDx affair began in early March 2013. The initial changes to the article took place over four months later (hardly "soon after"), and they were done entirely by me, as the article history shows. Contrary to Sheldrake's claim, there was no "commando squad of skeptics".
- The talk page banner saying "A common objection made by new arrivals..." was cut & pasted from the talk page for intelligent design. The banner simply lists common points of misunderstanding.
- The Sheldrake article has relatively low traffic and very few contributors. Sheldrake does not attract the requisite attention for any kind of notable warring. There was especially no edit war raging on 5 October 2013, as Sheldrake claims. The article was semi-protected a month prior due to a strange anonymous IP account with a fanatical devotion to promoting vitamin C.
- The only coordination among editors comes from the fringe theory noticeboard, whose only purpose is to help articles conform to Wikipedia's policy on fringe theories.
- There is no "ideological agenda" needed to implement Wikipedia policies, nor does it require one to be "highly motivated". The only applicable "training" is to read the policies.
A response to Craig Weiler's blog post about Rupert Sheldrake's Wikipedia article
I will only address the prominent errors in Weiler's post which are of particular relevance here.
- The paragraph that Weiler shows at the beginning of his post was removed the previous day, on 30 September 6:49 PM PDT. It was flagged as using weasel words and a new paragraph was formulated which eventually lead to the current paragraph in the article.
- The sources cited meet Wikipedia's standards for reliable sources quite well. There are no links which are broken; there is one reference which may be found in The Guardian online archives (not open access).
- Weiler imagines that "guerrilla skeptics" saw an article on June 25 in which Sheldrake mentions them (though the date in the text of the article conflicts, June 20). According to Weiler, this group "did not take kindly to being outed" and took action. The history of the Wikipedia article tells a different story. As stated above, there is no conspiracy or cabal to oppress Sheldrake on Wikipedia. The changes made to bring the Sheldrake article toward conformance with Wikipedia policy were initiated a month later by me alone. I do not follow such websites and was clueless about Sheldrake's post on Wikipedia.
- Weiler claims that I mentioned the WP:REALNAME policy in order to intimidate him, however there isn't any way the policy could be used to this end. On the contrary, the policy is there to protect people. The conversation in question shows a cordial exchange wherein I attempted to address the conspiracies he had been imagining which resulted from his confusion about the policy. I am perplexed by the fact that he thanked me while later publishing on his blog that I tried to intimidate him.