Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Skepticism

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WikiProject Skepticism (Rated Project-class)
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of WikiProject Skepticism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of science, pseudoscience, pseudohistory and skepticism related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
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Assessments, reassessments and more[edit]

Over the past few days, I've assessed about 1000 previously unassessed articles that were stock in the backlog of this project, so that we now have a functioning quality and importance scale system. I've also redone the list of Top importance articles, so that it nows include 38 articles on things like objections to evolution, vaccine controversies, anecdotal evidence and homeopathy. I encourage anyone willing to try to improve these articles. We also have about 200 High-importance articles that should be given some attention. They include subjects like water fluoridation and ghost hunting.

If anyone plans to work on one of those articles, don't hesitate to talk about it on the project's talk page, and to steal experts from other projects.

I've removed most articles from the "needing attention" list, as some of them were there for years without being worked on. Some linked to dead articles, others to articles that had already received plenty of attention and were now fine. The 23 articles that remain are terrible and all have issues that are properly tagged. Anyone can click on any of these articles and fix them. It would be feasible to clear this backlog, so that the needing attention section would become usable. I believe this section should only be used for terrible pseudoscientific articles that need urgent attention, and that they should be removed after a few days at most, when the issue is fixed.

In addition, some sections of the project that were outdated and unusable have been updated. We now have a new to-do list that is shorter and make sense, and a new list of articles needing improvement. Don't hesitate to add articles to the to-do list if you intend to work on them.

I've also removed the mood killing inactive banner. Karlpoppery (talk) 01:54, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Goals of the project[edit]

Should the top two goals of this project really be about "creating new articles", as stated on the main page? This seems like a relic of an ancient time. Karlpoppery (talk) 08:41, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Certainly! There are plenty of articles on skeptical topics yet to be written, including hundreds that are worth translating from other Wikipedias. E.g.we've not yet finished writing about all notableskeptical organisations in Europe yet, and then we still have all other continents left to document. And list of relevant skeptical activitists is potentially limitless. I can give you a large list of articles to be created if you lack inspiration. ;) Nederlandse Leeuw (talk) 12:58, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
If you have a list of new articles that should be made, maybe you could put them on the requested article section. I've removed the old list because it had been edited only two times in five years, indicating that it wasn't used very much.
I didn't mean that creating new articles is not important, just that the top priority should now be to improve the 3000+ articles that this project includes, and the many pseudoscientific articles that haven't yet been included in the project! Karlpoppery (talk) 14:55, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Indeed, lists of missing articles usually tend to be counterproductive to a Wikiproject. Someone thinks of a whole lot of topics, writes them down and then expects someone else to take care of it. Especially when the list is long (and no one knows that it even exists), no one ever does anything about it. I've taken a look at the old list and there were about 5 topics that may interest me a little bit, but only if I'm really bored and desperate. :p It was ok to remove it. I added just a few logical fallacies that I think are worth documenting; Gary N. Curtis has already given some information about them on his website, so we've got somewhere to start. I also included a link to my skeptical organisations in Europe project (still looking for translators!).
You could be right that improvement rather than creation is becoming increasingly important. I myself prefer to have basic information on all relevant topics first, before diving deep into what they are all about. I want the foundations to be there before we can start building up our house of knowledge. This is especially the case for skepticism in Europe, because they are often involved in science education and criticising or investigating parascientic and pseudoscientific claims that catch the public's attention. I want to be able to link to their pages when writing about any topic, so that readers who think 'Who are they to criticise X?!' can actually find out what kind of associations are behind this skeptical critique. Greetings, Nederlandse Leeuw (talk) 02:41, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
I fully agree! I want this project to do active work, whatever it is. Karlpoppery (talk) 05:00, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

Objections to evolution - from Good Article to Feature Article[edit]

I've put this as our next objective in the project's to-do list. Please comment if you agree, disagree or think of something better. Karlpoppery (talk) 02:21, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

New looks[edit]

I tried to improve the look of the project, and to update it a little. Please click around and tell me if I messed up anything! Karlpoppery (talk) 00:37, 27 April 2017 (UTC)

Added a "new" old thing, the skeptic watchlist[edit]

Check it out here. It's a list of 50 articles that are regularly subject to problematic pseudoscientific edits. The whole list can be added to the user's watchlist in a few seconds. This is meant as a way to make cooperation between skeptical wikipedians more efficient.

The list can be found from the main page (monitoring section) and from the project resource section. Karlpoppery (talk) 22:31, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

Nice, thanks. Various were already on my watchlist, but I also added Special:RecentChangesLinked/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Skepticism/Skeptic_watchlists to my convenient user page links. —░]PaleoNeonate█ ⏎ ?ERROR 10:12, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
For a slightly differing reason, here are two more pages to add to your watchlist while you are doing this. These are both are updated by bots regularly:
  1. Article Alerts - this lists articles that are part of this project that have something "happening" to them administratively, like they've been tagged for deletion, there's an RFC active on the talk page, etc.
  2. New Pages - the AlexNewArtBot searches newly created pages for keywords and "scores" them to see if they might be skeptic-related. (That page lists the ones with good scores, you can also see the raw unscored search here, but be warned there are lots of false positives, like articles about episodes of the show "Supernatural"). But occasionally it finds something that we should "adopt" as part of the project.
--Krelnik (talk) 11:35, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you very much.
I wonder if I could also suggest individual medical related articles for the watchlist? These would be:
If these are accepted, perhaps a subsection like controversial syndromes may be wanted... Thanks, —░]PaleoNeonate█ ⏎ ?ERROR 12:27, 2 May 2017 (UTC)
Done! Karlpoppery (talk) 14:05, 2 May 2017 (UTC)

Anusara School of Hatha Yoga[edit]

Anusara School of Hatha Yoga has been added to the to-do list. — PaleoNeonate — 03:05, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

Aura (paranormal) - Complete rewrite[edit]

Added "Aura (paranormal) - Complete rewrite" on the to do list. I'll spend a few day on this, obviously any help would be welcome! KarlPoppery (talk) 21:24, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

I started cleaning it up (moving from the lead what was not lead material down, removing trivia and non-notable or misplaced stuff, as well as removing what was off-topic like religious iconography halo), and added one source (Rampa, since popular), more work will be needed. — PaleoNeonate — 05:15, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
Great! I found some interesting sources, will start rewriting tomorrow. KarlPoppery (talk) 05:44, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Baha'i promotion[edit]


I have no idea if this kind of topic is appropriate here. But I've expressed there (Talk:Abraham#Baha.27i) something which others have also noticed, some have complained about this in the past as well. A mostly non-notable group (except on Wikipedia) has overwhelming coverage here, often in undue weight. Some Wikiprojects like the Jehovah's Witnesses one, (despite being a more notable group) don't allow this type of promotion when they encounter it.
In the above example, the Abraham article, covers major religions currents like Christianity, Judaism, Islam... suddenly, the very special variety of Islam that is Baha'i is presented like if it was one of those great religions. If the JWs were mentioned there it'd be under Christianity at most (and it's not mentioned at all), even if they too consider themselves a very special religion separate from the rest of Christianity. Even in templates, Baha'i is usually overrepresented as a major religion.
Some of the Bhai'i promotion, if not most of it, seems to be added by SPAs (like in the above case) which often have been recently created, suggesting that there may be a special effort to give that group prominence on Wikipedia.
It may also require a group effort to locate and ensure proper weight of those mentions (or remove them) everywhere, which is why I finally decided to post about this issue here. If this is not the right place to discuss this, I would be glad to know where it would be more appropriate. Thanks, — PaleoNeonate — 20:27, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

After checking their own articles they also have obvious issues, but I doubt it's our problem... one thing I noticed is that there are some popular sources presented like scholarly papers from members. It's unclear to me if some of those are reliable sources or not. One Robert Stockman article that I read for instance seemed to be an apologetic rant against descriptions of the Baha'i Faith religion as syncretism. An interesting article, Pioneering (Bahá'í) seems like a proselytism/missionary POV fork. In any case, the main problem is mostly the promotion outside of their main articles (their "teaching" on Wikipedia, according to the last article).
The addition to the aforementioned Abraham article was removed by another editor already. Since noone yet told me that this was completely out of scope of this project, here are other examples:
  • Cannabis and religion (about it being forbidden, then, I wonder why it's there at all, although the same occurs with LDS, although that is a more notable group; article might need general cleanup perhaps...)
  • Moses (there is Mormonism, under Chritianity, Baha'i Faith represented as a major religion)
  • Prophet (maybe warranted there, considering all the others, if in due weight and properly placed, this reminds me of my List of fulfilled prophecies successful AfD actually)...
  • Jesus
  • Aaron (short section, but probably belongs in a main Baha'i article if anywhere, still not in due weight to appear like a major religion)
  • List of predictions#Religious prophecy
Others don't come to my mind immediately, but I often encountered a Baha'i Faith section on articles wondering why it's there other than promotion by exposition; we probably all have... — PaleoNeonate — 18:02, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure... According to this, they are indeed only 50% less numerous than Jews, and they're the fourth biggest Abrahamic religion. It seems that they're arguably not just a branch of Islam, since they believe that Muhammad is not the most important prophet. However they should probably be downgraded to the "Other" section in articles that have such a section, and everything that is written about them should be checked for NPOV and WP:SPA contributors. That does seem like entering an endless edit war, though... Maybe this should be brought up to wp:wikiproject religion? KarlPoppery (talk) 18:56, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
After a quick search, most sources I can find classify Baha'i as a different religion (but not Jehovah's Witnesses). It will make your case hard to make. KarlPoppery (talk) 20:08, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
You may be right, I'll have to take more time evaluating sources and checking them. WikiProject Religion would indeed be more on-topic; there's also a Baha'i one too, but before going there I was glad to obtain some input. Thanks, — PaleoNeonate — 18:34, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Popular pages report[edit]

I noticed the Popular pages bot has been resurrected, so I signed this project up to get a report from it. It runs reports on the 2nd of each month so we should get our first report on June 2nd. Unless I screwed it up, the report should appear at this page. --Krelnik (talk) 18:00, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Update! The bot has populated the report for us. Lots of interesting stuff to look at. Looks like Bill Nye was our top-read article in April, by quite a margin. Understandable since his NETFLIX series got lots of press. --Krelnik (talk) 11:41, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Good Articles review[edit]

I've noticed that the article "Barnum effect" has been in queue for quite some time, awaiting to be reviewed through the GA process. The Barnum effect is a very interesting topic, and one that is key to understand nearly all brands of pseudoscience. If any of our members are experienced in the Good Articles review process, it would be a valuable use of your time to help user:Meatsgains by reviewing this article! KarlPoppery (talk) 20:35, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Article assessment and GA documentation are still on my TOREAD list unfortunately. It's something I'm willing to learn but I still consider that I lack the skills at current time. I would also be glad to closely follow the work of someone who can do it for my edification. Meanwhile, if noone qualified answers here in a reasonable time, I could participate to check logs of possibly related articles which have achieved GA status and attempt to "recruit" a reviewer... Among my current questions-list are:
  • Can class vary from project to project? If so, which is the one shown or considered the default when an article is within the scope of multiple WikiProjects?
  • Who does official assessment (apparently Wikiprojects)?
  • What prevents class= from being faked/forged? Where is it officially listed, possibly bot-applied?
  • Criteria for an article to be of GA status (I have various unread links for this).
— PaleoNeonate — 04:28, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
The "Good article" status is not given by a Wikiproject, it's a more official thing and there's a procedure to follow. You can read all about it on Wikipedia:Good_articles. Technically anyone can be a reviewer, but it's better to have experience with the process. The whole thing is supposed to take about seven days of work. KarlPoppery (talk) 06:27, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
To answer your other questions, the class=ABC system is not official in any way. It's one of those Wikipedia thing that anyone can change.KarlPoppery (talk) 06:39, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
@Karlpoppery: Thanks for the shoutout and bringing the GA nomination to the attention of editors within this wikiproject. Let me know if there is anything I can do on my end to help move this along and get reviewed! Meatsgains (talk) 01:03, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
@Karlpoppery: Thank you for the explanations. I now see that the history seems more important than the class assessment field itself, via the talk page templates' "Article milestones". — PaleoNeonate — 22:56, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Geist Group[edit]

Geist Group: skeptics or charlatans? Face-smile.svg (note: also see talk page). Thanks, — PaleoNeonate — 06:10, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

AfDed, it shouldn't have survived for seven years. KarlPoppery (talk) 06:11, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I wasn't sure it was this bad, but that's a good initiative. Did you know of them? Thanks, — PaleoNeonate — 06:16, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I don't think many people know of them, I can't find sources and their website no longer works. KarlPoppery (talk) 06:21, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I only found this so far, which doesn't seem much (via a "what links here" to an IP address' talk page who received a warning for link spamming). — PaleoNeonate — 06:49, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Hmm CSD is a good idea, I put a speedy delete vote in the AfD, that can sometimes be equivalent it seems and haste closure immediately, will see... also, in case CSD gets contested we have the AfD. — PaleoNeonate — 07:07, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Sweden EHS at Electromagnetic hypersensitivity - reopened discussion[edit]

I would appreciate anyone's comments at Talk:Electromagnetic hypersensitivity#Reopening Sweden EHS matter --papageno (talk) 04:42, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

Nomination of Donald Yates for deletion[edit]

A discussion is taking place as to whether the article Donald Yates is suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia according to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines or whether it should be deleted.

The article will be discussed at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Donald Yates until a consensus is reached, and anyone is welcome to contribute to the discussion. The nomination will explain the policies and guidelines which are of concern. The discussion focuses on high-quality evidence and our policies and guidelines.

Users may edit the article during the discussion, including to improve the article to address concerns raised in the discussion. However, do not remove the article-for-deletion notice from the top of the article. —PaleoNeonate - 08:56, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

Morphogenetic resonance is at AfD[edit]

The discussion may be of interest to folks who hang out around here. XOR'easter (talk) 19:58, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

I already thanked you but at FTN, here is where I intended to post the message Face-smile.svgPaleoNeonate – 20:44, 6 August 2017 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Glad to be of help! XOR'easter (talk) 21:18, 6 August 2017 (UTC)

WikiProject Chiropractic[edit]

Made a new WikiProject at WP:CHIRO if anyone else in this project is interested. Feel free to join! Just went active today. SEMMENDINGER (talk) 22:36, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

@Semmendinger: Thank you for the notice. It was already "detected" then minimally discussed at WT:MED#New_WikiProject, in case you would like to participate in the conversation. But don't let it discourage you, I sometimes feel lonely, having the impression to run this semi-active WikiSkepticism project myself (despite its large participants list). Happy editing, —PaleoNeonate – 23:17, 5 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the link! I'll swing on by. SEMMENDINGER (talk) 23:19, 5 September 2017 (UTC)