"The Future of Skepticism Online: Crowd-Sourced Activism" – TAM 2012

Oh this is workshop 3 be the future of skepticism online we're going to do some crowdsourcing or we're going to talk about crowdsourcing I'm Tim Farley we're going to do a little bit of an introduction section here I'm going to talk about kind of the overview of what we're talking about and then we're going to get into the actual tools this is none of this is theoretical all of this is actual stuff that skeptics are already doing and we need more skeptics to do it I am Tim Farley I am a software guy a researcher I'm a research fellow for jrf I advise them on electronic media internet stuff that kind of thing and I blog for them I've spoken at the amazing meeting before I run workshops before and probably most people know me as the creator of this site what's the harm but lately I do a lot of blogging at skip tools com and a lot of it is about how skeptics can use tools better on the internet and the other presenters is Derek colon dunno who you probably know as the host of skeptic ality with swoopy and he also runs an awesome skeptic event if you guys ever get to Atlanta in the summer a skep track at dragoncon it's a really fantastic event we do probably almost as many panels and stuff as we do here but it's in embedded in this giant science fiction convention so we get to do get a lot of exposure to folks who might have not known what skepticism was four full days and we're going to have a special guest presenter at the end something brand-new that I think you'll be excited about so what am I talking about when i talk about crowdsourcing crowdsourcing is a portmanteau of crowd plus outsourcing and the idea is that you make an open call for participation you have something that needs a lot of work done something that if you were going to do it in a conventional way you would end up hiring a million interns or a thousand high school students or a whole staff of people to do but you don't have the money to do that so you hire you put out an open call and you say hey anyone who's out there can you help us with this project and they vary you sometimes you bring knowledge sometimes you bring money sometimes you bring the ability to do a little bit of work sometimes you bring some experience but it's all about undertaking some kind of a task and hopefully the idea is you get some mutual benefit the person who put out the call will get whatever the thing was they want put together and the people who help will get some benefit in the way of experience or just the knowledge of a job well done or contributing to a good effort and they're crowdsourcing projects are all over the place now probably the the ones that you hear about a lot or at least have heard about for a few years or the wisdom of the crowd type projects like Wikipedia that sort of thing but there's also crowd voting where people vote on different things and try to find the best items in a group there's crowdfunding which is beginning a lot of attention lately things like Kickstarter where folks who might have had to go to investors to start their company can now just put their idea out there and say hey you know here's my crazy idea of a thing I want to build do enough of you want to do this that you're willing to toss in a little bit of money and you start a company or you start a project and people have done record albums and built products and built games that way and actually inducement prizes are kind of a type of crowd sourcing too and it's not new the Oxford English Dictionary actually ran an open call that was essentially a crowdsourcing project for 70 years for folks to send in quotations that went to the sources of and uses of different words and that was a giant crowdsourcing project wasn't done on the internet obviously it was done through the mail inducement prizes that there have been many the spacex prize and and what not the or tag prize was the prize that Lindbergh was going after when he flew from New York to Paris he was he was after a prize and they basically essentially that's a crowdsourcing project I mean you have one winner but essentially you're saying anyone out there who thinks they can fly from New York to Paris try it and the one who does it wins and the Pillsbury bake-off is another example that went for years and years so what are the modern ones what are the internet based ones we've got Wikipedia is probably the most famous they've built an encyclopedia with over three million articles it might be four million by this point entirely by just asking people to type stuff to write about things that they know about citizen science projects like Galaxy Zoo whale FM and there's probably a couple hundred of them now and you're going to hear more about those projects from Pamela gay this weekend a fantastic thing where science is gathering so much data now that we need and our software isn't smart enough to classify all of it so we need people to help and I talked about Kickstarter another one is more on the kind of commercial side of it as there's a thing called Amazon Mechanical Turk we're literally you can just put jobs out there that have some tiny cash values on them and say here are you willing to spellcheck three sentences for a buck for me or something like that and people will sign up and earn money doing it and the idea here part of the idea here is to have some inclusion have a way that skeptics all skeptics can help participate in projects that are helping to advance skepticism you know there's a lot of great blogs and podcasts I have a blog I'm on Derek's podcast there's many other podcasters here and they're all doing awesome stuff but not everybody has time for that right frankly I don't have time to to the ones that I've committed to most of the time which if you've looked at my blog in the last few weeks you know that because I haven't posted that much because I've been getting ready for this meeting but the neat thing about crowdsourcing is you can do it in tiny little increments if you want to help with Wikipedia you can literally spend 30 seconds helping with Wikipedia and then go on about your business and you've actually accomplished something that helps move the ball forward and the idea is that by finding ways that skeptics can get involved in this and advance skepticism through this we can get more skeptics involved and you can do it anywhere you have an internet connection right so you can do it from your couch while you're watching TV and we need all the skeptics we can get to help out another reason to do this sort of stuff is outreach another problem somewhat with blogs and podcasts is they tend to sometimes preach to the choir right we tend to build skeptic blogs that talk to other skeptics about skepticism and and it becomes this circular loop how do we break out of that and actually reach the general public and to teach them about the things that we know about about cognitive biases and pseudoscience and all this good stuff the idea is there's so much commerce going on on the internet so many different things going on in the internet there's a lot of opportunities to intercept people while they're on their way to become a victim of bad information while they're on their way to become a customer of a homeopath or psychic or something like that if you think about how people do that there are ways to get in front of them using the internet and it's an awesome opportunity we didn't have this opportunity before you know 30 years ago how would you intercept someone when they were about to hire a psychic would you stand in front of the psychics building all day nobody could have done that but there are things you can do on the internet to get people's attention right while they're trying to find a psychic one of the things I'd like to warn you about is you have to think a little bit about what kind of projects you're working on there's this thing that some people call it slacktivism some people call it collectivism but it's sort of false idea that you think you're doing something useful but really you're kind of spinning your wheels online there's a lot of kind of feel good things that people try to get you to do online and they're great and and and there's nothing wrong with them but there's the danger sometimes that you lower yourself into the sense that you're actually helping a project when the things that you're doing are actually not not doing anything you have to think about what you're trying to accomplish here are some examples of things that can be slacktivism sometimes forwarding emails retweeting things you know that is helpful to get the word out on some things but if you're just retweeting stuff and feel like you're advancing skepticism just by retweeting stuff all day you know maybe it's not helping that much clicking like there everybody wants you to click that stupid facebook like button now it's useful to get things more visible in facebook it definitely is a useful thing to do but if you're all you're doing is clicking like I don't know how much thing how much help you're you're you're causing to skepticism changing your avatar a big pet peeve of mine and I'm going to talk about on sunday its bombing online polls which seems to be a big hobby of some folks really a tremendous waste of time science some online petitions are waste of time not all of them some of them can be very effective you have to be careful about how you set them up and what your goal is but and again none of these things are inherently wrong I'm not saying don't do these things if you want to change your avatar by all means change your avatar but don't love yourself into a sense that you're making a difference when all you did was change your avatar so how do you distinguish what's what's a useful crowdsourcing thing that you can do and what's a slacktivism one of the things is will it achieve a tangible bulb like you know if if it's a if it's a petition it has to be a very focused petition with a specific target and a specific goal that's achievable and if it's a creating content think about where is this content going to be a year from now or five years from now if you're writing a comment on page 15 of a forum thread is anyone going to see that a year from now probably not but if you're writing content for instance in Wikipedia maybe it will still be there and we'll talk about that later are there more direct ways you can help or are you just doing busy work so what are we trying to do what is the idea of all this crowd sourcing stuff well we're trying to do the things that skeptics say they're doing which is educating the general public about science and critical thinking right we want to break out of this let's all talk to ourselves about how great skepticism is and how horrible the latest quack of the week is and let's get out to the public and and warn them away from the quack of the week another thing is just basically improving the quality of information online I'm an information guy a website guy and so to me a lot of what skepticism about is about boils down to misinformation right fundamentally misinformation bad information whether it's science or a conspiracy theory or pseudo science or whatever it's all misinformation at its core and we want to improve the quality of information online or at least cause the information that's good to be a little bit more visible and that perhaps the information that's bad be a little bit less me and we want to warn warn the public about dangerous things so all of these projects involve getting involved in a community and we will later in this we will talk about some some projects that were built specifically for skepticism but a large part of this is kind of co-opting crowdsourcing projects that already exists and one of the things that you have to be aware of is you have to be aware of community 101 you have to be part of the community okay you can't just go in guns a-blazing in a Wikipedia and say okay the skeptics here now I'm going to fix all your pages you have to be part of the community wikipedia has been around for 10 years and there's a lot of people who spend a lot of their life on it and they don't appreciate the new guy coming in and making a mess of things and one of the things you can do to lessen that fear of the new guy is to play by the rules create an account that's mainly a Wikipedia thing most sites make you create an account but wikipedia will let you edit without even you know signing up and I recommend that you never do that because it's just it's looked at you know it's people take a dim view of anonymous edits fill out your by off there somewhere where you can say who you are do post an avatar if there's a way to put a little picture doesn't have to be a photo you can have a you know whatever piece of art you know you want if you can now I know a lot of people using a moniker an anonymous name online for various very good reasons and that's fine but if you can reveal your identity and you're comfortable with that that can be good too for instance wikipedia has rules that you're not you're not you're supposed to honor if people are being anonymous but I i am very upfront about Who I am on Wikipedia be nice to other people very simple participate in the various processes if there's a friending process or a follow process if there's ways that you're expected to interact with the other people on the service do that understand the rules you know it's it's very importantly every site has its rules has its expectations of its users so you got to do that so that you'll be people will feel like you're part of the community and I always recommend to go slow at first now some of the things we're going to talk about are fairly simple when we talk about web of trust there's not a ton to learn on web of trust so go slow may not apply there but go slow definitely applies on Wikipedia there's a big knowledge curve there in terms of learning how things already work and a lot of people on that site that already know how it works so you need to go slow at first that you don't get yourself into trouble so ask questions get permission most of these sites have ways that you can interact with the other users one of the things I recommend is to always use use as much of the service as you can for instance if for instance we're going to talk about leaving tips on foursquare and tips are just one of many features of foursquare and i would highly recommend that you not just create an account on foursquare and start creating a million tips because people are going to look at that and say why is this guy not doing anything else on foursquare and all of a sudden he thinks he has a million tips for everyone else so even if you're not that interested in the other features try to use them to build up a usage pattern so people say this is a regular user this is a person who's using our service so we are not going to treat them like he's a spammer an abuser so don't be a spammer don't don't just stick with the skeptic stuff and I think I have a slide oh yeah the next slide has it but don't just be negative don't be harshing everybody smell out all the time this is wrong this is wrong change this try to be positive sometimes it helps I know it's hard because the skeptics we like to do bump things but there are ways to find positive things to do one of the things I do for instance when I edit Wikipedia is I try to find every once in a while something completely unrelated to skepticism to work on so I do like historic buildings in the town that I live in I just look on the Wikipedia and find something that doesn't have an article and I'll write it and I've spent there is one article that I probably spent I don't know 20 or 30 maybe 40 man hours on researching going to the library looking at microfilm and wrote a really good article about this 100 year old building and the idea is to build up a reputation on that site because people will see that and say wow this guy spent a lot of time on this article he seems to be really interested in Wikipedia so next time when I come in and take someone else's headed out maybe they'll respect me a little bit better we have to be aware that we are kind of in many cases sort of co-opting a little bit some of these tools they are not explicitly designed to be skeptic and some communities will be a little averse or at least some people in the community will be a little bit of verse this comes up a little bit on web of trust but I've never had much of a problem with it where some people on web of trust feel like skeptics using web address is not an appropriate use of the service so you have to again go slow be a little bit careful and that's where mixing skeptic and non skeptic use can be helpful because people will trust you more if you come in and you're constantly just doing Scientology stuff people will notice that or the or the algorithms that they use to manage the site will notice that and they'll say you know this is somebody that's got an ax to grind about Scientology they may not be doing their homework and B I talked about being nice be direct and polite you know skeptics like sarcasm and like humor and that's fun and I love it too everybody loves a good joke on the homeopath expense but these types of projects are not were an appropriate place for that because you're trying to reach the general public and they're not going to appreciate your you're really clever pun on deluded versus diluted they're not going to get it so just don't don't don't do that just be very straightforward and explain Avogadro's number and you know go through this slow careful thing and save the save the sarcasm for the blog post that you're going to write later and don't forget and this comes up in a couple of our examples later to a certain extent the other side is doing this right so you got to watch out for negative voting I've run into this a few times we'll see some examples on web of trust where it became in fact one of them affected me personally where it was clear that somebody that didn't like skeptics was going out and basically doing what I'm telling you to do here but in the opposite direction and usually there's ways to leave feedback and leave counteracting positive votes and try to counteract whatever the bad guy is doing we'll talk about that later now not really specifically to this but it helps is specialization I've recommended this for years for skeptics skepticism covers a lot of ground when you think about you know just just think about all the topics you're going to hear this weekend by the end of the weekend between UFOs and alt mad and conspiracy theories and critical thinking and logical fallacies and ghosts and psy powers and just go on and on there's a huge list of things and it's really hard to be an expert in all those things so I really recommend in almost all aspects of skeptic being a skeptic to try to specialize pick an area out and make that your own because that's the only way you're going to get really good at it and we've even seen instances you know in the last few years where major major skeptics have kind of tripped themselves up because you know they have to know all this stuff and it's hard it's really hard so occasionally a major skeptic will say something that isn't quite in line with the scientific consensus on this or that and get a lot of heat for it they can take the heat you as Joe Sixpack around the corner you know nobody knows who you are maybe they're not going to you know give you the credit that they might give a well-known skeptic so I it's something I recommend and it helps out with these crowdsourcing projects too alright so that's the intro part and start closing windows we can save some space so we'll go right to our second section which is about complaining rate rating and complaining I figured we do this right off because skeptics love to complain about stuff right so why not do it in crowdsourcing projects it's kind of a classic technique we write letters to the editor we write open letters to the media now blogs are often forums for complaining about this or that the major organizations often release press releases when you know this that the site crazy psychic does something there's pros and cons to that it can be very focused and reactive to something that you know the public has been exposed to but then you know you can't really control what happens because you're at the whim of the editors if you're writing a letter to the editor or press release whether or not that's going to see print is up to the whim of some editor somewhere and you always have the problem the fundamental problem that you have with a lot of classic skeptical methods non-digital skeptical methods is our speech never quite has the visibility of the original speech that we're trying to counteract right uri geller gets a front-page article and then we write a nasty letter you know a tiny percentage of the people who see the front page articles are going to see the response letter but this is something where the internet realm can help us out because there are situations where we can maybe not quite get the visibility that the original does but we can come pretty close because of the power of Internet tools and it's really exciting that we can get in front of as many people as the bad guy is or get right next to get our content right next to his content in a list and the first thing and probably one of the most exciting things in terms of just sheer impact especially when you measure impact versus effort is web of trust this is a tool it's actually stood for like five or six years I just became aware of it about two years ago and I believe it comes out of Finland and the idea is to try to deal with the problem of there's too many websites and nobody knows which ones to trust right there's a lot of really cool everybody knows Amazon you can trust amazon and hopefully they will you know lose your credit card number but if you find Joe's Chicken Shack org who has this really cool you know canned chicken product or whatever how do you know you can put your credit card into that website and trust that guy not to steal your money and web of trust directly addresses that problem and it does it through crowdsourcing it basically asks the crowd okay have you had a bad experience with this website did you buy something and then they never shipped it to you put in a vote and we will aggregate all those votes and expose them as a rating for each site so that the next guy who goes to this I can know whether or not he should trust the site and it plugs right into your web browsers the idea is as you're browsing this thing is looking up the ratings for these sites and it can tell you 34 million people have downloaded that browser plugin and facebook is now using these ratings to rate the links when people put links into facebook so when you click a link that your friend put in if it has a really low web of trust rating facebook will give you a warning that's 900 million user accounts so close to a billion users potentially can be affected by a web of trust rating and the first thing you see is this little red donut that you see up here and I'll show you a screenshot of where you see that but basically next to a hyperlink on your screen you'll see that little red donut that says oh you shouldn't click this or if it's a good link you'll see a green one um and if you try to load them you'll get a block message let's see what that looks like here's Jim Humble if you're following a couple years ago there was a and actually it's resurfaced recently a guy named Jim Humble was selling essentially industrial leach as a medical intervention for Crohn's disease I think anyway horrible horrible stuff and he was selling it on like I'm teen sites he had all these people selling it for them well somebody knuckled down and did the hard work of finding all those sites and giving them bad web of trust ratings and this is part of a google result page so in Google if I have web of trust installed and I happen to get a search that gets these results I happen to type Jim Humble mms you can see all those red donuts there that say don't click this don't click this then click this so hopefully people who aren't even skeptics will see that and say oh maybe I shouldn't be going to these things but what happens if you do if you do you see this screen it starts to load the web page and if you look you may not be able to see it but just in sort of grayed out behind that warning is the actual web page you get this giant warning that says this this site is not has a poor reputation maybe you shouldn't go there now you can click a button and go to the site it doesn't stop you it's not censorship but it says hey look maybe you don't want to be here so that's an awesome way to reach people doesn't look quite that impressive on Facebook but 30 million people can see that warning when they go to one of these websites and one of the things that we've been doing since we discovered this and the skeptics got interested in is we've been doing calls to action in last fall when skeptics got very interested in this Burzynski character in Houston who is a cancer quack mostly starting out of England because there was a kid who was sick and they were trying to raise money to send her to Houston so the British skeptics got interested in it and there was a lot of chatter on Twitter and I sent this tweet and said hey do you think Pierzynski is trustworthy if not let's go let's go changes rating on web of trust to indicate that and I don't have a ton of power on Twitter but it happened that the bad astronomer who does have thousands of followers saw this tweet and incorporated it into a blog post and several hundred people followed that link and did some voting and within a couple of hours this warning started popping up on Brazil skis website and a couple of days later we saw the webmaster for brzezinski clinic show up in the web of trust forums and boy were they mad boy were they mad but web of trust left the ratings there that's still that way in fact I think I took that screenshot yesterday so it's still that way if anybody finds Pierzynski site they get that warning right in front of their face that is status some awesome power and all the tape all it takes is a click but it takes a lot of clicks right so we need everybody look and there's thousands of these websites you know Brazil ski is a high-profile one but we need everybody looking for these sites that are selling this black stuff or push an astrology or all the things that we talked about and give them ratings but let's talk about what those ratings are you see that there's four donuts on that screen there they do four different ratings because weber trust was designed for first a lot of different things it was designed for scams it was designed for privacy problems it was designed to for child safety so people wouldn't kids wouldn't go to porn and there's some settings select for instance you can tell it to prefer the child safety rating if you want only a couple of these actually really apply to us and the main one is trustworthiness right that's pretty clear to me the trustworthiness relates to skepticism do you trust what is on this website no it's cancer quackery it's it's nonsense so give it a bad trustworthy rating now vendor reliability that's a different thing better reliability has to do with I gave him money he didn't send me the product so I recommend that you don't vote in that unless you have specific knowledge about that because that's not honest privacy same way unless you know that you put in your email address and it got out onto a spammers list don't vote in the privacy thing I know the temptation is when you go to web 'trust let you know read read read read but you really don't want to do that let's be honest pride trustworthiness and I think child safety it's kind of oriented toward porn but I think when you're talking about an anti-vaccine person child safety I think it fits so those are the two that I mainly vote is trustworthiness and child safety so that's where we are when I was talking about don't spam don't give ratings that aren't appropriate because people you know there are automatic algorithms and moderators on these things I don't know how much web of trust monitors what they do but certainly they must know that their system gets abused sometimes so do the right thing and hopefully no one will have reason to doubt your votes another thing and just briefly i'm going to talk about online reviews kind of a similar thing and this is a lot of different sites itunes amazon you know you can practically can't turn around without finding some kind of online review and where the product being reviewed is something that relates to skepticism or relates to the folks that we oppose like a book about you know ghosts or something or a good science book that can help because a lot of times these votes are used to decide which products will show up in recommended lists and things like that and the negative reviews are a review is a good place to give people a more explicit warning you know because you can write something you can say okay here's why what's in this book is wrong and this is a case where you have to be aware of the bad guys making trouble too and we have seen this where creationists will latch on to the latest dawkins book on amazon and go in and write a bunch of negative reviews and at that point we need skeptics to go in and counter them so that the votes don't get skewed way down just because somebody is being a jerk most systems have some way of kind of voting on the vote so that you can feed back against people who are voting maliciously that's what Amazon's look like that little button there that says so was this review helpful to you yes now so use that if you see a review that really quite clearly looks like someone's being malicious and not honest about the contents of the book and I you know i admonish you to to be honest yourself don't write negative reviews of books that you haven't read right let's be you know let's be ethical about this you know get a copy from the library don't buy it or you know get a copy from somewhere and and read it or buy the book and read it and write a review or at least base your review on some good solid knowledge about what's in the product and let's see where were we going to go from here I think this is where we were going to bring Derek up to talk about foursquare and Yelp since we were just talking about reviews what is this at last day you did just start I'm really tired oh jeez I haven't turn around say sat down a lot of people know um I'm Derek I'll do know I've put my stuff down there if you ever listen to skeptic ality and one of the only voices that are left on the show because would be like full-time working in on like school all the time so she wants to be on the show but half the time she just is not home so that's me and I'm going to talk a little bit about foursquare i think is the first one that's coming up here Hey look at that so there's a few different websites where you can leave reviews or tips most of these are tips and this is a little different than Amazon or web of trust in a way or even Wikipedia these are things like people have stores or they have services the offer and especially things like you know yelp and Foursquare especially because foursquare is about locations so it's not a book or it's not a website it's actually somebody's business or hotel a hotel or place like that so you can create reviews and offer information about those places now this one again you have to be very careful you have to make sure that you read all the rules and you follow the instructions because we don't like the other things they always have communities and they will get rid of your review it's happened a few times that some of the skeptics believe you're not so don't do what I did in is my example here because like Wikipedia or anything else you should kind of have a history of doing like real reviews and tips and this I just kind of jumped in and I did this one thing it's not we're the quite a tip because i have this tip about a psychic that's in early lanta area and my tip is actually a tip because it talks about the iig you get hey if this psychic can do what they claim to do they can win 50,000 off $50,000 and if you're the person who gets them to do it and they win you get money too so it is kind of a tip but I should have had something else more than just that so my example is good and bad at the same time so you should probably be a little more I don't know gentle than I was here and the thing I reason I say that is because recently is Bob here no he's not Bob's the head of the iig Atlanta he's moving that permission next week but anyway he did this the same exact thing i have here i actually copied and pasted his thing and after i did this he came to the meeting is it all by the way i got banned from foursquare because a bunch of the psychic people from that location started to like complain and for quick squirt foursquare actually banned him so that when i say you have to have a little more class i just copied and pasted what he did even though i don't think if that's bad that's too bad but i guess he did it on many different places and then they claimed it was spam so if he used the same exact lerp I did it on like three places he did it many other places so so again it should be right there on the screen all I have right here oh I can't either it's very small I forget it's basically the blurb from the IEG website about if you can prove that you have powers under scientific testing you win you know fifty thousand dollars and the person who find find you wins three or two thousand or something five thousand five thousand hey what have you done sorry you know what what we're doing now really anyway it's pretty much what it is it's almost uh yeah so it is a tip and my counter argument about them saying that it was spam it is a tip I mean what the hell it is your business and you basically gave people a way to like get themselves money and you a lot of money but you know they don't like being called out so there's a better ways than just jump in there and like you know call them out you could do a little classier I have a little more history on foursquare because I've done many other reviews for other things like hotels and things I used to travel about ninety seven percent of my life for business and work so I used to actually write things about hotels I liked and things like that so hopefully they won't ban me because I've done this three or four times before I knew that they were doing that but it's a good way because the nice part about for foursquare does anybody use were first where it before yeah everybody has like you know one of these things that's connect with internet all the time anymore and when you load that up on foursquare and now it does tips around you so if you're an area and there's a psychic around there and that that tip locks your show up so people who aren't skeptics will see something like that and I'll say hey that's interesting and maybe they'll want to go to that psychic in win five thousand dollars and ask their sake just like you to do it they're not gonna like that but it does promote the mindset and it does promote critical thinking because they're for their kind of said why won't you you're you're not going to get me $5,000 you say you do this stuff so it could actually have some really cool things at our way you can use foursquare many of these psychics actually don't have any locations because the looking locations that foursquare have to put in so many places that you want to rate they don't have them so then create one now me and Tim actually talked about this a little bit because we're like well you know again have to follow all the guidelines and things let's say there's a psychic near you and you look going with 4th grade and 10 they put it down and we're not there well you can actually put in their location yourself they don't pay you don't they don't need you don't need permission from them you can do it yourself and the weird part about this is you're drawing attention to the psychic or the bad service or the MU merchant what are we going to call them but and again they shouldn't really mine because you're giving them advertisement they didn't take the time to do as long as you use all the official information because if you read their their terms and dye lines you can't do anything bad so you have to actually put in their real stuff so go their website put all the real information and then you can leave my my tip weird I should have in all these you really should probably put like a war enticing tip one that's not as hit you in the head with the book as I did you know hey by the way I think this guy's a scam so here try to win some money because if they're if they're not hey you make money everybody knows what the really you're saying is that they're not going to go for this so it is and it is kind of you know tip to the psychic themselves or the person that owns this look at this store they're going to say oh they're trying to despair just so you have to try to make it softer fuzzy at the same time because you want more people to be the more flies with honey so anyway you can you create these and you can do it that way and it works because like I said if you pull out your phone and you go to a Foursquare and nowadays no dude tips around me so they'll pop up so it's kind of a cool like the web at aquatic trust but in the flesh using the internet which ever that kind of works maybe okay and there's another one like Foursquare there's Yelp who hasn't heard of Yelp Yelp is kind of like we're foursquare but unlike foursquare Yelp can be used for not only locations it can be for almost any service is kind of mainly meant for locations but you can use it for other things nice part about Yelp I think last time I love to Yelp actually has more people that use it more than four square because four square marks itself right at people using mobile phones you can use the website but it's not meant for that you Yelp is like I don't know Wikipedia for you know reviews of locations and services in a way so you get more eyeballs at Yelp again they're just as a they're a lot more village in vigilant with their monitoring of the yelp stuff because the yelp committee is hardcore trust me so like again don't be like me and just you know go in there with the you know with your skeptic you know schlong slinging around say by the way this guy's a you know try to make money yeah it doesn't really work so you can be a little more gentle but again it's another great way to draw attention to locations that are already there and you can actually again whoo don't do that you have the pros and cons to all this stuff you things like you can create a location and it might not get noticed by the owner so the nice part is if they didn't take the time to put in the location or yell or four square the nice part is they probably aren't paying attention so what you put in there might last for a while unless the community gets around to it like they did with Bob so you have to walk really gem line but if you do it right I haven't been banned yet and nobody's actually taken away my reviews on either one of these which I find amazing because I use the same exact wording that Bob use so i don't know why i got away with it and then the another pro in a way this is one that Tim brought up and I never thought about it you're kind of creating a getting a map of all the merchants of woo in your area that you can point people to to maybe have in people's heads when you talk to friends and family are people in your area and you hear the name of the some spa that has this month nice fancy new age you know name and you hear that oh the people there are like offering a high price you know Reiki for you know free high price for free everybody knows what I mean that by that here come in for this you know soothing music and a foot rub in for five hundred dollars and I give you Reiki so things like that so it's coining a nice map for the community to look at and also you're getting the word out and a lot of people that aren't skeptics at all will see this information which is the best part is you don't you're not ever saying anything skeptical really you're just saying hey somebody went this way placing at what is this this recently happened with my wife of all people um I actually recently wrote a one of these on foursquare because i saw a location a battle place in atlanta it happened to be on what is it that the samantha takes over lady on bravo she mainly just care but now she does everything and she happened to come to some lube place in atlanta to like help them the chiropractor that had Reiki services and all this stuff i saw it on TV is and what the hell is this place so well in force and Yelp and I put on their stuff in there too and they were in there and it was interesting to see those comments because it was on the TV show and they had many unhappy customers so I took more I put some stuff in there because obviously people actually had come to that place and I saw on TV they said all yeah this guy's a complete fraud so it's great then my wife was like oh I didn't realize I was all crap it's like honey you live with me how did you not know so how old pageant shin she never listens to my show she doesn't so she's like I didn't know you run then she does this all the time she says my dad was talking about this have you had any show about this yes honey he necessary don't loosen my shirt do you anyway so yeah so it's in it's good to have this information because you can point you know family friends things like that so icon again you have to follow the guidelines and rules like Tom like Tim said like Wikipedia like Foursquare especially Yelp they have a big community and don't go crazy in there and just start stomp around say I mr. skeptic and i'm going to point out every single place here that you never should go to I didn't get I should have put all my examples because it's like I said he's a travel all the time so I had a lot of stuff on foursquare that was you know just regular reviews things like you know by the way this hotel they allow dogs not just CITC and I I dogs any dog and I actually had people comment on my comment and said hey I've done this this is great so then it builds up goodwill and then I always have the list of those links and then its timing for Tim again so you're done with me yeah actually that that foursquare screenshot that he showed happens to be right across the street from where I work so one day I actually saw Bob's now-deleted tip come up when I was checking into the same campagna see why he got mad yeah which is a cool new feature that they put in Foursquare just recently like last month where tips used to be that the tips would only show up for the place that you were at but now tips will show up for nearby places if there's no tip where you're at and the idea is to help you discover oh by the way there's this really cool restaurant across the street you might not have known about and ours could say oh by the way you could win five thousand dollars by turning the psychic in to the skeptic police ah well yeah try to word it a little better than that alright so we're going to talk about curation and I'm going to try to get us back on time curation is the idea of trying to sort of organize the information that's online so people can better find it there's a lot of interesting stuff going on in this area right now and one of the reasons I bring up a curation is because we've got a lot of stuff if you look out there I you know everybody's got their favorite blog on their favor everybody goes to dr. novellas blog and and you know the skeptic ality this is one of the top podcasts and we've got our favorites but if you actually look out there there are hundreds and hundreds of skeptic blogs out there there's a lot of good stuff that i think is getting sometimes overlooked and these are rough figures based on a thing called skeptic ater that's somebody in australia built that kind of aggregates at all and actually these figures are from last summer but at that point there were like 700 feeds that he was aggregating and it was like 250 posts a day that's a lot of stuff so how do you find the good stuff how do you find the really cool articles that you should be telling your skeptic friends about and i did a census of skeptic podcast and this is fairly accurate data from 2005 through 2012 this is just sheerly the number of skeptic podcasts and i just out of sheer laziness didn't even include the atheist podcast so this is just this cut the podcasts that have sign at least some science in it not the ones that are just talking about religion or atheism or whatever which there's a lot of great podcast to do that too like I said I'm just lazy and didn't want to have to chase all those down but there's like 95 of them now there seems to be this weird thing where it seems to be flattening off right now but huge huge growth and there's like 10 different languages and stuff like that we'll talk about language issues later so there's a lot of content out there there's a probably a hundred thousand blog posts I know as of last summer there were at least thirty eight hundred episodes of various podcast that's actually an undercount because when i did my recount this year I realized that I had done a severe undercount last year and there's at least ninety six hundred videos on YouTube and Vimeo so that's a lot of stuff to wade through to find the really juicy stuff and skeptics need a way to keep up they need to find the you know I need to know where the really good you know who has the best Pythias explanation of homeopathy or acupuncture or whatever so when somebody asked me about it i can send them right to that resource and when there's new stuff coming out i need to know about it right how do you find out about the latest study or whatever without relying on another blogger especially if you're a blogger and you need to find out about this stuff and if you just google some of these things depends on the search google can get really clogged up with the believers right it's hard to narrow down and find the good skeptic stuff in amongst all the guys trying to sell you homeopathic berlin wall or whatever so we need better ways to find things and one of those ways is to curate stuff which is someone you or you are you just making a list or finding a subset of skeptic stuff and saying here's here's what I think is the good stuff in this category and one of the keys is looking for patterns or relationships right not necessarily just a category but finding things that kind of relate to each other can be used together and build on that and then publicize your work right let people know that you build it and that's kind of the standard way that blogs used to work historically a lot of bloggers would write you know you know at least one but probably five to ten blog posts per day and a lot of them would be very short hey here's this new story I saw here's why it's interesting check it out and the repetition keeps the community engaged and keeps your keeps everything going now that's kind of change these days a lot some bloggers still do that I don't do that on my blog but a lot of people have moved that to other medium that we'll talk about in a minute but in other ways to just do a website my website what what's the harm is just a curation project I didn't create any of that information all of it is stuff that I found some of it was news story some of it was stuff that other skeptics had already written about I just organized it in a new way by putting all the cases on one website so you could find them in one place so it's a pure curation situation here's one that somebody created some time last year called skepta V and all it is is a tumblr and a tumblr is just a blog but it's just designed to be very simple to post to so it's you can do those short posts every day and whoever runs this I'm actually not sure who exactly runs it so if you're here come see me and they just look for good skeptic videos and I'm not sure how often they post at this point but it was at least one a day and so if you wanted to see goods kept videos here was a way to do it right and that's a curation project right social media for a lot of people i know a lot of people don't use twitter give twitter a bad rap it's all about people saying what they had for lunch no it's not really I mean if you follow a lot of 13 year old kids maybe it is but the way I use it a lot of my friends use it and I follow a lot of skeptics is we use it to exchange information about skepticism exchange links this is just for of my posts from last week sometime and you can see that i posted to news stories i posted a tip about Tam some information about where the schedule was online and my skeptic history post which is just something that I do every day just so that I have something to post every day that's educational and that's a curation this is what I'm interested in in skepticism and if your interest somehow intersect mine then by following me on Twitter you can benefit from what I'm curating and so you can do that too now the really interesting thing about this is now there's interesting side effects of this now and i wrote a web blog post about this a few weeks back this is a tiny slice out of a google result page and this is what i personally get if i type reiki into google and you'll notice that the first one is a reiki website but the second one is a skeptic blog post about reiki now that's not a very highly ranked skeptic blog and the only reason it shows up in my results is because I'm friends with that person on google+ and you'll notice it has a little person icon to the left of the blue link and right underneath and it says Angela meet and shared this so the only reason that result shows in my google results is because i know Angela medan online and that's a powerful thing now of course she's just showing me a skeptic post but imagine if you if you had family members who were thinking about going to a Reiki person and you had posted stuff online there's a way to insert something right into Google results that they'll see right and all you do to do that is just post a link on google+ and make sure you're friends with the people that you're trying to reach so that's a cool effect of curation that's come from new features that Google's built just briefly i'm going to talk about a freeze page or website there's a lot of situations where quacks and psychics and whatnot will get caught saying something they shouldn't say online like making a claim that's illegal or trying to make a prediction of retro actively and there are tools like freeze pages one website is another there's a number of different ones that allow you to if you've ever had to link two pages that are fairly old you know they disappear it's it's it's the hip horror of maintaining what's the harm is all the news links on what's the harm are expiring all the time and people are emailing me oh this link is broken this link is broken and that's why these services exist because if you want to cite something like if you wanted to cite a web article in a paper a scientific paper the only way to cite it and know that the person is reading your paper could see your citation is to use website well we can use that to capture say the predictions page on Sylvia Browne calm and see what Sylvia Browne was predicting last April and then if she then says oh well last April I predicted that there were going to be two chimpanzees loose in Las Vegas today I don't know if you saw the news but there were some chimpanzees loose strange things you find out when you go up to your hotel room and turn the TV on and if she tried to go and editor web page and lie and say that she had predicted that you could go back and do that and then skeptics had done this there was a case a couple years ago with a psychic psychic to the stars psychic Nikki and when Heath Ledger died she obviously went right to her here's my predictions of who's going to die this year site and stuck Heath Ledger's name in it and a skeptic blogger caught her doing it he had done a freeze page of her predictions page so that is that is an awesome power but that's something again where we need we need a big crew of people doing this stuff because there's a lot of these sites out there and nobody you know we don't have massive multi-million dollar organizations to do this on a massive scale so we need you to pick one psychic and you to pick another sidekick and get this done there's a lot of services that you can use for curation type things organizing stuff and they all work in slightly different ways you've got social media like Twitter and Facebook which sort of pushes out your curation to other people there's the bookmarking sites like delicious reddit Pinterest these are ways where you collect what you're interested in in a place where people can come see it reddit is interesting because it has a special skeptic section so that's a fun way to sort of help skeptics organized in a group curation essentially of here's what skeptics find interesting today is the skeptic reading and then we're going to talk about the Q&A sites in a second the stack exchange and of course just simply emailing stuff out is the old fashioned way of doing it and again specialization I think is the key curation doesn't make any sense unless you've got some sort of slice that you're trying to curate i specialize in harm stories skeptic history i do a little bit of info SEC and technology but i don't do like alt med theory i don't do computes conspiracy theory stuff there's a whole lot of stuff that i don't post on because I let other people be the experts on right so let's talk about Q at Q&A sites these are kind of it's kind of a new type of website it's just come out in the last couple years or at least the good ones have just come out in the last couple years there's been a lot of really crappy Q&A sites over the years and the idea is to post answers to very focused questions you know people have these questions of how do i reset the you know the input on the back of my marantz receiver so that it's in stereo again yeah you know just some crazy thing that you know somebody on the internet knows the answer to that and the idea is that if you collect enough of those questions in one place Google will start whoops bringing people to you well how do you collect enough answers in one place you do it through crowdsourcing and there's a lot of people who just happen to know I happen to have solved that problem so I know the answer to that let's collect what I know and then it'll be there for someone else to benefit from and the idea is that the site's solve it better than the older sites there's a bunch of older sites there was one for programmers called experts exchange which became a kind of a joke because if you read the name carefully it looks like it says expert sex change but it was horrible and everyone hated it because they would show you the question and they would show you the page and then they would put these ads in front of the answers or they would tell you you had to subscribe before you would see the answer and it was just this blatant attempt to we might have this information you need but you have to pay us 1995 first so there was a guy a couple of guys who decided we can do this better than them and put them out of business and they built this thing called stack exchange and this is their diagram they claim that they are sort of in the intersection of sort of four different types of websites a wiki which is sort of a group edited database of articles a blog which is a sequential set of articles a forum which is people responding together into topics and something like Reddit where people are finding things that are interesting and the interesting stuff bubbles to the top and they claim that their site is designed to be the intersection of all four of those that little star right in the center and the way it works the way they make it enticing and the way they get you to answer questions on the site is they've done what they call gamification and this is a big part of foursquare to one of the things that makes foursquare addictive and makes people want to do it is they've turned it into a game you get points and you get badges and stuff it seems really stupid but there's this in some people's brains there's little weird thing where you like those little rewards and because fundamentally foursquare is pretty boring right you're logging where you're going and it's gotten there's some other benefits I've actually gotten money from foursquare like American Express will give you discounts on things and stuff like that but the gamification basically they put points they put badges and the idea is you're trying to raise your reputation you're trying to be able to say hey I answered the most questions on the smart guy and it incentivizes everybody to come up with good material and get the good material up to the top and make the site better and everybody feels invested in what they're doing and of course you have manual moderation too because you've always got jerks on the internet that are going to turn the ruin thing so you got to have some people watching but a lot of the moderation is done automatically through this game system so they've been very successful with this they got several million dollars of investment money last year they're now at 87 different topics they started with programmer stuff they've now got you know photography server management you know you name it a lot of it is technical stuff there's two million users four million questions eight million answers it's all free the actually all the content i think is licensed and they did a skeptic site for us richard Stelling in the UK they had a process where you could suggest suggest the topic and he put in skepticism and it was debated and they kicked around some ideas and they launched the darn thing so here's a question that someone wrote which is and this gives you an idea of what the site is about what formal education did l ron hubbard have that's a very specific question that goes to you know what if Scientology about was this guy qualified to tell us anything about anything the answer is no but rather than write a five thousand word essay about why Scientology is terrible this page answers that one specific question and they've done some technical things that I won't get into on how this page is designed and what the URL is so that these pages rank really highly in Google so if you do a search like l ron hubbard formal education this is the number one answer and that's a powerful thing because if i wanted to put a website up that said this exact same thing and for it to be the number one answer i'd have to do a lot of work to do that i actually wrote that answer because I happen to have read the article in New Yorker that came out last februari that went had the exact answer to this and i wrote the answer up and i footnoted it and Piper liked it and you can see to the left of the question and to the left of the answer are some up/down arrows and a number that's where the voting goes on so the questions get voted on and the answers get voted on and the good ones popped to the top and at some point the questioner chooses an answer that they like and that's what that green check below the 11 next to the answer is the green check says yes I think you've answered this question correctly and of course with skepticism it's a little less clear-cut than the technical sites like if I ask you a question about a camera at some point we're going to be able to figure out what the right answer is skepticism sometimes the answers are harder than that but it still works amazingly well so this is a great example of its curation because you're curating information but it's also a good example of how you can get information into Google and solve a very specific skeptic problem without having to do all that crazy stuff of setting up a blog setting up a website understanding what SEO is all that nonsense when spending any money because they were already spending the money and one of the things you can do is they've made it easy recently to ask and answer your own question so you can if you happen to in your reading and skeptic travels find some little tidbit that is hard to find and you feel like it answers your specific question just go to stack exchange and answer right a question and there's a way you can click the button say I'm going to answer this question right the answer and they actually have a specific badge for that and it's a great way to put these little skeptic gems out there on the internet so people can find them there's another site called Cora which is basically the same concept it's different software it's the only reason i mention it's gotten a lot of attention so a lot of people are on Quora so it might and I've seen a few skeptic topics pop up on Korra so it might be an interesting place to put some skeptic content from time to time or at least keep an eye on if people are asking questions but certainly the skeptic stack exchange is a go-to place to go and I think we're we go right on that okay so let's bring Derek back up and he's going to talk about captioning so another big way well Tim brought up the podcasting earlier you saw how many podcasts are out there I think about podcasts is that most of them are just radio shows so they're not text form so you they don't get searched by the search engines because they don't know what's in time in that audio file Google doesn't search Ariz podcast it can't so one of the things that we can crowdsource or you know help other things like skeptic media with is create that's transcripts for every piece of skeptic media that's mainly just audio and this extends the things that aren't just audio because some skeptic video is also not searchable either it's not it's for the same reason so things like podcast podcast I have a very hard time getting any Google juice because they don't show up in the search engine because what I talked about last week on skeptic ality is probably not on google right now because it's not my it's not text it's just money audio this is going around pull on going on quite a bit lately a monster talk if either Blake or Ben is here they actually take donations to pay for transcription services so they can get their shows transcribed and then have a show notes page that links to the entire actual episode as an article like in a magazine and that gets search by google great stuff but they actually have people like when Tim brought up things like you know crowns crowdsource funding that's what they use they get people to donate a little bit of money and then they actually have professional people go and transcribe the stuff then they actually have a back catalogue of all their episodes in text form that's a great way to do it sketch this guide universe every knows them there you know see them every morning after this one doing their live show they actually use the same idea but they actually have a wiki and they make everybody to have people go out there and actually type in there whoo transcript for them in a wiki so then it will go in they actually listen to the show when they tape it all in and then over time when people have time they eventually actually fill out their episodes in a wiki format some places have an advantage advantage if mr. skepta is here I don't like you because his shows is very short and he actually pre scripts everything and then reads from a script so he has a really easy time at this he just puts his file up there and says hey Google come get it so he has a really good great great way to do that so most of the shows don't have that luxury so like may I we do a skeptic ality we have gosh we have an episode long-form interview or two episode every episode and then we have three out of three or four other reoccurring segments every time and then I'm not requiring people like you know Tim and all the people who actually contribute to my show to give me those scripts I could do that but I've been to two I don't know absent minded to actually ask that question because I could probably do that because I probably do have scripts but I don't think about it but so you most people go well what can I do to help this problem I don't have time to do I mean are the most people go to say well I don't have time to a podcast but I want to help so you can help there are really cool services that make this a really easy job we're going to talk about two three versions of this there's a one that that Tim found is called Amara it's actually his real name is universal subtitles but they have that fancy Brad and Brandon name which is Amara and there's a free system now Amara Universal subtitles actually mainly for videos youtube or what's the other one a Vimeo is for that type of thing not audio transcribe which is a free system both elements free to but it's just a open source project where you can go and it has the same features but it's just for audio not video then what this happens is you can then use these transcriptions for YouTube because the best things to do which is what I do every episode of skeptic ality if you see that picture of me and swoopy in cartoon form and skeptic ality and then i have the episode and the date i put that on youtube it's just all it is is that picture and then i have under it on the video is just the the sound file and then i get a lot of actually it's amazing how many hits I get on YouTube and there's no video it's just the audio and a lot of people subscribe to that device channel on YouTube almost as much as they do on my normal feed which is just a skeptic ality and I don't know why they would do it that way but they do a lot of people are just YouTube fanatics and that's what they do and all it is is a radio show with a picture it's just stay in stays there if I was if I had enough time in my life I would actually make a little slide show of it to make it more interesting but I don't have that time so the nice part about YouTube is you can put captions closed captions in YouTube and the words that you're hearing actually show up on the screen if you have a transcription that's the problem I don't have all my stuff kranz drive so the Amara universal subtitles this is actually a screen shop of me using that service this is my latest episode and you can see in the bottom right is the control system where you can it tells you you know you can put shift tab and you go backwards and you can go forward a little bit and then you can listen to the actual show and then type in that little box under the picture what is going on at that time and then you hit return and then you can actually create the subtitles at the end of this product process you say okay I'm done and then it shows you the subtitles and then you can scrub around on the video and say okay does this match and they can match up the thing and then you say okay and then it sends it and then it sends those subtitles so that views youtube video so when people go there and they click the things I want to see the subtitles there there what's kind of cool lost some people like you know then you can actually those types of those actually get searched by google because guess what google owns youtube so if you help up podcast like mine because I I try to do this but I mean I I don't have time to do every single episode but but if people help podcast this way their content even those audio all the words end up in google and google owns youtube and therefore you get higher rank rankings the thing is this works for video here's a there's one that's called the worst name ever really it's actually it's called WR really is but it's like because the w it's really yeah really this is just for audio same thing but it's just audio nice part is you can take you can do this send the file to the webmaster of that show and say hey put this on your website because if you actually put that in your show notes as a page the people can like liqua click on google actual search that so when somebody types anything that was talked about in that episode it'll pop up on the right and the google search results so that's another way you can really do it and I just talked about this because this has shows you what actually it looks like here's another way you can help out if you don't want to use the the funky tool you can actually go to any video on youtube upload the actual audio file with a little picture and then YouTube will actually try to translate it you can't really see what it's saying there it's google's trying to like understand my voice which is really bad since you know my voice is kind of fake because i had to relearn how to talk completely but it doesn't matter because even my my interviewee had really terrible translation as well you can you actually go there youtube and download these google provided captions and actually try to correct it that way so you can know how it could probably help maybe but it is there if you call it that way but you know it tries not that well but if it is who here is used google voice oh wow okay a couple people if you ever use the voice mail version of that because i can't i thi that now to my iphone so when people actually send my voicemail actually gives me the actual what Google thinks they said was just entertaining more than actually useful but does an okay job for i get an ideal as my dad I understand that I blurs around because I know my dad usually says so so it dries badly but it tries but they said transcripts boost visibility a lot please Google likes words more than anything else text words on a page because that's what you searched with until you we all get you know that weird search with certain that they're trying to make swear you can like shove in a video and then I'll try to find something like it because they has anybody here tried the fancy google picture search yeah how well that work not that great but the trying but it's only get there really transfer transcripts is the way to go then here are some links of the things that talked about here is the link to the monster talk page on skeptic because skeptic ality and monster talk are the official podcast of skeptic magazine and so their website is off of skeptic calm and they actually have a page there where you can actually donate to their transcription effort Sceptile or he knows that show but you can actually go there and actually see all his transcripts for every episode there's the link to Hey look I did get to it twice ya esta su has I linked to their they actually have a desert hardcore they actually have a actual web us they actually have a domain just for their transcript effort which is kind of cool of them so actually have that you actually go there and see how they use their wiki to do this there's a link to Amara which is actually their website is not Amara it's actually the name of their company was Universal subtitles don't ask me and there's the only really really and then youtube if you didn't know how to get to youtube i don't know if i can help you or not so i'll go back to Tim again yeah one of the things you can do with universal subtitles as it makes it easy to post multiple language so yeah you had a mention of it on there and so the idea being that you could transcribe it and then people could come in and line by line translated into another language we get a lot of the skeptic content into other languages which would be very cool I occasionally have folks ask me for translations of what's the harm we're good I'm going to talk about Wikipedia and I've got way too many slides here because we got to make sure we leave time for Shane so I'm going to gloss over a lot of the slides here but I'm the time I the main thing Wikipedia is probably the big project that a lot of folks have been working on mainly because Susan Grbac really jumped on this i blogged about wikipedia they've been a lot of skeptics working on Wikipedia for years and years but we started looking at it a little bit more carefully and saying hey you know skeptics should pay close attention to this now a lot of people are skeptical of Wikipedia right you know they've been famous incidents where it's gotten things wrong and how could an encyclopedia that's written by everybody possibly be any good there's no central authority there's a lot of problems with it but if you really look at it carefully it actually works amazingly well but I would argue that it doesn't matter whether or not it's working well because of and we've mentioned it several times here search engine results google is knows everything right and everybody relies on that so therefore we need to make sure that google has results that people want to see or has results that we want people to see matching the queries that are going to make now here's the thing here's a fairly illegible slide but this has like several hundred skeptic terms like cryptid debunking faith healer feng shui ganzfeld homeopathy iridology these are all our core topics and for every single one of these the number one hit in google is the wikipedia article on that topic so guess what because of that Google let me back up a second that Google gullibility issue that's where people are going to be learning about these things whether we like it or not now you can rant and rave and say get off my lawn and say you hate Wikipedia but like it or not people are learning about homeopathy from Wikipedia and so I feel like we have to go edit that article right we might stink but we have to because people are using and even the ones that are not number one there's a number two or number three hit there's technical reasons why Wikipedia ranked so highly now the alternative is to try to rank highly ourselves but that's a very difficult thing to do and there are pros and cons obviously if you build your own website you have more control you can specialize it better you can include topics that Wikipedia would say no to and then the users are coming to you instead of going to Wikipedia of course the problem is is that's a lot more work you have a lot of competition like for instance trying to get on that first page of results for homeopathy that's that is a hard nut to crack there's a lot of competition out there and you've got to do that in an ad hoc basis for every topic another way to look at this is traffic and I looked at this actually after last year's team because of a remark Susan garvik made to me I actually ran a year's worth of traffic numbers because Wikipedia is completely open all their traffic numbers are published and I know my traffic numbers for what's the harm and those two grad these are four topics each of which have a page specifically about them on Wikipedia and each of one has a specific page on them on what's the harm and the two on the left are very high ranking pages on Wikipedia homeopathy and chiropractic right and they're the two top pages on what's the harm that are specifically about a topic and I lose big time right to Wikipedia Wikipedia is getting like 50 times the amount of traffic than I am or sometimes a hundred times the traffic i'm getting and even the two topics where i do really well in google attachment therapy and ozone therapy who knows why what's the harm ranks like number one or number two on those two topics I'm still like 18 times wikipedia still has 18 times the amount of traffic that I get so that's that's a you know a sobering graph there that you know I can do all I want to my page but wikipedia is still going to get more effect on theirs so we need to be making sure that the content out there is a skeptical as possible and Wikipedia is built that way I'm going to start going fairly fast I think most of this slide deck is posted somewhere we're going to post these slides anyway but wikipedia has what's called the five pillars which is neutral point of view it's free content you should be respectful and civil but they don't have firm rules and the idea is to have sort of a framework but encourage people to come in so they want us in there they want as many editors as possible even skeptics and there are a lot of skeptics who are fairly high-ranking editors on Wikipedia there is a I will you know admit to you there's a lot of disadvantages to wikipedia it's not an easy thing it's not like web of trust where you can go ahead and start clicking read read read and make a difference right away it's a huge culture there's a lot of lingo people fling these three-letter acronyms around like an POV and expect you to know what that means there's lots and lots of guidelines and rules and sometimes it's not clear which ones are rules of which ones are essays written by someone I've gotten lost in there help files sometimes they have a rule about civility but it's sometimes turns into kind of a joke people do get very uncivil and yell at each other on there and we don't have control over it right ultimately we can write all we want and someone else can delete what we write but they are welcoming to new editors and they need new editors they actually kind of have a problem right now where they early on in Wikipedia there was sort of the land not really a land grab but they needed articles very badly so there was a lot of room for people to come in and write stuff now not so much it's kind of filled in so it's harder to find things to write about that you're not going to get some pushback on so but there's a lot of good advantages to it it's really easy you don't have to know HTML or programming like for instance to create a hyperlink you just use a bracket in the URL and the name of the link and a bracket which is much easier than you have to do in HTML if you want to create a heading it's just a couple equal signs in the heading and a couple equal signs and all stuff like that to do the basic formatting on the page you don't have to write an entire article most of the things you do on Wikipedia are little tiny edits so if you can learn how to use the editor learn how to fix spelling and things like that and a lot of times if you make a mistake other people will come in and fix it for you so you don't have to worry too much about you know you're changing Mount Rushmore you're not it's going to get fixed but one of the things that's really good about Wikipedia is if you really read the rules of Wikipedia they are pro skepticism okay they have a rule called reliable sources you have to have a source that is a real source not some crazy guys blog post like an actual paper or a news article you have to have a neutral point of view you can't go off on the you know the crazy and say homeopathy is real you've got to be neutral about it because clearly there are a lot of people who say it's not real there's a notability thing so you can't just put every conspiracy theory in the world in there they don't belong in Wikipedia there's a whole set of rules about what they call fringe theories so that the real crackpots can't get their articles in there for very long and no original research which more crackpot stuff so I kind of see two roles for skeptics on Wikipedia one is to obviously edit the pseudoscience of paranormal articles and try to make them as skeptical as possible you have to be aware that articles like with like homeopathy and chiropractic and Oh heaven help you if you go into the Scientology articles those articles have been poured over four years and have thousands and thousands of edits on them so you have to be really careful when you go in and edit them but at the same time there's hundreds of other articles that need a lot of work and you can do quite a lot and not attract a ton of attention if you're working in some more obscure topic but another thing and this is kind of what I focused on for a lot is create articles about skepticism I wrote Richard Saunders bio on Wikipedia I wrote Harry and halls bio on Wikipedia and that's a great way for them to promote themselves and to be you know considered more you know important or at least you know that here that you know Richard Saunders is a real no I look he's in Wikipedia if someone doesn't know who Richard Saunders is and again that's something that you know a lot of the other folks on Wikipedia don't really care that much as long as you do your homework and put the footnotes and stuff in there so i have a few tips and i'll go through these very quickly they mostly intersect with what we talked about community create an account create an account don't edit anonymously it actually gives you some advantages you can look at your own stuff you can get notifications create what's called a watch list that's a list of articles that you're interested in and then wikipedia can very easily show you every time those articles get edited so you can kind of keep an eye on them to see when the nuts come in and try to vandalize them start small start with little things spelling errors my first edit was I was researching something for what's the harm where a guy got eaten by an alligator don't ask but it was at this historic site in pakistan and i wanted to i was adding a map feature to what's the harm and i wanted all the cases to be on the map and it's like well where is this place where they have all these alligators at this temple and i figured out where it was on the map and wikipedia has a thing where you can put a map location on article so i put that in there and that was my first edit simple stuff like that can get you started and then you build up a history and that makes lets people trust you look at this guy he's been editing for two years before he wrote his own article so maybe we should be a little bit more respectful of them don't be this is more jargon wikipedia calls it an SP a a single-purpose account don't go in there and just edit Scientology they take a very dim view of in fact there have been giant wars over that particular topic but homeopathy or whatever don't just go in and focus in on your skeptical topic do some other stuff edit things about your school your favorite band your hometown avoid the battlegrounds you know look in the history of the article see you know don't go into l ron hubbard and start changing things immediately if you look in the history of that article you'll see people have been fighting over that article for years not a good first choice do use the features to communicate with other people there are ways that you can you can leave messages to other editors and stuff and I will admit it's extremely clunky and 1987 vintage web stuff and it's horrible but try to use it and talk with the other editors and people will trust you more imitate other pages if you're trying to create a page find one that's like it and copy what it is the big thing you have to do with Wikipedia is you have to kind of be a little Zen and once you put something on Wikipedia you just have to separate yourself from it and say okay that's not mine anymore because if you get possessive about the text and somebody comes in and changes it that's the rets a recipe for a lot of heartache creating articles about skepticism already talked about that a big thing and that susan emphasizes in her project and i emphasize too is try to create links to skeptical resources and articles so if i find something in skeptical Inquirer that's a good source for some other article i'll stick that in as a footnote and hopefully that will need people to skeptical Inquirer when they're reading that article there's a thing called the scratch space that you can use especially if you're creating a new article you can do your work in there people will ignore you instead of working in the real article because if you change something in the real article and someone else cares they'll get your face pretty quickly but if you do your work in your scratch space you can work quietly the friends theories notice board is actually it's kind of entertaining actually to read because it's sort of like a catalog of what nut jobs are showing up at Wikipedia to push their crazy theories this week and you learn about some interesting crazy skeptic stuff that's like wow I didn't know anybody believe that so it's kind of fun to read but it also sort of shows you where the battlegrounds are that we and the big thing is to footnote like like crazy monkey that's my defensive maneuver is you know just footnote everything like you're writing a paper for a really anal retentive professor college and that becomes your defense and you find good sources for everything and you say look I have sources for everything and the nice thing about it and here's just one little quickie thing on the end is they added this thing called google knowledge graph and a lot of it is drawn from Wikipedia now and if you live outside the United States you probably haven't seen this yet but it's in the Google results so when you do a Google search a panel like this will sometimes appear on the right hand side and it's supposed to be kind of a summary so like if you search for a movie it'll be a summary of what that movie is about and if you search for people you get stuff like this and this is the cancer quack Stanislaw Burzynski and it with people it shows you related people right so down here the related people are max Gerson another famous cancer quack Gillian Whitaker I don't know who he is and Suzanne Somers not but look at right there number three Reese Morgan why is he there he's a skeptic in Wales and he's there because he got involved in a you know in an argument online with Burzynski and that all got documented in his Wikipedia bio and so now people look for bruising ski and maybe a few of them click on Reese and maybe some of them learn about skepticism maybe not all of them but it's a you know it's a way to get their attention so Wikipedia I've got a bunch of posts on my blog I recommend you go to Susan kerbecs blog it's called guerrilla skepticism on Wikipedia you can just google that and she's got all sorts of stuff where she's organizing people to target certain articles and things like that she was going to be here but her plane she's like literally on a plane right this second so yeah all right so let's get our super secret guest up here that I teased on Twitter this is Shane green up he has built a tool called rebuttal and we've been talking about co-opting projects for skepticism this is one that's built essentially for skeptics hi everyone so I'm from Sydney Australia and we started building Roberta in February this year so it's still very newer in the public beta development stage and the whole thing spawned from an event that happened about a year before we started working on it someone shared this link on facebook and it was a press release article saying that a study had shown that vaccinated children suffer from more illnesses than unvaccinated children and like that sounds like an interesting study I think I want to look at that so I clicked through and I looked at the study and of course it was a self-selected biased group at vaccine injury dot info identifying how healthy their unvaccinated children work and comparing that data with CDC data so i could see straight away the problems with the article but what I wanted to do was I had a friend on Facebook the thought that this was a good article to share and I wanted them to understand why it wasn't what the problem with it was I didn't just want to say it's wrong because they'd say whatever that your opinion but I also didn't want to put the timing i didn't have the time at that point I'm to go through and systematically address all the claims raised in it so I wanted to find someone else that had already done it because I've been around long enough to know that someone else had already written a rebuttal to it so whenever you looking for things on the Internet where do you go I went to google and i typed in most obvious thing i think of the title of the article and what I got was copy after coffee after copy of the same article I got at least three pages worth of exact copies of that one article because someone did a press release and ever quack website out there thought great source and this shows definitively vaccines her people so they copied it I searched about half an hour adding rebut rebuttal reply to answer to trying to find this rebuttal to it and I just couldn't find one and I knew what I wanted at the time was just some magic button off the website where you just click on and take you to a rebuttal of it that's what I wanted and I looked for a year trying to find someone else that had done it and I couldn't find anything there's a lot of web annotation services out there some of you may be familiar with them where you can do in a plug-in installation you can highlight text on a page and comment on it but none of them are quite what I wanted I didn't want specific detailed analysis of a page I just wanted to click a button and see someone else's pre-written article that opposed it so we started working on it and that's also the ID to connect just a direct link between a claim article to the rebuttal of it and so this is what it looks like in practice the implementation of it is a browser plugin so you need to install this into your browser internet explorer firefox chrome at the moment we've only developed in chrome because we're still developing we're very close to launching and as soon as we do that we'll start expanding into firefox first and then probably internet explorer and safari so what we have here is in the top right hand corner is the little Roberto symbol you browse to a page now this is a wall street journal article Wall Street Journal huge paper right so how many people read this and here's an article here telling them that 16 scientists all think that there's no need to panic about global warming unfortunately what the people reading this article don't know is how many hundreds of blogs would have reacted to this addressing it so without plugin installed we've got currently got nine rebuttals to that page in our plug-in so someone using it visit that page and alert actually popped up on the page it lasts about five seconds but that number stays on our icon you click on our plug-in and this drop-down comes down giving you a few links not all of them because we wouldn't fit so we just give four and you click through and see the young bigger list if you want to or just click straight through to one of the rebuttals there so how the how the whole thing works is we have to be crowd-sourced at the moment there's no software engineer or system on earth that can identify the natural language of claims versuri bottles context someone has tried something similar but it's very challenging so we need people to participate to identify a rebuttal to see a rebuttal article and go this is a rebuttal I can add it to Roberta exactly as the story that I told you at the beginning where I found a page which I wanted rebutted that's very hard to add unless you can google it and find a rebuttal but when you started a rebuttal and all being skeptics you're more likely to read the rebuttal first you read the skeptic blogs and they are rebutting someone so when you read these blogs and you read you know blah blah said and that's full of whatever when you read that just think this is a rebuttal I can add it to rebuttal and once you're at that stage adding it to rebut it takes about 20 seconds I'm going to demonstrate that in a few minutes you also have the ability to subscribe to subjects and pages now this is really interesting for bloggers and people just want to stay up on current topics and what's happening in the news in particular areas so if you subscribe to something like homeopathy every time someone adds a rebuttal to a homeopathy website you'll get an email and more interestingly every time someone goes to a homeopathy article and there's no rebuttal for it and they hit the request button to the next thing there you'll get an email of that as well so that brings me to the next thing you're able to request rebuttals so sometimes in when I found that natural news article about vaccines I couldn't find the rebuttal so if I had have had this tool I could have gone request to rebuttal and then had an email sent out to all the people that are subscribed to that topic and if right now if I had have requested a revolt that today I guarantee there'd be at least 10 people subscribed to that tag who would know of the rebuttal that's currently in the system which is respectful insolence because most people I think he probably know of that blog and would have just known that he's covered it already at the time I didn't know anything about the blog and I suspect most people out there were the same size skeptic that I was a year ago which is you're skeptical we know that it's crap but we just don't subscribe to the blog's listen to other podcasts not everyone does that so how do we reach those people that aren't sure but aren't part of the community so that's what we want to do is reach out and yeah and the final thing there is at the moment we're building a requests and rebuttals feed so more like the reddit sort of format where you have that curated page of time decaying feed of rebuttals and requests in the system so create more of a community feel for it and just quickly the last thing on this before the debt I do a demo is so we've launched public beta in March we started working februari and since then we've all got two thousand users and we're growing every day 600 links in the system now that's the number we really want to get a lot more of only a lot more links because there's so much content being created and with 1200 plugin click click throughs and that's the deal with the actual plugin we people can navigate via the website as well but what we were tracking here is how many people I just browsing and they land on a page and the plug-in give them a dirt and they can click through so people are using it now i will quickly open up the demo you so this is a page i came across the other day when i was trying to find some things to revert this article is quite amazing am the guy that runs the night renews rated himself apparently and he tells everyone what skeptics actually believe and it's it's hilarious read but anyway I managed to find a rebuttal for it so actually publishers started what will often happen is you know you read respectful insolence and the title is a pyromaniac gonna build a strong men or a black hole of burning stupid incinerating every straw man in the universe that's a fun rebuttal so if you subscribe to this blog and you read it it's quite obvious what he's doing and he'll usually linked to you know the page that's being rebutted so it's clear what's happening all you need to do at this point is click on the Roberta icon pops down this page is the rebuttal click go to the other page Roboto this page is the source click there and now the URLs are source and rebuttal URLs a quick comment something simple this is straw man argument and then some tags just so everyone knows what topic it is he'll go I can't see the screen while driving doesn't matter um one skeptics good science suicides and so I just hit enter and we're on 4g the moment so and then I've just added that now with the typos and everything I'll fix that later and now there is a page so it's one of the good things we have in system is google actually recognize this page over time so does get more action will get more Google attention for it as well but yeah we have the source page the rebuttal page and I actually made an error I didn't select edit now this is a direct response I should have done that so we have the ability differentiate between direct rebuttals in general and that's important because in this case this article is directly rebutting this page but sometimes a simple example is Answers in Genesis could be rebutted by the Wikipedia article and evolution generally it provides the evidence that contradicts the claim page so I like to differentiate between those two in it because I think they're too important differences one last part of the demonstration is here's another page this is an article they put on just the other day just as a simple example of there's currently no rebuttals to this so if you're looking at this in you're like well that's dodgy for whatever reason you can click on that and then there's just a button to submit a request select your tags is it be health homeopathy there you go that'll do health and homeopathy submit and that goes into our feet of requested rebuttals and anyone that's subscribed to health and homeopathy will be emailed with the alert that someone wants the rebuttal to this and someone knows of any of they can add it so that's it it's that simple adding it takes 20 seconds requesting takes three seconds and the consequence of this is when we reach out to the wider community and it's happening organically we posted to Reddit 1 1 comment in the UM reddit subreddit of the skepticism and it spread to how can use lifehacker someone from New Scientist contacted me is doing an article on error checking on the Internet so we're getting a lot of natural spontaneous growth from which is very exciting so what I'm really trying to do particularly here at tam is to find as many skeptics as I can who are subscribing to the blogs the skeptic blogs who can read it and go this is a rebuttal at it just take the 20 seconds so that as we grow into the general population every time someone adds the homeopathy rebuttal you know someone saying homies real because he's a study that shows there was a effective rate or something there's someone that's subscribed to that tag that can then react with yes but there's this statistical area that there's someone there to react we need that skeptical core to make sure we have got you know the rebuttals for every pay to get Adam so that's Roberta don't want to come and ask any questions after I'm happy to do so and I have some t-shirts and actually on the UM the forum table outside with some fridge magnets which I've got like a rata logo so thank you let's give let's give all mica web of trust rating while we're here that was web of trust is also a plug-in that comes down the same way so I just hit that and hit the rate and I don't like my that's that's as easy as web but trust is right click you can also leave comments oh I already left to come in here you can leave comments down here and you can vote on the comments so if it's super easy start doing this stuff it takes five seconds you can take a few minutes out of the day and do a little bit of this if everybody who's here at am started doing this a couple minutes a day imagine the change we would make and I'm sorry we ran a little bit over time but I hope you got something out of it