2011-07-10 11:14:56Should John Cook and.or Skeptical Science have an entry in Wikipedia?


Here is how Skeptical Science compares to a few other climate blogs in terms of Alexa traffic rankings (lower number indicates more traffic)

Climate Audit = 90,125

Skeptical Science = 101,892

The Blackboard = 132,619

Realclimate = 145,299

Besides Skeptical Science, all of these blogs, or at least their founder (in the case of Blackboard), have articles in the English Wikipedia. This makes me think Skeptical Science, as well as John Cook, should have entries as well.

Of course it's possible that John doesn't want an article about him, which is fine. But having a well-written wikipedia article describing what Skeptical Science does could generate more traffic to the site, especially if some nice person goes through other wikipedia articles and links to the entry on SkS/John where it's relevant.

What are you all's thoughts on this? And sorry if it has been discussed before...a forum search for 'wikipedia' yields every single post that cites a Wikipedia article :)

2011-07-10 16:46:08
Dana Nuccitelli
When my CO2 graph was added to the Wikipedia global warming page, John suggested that this would lead to a Skeptical Science Wikipedia page as well. Hasn't happened yet, but I certainly agree that such a page is warranted.
2011-07-10 19:09:38Meh
John Cook

Definitely not keen on a Wikipedia page about me - there simply isn't much to put on such a page.

Skeptical about a page about SkS. Is there much to say about the site history? Would have to check the other pages, I guess...

2011-07-10 19:22:43
Paul D


I agree that a Skeptical Science page would be a good idea.

The history bit could record the additions and changes made since the start.

2011-07-10 20:14:39Some questions to consider:


What do we have to gain from a wiki page on SkS?

How would we maintain control over it?

2011-07-10 21:34:36
Paul D


That is a good point Neal.

2011-07-10 23:32:25
Rob Honeycutt


I think the wiki-brigade tend to look down on people contributing to their own wiki pages.  I don't think you have very much control over what is said about you on a wiki page.  There's one on me that I tried to offer corrections to and got rebuffed.  I steer well clear of that thing.

2011-07-11 00:16:55Perhaps...
John Hartz
John Hartz

we should ask Anthony Watts to post an article about SkS? :)

2011-07-11 00:58:29


Neil: SkS has to gain the same things that we gained when the pages on Twitter and Facebook were created. As I said, I think we would gain by getting more traffic to the site.

Skeptical science is ranked 101,892nd in the world in terms of traffic. Wikipedia is ranked 7th.

It also enhances our credibility to have a Wikipedia article.

I don't think we have anything to lose by drafting up a little something and putting it out there. I am free these days and can publish it with my account and try to fend off the big dogs who may try to shut it down.

2011-07-11 01:07:43How reliable and meaningful is Alexa?


According to Joe Romm not really all that much:


Some other numbers might be of interest in order to better judge where there is room for improvement as far as SkS's reach goes: downloads/installations of the iPhone-App, number of people on the email-list, number of hits from different countries and so on.

2011-07-11 04:31:24
Andy S


I think it would be a good idea to take this initiative, Dawei. A Wikipedia article definitely adds prestige. Sooner or later, someone else will make a SkS Wikipedia page and we may as well try to influence the content and structure from the start. Instead of a dedicated "John Cook" page (since JC doesn't want that), a subheading on the SkS wiki page dedicated to the SkS founder with a brief bio of John and links to his book and his newspaper articles would be in order.

It's true that you don't have absolute control over a Wiki page but if it is kept factual and properly referenced, and most Wiki pages are, then I don't see what downside there could be. Some links to articles on skeptics who have changed their mind after reading SkS would be useful, for example. Links to reposts of articles in the MSM and other blogs, as well. I see nothing to lose from doing this. I don't think JC should directly participate, though.

Possibly, some of us may have to help Dawei out, especially in the unlikely event that an editing war breaks out.

Like it or not, Wikippedia has become the encyclopedic reference. If something is not referenced there, people may conclude that it is not worth knowing.

Some good XKCD comics on Wikipedia here, here. here and here

2011-07-11 06:01:25
John Cook


Is it kosher initiating a wiki page by the people involved in the website? Considering all content changes are tracked and transparent, having an SkS author create a wiki page about SkS sounds a little fraught or am I being oversensitive?

2011-07-11 06:44:48John Cook
John Hartz
John Hartz

"Damn the torpedos, full steam ahead!"

2011-07-11 07:15:43Dawei
Dana Nuccitelli

Dawei seems like an ideal person to make the page.  He's not terribly active on SkS, only having written a couple of posts, but he knows enough about the site to do an accurate job on the page.  I'm in favor.

2011-07-11 07:24:45
Rob Painting

Dawei seconded!

2011-07-11 07:38:20Media articles about SkS
John Cook


Well, in that case, here are media articles about SkS:


It hasn't been updated in a while but covers all the early stuff.

2011-07-11 10:32:31


Thanks Dana, Rob and John. I'll work on it this week...the only thing is that I unfortunately happened to use "Dawei20" as my Wikipedia name, so it would be more or less obvious that I'm the same person who posted an article for SkS. 

But anyway I don't think it will be a problem as long as my entries are supported by outside citations.

I'll draft it and post it here for comment, then publish it and see what happens.

2011-07-11 20:38:19


I agree that it is not a problem that Dawei posted here as long as what it writes is not too partisan. Adherence to documented facts is the only requirement.

Good luck Dawei :)