Hello World - trying out Wikipedia Adventure again

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I am Susan Gerbic, a professional portrait photographer living in Salinas, CA with 3 cats. I retired from my photography career in October 2016, but still do some work on the side.

Tim Farley inspired me with a lecture to become more active on Wikipedia, updating articles with a skeptical theme, and adding pictures from my vast collection of photos. I upload photos to Wikimedia Commons as often as possible.

I am the co-founder of the Monterey County Skeptics, and the fearless founder and leader of the GSoW project.

Here are a few of the articles I wrote for Skeptical Inquirer about Wikipedia:

I have trained hundreds of Wikipedia editors through the GSoW project. I train outside of Wikipedia using videos and documents of my own creation, as well as use several Wikipedia sites, inducing The Wikipedia Adventure and Hatnotes. Both of these are in Assignment One of my training. Wikipedia Adventure teaches the very basics and I love its simple instructions, gets people making edits right away as well as forces them to open up a user page. Hatnote is so cool and many of my editors tell me that they turn it on when they are editing. I think it explains the big picture better than just stating it. We are a global collaboration working on a very important amazing project, Wikipedia. I feel a very strong responsibility to make sure all the GSoW editors understand this on their first day of training.

Many other assignments follow, including adding photos, authorlinks and more. I mentor my editors all through the training process (and after as well). I rarely use WP slang and focus on personal attention and humor to create great editors. GSoW has a good (not great) retention rate, we also edit in many languages. Our focus is on scientific skepticism, pseudoscience and science, though we do have strong edit histories that include many topics besides these topics. We exist to create a better, stronger Wikipedia. And although our name, Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia, seems aggressive, and like we are rule-breakers, I assure you that we are anything but.

You will know you are reading a GSoW article when you see that it is detailed, well-written, has photos (and perhaps also audio), many citations, talk page comments, and is complete. You will never find a stub from a GSoW editor. We do almost all work in our user space, and share it among the team in order to make sure it is completely ready before release. We also do a lot of Did You Knows? One reason we do not do a lot of live editing is because we like to see the before and afters. One of my editors explained that editing live is like trying to do office work on a bus; someone will always enter the bus and look over your shoulder and make suggestions to color, size, spacing and content - and before you know it you will exit the bus in frustration, without getting work done. Once the page is finished and live, we usually walk away from the page as we are onto another project. I know and acknowledge and encourage others to come in after and fuss and improve to their hearts content.

The GSoW project and myself have been subject to many criticisms from the paranormal world. I'm not going to include the links here but a quick Google for the name Susan Gerbic + Deepak Chopra, Rupert Sheldrake, Burzynski Clinic, Natural News, Astrology.com and who knows who else will give you plenty of reading material. Alternatively you might try using GSoW or Guerrilla in place of Susan Gerbic (Sheldrake forever misspells my name) Most of these claims are ludicrous, and as they did zero research on discovering how Wikipedia actually works; there is no point in me trying to point out how wrong they are. The burden of truth is theirs to prove. I really am uninterested in what they think.

I travel all over the world talking about GSoW and actively recruiting people to join GSoW. I specialize in training people who have never edited or really had no experience doing anything of this sort. I have trained people who know very little about computers. When I started editing WP in 2007 I found the written instructions so confusing (still do) and I made many mistakes (still do at times). I didn't understand how to ask for help, and many times other WP editors spoke to me as if I didn't know what I was doing, or they explained what to do differently, but it was so over my head that I had no idea what they were talking about. Tim Farley was amazing and helped me understand, and more people came to my aid later. I would not have been able to continue editing without personalized help, which is why I train as I do. Very hands on.

People who leave my training are well-rounded amazing editors, it can take weeks to months to completely finish my training. They finish training once they have completely rewritten a stub. All my editors have surpassed my editing skills and are all over WP right now, assisting and helping. We spend almost no time on discussions and almost never in talk discussions that argue ad nauseam about trivial nonsense. We avoid those discussions and move on to actually getting real work done. We have limited time after all. I have discovered that we have low retention rates for people who join GSow as current WP editors, I'm not sure of the reason for this, but it seems that once you are already trained you have a mentality of being a bit of a lone wolf (not that there is anything wrong with that). The GSoW is a very social group, and team oriented, we mentor and train each other all the time, and this leads to familiarity. An element missing with most WP editors I have encountered.

If you would like more information about GSoW we are really easy to find, we have a Facebook group that contains all our release, and a mostly-dormant Blogger blog. You can also email us or find us on YouTube with many training videos, lectures and more. I'm not going to give you the URL's because... well you should know how to look for these things, right?

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