Wikipedia:Building Wikipedia membership/Skeptical solicitation

This is a letter intended to attract skeptics to Wikipedia. It has now been posted to sci.skeptic, skepticalcommunity and the JREF BBS. It was motivated by the following mailing list posts:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, is in need of skeptical help.

In case you haven't heard of us before, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, so it's free to read or download and it will always remain so. Anyone can edit any article at any time, you don't even have to log in. Although this may seem like a recipe for disaster, over our two year history it's worked well. Every revision is saved, so vandalism is easily reverted, and together we've created a truly remarkable resource. We now have around 400,000 articles, and our site now scores more hits than

Except in the case of idiosyncratic content, our policy dictates that fringe theories and pseudoscientific ideas be researched and presented academically in a neutral point of view or "NPOV".

NPOV is reasonably close to the skeptical paradigm. Instead of assertions, we present only undisputed facts. So, instead of saying "the Earth is overheating", which is disputed, we say "According to the IPCC, Earth has seen a significant increase in average global surface temperature over the last 150 years". We don't place the "burden of proof" on either side, and we try to leave the reader to draw their own conclusions.

We hope that the skeptic community will find Wikipedia a valuable resource on many subjects. However, it requires lots of hard work in doing research on the validity of new articles and fringe theories. That's why we need your help.

If you want to write, edit, or correct articles, we could really use some help in New Age, alternative medicine, etc. Editing in our software is fairly intuitive, but if you need help getting started, you can see

Places in need of editing include:

A list of such things is at:

An incomplete list of speculative and fringe theories is at:

We need help finding and identifying these kinds of theories. For first-time Wikipedians, the following page is highly recommended reading:

This post was collaboratively authored by Wikipedians, and posted to <INSERT NEWSGROUP> by <INSERT NAME>.

This message is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), which means that you can copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license.