This was passed on to me by Palden Jenkins:
Wikipedia bans Astrology Friendly Editors
by Equinox Astrology on Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Edit War: Throughout this month what has been described as an "edit war" has been raging on Wikipedia over the Astrology page. This ultimate reference page describing astrology, has in the eyes of many who have studied astrology, been trashed by sceptical editors promoting their agenda for a number of years. The result has been a very wordy and inaccurate description of astrology. For example, the generally negatively biased description of astrology is supported by an experiment that never got published (Dean Time Twins) and another, Carlson (1985) in which a reappraisal by Professor Ertel (2009) has shown that the original conclusion was flawed and that the astrologer's performance was statistically significant.
20 Editors: I got involved two weeks ago when the debate was well underway. About 20 editors have been engaged in at times heated exchanges. There were about 10 hard-line sceptics, 3 helpful sceptics and 7 who were neutral or supportive of astrology. Almost all of the sceptical editors know very little about astrology.
The Ban Ruling: This evening a Wikipedia administrator banned six of the seven astrologically friendly editors from editing astrology pages! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AN#Astrology_bannings The reason given is that they were SPA - single-purpose accounts. They had no record of editing outside their area of expertise. Apparently because I had edited areas outside astrology in the past, I have been allowed to remain as the single voice supporting astrology. However, I have been warned that as a 'professional astrologist (sic)', I have "a definite conflict of interest in this matter which may also prove ultimately incompatible with continued editing of the article". How can expertise in a complex field disqualify someone from defining their field of expertise?
The Debate: If you wish to see the debate, search for astrology http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrology in Wikipedia.
On the main page (which will remain frozen to editing for a month) go to the Discussion tab http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Astrology.
Many important threads are closed down in blue boxes across the page - just click on show to see them.
Help: If you are interested in helping on this, please don't comment on the Wikipedia Talk page directly unless you have a track record of editing on Wikipedia outside astrology, you know your subject well and you have read and fully understand Wikipedia's rules. Ideally let me know first as it will not help astrology or Wikipedia if we have another edit war. Wikipedia may appear modern, original, progressive and democratic, but it is not - it has a huge and complex rule structure that is heavily weighted to support mainstream scientific viewpoint. So no matter what I or others say, the astrology page will continue to reflect this bias. If any of you have a good legal mind, it would be good to have support from someone who knows his or her way around these rules:
Neutral Point of View: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:NPOV
Identifying Reliable Resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:RS
Fringe Theories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FRINGE
No Original Research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:OR
What Wikipedia is not: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Wikipedia_is_not
The Case: The astrology oriented editors worked hard to present a very well argued case in a very civil manner. Several proposals to improve the page were put forward including that the sceptical tone should be reconsidered given recent developments within the field of astrology. As the merits of this case became more apparent, the sceptical argument increasingly fell back on the fact that it doesn't matter if you are right or wrong, you have to follow the dictates of Wikipedia's rules which disadvantages astrology. You can't quote a study by a NASA scientist that shows a link between earthquakes and the sun/moon position as it doesn't mention astrology and to deduce that it supports astrology is called Original Research unless it is published.
Another editor claims that you cannot cite a test published in a journal that publishes ' fringe studies' like astrology. It's hard to imagine that the ban ruling is not a device to block reform, but we shall see if I too am banned for stating an inconvenient truth. Anyone involved in editing the page, sceptical or otherwise, is especially welcome to identify themselves here and to add their comment or to message me directly.
Tips: Wikipedia is the ultimate reference resource today and is used by policy makers and the Press for articles. If you want your book to be quoted on Wikipedia, don't self-publish - get an independent publisher or better still publish in a peer reviewed astrology (or related field) journal. Make sure you have a Wikipedia account and practice by editing any errors, bad links, poor spelling or grammar months before tackling anything remotely controversial. If you want to make contentious changes, always put your proposal on the Discussion page first and see the reaction. The more you edit, the better you get and you can have a chance to participate in helping and informing others.