The subject of this article is controversial and content may be in dispute. When updating the article, be bold, but not reckless. Feel free to try to improve the article, but don't take it personally if your changes are reversed; instead, come here to the talk page to discuss them. Please supply full citations when adding information, and consider tagging or removing unciteable information.
Serious encyclopedias: Serious and respected encyclopedias and reference works are generally expected to provide overviews of scientific topics that are in line with respected scientific thought. Wikipedia aspires to be such a respected work.
3. Questionable science: Theories which have a substantial following, such as psychoanalysis, but which some critics allege to be pseudoscience, may contain information to that effect, but generally should not be so characterized.
4. Alternative theoretical formulations: Alternative theoretical formulations which have a following within the scientific community are not pseudoscience, but part of the scientific process.
In July 2008 the Arbitration committee issued a further ruling in the case reported above: Any uninvolved administrator may, on his or her own discretion, impose sanctions on any editor working in the area of conflict (defined as articles which relate to pseudoscience, broadly interpreted) if, despite being warned, that editor repeatedly or seriously fails to adhere to the purpose of Wikipedia, any expected standards of behavior, or any normal editorial process. The sanctions imposed may include blocks of up to one year in length; bans from editing any page or set of pages within the area of conflict; bans on any editing related to the topic or its closely related topics; restrictions on reverts or other specified behaviors; or any other measures which the imposing administrator believes are reasonably necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the project.
Q1: Why has my edit been reverted? What did I do wrong?
A1: Check the edit history for the article. Hopefully, the editor who reverted you left a useful edit summary explaining why they feel the previous version of the article to be better; occasionally, links to various policies and guidelines are included. The most common reasons for reversion are that the article should not contain editorial bias and every statement should be cited to sources reliable to the topic at hand. If you disagree with the reasoning provided or otherwise wish a fuller discussion, please check the archives of this discussion page for a similar proposal or open a new section below.
Q2: One entry to this list is better described as an emerging or untested area of research, not pseudoscience.
A2: A few topics have several facets, only some of which are described by reliable sources as pseudoscience; multiple notable descriptions or points of view may be appropriately included as described in Wikipedia:Fringe theories. On the other hand, proponents of a particular topic characterized as pseudoscience almost always self-report as engaging in science. The several points of view should be weighted according to the reliability of the sources making each claim. Advocacy sources are reliable only for their own opinions - it is okay to state that Dr. X claims to have built a creature under the usual caveats for self-published sources, but the creature's exploits should be described as reported in independent sources. If the majority scientists would be surprised by a claim, it is probably not mainstream science.
Q3: Real scientists are investigating this topic, how can it be pseudoscience?
Q4: Why is the description so negative? Why not just describe the views covered and let the reader decide?
A4: The Wikipedia policy Neutral point of view requires that the prominence of various views be reflected in the articles. We strive to summarize the tone and content of all available sources, weighted by their reliability. Reliable in this context means particulary that sources should be generally trusted to report honestly on and make the distinction between science and pseudoscience.
Q5: Why does this article rely on such biased sources?
Skeptical scientists speaking extemporaneously (whether it be in person, letters, personal websites, blogs, etc.)
Statements from scientific societies
Q6: Isn't pseudoscience is a philosophically meaningless term?
A6 The term describes a notable concept in common use.
Q7: Why is a particular topic omitted?
A7 Some ideas are not notable enough to be included in an encyclopedia article; other topics have been explicitly rejected by the consensus of editors here at the talkpage. Please search the archives for relevant discussions before beginning a new one. Still, this list is far from complete, so feel free to suggest a topic or be bold and add it yourself.
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There are several reference works on the broad topic of pseudoscience including those at Wikipedia:WikiProject Skepticism/Encyclopedic articles. They might be potential sources for anything not listed yet I could myself check those listed to verify the description if someone were to ping me to do so. John Carter (talk) 21:05, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Why is this an article in Wikipedia? Topics characterized by who? Mainstream medicine? Science? I highly doubt there is overwhelming agreement among doctors or scientists on almost any subject, much less agreeing which "topics" to consider "pseudoscience". Really, this article is just a list of things a majority of WP editors don't like or understand. Is there an article titled "List of Chicks whose Boobs are Considered Large"? Really the whole thing should be scrapped.Herbxue (talk) 22:50, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Why? It's a useful article with sourced and attributed content... Zambelo; talk 01:21, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
How is it useful? Who is it useful to?Herbxue (talk) 03:57, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
It is useful as a handy list of woo stuff to be able to refer the gullible to on bookfarce and in internet forums when all the woo believing stupidity arises. Rather nicely, its form is tight and succinct, covering lots of ground, and pointing to bigger articles on the woo subjects. It is rather nice to get surprised responses along the lines of "Gosh, I had no idea that chiropractic was such nonsense (smiley face)" or "How on earth do they get away with conning people so easily with that rubbish !" from people who had previously been convinced about their woo of choice by those making money from them.
It is therefore a very useful article to me, and many others in a similar situation, and many of my friends. It is another small and potent weapon in the fight to educate and enlighten against those who promote this sort of nonsense. -Roxy the dog (resonate) 10:44, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Rather than suggesting the list is impossible (and is just a list of things editors don't like or understand), perhaps you would identify a few items from the list which are not pseudoscience? What source verifies that? Johnuniq (talk) 11:11, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Delete this article? That's a startling proposal. There is a great deal of material on pseudoscience on Wikipedia, and this is one of the root articles, the summary entry at the end of the Template:Pseudoscience navbox. As an article, it's dense with information, much more than a bare list, and it's heavily sourced. The associated Category:Pseudoscience and its extensive tree of subcategories organize many articles (I stopped counting at 1000). If your suggestion is that pseudoscience is an arbitrary label, are you also suggesting that its categories, its nav box, and all mention of the term “pseudoscience” be stricken from Wikipedia? And if not, why single out this one key article?
I'm singling this article out because it is not an article about a subject out in the world, it is created within Wikipedia to lump together disparate subjects that are defined here by what they are not, or where some sources say they fail. It is a hit-list. Roxy exemplifies part of my issue with this - on the one hand the mission is to educate and enlighten (which is great), but the end result is that the casual reader just lumps all these subjects together as "nonsense" and dismisses them. Really the article does not seek to educate, it provides a conclusion and says "don't bother with any of these" - I don't think it is WP's job to do that.
Someone above asked for a source saying a topic in here is not pseudoscience. That's beside the point - sure any of them can be characterized as pseudoscience, but who is an acceptable characterizer? For example, Dermatologists routinely prescribe antibiotics for skin problems when they have no idea what microbe is at play or if there is even a bacterial cause. Sounds like pseudoscience to me, shall we include Dermatology in this list, since I just characterized it as such? I don't believe that would be appropriate for an encyclopedia, and I believe the creation of this article was an act of original research. Herbxue (talk) 14:58, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
┌────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘ It seems to have been to AfD three times. At the last one the consensus was "quite clear, almost SNOW-worthy" to keep it. Don't reckon that would've changed. Alexbrntalk|contribs|COI 15:13, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Alex, I probably should have looked for that first. I see the time is not yet right, but it is clear from that link that my concerns with this are shared by others. Dropping it for now…Herbxue (talk) 15:30, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
@Herbxue. Straw-man argument. We don't accept unpublished characterisations from random wikipedia editors. If you think that the article gives undue weigth to some characterisations, you could list them on the talk page and get them discussed. --Enric Naval (talk) 18:30, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Again, my point is not that any one particular subject is being treated unfairly - its the creation of this list that is an act of original research.Herbxue (talk) 18:41, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
And I believe your point is specifically counterindicated by the existence of multiple encyclopedias of pseudoscience, lists of encyclopedic articles from two of which can be found at Wikipedia:WikiProject Skepticism/Encyclopedic articles. And others exist as well. The existence of those encyclopedias, which are effectively "lists" of pseudoscientific topics, is presumably sufficient to establish the notability of this list. John Carter (talk) 18:45, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it's a list article, or index article, simply pointing to detailed material elsewhere with which it is in WP:SYNC. If WP categorized such indices as "original research" there would need to be a lot of deleting done! (Starting maybe with Glossary of alternative medicine – now there is an article which does need some attention ... ) Alexbrntalk|contribs|COI 18:47, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
Wow you did it again, I had no idea that list existed. As I said, dropping it before I take us into forum territory.Herbxue (talk) 23:21, 16 June 2014 (UTC)