User talk:Colin

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I was trying to remember who's been dissing Cochrane recently. So, how common is it for them to do poor work? Are they getting much credible criticism from journals? (Did you get a cold, by the way?) --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 11:12, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

I really don't know and admit my sample size is small :-). But I do believe their approach isn't satisfactory as a core foundation for the "treatment" section in an encyclopedia. Even if they reliably did good work, their output is not directly relevant to "how is this disease treated?". I think we forget that is the primary question. The "why is this treatment recommended?" is a secondary question which ultimately leads to the "what evidence is there that it is effective/safe?", along with "is it available in my country?" and "what are the side effects?", etc, etc. But sadly it seems WP medical articles are not written by people asking reader-questions in order to guide what to say. They are written by non-experts surveying the handy output of PubMed and collating a bunch of factoids they don't fully understand. In fact, that approach sounds just like the one done by the volunteer authors of the Cochrane ketogenic diet paper, who are district hospital doctors with no clinical experience of the subject.
I managed to avoid your cold through my regime of mega-vitamins, herbal tinctures and homeopathic bath salts. :-) -- Colin°Talk 11:53, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. Still, the current proposed wording under discussion there seems better to my eye. If folk begin trumping position statements with Cochrane findings inappropriately, we can revisit the wording. Non?
I'm relieved about the cold thing. Aren't those bath salts a blessing? I blame myself when I get ill, for not having a sufficiently positive attitude. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 12:59, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Colin, I think you're exactly right about the distinction between Cochrane Library evaluations and practical clinical considerations, and said something similar at the WT:MEDRS discussion just now. I'm sure you've both seen this already, but the definitive takedown of the Cochrane approach was published in the BMJ about 10 years ago: Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Anthony, the key to good health is to have a ratio of positive:negative thoughts of >2.9013. Because fluid dynamics. :P MastCell Talk 17:37, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
"We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organised and participated in a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute."[1] :o)
I just can't get my ratio above 1.1, unfortunately. I've been putting this off for a while, but it's all that's left, really. Coconut oil.[2] --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 23:27, 19 November 2014 (UTC)
Maybe we should put something together and try to win the Silverman Prize (awarded by Cochrane in response to constructive criticism of their work). The prize consists of $1,000 and a certificate (custody of which we'd presumably have share). MastCell Talk 18:39, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
For light entertainment — Munroe, Randall (14 November 2014). "Meta-Analysis". xkcd. [1][2][3][4]
  1. ^ Sampson M, Barrowman NJ, Moher D et al. (October 2003). "Should meta-analysts search Embase in addition to Medline?". J Clin Epidemiol 56 (10): 943–55. PMID 14568625. 
  2. ^ Royle PL, Bain L, Waugh NR (October 2005). "Sources of evidence for systematic reviews of interventions in diabetes". Diabet. Med. 22 (10): 1386–93. doi:10.1111/j.1464-5491.2005.01645.x. PMID 16176201. 
  3. ^ Lee EH, Myung SK, Jeon YJ et al. (November 2011). "Effects of selenium supplements on cancer prevention: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials". Nutr Cancer 63 (8): 1185–95. doi:10.1080/01635581.2011.607544. PMID 22004275. 
  4. ^ Lemeshow AR, Blum RE, Berlin JA, Stoto MA, Colditz GA (September 2005). "Searching one or two databases was insufficient for meta-analysis of observational studies". J Clin Epidemiol 58 (9): 867–73. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2005.03.004. PMID 16085190. 
RDBrown (talk) 01:29, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/A Triptych[edit]

Epilobium hirsutum - Seed head - Triptych.jpg
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Your image, File:Epilobium hirsutum - Seed head - Triptych.jpg, was nominated on Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates, gained a consensus of support, and has been promoted. If you would like to nominate an image, please do so at Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates. Thank you for your contribution! Armbrust The Homunculus 13:54, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

Enjoyed your apt comment[edit]

On MEDRS Talk.[3] I was just looking at a Cochrane review that had very odd inclusion criteria: only including RCTs in which the control group had a minimal intervention. I've never seen that criterion used before, and the result was that it excluded a fair number of robust studies published in top journals. As a review, it seems useless. TimidGuy (talk) 15:03, 8 December 2014 (UTC)


would be interested to hear your thoughts about collaborative editing. You have said lots about BOLD but I have no idea - at all - about how you think consensus should be reached. Also, separately, would be interested to hear in what ways you see me as "part of the problem." i want to learn and improve. So.. happy to listen, and to talk. Jytdog (talk) 20:49, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

I have little wisdom on collaborative editing in general. The issue at MEMDOS is a very specific long-term abuse of that guideline by one editor and the complicity of WP:MED in supporting that behaviour to the point where we have lost newbie experts. I suspect that "respect" has a lot to do with successful collaborative editing. If one does not have that for another then agreement is impossible. There are times when respect is sorely absent when it is much needed. And there are times when respect is very much undeserved. And recently I have seen when new editors have been treated like they are trash and long-establish editors treated like they are gold. -- Colin°Talk 21:52, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer. If all you want to talk about is Doc James, let me know. But let me say that I do see the problems you are talking about, I do. This is not the place for that, however. What I want to talk with you about more generally - actually hear more about - is your view on editing. If you don't want to talk about that, please let me know. But let me respond to what you said about that, in case you are open to going further. I agree that respect is absolutely crucial. I am asking you, in Colin's ideal WP process - in the real, messy world of people who have varying levels of competence in subject matter and in PAG, have varying levels of self-awareness, humility, and respect for others (three key qualities in my view!), and are more or less driven by WP's mission (vs having other agendas, financial or otherwise)... in Colin's ideal WP process, how are disagreements over content handled? How are boldness and consensus reconciled? How do you actually edit? I have never seen you in action nor edited with you. I would like to have that experience. But do tell. Thanks! (I am asking, because I described how I use BRD and expect to have it used on me, and you seemed to think that was awful. So I really want to understand how you actually did and would do things, if you were not semi-retired.) Jytdog (talk) 23:34, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
I haven't actively edited WP in years. I'm more around for taking pictures these days. And since the epilepsy fiasco where we lost our one chance to have expert eyes edit the article, I've unwatched mostly everything. I have no more advice on handling content disagreements than the next person. On contentious article topics, like autism, we simply hoped that citing the best sources and keeping true to them would prove a strong defense. The editor Eubulides worked on those and had good knowledge of the topic and could find high quality sources for any issue raised. That was many years ago and Eubulides is gone. That topic area will rot now I fear because I haven't see any editor at WP:MED who was his equal. When I worked with Graham on the virus articles, I let him, the expert, have the final say. I did some copyediting and asked some dumb-reader questions but mostly that was a joy to see a good writer who knew his stuff work away at creating great content. The closest we've come to dispute was on whether to split rotavirus into two articles -- something that is an article-authoring issue rather than a subject-expert issue. We disagreed and I yielded. I've created some featured lists, some alone and some in collaboration. The collaboration was fun and had no disputes. My own featured article was a sole effort (though I had friends who supplied sources) until the point I needed review. I got one of the best WP writers to copyedit. And contacted the world authority on the topic to give an expert review. That was a great time. But I've also seen editors, like Orangemarlin, attempt to create articles. And there's just to talking to people like that: they don't listen and don't respect. And ultimately, get banned.
Some editors like to hang around battleground topics. Their entire purpose on WP is dispute. I'd much rather work with other knowledgeable, expert, gifted writers who respect each other. -- Colin°Talk 09:04, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for writing all that. I really appreciate it. WP is great when you find you great people to work with and can really collaborate. It is thrilling and deeply, deeply satisfying to be able to participate in creating something great with good people. If I may, you wrote at WT:MEDMOS that you see me as part of the problem, of what has gone wrong at ProjectMed. Can you help me see what I am doing wrong in your eyes? I would appreciate it. (For good or bad, some of your comments at WT:MEDRS have really affected how I edit - comments like "if it is not in a review it should not be in a WP article" - really high standards for sourcing and content. I've really tried to follow that. Jytdog (talk) 13:35, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
Did I write "if it is not in a review it should not be in a WP article"? I've kind of gone off reviews as the basis of article writing, though certainly not completely. Some editors over-emphasis them simply (I think) because they are the handiest form of secondary source provided you work in an institution with good journal access, and they are published frequently. One can sit at home or on ones laptop and browse a huge amount of material without getting off the backside. Actually, the ones some people love the most (the systematic review) might be 1st class sources of evidence but are often terrible sources for writing article content. Far better to read text from an expert looking at a broad aspect of the article topic, than a narrow focused algorithmic article on just one drug's efficacy, say. That was one reason why I was so against Cochrane being over-emphasised as a source. In my own limited experience, I've found professional textbooks to be be best source of all, though they are not cheap and unless purchased then you'd need physical access to a good medical library. The idea of people writing big-topic articles based on individual reviews of this and that just fills me with horror. You just end up with a random assortment of factoids and the wrong emphasis on so many things. The article doesn't flow, doesn't tell a story and doesn't ultimately get across the important facts to the general reader. Plus one doesn't really become fully knowledgeable in a topic unless one immerses oneself in the literature. If you read a big multi-author professional textbook, you see the emphasis can be completely different to a review. The review needs to make the case for its existence: there's new research which changes the game. Whereas the chapter in a major professional textbook exists because someone was asked to write about that important aspect of the condition. The editor of the textbook has already decided what subtopics to include so they do a lot of the WP:WEIGHT stuff for you. Of course, reviews and other sources are needed for some up-to-date stuff, but that's really a minority.
The "part of the problem" bit is about James and what you wrote at WT:MEDMOS. It isn't about your editing/comments in general. The "get consensus first" bit really hit a button with me, because it is what James forced our new epilepsy expert to do. None of us write that way by choice, and since we're all volunteers, then who would stay? All the best material on WP is written freely, not by committee or grudgingly. Can you imaging if Graham had to write his virus articles under those conditions? That every change to the article had to be approved by an editor with no specific knowledge of the subject, who is active on WP 12 hours a day, who can write/replace more draft-quality material in an afternoon than you can refine in a week, where your own edits are lucky to last hours, and where every time you sit down to work on the topic, you have to spend an hour going over all the half-baked edits this non-expert has made meanwhile. It's just intolerable and ultimately dooms the project. -- Colin°Talk 14:38, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
have not had time to read this all and will and will respond later, just wanted to respond to your first question.
my first interaction with you was here where you started teaching me about how MEDRS works, especially with regard to primary sources. i started that discussion with wrong ideas and you helped me see that. i think about and use your "We are called editors for a reason" from that exchange, all the time. somewhere after that you wrote the thing I mentioned.. I will find it! i gotta go now. Jytdog (talk) 15:10, 16 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── i had time to read this now. thanks again for taking the time. I am 100% with you on "The idea of people writing big-topic articles based on individual reviews of this and that just fills me with horror. You just end up with a random assortment of factoids and the wrong emphasis on so many things". Yes, the clinical reality - the 10,000 foot overview of how drugs/devices/diagnostics/diseases are actually managed and thought about, should definitely be driving articles about health. i really hate the "this review said that, and that review said this" kind of article. ugly and useless.

on the issue with MEDMOS and Doc James' behavior, I am afraid you partially (only partially) misheard me, and i did omit something. what I should have made very clear is that it is great that sbharris was bold and made his big change. nothing good happens in WP without people getting off their butts and generating new content and improving old content. So that was great! With regard to what I did say... the big emphasis on what I was saying is that consensus is really important (especially with sectioning since MEDMOS gives lots of latitude), and I didn't see any effort by sbharris to even try to discuss what he wanted on the Talk page, after he was reverted. Nor by Doc James. No discussion. Jumping right to the MEDMOS talk page with a hot-hot posting is as un-wikipedian as dropping a revert with edit note "no OK per MEDMOS" and writing as though that has way more authority than it does (which DJ did in the too-brief discussion on Sbharris' talk page here). That was my main point. What you fixed on, what was that I said that in my view Doc James' revert was OK (not his given rationale, but that he did it at all). That seemed to get you really angry. But to me, if there is long-standing content or structure, and somebody is bold and makes big changes, it is indeed OK to revert to the (presumably having consensus already) prior version to get discussion and work toward consensus, if others don't agree. The bold initial change was great and the reversion is OK too, as long as good discussion happens afterwards, etc etc. Do you really see something wrong with that? thanks. Jytdog (talk) 19:07, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think you can separate the revert from the rationale behind it. Which is a false rationale and one that I'm rather upset about. You should see the "hot hot" posting I put on Doc James talk page when he reordered ketogenic diet "per MEDMOS". It's a dumb foolish thing to do and I can't blame sbharris for being upset and being less than cool. So you telling him he should be cooler and calmer about it is frankly just pouring oil on things. What sbharris saw was not rationale that could be argued with person-to-person, but he was told this was set in stone, that we have an official guideline saying he should put the history at the end. I've seen before, when wikiprojects (e.g railway stations) do silly things in the name of consistency or because they've collectively agreed on something, that arguing on the talk page can be futile -- the wikiproject member goes off to recruit all his wikiproject friends, who just overwhelm the discussion with their viewpoint. Try reaching "consensus" in the face of a mob. So sbharris was right to come over to the guideline talk page with his WTF query about section orders. Right because it doesn't actually apply to vitamins. And right because the guideline doesn't actually supply any power to demand history goes at the end. There are in fact very good reasons for some diseases, drugs, chemicals, hormones, therapies, etc, etc, to put history near the top.
Although you lectured sbharris on the need to gain consensus for his big change, nobody is lecturing James on his revert or his subsequent stupid changes to the section ordering. I see we still have "dietary sources of vitamin D" (an important aspect of any vitamin) tucked away at the end under "Society and culture". So I'm still seeing a biased project that doesn't examine James' edits or behaviour at all, but is all to happy to admonish others. The fact that this silly "dietary sources in society and culture" edit can occur tells you everything you need to know about how little James is actually immersing himself in the topic and trying to tell a story for our readers, and how, rather, he flutters from one article to the next, inserting random factoids, misapplying MEDMOS and reverting good-faith editors like some guerrilla fighter.
I see the revert as a symptom that Doc James has no respect for (most) others. As I said above, respect is absolutely crucial for collaborative editing. He had no respect for the expert who turned up at Epilepsy and no respect it seems for sbharris trying to make vitamin D flow better. All that mattered was his version and his dogmatic misguided interpretation of MEDMOS. So I can't really understand any justification for the revert so can't really say how it can in any way be regarded as OK. BRD is just an essay and a pretty terrible way to collaborate. Save it for conflict situations among editors who have fundamental disagreements. Our editing policy says reverting should be a last resort. -- Colin°Talk 08:51, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts. I am hearing you. I used to work on the Vitamin D article but walked away because there is an ugly BATTLEGROUND there between Vitamin D advocates and debunkers. No fun. I've thought about going back in, in response to that posting, but it is kind of like contemplating deliberately stepping in dog poo. Jytdog (talk) 09:48, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
He he. Have you read the pearls of wisdom at User:MastCell? There are plenty topics on WP that are important but poorly developed. So no reason to get your feet mucky. -- Colin°Talk 10:10, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

List of women psychologists[edit]

Colin, since you have expertise in the area of Lists, could you find time to glance at:

Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:52, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Foreign and Commonwealth Office[edit]

Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Durbar Court.jpg
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Your image, File:Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Durbar Court.jpg, was nominated on Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates, gained a consensus of support, and has been promoted. If you would like to nominate an image, please do so at Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates. Thank you for your contribution! Armbrust The Homunculus 19:35, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

For you[edit]

This might interest you, if you haven't seen it: WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:13, 23 January 2015 (UTC)