Wikipedia:WikiProject Medicine/RFC on medical disclaimer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Sorry, folks, I know this is going to be a disappointment, but I can see no consensus for much of anything. Discussion is confused, and the structure of the RfC makes it difficult to follow what's being supported by whom and with what caveats—Cas Liber's analogy on the talk page of "a bunch of folks with megaphones talking past each other" is a good one. To me, the RfC appears to have jumped the gun, and so it conflates multiple questions, for example:

  • Should we have a disclaimer on articles (medical or otherwise) at all?
  • If we should, should it be at the the top, at the bottom, or somewhere else?
  • What should the text be?
  • What should it look like?

By attempting to answer all those questions at the same time, we've succeeded in answering none of them satisfactorily. There are some editors who oppose putting a disclaimer anywhere on articles; some who support oppose it only for articles of a certain quality; and some who will only support it with certain caveats. Many participants, for example, support one of the proposed templates but oppose or offer no opinion on others; does this mean they would object to putting a medical disclaimer on articles unless it was their preferred version(s)? That question is not answered anywhere in this RfC.

My suggestion, should the proposer wish to take this forward, would be to allow a grace period, after which a new RfC is started with the aim of answering the question on which all other questions depend: should a disclaimer be displayed on medical articles? If the answer to that question is "yes", further RfCs can be held to determine secondary concerns such as location, wording, and appearance.

As it is, I do not feel there is any way this RfC could be closed with a conclusive result, as disappointing as those who have put significant effort into the discussion will find that, and it would be grossly improper of me to force such a conclusion where there is not one to be had, especially on a matter which potentially has wide-reaching consequences and is likely to be controversial.

HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:02, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

Should Wikipedia provide a more prominent disclaimer template in general, or for medical and health-related content?

Wikipedia is a prominent source of online health information, and its medical disclaimer is not linked directly on any article. Instead, it is reached by clicking on the small-print link to the general disclaimer, on the last line of all pages. Concerns that Wikipedia make readers aware of the "anyone can edit" nature of Wikipedia have been raised; background discussions are in Alanyst's sandbox and at the Medicine Project talk archive. 06:25, 28 December 2013 (UTC)



A 2013 review found that Wikipedia is a common source of online heath information (PMID 24103318) and a 2013 study found that Wikipedia is the most commonly accessed website for clinical pharmacy articles. (PMID 24259640)

The 2013 review found that [emphasis added]:

The only longitudinal study conducted between 2005 and 2009 observed an increase in prevalence of Wikipedia use from 2% to 16% among undergraduate medical and biomedical students. Another study reported higher use among younger medical students (480/593, 81%) compared to older consultants (215/389, 55%). Studies on the use of Wikipedia by pharmacists report rates of use ranging between 35% using this site for work-related questions in 2009 to 72% using it mainly for personal reasons in 2011. For consumers, Wikipedia was ranked first when using search engines to find information about rare diseases and to find information on generic drugs. Wikipedia ranked as the second most consulted website both by a group of patients with Crohn’s disease as well as by students searching for biomedical information. ... A recurrent finding about the information in Wikipedia was that it is in large part accurate, free, and easy to access. However, even though Wikipedia does not recommend including medication doses due to concerns about errors, it is often incomplete and can lack appropriate referencing of medical information, thereby possibly indirectly causing patient harm.

From Scott Martin: This 2013 piece in the Boston Globe, by a medical student, underlines the importance of making our readers aware that our medical content is not authoritative. [Ed note: diffs inserted]

That's the promise of Wikipedia in health care — a freely accessible and user-friendly platform through which to explore virtually any subject in medicine. But there's another side to consider. During our pulmonology block last year, two of my classmates saw an error in the site's entry for hyperventilation. They fixed the mistake and, as a joke, added "Kenny's syndrome" as a name for a particular condition. To their surprise, the edit stayed for weeks, and they even found other websites citing my friend as an acid-base disorder. Hence, the opportunity for anyone to edit Wikipedia with minimal regulation has a terrifying capacity to influence the environment for clinicians-in-training. In the worst-case scenario, these inaccuracies could adversely impact the care that patients eventually receive.

— Nathaniel P. Morris, New operating system: Wikipedia’s role in medical education brings awesome promise — and a few risks, Boston Globe, 18 November 2013

The error[1][2][3] corrected by the medical student in February 2013 was inserted by an IP two months earlier. The false "Kenny's syndrome" inserted in February 2013 was removed three months later.

Other papers have negatively reviewed the quality of Wikipedia's information (PMID 24276492), and according to DocJames,[4] an Indian pharmacy journal article scraped text from Wikipedia without attribution, setting up the possibility of undetected mirrors, where Wikipedia articles then cite Wikipedia's own content. A 2013 survey study (PMID 24243966) on the use of smartphones by medical interns in Ireland, found that of 108 respondents, about one-third claimed to use Wikipedia weekly on the job; in their conclusions, "although the information on Wikipedia was not complete, it was not found to be incorrect".

A report by IMS Health said:

...the public perception of Wikipedia being a legitimate source of information has increased dramatically in recent years. For healthcare in particular, patients are concerned about the validity and neutrality of the information they seek out, and Wikipedia increasingly meets this need ... nearly 50% of U.S. physicians who go online for professional purposes use Wikipedia for information...

Other disclaimers[edit]

Wikipedia allows some content disclaimers, like {{Current}} and {{Recent death}} at the top of articles.

Other language Wikipedias use medical disclaimers:

Wikipedia language Template Position in article
Chinese zh:Template:Medical small Top
Dutch nl:Sjabloon:Disclaimer medisch lemma Top
German de:Wikipedia:Hinweis Gesundheitsthemen Bottom
Hebrew he:תבנית:הבהרה רפואית Bottom
Indonesian id:Templat:Penyangkalan-medis Top
Norwegian (nynorsk and bokmål) nn:Mal:Helsenotis no:Mal:Helsenotis Bottom (Long text begins with: "You should never use information from the Internet, including Wikipedia, as your sole...")
Portuguese pt:Predefinição:Aviso médico Section: Treatment
Spanish es:Wikipedia:Aviso médico Linked from every medical infobox: es:Plantilla:Ficha de enfermedad, es:Plantilla:Ficha de medicamento, es:Plantilla:Ficha de intervención quirúrgica, etc.
Turkish tr:Şablon:TıpUyarı Top

Disclaimer views[edit]

The current disclaimer is rarely viewed by readers. Per WhatamIdoing, en.Wikipedia's medical disclaimer gets fewer than 100 views per day,[5] while similar items on the same line (Wikipedia:About [6] and Contact Wikipedia [7]) get about 12,000 page views per day.[8]

Some sample problems[edit]

Errors in Wikipedia's content may stand for months to years.

Article assessment[edit]

See talk for assessment table

Of the 1,010 articles and lists rated as Top or High Importance by the Medicine WikiProject:

  • 25% are Start or Stub class
  • 65% are B or C class
  • 8% are GA or FA
  • 2% are other lists.

If all articles and lists (regardless of rating on the "Importance" scale) are included, quality ratings are lower.

Proposed disclaimer for medical content[edit]

Version A[edit]

This version highlights the "anyone can edit" aspect, which distinguishes Wikipedia from other online sources of health information, and encourages edits:
Anyone can edit this article. Do not rely on it for medical advice.
Please help improve Wikipedia's medical content using high-quality sources.

Modified Version A[edit]

Proposed 15 January by Pointillist and Adrian J. Hunter:

Version B[edit]

This version has wording similar to the disclaimer at the bottom of articles:
Wikipedia does not give medical advice

The information provided here is no substitute for the advice of a medical professional.

Version C[edit]

Proposed by NeilN to be added to the top of all article pages:

Version D[edit]

Proposed by ϢereSpielChequers for all medical articles that are below C class (currently 20,000 articles)
This draft is not yet a Wikipedia article. You are welcome to help improve it but do not read it as if it was a Wikipedia article.
Please help improve Wikipedia's medical content using high-quality sources.

Version E[edit]

Proposed by TheDJ:

Version F[edit]

Proposed by Collect:

Do not rely on Wikipedia articles for medical advice.


All signed comments and talk not related to an endorsement of a view should be directed to this page's discussion page or the Discussion section at the end. Threaded discussion should not be added below; it should be posted on the talk page. Threaded replies to another user's !vote, endorsement, response, or comment should be posted to the talk page, and may be moved there.

SandyGeorgia: support version A[edit]

My support for a template in general, and Version A specifically, is based on my experience as a medical editor finding bad information in almost every medical article I touch, but more importantly, on the number of times I encounter people in real life who do not understand that Wikipedia articles are not necessarily "vetted" in any way by experts, and medical content on Wikipedia may be written by JoeBloe your next-door neighbor. In my experience, many consumers of health care information are not aware of the "anyone can edit" aspect of Wikipedia, and there are too few qualified medical editors trying to keep up with too much work.

Contrary to the claim that medical editors will be offended if we "template" their work, I would happily add a disclaimer to a featured article, written primarily by me—Tourette syndrome.Featured article

To those who say flagged revisions can address the problems, even several of our medical FAs are out of date; we don't always have a good version to flag.

To the argument that our "current" templates are only used in situations where recent events may make it hard for editors to keep up, I counter that the few experienced medical editors Wikipedia has cannot keep up with medical content, particularly since the advent of (poor) student edits as part of university courses.

To those who say that no real harm has ever come to anyone as a result of Wikipedia, why should we wait for an incident to happen (as in the Siegenthaler controversy that led to Wikipedia's BLP policy)? The best example of real harm and death that resulted from medical misinformation in the media and on the internet—one in which Wikipedia played a role—can be found at MMR vaccine controversy#Media role. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:17, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

  1. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:17, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. Having a mention in this RFC, it should not come as a surprise that I strongly support this option. — Scott talk 14:07, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
    I'm also fine with the modified version A. — Scott talk 11:46, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. Per SandyGeorgia. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 14:27, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. Regardless of how obvious it may seem to Wikipedians that anyone can edit Wikipedia, the fact remains that the general public does not know and understand this. I recently spoke to a senior nurse who has used Wikipedia, and she had no idea that anyone could change the information at any time. She was completely incredulous when I told her, and I don't even think it really sank in. --Andreas JN466 19:07, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. Johnbod (talk) 02:08, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  6. At wikipedia a single driven person can dominate and control an article or even vandalize it for a brief period. It is dangerous to allow this to happen in medical pages without an obvious disclaimer. Any argument that people know the nature of wikipedia ignores all the studies to the contrary, and a person who wants no disclaimer may have a suspect motive like wanting to manipulate people's health decisions in this way. IWannaPeterPumpkinEaterPeterParker (talk) 06:33, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
    Threaded discussion moved to talk. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:37, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  7. Absolutely. Why wait for something horrible to happen? Lankiveil (speak to me) 13:07, 29 December 2013 (UTC).
  8. Of course. SandyGeorgia has this one nailed. Santa Claus of the Future (talk) 01:21, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  9. I like the Portuguese WP solution to this. The German/Norwegian solution (bottom posting) seems less targeted but also appropriate. I would be interested to see the results of a trial of A. – SJ + 10:48, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  10. Support, although I can't really see this helping much. Idiots would probably still trust Wikipedia's medical information even if we had a giant click-through interstitial page. Reaper Eternal (talk) 13:47, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  11. A very good idea for a number of reasons, including the fact that COI editors can add material that is promotional in nature. This is my first choice. My second choice would be the other disclaimer notice, version B. Changed my mind about Version B after reading the discussion. Coretheapple (talk) 15:07, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  12. Support, enthusiastically. I actually support any kind of medical disclaimer that our readers can easily see. The organization of the discussions on this page has become rather confusing, but I really do not care whether it is version A, B, or anything else that gets the message across. --Tryptofish (talk) 15:45, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  13. Still ruminating, but am happier with this present rathert than absent. I prefer them to highlight that in general, any page with medical information is no substitute for medical advice from a doctor that you actually see (which is done better on version B). I worry that worded any other way makes us look too self-effacing. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 01:34, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  14. We strive to provide a balanced and accurate portrayal of all subjects, but in the medical field especially we have a duty to our readers to remind them that they should consult reliable sources, not an tertiary source that has probably not been reviewed by medical professionals. LFaraone 07:34, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  15. Wikipedia as generally the top google search result needs to take responsibility for effect it has. Also comparison with BLP policy is spot on.--Staberinde (talk) 09:01, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  16. Strongly endorse the concept and this version of it. I don't doubt that something bad already has happened from people reading or misreading our "medical" articles, and we just didn't hear about it. First Light (talk) 15:45, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  17. I agree that A is the best version of the disclaimer because it emphasizes that anyone can edit Wikipedia. And we badly need some form of disclaimer. The opponents of disclaimers often fail to understand that it matters whether something is prominent; it's not good enough to say "well, there is a disclaimer link at the bottom of the page". Ken Arromdee (talk) 22:29, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  18. Of the three options, I prefer "A" for the same or very similar reasons articulated so well by SandyGeorgia and others in this endorsement list. I would argue for a second phase to this discussion in which refinements to the chosen option can be proposed. For example, Anyone can edit this article will imply to some readers that they've arrived at the Wild, Wild West of medical articles where any 'ol gunslinger can write any 'ol thing he (or she) pleases--and it will stick because the Sheriff left town a long time ago. It's not that bad! Of course, I have brilliant ideas that will make the "A" option perfect, but I'll save 'em for later. Mark D Worthen PsyD 15:17, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
  19. This isn't a clear-cut decision for me, but of the options I think A is the least worst, and support it. It is preferable in my view to have a disclaimer than have the bogus information on Wikipedia adversely affect people. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 09:43, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  20. Documentation of harm and continued possible problems in lieu of a disclaimer seem fairly clear to me that readers need to be explicitly informed about what Wikipedia is not intended for, in this case. I agree that this does not represent a mass templating of editors' work, but a clarification of the purpose of medical articles on Wikipedia. In addition, a reminder that improvements to the article can be made by anyone is helpful as it encourages future improvements. I, JethroBT drop me a line 16:14, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  21. Support A. A document that could be changed at any time by anybody should never be considered authoritative in health care, and the readers including physicians should be made aware of this right away in reading an article.(Littleolive oil (talk) 18:28, 2 January 2014 (UTC))
  22. Sandy's analysis is convincing. Highlighting the "anyone can edit" aspect may make people take the disclaimer more seriously, rather than just lumping it in with the standard disclaimers that everyone includes for legal reasons, often ex abundanti cautela. Neljack (talk) 01:44, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
  23. I Support this, Wiki pedia needs more disclaimers because it is easy to change it and no one notices even if it is fixed. Thank you, MarioNovi (talk) 08:50, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
  24. I support using version A on medical articles. I cannot necessarily endorse some of the statements made by SandyGeorgia, as they seem to be based on her own personal experiences with medical articles, about which I know little. I am more comfortable endorsing the statement of Scott supporting version A, but the way this thing is fragmented, I just wanted to make sure my support of version A is clear. Neutron (talk) 00:49, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  25. Support version A. This exactly describes the situation on Wikipedia. Articles can be edited by anyone with or without medical credentials. Readers need to understand that the content, at any given time, carries a risk of being incorrect. Malke 2010 (talk) 17:20, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  26. Support version A, placed my own opinion below. There's two hypothesis with option A; a) the disclaimer will result in a better informed (layperson) user b) the disclaimer will discourage editors who are unfamiliar with the intent of the disclaimer. It might be worth a well designed RCT using non-live pages to test both. Ian Furst (talk) 21:56, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
  27. Support version A, or similar. Though enwiki is generally pretty reliable, Jayen466's point is central: many Wikipedia users don't understand that what they read may have been posted anonymously by someone who has misunderstood something, or has a vested interest, or is out to cause mischief or worse. We must communicate this so clearly that people actually get the message and take it seriously. - Pointillist (talk) 00:23, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  28. 300,000 South African ghosts, victims only of bad medical information, would surely find it preposterous that Wikipedia takes the accuracy of BLPs more seriously than the accuracy of medical content. Rightly or wrongly, many hold Wikipedia in high regard, yet lack understanding of how it works. I'd strongly support B or E ahead of no action, but prefer this version as "anyone can edit" is what distinguishes us from other sources. Concerns that this singles out certain articles could be alleviated by changing "Anyone can edit this article" to "Anyone can edit Wikipedia". Obviously this should be worked up like E to be prettier and less like other banners. After implementation, an increase in test edits on tagged pages could provide evidence that this really does educate readers. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 05:52, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
  29. Support this version. This is the only responsible course of action. FiachraByrne (talk) 01:09, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
    Modified proposal added to Version A and threaded discussion moved to Modified Version A from SandyGeorgia support discussion
  30. Holdek (talk) 21:21, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
  31. Support this version. Victoria (tk) 14:05, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
  32. Support Gets to the facts quickly and does the job of keeping the headline "Man Dies after taking medicine advice from Wikipedia" out of the News.--Jeffrd10 (talk) 13:42, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia: oppose version B[edit]

A general disclaimer like Version B is not helpful: it does not highlight the "anyone can edit" nature of Wikipedia, which distinguishes Wikipedia content from other medical website content. Wikipedia readers need to be made aware-- not that Wikipedia has content errors like any other medical website-- but that Wikipedia articles are not necessarily written by or vetted by people with medical backgrounds, training or expertise.

  1. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:17, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. I am more opporsed to version B than I am to version A. If there is consensus that a disclaimer is to be used (as indeed on other language Wikipedias such as NL) I would want to support A and oppose B. JFW | T@lk 13:50, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  3. Per SandyGeorgia. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 14:25, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. --Andreas JN466 19:07, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. Johnbod (talk) 02:09, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  6. Scott talk 12:36, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  7. Ceoil (talk) 14:41, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  8. The general disclaimer is all we should need or permit, unless the WMF legal staff advises otherwise.. DES (talk) 23:20, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  9. I, JethroBT drop me a line 16:17, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  10. Thisis too general to be of value. It's the type of std boilerplate that people ignore. 'DGG (at NYPL)' (talk) 19:22, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  11. This version could be misinterpreted by a reader as suggesting that the information is entirely accurate but that the reader should of course rely on their own physician. This version does not at all reflect the reality of the accuracy of content on Wikipedia at any given time. I support version A and oppose version B. Malke 2010 (talk) 17:20, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  12. FiachraByrne (talk) 01:22, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
  13. Victoria (tk) 14:05, 21 January 2014 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia: neutral on version C[edit]

NeilN proposed Version C after the start of this RFC (see Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Medicine/RFC on medical disclaimer#NeilN). If all disclaimers are added to the top of articles (rather than buried at the bottom within the general disclaimer) I do not oppose this option and consider it a worthy compromise, in that it gets the disclaimer up top where it is more likely to be seen by unsuspecting readers, and it provides for a disclaimer on all articles, not just medical.

  1. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:54, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. Highlighting the disclaimers, which are at present (as WhatamIdoing notes) practically invisible to most readers, seems fairly uncontroversial to me. I don't particularly buy the general argument about "clutter." I'm neutral, however, as I don't think this is necessarily the best option. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 06:56, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia: oppose version D[edit]

Recognizing that it was proposed in good faith, Version D is a non-starter; so much so that IMO it may only serve to derail the RFC, where the other options were well considered and discussed in advance.

Stubs and start class articles are often accurate-- in fact, often more accurate than some articles with more advanced assessments.

Many medical GAs and FAs are outdated, so setting up a scheme like this doesn't address the problem. Assessments are variable, and articles change over time; article assessment at any given time doesn't mean any given version is accurate. All of these issues were well discussed at WT:MED before this RFC was launched, and the confusing scheme proposed by WSC isn't workable and doesn't address the concerns.

Introducing a BLP-style policy for medical content is not the focus of this RFC, and would belong on another RFC as a "policy" matter.

Might I suggest that new versions might first be proposed on talk, and that it would have been helpful of WSC to have read the prior discussions before putting up a proposal that results in a confusing RFC?

Added. Less than .1% of Wikipedia articles are FA, and Wikipedia does not have the resources to keep even those current (FAR is running several year behind, and I estimate that good third of Wikipedia's current FAs don't meet standard). The notion that Wikipedia has the resources or knowledgeable editors to constantly assess medical content and decide which tag to put on them is insane. Version D is an unhelpful addition to this RFC. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:09, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  1. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:25, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. This starts to make everything too complex. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 01:31, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  3. Articles are not drafts no matter what their rating is. --NeilN talk to me 03:48, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. Per NeilN. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 06:48, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. I think the proposer of D is looking for the "Draft:" namespace; I'm sceptical that this RfC should be creating such a new class of articles that are not proper drafts / in AfC. LFaraone 07:34, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  6. Agree it's unhelpful and indeed wrong. If someone clicks random article they'd be somewhat surprised to reach a page clearly labelled as "not an article". Also the differences between start/C articles vary by Wikiproject and by tagging editor — even ignoring the draft/article (IMO bad) choice of wording, start vs. C class articles is not generally a useful distinction benmoore 16:14, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  7. Misses the point that glaring errors frequently persist in highly-rated articles for hundreds of thousands of page views (examples). Also implicitly presents "real" Wikipedia articles as reliable – surely the exact opposite of this RfC's goals. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 17:34, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
  8. Absolutely correct. None of our articles is guaranteed to be correct. We don't promise to be up-to-date and we don't protect Featured Articles to prevent them from deteriorating. - Pointillist (talk) 00:29, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  9. Would do more harm than good. Holdek (talk) 21:21, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia: oppose disclaimer in sidebar[edit]

Per the proposal below by Anomie, I am not in favor of adding the disclaimers to the standard navigation sidebars on the left-hand side of the Wikipedia screen. They will be as lost there to unsuspecting readers as they are at the bottom; it is the unsuspecting public who doesn't understand the "anyone can edit" nature of Wikipedia who needs to see a visible disclaimer, and they are unlikely to notice it in the sidebar. We need a disclaimer up top.

  1. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:32, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. Pointless. Readers need a prominent warning that they could be reading Randy's version. The word "Disclaimers" in a list of sixteen other links in the sidebar is not a prominent warning that what you're reading may well be the work of an idiot or a psychopath. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 06:15, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. A proper disclaimer requires prominence if its to serve any purpose. FiachraByrne (talk) 01:18, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
  4. Completely and utterly insufficient. — Scott talk 11:44, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

SandyGeorgia: oppose version E in favor of its derivative, modified version A[edit]

Version E was an excellent improvement, but modified version A made it even better by keeping the "anyone can edit" aspect.

  1. This is now my first choice.SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:26, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. Scott talk 11:47, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. It's my first choice now. - Pointillist (talk) 11:58, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
  4. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 11:38, 17 January 2014 (UTC) – To clarify, I don't oppose E outright, and would still prefer E over nothing, but modified A is my first choice. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 01:20, 21 January 2014 (UTC)
  5. Holdek (talk) 21:21, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
  6. --Andreas JN466 22:13, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Doc James: oppose medical disclaimer[edit]

I do not see a medical disclaimer as needed:

  1. Many other sites have content worse than that of Wikipedia and do not contain a warning.
  2. A disclaimer will clutter the top of the article (how will this mesh with the new text messaging option for getting access to Wikipedia content?).
  3. The warning is already at the end of the article.
  4. There are mistakes in other sites including the Lancet and the Mayo Clinic (which people expect to be accurate).
  5. People do not expect Wikipedia to be accurate. I have asked many students if they use Wikipedia and all respond with hesitance as they have all heard from profs how bad it is.
  6. If these notices drive away editors and have no effect on readership / usage then it could potentially result in overall harm.
  1. Would be happy to see a trial of A looking at if an invitation to edit increases high quality improvements. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 23:48, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. Reaffirm my opinion in the WT:MED discussion that all disclaimers should be avoided, but like James I can support a trial (ideally with metrics) of version A to see if it actually makes Wikipedia medical content better. I would oppose a trial on featured articles. JFW | T@lk 13:48, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  3. A point not noted is that if we put special disclaimers at the top of some articles, we risk inadvertently and incorrectly implying that articles without the extra disclaimer somehow carry less risk of inaccuracy, or that their content has no 'medical' implications. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:14, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. Agree with this position. No disclaimer is needed. --LT910001 (talk) 00:58, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. The fact that anyone can edit is advertised on every single page. Ramaksoud2000 (Talk to me) 08:11, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  6. Agree, no extra disclaimer notice is needed. ~~Ebe123~~ → report 19:03, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  7. Agreed. Well said. --BDD (talk) 00:51, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  8. Agree with all of the numbered statements above in the analysis by Doc James. Cheers, — Cirt (talk) 04:54, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  9. Also agree with all six points. Acer (talk) 17:22, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  10. The range of our articles where incorrect information could cause extremely negative consequences if acted upon is vast. Trying to tag them all gets us into a never ending game of "why didn't you warn us about this?".©Geni (talk) 08:36, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  11. Agree, especially with points 1,4,5. - Ypnypn (talk) 14:18, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
    • TenOfAllTrades makes a good point as well. -- Ypnypn (talk) 14:21, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  12. Agree. What should be done is move the current disclaimer link to the top and make it more prominent. --NeilN talk to me 14:36, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  13. Agreed. Resolute 17:09, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  14. Agree on all points. Kaldari (talk) 21:38, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  15. Agree. Mainly b/c there are lots of sources for medical information out there that range from the reliable to semi-reliable to completely unreliable. Few contain medical disclaimers. It's reasonable to assume that students and particularly med students shouldn't be using Wikipedia as a primary source for important medical information. NickCT (talk) 00:30, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
  16. James' point 6 is the killer. We can't think for people in the general case, anyone who needs a medical disclaimer won't read it and it would only discourage editing - which is presently well-policed. And keep in mind, this disclaimer is being proposed on NO VERIFIABLE EXAMPLES WHATSOEVER and NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER THAT A BANNER WOULD REACH ITS TARGET AUDIENCE. - David Gerard (talk) 23:32, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  17. I agree especially with point 6, as David Gerard describes above. If we had some sort of evidence that there's a genuine problem here of people trusting medical advice from Wikipedia I'd might change my mind, but right now I'm not seeing it. And it would be nice to have something other than anecdotal evidence backing up any claim that there's a problem here. For every anecdote there's an equal an opposite anecdote. JoshuaZ (talk) 00:26, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
  18. Agree on all points. I'm opposed to making the existing notice more prominent unless we are legally obliged to do so. —Psychonaut (talk) 23:26, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
  19. Agreed on all 6 points, and would add a point 7: We'll never get this on all medical articles all the time. If people notice most of the medical articles have this disclaimer and a few do not, this may actually serve counter to its purpose, and make them think those articles are special or vetted. We do not and should not splatter articles with disclaimers. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:36, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  20. I agree that a disclaimer is not warranted. Looie496 (talk) 04:58, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  21. Endorse as per TenOfAllTrades. Disclaimers like these two are not the right direction for the project.   — C M B J   11:17, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  22. Agreed. Also, I find the fact that Wikipedia:Medical disclaimer has low daily page views to be unconvincing, as the text of Wikipedia:General disclaimer, which has a higher pageview rate, is really sufficient to make the point that medical articles (or any other article, for that matter) are not guaranteed to be accurate. The comparisons made somewhere here to WP:About and WP:Contact us are also misleading, since those are linked from the sidebar as well as the bottom. If anything, perhaps a link to the disclaimers should be added to the sidebar's "navigation" or "interaction" sections (instead of any of these proposals). Anomie 14:00, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  23. I think I am with Doc J on this one. I'd be ok with a version in between, perhaps: milder than A and B, but more up to the point than D. Something like: "Anyone can edit this article: medical disclaimer". --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 15:15, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  24. I agree, especially with the sixth point that ties it all together. We do much already to acknowledge our project's fallibilities fairly; doing more than we do risks driving people away. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|}} 17:30, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  25. Particularly per TenOfAllTrades and Geni. The scope of "articles which contain something that might be considered 'medical'" is vast and difficult to define (I'd like to see [both conservative and extreme] estimates of how many articles it would encompass - are we talking about tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands? Everything within 6degrees of separation from Portal:Contents/Health and fitness, presumably); and the scope of "articles where incorrect information could cause extremely negative consequences if acted upon", is vast and subjective (Exercise? Psychology? Adventure tourism? Electrical engineering?). But I'm also very open to improving the visibility of the existing disclaimer link, or adding "that anyone can edit" back into MediaWiki:Tagline perhaps... –Quiddity (talk) 21:46, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
    Quiddity, I'd estimate that it's on the order of ten thousand, if you count only disease/drug/physiology-type articles, and as high as half a million if you take a very expansive definition (BLPs containing description of treatment choices made by the subject, research being conducted at a biotech, recommendations made by a health charity, etc.). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:30, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
  26. Basically per above. We should concentrate on further improvement and editor retention rather than sprinkle ashes upon our heads. Brandmeistertalk 12:13, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
  27. Per my comments further down the page. Formerip (talk) 01:21, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  28. The disclaimer is attempting a noble goal that is ultimately impossible due to human psychology. It doesn't matter how huge you make the warning: people will ignore it anyway, even more so since they're used to ignoring the Wikipedia "cleanup tags" at the top of some articles. This would even be true if we had a giant pop-up come up and say "WARNING WARNING THIS IS WIKIPEDIA NO MEDICAL ADVICEY", people would still not read it and quickly click "OK". The people who do read it are usually the people who understand Wikipedia well enough to know the risks. The only thing we can do is make the articles better, people will foolishly trust them no matter what. SnowFire (talk) 07:55, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  29. I strongly oppose any disclaimer that applies only to certain articles. All our articles could be dangerous if given blind trust-- why not disclaimers for legal articles or chemistry articles, for example? I worry disclaimers applied to only some pages will create the false impression among readers that some articles are more trustworthy than others. Version C, applying equally to all pages, hasn't won my support, but it doesn't have my opposition. --HectorMoffet (talk) 10:52, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  30. The disclaimer is already linked at the bottom of the page. We don't need yet another link, which will clutter the page. Ross HillTalk to me! 14:58, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  31. I agree fully with all points above, and esp point 6 as per David Gerard and others. DES (talk) 16:01, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  32. Can see some benefits to a banner, especially one also encouraging editing but endorse this view on the grounds that: If in doubt, avoid adding to the unsightly page clutter benmoore 16:28, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  33. The vast majority of our readers already know that Wikipedia articles cannot be relied upon for medical matters; the cited study says they are a common source for heath information (which sounds right), but that doesn't mean they are trusted blindly or more than the opinion of an expert.--eh bien mon prince (talk) 16:53, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  34. I do not think it would do any practical good., for the reasons already given. 'DGG (at NYPL)' (talk) 19:25, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  35. Agree. In addition, it's hypocritical, like the warning label on complementary medicines. People do rely on Wikipedia for medical advice. An honest answer would be, "Be skeptical about everything you read or hear in life, get second sources." But if you don't know that already, a warning label won't do any good.--Nbauman (talk) 16:28, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  36. Doc James has summed it up quite well. Joefromrandb (talk) 20:20, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  37. I like Anomie's proposal below (linking to the present disclaimer in the sidebar for more visibility) but otherwise I support this. In particular I see no merit to having any disclaimer that could be removed in the same vandal edit that advised the reader to gargle with antifreeze to cure their colds. Wnt (talk) 22:57, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  38. I have some sympathy for the disclaimer idea, but there are far to many problems with the concept to make it worthwhile. – Shudde talk 10:23, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
  39. Axl ¤ [Talk] 03:41, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

User:Lesion: Oppose extra banner linking to medical disclaimer[edit]

  1. Redundancy-- We already have a medical disclaimer linked on every page. Medicolegally and morally this is a non-issue.
  2. No evidence of harm or benefit-- There is no evidence that either medical content on Wikipedia harms anyone or that adding a more obvious link to the medical disclaimer at the top of the article would prevent such harm or have any other benefit. In my experience, the public opinion of Wikipedia in general is low. I believe inclusion of such an eye-catching banner will only serve to trigger an irritated "Well duh..." from readers. Also, I do not believe any editor who might come here to get personal medical will be discouraged by such a banner. The work / benefit ratio for this venture is therefore questionable. Even if implemented by a bot, this will still require some work.
  3. More clutter in the lead-- The lead of articles is already cluttered. I am surprised to see some die hard opponents of infoboxes campaign for more clutter.
  4. How are we special?-- Other Wikipedia articles are prepared in a similar way to medical articles, yet they do not contain any extra disclaimer. How is it that medical articles are any different? I have difficulty with this.
  5. Concerns about blanket application-- No clear details are given as to what method is used to decide which articles get this extra disclaimer. Regarding blanket application of the disclaimer on all articles, I do not understand the logic of wanting to use such disclaimers even on FA articles. This is basically saying that no matter what the actual content is, it should always contain an "extra" warning. We are saying that our internal peer review process counts for nothing, and no matter what we do the article will always be potentially harmful.
  6. Re other language wikipedias-- The argument that other language wikipedias have medical disclaimer is not particularly valid since the medical content on those wikis is likely of a lower standard. I do not speak any other language fluently to better assess this, but perhaps we can make this assumption based purely on the average length of non english wikipedia medical articles.
  7. Total lack of consensus for anything-- I also anticipate continued total lack of consensus as to the exact appearance, wording and placement of the disclaimer, which articles get it and the particulars of the proposed trial period. There is no method by which the baseline and effect of disclaimer are to be assessed in a trial period, how long the period will last, and how makes these determinations. This will all take much effort and time. Our editors might better spend their volunteer time improving the encyclopedia.
  8. Undermines our goals-- Overall, we should aspire for professional status in our medical articles. A professional appearance is part of this. Already our finest work is of better quality than other sources of online medical information. Lesion (talk) 18:41, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  1. Lesion (talk) 14:12, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. Especially points 1, 3 and 7. Hordaland (talk) 20:27, 27 December 2013 (UTC) Adding: Though I oppose a banner on medical articles, I support Version C added to the top of all articles. See also Wnt below (#22). Hordaland (talk) 19:48, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. We already advertise that anyone can edit. This is not needed. Ramaksoud2000 (Talk to me) 08:13, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. Endorse completely, these encapsulate what I feel about this issue --LT910001 (talk) 09:58, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. WS (talk) 10:53, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  6. Self-declaring our work as inherently poor will not encourage others to improve it. I endorse all points. Graham Colm (talk) 10:58, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  7. Wikipedia:PERENNIAL#Content_warnings says it all for me. Narutolovehinata5 tccsdnew 12:22, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  8. Endorse all points. Acer (talk) 18:28, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  9. Logical and rational explanation and analysis. Agree with Graham Colm. Endorse all points. — Cirt (talk) 04:55, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  10. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 12:41, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  11. Agree, especially points 4 and 5. -- Ypnypn (talk) 14:19, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  12. Yup. Resolute 17:10, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  13. Endorse all point, this argument accords with my personal opinions. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 18:25, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  14. Agree on all points. Also, I oppose adding any more cruft above article content until we get rid of some of the existing cruft, like {{orphan}}. Kaldari (talk) 21:36, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  15. Agree. This proposal seems essentially identical to the one above. NickCT (talk) 00:32, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
  16. Yep, per James as well - David Gerard (talk) 23:33, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  17. These points combine nicely with Doc James' above to form a decent summary of my opinion here. {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|}} 17:30, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  18. No one pays any attention disclaimers anyway. Wincent77 (talk) 07:28, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
  19. I agree with and fully endorse this view. The existing standard disclaimer which links to a medical disclaimer is quite sufficient. DES (talk) 16:04, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  20. As Doc James has said 'DGG (at NYPL)' (talk) 19:26, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  21. Very well said. Joefromrandb (talk) 00:21, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
  22. I agree with this view, but not really that the existing disclaimer is sufficient: I think Anomie is right that we should make sure it is more visible. That may be more a "moral" thing than a "legal" thing, to make double sure people know our limitations, but when it doesn't involve sorting through every single article deciding if it belongs to some protected class, I have much more tolerance for the idea. Wnt (talk) 16:15, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  23. I think this is a potential slippery slope. What about information regarding chemical reactions? That's sure dangerous. What about driving technique? Or parachuting? Or flying a plane? There is no difference between medical information and any other safety critical information on the Internet. Either learn to evaluate the claims you find or seek a more authoritative source. We can't fix stupid. Gigs (talk) 22:42, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
  24. Axl ¤ [Talk] 03:42, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Sunrise: oppose version A[edit]

I do not intend to provide a general list of reasons to oppose disclaimers (which have already been provided), but rather to make two points about this particular disclaimer. These are the same ones that I brought up in the original discussion at WT:MED.

  • As written, I think this template will become an enabler of POV pushing, because it contains a specific instruction to the reader which essentially makes a positive assertion that the article is not reliable (or at least it is easy to interpret in that way). Of course many templates can be used for POV pushing, but I think this would be one of the worse ones (when does an article or section have enough medical content to deserve a template? etc).
  • I think that disclaimers on certain articles, like vaccination (or MMR vaccine controversy), are likely to do more harm than good - it will become an argument for anyone who wants to discredit the scientific consensus on these topics, and a prominent reason for a reader (who might otherwise have been educated by our article) to reject that consensus when it is presented in Wikipedia.
  1. In both cases, I think that a descriptive statement like "Wikipedia does not give medical advice" is less likely to be problematic. Sunrise (talk) 22:40, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. Agree with reasons given above by Sunrise on why this could be inherently problematic. — Cirt (talk) 04:56, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Sunrise: support medical disclaimer[edit]

As with my above comment, I'm not providing a comprehensive list of reasons here, but just the reason I think is most important. I don't find it plausible that Wikipedia's medical information does not cause real-world harm when it is inaccurate, simply by probability. Even if e.g. only one in a thousand people will take Wikipedia's word as truth - which is likely an underestimate - that's still a lot when considering the number of pageviews that our medical articles get. A disclaimer template may or may not be the best approach to solving the problem, but it is a valid one.

  1. Personally I'm not very confident in this opinion, but I'm still posting it since I think at the least it's an argument that should be made. For the record, I support version B - I think there should be a few changes, e.g. adding a request for MEDRS-quality sources like version A has, but that discussion can come later. Sunrise (talk) 22:40, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. Even one person coming to harm because of poor-quality medical information that may be in an article is too many. If the disclaimer encourages one person to see a doctor rather than diagnosing themselves on Wikipedia, that is a victory. Lankiveil (speak to me) 13:09, 29 December 2013 (UTC).
  3. Yes, on balance of things. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:41, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 06:54, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. Strong support - We definitely need to have this - with the possible exception of BLPs, these have the highest potential of causing real-world damage; and unlike BLPs, these tend to be much more disputed to the point that any non-medical person would have no way of recognizing the proper weight for the different opinions. A disclaimer like this has the effect of reducing this damage. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 09:27, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  6. --Andreas JN466 06:24, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  7. Aye. Malke 2010 (talk) 17:24, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  8. Scott talk 18:08, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  9. I don't care so much about the precise colour and shape of the banner, nor how we determine which articles it is placed on (that can improve over time). I do think we should have a prominent medical disclaimer at the top of the article, top of the infobox, or top of any section which suggest treatments. For a quick example of the types of problems, see Tear_gas#Home_remedies, where we document what reliable sources say have been used, without any medical advice about those treatments. John Vandenberg (chat) 13:44, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
  10. FiachraByrne (talk) 01:16, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
  11. Holdek (talk) 21:24, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Ian Furst: support Version A, oppose Version B[edit]

Disclaimer B appears to be the standard medico-legal disclaimer. I believe it does nothing to better inform the layperson reading the article, about the limitations of Wikipedia nor does it protect Wikipedia (or it's editors) any better than the general disclaimer.

As for disclaimer A;

  1. we know that people use the site for medical information, if not advice and we can't change that
  2. there is the real potential for malicious changes that could mislead someone
  3. the potential for harm is greater on medical articles than many other types of articles, especially if malicious editing is occurring unchecked.
  4. consideration should be given to adding the rating system to the box so people have some measure of the reliability of the article.
  1. Ian Furst (talk) 22:12, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. Endorse, with the exception of the fourth point. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:24, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
  3. Per Sandy. --Andreas JN466 02:03, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. Per Sandy. — Scott talk 12:35, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. Per Sandy. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 14:41, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  6. Per Sandy, and also, it does the reader a disservice to have a disclaimer pretending that the article's information has a similar reliability to medical sites that are at least vetted by someone. Holdek (talk) 21:29, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Late addition re C and D:

  • strongly disagree on version D. I think it is against the principals of Wikipedia to label anything (even stubs) as "not Wikipedia"). On the flip side, I've written an article that is technically good (that I'm an expert in the area of) but fails GA review, and seen FA articles that are good but, in my opinion give undue weight compared to what an expert might. GA and FA status are good guides but shouldn't be a deciding factor in anything being a wiki article. Also, it's Wikipedia, even if we make the decision today on the tag it can always be modified later as we get broader feedback and use.
  • oppose version C for same reasoning as version B Ian Furst (talk) 21:51, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Scott Martin: support version A[edit]

  1. What other websites do or do not do is irrelevant. Whether other publications have mistakes is irrelevant. We need to take responsibility for our own content in a manner that makes sense for this project in terms of both general audience and specialized readers of all types.
  2. Existing articles do not already have a warning. What they have is the word "Disclaimers", linking to Wikipedia:General disclaimer (still another click away from Wikipedia:Medical disclaimer), in the footer, in small type, very small type, in the middle of other equally small links. If it were not already difficult enough to even notice it in there, its position means that it is literally the last thing to read on the page. On a 1280x1084-pixel resolution display, the article cancer pain takes up thirteen whole screens, one and a half of which is purely references. The notion that a casual reader coming in from a Google search will read all the way through an article, past the references section, and then investigate the minute and unhelpful word "disclaimers" is... well, there are many ways that it could be described, but I'll go with at odds with reality. (Via WhatamIdoing on the talk page: the stats show that fewer than 100 users per day view the medical disclaimer, and about 2500 look at the general disclaimer. By comparison, both "About Wikipedia" and "Contact Wikipedia", which are on the same line as "Disclaimers" and in the same font size, get about 12,000 page views per day. Yet when put in the context of the entire English Wikipedia's current 287m views a day, these figures are revealed to be microscopic. The medical disclaimer may as well not even exist.)
  3. Time and again, the evidence (such as the news article quoted in this RFC) shows that people uncritically accept Wikipedia's content. We need to stop burying our heads in the sand, sit up, and take ownership of that understanding, which means educating our readers about the nature of what they are reading. This requires weighing the risks: of what some people are describing as "clutter" (an entirely subjective description) versus of allowing our readers to operate in ignorance. When the risk is merely of a reader being wrong about some general fact, warning them of such would present an unnecessary impediment to reading, as such a warning would need to be present on virtually every article. When the risk, however, is of readers causing actual physical harm, or possibly worse, uncritically propagating dangerously incorrect information that could cause such harm, the benefit of educating our readers vastly outweighs the "clutter" of an informational box at the start of an article.
  4. Version A is sufficiently educative, presenting both a link to our detailed medical disclaimer and our definition of high-quality medical sources. The latter is of value to readers as well as editors, as assessing source quality is a key skill in correctly using Wikipedia.
  1. Scott talk 13:33, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:31, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  3. Exactly; there is an onus of responsibility for what is written here, regardless of otherstuff. Ceoil (talk) 14:38, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 14:40, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. Well put. I'm amazed at the extent the public trusts Wikipedia. Trusting Wikipedia for articles on shoe polish is one thing; you may get a bad shoe shine. But medical and health articles are another matter entirely. Coretheapple (talk) 17:51, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  6. --Andreas JN466 07:23, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  7. Entirely valid. I wish the points here were false, but if we want to change public perception some notice is required. LFaraone 07:36, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  8. --Staberinde (talk) 13:58, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  9. Absolutely. I am particularly shocked that someone who is a physician has opined in this RFC that errors in medical information here are no big deal because they occur in other publications. Lankiveil (speak to me) 04:48, 4 January 2014 (UTC).
  10. Particularly because the current medical disclaimer is basically invisible, and the potential consequences of a misunderstanding are too dire. Neutron (talk) 00:53, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  11. Version A could be even stronger, but it's pretty good already. Alanl (talk) 08:43, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
  12. FiachraByrne (talk) 01:14, 16 January 2014 (UTC)
  13. Holdek (talk) 21:31, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

Scott Martin: oppose version C[edit]

Whatever appears needs to have a statement in plain English that can be read instantly, not just a bunch of links. The further away the message gets, the less it will be read. The link to the medical disclaimer should also not be surrounded by other links.

  1. Scott talk 21:48, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. too obscure. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 01:29, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  3. --Andreas JN466 07:23, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. -- Mangoe (talk) 02:57, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  5. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 03:59, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  6. TheDJ (talkcontribs) 18:57, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

NeilN: Support Version C[edit]

This would make sure links to disclaimers are more prominent and visible, immune to vandalism and suchlike. It would also address articles not specifically linked to medicine, but where medical topics are covered (e.g., the biography of a scientist). Finally, as all articles would have this header, legal and risk issues are also addressed. If technically possible, I propose that the bolding of some links be under the control of editors. For example, Medical disclaimer could be bolded by placing some hidden markup text in the article.

  1. --NeilN talk to me 20:12, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. With the qualification that while I'm not convinced a change is needed, this would be the way to do it. NeilN's optional bolding, by the way, could probably be accomplished in the same way that {{italic title}} works. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 22:13, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. Happily endorsing. --Hordaland (talk) 03:34, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  4. Holdek (talk) 21:32, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

User:WereSpielChequers proposal[edit]

As various people above have pointed out we have a problem, and ethically we should do more to minimise the risk of people coming to harm by overly trusting this site. But we need more than a disclaimer, and there are some other changes which I think could be worthwhile and might get consensus - though some would need their own RFC to flesh out the detail. Despite being an arch inclusionist, proud to have been described by a deletionist who'd met me in real life as a "hemp clad, sandal wearing, patchouli smoking inclusionist" I'm prepared to introduce a high minimum standard for what we treat as an article in this area. I think we could use a BLPprod type process to set a new defacto minimum for Medical articles, but with one crucial difference, with libel it doesn't matter whether info is in mainspace or not, but with a medical article we can be much more relaxed about drafts that are clearly marked as "not yet a Wikipedia article".

I'm also aware that medical claims occur all over the place, I've seen plant and funghi articles with claims that things are efficacious against various named conditions, so I think we need a broader approach to medical claims that like BLP is applied universally.

It seems obvious to me that we should enable flagged revisions across the site or broaden pending changes, but I am realistic enough to know that the EN community is not yet ready to implement the system that works on DE. However we have precedent with BLP that the community can empower admins to be liberal with protection if the subject area merits it.

I would be OK with some sort of a disclaimer, and B looks right to me, though clearly is insufficient for many. Version A looks to me too much like the sort of template that we put on articles with known problems, there is also something about it that jars, especially if it were to be on an article that we believed correct. So I propose:

  1. We implement a disclaimer with version B on medical articles of GA or FA standard and version A on C class and up to GA
  2. We redefine medical articles that haven't been assessed as at least C class as not yet a Wikipedia article, with a disclaimer D along the lines of "This draft is not yet a Wikipedia article, you are welcome to help improve it but do not read it as if it was a Wikipedia article". Ideally we should be noindexing mainspace articles that are not yet patrolled, and these should not be patrolled until they reach C class.
  3. We introduce a medical info policy similar to the BLP one about unsourced negative information on living people, with unsourced medical info in non medical articles in mainspace to be removed on sight.
  4. Similar to BLP violations, repeated addition of unsourced medical information to be a legitimate reason for admins to apply protection to articles.
  5. Similar to the removal of vandalism and BLP violations, removal of unsourced or improperly sourced medical claims should be exempt from the edit warring rule, providing you clearly communicate in your edit summary why the information has to go.
  1. ϢereSpielChequers 21:37, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. I still prefer the sterner template, but apart from that, I think these are excellent comments, especially a broader approach to medical claims. — Scott talk 21:43, 30 December 2013 (UTC) I also strongly agree with point 5 which WSC just added! — Scott talk 17:19, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
    • I need to add a caveat, following discussion on the talk page. While I do agree with these ideas, taken in the context of the development of this RFC, I believe they detract from the format by introducing an extra policy discussion. I ask WSC to withdraw this entire section and bring it up for discussion elsewhere, perhaps in its own RFC. — Scott talk 18:55, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
    The context of this RFC in my opinion is that few dispute that we have a problem, but consensus appears to be growing against the original proposals of a blanket disclaimer on all medical articles regardless of accuracy. In such circumstances we should be putting more effort into seeking alternative solutions that might achieve consensus support. Therefore it would in my view be a mistake to withdraw this proposal. ϢereSpielChequers 09:38, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. Some good ideas here. --Andreas JN466 07:25, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  4. Regarding 1 & 2, medical GAs and FAs are unreliable - less so than other med articles because they're subject to more scrutiny, but still written by anonymous, unaccountable mostly non-experts quite capable of seriously misunderstanding a source. So, I'd prefer to see option A on all of our current medical content. If an article has been reviewed for accuracy by three named subject-matter experts and locked until the next expert-reviewed update, then option B would be an appropriate disclaimer. I support 3, 4 & 5 unequivocally, but this is not the forum for that discussion. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 14:43, 31 December 2013 (UTC) Added afterthought 22:00, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  5. I'd prefer no disclaimer, but this is a much better idea than the advocated disclaimer - David Gerard (talk) 23:36, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  6. Per David Gerard. –Quiddity (talk) 21:24, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  7. This seems like the best solution to me. Robofish (talk) 00:07, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  8. Per Anthonyhcole. Holdek (talk) 22:44, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
  1. I do not think our quality classifications are reliable enough to be made the basis of anything. Once we start using them for this purpose we are in effect saying that some medical articles are relatively reliable, and I do not think we are really in a position to say that. 'DGG (at NYPL)' (talk) 19:28, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  1. Not really opposed completely, but I don't think we should say that articles are not articles. That's just confusing for all involved. Every article here is a "draft" if you want to get to brass tacks, don't muddy the water with weird abuse of terminology. Gigs (talk) 22:39, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Jbmurray: support version B[edit]

I guess somebody has to argue in favour of version B, and that somebody is me. I like the fact that it echoes the medical disclaimer (to which it links) so simply and clearly. I don't buy the general argument about clutter. And I don't buy the argument about redundancy, given that the disclaimers we have at present are so easily overlooked. Moreover, there seems some contradiction to claim (as some are doing) both that a disclaimer is redundant, because we already have one, and that a disclaimer is not needed at all. Finally, there also seems to be a tension between the claim that Wikipedia is mostly right, and the claim that nobody in fact believes that it's mostly right.

  1. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 07:02, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
  2. I like B as it clarifies the main issue is that the best is to see your doctor. I am uneasy selling wikipedia short vs other webpages etc. (by having a disclaimer where theirs don't) as I have seen plenty of gaffs in supposed Consensus statements. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 08:30, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Jbmurray: support version E, oppose modified version A[edit]

I also like version E, as I think I've mentioned elsewhere on this page. What I don't like about the modified version A (which is otherwise quite similar to version E), is that the prominent, bolded, text "Anyone can edit Wikipedia" looks more like an invitation (to edit) than a warning. The only change I'd suggest to version E is to change "observe" to "read": "Please read our medical disclaimer" is rather clearer and more to the point than "Please observe our medical disclaimer."

  1. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 19:21, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

View by Sportfan5000[edit]

Sometimes when I go to a website they'll have a pop-up ad that you have to click to get through. I could see a one-time per visit/log-in pop-up box that gave a very short Medical disclaimer notice similar to option B. It would pertain only to medical articles as already discussed and would be used in the most minimal way possible so there was a reasonable chance that new readers would see the disclaimer, and judge for themselves what to think.

  1. Sportfan5000 (talk) 08:34, 1 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. While it's better than nothing, pop-ups are annoying, and as a result "block pop-ups" is the default setting in at least three of the major browsers. Holdek (talk) 22:58, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

View by Alexbrn[edit]

As mentioned above, I support proposed version A on balance. In the longer-term I think this problem should also be addressed at source as well as at the point of consumption. When editing a BLP, prominent text appears above the edit box pointing at our BLP policies. I think when an editor edits a medical article, a similar kind of warning should appear pointing them at the relevant guidelines and policies applying to medical content.

  1. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 12:10, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. Ian Furst (talk) 01:14, 4 January 2014 (UTC) good point on the BLP precedent.
  3. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:33, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

View by olive[edit]

Support using A and B:

A and B are two different kinds of precautions. A refers to the fact that content may be changed at any time by anyone. B refers to the fact that Wikipedia cannot give medical advice, even if the article the advice is based on is a good one and information accurate. As long as we know medical students and physicians are using Wikipedia (heaven help us); we need precautions on both fronts. I would prefer two banners that may seem to be overkill rather than a medical, life-threatening mistake.(Littleolive oil (talk) 18:46, 2 January 2014 (UTC))

  1. (Littleolive oil (talk) 18:46, 2 January 2014 (UTC))
  2. Possibly we could tinker with the wording later to include both notions in one disclaimer, but for now, in the interests of just settling the question of disclaimer/no disclaimer, I'd prefer to focus on the few existing proposals. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:52, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

View by Od Mishehu[edit]

We definitely need a medical disclaimer, along the lines of A and B, at the top of any article or section about a medical topic.

Medical articles have a much higher potential for causing real-world harm than any other article, with the possible exception of BLPs. However, BLPs are much easier to deal with - a non-expert user can learn to recognize what a reliable source is, and make sure that all information in a BLP article is sourced by such sources. Medical information, on the other hand, is much more difficult for a non-medical person to deal with - a medical article could have been written by a non-mainstream doctor; it may be outdated; and so on. It's quite likely that our "best" medical articles were written primarily by a single doctor in the field (perhaps with non-professionals adding information, and the medical person possibly making sure that they're in line with his/her opinions); we wouldn't know.

We take special steps (such as being extra quick with the "Protect" button) for BLPs to prevent Wikipediua from being sued for damages; medical articles are also high risk - and possibly even higher - and the standard steps for BLPs are likely to be ineffective. A disclaimer will go a long way to deal with that.

  1. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 19:59, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. I'm not sure of legal liability or that Wikipedia being sued is the concern, but I generally agree that we should take medical content as seriously as we do BLPs. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:23, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:34, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  4. Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:59, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

View by Collect[edit]

Version A is close - but the second line does not actually strengthen the disclaimer.

Do not rely on Wikipedia articles for medical advice

Is sufficient and accurate for the purpose. And about as non-weaselly as possible.

  1. Collect (talk) 13:42, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. KillerChihuahua 19:28, 4 January 2014 (UTC) Simplist is best.
  3. (Littleolive oil (talk) 00:03, 5 January 2014 (UTC)) This is better than two disclaimers and covers all of the ground needed. (Littleolive oil (talk) 00:03, 5 January 2014 (UTC))
  4. I can live with this. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:57, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  5. Simple, straightforward, gets the point across. I like it. (I also support Version A.) Neutron (talk) 00:22, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

View by Fomerip[edit]

The proposals are undoubtedly well-intentioned, but I think they just represent an extension of the muddled thinking they purport to remedy. There has been for too long, it is said, an attitude among some Wikipedians that they just provide information as best they are able and they have no collective responsibility for how people use it (hence Wikipedia's historic aversion to disclaimers). I have some sympathy with this view, but I do not think it would be an adequate answer to create a notice simply saying, in a roundabout way: "we just provide information as best we are able and we have no collective responsibility for how people use it". This is about as useful as "third left, but please note I have no formal direction-giving qualifications" and about as likely to influence behviour as "this product may contain traces of nuts".

If it is right that we should take action regarding the content of articles of medical topics, then there are two obvious types of action to take:

  • A: Action to improve the quality of our coverage of medical topics;
  • B: Action to discourage readers from relying on our coverage of medical topics.

However, (B) is analogous to issuing a health warning ("each week, three people die from reading this article"), and should not be confused with:

  • C: Action hoping to transfer responsibility for the accuracy or otherwise of content from editors to readers,

which is what I think the above proposals mainly represent.

Proposal A is slightly better than proposal B, in that it at least attempts to point to some information. But both, in my view, are flawed at a fundamental level. To some extent, I agree with User:WereSpielChequers, in that a disclaimer in isolation is insufficient. But I would go further. It is actually a negative proposal without accompanying action, because in that case it is an alternative to action. Even with accompanying action, it is a negative, because it will **inevitably** lead to a drop in the quality of articles on medical topics. This may be a small drop or a large drop, but there is no way to guard against any drop because, here and there, the sentiment "it's OK, we're covered by a disclaimer" will **inevitably** seep through the proposed fissure.

To be clear, I may be willing to support even very radical action in this area. But I think these proposals are wrong-headed and do not offer a realistic prospect of improving the encyclopaedia. Formerip (talk) 01:20, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. Formerip (talk) 01:20, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

View by User TheDJ[edit]

I'm not so much a fan of these disclaimers (BLPs next I presume?) but if we do add them I'd much rather prefer something like

Demonstrated in an article here or something like the Dutch Wikipedia has.

Esculaap     Neem het voorbehoud bij medische informatie in acht.
Raadpleeg bij gezondheidsklachten een arts.

Demonstrated here


  • Understandable text is more useful than a link bar like C.
  • Some have stated that we already have disclaimer amboxes, which is the design also used for proposals A, B and D. This is somewhat true. What is important to remember though is that these are highly temporal, their presence for longer than a few weeks is unlikely. This disclaimer will be distinctly different in that regard. mboxes are also somewhat designed with the maintenance nature in mind and thus try not to totally distract from the content, especially when having multiple of them, instead using colors to communicate part of the information.
  • The colored left border is MADE for stacking, as is the lack of vertical margins between amboxes and the common width of the ambox templates. Designs that deviate from that, which A, B and D all do, break the ambox design. They don't 'fit' on purpose but because of that also 'pollute' and confuse the ambox usage.
  • So what we want is to 'be different', because this is a distinct message type with a different nature. It is a permanent and important part of the page and thus should be unobtrusive yet firm. The usage of fullwidth or a more spacious design as the Dutch variant has, allows for this distinction.

I consider neither of the above designs as definitive proposals, but my view would be that any disclaimer banner should be more distinct in design from amboxes than A, B, D

  1. TheDJ (talkcontribs) 18:55, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. This version would be acceptable to me, as would A or C. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:41, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. This would work for me. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 00:07, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  4. This banner definitely fits the need I expressed above, as it is specficly about the medical accuracy issue. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 16:56, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  5. Distinctiveness is probably going to be essential to minimize banner blindness issues. — Scott talk 18:10, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  6. Yes, that is prettier. I suspect that some editors are objecting to disclaimer A on purely aesthetic grounds. Though I would prefer an explicit mention of "Anyone can edit"/"This article may have been written by lay persons"/etc. in a disclaimer note using this type of design. Andreas JN466 13:07, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
  7. Yes. Per Andreas' comment. Its easy enough to add something like this (with a slight change to the above banner):(Littleolive oil (talk) 15:19, 8 January 2014 (UTC)) Anyone can edit Wikipedia articles. In case of health problems seek the advice of a medical professional.
  8. I like the look of this and can live with the message - but prefer the language of A. Most decent medical websites have a disclaimer like this. We're not like most sites, though. Readers need to be told that any idiot or psychopath could have inserted dangerous misinformation into what they're reading. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 02:38, 9 January 2014 (UTC) Expanded 06:33, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
  9. Yes this is what I want. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:57, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  10. I like the wording of this one - it gets the point across in a clear, calm manner. Mark D Worthen PsyD 19:57, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  11. Best. It is a good reminder, yet it is unobtrusive, in that it is something many would expect on an internet article, and it does not clutter with "how to edit advice" Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:25, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
  12. If this route is taken, the actual medical disclaimer should be more explicit. Medical articles will be consulted by people who aren't in an ideal state of mind to recognize fine shades of meaning. We have a duty of care to such readers. The disclaimer must make it clear that, at worst, an article could contain misleading, incorrect or out-of-date claims ostensibly supported by valid references. - Pointillist (talk) 00:47, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
  13. Chris Troutman (talk) 03:40, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

View by Anomie: general disclaimer in sidebar[edit]

I reject options A, B, and D because they all single out some type of article that is "more deserving" of a disclaimer than others. This is not necessary, and our primary disclaimer is WP:General disclaimer in recognition of this. Singling out certain articles for disclaimers will just lead to fighting over whether some article is within the scope of those needing disclaimers and so on.

I also reject option C, because quite frankly I don't see the need to plaster links to 5 different disclaimers that all say basically the same thing at the top of every article. It'll just be another thing to clutter the article-reading interface, that the people who this RFC is concerned with "protecting" will probably ignore anyway.

The complaint that WP:General disclaimer is less visible (as shown by page views) than WP:About or WP:Contact us is valid, but the reason for this is also clear: these other pages are in the sidebar (in the "interaction" section). And whenever I'm looking for a link to the disclaimers, that's where I always look first before remembering it's at the bottom of the page. So if anything, let's just put a "Disclaimers" link in the sidebar (either in "interaction" or "navigation") instead of trying to shove banners into the tops of articles.

  1. Anomie 20:46, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:51, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. Cirt (talk) 22:03, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
  4. I could live with this - David Gerard (talk) 10:18, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  5. I could accept this also. I agree with Anomie about not singling out particular article for specific disclaimers. DES (talk) 14:42, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  6. I also think this could work. Acer (talk) 16:10, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  7. That's a good idea. If there's any shortage of real estate, I see no reason not to demote "Random article" to an item under "Contents" (which already contains other lists that would be more deserving of sidebar space). Wnt (talk) 22:51, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  8. Putting disclaimers in the sidebar is an excellent idea. Should have been done years ago. (By that I mean all the disclaimers, not just a medical one. Nobody sees them at the bottom; remove them from there.)Hordaland (talk) 19:46, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
    Note my view is to just add one link (to Wikipedia:General disclaimer) to the sidebar, not five. Anomie 21:19, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
    That's what I'm supporting - David Gerard (talk) 23:43, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
  9. This is a reasonable suggestion. I would also add a disclaimers link to the nav bar at the top of About Wikipedia, and maybe add a section to Wikipedia FAQ answering "Can I rely on Wikipedia for advice on medical, legal, safety, and other critical issues?"--agr (talk) 03:16, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    Great ideas! Wnt (talk) 16:26, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
    I've made those suggestions at Wikipedia talk:About and Wikipedia talk:FAQ. Further discussions should go there.--agr (talk) 17:04, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
    Absent any objections, I have made changes to Wikipedia:About and Wikipedia:FAQ that call attention to our disclaimers. I also added links to our medical disclaimer in Category:Medicine and Category:Health care and to our legal disclaimer in Category:Law.--agr (talk) 05:13, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
  10. Sounds like a good idea. If privacy policy is also put there, we can also completely get rid of that whole line of tiny links at the bottom that nobody ever sees. --WS (talk) 22:15, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
  11. I also reject A-D and agree that there is no reason to single out medical articles for a specific disclaimer. If anything, misinformation in medical articles poses a lower risk to layman readers than misinformation in other types of articles, since significant medical interventions are almost always carried out by trained professionals. AxelBoldt (talk) 01:46, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
  12. Making the link more prominent sounds like a first good step before we start sticking banners everywhere. Legoktm (talk) 11:40, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
  13. I support duplicating the disclaimer banner in the sidebar, without prejudice against any other proposal. If people are looking for it there, then let's try putting it there. If we decide that we don't like it, we can always pull it out again. WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:54, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

View by ArnoldReinhold[edit]

I oppose this proposal for the following reasons:

  1. Medicine is not the only topic area on Wikipedia where bad information can put peoples lives in danger.
  2. We already have a disclaimer. Adding a second one to certain articles might be interpreted as showing we do not believe our existing disclaimer is adequate.
  3. Excessive disclaimers make more specific warnings less effective. When everything carries a warning, no one is warned.
  4. Unlike much published medical information, Wikipedia requires sourcing, and provides links to the source that readers can check. And we don't take ads.
  5. If we want to do something that could make a difference, how about a system for reviewing such articles on a regular basis, with a link to the reviewed version that readers can compare by diff to the current version? I have a suggestion along these lines at Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab)/Archive 12#Wikipedia checkpoint edition
  1. agr (talk) 17:23, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. David Gerard (talk) 20:46, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. These are all great ideas! :) — Cirt (talk) 04:26, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
  4. Just the last point, on its face. (Some of the details in the VP proposal need tweaking). I disagree with the first four points (the "she'll be right, it'll never happen/if they are so stupid as to think we're reliable or are too lazy to read all the links in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page, find the one called disclaimers, click it, then click the "Medical disclaimer" link and read it, they deserve to suffer or die" position. I'd go further than Arnold's last point, actually. Articles should be locked in their reviewed state and worked on in Wikipedia:Drafts space, and the draft update should go live only after it has been reviewed for accuracy by three or more named, highly-regarded independent and independently-selected subject-matter experts. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 04:34, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
    Threaded discussion moved to RFC talk page
  5. I have significant reservations on the last point, but would endorse the first 4 withotu hesitation. DES (talk) 22:12, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Note: Additional discussion has been moved to talk page.

Support medical disclaimer (King jakob c 2)[edit]

I'm not a common participant with medical articles, but I am aware of the fact that severe physical harm or death can result from relying on the medical articles. Thus, I support the proposal to include medical disclaimers in articles that are not Good or Featured (because GAs and FAs are typically checked for inaccuracy). I also propose Version G. This version is fairly short and to the point, like the other proposals, but has the added advantage of being similar to existing article message boxes so it won't clash with them in an ugly way. I apologize if I am doing something wrong here; I haven't provided a viewpoint in an RFC before.

--Jakob (talk) 17:34, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. As proposer. --Jakob (talk) 17:34, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. I like the "content is not vetted" wording. Perhaps it should say "not necessarily vetted", but something along those lines is a good thing to tell readers. Andreas JN466 22:17, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Oppose version D (King jakob c 2)[edit]

Version D is flat-out misleading. Start-class and stub-class articles are real articles. Anything in mainspace is a real article, not a draft. --Jakob (talk) 17:34, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. --Jakob (talk) 17:34, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

View by Konveyor Belt: Oppose Version D[edit]

Version D is a mistake that should be avoided. This effectively classifies Stud and Start class articles as drafts, which of course they are not. Some stubs just stay stubs because of a lack of detailed information about them. Not every stub and start class will become a FA. We have 20,000 stub and start classes, and to have such a tag on all those articles is a breach of established consensus and an eyesore. To put templates on medical articles is fine, but to put them on all articles will have to be done by a bot and is disruptive. KonveyorBelt 00:57, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. as nom. KonveyorBelt 00:57, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
  2. If any disclaimer is placed, it cannot be placed by bot without absurdities. We have enough boilerplate that people's eyes just pass over - David Gerard (talk) 08:23, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
  3. per nom. Chris Troutman (talk) 03:38, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Konveyor Belt: Support Version A[edit]

This one emphasizes the "anyone can edit nature of Wikipedia, and encourages you to help. It also points you specifically to the Medicine RS guidelines. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Konveyor Belt: Oppose Version modified A[edit]

As too vague. It does not say that anyone wrote this article, and it does not encourage changing the article. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Konveyor Belt: Support B[edit]

As simplistic. It does not say the anyone can edit stuff, but it is visually muted and not a lare eyesore on articles. If any template were to be added, I'd have to say it would be this one, for it is the most pratical. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Konveyor Belt: Oppose C[edit]

As TOO bland. If we want a medical dislaimer we ought to make sure everybody sees it. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Konveyor Belt: Oppose F[edit]

Too simple, and does not contain a link to the disclaimer, which could be a legal issue. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

  1. KonveyorBelt 17:27, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

View by User name[edit]

INSERT view here ...

  1. <Sign>



Regarding Lesion's point 3, "The lead of articles is already cluttered. I am surprised to see some die hard opponents of infoboxes campaign for more clutter," I am not a "die hard opponent of infoboxes", but I oppose them when their format furthers inaccurate information. Additionally, they are often full of uncited factoids that are better covered in the article (or should be covered in the article). As in problematic medical content, infoboxes can be a source of inaccurate information. When I oppose them, it's not because of "clutter"; it's because they further inaccurate information. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:44, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

I am an opponent of clutter, specifically templates, but especially the many templates which are more for maintenance than informing the reader. Template bombing is a serious problem on the pedia, and the profusion of unimportant templates detracts from those that matter, it also promotes the transition from the SoFixIt culture of our heyday to the SoTemplateItInTheHopeThatSomeoneElseWillFixIt culture that we have been reduced to. But if a template is genuinely important, and I can accept these as such, then we should make an exception for it. But ideally as a series of declining obtrusiveness, so the better the article the less in your face the template we use. ϢereSpielChequers 15:00, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

IMO the "clutter" aspect could be reduced (but not eliminated) with careful design. For example, someone in a previous discussion suggested putting the disclaimer inside {{Infobox disease}}, rather than in the middle of maintenance templates. Banner blindness is a significant problem, and thoughtful design might be able to reduce that, too. (All of that assumes that we decide to do this in the first place.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:06, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Version D discussion[edit]

See talk discussion

Version D was a late addition, with no prior discussion, that gained no support and plenty of opposition. Considering several requests on talk that it be withdrawn because if was complicating the RFC, with no response yet from the editor who posted it, I have commented it out.[9] If someone objects, it can be reinstated (pls discuss on talk). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:07, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

As six editors other than myself have so far endorsed my view, though I think one or more may not may not have endorsed that part of my proposal, I have uncommented disclaimer D. ϢereSpielChequers 09:19, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
They have endorsed your view, which is not the disastrous Version D you put up. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:58, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

I agree that version D is out of scope of the discussion and must be removed: it is not about article quality gradation. Regardless its quality we may or may not need a disclaimer. (I have not decided yet on the isuue.) Putting several issues into one bottle produces confused and unnecessarily prolongs discussion.

If one is willing, we can have a separate discussion whether lower-level articles need a (separate) disclaimer. Staszek Lem (talk) 02:05, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

It would be nice, then, if someone removed Version D again; it is unclear to me what is going on in WSC's mind, to put up a complicated version that is tangential to this RFC, and then to claim it has support because a few people supported his view, which is unrelated to this messy version. Users coming to an RFC should not have to sort through four options, one of which has no support and had no prior discussion. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:10, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Discussion at User talk:Jimbo Wales[edit]

Syndicated publishing[edit]

Interesting point I just realized. A large amount of our 'views' now come trough 3rd parties like google and Facebook and never physically reach us. We can't control what these parties do with these kind of disclaimers. They are allowed to fully and wholly ignore them as long as they don't violate the CC license. Based what they have done so far with presentation they are quite likely to strip such a banner. The interesting part is that users still consider these entry points to be 'Wikipedia', they care about the content, not who is showing it to them. If a large group of users who don't know to not trust Wikipedia is getting their answers from a fragment on Google or Facebook, does it really still matter if we put up a Disclaimer so prominently on our pages ? I'm not sure how big the division is between these two reader groups, but we should be careful to engage in navel staring, if the big problem is the rest of the body. Do we have numbers/guesses on this ? —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 16:11, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

We - and ultimately the Wikimedia Foundation - are responsible for what happens here. A great many people still read our medical pages.
Google "knowledge panels" (infoboxes) on medical terms seem to take from the US National Library of Medicine when they have the option;[10][11] and when they don't have that option, they tend to leave the "knowledge panel" off medical search results.[12][13] I'd like us to be the kind of source Google will trust with medical information. --Anthonyhcole 05:41, 10 January 2014 (UTC) Afterthought 18:37, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

Modified Version A from SandyGeorgia support[edit]

Moved from SandyGeorgia: support Version A
@Adrian J. Hunter: that's an excellent suggestion. "Anyone can edit Wikipedia" is what distinguishes version A. I think version E's exhortation to seek professional advice is more important than calling for better sources. The link for further information should be explicit (e.g. More...) rather than being hyperlinked to "Do not rely on it", and the box should probably be full width. Putting all those together would produce something like the layout below. What do you think? - Pointillist (talk) 09:02, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Information icon4.svg Anyone can edit Wikipedia. Do not rely on it for medical advice: in case of health problems you should seek the advice of a medical professional.  [more...]
I agree that E's exhortation is more pertinent than a link to WP:MEDRS, which really belongs in an edit notice. The first and third parts of your layout make the second part redundant, permitting more concise wording. I don't see any advantage hiding the disclaimer link behind more... rather than being truly explicit. Thus:
(This should probably be moved to talk or a separate section.) Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 13:07, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
I've added a Modified Version A, and added an Oppose to version E in support of its improved derivative, modified version A. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:27, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Proposed version F[edit]

Can you label

Do not rely on Wikipedia articles for medical advice

As a "version F" please -- it is short, to the point, and requires little elucidation, and less linkage. Thanks. Collect (talk) 16:36, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

I'm not following your request: are you suggesting an entirely new proposal, with no links to any disclaimer? If that is your proposal, I don't think (could be wrong), that would garner any support, so we'll end up with more of a mess (as in Versions B and D, which have no support) to be sorted by the poor admin who has to close this mess. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your proposal? Could you first add a view to see if your idea has any support? I've added new proposals as they get some traction. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:47, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
As I already proposed it above, adding it a second time seems silly -- several editors evinced support even without any "primary official listing" for it. I suggest it is sufficiently strong that the link to the "boilerplate disclaimer(which no one actually reads nor understands)" is not important. It is a flat out Do Not Rely message. Cheers. Collect (talk) 16:51, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, Collect, now I see that (hard to keep up with this mess :) Would you mind giving it some kind of formatting, so I know what you want added? It's just a sentence now (which may explain why I missed it). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:29, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Put in any convenient small box in any bold sanserif font of medium size at the top of any page remotely connected to health or medical issues. Heck - it could go at the top of every page if that is simpler. Real people do not even read the "shrinkwrap agreements" in this world - so a simple and strong statement should actually be of more benefit to more people than is a convoluted "official disclaimer" which people can certainly be directed to by the general "terms of service". the "medical disclaimer" page has a readability index of 26, and 89% of all Wikipedia articles are easier to read. It has a "grade level" score of about 14.5, and the people we are trying to protect are not the ones who can make heads nor tails of it. Cheers. Collect (talk) 17:41, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Would you mind formatting it? I have not built any of these myself ... formatting these boxes is not my strong point, and I've only copied in what others have done. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:44, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

Do not rely on Wikipedia articles for medical advice.

Is a simple theft from proposal A's box. Collect (talk) 17:47, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

OK, done-- is it OK with you if I move this discussion now to talk, to make things easier on the closer, or do you prefer that it stay here? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:06, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Copy the salient material is the best course. At this point, the Medical disclaimer page is viewed a total of 80 times a day -- mainly by bots in all likelihood. Figure 20 "real users" per day. Phrenology is viewed 800 times per day. Figure 740 "real users" per day. The math is clear. The clearer the disclaimer on the page viewed, the more likely it is that a person will heed it, IMO. Collect (talk) 18:52, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.