Talk:Juice Plus/Archive 5

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Mediation

Folks, this is not a case of vandalism or disruptive editing, this is a difference of opinion. No one here is acting in bad faith. We all want a good article. There are just differences of opinion as to what "good" means. But please, you're not going to get the changes that you want into the article, by edit-warring about it. All that does is make everyone look bad. The key to working on articles at Wikipedia, is to build consensus, as such:

  • Stop the edit-warring
  • Stop referring to other editors as vandals. No one here is acting in bad faith, it's just a difference of opinion
  • Stop referring to other editors as disruptive. No one here is acting in bad faith, it's just a difference of opinion.

To get past this impasse, my strong recommendation is to proceed to the next step of Wikipedia:Dispute resolution, which is formal mediation. This will allow us to seek the participation of a neutral mediator, and everyone can have their say. I've had good luck with mediation in the past -- I've seen people go into it with profound mistrust, but come out with a compromise version of the article that is acceptable to both sides, and an improved spirit of cooperation all around. So please, I strongly recommend that we do this. But, it will only work if everyone is willing to mediate. If any of the key participants refuse, the mediation will be rejected.

So, who is with me? Who is willing to join mediation on this issue? If you would like to participate, please indicate below. If all the key participants agree, I'll file the paperwork. Elonka 15:59, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

  • Agree to mediation. --Elonka 15:59, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Agree to (and welcome) mediation. TraceyR 23:31, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Undecided/Possible Yes. I have mixed feelings about mediation. First, I am deeply disappointed that some of the editors involved in this dispute have requested escalating to mediation when other avenues for resolution had not been pursued. I don’t see that any effort was made on the part of those who deleted the AE section to engage in dialog on the issues that were raised. Rather they chose to simply delete content and wrongly claim that a consensus supported the decision without elaborating or providing reasonable justification. That is not consensus building. If I was being asked to mediate this dispute, I would be struck by the reluctance of these editors to provide justification and to discuss the issues reasonably on the talk page. Secondly, according to my understanding, the next logical step in resolving the dispute should have been a request for comment (WP:RFC), not a request for mediation. It has been repeatedly pointed out that we should request input from outside editors but those requests were completely ignored. Lastly, and most importantly, nobody has yet properly framed the issue that we are asking mediation to solve. As I see it, the most pressing issue is to stop the arbitrary deletion of content and bypassing of WP policy and guidelines. To address that issue, I will happily agree to mediation. If we are to discuss issues of content then I would agree to mediation if the issues could be exposed to a wider audience of editors, but I think that a closed mediation cabal would not result in a fair resolution. In either case, I reiterate my disappointment that simpler preliminary steps toward resolution were not pursued by the other parties involved in this dispute. Although I am happy that the page has been locked because I think a 5-day rest will provide a much needed respite from the edit warring. Thanks admins! Rhode Island Red 02:03, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Agree to mediation. I'm one of the editors who has been quite vocal in my plea for outside opinions so the suggestion is like manna from heaven.Citizen Don 07:06, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Mediation requested

The mediation request has been filed, at Wikipedia:Requests for mediation/Juice Plus.

  • I would appreciate if all named parties could go to that page, and signify that you agree with mediation, by entering the word Agree in the appropriate place at the bottom of the page.
  • The "issues to mediate" are a starting point only, and may change as mediation progresses.
  • Please do not change the "issues to mediate" section, but you are free to add additional items in the "Additional issues to mediate" section
  • Please do not add any other comments on the mediation page, or the mediation may be rejected.
  • If other editors would like to join the mediation, you may do so. Just add your name to the List of Parties, and indicate your agreement at the bottom of the page.

If there are any other questions, please feel free to post them at the mediation talkpage, or ask them here. Good luck! --Elonka 01:08, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Comments on mediation request

Red, it's just not helpful for you to phrase your comments as, "It's the other editors' fault." For example, the other side could just as easily come back and say, "It's all Red's fault, he keeps violating WP:OWN". But neither statement is going to help us reach a compromise. As for an RfC, we've already done that, for example I posted to Wikipedia:WikiProject Chemicals in February, and we've gotten attention from editors at the COI Noticeboard. If you want to file another RfC though, no one is stopping you, go right ahead. I'd recommend a listing either at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Economy, trade, and companies or Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Maths, science, and technology, list whatever you want. As for mediation, I'm not sure what you mean by a "closed mediation cabal." MedCab is an informal mediation process, but that's not what I'm suggesting -- I'm proposing full out formal mediation. The problem with MedCab is that it's really the luck of the draw as to what kind of mediator you get -- it's often just some random editor who popped in, who may not have any idea what mediation is about, and I don't think that would be a good idea for our situation. With formal mediation though, we get someone with more experience. As for whether it's open or closed, that's usually up to the participants. I have no preference on that. --Elonka 02:41, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

I am not assigning blame I am merely pointing out that you and Matthew made no attempt to discuss the issues. An edit war should come as no surprise when one chooses to ignore reasonable comments and bypass discussion on the talk page. It's a rather obvious, basic step in reolving disputes and it is unfortunate that this was not pursued. I don't see how one can justify going straight to mediation when they have not even attempted to reply to comments made in good faith by other editors. If it is normal to skip disucssion and instead request mediation, then that might be what we will have to do, but it doesn't seem like proper procedure from what I know of WP:DR. Rhode Island Red 02:53, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Red, I can't speak for Matthew, but this Juice Plus talkpage is currently at #2 on my list of "talkpages where Elonka has spent her time on Wikipedia."[1] And I've participated in a lot of talkpages over the years. To say that I haven't engaged in discussion, is absurd. It's not that I haven't participated, it's just that I'm not agreeing with you as much as you'd like.  ;) --Elonka 03:01, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
I don’t want to bicker with you, but obviously the reference to not participating in the discussion refers specifically to your failure to reply to comments. You only responded by curtly claiming that your position was supported by a consensus without elaborating or answering to the detailed comments that were repeatedly posted. As a footnote, to your previous post, I don’t see how an RfC in February is relevant to the current issue about the AE section, which only arose last week. Two editors specifically asked that additional outside editors should be recruited prior to deletion of this longstanding content, but the request was ignored. Mediation is supposed to be invoked when all other methods have failed, but these other methods were not even attempted in this case. Rhode Island Red 03:11, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Red, if you want another RfC, file one. No one is stopping you. --Elonka 03:14, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
I just might file an RfC, but since the page is now locked, I'd really like to take advantage and have a breather from Juice Plus for a couple of days. Rhode Island Red 03:46, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
We have a long weekend ahead of us and the page is locked for 5 days. How about we all take advantage and enjoy not having to talk about Juice Plus for a few days…consider it a holiday ceasefire. When we resume in a few days, we might even want to go back to the negotiating table and discuss the AE section in more detail. At the very least that would help us to frame the issues more clearly, which, if we can’t reach a compromise, would be helpful if we need to go for an RfC or mediation. Rhode Island Red 04:02, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
El I, as a prominent member of the scientific community who has proven the efficacy of Juice Plus+, want to laud you on your efforts to ensure that our product is presented in a positive light. We have been watching your efforts and edits and you have delivered on all accounts. Please let us know if we can assist you in any way and keep up the fight! I am sure we will be able to get the criticism section changed as soon as well. We have been working on an entirely new edit which we will post when you remove the protection. I am sure you will like our version very well. Thank you very much for your stand against RIR and his attempts to discredit our fine product. Dr sears 03:07, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, thanks, but my goal isn't to present the product in a positive light, I just want the Wikipedia article to present a balanced view, with both positive and negative elements included in a fair way. I'm not here "against RIR", I think he's done a lot of great work on the article, and I actually think the current Criticism section looks pretty good - what changes would you like though? Also, might I ask which studies that you have been involved with, which proved the efficacy of JP? And lastly, do you have any photos of the product which could be used in the article? It would be nice if we could get an image with actual photographer approval, rather than having to rely on a Fair Use image off of a webpage. --Elonka 03:41, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, I have spent hours and hours going over the studies and tried to suggest improvements and guess what the end result has been: Zip, Zero, Zilch. Just discussions that go in circles and responses that inundate you with technical detail and obscure the true issues. It lead to exasperation and in the case of many editors, they give up. Please make sure this horrible cycle does not continue and follow through with the mediation request. We all know you are an impartial voice here and that is why your assistance is so badly needed and appreciated.Citizen Don 07:28, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Citizen Don, please focus your comments on specific content issues rather than merely praising or denigrating the editors who are working on this article. Personal messages like this should be posted on user pages, not the talk page. Rhode Island Red 00:46, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, I'll second Citizen Don's comment. Together, Citizen Don, TracyR and I will remain united and stand with you to ensure that there is a consensus on this page to promote a fair and balanced view of our product. We do not see the need for a criticism section and feel that this page grossly misrepresents the vast majority of scientific work which supports the credibility of JP+. If we don't change this quickly, many folks could be misinformed and remain ill without the nutritive value JP+ provides. I don't think anyone wants that on their conscience . . . Dr sears 00:36, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
We strongly suspected that user Dr sears is not Dr. William Sears, who is a spokesperson and distributor for Juice Plus [2][3][4]. We had some incidents with this user last year when they tried to add some unsubstantiated marketing claims (putting it kindly) to the article [5][6][7][8] and we strongly suspected that the user is masquerading as the Dr. Sears. This user also left threats on my userpage [9]. If they are not Dr. William Sears, then their username is in violation of WP:U [10]. If this user is actually the Dr. Sears, then they have a COI and should not be contributing to the article or participating in deletion discussion as per WP:COI. Rhode Island Red 01:35, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Red, I recommend that you re-read WP:COI. Sears, whoever he is, is welcome to participate on the talkpage no matter what his background. The "deletion discussions" phrasing from WP:COI is more directed at article deletions, and even there, those with a COI are still allowed to participate, they're just advised to do so cautiously. As for his username, there are many people named "Dr. Sears". Even Dr. William Sears has 3 or 4 sons who are also doctors. I do agree that if Dr sears (talk · contribs) has a financial relationship with the Juice Plus product, that he shouldn't be editing the article. But talkpage comments are fine. --Elonka 07:57, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Look, who cares who this guy is -- he brings up a very valid point: Consensus depends on who is looking at the page at a given time. Elonka, I am a minor wikipedia player, but this makes no sense to me. Truth here is determined by whatever folks show up on the discussion page? Arguments don't matter -- just consensus? We are critizing an editor since they include too much detail in their responses? Trying to delete their content because of a possible negative bias towards a product? What is going on here? Been out of the loop, but this borders on insane. Is Wikipedia moving into the marketing business where a team of corporate sponsors can show up, build consensus and say whatever they want to? Tbbooher 02:08, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Obviously, I agree with Tbooher. There are serious conduct and COI issues at stake here. WP is not a majoritocracy.[11] Consensus building involves going over details and not merely echoing “me too” on the call to delete content. As I have tried to point out, a consensus did not exist when this material was deleted. Had no one objected to the deletion of the content, then the deletion might be defended, but when other editors argue against deletion and restore the deleted content, as they have in this case, the issues have to be worked out on the talk page. At the time the material was first deleted, 2 editors, me included, had commented against deletion. [12][13], and 2 more have commented since.[14][15] No attempt was made to address the comments on the talk page or to seek additional input form outside editors prior to deletion. Since this was long-standing content, those who favor deletion should have made a supporting case first, rather than deleting first an then attempting to build a weak concensus after the fact. Rhode Island Red 02:36, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
At this time, it is clear that the consensus is to not include the "Adverse Effects" section. As for consensus-building, you are correct that it's not a matter of a quantity of editors saying, "me too." Discussion is required. But at the same time, one or two editors disagreeing with the consensus, does not invalidate the consensus. In these types of situations, it is quite common for there to be a general consensus of opinion held by a majority of editors, with a minority of editors who strongly disagree with that consensus. What is important in that process, is that the concerns of the minority editors are listened to in a respectful manner, and that options are given careful consideration, with an eye towards finding a compromise position. Sometimes, however, it just won't be possible to please everyone, and the consensus will end up being something that a minority of editors still vehemently protest. In that case, it may be necessary to proceed to another step of Dispute Resolution. In this particular case about the Adverse Effects section, consensus looks pretty clear to me, but as a gesture of good faith, I and other editors as listed above are willing to take the issue to a neutral mediator. This seems the best option to me at this time, unless someone can come up with some other idea for a possible compromise. --Elonka 07:57, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, there was no consensus when the AE section was first deleted, and there is no consensus for deletion now. As I have said before, repeatedly, consensus does not involve merely saying “me too” but rather providing solid rationale for proposed changes and participating in discussions with other editors whose opinions conflict with yours. To support a decision to delete this section, you would need to convince the editing community that every reference in the section does not meet with WP policy. So far, you have not even remotely done so. It is plainly evident that no consensus currently exists to support removal of the AE section; it does not even seem that a loose majority favor such action. Aside from me, 3 other editors have disagreed with your decision to arbitrarily delete this content;[16][17][18] one of whom is an admin and felt the need to lock the page to prevent the content from being deleted. [19] Of the editors who now seem to support deletion, none have provided a rationale and instead have merely echoed “me-too” in support of deletion. Matthew has yet to provide a single comment of substance to defend his repeated deletion of the AE section. User:Citizen Don has yet to comment on any of the references in the AE section so far in this discussion. In the thread which discusses your proposal to delete, TraceyR commented on only one of the 5 references in the AE section. Dr Sears has not commented on any of the specific details underlying this issue, and there are possible COI issues with this user. No other editors have left comments on the talk page supporting deletion of the AE section. It is painfully obvious that no consensus was, or has been, established to delete this content. Since this content has been in place for roughly 3 months, it needs to be restored and an appropriate discussion initiated, with input from additional NPOV editors if needed. I hope that this clarifies the status of this issue. Rhode Island Red 01:17, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
RIR, who is this "we"? Are you admitting to being a role account? Matthew 08:24, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Matthew: No, obviously “we” did not refer to a “role account”. It referred to me and the other editors that commented on user "Dr. Sears", all of whom were cited in my previous post. This should have been obvious and did not warrant such an inflammatory comment. Please don’t try to generate controversy where none exists, as it doesn’t help us to improve the article or achieve a resolution . Rhode Island Red 00:41, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I would like to make it very clear to all that I dissociate myself from an earlier contribution from Dr Sears, in which he stated that "Together, Citizen Don, TracyR and I will remain united and stand with you to ensure that there is a consensus on this page to promote a fair and balanced view of our product." He has no right to speak for me, nor am I acting in concert with him or anyone else. My objective here is to remove bias (positive and negative) from this article. Given its current (negative) state I can understand that he/she might consider me an ally in presenting the product in a positive light, but that is not my aim. I would be just as keen to remove unjustified positive bias. TraceyR 09:46, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
TracyR, agreed and apologies about my wording. I merely intended to state that we are united to ensuring the removal of bias. JP+, from the beginning has been a scientifically verified product. Science by definition does not have bias. When you stand for the goodness of fruits and vegetables and the goodness of the scientific process, you stand for JP+. Naturally you don't want to dissociate yourself from that. Dr sears 03:25, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
No problem. I just wanted to make my position clear. Re bias and science: since science is conducted by humans, human failings are bound to creep in. In theory there should be no bias; in practice it is unavoidable. Although not a scientist myself, I do some work preparing papers for publication in the field of nuclear physics - even there emotions can run high and get in the way of objective analysis! It is obvious from these talk pages that as soon as emotional reactions are provoked (and Juice Plus does seem to polarise reactions), objectivity flies out of the window. Hence this mediation exercise. TraceyR 07:39, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I have mixed feelings about the mediation request. First of all, I think the issues that were outlined are far too broad. Our current conflict stems from the deletion of the adverse events section. It seems that it would be more productive to deal with such pressing and tangible issues rather than vaguer issues like what constitutes a consensus (which incidentally is spelled out quite clearly in WP:CON. Secondly, several editors who have participated in the talk page, with respect to some of the issues outlined, have been omitted from the participant list. Why? It is looking like a stacked deck at the moment and the current participants do not reflect a representative cross section of the POVs expressed. The most important objective at this point should be to get as many well-informed outside opinions that we can; I don’t see that mediation will provide such input. Third, some of the steps that were outlined in the conflict resolution process seem like misrepresentations. I fail to see what the COI report about Julia Havey has to do with any of the current issues. Most importantly, mediation is being requested before other steps outlined in WP policies have been attempted; namely (1) adequate discussion on the talk page, and (2) informal mediation/RfC. I would like to see the current request withdrawn and a more specific request made regarding only the adverse events section for now (and with additional editors who commented included on the participant list). And better than mediation at this point, an RfC or informal mediaition clearly seems like the next logical step. If you all wish to pursue mediation, then perhaps we should try the adverse events section as a test case and see how it works, then we can consider the secondary issues. I don’t want to seem like I am not interested in resolving the current conflict, because I am; I just want to see it done right so that everyone’s time is put to best use. Rhode Island Red 00:14, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
The mediation has been rejected, which I find quite disappointing. The reason it was rejected, was because not all parties agreed to mediation.[20] Meaning Rhode Island Red.[21] So, Red, the ball is now in your court. If you would like to pursue some other form of dispute resolution, please do so. I have no preference whether this be an RfC or some other form of mediation. You choose. --Elonka 20:10, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
If Red does not want to join us in our attempt to improve the article, that's fine but I don't think Red's decision should inhibit our efforts. There is a serious problem with this article. Everyone who posts here regularly recognizes this. Why should we put the ball in the court of the one person who can't see the problem? This is the reason why this poorly written article (remember people actually read this article for knowledge) is allowed to languish month after month. I think this failed mediation and the reason for it's failure is indicative of just what has been going on. As such, I would like to see an escalation, perhaps involving the Arbitration Committee.Citizen Don 03:03, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Citizen Don, I share your frustration. This article must change and we need to completely start from scratch. However, I am not as optimistic as you are with "everyone who posts here regularly". I think there are many who are not with us, such as EdJohnston, Tbbooher, and sometimes even Elonka shows confusion and misunderstanding to the benefits of this product. There is clearly no consensus on this talk page that there is a negative bias to this article -- and that is the problem. We need to bring in some more of us so we can get the consensus here and finally move forward with this article. Dr sears 03:27, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Citizen Don, I appreciate your frustration, but I'm afraid that I must point out that you haven't articulated in your post just what changes that you want to see. I would recommend that you focus on one thing about the article that you would most like to see changed, and start a thread with your suggestions, so that we can discuss it. --Elonka 06:12, 7 June 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, I'll come up with some ideas this weekend. Rhode Island Red 00:50, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I've attempted to focus on independent issues time and time again, Elonka. Obvious changes get diced up in discusssion with one disagreeing editor to the point where you are left with nothing. The failure of the mediation is a perfect example of this. I consider every mention of critics and controvery in this article to be baseless propaganda perpetuated by people with selfish reasons. They may be people who sell competing products or people like Stephan Barrett who has conceded his ties to the AMA, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Food & Drug Administration(FDA) in court. Yet there are complete paragraphs in this article that are taken from Barrett's biased work. Juice Plus is extremely successful and a great product. This article should be fun, not a boring point/counterpoint. Other articles have criticism sections while this entire article has become a criticism section. I know that's kind of broad. Not sure what topic I would start for that.Citizen Don 03:25, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I'll second this. Here is the first set of constructive comments I have seen here. Juice Plus _is_ a great product and making the article fun is a great way to focus everyone towards consensus. This page needs to let people know the truth in a fun way. Naturally, everyone who tries to discredit a product that saves lives and improves health is not just baseless, but also shows anti-social tendencies. It is impossible for me to understand what these individuals have to gain to discredit this product. (Even though I have to admit that ties to the AMA are not a bad thing Don :).) It just makes no sense why these people hate our product _and_ insist on making the article so spiteful and boring. Dr sears 03:43, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, the key on Wikipedia is verifiability via reliable secondary sources. Some of the critical sources in this article are clearly reputable, such as Consumer Reports. In my mind, it's one of the best sources in the article, as it's clearly a "general audience" reliable secondary source. If you have some of those which provide positive information, bring 'em on. What have you got? --Elonka 03:36, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
(reply to Dr sears) Please, for best results, try to keep your comments focused on the article, and not on the editors who are working on it. When you say things like "anti-social tendencies," that can be regarded as a personal attack, which is against Wikipedia policy. Please just comment on specific things that you would like to change in the article. --Elonka 03:58, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Reliable sources

Wikipedia's policy on reliable sources says that we should use high-quality references: "Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy". But, I am concerned that some of the references in this article do not meet that standard, and I would like to talk about possibly removing them. For example, a couple of the studies that are cited appear to be of particularly poor quality, such that they are criticized by locations such as the Sloane-Kettering Medical Center, or the Australian magazine, The Skeptic. As such, I think that we should use great caution when mentioning any results of those studies, and make it clear which information in the article is coming from reliable studies and which is not. Now, if a study is unreliable, but is still cited in other secondary sources, I think it's worth mentioning the study in the article, since it's still a notable study -- but we should move its results off to a separate section. Or to put this in another way: Just because a bunch of high school kids got together and made something that looked like a study and had a bunch of names on it, doesn't mean that that study is still a reliable source. We should ensure that we're only using the real deal here. What do other editors think? And if we do this, which studies should we tag as "unreliable"? --Elonka 08:25, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

"Reliable" could be defined as at least 'peer-reviewed', 'randomised' and 'placebo-controlled' (with 'cross-over' an added bonus). That would mean accepting as reliable i.a. Samman (J Nutr, 2003), Plotnick (J Am Coll Cardiol, 2003), Kiefer (J Am Coll Nutr, 2004) and Nantz (J Nutr, 2006). This would exclude some of the early studies, including the small Wise 'bio-availability' study and several others.
At the other end of the spectrum, WP explicitly excludes blogs, sites withdrawn by the publisher etc., which are easily categorised as unreliable. As you might imagine, I would also tend to include anything from S.Barrett/MLMWatch in the latter category, but it might be hard to achieve consensus on that one ;-)
There is a large grey area in between, including even reputable sources which criticise non-existent claims of studies or company statements (e.g. along the lines of "Vineyard Blend cannot form part of clinical treatment of cardiovascular disease" or "powder in a capsule cannot replace fruits and vegetables"). There's some work needed in this area of the article. TraceyR 18:30, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
As compelling as the arguments of these critical sources may be, they are merely opinions (albeit valid ones). It should not be our place to exclude the discussion of published research studies on the basis that these sources have criticized the studies, but rather to include those criticisms alongside the discussion of the research.This is exactly what is done in the current version of the article. It would be intellectually/scientifically dishonest to not mention studies whose design is less than ideal when we can just point out the design weaknesses when discussing the studies; again, this is done in the current version of the article. It would be highly arbitrary to set our own criteria for inclusion (e.g. excluding mention of any study that was not randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled). Only two of the studies in the article have been directly criticized (based on design issues) by secondary sources (Stanton and MSK); those studies were Wise et al. and Inserra et al. The caveats about the Wise study are already mentioned in the article. As to TraceyRs comments, I am at a bit of a loss. The article does not include any references to blog sites nor does it contain the text "Vineyard Blend cannot form part of clinical treatment of cardiovascular disease" or "powder in a capsule cannot replace fruits and vegetables". It is highly recommended that particiants in this discussion focus their comments on the references and text that the article does contain. Rhode Island Red 01:31, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
There is some separation between good and bad studies in the article, yes, but I think that there could be more. For example, beta-carotene is linked to three studies (currently 9, 10, and 11). Are all three of those of equal reliability? --Elonka 01:42, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
No, only 2 out of the 3 studies (Samman et al. and Kiefer et al.) were randomized, controlled, double-blind trials. But in this case, the more poorly designed study’s results are in agreement with the other 2 studies, so inserting a qualifying statement about design issues wouldn’t be of any value. It might if the third study was the sole source cited in support of a claim, but not when it agrees with two other better quality studies. Do you have concerns about any other sections with respect to the “separation between good and bad articles” or was that the only one? Rhode Island Red 04:51, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Several reliable articles which need greater emphasis in the article can be found at: http://www.juiceplus.com/nsa/pages/ResearchShows.soa. Please include as soon as possible to remove bias from this page. Dr sears 03:30, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Rhode Island Red, please don't be at a loss; just read carefully what I wrote. I wasn't claiming that those texts were in the article. My point was that "reputable sources" (which are quoted in the article) "criticise non-existent claims" along the lines of the texts given; I mentioned blogs because a strong defence was made some time back for including a (purely negative) blog, apparently because it contained references to or the text of most or all studies into Juice Plus; I mentioned withdrawn sites because the "Adverse effects" section currently under dispute still refers to the SNAEMS page, although this has been explicitly withdrawn by its publisher (the reference has to point to a web archive site because of this withdrawal). When this was pointed out here, your response was that "Since SNAEMS has now stopped collecting reports, it is likely that adverse events associated with the use of Juice Plus have been under-reported". I leave others to drawn their own conclusions. TraceyR 12:02, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I find most of your arguments to be quite vague. First, which are the references from reputable sources that you think commented on “non-existent” claims and on what basis do you feel that those references do not meet with WP policy for inclusion? Second, what is the point in mentioning references to blog sites now when the article doesn’t contain such references? Don’t we have enough on our plate without resurrecting dead issues that have been settled long ago? Third, you are of the opinion that the SNAEMS reference does not meet with WP policy because it has been officially withdrawn. I disagree. A simple RfC would have provided us with some valuable outside opinions that might have helped settle the issue. Lastly, to reach a resolution, it is important that we focus on very specific current issues and that we discuss those issues in relation to WP policy. Rhode Island Red 15:18, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
It might be useful to setup separate talkpage sections on each questionable source, so we can debate them separately. Any prefrence which one we start with? --Elonka 20:40, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Rhode Island Red: There really need be no debate about the SNAEMS reference. WP policy is clear on this point(see [22]): under the heading What kinds of sources are generally regarded as unreliable? it states "Some sources are generally unacceptable for use as references in Wikipedia:
  • An obsolete source is one that is out-of-date, or has been officially withdrawn or deprecated by its author(s) or publisher.
You may disagree with this, but that appears to be the ruling. TraceyR 21:36, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I pretty sure this question of source reliability is going to be central in the upcoming mediation. I would like to point out (as many others have in the past) the unreliability of Stephen Barrett as a source. A quick look at the article about him and it's talkpage gives you a glimpse of just how controversial this man is. The extremly tenuous connection between Juice Plus and USAI was created by him and the conspiracy like implications are dutifully detailed in the criticism section. He is also cited a couple of other times in this article. Mr. Barrett has made it his mission to disparage things like acupuncture and alternative medicine. He has been disgraced on many occasion in a court of law. Why does this angry man riding on his disgraced high horse get more focus than well designed studies that dispel his now dated claims of quackery?Citizen Don 05:34, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

I agree that that's an item worth talking about in mediation. However, I am concerned that not all parties have agreed to the mediation yet. If we don't get all the signatures there within the next day or so, the mediation is probably going to be rejected. :/ --Elonka 09:59, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Making this article useful for ALL readers means the we need a variety of opinions. I would like to ask Rhode Island Red to please join up in our attempt to improve this article. Elonka, are others welcome to join besides you, TraceyR, RIR and myself? I see a few others that post on this talkpage like JuliaHavey, Matthew, EdJohnston and Tbbooher. They may have something to say too.Citizen Don 02:51, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
The "issues to mediate" section on the RfM are only there as a starting point. We are free to choose other issues to discuss in the actual mediation. As for who the participants are, anyone who wishes is welcome to join the mediation now, or even comment later. However, the key people have to be willing to mediate, otherwise it is rejected. Rhode Island Red, you are definitely one of the key individuals in this discussion, so your participation is necessary. I am also completely open to choosing other issues to discuss, than what we have listed in the "Issues" section. You are free to add something new in the "Additional issues" section, or we can even introduce new items after the mediation starts. It's going to be fairly free-form. The main purpose is just that we get the main parties into a discussion, with a neutral mediator to help guide things. I say it's worth a shot... What have we got to lose?  :) --Elonka 03:15, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Criticism section

An attempt was made to remove certain sections of the article, which included the Consumer Reports information, and the info about Dr. Wise's association with an earlier company that was cited for fraud. In my opinion, these sections are adequately referenced, relevant, and appropriate for the article, so I have reverted the change, but I would like to check consensus here at talk. What do other editors think? Here is a diff of my reverted changes: [23] --Elonka 21:55, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

There is no question that your revert was totally justified. Unilateral removal of referenced content without adequate (or any, in this case) discussion on the talk page is considered blanking, a form of vandalism. This particular act of blanking is especially ill-advised given the current disagreements/edit wars and the fact that the page was only unlocked today after a 5-day lock period. As I mentioned before,[24] there also serious issues about this user’s potential COI (they are essentially claiming to be the Dr. Sears, a Juice Plus spokesperson/distributor), and/or username violation (potentially masquerading as Dr. William Sears of Juice Plus fame), not to mention past threats levied by this user against other editors of the Juice Plus article. I would suggest that if similar incidents are repeated by this user, we should file a user conduct RfC or take other appropriate remedial action. This kind of behavior should not be overly indulged. Thanks for upholding policy in this case. Rhode Island Red 23:42, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Red, thanks... It's nice to see that we agree on things every so often.  :) But, could you please stop referring to good faith edits as vandalism? This can be regarded as a type of personal attack. When we use the word "vandalism" on Wikipedia, it's usually used to refer to really blatant things, like blanking an entire page and replacing it with the picture of someone's genitals. Simple disagreements (even if they are COI disagreements) are not vandalism. Instead, they're what we call a content dispute. A User Conduct RfC on Dr sears (talk · contribs) is also probably premature at this point, especially considering that he is not a particularly active editor (less than 10 edits in 2007). Plus such a thing would probably be compromised by WP:OWN and WP:SPA issues of the other participants. If we're getting into some active edit wars, then it might be worth considering, but for now, I recommend gentle scholarly discourse, with a neutral mediator.  :) --Elonka 01:05, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry to disagree with you on this but I have also read WP:VAN and it is seems quite clear that content blanking of this type qualifies as vandalism; WP:VAN states “Wikipedia vandalism may fall into one or more of the following categorizations: Blanking - Removing all or significant parts of pages, or replacing entire established pages with one's own version without first gaining consensus.” Furthermore, WP:NPA does not state that a vandalism warning is a personal attack. It would not have been out of line to have left the user in question a vandalism warning. I appreciate your concerns, but the world (and WP) needs police as well as diplomats. Rhode Island Red 13:59, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Dr sears' edits were not vandalism, though a good case could be made that they were WP:SPA edits or POV-pushing. These are unfortunate behaviors, but they are not vandalism, because they appear to have been made in good faith, and not as a deliberate attempt to weaken the article. So again, please stop accusing other editors of vandalism, as it is a personal attack. It is also my strong recommendation that you (and everyone on this page) work very hard to be as civil as possible. --Elonka 19:57, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Adverse Effects (cont.)

I have spent the past week carefully reviewing the history of the discussion on the Adverse Events section [25] and the pertinent WP policies regarding its recent deletion. Three conclusions are abundantly clear:

  1. As defined by WP:CON, no consensus was reached to delete the AE section (in fact, the topic did not even receive adequate discussion on the talk page). A majority of editors did not seem to support deletion, several were strongly opposed, and the issue was never even put to a poll. Even it had, WP:CON states: “Formal decision making based on vote counting is not how Wikipedia works (see Wikipedia is not a majoritarian democracy) and simple vote-counting should never be the key part of the interpretation of a debate. When polling is used, it should be seen as a process of 'testing' for consensus, rather than reaching consensus.”
  2. Removal of the content constitutes disruption according to Wikipedia’s definitions of tendentious editing [26] which defines one of the characteristics of a problem editor as follows: “You delete the cited additions of others with the complaint that they did not discuss their edits first: There is no rule on Wikipedia that someone has to get permission from you before they put cited information in an article. If a rule like that would exist, it would clearly violate WP:BOLD. There is guidance from ArbCom that removal of statements that are pertinent, sourced reliably, and written in a neutral style constitutes disruption.[27] Instead of removing cited work, you should be questioning uncited information.”
  3. Subsequent dispute resolution did not follow the proper sequence of steps outlined in WP:DIS, which states that posting the question on a subject-specific project/policy page, an RfC, or informal mediation should have been the next actions taken, rather than the request for formal mediation made on May 30.[28]

Because of these very clear WP position statements, it is justified to restore the deleted adverse events section, which had been in place for several months without comment. I have previously outlined the history behind this section and the recent edit war that emerged for anyone who cares to review it. [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34]

Despite the obvious justification for maintaining the adverse event section in the article, I have made a few new edits to the section to proactively address some of the points that were raised previously. One of the points raised was that the section would benefit form addition of a secondary source that has commented on adverse events. Such a source (Memorial Sloan Kettering Clinic) does exist, as I pointed out in previous discussions, so this reference has been incorporated in the revised text. Secondly, I added a reference to the third study to have reported adverse events; i.e. gastrointestinal distress of sufficient severity to warrant early dropout from the study by some patients. Lastly, I have indicated that the studies conducted to date were not double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies, since several editors have expressed interest in seeing inclusion of such information. The fact that they were poorly designed does not have much impact on reporting side effects because presumably any bias that might exist would tend to under-report rather than over-report AEs.

I have restored the section in two stages so other editors can see exactly which material has been newly added. Discussion can resume, of course, but the material should not be arbitrarily deleted. Rhode Island Red 03:35, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Red, I'm sorry, but this amount of wikilawyering is unacceptable. There is no consensus for the "Adverse Effects" section. Every editor on this page is against it, except for you. We discussed it extensively, we asked for comments from other editors, and then we even tried to file a formal mediation, which you refused to join, causing the mediation to be rejected.[[35]] You've claimed that you wanted to file another RfC or informal mediation. But then instead of doing either of those, you've gone right back to putting the disputed information back into the article. Please stop. If you want another RfC or informal mediation, file it, don't just go back to edit-warring. --Elonka 07:23, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, it is inappropriate to refer to my pointing out relevant WP policy as “wikilawyering”. WP policies exist for a reason and I am merely asking that people follow such policies. You have repeatedly stated that I am the only one who opposes deletion of this section, but this is contradicted by the facts, and I have repeatedly cited the comments of other editors who disagreed with you, hoping that you would recognize this and stop stating that you have a consensus where none exists. Your request for formal mediation was an unnecessary escalation that bypassed the recommended procedures for dispute resolution, which should have been an RfC, informal mediation, or posting a question on a topic-specific project page as outlined by WP policy. I would have had no objection to an RfC about the AE section, but the RfC should proceed after restoration of he AE section since there was no justification for its deletion in the first place. You seem unwilling to participate in reasonable discussion about this content and it is unfortunate that have chosen to escalate this issue further by filing a user conduct RfC instead of merely responding to the issues that I raised in my previous post. WP policy is very clear on this issue and there is no doubt, based on these policies, that the AE section should not have been deleted. Your claim that a consensus is needed to include this information goes against WP policy and quite clearly constitutes tendentious editing on your part, as indicated in point #2 of my previous post (“There is no rule on Wikipedia that someone has to get permission from you before they put cited information in an article”). Rhode Island Red 15:14, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, it is most unfortuante that you have chosen to arbitrarily delete cited content again. You have repeatedly stated that a consensus existed to remove the adverse event section. As I have repeatedly pointed out, at least 4 editors (including me) disagreed with the removal of the content. [36][37][38], one of whom is an admin and felt the need to lock the page to prevent the content from being deleted. [39]. No attempt was made to unofficially poll the editors who had commented, so how can you reasonably claim that a consensus supports deletion? Please outline what you consider to be the consensus supporting removal of the AE section. Rhode Island Red 18:29, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
RIR: You (not Elonka) must gain consensus to include, the onus is on those seeking to include not remove. Also, where in hell did you get the idea Wikihermit is an administrator (I'm cracking up here with laughter!). There is a clear consensus (supported by policy and guidelines) to remove the content, not include. Matthew 18:51, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Matthew, consensus or permission is never needed to include referenced information, and the information in question had been in place for more than 3 months without any new comments. Consensus would be needed to delete it, not to include it. If you know of any WP policy that states otherwise, please cite it. If you think a consensus was reached for deletion, then kindly provide some evidence; outline all of those editors who opposed deletion and all those who supported it and count the numbers. Rhode Island Red 19:59, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Rhode Island Red, to say that you have three editors supporting you is absurd. Your "support" is as follows:
  • Wikihermit, a "drive-by" editor who has not participated in this discussion. By your own diff it proves that he said he didn't care if the information was included or not, he had just made a revert because he saw the information was cited, and other than that he's staying out of it and leaving it to the page editors and the mediation council to work out.[40] His recommendation was to proceed to mediation, which you refused.
  • Tbooher, who made a frustrated comment about consensus (which frustration I share at this talkpage), but said nothing in the discussion about the Adverse Effects section [41] His comment wasn't even on the Adverse Effects thread, it was about the mediation request instead. For you to include his edit as a "proof of consensus" is really grasping at straws.
  • A single comment by what is obviously an anonymous WP:SPA account (85.71.60.166 (talk · contribs))[42]
You also commented that the page was "protected to keep the information from being deleted," but that's a clear distortion of the situation. You cited the protection out-of-context, and with the wrong diff by a non-admin. The page was protected by Administrator BrendelSignature (talk · contribs)[43] after Wikihermit's "drive-by" request. BrendelSignature then within an hour put the page at the "agreed-upon version for mediation"[44] which did not include the Adverse Effects section. And, as has been pointed out, you caused the mediation to be rejected anyway, by refusing to participate.
To repeat: Proof of consensus to not include the "Adverse Effects" comes from editors such as me, from TraceyR, from Matthew, and from Citizen Don, as can be easily checked in the archived discussion about the Adverse Effects section. Plus we've got the Juice Plus distributors on this talkpage who are opposed to Rhode Island Red's edits, though I'll agree that because they have a clear COI, their comments should not be given as much weight. However, Rhode's incivility towards them, and his active attempts to tell them that they're not even allowed to participate on the talkpage, have not been helpful. Rhode Island Red, you are exhibiting a classic example of Wikipedia:Tendentious editing, violating WP:OWN, and resisting the input of other editors. There is now an active User conduct RfC on your behavior. I recommend that you put your energy into posting your own summary of events there, rather than continuing to wiki-lawyer and edit war here. --Elonka 20:14, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

(de-indent) Wikihermit "drove by" as he was trolling me at the time (he was having a little tiff). Matthew 20:19, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Elonka, the so-called consensus you outlined is exactly the reason why we are edit warring. No consensus exists. In support of deletion you have cited 4 editors: (1) yourself (2) Tracey R (3) Matthew (4) Citizen Don. The 4 editors I cited were not mentioned as proof of consensus against inclusion but to show that enough dissenting opinions were presented so that claim of consensus in support of deletion cannot be justifiably made. I have cited those who expressed opinions opposing deletion as (1) myself (2) Tbbooher (3) Wikihermit and (4) 85.71.60.166. That looks likes an even 4:4 split to me. You do not even have a majority of general opinion in favor of deletion, let alone a straw poll result or a reasonable consensus. You denigrated the opinion of 85.71.60.166 as that of an SPA, so then it would be only fair to also discount Citizen Don’s opinion since he is also clearly an SPA,[45][46] not to mention a self-confessed product advocate who thinks Juice Plus saves lives (hardly an NPOV position).[47][48] He also failed to outline the reasons justifying deletion and merely provided only me-too responses,[49][50] which do not constitute the basis for any kind of consensus. You also discounted the opinion of Tbbooher, a longtime contributor to this article, even though he was quite clearly against your current actions. He stated:
“Elonka, I am a minor wikipedia player, but this makes no sense to me. Truth here is determined by whatever folks show up on the discussion page? Arguments don't matter -- just consensus? We are criticizing an editor since they include too much detail in their responses? Trying to delete their content because of a possible negative bias towards a product? What is going on here? Been out of the loop, but this borders on insane. Is Wikipedia moving into the marketing business where a team of corporate sponsors can show up, build consensus and say whatever they want to? Tbbooher 02:08, 29 May 2007 (UTC)"[51]
You also discounted the opinion of Wikihermit, yet his opinions seemed pretty clear too:
“Reverted to revision 133172183 by Rhode Island Red; Per WP:NOT#DEMOCRACY. You can't revert the edit. Also, WP:NOT#CENSORED. You can't remove cited information from an article.”[52]
“I reverted the article because the information was cited. I would rather have information that is cited left up on the article page then no information at all.”[53]
The reason you presented for discounting Wikihermit’s comments was that he is “a "drive-by" editor who has not participated in this discussion”. So by that same logic, what does that make of Matthew’s opinion? Matthew is also a “drive-by” editor who did not contribute in past discussions nor did he contribute anything of substance to the present discussion other than a me-too response to the deletion of the AE section.[54] Matthew first showed up here and deleted the content in question several times [55][56] without even providing a comment on the talk page, and he did so after having been a previous contributor to Elonka’s WP biography page biography.[57][58][59][60] This seems even more damning than Matthew’s accusations that Wikkermit was a troll acting out of malice because of a personal dispute.[61] It seems like Matthew is really the troll.
Elonka, when your first deleted the Adverse effects section[62] no other editors had expressed their approval for such action on the talk page and at least one had disagreed,[63] yet you deleted it anyway claiming that you were supported by a consensus (which clearly did not exist). It seems that you approached this issue with your own pre-formed conclusion that the material should be deleted, and then attempted to cobble together any support while ignoring the dissenting opinions of other editors, all the while continuing to delete the content and claiming a consensus had been reached. It’s unfortunate to see that the issue has now escalated when a simple, reasonable discussion of the individual references and some requests for outside opinions could have sufficed to resolve it. As for the RfC, it shouldn’t be too difficult to show what a ridiculous sham it is and to redirect attention to where it truly belongs. Rhode Island Red 22:59, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
Red, referring to other editors as trolls is not helping matters. I recommend that you focus your attention on the User Conduct RfC, rather than continuing to wiki-lawyer here. --Elonka 00:27, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, I think you really missed RIR's point by simply focusing on her use of the word troll. If I were Red, I don't think I would be as kind. Please, since you claim to be leading the NPOV mediation here and have the most Wikipedia experience, can you do a little better job of not showing your bias against Red and clamping down on some real personal attacks on her? As for quoting/misquoting me, I think the AE section seemed perfectly appropriate when I read it before. I have not read the references and am not qualified to read nutrition journals, but in describing the product, it seemed like information which added to the subject matter. In any case, you seem to be rejecting it because of some strength in numbers argument. (I don't know wikipeida's policy for that, but in my work we call this an argumentum ad populum.) Elonka, "Every editor on this page is against it, except for you." is not just untrue, but a terrible way of getting at the truth. I definitely don't support that way of voting someone's contribution off the island. There is some back and forth on the contents, but the anti-red editors always seem to quickly get off track by attacking her when she delivers a long argument. (p.s. I am not a drive-by editor, I started this article about a year ago and have watched it since.) Tbbooher 02:17, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
elonka, your one-sided comments aren't helping either. Why do you excuse the use of the term "troll" when Matthew uses it but feel the need to comment on it when I use it. Why not focus on the real issues instead of sermonizing. Rhode Island Red 00:49, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Okay, you've got a point. Matthew, it wasn't helpful for you to use the word "troll" either, and it's worse from you, because you should know better. Now, can everyone please work harder to be civil here, please? And Red, here's my heartfelt advice. Please put together a statement in your defense, and post it in the "Response" section of the RfC. I also strongly recommend that you keep it very brief, because the longer that it is, the less likely that people will actually read it. I am telling you this not in an attempt to muzzle you, but with genuine hard-won experience. I also strongly recommend that you approach the RfC with an attitude of listening and that you show a genuine attempt to learn from this experience. An indication that you are willing to change your behavior, is probably your best option at this point. --Elonka 01:03, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Adverse effects (cont.) - section break 1

It is disturbing that while I am tied up with defending against what I and some others deem to be a frivolous user conduct RfC, other editors have again proceeded to disembowel the Adverse Events section, removing referenced content, without a single word of discussion on the talk page. I have several objections to these recent deletions.
  1. The content that was removed was referenced and should not be unilaterally deleted, and certainly not without attempting to discuss the issue first.
  2. Three published studies have reported looking at adverse effects in some form or another. In one of the studies, the investigators deemed that the AEs were unrelated to Juice Plus. Mentioning these findings in the article does not imply that AEs were caused by Juice Plus, it merely accurately reports that in this study of AEs, the AEs observed did not seem to be related to treatment. The study’s findings were reported accurately. There is no justification for removing the other study either, in which the authors deemed that the AEs were “possibly” caused by Juice Plus. The Juice Plus article did not state that these AEs were “definitely” caused by Juice Plus, but instead, accurately reported what the investigators concluded; i.e. that these effects were “possibly” caused by Juice Plus. Both of these references should be restored and not deleted again unless the issue is discussed by a wider group of editors and a consensual decision deems that they should be deleted.
  3. WP policy recommends the use of secondary sources wherever possible, but does not preclude the use of primary sources. There is no justification at this point for removing any of the references merely because they are not secondary references.
  4. The Juice Plus distributor manual and the Wake Forest study protocol were previously discussed in detail. No consensus was reached that the distributor’s manual could not be used as a source, and several outside editors, who were called on to comment, expressed that it was usable as a source.[64] Content on risks to the fetus originating from the Wake Forest protocol were modified in the article based on past discussions, but the editors contributing at the time did not ultimately object to the use of the Wake Forest protocol to describe the other side effects of Juice Plus. [65]
  5. The SNAEMS report has been discussed by only two editors, me and TraceyR, and we disagreed as to whether the information warrants deletion from the article.[66][67][68]. One other editor also commented at that time that the SNAEMS reference should not be deleted pending further discussion,[69] which is yet to occur. Since the information about the SNAEMS data is referenced and no outside opinion has yet been sought, this should also be restored and should remain until we receive some additional opinions.
  6. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center reported the following "Side Effects: Some test subjects developed a hive-like rash during treatment"; they did not qualify this statement in any way. Elonka inserted the statement "However, the Center also noted that it was a poorly-designed study", which suggests that MSKCC expressed doubt about the hive-like rash they reported; they in fact did not. MSKCC did refer to the study in question as poorly designed but this was in reference to the study's reports of immune effects, not side effects, and the comment about study design was in a completely different section of the article. Furthermore, the introduction of the Adverse Effects section of the article states that the three studies in question were not well-designed, so it is somewhat redundant to reiterate it. To reiterate, MSKCC did not qualify their statement about hive-like rashes and so it is not appropriate to represent that they did so.
  7. Lastly, I don’t see what purpose it serves to change the name of this section from “Adverse Effects” to “Other Effects” since it includes information exclusively on Adverse Effects. Can someone justify why the title was changed?
These kinds of arbitrary edits can lead to edit wars because (a) no new discussion has been attempted to create support for removal, and (b) several of these issues were previously discussed, and the results of those discussions are now being ignored and the issues resurrected in a circular manner. Please, rather than merely deleting, open a discussion and try to gather insight from other editors. Bypassing the talk page and deleting referenced content is simply not constructive and will only create conflict. The deleted references should be restored and the issues discussed further with additional opinions from outside editors if needed. Rhode Island Red 21:04, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, Red, but sometimes I wonder if you and I are reading the same discussions. For example, in #4 above you said, "but the editors contributing at the time did not ultimately object to the use of the Wake Forest protocol to describe the other side effects of Juice Plus."[70] However, when I review that February discussion, at both that diff and the previous portion of the conversation,[71] what I see is every single editor who participated (except for you), saying it's not appropriate to use that consent form as a source. These editors included me, TraceyR, Deckiller, EdJohnston, PeregrineFisher, JuliaHavey, and Matthew. There's a similar problem with the distributor manual, that everyone was against using it, except you. It seems that no matter how many editors are opposed to a concept, that you still resort to saying, "no consensus." --Elonka 03:46, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

The discussion would probably get further and cause less difficulties if everyone can confine their statements to arguments on certain points. If a conclusion on a subject has already been reached, its possible just to refer a person to that discussion instead of needing to restate the entire argument, but referring to other editors behavior in a negative manner in lieu of addressing their concerns isn't generally helpful. I've always found that avoiding the use of the word "you" helps me keep things on track. Shell babelfish 04:27, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

Previous discussions are clear that the primary sources of the consent form and distributor's manual are not acceptable sources. --Elonka 04:52, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry to be asking questions about old discussions, but I've been having trouble, looking through the history and the talk page, figuring out what from the distributor's manual was previously used. Can you give me a pointer? Clearly, the acceptability of the distributor's manual as a source varies depending on the context. If somebody claims, "Juice Plus distributors promise you can fly to Mars if you drink a glass a day," well, then the distributor's manual would be an acceptable source since the only claim is that the manual says something. Conversely, "JuicePlus Cures Cancer" could not stand solely on a distributor's manual promise. Bhimaji 05:19, 11 June 2007 (UTC)


Bhimaji, you make a good point. The claims cited was of the type that "Juice Plus gives you G-I cramps" - if that were acceptable, it would be hard to exclude a positive claim! You'll need to look at the history for a version contain the old "adverse effects" section, e.g. 02:46 a.m. 10 June 2007 (after one of RIR's reverts). There are two references there (after a list of some adverse effects), one to a Distributor manual, the other to a web page at 'memoryhole'. I'm sorry that I haven't got a link for you, but the date/timestamp should be sufficient to locate the version containing the references. TraceyR 13:37, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Elonka, in reply to your previous comments [72] I suggest that you re-read the history of the past discussions on the Wake Forest protocol reference. [73][74] The consensus of previous discussion ultimately decided that the document could not be cited to support claims of possible risks to the fetus because another document was found showing that the protocol used a standard boilerplate disclaimer about possible risks to the fetus.[75] That document did not show that the other gastrointestinal side effects, which were listed specifically in reference to Juice Plus, were boilerplate text. I pointed this out,[76] nobody disagreed, the text on general side effects was restored, and it stood for several months without disagreement until the debate was again revived recently. Based on this history I don’t see how anyone can claim that a consensus was reached about use of the reference to describe side effects that were not related to fetal risks.
The Wake Forest protocol states the following about side effects: “What are the risks of the study? While on the study, you are at risk for the following side effects. Most of them are listed below but will vary from person to person. Drugs will be given to make some of the side effects less serious and uncomfortable. Many side effects go away after the supplement is stopped but in some cases, the side effects may be serious and/or lasting. Risks: Very common – heartburn, abdominal pain, gas with foul odor, indigestion”; Less common – nausea and vomiting”.
Please note that in the previous discussion; the comments by Peregrine Fisher referred exclusively to the pregnancy risks as being boilerplate (which appear after the other side effects in a separate paragraph), but exempted the other side effects:
“Looking at the PDF, it's clear that before the "there may be risks and side effects that we cannot predict" sentence are the specific risks that are associated with this study. After that sentence is the legal boilerplate that is appended to all studies in case something goes wrong that they didn't anticipate. You could probably make the same claims about fetus danger with all drugs investigated by Wake Forest's cancer research department. - Peregrine Fisher 08:24, 13 February 2007 (UTC)”
Once again, a consensus is being claimed where none seems to exist, this time based on a misinterpretation of previous discussions. The fate of this reference will ultimately be decided through discussion, but it is just not correct to claim that a consensus established that the gastrointestinal AEs should be removed. The discussion clearly made a distinction between these two portions of the Wake Forest protocol. Rhode Island Red 15:03, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Bhimaji, the Juice Plus distributor’s manual refers to 3 gastrointestinal side effects, in agreement with what was described in (a) one of the research studies (Houston et al 2007) as well as in (b) the SNAEMS report and (c) the Wake Forest protocol; these are constipation, gas, and a “cleansing reaction” which is a euphemism for diarrhea/loose stools. The manual states the following:
“Will Juice Plus+ cause constipation? On rare occasions a new user of Juice Plus+ will experience constipation problems. Generally, however, the fiber content of Juice Plus+ improves regularity”.
“Some people will experience a modest cleansing reaction – this is like changing your diet. If this should occur, reduce the dosage to one Orchard Blend and one Garden Blend with water for a week or two. The cleansing usually passes and people start to enjoy the longterm benefits of Juice Plus+”
"Initially, the Juice Plus+ may have a detoxifying effect (cleansing). This is good for you. But if it is bothersome (and it does only last a short time), you can back off to 1 fruit capsule in the morning and 1 veggie later in the day…Part of the detoxifying process involves releasing toxins in the digestive tract, which may produce some gas.”
The text that previously was in the article for several months prior to recently being deleted by Elonka was as follows:
"Other adverse effects listed in the Juice Plus Franchise Owner's Manual and the Special Nutritional Adverse Event Monitoring System include gastrointestinal cramps, fever, nausea, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.[22][23] Heartburn, abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas with foul odor, and indigestion have been noted as very common risks associated with taking Juice Plus Orchard and Garden Blend, and nausea and vomiting as less common risks;[24] in some cases these side effects may be serious and long lasting, persisting after use of the supplement has been stopped."[77]
Rhode Island Red 15:21, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I disagree, and feel that the discussion was clear that the consent form was not appropriate as a source for adverse effects. Period. It's not about saying, "Well, we said that this paragraph was inappropriate, but we didn't specifically discuss this other sentence, so therefore there's a consensus to allow that sentence." I feel that that's splitting hairs. The consensus was, and is, that the consent form was an inappropriate source for controversial information such as sourcing negative effects. Please try to find a better source, such as a reliable peer-reviewed secondary source, rather than insisting on a controversial primary source. --Elonka 16:29, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Red, I just read your post accusing me for being a SPA. My first though was, "This person called me a SPA what a POS!...what's a SPA?" But then I figured it out. I gotta laugh because I actually started taking an interest in editing other articles before I read your accusation. I made a suggestion on another page just yesterday and another fellow was kind enough to make the obvious change almost immediately. I wish this article worked like that.Citizen Don 04:28, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

User conduct RfC

I have started an RfC on Rhode Island Red's behavior, which can be seen at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Rhode Island Red. Anyone who has been involved in the attempt to resolve this dispute, may certify the RfC by adding their name in the section that says, "Users certifying the basis for this dispute." If no one else besides me certifies it within 48 hours, the RfC will be closed. If you wish, you may also add a separate statement of your own. If you have questions about the User Conduct RfC process, please let me know, or post on the RfC talkpage, thanks. You can also review the archive of previous user conduct RfCs. --Elonka 10:24, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

El and others. I feel terrible. I hate this article as it stands because I love Juice Plus and I think this article is lying to discredit our product. I know this bothers you too and I am confident we can change this article in time to let out the message to folks that JP+ can really help them. However, I also feel terrible because I think we are really ganging up on RIR. I think we can win this fight from the high ground, not resort to referring to RIR actions as "behavior", Matthew calling him a troll, TracyR and Citizen Don attacking him at every turn. Elonka, aren't you supposed to be a non-biased Wikipedia volunteer? If so, then why would you criticize Matthew, telling him that "he should know better", inferring that RIR shouldn't. I move we change this article, but actually think we do it by positive statements about the product (maybe even facts) and not attacking RIR. In looking at the edits, it seems that Elonka, you keep saying you are non-biased, but your edits really denigrate his using the Wikipedia system (i.e. "keep it short, red", "Wikilawyering", etc). If we are going to resolve this, we need to treat each other with respect and I am the first to admit that because I have been part of the problem. Come on, we are going back and seeing how many "friends" we have vs. how many "friends" he has. This is "behavior" and only similar to what happens on playgrounds, not in scientific discussions.
That said, I think I would like to see some of you give real arguments, cite sources, etc. (you seem to have much more time than me) to remove the AE section so we can get rid of it correctly. This would be much better than brute force and subtle denigrations of RIR's character. I want the truth to 'win', I just want to do it cleanly and with some dignity. Dr sears 02:01, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Dr Sears, I'll agree with you that you haven't been helping things, and I also share your frustration with the way things are shaping up here. Kudos to you for a bit of honesty. Tbbooher 02:27, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Kudos and thanks as well Doc! I sure didn't see that one coming. Maybe there is hope for world peace after all. Elonka, do you still want to proceed with this RfC or, in light of the recent comments,[78][79] or do you want to retract it now before things get ugly; you might find yourself the subject of the next user RfC. Rhode Island Red 02:41, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
To clarify, I am not threatening Elonka with a retaliative conduct RfC. I am merely pointing out that her insistence on escalating this conflict is unnecessary and her repeated claim that the removal of the AE section was supported by consensus is blatantly untrue. As such, I view her user conduct RfC against me as harassment and intimidation. Such behavior would warrant a conduct RfC for Elonka. When I said things might get "ugly", I was not threatening revenge; I merely meant that that there are a lot of dissenting opinions and the debate is not going to be a simple one. Rhode Island Red 17:22, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Lolipops! You're one funny boy RIR. "the AE section was supported by consensus is blatantly untrue", what you mean is it was supported by a consensus -- just not on the decision you wanted? and you alone. Matthew 07:24, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Could we please stop addressing each other in an incivil manner and focus on the pertinent discussions? If you have a point to make about the article, please make it. Shell babelfish 07:28, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Dr Sears: I'm not happy with the assessment that a group of editors has been "ganging up" on RIR. We have been trying to achieve a consensus. What can be done when all but one editor agree with a course of action and he/she insists on his/her version being accepted? Please note that this is not an attack on RIR (whom I don't "attack at every turn". That sort of comment really isn't called for.).
I hope that we are all trying to achieve the same thing, i.e. an article which is informative, objective and backed up by reliable sources. If there are such sources citing adverse effects, then of course they should be cited. As an example, I have been trying (without success) to find the citable source(s) for those mentioned in the Wake Forest consent form - can you help there? Have you got access to the Juice Plus manual, which has also been cited in this section? Thanks! Any facts that you have, backed up by suitable sources, should be included. But there is one caveat: one of the guiding principles is "verifiability", not "truth". This can be frustrating, but however much you love the product and however many of your patients may have benefited by using it, unless there are verifiable sources for such benefits they are inadmissable here. C'est la vie!TraceyR 09:44, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Aren't you the same Dr. Sears who wrote,"You are hereby warned. You are to stop attacking a certain product, which is protected by a company with considerable means." on RIR's talkpage? I'm not sure if this person is serious or a phantom account used by someone unfavorable of Juice Plus to distract from the chorus pointing out a clear problem with this article. I appreciate your enthusiam for Juice Plus and I also seek the truth which is why I must tell it. In one post you exclaimed your solidarity with TracyR and I (though I've never had any correspondence with you) and then cut me down in another. To clarily, I have nothing against RIR so please don't suggest otherwise. The goal is to make this article fun and informative, right? We tried to get outside opinions from unbiased and experienced editors in Mediation and RIR blocked this attempt. Not sure if we're watching the same ballgame here. Thanks.Citizen Don 03:44, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
Citizen Don, please don't rehash that comment. It was made in error during my first days on Wikipedia, I was angry about the article and angry about RIR's approach. In any case, I didn't mean the comment seriously. I am not sure what a phantom account is, but I am sorry about my criticism of my fellow editors, I was simply alarmed by this whole RfC process and how we all seemed to be acting. I am still learning how to work with Wikipedia, it is a new arena for me, I'll step back for awhile. You, TracyR, Matthew and Elonka seem to be doing fine trying to balance this article without me. Just let me know if you need support for any consensus building towards an article which better tells the truth of JuicePlus. Dr sears 02:09, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
Dr. Sears, I'm sorry if I came across a little harsh but you can see how RIR used your post to try to stymie the rightful scrutiny he is receiving in the Rtf. I would like to see more civility on this page also and I think that starts when we start listening to each other instead of just pushing an agenda. Our agenda should be to make this article useful for our readers. In order to do this, we need a variety of opinions. Your input is valuble and I hope you stay involved.Citizen Don 02:18, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Civility is a very important thing. I see too little civility in this article. I'm still astonished by Dr sears claiming that he didn't mean his threat 'seriously', whatever that means. It was a clearly stated threat. Being new to Wikipedia doesn't, in my mind, justify that sort of comment at all. If people coming to this discussion are coming from forums where "My side has more money than your side. Shut up." is an acceptable form of discourse, I can see why this discussion has gotten so nasty. Bhimaji 03:10, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
O.K. lesson learned as I said before. However, it is important that JP+ and it's parent company are not insignificant and many doctors and leading scientists have established that JP+ significantly improves ones health. When one decides to critize JP+, they should know they are going against a considerable body of research. That is an important point you should consider. Dr sears 14:52, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
A fair and balanced WP article is supposed to reflect prevailing opinion of verifiable and reliable sources. In my exhaustive searches through the literature on Juice Plus, I was unable to find a single secondary source that commented positively on it and would meet WP:VER. In contrast, there are numerous secondary sources that have commented negatively on the product and which do meet WP:VER. I have never seen a stitch of evidence that Juice Plus “significantly improves one’s health”, as claimed by Dr sears above. Rhode Island Red 16:02, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Red, just curious, have you been able to identify the specific studies that are mentioned (without citations) at: http://www.juiceplus.com/nsa/pages/ResearchShows.soa ? --Elonka 17:23, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Recent changes and discussion

I've got a couple of points to bring up after reviewing the discussions that have been going on lately. First - people with an obvious conflict of interest are welcome to contribute to talk pages, but using their voice in consensus-building is probably not a good choice. Except in rare cases, people with these conflicts tend to take one side or the other exclusively . Make sure you consider the merit of their points -- just like "Me too" doesn't mean much in consensus building, "Our product has great benefits and we want the world to know" doesn't mean much either.

As far as the section currently under discussion, maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't the "Other Effects" section cite three studies? It looks like information from the Product Manual and the FDA were recently removed yet again. And can we discuss why its been renamed Other instead of Adverse? I believe Adverse effects is incredibly common terminology in medical studies. Shell babelfish 20:03, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Could you explain what you mean by "yet again"? I'm not aware that the Product Manual and FDA content had been removed before. As has been mentioned a couple of times on the talk page, the FDA (SMAEMS) was due for removal because its inclusion violates wiki rules for reliable sources (withdrawn by its publisher; the site referred to (...memoryhole etc) is a web archive site); the effects apparently specified in the Product Manual were aggregated with the withdrawn SNAEMS effects, so without access to this source it was not possible to know what to remove/leave in; these will have to be cited specifically by someone with access to the manual - I have asked Dr Sears if he has access to this information. On this subject, I'm not sure how valid citing an internal company manual can be if it is not available to the public, but that is a separate matter to discuss.
With respect to the change from "Adverse effects" to "Other effects": What is common practice in medical (drug/pharmaceutical) studies is not particularly relevant to studies of a supplement, for which it is not permissible to make claims of its therapeutic value; perhaps the assumption in medical studies is that the positive effects have been described in the body of the study, so an "Adverse effects" section is needed for negative side-effects. "Other effects" in the context of this article is a catch-all heading to cover any effects without a heading in the rest of the article (e.g. "cardio-vascular effects"). As such I agree that the change serves a valid purpose. TraceyR 21:59, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Would anyone mind if we moved or copied the last 2 comments into the adverse events section of this talk page, and we can continue the discusion there. We now have two separate threads discussing the same topic concurrently, and this thread is for comments on the RfC. It's a suggestion...Rhode Island Red 22:06, 10 June 2007 (UTC)
Tracey, the entire section has been removed multiple times, so I'm sorry if "yet again" was misleading. The FDA data is still available, even if the particular website which posted the online content is no longer available - do you have a reference showing that the FDA retracted the data it had been publishing? That would certainly be a different story. As far as the company manual goes, we do cite the product manual in other articles where appropriate, I can find some specific cases if you would be interested in reviewing them. One would have to assume that a company would sparingly report adverse affects and is unlikely to provide more adverse affects than it has concrete evidence for.


Adverse effects is the term used by the manufacturer and the studies cited. It is standard practice in any scientific study - the fact that supplements are not supposed to claim medical effects has no bearing. In fact, referring to the other headings, aren't all the other effects sections claims of medical effects? Also, as far as I can tell, all of the effects reported in that paragraph are adverse, so being more general and calling them other appears to be unnecessary. Shell babelfish 02:04, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
My own opinion is that
(1) "Other effects" as opposed to "Adverse effects" seems a reasonable compromise for a section-header. That way the section can remain in the article, but has a less negative appearance.
(2) A consent form is a primary source, and should not be used if it is under dispute
(3) A distributor manual is also a primary source, and should not be used if it disputed
(4) It is not proper to include information that says that adverse effects were noted, but were deemed unrelated to treatment. We should stick to things in this article that are unequivocally related to Juice Plus, rather than listing complete study results
(5) Similarly to #4, a study that says that adverse effects were "possibly" related is not sufficient. We should stick to solid findings.
(6) The Memorial Sloan Kettering Center listed a study as being of inadequate design. With that kind of criticism, I'm reluctant to include any information from that study at all. If we do include it, then the MSK criticism should also be clearly stated.
--Elonka 02:48, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for breaking things up, that does make it a bit easier reading :)
(1)Reasonable compromise for what exactly? The proper term is Adverse effects and does not confer additional negativity. I don't see any other discussion about this, so could you please explain your reasons for wanting the term Other or point me at the right discussion?
(2)I'm confused about the consent form you're mentioning, unless that's going back to the Wake Forest thing that was resolved a while back I thought? IIRC the statement it was being used to support was fraught with original research and was removed from the article? If not, I wholly support removing text based on the form, unless its something along the lines of "the support form said X" - even then, someone would have to make a really good argument about why its needed.
(3)Primary sources can be used for unambiguous claims but should never be interpreted. Please see WP:NOR for more details. Or are you suggesting that stating "X" appears in the manual is an interpretation?
(4)I thought this statement added balance to the paragraph by showing in a positive light that there were cases in studies on Juice Plus where adverse affects were found to be unrelated to the product. The study itself is unequivocally related to Juice Plus, but if most editors feel the findings aren't of note and don't help balance that section, I have no problem with excluding it.
(5)Again, I thought showing both adverse affects from the product and adverse affects later found not to be from the product added balance to the paragraph. Is there any reason we should only list negative outcomes for adverse effects during these studies?
(6)We should be treating all studies by the same set of criteria. If we remove the MSK study, we should revisit the other studies that are included and yet used the same poor methodologies. Wikipedia isn't in the business of adding disclaimers - for instance, the classic example from How to write from a Neutral Point of View - we don't have to tell anyone that Hitler was a bad man, the writing and sources should speak for themselves. Shell babelfish 04:22, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Shell: Yes, the SMAEMS website was withdrawn by the FDA in 2002, as the following quotation from an FDA site shows: "It should be noted that the FDA removed the SNAEMS effective August 29, 2002 stating the following: “Data from the Special Nutritional Adverse Event Monitoring System website for dietary supplements has not been added to or updated since 1999, and the website has now been removed. The information previously available on dietary supplement adverse event reports on this website was very limited and was provided in a manner that made it difficult for users to appropriately interpret the adverse events.” FDA web page 2003. This has already been pointed out a couple of times recently in talk page threads. Just to give you a feel for the atmosphere at the time, RIR's comment was that "since SNAEMS has stopped collecting reports, it is likely that adverse events associated with the use of Juice Plus have been under-reported".
I'm not disputing that the manual contains adverse effects - all I have to go on is what was in the AE section; if such sources are generally acceptable, fine (but see Elonka's comment above re it being a primary source). My point was that, since the SNAEMS data are not reliable (i.e. withdrawn by the publisher) then someone with access to the manual needs to determine which of the adverse effects previously bundled together with the SNAEMS reports are still citable due to being in the current edition of the manual. TraceyR 13:24, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I strongly agree with points 5 and 6 raised by Shel[80] (as well as the other points), as I had outlined in my previous post.[81]. Point 5 argues that all 3 of the studies that looked at AEs should be mentioned regardless of whether the effects were demmed to be deifintely related to Juice Plus or clearly unrelated to Juice Plus. This would be fair and balanced reporting of all research to date that involved some attamept to measure or report AEs. Point 6 argues that we should not be adding a disclaimer that misleadingly implies that MSKCC qulaified their statement about hive-like rashes as a side effect, because MSKCC did not include any such disclaimer or qualification of their statement. The section already begins by pointing out that the studies were poorly designed, and MSKCC's comments clearly do not warrant editorialization. 15:31, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Tracey! Since the FDA has called its own report hard to interpret, I would agree that we certainly shouldn't be using that data as a source. I couldn't find any information about their new reporting though they indicate they are still gathering the information; I believe you're saying that there is a manual still being released that someone could look at and add information from at a later time. That sounds like the best way to go. Also, for future reference, I finally managed to find a link directly to the FDA's statement about removing the data[82] in case we need it again.
Rhode Island Red, I didn't mean to imply that MSKCC qualified their adverse effects statement. I believe Elonka's point is that the study itself has been criticized for poor design which may invalidate the findings, including adverse effects. If you look at earlier sections, most of the information about which studies were sound and which were poorly run was removed because it took up a great deal of the article. Perhaps if we revisited the studies we could agree that studies using poor methodology which produce poorly controlled results shouldn't be used as sources for the material in the article? Shell babelfish 16:12, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I am in agreement with Shell Kinney and TraceyR that the SNAEMS website should not be used as a source. I am also in agreement with Shell that studies which used poor methodology and had non-controlled results, should not be used as sources. Though I think that TraceyR had a good point in another thread about some non-controlled studies being pilot studies, and I'd be okay on including such information, as long as it was clearly labeled as a pilot study. It would also be nice if we could say whether or not followup studies had verified the results. For example, if a pilot study said "A", but five better-controlled followup studies said "B", it might not be worth mentioning the pilot study at all, unless that pilot study had received some other kind of press. Another thing worth discussing is the poorly-sourced studies that are listed at the Juice Plus website.[83] Though it's the manufacturer website, I would be okay on listing information from that page, if we could identify which actual studies that the information came from, and a note about whether or not it was a reliable study. For example from that webpage, it says, "Investigators at the Medical University of Vienna studied the bioavailability (absorption by the body) of select nutrients found in Juice Plus+® and concluded that Juice Plus+® effectively increases antioxidant nutrients and folate." However, the website doesn't give any details about which particular study they are referring to. Personally, I would like to have a source which either verifies or debunks the manufacturer's claims on that webpage. So, for example, we could quote the webpage verbiage on the Wikipedia article, and then followup with either, "This information appears to come from the following study" or "This information comes from the following study, which was criticized as being poorly-controlled," or "However, no study has yet been identified which actually said such a thing." Or would that be too much like OR? --Elonka 16:50, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
Pilot study or not, if its not scientifically reliable information, its not. I am loathe to use anything from the manufacturers provided research claims, especially since many aren't well sourced. Debunking and researching others claims sounds a lot like original research to me, especially when you say things like "no study has been identified" - now if a source said that, ok, but to have us make that judgement? I think that has to be completely against policy. Shell babelfish 18:22, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
I'd be willing to go along with everything Shell just said. --Elonka 18:31, 11 June 2007 (UTC)


Rating the studies

I'm still pondering how to best present information that specifies the difference between "good" and "bad" sources in this article. I was originally thinking of splitting the information out into different sections, but I think Rhode Island Red was (mostly) correct that the information is already pretty well tagged. However, I still think we can do better. To try and get a handle on the nomenclature here, I wanted to first define some terms. It seems that the studies fall into two categories:

  • (a) Controlled studies: Studies that are randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled.
  • (b) Non-controlled: Studies that are missing one of the above elements.

Other study classifications:

  • (a) Independent
  • (b) Funded by the manufacturer

And one other possible classification:

  • (a) Written by respected scientists
  • (b) Written by scientists with past ties to a fraudulent company (such as USAI)

Would everyone agree that these are the primary classifications? Or are there others? Also, would it be fair to say that there's an easy combination there? For example, is it true that we have some studies that are a-a-a, and the others are b-b-b? Or do we have some that are a-b-a, or some other classification? Hope that makes sense, --Elonka 17:20, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

How about Pilot studies, for which it is not unusual (a) to dispense with the controls and (b) have a smaller population - a subset of Non-controlled but without the stigma normally associated with the lack of controls? The first study (main author Wise) would fall into this category.
Funded by the manufacturer might be thought to imply that the results are less reliable. It is probably unusual for any studies not to be funded, at least in part, by a the manufacturer - that's the way things work, certainly at first.
In addition to Independent and Funded by the manufacturer there could be Performed by the manufacturer e.g. in its own laboratory. This is not the case with Juice Plus (at least I'm unaware of such a study) but e.g. GNLD has published a couple of studies which its own staff have performed.
A different but related point: I'm not sure of the significance of the contributions made by each of the authors named for a given study. Is it normal for the main author to be named first? If so, is it valid to describe all studies in which Wise is named as a co-author as 'authored by Wise'. This could be a ploy to discredit the studies so described by associating them (indirectly and incorrectly) with USAI. Perhaps 'co-authored by' would be more accurate for such studies.TraceyR 18:16, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
On the funding issue, I would personally put more reliance on a study that was funded by a government grant, than by the manufacturer. Even if the study is controlled, there's still a subtle implication that when the manufacturer funds it, there's pressure to present findings that the manufacturer wants, otherwise the manufacturer isn't going to fund more studies there. --Elonka 21:25, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
But we're not talking about a drug here. Surely it would be very unusual for a government grant to be awarded to study a nutritional supplement. I think that the failure to make this distinction is behind this aspect of the criticism of the Juice Plus studies. Who else is going to fund such studies? Somehow this needs to be pointed out in the article, which seems to ignore this distinction.
In addition, ss far as I'm aware there are very few, if any, other makers of supplements which have 'risked' subjecting their products to studies by independent, reputable institutions. Shouldn't this speak for rather than against the company/product? TraceyR 22:18, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I hear your point, and admit that I really don't know that much about the subject. Could you maybe point to an article that talks about sources of funding for these kinds of things? If so, we could use it as a source. If not, well, I can't find one either, so I'm willing to drop that question of "Who has funded the study," unless someone else can provide proof that it's an issue. Anyone? --Elonka 22:42, 8 June 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure what the exact aim is of this discussion of rating the studies. In what way would such ratings apply to the article and what information of value would it provide that is not already mentioned?
Whether or not a study is controlled adequately is most relevant when a poorly designed study is being quoted alone in support of a finding. When the results of a poorly designed study agree with the results of other better designed studies, then the point that one of studies was poorly designed is somewhat moot. This seems to be handled sufficiently well in the present version, unless someone can point out an instance where the information was absent and where the absence is a detriment to the article.
The article already specifies the studies on which John Wise was an author. I don’t see that any additional clarification would be needed in that regard. The article used to contain a paragraph that described which studies were funded by the manufacturer or conducted by Juice Plus distributors and which studies were conducted independently. This paragraph has now been replaced at the beginning of the research section. Company-funding of studies is an obvious issue, but more so when a company funded study claims very positive results. It is unlikely to be an issue when such studies show negative results (i.e. unlikely for company’s bias to result in claims of underperformance). Company-funded studies that are poorly designed would objectively be recognized as prone to bias. Just because something is a pilot study doesn’t mean it has to be a poorly designed study. Pilot studies typically just include fewer subjects, but there are well-designed pilot studies and there are poorly designed pilot studies. Wise’s pilot study happened to be a poorly designed pilot study. Rhode Island Red 04:30, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
I saw on the company website yesterday that one of the studies currently under way (at Wake Forest University) is being funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute. The same page indicates that 10 of the 11 studies being conducted are "randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled" investigations, so sooner or later there will be more good-quality results on the table. TraceyR 08:33, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

SN/AEMS - more reasons for removal

Thanks are due to Rhode Island Red for posting the relevant sections of the Juice Plus distributor’s manual. Now we can disentangle the effects noted there from the reports recorded in the now defunct SN/AEMS.

The effects reported in the distributor's manual

  1. constipation ("on rare occasions")
  2. "a modest cleasing effect" in "some people" which "usually passes""
  3. a possible initial "detoxifying effect (cleasing) ... which may release some gas".

The SN/AEMS system (report number in brackets)

  1. Diarrhea (10443) and (11915)
  2. "temperature" (10443)
  3. cramping (10443)
  4. nausea (10443) and (13006)
  5. Death from massive hepatic necrosis. Doctor suspects mushroom poisoning (10646)
  6. Ringing in ears (11861)
  7. progressive proximal muscle weakness (11915)
  8. nephrotic syndrome (11915)
  9. Heart palpitations (13006)
  10. headaches (13006)
  11. constipation (13006)


Of these 11 reported adverse effects, the editor responsible to inserting the SN/AEMS reference failed to mention numbers 5 - 10, perhaps assuming (correctly?) that suggesting that Juice Plus had caused e.g. "death from massive hepatic necrosis","progressive proximal muscle weakness" or "Heart palpitations" might have led other editors with a minimum of common sense to suspect the reliability of the cited source.

But what does the FDA say about its own SN/AEMS data?

"What do I need to keep in mind when using information from the SN/AEMS? Reporting is voluntary and the information is as reported by the professional. This means that: (...) "There is no certainty that a reported adverse event can be attributed to a particular product or ingredient. The available information may not be complete enough to make this determination." (my emphasis) )...)

Definitions of column heading "Adverse Event As Reported": "usually by the consumer or health professional. The text is as supplied or stated in the adverse event report except when the reporter's language is long or complex. Then, it may have been paraphrased or abbreviated. Quotation marks indicate the exact word(s) used by the reporter in the adverse event report." (my emphasis)

Other information from the FDA: "When did it start?" The SN/AEMS was established in early 1993 following the establishment of the Office of Special Nutritionals."

The report previously referenced in the AE section dated from October 20, 1998, at which time it contained 3451 entries, 5 of which mentioned Juice Plus. 1998 report

SN/AEMS was discontinued in 1999 with the comment that "The information previously available on dietary supplement adverse event reports on this website was very limited and was provided in a manner that made it difficult for users to appropriately interpret the adverse events."FDA comment

Discussion

In other words, even if it had not been withdrawn by its publisher, SN/AEMS would not merit inclusion as a reliable reference because it is

  1. a primary source which
  2. admits its own poor quality;
  3. there is no certain causal link between the product and the effect
  4. there were only 5 entries referring to Juice Plus out of a total of 3,541 entries made over more than 5 years
  5. the reports may have been made by consumers (i.e. not necessarily by a health professional).

One has to wonder why this information was ever deemed reliable enough to include in an article on wikipedia. Can we safely assume that reliability and accuracy were not uppermost in the mind of the editor responsible (for those interested, the edit was submitted at 05:06 on 13 October 2006)?

We can now see that this part of the AE section seriously misrepresented the situation by stating "Other adverse effects listed in the (manual) and (SNAEMS) included gastrointestinal cramps, ... etc. etc.". The casual reader was left with impression that both sources listed all effects. Was this through careless use of language or a deliberate attempt to misinform? Wikipedia requires us to assume good faith, but eventually patience starts to wear thin! TraceyR 18:14, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

TraceyR, thank you for the detailed analysis. In terms of how all this applies to the Wikipedia article, I think this boils down to, "The SNAEMS report is not a valid source. It should not have been used in the past, and it should not be used in the future." I believe there is adequate consensus on this now. Which report shall we discuss next?  :) --Elonka 18:19, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, Elonka, there seem to be two definitions of consensus on this article :) I just wanted to make sure!TraceyR 18:21, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the excellent research Tracey! As mentioned above, I agree that the SNAEMS report is not a reliable source and information from it does not meet Wikipedia's standards for inclusion. I don't believe that any reasonable argument can be made for its inclusion. Shell babelfish 19:55, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem with including the SNAEMS reference but will go with whatever consensus arises. The challenge with adverse effect data is that causality is rarely known for certain. Any adverse effects noted in a study or through a surveillance system are described without knowing the cause for certain; instead all AEs reported by users are noted and the causes are graded as being unlikely/possibly/probably due to the product in question. Determining causality is particularly difficult when a product, such as Juice Plus, has not been previously tested for safety/adverse effects.
Also, I noticed that SNAEMS stated that the "information...was provided in a manner that made it difficult for users to appropriately interpret" but did not say that the data were valueless. I don’t see any harm in mentioning that gastrointestinal AE reports were received and listed by SNAEMS, as long as we don’t make any conclusions as to causality. Even if the SNAEMS website stopped collecting AE reports and stopped listing the old AE reports, this still doesn't change the fact that AE reports about Juice Plus were received by SNAEMS in the past and I see no major issues with reporting the information, since an archived copy is available and it seems to meet minimum requirments for WP:VER. Also, among 4 of the references (SNAEMS, NSA distributor manual, Wake Forest protocol, and Houston et al. study) a fairly consistent pattern of mild-to-moderate gastrointestinal side effects is evident. There may be some issues regarding citation of some of these sources, which remain to be resolved, but I feel fairly comfortable in recognizing and describing this pattern of GI side effects given the unanimity of these reports and that they are confirmed to some extent by the manufacturer.
I also take issue with the incivil comments [84] made by TraceyR (i.e. “Was this through careless use of language or a deliberate attempt to misinform?”; “Can we safely assume that reliability and accuracy were not uppermost in the mind of the editor responsible”). Please be civil and comment only on content rather than the motives of other editors. Rhode Island Red 00:19, 17 June 2007 (UTC).
Rhode Island Red: There is no need for a consensus on removing the SMAEMS reference, as has already been pointed out many times already. WP policy is clear on this point(see [85]): under the heading What kinds of sources are generally regarded as unreliable? it states "Some sources are generally unacceptable for use as references in Wikipedia:
  • An obsolete source is one that is out-of-date, or has been officially withdrawn or deprecated by its author(s) or publisher.
SNAEMS is obsolete because it has been both officially withdrawn and deprecated by its ... publisher.
It would be very surprising if SNAEMS had stated that its data were valueless. This doesn't change the fact that it is valueless in the context of a fair, neutral point of view article. You may indeed "feel fairly comfortable in recognizing and describing this pattern of GI side effects" (even though there were only three such SNAEMS reports out of 3,451 events over >5 years - not exactly a pattern); this is the nub of the problem. The same goes for your statement that you "don’t see any harm in mentioning that gastrointestinal AE reports were received and listed by SNAEMS, as long as we don’t make any conclusions as to causality". Do you really think that that would be neutral in this context? A statement such as "The FDA received 3,451 reports over 5 years from consumers and/or medical practitions, 3 of which mentioned Juice Plus as a possible cause of GI problems" would be less tendentious. I hope that we are aiming for a neutral point of view in the article. But SNAEMS is not a reliable source, so please don't waste any more time defending it.
I fail to detect a lack of civility in what I wrote. It may not feel "comfortable" but I think the questions are still justified. Please note that I did not name the editor responsible. --TraceyR 07:38, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Verifying Studies Referenced on Juice Plus Website

I found this link to be pretty eye opening: http://www.juiceplus.com/nsa/pages/ResearchShows.soa . There seems to be some great findings about Juice Plus from many prestigious institutions, almost too good to be true. Since there have been claims of false advertisement on Juice Plus' part in the past, I think it would be helpful if we were able to verify that all the findings cited from these universities and science centers are true. Citizen Don 04:11, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

It looks like the links to the universities on that page, are actually links to abstracts of the related papers. For example, the first one, "Juice Plus+® delivers key phytonutrients that are absorbed by the body." by the "Medical University of Vienna", is linked to the 2004 Kiefer study.[86] "Kiefer et al. Supplementation with mixed fruit and vegetable juice concentrates increased serum antioxidants and folate in healthy adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2004; 23 (3): 205-211" The 2004 Kiefer study appears, to my eye, to meet our standards of "double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study". Triple-A. However, before anyone gets too excited, please note that we are already using this study in the Wikipedia article. It's ref #8, named "kiefer". I recommend that someone go through the other studies that are linked on that webpage, and list them here. Then we can rate each one as to whether or not it's reliable, and whether or not we can include its results in the Wikipedia article. --Elonka 21:16, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure if I understand the point of this exercise. When reporting the results of scientific research, studies that are not double-blind/placebo-controlled/randomized are not ignored, they are merely qualified (i.e. noted when the study designs are less than optimal) and weighted (i.e. they are generally trumped by studies with better designs). Only a few of the Juice Plus studies were double-blind/placebo-controlled/randomized trials. There is no valid basis in WP policy or a scientific precedent for excluding mention of the other studies, if this is in fact what is being proposed here. If a study is published in a journal that meets minimum standards for quality, then it meets with WP:VER and WP:RS, and that is all we should be concerning ourselves with as editors, wih the possible exception of noting where conflict of interest might be an issue (i.e. mentioning company involvement). Attempting to use an arbitrary rating scheme to exclude studies from the article has no precedent in the science world and to do so would qualify as original research, unless a secondary source had already done it. Rhode Island Red 00:52, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

1999 Inserra study

As part of our project to review the reliability of the studies that are being used as sources here, I'd like to discuss the 1999 Inserra study:

  • Inserra PF, Jiang S, Solkoff D, Lee J, Zhang Z, Xu M, Hesslink R, Wise J, Watson RR (1999). "Immune function in elderly smokers and nonsmokers improves during supplementation with fruit and vegetable extracts". Integr Med 2 (1): 3-10.

This study has been criticized for poor design. Specifically, the Memorial Sloan Kettering center said, "Despite the apparent benefit claimed by the study, the design of this study is inadequate due to the fact that it was not randomized, blinded or placebo controlled."[87] As such, it is my opinion that we should not be using this study as a source in the Wikipedia article, and we should delete information which is quoted from the source (such as is currently done in the Adverse Effects section). What do other editors think? --Elonka 20:29, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

When studies are not well designed, they are not excluded from discussion; the results are merely qualified and weighted accordingly. This is clearly what MSKCC has done. They mentioned the positive claims of the study and then they qualified the results by pointing out potential problems with the design; the study is not excluded from the discussion. The way MSKCC has reviewed the study is SOP. Furthermore, note that the design issues are mentioned in relation to the “apparent benefit claimed by the study”; MSKCC did not qualify their statement about the hive-like rash adverse effects, which appeared in a different section of their Juice Plus critique. In the side effects section of MSKCCs article they simply stated "Side Effects: Some test subjects developed a hive-like rash during treatment." without any qualifications whatsoever.
One of the problems with poorly controlled studies is that they allow the possibility for bias to creep in, which in a company-funded/authored study would be expected to result in overblown claims of effectiveness. Bias would have the opposite effect on claims regarding adverse effects; i.e., bias would be expected to result in under-reporting of AEs. Rhode Island Red 23:18, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

"+" Symbol in "Juice Plus+"

With regard to the “+” symbol being recently added to each instance of the product name Juice Plus (i.e. now written as Juice Plus+), this is actually discouraged according to the WP Manual of Style on trademarks (WP:MOSTM), which states:[88]

Avoid using special characters that are not pronounced, are included purely for decoration, or simply substitute for English words…it is acceptable to use decorative characters the first time the trademark appears, but thereafter, an alternative that follows the standard rules of punctuation should be used”. Since the “+” in Juice Plus is an unpronounced decorative character (i.e. the product is not pronounced Juice Plus Plus, it appears that it would be OK to use "Juice Plus+" when the product is first mentioned, but thereafter, it should be referred to simply as “Juice Plus”. Rhode Island Red 01:01, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I agree. I think putting on the redundant plus sign, just makes the article harder to read. Can we remove it as RIR has suggested? Tbbooher 02:22, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I agree, and would support the removal of the extra character. --Elonka 09:10, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I disagree and see no problem with including it. Obviously I'm in the minority. If it was my name I'd be f**** mad if someone treated my name this way! It shows a lack of respect, and I don't even respect this product in the least. On the contrary! -- Fyslee/talk 20:12, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
Removal of the character sounds reasonable. Shell babelfish 22:04, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm happy if the '+' symbol is removed, because it seems that WP:MOSTM discourages the higher flights of fancy in product naming. At least WP does not need to track the unusual decorative characters. Otherwise we have to spell Macy's as Macy*s, and similar things. Google itself may have a similar issue. Twenty-four times more hits are found for 'Juice Plus' if you omit the decorative '+' sign; six times more hits are found for Macy's than Macy*s. A triumph of common sense. EdJohnston 03:57, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, and we've had similar problems with other capitalization issues. For example, some brand names want to be listed in ALL CAPS, but according to the Wikipedia MoS we stick with a more reasonable spelling. One mention of the "+" in the lead paragraph is sufficient. --Elonka 19:02, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
I am glad to see that we are getting so much participation on an issue. I am also pleased to see Fyslee, a new editor, taking an interest in the page, and apologize if it seemed that we were trying to denigrate the contribution. But this editorial issue arises frequently and not just at WP. The Chicago Manual of Style (a definitive source) also talks about this. The problem with including trademark names that include unpronounced characters is that it makes articles less readable and it can get absurdly out of hand, for example, hypothetically, when a product comes out that wants to be referred to as “Brand X#@!&*+++” in print. Newspaper and magazine editors just won’t do it. Incidentally, remember what happened when the musical artist Prince changed his name to a string of unpronouncable symbols? They simply started calling him the "Artist Formerly Known as Prince". Rhode Island Red 00:54, 19 June 2007 (UTC)