Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 4

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Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5

Peer Review as Article of Faith

I've moved this discussion to Wikipedia_talk:Reliable sources. Please respond there instead. This discussion was split up since someone decided to post it in both places, when it shouldn't have been posted on this talk page at all: it makes absolutely no reference to the content of the article, and should be discussed in a more general area where more people will see it. --Philosophus T 07:49, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Philosophus: Hi. Thanks for your thoughts. It was posted on this page because of the seemingly endless discussions having to do with peer review status -- which, in the light of these recent meta-analyses, have little import. It was cross-posted to Reliable Sources and a couple other locations as a courtesy to the editorial groups there, who may not be aware of (apparently were not aware of, as far as I could determine) these publications. I am not interested in participating on those other pages because I do not have time for it; they can do with the information as they see fit. I AM interested in this page at this time, and since "peer review" was such a hot issue, it was manifestly relevant. If you want to make a radical change such as removing a whole section and putting it somewhere else, please drop us a line first, OK? Thanks! -- Alan2012 19:30, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

This isn't a question of interest in pages. This page is for discussion of the Quackwatch article, and despite threads on some talk pages, it isn't for discussion of Quackwatch, peer review, or anything other somewhat-related topic. Crossposting this splits the discussion, angers other editors, and makes it difficult to read talk pages that are meant for specific topics. The appropriate place to discuss this is the WP:RS talk page, and therefore I moved this after discussing it with other editors and notifying you. --Philosophus T 01:35, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
"This isn't a question of interest in pages. This page is for discussion of the Quackwatch article,"
. . . . yes, and I explained how it was relevant to the discussion of the Quackwatch article. If you have a problem with my explanation, please post it.
" and despite threads on some talk pages, it isn't for discussion of Quackwatch, peer review, or anything other somewhat-related topic."
. . . . ditto. The purpose was to set editors' minds at ease with respect to their apparent obsession with "peer review", which is quite unnecessary for reasons mentioned.
"Crossposting this splits the discussion,"
. . . . whatever. The post was intended for THIS group, primarily. It was posted as a courtesy to a few other places that might need the information. They can have their own discussion of it, if they wish.
"angers other editors,"
. . . . 1) why on earth would they be "angered"? 2) if they are -- i.e. if they really cannot stand a single, polite, short, well-intentioned, informative post about a subject that is directly relevant to their pages -- then... well, then I don't know what to say. Hard to say anything that is not an insult.
" and makes it difficult to read talk pages that are meant for specific topics."
. . . . why? If you really are not interested in the matter, then skip over it.
"The appropriate place to discuss this is the WP:RS talk page, and therefore I moved this after discussing it with other editors and notifying you."
. . . . perhaps would have been better to discuss it with me and notify them?
-- Alan2012 14:20, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Philosophus, for your benefit, and for the benefit of the unnamed editors with whom you (supposedly) conferred, here are a few quotes from these talk pages emphasizing the (claimed, but unsubstantiated) importance of peer review, or simply assuming, without question, that it IS important. (And, incidentally, this error is made by the anti-QW crowd as often as the pro-QW folks. It is simply assumed, by all, that "peer review" is a big honking deal, and the sine qua non of scientific reliability and veracity, when in truth there is no clear scientific evidence for this idea.) Mind you, these are just a few of the many, many references to peer review; consider them representative. Sorry that this is taking so much space, but you insisted...
ITEM: "Wikipedia relies heavily upon the established literature created by scientists, scholars and researchers around the world and The material has been thoroughly vetted by the scholarly community. This means published in peer-reviewed sources, and reviewed and judged acceptable scholarship by the academic journals. The fact that the SSE is regarded as "fringe" by the scientific community affects all of us in WP, because WP doesn't want to be fringe and articulates itself as such. The real bottom line is, let's get better criticism. After all, it is everywhere out there... Shot info 23:32, 11 January 2007 (UTC)"
ITEM: "if you want scientific credibility, you publish in scientific credible journals. If you don't you end up with the questions I am pointing out. It isn't a strawman argument. The exact reasons of why Kauffman selected this journal are irrelevant, the fact is he did and hence the credibility of the paper is questioned. This isn't a fictional reality, it's reality. Hence why WP:RS says Wikipedia relies heavily upon the established literature created by scientists, scholars and researchers around the world and The material has been thoroughly vetted by the scholarly community. This means published in peer-reviewed sources, and reviewed and judged acceptable scholarship by the academic journals (which I have pointed out previously). Shot info 02:35, 12 January 2007 (UTC)"
ITEM: "Wikipedia relies heavily upon the established literature created by scientists, scholars and researchers around the world and The material has been thoroughly vetted by the scholarly community. This means published in peer-reviewed sources, and reviewed and judged acceptable scholarship by the academic journals. So, got another strawman for me to tilt at? Shot info 02:38, 13 January 2007 (UTC)"
ITEM: Kauffman's piece has no credibility due to the fact it is published in JSE. You cannot prove that it is "based on research". The very credibility of Kauffman's work is at question here. You are assuming it is "based on research". I am suggesting that with the lack of peer review at the SSE, this is a bad assumption to make and one that WP:RS tells us not to use. In conclusion, in order for Kauffman's article to be "based on research", we must assume that the SSE is a credible organization that will force it's authors to engage in robust peer review system. It is obvious that the SSE do not, so Kauffman's paper cannot be credibly stated as "based on research". Remember, you want this to be helpful to the casual reader. The causal reader reading this article will believe that Kauffman's article is more robust than what it is and the JSE editoralising will encourage them to believe they are a credible organisation when many (including the CSI) do not agree. Shot info 04:05, 13 January 2007 (UTC)"
ITEM: "I find your dismissal of where something is published puzzling. It goes to the heart of credibility and WP:RS. If Kauffman's work was self published (like what you have criticized QW over..) then we would be all over it. Kauffman's criticism is no different to Bolen's. It is not peer reviewed (or rather, under peer reviewed). The only difference between it and Bolen's, is that it looks more scientific. It has a lot more references which helps it appear more impressive. These references may, or may not exist. Without been exhaustive, we just don't know. This is why we have peer review. Without it, Kauffman can be wrong. Hence it does not deserve to mislead the casual reader. Shot info 04:22, 13 January 2007 (UTC)"
-- Alan2012 14:58, 29 January 2007 (UTC)


Thees are "quotes" made by Kauffman in the correct order: Kauffman stated in a disclaimer that "any recommendations... are based on studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. I am not an M. D. and cannot engage in the practice of medicine."

Do not tamper with the quotes. GigiButterfly 21:20, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Certainly agree with that. As long as we are only quoting what is relevant here (we can paraphrase for brevity too). Levine2112 21:23, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
GB, Are you saying we should quote the entire disclaimer? --Dematt 21:33, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I just removed this addition by GB:
Kauffman cites literature to support his conclusions.[1]
What does that mean? The citation provided doesn't state this, as far as I can tell.
Constructively, GB, may I recommend reading WP:OR and WP:RS. If you truly are new to the editing scene, then the learning the policies here will help you out tremendously.Levine2112 22:04, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I just realized that GB is a newbie! Welcome GB, if you have any questions about any of my edits, you can also reach me on my talk page! :) --Dematt 22:31, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
GB's latest machination of this point stated: "Kauffman cited references to support his literature." I am not sure what "his literature" refers to. Additionally, GB provided Kauffman's review as the source of this statement. As the review doesn't state (to my knowledge) that Kauffman cites references to support his literature, then that statement is GB's assessment of Kauffman's review. GB's assessment = Original Research. Hence, a WP:OR violation. Levine2112 22:52, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
GB and Levine both warned for WP:3RR. (I think GB has 5 and Levine 3 in the past hour(!).) Let's keep this under control, please. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 23:02, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
But as you can plainly see, I am correct that her assessment of Kauffman's review creates an obvious WP:OR violation. I am trying extremely hard here to explain this to GigiButterfly (I wouldn't bite the newbie, you know). But I invite you, Arthur (or anyone else here), to step up, revert her edit and do a better job explaining WP:OR to her than I have done. If she is in violation of WP:3RR as you suggest, perhaps we should report her? Levine2112 23:15, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree, but I'clast asked me not to edit during this cooling off period, so I will respect that. Maybe he will "step up" and make the edit? TheDoctorIsIn 23:22, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
That's great. But can anyone explain to me what GB means with: "Kauffman cited references to support his literature"? Gigi? I'clast? TheDoctorIsIn? Dematt? How about Kauffmann? Are you out there? ;-) Levine2112 23:26, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Is this vandalism under our noses —Preceding unsigned comment added by GigiButterfly (talkcontribs)

It isn't vandalism. Please review Wikipedia policy which I'clast has afforded you. Then read his reasoning for deleting the passage. Next step, is to discuss his reasoning here (not to start edit wars). Make sense? Levine2112 23:49, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

"Superfluous quote material"

Kauffman's own caveat was reverted despite it coming immediately after his discussion of "peer review" sources. What is superfluous about him pointing out that his review cannot be construed as medical advice while those who write for QW are actually licensed physicians? --ScienceApologist 00:08, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Frankly I thought it was a no-brainer[2]. For one, as *very* common "boiler plate" language, it is not especially notable. It's absence may be even more notable, say for previously licensed physicians whose assertions really might be confused with "medical advice". We should so spam every health and medical related article that *isn't* "medical advice" where the is no serious allegation of [| UPM] (which would also concern WP:BLP) that has a standard disclaimer?--I'clast 00:40, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
You hit the nail on the head there, I'clast. At least Kauffman puts in that bolierplate language (I have noted that he does this on other research papers as well). What about this statement: "Kauffman cited references to support his literature"? I still would appreciate an explanation of what this is trying to mean and where this is cited. Otherwise, we should delete it. Levine2112 00:52, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
If you are proud of the boilerplate language, why remove it? --ScienceApologist 01:56, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
In an encyclopedia? This is silly, you waste the readers' time & attention span, or possibly seek to imply something, like UPM.--I'clast 02:05, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't buy it. He is explicitly stating he is not partaking in the forbidden fruit of UPM. Unless you can justify with impunity that any mention of MD status is an open invitation to such speculation, you're going to have to do better than censoring for the sake of preventing readers from conjecturing that the man is outright lying. More than this, the "space" argument really holds no water. Compared to the rest of the quote we include from Kauffman, these dozen words are a pittance. --ScienceApologist 02:08, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
No.--I'clast 02:14, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Kauffman cites many references to support his literature.

The disclaimer is notable. You do not want people to read the diclaimer. Suppression of information is going on here.—Preceding unsigned comment added by GigiButteryfly (talkcontribs)

GigiButterfly, please respect WP:AGF. As far as the statement goes, wouldn't "Kauffman cites many references in support of his findings" make more sense. That, at least, is obvious. What you are implying is an opinion you formed in your assessment which is a clear WP:OR violation.
The disclaimer is fine, but it isn't really the meat of this article and I question the disclaimers' notability. Levine2112 01:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)


The criticism section is way way too long. Unless someone can explain to me the reason for the length then it is undo weight to that section. We need to be responsible editors. I think the section should be shortened. The criticism section is about half the article. This is wrong. This is undo weight. We should only keep the notable criticism and remove the remainder. GigiButterfly 01:04, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

There are no criticism ceilings or floors on Wikipedia. Certainly, we can weigh proportionality and percentages of article space used by criticism, but there are articles out there with a higher ratio of criticism-to-praise than this one. (I'd conservatively esitmate that only a quarter is criticism now). Don't forget that Quackwatch itself is a very critical site (which often publishes its own criticisms right on their site). Criticism here is to be expected and is completely warranted. The amount we have now is pretty, but if you want to cut down might I suggest you cut out inanities such as: "Kauffman cited references to support his literature". Levine2112 01:15, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I reverted your Totally Disputed tag as it is unwarranted. There is already a POV tag at the top of the article. Your edits are becoming disruptive. I suggest that you take a cooling down period and read up on Wikipedia policy. As a newbie, it will be most helpful. Thank you. Levine2112 01:23, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

The criticism section is an attack page because it is way too long. It is unjustified to have such a long length.

It should be shortened to about half its length. The long length is undo weight compared to the rest of the article. I see no reason to have half the article being a criticism section. GigiButterfly 01:36, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Is this just your opinion? Or are you citing specific Wikipedia policy? (On a personal, I would just like to say how much I appreciate your command over Wikipedia editing codes. For a newbie, you sure learned quickly how to do multi-level formating, insert warning templates and tags. Usually, these skills takes a month of editing for most newbies to learn. Nice work.) Levine2112 01:37, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Considering that GigiButterfly is mentioning Undue weight by name, albeit incorrectly spelled, I would expect that the intention was to cite specific policy. --Philosophus T 05:17, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not pleased with the section, but it isn't a complete disaster or attack page. It is currently a list of quotations by various people, which is certainly rather unusual for a criticism section in a Wikipedia article, and in my opinion isn't the proper way to do a criticism section, as it makes the text too disorganized, with ideas repeated multiple times by different critics. Additionally, there is an undue weight problem with just listing quotes from each critic (in addition to it being contrary to WP:NOT) - I don't think that each critic's position on their own is notable enough to justify giving so much space. Collecting the positions of critics could alleviate this problem, and present a much shorter and more readable section while still giving the same information and being just as well sourced and strong of a section. --Philosophus T 05:17, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good. Looking forward to more suggestions on how to consolidate the criticisms without compromising the critics' positions. Levine2112 05:23, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
A more encyclopedic method would be to summarize it all in some beautiful prose, including the essential phrases from the quotes with refs. The references would then include the personal identities of the critics (without all the vanity info) and the links to the quotes themselves, where people can go to find the context. Where accusations are the same, diffs to several critics who repeat them could be included, but let's limit it to those we already have. If others need to be added later, we can certainly discuss it here, since that may be meritorious. The criticisms section should definitely not be deleted, just made more encyclopedic, rather than a list. It should be possible to summarize it in a couple paragraphs. It would sure be nice if there were some criticism from mainstream sources, instead of so much ad hominem stuff. -- Fyslee 09:15, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Fyslee has a point. The problem is that those editors who would like to see the QW article as hagiographic advertisment over the heroism of QW and its founder disrupt any attempt to make a synthesis of the variuos critical quotes. Any attempt to write a narrative text would be deleted by these editors as "WP:OR" or "editorializing". MaxPont 15:19, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
True. I think it works both ways on this one. IOWs, it looks as though there has been a consensus that the glowing part is in the beginning and the bad part is in the end. This apparently neutralizes the article. I think the only other real option is to write the entire article NPOV sentence by sentence from the beginning. Hmmm, anybody up for that:) --Dematt 15:28, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
That sounds like a nice but impossible dream for most controversial articles, but if at the least each section was written in a prose style, it would be nicer. I don't recall that there has been an attempt with the criticisms section, but I can't trust my memory. I'm a Quackwatch fan, and it was my suggestion to try a prose style, so I'm certainly open to giving it a try. Let the critics start working on it here and then we can all try to get it into a reasonably NPOV form and place it in the article. I think there are enough of us here from both POV who understand NPOV enough to manage that. -- Fyslee 17:16, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
A major problem is also the notability of the critics. For example, the Journal of Scientific Exploration is a borderline crank journal, and the criticism should be portrayed as such. Moreover, many criticisms are actually just personal opinions sourced to people's personal websites. While these individuals may not be entirely `anonymous', it not clear in what respect their criticisms of Quackwatch should be considered notable enough to include in the article. Are we to include a paragraph on every personal opinion offered on the topic of `alternative medicine' and those who try to identify and combat it? Rosenkreuz 15:58, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Rosenkreuz posting proves that it is impossible to write a narrative NPOV text in an encyclopedic style when there is extreme controversy about almost every sentence and statement and zero willingness to compromise among the Quackfans. I put 90% of the blame on those who want to deify Quackwatch. MaxPont 18:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
That is a problem with all articles, for sure. I think all we can do is cite the source according to it's type, primary, secondary and tertiary, with peer reviewed being best (though as Alan pointed out even that has it's problems). Otherwise we have to draw an arbitrary line - and there are no guidelines for that. So consensus seems to be our only method at this point. The only thing that can make it fair as far as NPOV is "what's good for the goose is good for the gander." --Dematt 16:23, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure my response here will illustrate MaxPont's point beautifully, but I will comment nonetheless. Let's not forget that Quackwatch itself is essentially just a collection of opinions sourced to Stephen Barrett's personal website. Being guilty of confirmation bias (and based on Rosenkreuz assessment above), QW shouldn't be considered a reliable source of criticism either. Levine2112 18:23, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
True, but that does not mean we can't cite them. Some of the articles are opinion and need to be noted as such as well as some being peer reviewed by reliable sources. IOWs, if this subject was about peer reviewed and researched information, I don't think it would be appropriate to give someone elses opinion on it unless it was peer reviewed as well. It is just a matter of digging through and finding out how we can cite them. We just have to realize that if we choose to use someones opinion, we have to understand that another opinion has just as much right to be expressed. Eventually, we should have all relevant PoVs covered, right?. --Dematt 18:37, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely. If you allow one person's opinion to stand, then everyone's opinion should stand. And since Quackwatch is essentially a collection of opinions - there is no peer-review there - all critical opinions should be allowed here as well. (Barrett even posts the worst examples from his critics at the bottom of many of his opinion pieces.) Then again, if we don't allow just anyone's opinions to stand here, then perhaps we should rethink how we include Quackwatch's opinions in other articles. Levine2112 18:45, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I think that QW is basically a forum of posted articles that can certainly be cited on WP in individual articles, like a resource list for scientific sceptics. Each one considered on its merits individually. There is nothing wrong with that. Each opinion would have to be presented NPOV, I guess. Lot of work. Then we treat all criticism sections like that, including this one. --Dematt 19:41, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
JoshuaZ just removed 2 or 3 bits of criticism citing that they "are not notable and who seem to be mainly using their personal webpages and nothing else". I think their notability can be questioned... but couldn't the same be said for Quackwatch? This is basically a personal webpage of opinions citing only the research which supports their opinions. I feel that if Drs. Burton Goldberg and Ray Sahelian's opinions - both highly notable in their field (just look at their CV and bios) - can be removed from here, then why shouldn't Quackwatch's opinions be removed from other articles on Wikipedia? Levine2112 20:46, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
See among other issues WP:WEB. Quackwatch is a very notable organization. As usual, how notable something is is determined by how many independent sources find it notable. Goldberg and Sahelian have no one saying anything about them. In contrast, see the long section in this article about organizations that have recognized quackwatch. JoshuaZ 20:50, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I would suggest that you take a look at Sahelian's credentials and bio and then reconsider. Aside from being a best-selling author and having one of the top websites going dealing with nutritional supplements, Dr. Sahelian has been seen on television programs including NBC Today, NBC Nightly News, CBS This Morning, Dateline NBC, and CNN, quoted by countless major magazines such as Newsweek, Modern Maturity, Health, and newspapers including USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Le Monde (France). Millions of radio listeners nationwide hear him discuss the latest research on health. Many of his books have been translated into several languages, including Japanese, Korean, Italian, German, Russian, and Chinese.
Burton Goldberg is also a best-selling author. I can't speak to his notability beyond that though. Levine2112 21:49, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Hear hear! The criticism section is more to my liking now. It was indeed far far too long, and contained mostly just ad hominems (pointing out why the site is biased, which is okay to mention but seems irrelevant in the end since accuracy is what matters most) --Havermayer 06:17, 4 February 2007 (UTC).

Thanks, it was not easy, but I think it turned out okay and a good example for other articles as well. ---- Dēmatt (chat) 13:48, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

contests consensus

After reading that whole Kauffman article (yawn) it appears that we might be creating OR with this:

We need a source to back this up. If it is from the cited article, it appears to be WP:OR. I think the only negative thing we can really say about this guy is that he may be Barrett's only competition. He does say something like that in the article. But, I am open to some clarification. --Dematt 04:18, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't have his book but i would expect it to be addressed in there:
Joel Kauffman, Malignant Medical Myths: Why Medical Treatment Causes 200,000 Deaths in the USA each Year and How to Protect Yourself. Infinity Publishing (January 30, 2006) ISBN 0-7414-2909-8
Does anyone have easy access to a copy? David D. (Talk) 04:38, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes.--I'clast 05:03, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I rewrote a previous summary sentence to more neutrally point out that this guy does not agree with the common understanding of many doctors (and the atorvastatin salesmen) about the subject, although I have previously pointed out[3] that he seems to be more or less in line with the Baylor College of Medicine's Lipids Online site on current understandings of the CVD researchers. Satisfying both the QW faithful and their skeptics about the best wording on this seems an onerous task.--I'clast 05:31, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Ha ha! I'clast, concerning your last sentence above, you have my sympathies! But then again, no one ever claimed editing here is a dance on roses, except maybe on uncontroversial articles. -- Fyslee 09:18, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay, I'll take your word for it and as I don't want to hurt myself trying to think of another way of saying it that probably won't pass easily, I'll accept that just by using the title of his book as being "contesting medical consensus". Thanks for clearing that up for me. Though if we want to keep this from recurring, maybe we should cite it as a reference. --Dematt 14:07, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I haven't really been following this discussion, so if I've misunderstood the drift here, just ignore this. I think that the fact that Kauffman is an active member of The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics says something about him "thinking outside the box." He is of course not alone, but their POV is not a part of dietary or medical consensus yet....;-) If and when it becomes so, there won't be the same type of discussion, and there will also be other V & RS to choose from. Right now many of his positions are fringe positions, which explains why he's comfortable with contributing so often to the JSE.[4] He may be making the same type of blunder that Pauling did - getting too far outside of his own field. If his POV ever becomes mainstream, then there will be V & RS about it, but until then, to claim he's mainstream is OR. -- Fyslee 14:51, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I think this is one of those reasons why using the word "mainstream" is on the weasel list; because mainstream is such a moving target. And it means different things to different people. Every field likes to consider itself "mainstream" because that is where the money is until they find something new, then they want to be "cutting edge", but don't go overboard into "fringe" or you lose it all. It is more notable that someone who spent so much of his life researching for cancer cures and obviously obtaining a relative "height" among his peers as to be professor emeritus would go out on a limb. If we don't put some weight on something that a person like this says, then why are we using our tax money to educate these guys to make decisions for us - just to tell us what we want to hear?. I guess that is why we are supposed to just write what we can verify with reliable sources. We're not supposed to be changing the world here, that's their job. We're just reporting on their work. --Dematt 15:12, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Well put. That's the difference between our speculations and discussions here, and what finally makes it into articles. Good thing there's a difference! -- Fyslee 16:48, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
So what makes it into the article with regards to this? Levine2112 17:19, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, obviously, that Kauffman is a Phd who also works to fight health fraud and he suggests that the site... (add his conclusions verbatum or paraphrase appropriately). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dematt (talkcontribs) 17:41, 24 January 2007 (UTC). --Dematt 17:42, 24 January 2007 (UTC) (boy, that hagerman bot is fast!) --Dematt 17:43, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds good.I'd be in favor of rewording it as such. Levine2112 17:53, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, as long as we're feeling open minded, here's the real problem: (new section)--I'clast 18:44, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Low carb

"...who contests conventional medical consensus in nutrition on saturated fat and cholesterol"re JK's cholesterol and saturated fats "heresy" what the sentence would need to convey & address JK for accuracy: Kauffman's real starting point is about NIDDM/Syndrome X susceptible type people, about 1/4 of the population, who greatly need to use low carb diets, and further that trans-fats and fructose may aggravate insulin resistance.

Since the early lab tests usually confused or counted trans-fats with saturated fats into the 1990s, saturated fats almost always got the blame as "bad". He also cites *many* disturbing test results with polyunsaturates, i.e. 3xRR breast cancer in a Swedish trial of saturated oil vs polyunsaturates and technically analyzes many connections of health problems associated with polyunsaturated oils. He proceeds to criticize the LDL cholesterol biomarker, statins, and dietary cholesterol restrictions as wrong headed; instead favoring fish oil, saturated fats and mono-unsaturated oils; avoiding transfats, polyunsaturated oils, sugars and starches. He thinks an additional 1/2 of the population would benefit from *appropriate* low carb type diets. All spelled out in terms of conventional scientific analysis and historical background, starting with what many think is familiar nutrition. Any suggestions now?--I'clast 18:44, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

He sounds right on target with everything I know about nutrition. Yes to fish oils, no to transfats. Today, that kind of think is dead-on "mainstream". Hence all of the Fish Oil pills on the market and all of the food companies pulling "Partially Hydrogenated Oils" out of their ingredient - opting instead for the non-toxic alternative of cold-pressed and expeller-pressed oils. Excellent example of "alternative thinking" that was so dead-on right that it became "mainstream thinking". Levine2112 18:50, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Certainly plausible. Do we have anything that says he is "outside" the mainstream, controversial, or questionable? What does Quackwatch say about him? --Dematt 19:28, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Criticizing LDL as a useful biomarker and denying the benefit of statins (at least in high risk groups) definitely goes against current medical consensus. Of course, consensus is evolving particularly quickly in nutrition, so it's a moving target, but still. On the other hand, fish oil and avoidance of trans-fats are pretty widely accepted. I haven't been too active in the great JK debate recently, but really - the article's not about Kauffman. Why not a bare-bones summary, like "Kauffman Ph.D., prof emeritus of organic chemistry at USP, wrote a critical website review of Quackwatch in JSE." Then the relevant quotes. Really, people will pick up on the context without all of the verbiage that's been so controversial. MastCell 19:42, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Agree, as above. --Dematt 20:54, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
That seem so right on, MastCell. Without a reliable source saying that Kauffmann's thinking is current outside the mainstream, then we can't say it for risk of WP:OR and generally for just being plain wrong. What was once fringe is now conventional and vice-versa. LEt's just stick to the criticism rather than the criticism of the criticism. Levine2112 19:46, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
"Is Kauffman alternative?", especially in a negative sense, is an important question here. There is a tremendous economic statin presence in medicine that draws *severe* criticism from some very conventional MDs that have memories longer than ~7 years. Can statins reduce near term heart attacks? Yes. Do they show much mortality improvement at 7-8 years out? Not much yet, NNT is about 1 per 1000 improvement in tests questioned for high initial and continuing dropout rates (whither the real compliance problem(s) with 1 little pill per day?) and specific population application. The LDL components, apolipoprotein B and Lp(a) seem to be "very bad" in complex ways that may be best handled by other, cheaper, off patent chemicals as well as measured with the other emerging biomarkers. Are we waiting on new patents or just milking old ones? *One* of Kauffman's points: the fish oil alone is cheaper and has much better long term statistics, this has been known for over 20 years (*average* 1 oz of fish per day, ~ 1 meal per week).--I'clast 20:11, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, statins are big business, and yes, they work. The benefit is bigger the higher-risk you are, and a lot of the disagreement stems from where to draw the line on who should receive them. I'd never discourage anyone from eating fish or using fish oil supplements, but I'd also recommend that people in certain high-risk groups benefit from a statin. But this is really neither here nor there, and maybe best addressed (if anywhere on Wikipedia) in the articles on statins, fish oil, the pharmaceutical industry, or heart disease risk factors and risk reduction. My point was that we can just avoid altogether the debate about how "alternative" Kauffman is, since we'll never reach an answer everyone's happy with. Why not just stick to the bare bones? I think people will pick up on the context pretty readily - it's not exactly subtle. MastCell 20:56, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Agree with all of the above. --Dematt 20:58, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
The reason this is important is that in our original, extended October consensus purposefully had Kauffman above the "line", "The Quackwatch website has attracted critics, most of whom are alternative medicine proponents..." with the linked review first. This has several not so fine points: (1) Linking the review first makes it unambiguously accessible, "if you going to read something extra/worthwhile, read this" instead of burying it, Kauffman's criticism is more important than his bio; (2) some editors wish to light weight, discount or discredit QW counterviews automatically, such as GB's current, gratuitious little fecalith, here, this is well poisoning; (3) that Kauffman's review *is different* in nature than the others listed (economic independence, scientific background, precise criticism). MastCell, the content that you find agreeable I could live with, but I have a little chagrin over the placement and structure. Here is what I mean: [5] as more content per your comments and Arthur's JSE comments.--I'clast 21:48, 24 January 2007 (UTC
OK, I've taken a shot at simplifying things. I've inline-cited the article; we should use this for all refs, including Quackwatch at the top of the article, instead of using external links in the text. I've put everyone under "Criticism", and removed the "most are proponents of alt-med". I'm trying to simplify as much as possible, because I think that a) that's the only way we'll reach consensus, and b) people will quickly pick up on the difference between, say, Kauffman's article and Bolen's website without a lot of prompting. MastCell 22:02, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
... and I've changed Quackwatch in the lead from an external link to an inline cite, as above. "Fecalith"? I know Wikipedia isn't censored for minors, but do we need that kind of language? MastCell 22:05, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
The JK entry is sleeker, if it holds, I could abide. "Flowery language" telegraphs extreme impatience & irritation.--I'clast 22:18, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

No doubt it does, and I'm not saying those feelings aren't justified, but you've been around the block here. Anyhoo, my feeling is that the mention of "Malignant Medical Myths" sounds a bit like book-salesmanship or WP:VANITY oops, apparently it's now WP:COI ("Biographical material that does not significantly add to the clarity or quality of the article"), but then I haven't read the book - maybe it deals with Quackwatch in some way. And I can live with compromise, although my preference would be to excise mention of the book as not directly relevant to Quackwatch. MastCell 22:22, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm all for keeping it simple; though apparently ScienceApologist and GigiButterfly disagree. Maybe they haven't been reading this discussion here. Anyone care to revert? It would be better if it wasn't me reverting this time. And what's with this line Gigi keeps tagging onto the end: "The aboved mentioned critics are mostly proponents of alternative medicine"? Weasel?Levine2112 22:34, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I would appreciate if you didn't solicit reverters, Levine2112. It is very poor form. Kauffman's affiliation with pseudoscientific and fringe science venues is well-documented and important if the reader is going to be able to determine whether they should take Kauffman seriously or not. Consider the source is important, but you can't consider the source if editors keep deleting the biographical information about the source. --ScienceApologist 22:40, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Mastcell, good work, it was beautiful and you deserve an emmy. Sorry it didn't hold long enough for me to see it without scrolling the history. Maybe we can do like Fyslee suggested earlier and make the entire criticism section into a narrative. I bet you could make it all flow nicely. --Dematt 22:38, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflicts)Mastcell, I know. However, the book to me looks like a notable aspect of JK in this area and it provides far more detailed references to what is in WTWQ. If I could link parts, I think we would have had fewer problems with agreeing how he classifies in the first place. There are dynamics at play here that probably look strange. Look now. Oh. Thank you[6].--I'clast 22:46, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

OK, I went back to a streamlined version and suggested discussing here. I won't be reverting beyond that, because I really don't see the productivity in an edit war. We go back and forth between puffing up Kauffman and cataloging his more questionable (dare I say crank-ish?) beliefs. The best approach is neither. Really, give the reader some credit - the agendas of Kauffman and Quackwatch don't require our expert help to recognize. If someone reads Kauffman's article and throws away their Zocor, it was gonna happen anyway. MastCell 22:43, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Terrible argument. Wikipedia is about presenting (cataloging) verifiable information for readers, not about puffing up. It's clear that one agenda is promotional of criticism while the other is at the very least attempting to describe the context. --ScienceApologist 22:49, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Unreadable, partisan attack on Criticism[7].--I'clast 23:10, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I guess the question is how much verifiable information to catalog on someone who's not, after all, the subject of the article. My point was that anyone who reads Kauffman's article will pick up on his, and the JSE's, agenda - no one's going to confuse it for the New England Journal. By the way, I agree with shortening the quotes/space given to Kauffman, but one thing at a time. MastCell 23:16, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Enough to credibly alert the reader of various possibilities for *their* evaluation and at least a string that allows further investigation as long as they want to pull on the string.--I'clast 23:57, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
We need to insert/summarize Kauffmann's actual criticism into this prose. Right now it reads like a lesson on who Kauffmann is rather than actually saying what his criticism of Quackwatch is. Levine2112 00:10, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
It's a caricature of Kauffman, precisely by the editor who also said this, just call him "Chip"'.--I'clast 00:38, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Either way, the paragraph is dreadful. Try reading straight through it. --Philosophus T 00:23, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that it is beautiful prose; nor would I say that it is particularly dreadful. I am open to reading your suggestions. Levine2112 00:27, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I suggest reversion to Mastcell's last edit and then try to discuss Sahelian and Goldberg reasonably.--I'clast 00:30, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I would love to limit this to actual criticism rather than prattle on about the critics. Let's just say who they are ina nutshell rather than go on and on about what organizations they belong to, who they voted for in the primaries, what their favorite color is, etc. Levine2112 00:32, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I think it is reasonable to expect to strike a balance. We should strive to describe who the people are. Kauffman may be an organic chemistry professor, but he reviewed QuackWatch because he is "familiar" with material related to their debunking. In particular, his support of alternative medicine and borderline fringe science/pseudoscience is an important marker which we should avail the reader. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by ScienceApologist (talkcontribs) 00:39, 25 January 2007 (UTC).
I did not find examples of Kauffman *supporting* pseudoscience, just critcising someone's else lack of scientifically objective coverage on it, and him engaging in controversies. Labeling or implying him as PS seems to say more about his accusers. "alternative" seems pretty subjective, depends on the crowd you (or your critics) run with. Fringe, that is often the price of being right or too soon, knowing more (having more data &/or wit) than most.--I'clast 15:19, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Kauffman is a member of the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking. He clearly enjoys attacking "mainstream medicine" and is at least as guilty as Barrett of selecting only the evidence that supports his arguments. In that respect I do not consider him a reliable source of information about both sides of medical controversies. Nevertheless, I am not aware that he has supported fraud and quackery, as most of Barrett's critics do. alteripse 17:21, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Criticism section

Okay, I hope we're not finished with the Criticism section. It looks a little ragged in this version[8]. There is always the option of ditching the section and just incorporating this stuff into the article itself. I know a lot of people have been working hard on this and have poured a lot of blood and sweat into it, so I don't intend to suggest we ditch it all, but how much of this criticism stuff do we need anyway. Why don't we just write a NPOV article from the beginning and forget about a criticism section? --Dematt 03:11, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you propose. Why not sandbox it and see what you come up with? --ScienceApologist 03:48, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not to good with sandboxes, but if we just took out the section, how far are we off what an encyclopedia needs to say? I'm sure we need a little constructive criticism maybe towrd the end of notability (because the criticism actually makes it more notable), but just a few notes and it probably should be a Kauffman paraphrase or at the most three of four sentences. What do you think? --Dematt 04:10, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Write something here as a suggestion or be bold and try it. The worst that can happen is someone will revert it. --ScienceApologist 04:15, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Who would that be this time of night;) --Dematt 04:17, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Works for me! What do you think? --Dematt 04:19, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Color me skeptical, but I'm betting it probably won't last. The paraphrase is inexact and a bit equivocal and I'm not sure he's "noted" for what we are claiming he is "noted" for, but at least it's a start. We'll see what others think. --ScienceApologist 04:21, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like a plan. It probably does need some tweeking and maybe a once through on the rest of the article, but it says the same thing in just a lot less words. I think that is what MastCell was saying, too. I bet GB will be happy with it!:) --Dematt 04:27, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I am very happy with it now. GigiButterfly 05:45, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I find the latest unacceptable, this article needs a criticism section due to the large amount it receives. I do think the version I reverted to is much better than a bullet point...--Hughgr 05:53, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Ahh, Hughgr! I ask you to look at it again. Surely you don't think that mess is better than the short version? Do they not say the same thing? ..only so much more professionally. Have you ever read an encyclopedia with that kind of paragraph in it? How many times do we have to say this guy, this guy, this guy, this guy and this guy, don't like QW? Al we're doing is picking the best guy and saying the same thing... it's soooo much cleaner!!!! --Dematt 13:44, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Wow, there has been some back and forth during the night (here in Denmark). The version now is encyclopedic in form and contains a few criticisms that are pretty typical, but more serious than many one reads. While still inaccurate and straw man (seen from a pro QW POV), they are at least not the usual ad hominem attacks, which gives them a bit more credibility (seen from a critics POV). It even reads well. Good work. This is the type of prose version I had envisioned. It looks like an article, rather than a court docket. -- Fyslee 07:29, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm still looking for something that is cleaner and more concise. Imagine a world where we can say something once, no apologies and that's it.. no big CRITICISM title.. no yeah, but he's an aardvark.. just pick the best and say it. Saying something 5 times does not make anyone anymore convinced of wht you are writing, it is just annoying. Am I wrong? --Dematt 14:05, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, I missed this discussion before reverting in the article. However, the term Criticism is a de facto Wikipedia standard and I think it should be used here.MaxPont 15:28, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

WP standard for sure, but not policy, or even guideline. I really think it is just more of a way to divide us into "Us vs Them", when this is not what an encyclopedia is about. I ask everyone to read it through and maybe we can work our way through this mess on all articles. Maybe we can find a way to get what we all want, good clean articles that handle all the issues, without dividing the people who write them. --Dematt 15:36, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I realize it was a shock to anybody that happened on the article, but, after reading this discussion, is anybody upset with the version[9] that SA and I agreed to last night? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Dematt (talkcontribs) 16:05, 25 January 2007 (UTC).--Dematt 16:06, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
I missed that version. No objection from me. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 16:15, 25 January 2007 (UTC)


(edit conflict) Perhaps indenting it one more level, making it clear that the "criticism" section is part of "noteriety notability"? But the section is down to one paragraph. If the "Notability" section were renamed "awards" or "awards and praise", then "criticism" would properly be parallel construction, so should be at the same level.
In other words, the present
4. Notability
is acceptable, as would
4. Notability
  4.1 Criticism
4. Praise (or a section title to be named later)
5. Criticism.
4.  Notability
5.  Criticism
does not seem reasonable. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 15:46, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

How about modifing the Notability section?:

4. Notability
  4.1 Favorable mention
  4.2 Criticisms

-- Fyslee 16:23, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I still like the one without the word criticism [10]. I haven't heard from you. --Dematt 16:57, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
You forgot "notable criticism". After parusing the article in its present form it doesn't appear to have any criticism. I know there is that para., but I feel it needs a heading in order to be visable to the casual reader. --Hughgr 19:28, 25 January 2007 (UTC)


... it looks pretty good. MastCell 16:44, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

What about this one? [11] --Dematt 16:58, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

I am very very sceptical and prone to revert. This compromise can only work if the pro-QW POV is also toned down. And if that is allowed to take place without the QW fan club reverting it. I believe it when I see it. MaxPont 18:02, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
What is the exact, concise reasoning for shortening this down and cutting out all of the good criticism? Especially from Peter Barry Chowka? I'm not looking for a fight nor an argument. Just a reason spelled out simply. I've read everything above and I am still not sure. Thanks. Levine2112 18:08, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

True, to be honest I thought PBC's criticism was the best. Sorry, I thought I was commenting on a stable version - I should look at the page history more closely next time. MastCell 18:26, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

For me its a matter of clarity and the KISS concept,"Keep It Simple Stu***" Read this:
  • QuackWatch has been criticised both by supporters of alternative medicine and by critics of mainstream medicine. For example, Joel M. Kauffman, a professor emeritus of Chemistry & Biochemistry[2] and author of Malignant Medical Myths,[3] wrote a website review of Quackwatch entitled "Watching the Watchdogs at Quackwatch" in the Journal of Scientific Exploration. Kauffman examined eight Quackwatch articles and concluded that the articles were "contaminated with incomplete data, obsolete data, technical errors, unsupported opinions, and/or innuendo..." and " is very probable that many of the 2,300,000 visitors to the website have been misled by the trappings of scientific objectivity."[4] Elmer M. Cranton, MD, author of Textbook on EDTA Chelation Therapy, rebuked criticism by Quackwatch of the chelation therapy that he explicitly supports by accusing the organization of having a "mission of attacking alternative and emerging medical therapies in favor of the existing medical monopoly."[5] Ray Sahelian, MD, an advocate of holistic medicine through vitamin supplements[6][7] accused Quackwatch of failing to point out "scams or inaccurate promotion and marketing practices by the pharmaceutical industry", even while praising Barrett for having done "good research on many of the people involved in the alternative health industry, and has pointed out several instances of inaccuracies and scams".[8]
Then this:
  • Quackwatch has attracted criticism from both proponents of alternative medicine and detractors of mainstream medicine. For example, Joel Kauffman,Phd, a noted proponent of several alternative medical approaches and supporter of some of fringe science's more controversial concepts, suggests that visitors to the site should view it with some skepticism as some of the information may be dangerous to their health. Peter Barry Chowka, an investigative journalist and former adviser to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine, notes that Barrett "..seems to be putting down trying to be objective... But I personally think he's running against the tide of history."[9][4],[10]
I think it says what you want it to say without getting lost in the words. More is not always better and criticism just for the sake of criticizing is really just "sticks and stones". All articles should be written this way. Just my opinion. --Dematt 19:01, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for putting both in one place. Yes, I do agree with you that the second one reads much better. I do feel it should be under a criticism heading though, if only to be readily visible to the reader.--Hughgr 19:31, 25 January 2007 (UTC)
Have you ever seen an encyclopedia with a section titled criticism? How about something less confrontational like ... ... ... ??? ??? ... hmmm. Are you sure we have to have a criticism section. It's just a neutrally constructed description of the subject that happens to be at the end of the article. Why do we have it called criticism? Technically the whole article could be considered criticism, some is constructive and some is not. --Dematt 00:30, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not trying to set precident, just going by other wikipedia articles. --Hughgr 05:15, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
Good point. I'll research that and get back to you. --Dematt 13:36, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
It's not in WP Guide to writing better articles. Though there is some other good stuff about external links, etc. Not in WP Guide to Layout, Nothing in Article development, The WP perfect article has some good stuff, but nothing about a criticism section. However, The WP Manual of style does say something about not creating arguments about changing style - noting that the original version rules. So, I don't want to cause an argument over this, but do we want a criticism "section" or can we just incorporate it into the article? --Dematt 15:50, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

On another article I worked on, there are two criticism on internal and one on external. It seems to be the norm for this encyclopedia to have a criticism section in controversial articles. I still feel it needs to have a "criticism" section heading because we all know how much a casual reader actually reads. Right now, skimming the article, it would not appear that there is anyone saying anything critique wise about QW. --Hughgr 18:52, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay, lets go through this and get it to the point that we all feel pretty good about it, then fi you still want a criticism section, I will personally put it back in. If not, maybe we can rewrite the one you're talking about. --Dematt 20:14, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
What do you think? --Dematt 05:13, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Second version is distinct POV, and quite pejorative. "Supporter of some of fringe science's more controversial concepts"? That would be as in "lunatic fringe", right? And what, pray tell, ARE these weasely, unmentioned "more controversial concepts"? Please, hang up the insults and innuendo, and bio-McCarthyite imperiousness ("...are you, or have you ever been..."). The first version is wordier but obviously more neutral. -- Alan2012 14:31, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Regarding the first version: "Ray Sahelian, MD, an advocate of holistic medicine through vitamin supplements": vitamin supplements, as such, have little to do with holistic medicine. Further, he may actually be an advocate of "holistic medicine" (rather poorly defined on the WP page ont he subject), but we don't know that, and it is not relevant. Better: "Ray Sahellian, MD, an advocate of nutritional supplementation for a variety of common health issues..." -- Alan2012 15:09, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

That sounds reasonable, go for it. --Dematt 15:17, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Regarding "fringe": the description of the JSE was changed from "fringe science" to "a journal that sometimes features unconventional views". Also, the description of Sahelian was changed (omitted "holistic", described him as an advocate of "nutritional medicine" -- more accurate) -- Alan2012 16:12, 4 February 2007 (UTC)


I re-arranged the second and third sections somewhat. I don't think I changed much content other than edited for weasel and peacock words that did seem to raise PoV issues. If I changed anything that was important, feel free to put it back. Hopefully, I've made some improvements in the two sections. --Dematt 18:02, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Chowka quote

It seems to me that the Chowka quote should indeed be included, but I wonder whether it doesn't need a little context. Here is the way it is now:

Peter Barry Chowka, an investigative journalist and former adviser to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, notes that Barrett "..seems to be putting down trying to be objective... But I personally think he's running against the tide of history."[11]

I suggest rewriting roughly as follows:

Peter Chowka, an investigative journalist and former adviser to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, remaked that Barrett's tendency to dismiss some alternate therapies out of hand without clinical evidence "..seems to be putting down trying to be objective."[12]

I removed the "history running against him" as an editorialization that made sense in the article but doesn't add much here. (That is, it is alluding to the fact that alternate therapies are becoming more accepted at every level of society and that Barrett is out of step--which is, I suppose, a fair comment from its perspective but doesn't warrent inclusion here.) I'm going to make this change and you can edit some or all of it back. Bogman2 19:18, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Souunds good to me. Levine2112 00:01, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm fine with that. --Dematt 01:49, 27 January 2007 (UTC)


The JSE wikilink identifies and outlines the controversy around the site. "FriSci" at this level of detail is highly questionable, well poisoning again. You may want to restart work on this section again[12].--I'clast 05:55, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

I think it is important to both name the journal and describe it for the reader. We should name the journal simply because it provides a context, but since the Journal's title is potentially misleading it is important that we describe what it is a journal devoted to. The wording itself doesn't concern me so much, but we should be clear that JSE is devoted to subjects outside of the scientific mainstream. --ScienceApologist 06:00, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure the wording doesn't concern you too much, a lot of useful details have been chopped out. There is a lot to describe to the reader. That is why the previous consensus version lasted over 2 months.--I'clast 06:17, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
Your current version works okay for me, though it usually isn't technically good practice to include an acronymn without saying what it stands for. Still, I'm not complaining. --ScienceApologist 06:48, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Another lawsuit?

Hey, anybody heard anything about CBP (a chiropractic organization) filing a lawsuit in September of 2006 against Stephen Barrett, Quackwatch and Alan Botnick? James Turner is the attorney for CBP. Apparently they can't find Alan Botnick to serve his papers. --Dematt 22:14, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I know about it. It's one of the reasons I objected to the quote about Barrett "never being sued" without adding mention that that was no longer true. Ilena 22:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Maybe it has something to do with this?
Levine2112 22:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Wow, you are on the ball, Levine! Have you guys already discussed it? What's the net result so far? --Dematt 22:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
No discussion here yet that I know of. I only know about this from researching Quackwatch and chiropractic jointly and I stumbled accross the Deed Harrison, DC statement on the Ideal Spine website. P.S. Ilena has a point above about the Barrett article stating that he has never been sued. Clearly that isn't true anymore (though I don't know that that statement still exists in the current Barrett article). P.P.S. Actually the statement is still there: In a biographical article about Barrett, Fred D. Baldwin wrote, "Despite Barrett's pattern of naming names of people as well as products, he has never been sued for libel, except for a counter-suit to a libel suit he once filed (the counter-suit was dismissed)". I will remove it.Levine2112 22:41, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Instead of removing it, I would reference this case to add balance to the quote. Ilena 23:10, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Read it more carefully before you do anything. Don't act on a misquote. The quote is very specific, and is even qualified. We're dealing with two different types of suits!
As far as a new lawsuit, when it actually becomes a reality, we should be able to find V & RS to justify inclusion. Until then, such mention risks being OR and may have BLP issues:
  • "The evil that men do lives after them. Be wary of putting it into Wikipedia before then." (Formerly at WP:BLP)
-- Fyslee 22:54, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Here is more from Ideal Spine. Levine2112 22:59, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Until this is a reality, the deletions that were just made are improper. Even if the CBP suit becomes a reality, it would depend on the charges. The current subject is libel suits, and that hasn't changed, so the deletions should be reverted, preferably by Levine2112. -- Fyslee 23:05, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
You say "when it actually becomes a reality" and "until this is a reality." Are you denying that Barrett has been served and this lawsuit has been filed? Ilena 23:08, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
It seems that we have neough to say that these is a suit underway (though prehaps not enough to discuss this case yet). Regardless, there is enough WP:V and WP:RS to make the Baldwin statemtn seem innacurate at this point. I am not suggesting that we say that Barrett has been sued for something other than a countersuit, but rather just take the "never been sued" statement out until we can confirm if it is true. Levine2112 23:14, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I am looking at the January 2007 The American Journal of Clinical Chiropractic quarterly (the CBP "newsletter"). It has an article on the top front middle that reads "Help Us Locate Allen Botnick". In the second paragraph it reads:
  • At the end of September 2006, CBP filed a lawsuit against Quackwatch, Quackwatch owner Stephen Barrett, MD, and Allen Botnick, DC.
If that means anything that we can use.
--Dematt 23:19, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Three points here:

1. I don't know for sure. If so, and if the courts have accepted it (IOW, it's not just a charge on chiropractic websites), then we can use V & RS to document it. Sites of the involved aren't necessarily reliable at the present time as they have a vested interest in spreading this potentially damaging information. That's where the BLP and OR issues come into the picture. Wikipedia is not a place to post notification of pending lawsuits, made only by the accusers. It's not their noticeboard. CBP is a V, but not a RS in this case.

That's what Bolen and Negrete did with their ill-fated cross-complaint, which is now getting them sued in a malicious prosecution suit. They used their websites and myriad other website to publicize the case. That case was never accepted by the courts, but it was announced all over the internet by the accusers. Imagine if we did with their announcement, what you are proposing we do with CBP's announcement. What a scandal if it never makes it to court! In time such issues will be more clear.

2. This new suit only has relevance to the Baldwin quotes that have been deleted IF it is a libel suit. If not it shouldn't be touched. If so, the quote should be revised or supplemented with more information, not deleted.

3. Premature actions and inclusion of references regarding suits that MIGHT become a reality risk being OR, IOW jumping the gun, and we have already seen some itchy trigger fingers in action....;-) -- Fyslee 23:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree that we don't have enough info to post to the article about the lawsuit. It does make the Baldwin quote inaccurate. If you want to still include the quote but with some supplemented info, then let's hear some discussion on this at the Barrett talk page. Fyslee, perhaps you can supply a suggested revision? Levine2112 23:31, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Until the case is fully accepted by a court, and it is clearly a LIBEL case, there is nothing to change. The statement is still accurate until that time. Patience. The current deletions should be undone. -- Fyslee 23:34, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

The reasoning being used to justify the current deletion is based on a misquote, which I pointed out above, but which is being ignored:

  • "Yes, I know about it. It's one of the reasons I objected to the quote about Barrett "never being sued" without adding mention that that was no longer true." Ilena [13]

I warned you all above, but yet this discussion continues!

The misquotation leaves out the crucial part, so look at the highlighted words:

  • "...he has never been sued for libel, except for a counter-suit to a libel suit he once filed (the counter-suit was dismissed)"

Such misquoting renders the whole line of reasoning null and void. -- Fyslee 23:45, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Whatever he is being sued for is notable and should be included in this article. When Barrett sues ... he and others on his webring advertise the complaint as if the jury had ruled! Even when he loses, he has people making the identical claims the courts have shot down. So, for accuracy and balance, if he has been sued for anything, it appears a mention should be made. Thank you. Ilena 23:53, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
That's not how Wikipedia works. That's what's known here as Original research, and it is forbidden in articles, and if it violates BLP matters, it is forbidden on talk pages and user space. Wikipedia articles are not noticeboards. It appears from a link posted above that CBP is still raising funds. -- Fyslee 23:58, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't know how many times I have to repeat this before it sinks in, but Barrett doesn't have any webring. It's mine alone and he has never had anything to do with it. He has a few sites in it because I invited him to submit them for membership, just as I do to other sites I find that are on-topic for the ring. There is no "his webring", period. -- Fyslee 00:17, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Which websites of Barrett's are NOT linked to the webring you own??? I was looking at it yesterday and it seems that they are all there. Which ones are not linked? Thank you. Ilena 00:20, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
"Linked to"? I have no idea what he does of that sort, nor is it any concern of mine. He does his thing and I do mine. I only know that under half of his sites are in the Anti-Quackery Ring, and a few are in the Skeptic Ring. Web rings are an interesting phenomena that are used extensively by alternative medicine practitioners and many other interest groups and people. They have very little effect on actual hits one receives if one has a large site, but small sites get some benefit because they get more exposure. You can take a look at the statistics that are always posted there that show incoming and outgoing hits. There is nothing odious about running webrings, unless one uses them to run scams, and that actually happens. -- Fyslee 00:26, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Here is Botnick's old retraction. A simple Google search found it. Now I find that at the bottom of the page (not the end of the thread) he retracts his retraction! -- Fyslee 00:04, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Wow, thanks for that link. I found this one after reading yours. It appears you are an administrator on Chirotalk with Botnick. [14] (I made a copy of the page in case it gets cybershredded.) Ilena 00:35, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
You should be aware that you can't use that information against me. My activities outside of wikipedia are perfectly legitimate and of no concern here. I rarely even visit Chirotalk anymore, so my so-called status there isn't worth much. -- Fyslee 00:41, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
This chirotalk link [15] that links to the one you just posted says you logged in at "7:36pm today," that you're "active" and have made 667 posts since Mar 12, 2004. Thanks for posting the Chirotalk link. I had never visited there before and it is very informative. Ilena 01:48, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
It's an interesting site, as it's the only chiropractic forum that allows any criticism of the profession. All the others exercise strict censoring, which is their prerogative, just like on other types of lists. Since all discussion forums on the internet have their own rules, anyone who violates them can be bounced. At Chirotalk members can air their gripes and tell their experiences, both positive and negative. Many chiros are members at Chirotalk: active and former DCs, professors, researchers, leaders, etc.. I have access to their personal info (which I would never divulge), so I can see who some of them are, and the more important ones definitely hide their true identities. Openly being a chiroreformer can lead to harassment and worse. The profession has never been kind to reform attempts, which is a well-known historical fact.
As a registered user I have my PC set (with a cookie) and my Chirotalk profile set so that I am "always on". That means I don't have to log-in everytime I happen to look at the site, which is quite rare nowadays. (Now, in connection with your posting of links to Chirotalk, I have looked at them. So what?!) That link you mention shows my last post was:
  • Chiro student-to-be at Student Doctor ..... on Aug 28, 2006, 7:27am [16]
So you can see that I'm a oh-so-very-active user (Not!). (Five months ago!! I ought to get fired for not showing up or doing my work, but it's not a paying job.) Even if I was a user 24 hrs. a day, it's none of your business or of any concern to Wikipedia. Should I start listing all your posts and activities at Usenet and accuse you of being active there? I think not. I'm not going to play such games. It's beneath my dignity. -- Fyslee 08:19, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
At some point soon, preferably yesterday, I hope you cease your non-RfA activities and start providing evidence of relevance to what started it, and nothing other than that. Wikipedia talk pages are not to be used as discussion lists or like Usenet. They are to be used for discussion of matters directly related to editing. -- Fyslee 00:44, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree that we need to wait till we have a reliable secondary source for this at least and then we can re-visit. If people want to talk about this on the talk boards or whatever, go for it, but I think WP needs to wait for now. --Dematt 01:25, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Word. (I agree with Dematt 100%). MastCell 16:45, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

External Link to be Considered

When You Can’t Critique CBP In The Peer-Reviewed Literature, You Can Always Send Your Article To Quack Watch: Very intelligent, documented rebuttal to Quackwatch. Ilena 23:43, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Looking up Allen Botnick and found him discussing his wikipedia expert

Wikipedia entry on Chiropractic needs a revision Very interesting comments. (I made a copy of the page if this link gets cyber-shredded). Ilena 00:05, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Actually, we had this conversation about a year ago. We all actually agreed that DD could well be called the first mixer because he used a lot of different therapies initially, but there were no verifiable or reliable sources that we could cite, and it would be unwikilike to use OR. I would be interested in seeing the source. --Dematt 02:30, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Misquoting again (in the heading). -- Fyslee 00:20, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Really??? Here it is again. Wikipedia entry on Chiropractic needs a revision Ilena 00:26, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Recycling a charge doesn't make it any more correct. Take a really careful look at your heading, the emphasized part, and then take a looked at your statement itself and then the linked page. You are misquoting. -- Fyslee 00:39, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
Uh, looks like a perfect c&p to me. Ilena 00:51, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
perfect clip for what?? I don't know what the heck 'mixer' and 'straight' is anyway, unless it relates to vodka. After the day I had, I would take the vodka over any chiro version .Jance 05:00, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I'll drink to that;) --Dematt 05:23, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Amazing. The comment above on Botnick discussing his "wikipedia expert" doesn't make sense anymore since the Chirotalk link has been altered since 2 days ago. [17]
You can see in the cached version, it included a middle comment: "This sounds like a job that (Fyslee's real world name) could help spearhead." Now it's gone! Here is the current version, with the middle comment deleted. [18] Ilena 04:52, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure there are some editors out there who enjoy the continuing war between you and Fyslee however this talk page is not the place for it. Go take it to your user page or off WP. Shot info 06:50, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Other external links

What about removing all the external links, favorable and unfavorable? I'm not clear that any of them is particularly substantial, or adds anything much to what's already in the article. The positive ones could conceivably be incorporated into the "praise" section, although neither is from a particularly notable source, so they should probably just be dropped. The negative ones could either should be incorporated, briefly, into the criticism section or dropped. MastCell 20:35, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree. I think the topic could justify stricter guidelines concerning external links. It's not a current event or similar topic where the information available is changing rapidly. However, there are few reliable, secondary sources on the topic, so we're already having difficulty with external links. Probably the best compromise is to hold the external links to the same standards as the references. --Ronz 21:07, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with this proposal. There is nothing wrong with the links, we have External links sections at Wikipedia for relevant and topical links. These are the best links available for this topic. Even if they are "incorporated" into footnotes for citation reasons, there is still a external links section with the same links repeated as required. -- Stbalbach 21:21, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I strongly disagree, and am quite confused by your interpretation of WP:EL and related guidelines. Others certainly think there are things wrong with the links. Being "best available" does not exempt them from fitting guidelines and policy. I cannot understand why you might think that "there is still a external links section with the same links repeated as required." What's required and why? --Ronz 21:36, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
There has not been a case made. We are not talking about Bolens site. Just MastCell's opinion that all the external links are "not substantial". -- Stbalbach 05:10, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Since it's related to this topic, I agree with JoshuaZ that the link is inappropriate, nothing but a list of links of sites of various levels of quality with summaries of each. --Ronz 02:09, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

They are not all external to Chiro, some of the links are internal, it is an integral website onto its own. There are some good articles in there. -- Stbalbach 05:10, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not of a strong opinion about the site in particular - it's not really any better or worse than the other pro- and con- links that are there now. I guess my preference would be for stronger links on both sides, or getting rid of them all. For instance, the Village Voice article and Ray Sahelian's critique both make very valid criticisms of Quackwatch and Barrett - if you don't mind duplicating footnoted refs in the External Links, why not include those? Or even Kauffman's website review? Any of those is much more likely to strike an impartial reader as reasonable and valid than, say, an essay that begins with an implicit comparison between Stephen Barrett and Adolf Hitler. MastCell 03:17, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
All of those seem like reasonable external links to me. JoshuaZ 04:18, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
BTW a quote from Hitler does not mean a comparison is being made to Barrett and Hitler (would a quote by Einstein associate Barrett with Einstein? Marilyn Monroe?). The quote is there because of what the quote says, it's a famous quote and often used when discussing propaganda - the subject of the quote is what is important, the person who said it just gives the quote authority/believability. -- Stbalbach 05:10, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Some or all of these could be included (Stbalbach 05:10, 3 March 2007 (UTC)):

I'm still trying to get a feel for what links are found acceptable for this article and why. It appears that the reason the quality of links is so low is that there are few good ones available, and that the topic is contentious. Given that, I have to say that the list above has links that are definitely not acceptable. There are links that are too far off topic, links to attack sites, links to linkfarms. If links like these are going to be seriously suggested, I think we need to go with MastCell's original suggestion: get rid of all external links and only consider those that can be used as sources. This article has existed long enough that these types of issues should have been resolved long ago. --Ronz 16:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Other than aesthetic reasons, I wouldn't say the quality of these links are that terrible. You would need to go through each one and say exactly what policy they violate and provide some rationale - generalizations don't hold up. BTW I know you and MastCell seem to agree commonly and this has become an insular discussion with only a few people, if anything is done it will need to be opened up to a wider audience than what we currently have here. I would really like to see this article get more attention from a wider audience on Wikipedia, this discussion seems to be moving us forward in that direction, which is good, I'm glad you guys are brining these issues up. -- Stbalbach 17:14, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I guess the only ones I think are unacceptable out-of-hand on WP:EL grounds are the Usenet repost (from, "The Big Lie" (which is mostly Vitamin C advocacy), and Ilena Rosenthal's site (see ongoing WP:RfArb). The others I wouldn't include because I don't think they add much beyond what's in the article, but I wouldn't say they violate any specific parts of WP:EL necessarily. I still think there's better criticism out there, as I mentioned above. I do agree that when these discussions become back-and-forth between a handful of editors, that opening it up to community input can be helpful. I think if we have a couple of clear alternatives for how to handle the external links on this article, we could open it up to an WP:RfC or somesuch to get outside input. Also, I think the "External Links" section of any controversial article ends up generating the most controversy, and adding the least value to the article - that's been my experience, and why I'm a minimalist about external links. MastCell 17:37, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Yep. This is very basic interpretation of wiki policy. If Stbalbach has a problem seeing this, then it's no wonder that this talk page is mired in trivial issues. Even more reason to get rid of the external links. Sorry for the generalizations, but wasting time on trivial issues is counterproductive. Also, I think we're all experienced enough editors here to know that it is the responsibility of the editor that adds or proposes to add information to support the addition of that information. --Ronz 16:39, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Ok in the interest of compromise between balancing favorable for non-favoriable sites, and in the interest of keeping the external links section small, I removed all but TWO links (other than the main site). One a human interest story about Quackwatch, and the other a site which is a clearinghouse for all things related to ongoing controversies with Quackwatch. I also removed the "Favorable" and "Critical" sub-sections as they are POV. If you can't live with this let me know and we'll start an RfC. -- Stbalbach 22:29, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

A comment, reading through "Healthfreedomlaw" it appears that it is mainly about NCAHF and Stephen Barrett himself rather than about Quackwatch. Personally I think it more satisfactory to be over at NCAHF and possibly Stephen Barrett however the latter may fail on WP:BLP as it is an attack site. The "pro" site by Mendosa at least is a "review" of Quackwatch. I am not familar with Medosa so I cannot comment on how "valid" his opinion is and/or whether it deserves a place here in WP. Commments?? Shot info 22:51, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Maybe we need an RfC as Stbalbach suggests. These are trivial issues from my perspective that should have been resolved long ago. The claim of needing to balance favorable and non-favorable sites isn't any reason to ignore the guidelines concerning external links. --Ronz 00:41, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't feel strongly enough about any of the current links to argue them - I think given the issues, it's a reasonable compromise to have those three, and it's an improvement although not my first choice. I can live with the three that Stbalbach has listed, and would prefer to move on to other parts of this article and other articles to spending more time on the external links - but if others feel more strongly I respect that. MastCell 01:10, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Personally I find the concept of "balance" as it relates to this article rather odd, it almost implies "give my minority view equal (or more) space as the majority view" which of course is not very encyclopaedic (IMO). However, I have no problems with the three at the moment and agree with Ronz that they are trivial matters indeed, but matters that should be discussed rather than unilaterally changed. Shot info 01:36, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Strange goings-on

This edit by User:Charles Matthews replaced the contents of the talk page with the contents of /Archive 5. I'm assuming this was accidental, as it wiped out a significant amount of discussion, and have reverted it. If I'm missing something, and it was done for a reason, please let me know. MastCell 18:47, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

Looks like it was so that Charles Matthews could make a NLT warning. I think we're fine with the talk page as it is now. --Ronz 19:16, 7 March 2007 (UTC)



Yes they do, if they can follow the guidelines like everyone else. --Ronz 03:25, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
GigiButterfly, I'm going to go ahead and say that all-caps edit summaries like "RESTORE EXTERNAL LINKS DELETED BY DELETIONISTS" are not constructive. I know you're relatively new, and I don't want to be harsh, but these are controversial articles and your approach could probably stand a little moderation. MastCell 03:51, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Gigi, please post your discussions in here, the talkpage, rather than just deleting information from the article. If you feel that the items in question should be deleted, propose it and it can be discussed. Shot info 03:53, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I think a consensus is now due, whether to use Quackpot or not.

With all the heat going on about .org, let's do a consenses and see how everyone feels about the site. Please everyone, lets do it with calmness.

  • keep out; I believe it's a hate site and adds nothing good to any article. For those that don't know I do not know Mr. Bolin, Dr. Barrett or anyone else involved in this.--Crohnie 10:58, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep the link. The Wikipedia article about QW does in no way give the readers a feel for the heated controversy on both sides around QW. I find it quite obvious that QW is a controversial web site that takes a strong partisan position. (Or how else would QW now be close to being officially labeled as Unrelialbe here on Wikipedia [19].) Considering the attack nature of QW it is not unfair that critics of QW using the same tone of voice are being linked to. If you ignore all the angry language and hostile interpretations of facts on Quackpotwatch the site provides the largest collection of factual information about QW on the web that the interested WP reader should be allowed to find. MaxPont 11:40, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Question to MaxPont; how does a new reader ignore the angry language and hostile interpretations? --Crohnie 12:20, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
"QW does in no way give the readers a feel for the heated controversy on both sides around QW". So we need to give readers a feel for a heated controversy? This is an encyclopedia, not a battleground. Sounds like MaxPont is arguing that WP:NOT should be ignored. I strongly disagree. --Ronz 15:14, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
The battleground rule has to do with the behavior of the editors, not about hiding controversies from the readers. It would be unencyclopedic to keep the readers in the dark about the high degree of controversy surrounding QW. I would prefer adding the word controversial in the QW intro section but I assume that would be strongly opposed by some other editors. The link to Quackpotwatch is a way of showing the readers that there exist a vocal criticism of QW. MaxPont 19:26, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Do we have a reliable source talking about the "high degree of controversy" and QPW? --Milo H Minderbinder 19:28, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I agree, alot of what is on QW is outdated and should have been archived long ago. What do you suggest? --Crohnie 15:21, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I think it's simple. The ArbCom case has nothing to do with the merits of linking Quackpotwatch. An AfD from 9 months ago has nothing to do with a decision, now, on whether to link it - see WP:Consensus can change. Claiming equivalence with Quackwatch is not a justification for linking it. The site fails WP:EL, which is Wikipedia's guideline specifically covering this situation, and it fails the common-sense test of whether it adds encyclopedic content to the article. If there's a serious feeling that the link needs to stay, I suggest opening a request for comment and soliciting outside opinions, because it seems very clear to me that the site is inappropriate for Wikipedia. MastCell 15:55, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Hi Ronz, being a new editor I had to look up WP:NOT. I understand now what you mean and I have to agree with you. MastCell, I'll have to read up on the other internal links you provided. --Crohnie 16:02, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Question: Isn't Tim Bolen one of Quackwatch's most public detractors? Bolen is the target of a libel lawsuit by Quackwatch members and I believe Bolen has in turn has been at the helm of a lawsuit against Quackwatch members. Notable? I do agree with Ronz that on the face, Quackpotwatch doesn't pass WP:EL. Are we in a grey area here if Bolen is a notable critic though? I think it would be unencyclopedic not to mention one of Quackwatch's most notable critics. -- Levine2112 discuss 17:05, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Remove link/keep it out It doesn't meet WP:EL and we have no real indication that it is at all link or that Bolen is "one of Quackwatch's most public detractors"- we don't in fact have a single reliable source discussing quackpotwatch and it violates multiple elements of WP:EL. JoshuaZ 17:45, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Remove link/keep it out per JoshuaZ. AvB ÷ talk 19:24, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I read that Mr. Bolin is in an active lawsuit that involves Dr. Barrett. Doesn't this make a difference? --Crohnie 18:17, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I would think it does lend to Bolen's notability and relevance with regards to this article. -- Levine2112 discuss 18:40, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
None of this is reason to ignore WP:NOT and WP:EL. --Ronz 19:22, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Which part of NOT and which part of EL are you referring to specifically? I feel relevancy might trump these policies, but I will withhold judgement until I better understand your point. -- Levine2112 discuss 19:29, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
(removed) Yes, Ronz, an elaboration would be helpful in moving the discussion forward. MaxPont 19:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
MaxPont has written above, ""QW does in no way give the readers a feel for the heated controversy on both sides around QW," to which I responded, "This is an encyclopedia, not a battleground." Specifically, there is no reason to bring the battle here by including a attack-site as an external link. --Ronz 21:17, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Normally, a site with an aggressive nature would not be considered on Wikipedia but in this case the attack nature of QW (and that QW itself counter-attacks QPW) is ground for including the link. (P.S. (refactored) Please don't refactor my comments) MaxPont 22:03, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

If you're referring to me, I'm happy to elaborate. WP:EL proscribes the use of sites which contain "factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research". Quackpotwatch contains generous helpings of both, some of which I've specified earlier in this interminable discussion. It also proscribes linking to "personal websites or blogs", which is borderline with Quackpotwatch - I'm not clear anyone else is involved besides Bolen, and it appears to be a one-man operation. I don't think we're in a WP:EL gray area here. MastCell 21:01, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Remove link/keep it out - I just don't see the "attack nature" of QW, nor do I see where it mentions QPW. And even if QW was an attack site, I'm not sure which WP policy would make you think that's reason to link to QPW. I see no reason to link to QPW, it's an attack site, seems to be a one-man operation, not notable. Do we link to or on those wikipedia articles? No, and I don't see what's different about this article. Keep the link out. --Milo H Minderbinder 22:14, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

.com Health Freedom Law Doesn't this link show that there is controversy? --Crohnie 22:34, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm new and still learning but I thought personal websites, blogs etc. were not allowed. Am I wrong?--Crohnie 22:55, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Correct. Links normally to be avoided includes "Links to blogs and personal web pages, except those written by a recognized authority." See also WP:SELFPUB for related policies. --Ronz 23:07, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
If that site is to be believed, it shows there have been lawsuits. If that's the best source we can find for that info, they certainly doesn't seem notable. And along those lines, why is that site linked? It certainly seems to fail EL in a big way. I'd favor dumping it as well. --Milo H Minderbinder 22:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree. I think the external links we have now are very poor quality. I suggested removing them, and replacing them with more robust critical links (a Village Voice article, a critique from a well-known alt-med advocate, or even the infamous website review from JSE). All of these are much more reasonable, encyclopedically suitable, and WP:EL-friendly critiques. It seemed like there was some support for such a move, but it hit a brick wall (see discussion above) in the form of one user who was absolutely opposed to removing Quackpotwatch. Thoughts? MastCell 23:15, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Those all are much better than HFL and the mendosa one that are in now. --Milo H Minderbinder 23:18, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

As a new editor, I defer to those with experience and knowledge about such things. --Crohnie 23:59, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

  • Keep it. Keep it in the critical site links or open in up to discuss the lawsuit mentioned above. What information in it is false? Could not the same be said of Quackwatch? TheDoctorIsIn 02:05, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
This is all in the thread labeled "Quackpotwatch, again" above. The examples I cited are that a) the site claims Barrett is unlicensed/delicensed (see the link to the Pennsylvania Dept of Licencing above, which demonstrates this is untrue). But actually, the onus is on those who want to insert/keep the link to explain how it is possibly acceptable under WP:EL and how it adds anything of value to the encyclopedia that justifies linking it. That hasn't happened; I've just heard reference to an old AfD, or arguments about how Quackwatch is an attack site, so it's OK to violate WP:EL on this article. I don't get it. By the way, since you mention it, where is the factually inaccurate information on Quackwatch we keep hearing implications about? MastCell 02:18, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Keep. Bolen is one of the most vocal and well know critics of QW. Given the high level of litigious behavior by both Bolen and QW, and given the high level of controversy of both sites, it is calling the kettle black by Wikilawyering on the WP:EL rules. For example, QW is on any given day fighting some court somewhere for something that would violate the WP:EL rule - or just look at the historical record. But we don't ban QW from Wikipedia. As another user said, this article is sanitized and doesn't reflect the real controversy. WP:EL was not meant to do stifle disagreement, it is an open interpretation with each case looking at the whole, not an "absolution" set of rules. -- Stbalbach 04:13, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Comment. Where is this "straw poll" advertised? I'm concerned about the insular nature of it, we need to bring in more people outside of the regulars on this page, so as to avoid a repeat poll. -- Stbalbach 04:13, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
This is an article about Quackwatch; therefore, its external link is appropriate in this article. That is spelled out in WP:EL. Quackpotwatch, on the other hand, is inappropriate according to the guideline. The only wikilawyering taking place is the attempt to justify ignoring WP:EL by referencing an old AfD or claiming "Quackwatch is bad" (without providing any specifics), so that justfies linking an unencylopedic attack site. Insular? I don't think User:Milo H Minderbinder, User:Crohnie, or User:JoshuaZ are "regulars" here. If you want more outside input, ask for an RfC. MastCell 04:51, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
It's all a matter of opinion, otherwise we wouldn't be having these discussions, absolution pronouncements that it violates EL won't get us anywhere, except escalate tensions between the parties, clearly people disagree. I'm sure you think it is a factual objective fact and may be frustrated with anyone who disagrees (like calling the sun green), but there are good arguments on both sides and I hope you are not blinded by partisan feelings. We already had one consensus building exercise during the Quackpotwatch AfD so there is some precedence (which does matter). It seems very odd that there is no place on Wikipedia for Quackpotwatch - none. It can't have its own article, it can't be mentioned here. If we do start a RfC it will based on that question: Should QPW be banned entirely from Wikipedia? because that is what removal of it from this article achieves, there is no other place for it. -- Stbalbach 17:46, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Has QPW been written about in the media or otherwise? It's possible that QPW doesn't deserve a mention anywhere on wikipedia. We don't mention every website, particularly every attack site, do we? Just because we don't mention a website doesn't mean we're "banning" it. You've asserted that there's much controversy and that QPW is well known - do you have reliable sources to cite for those claims? --Minderbinder 18:08, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

There's generally no place on Wikipedia for self-published, one-man websites that publish unverified attacks and false information. It would be odd if such a site were deemed encyclopedic. If you want to consider that to mean Quackpotwatch is "banned", I guess you could. MastCell 18:12, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

  • I strongly disagree. The problem is that if the QPW link is removed the readers will be left in dark about the controversial nature of QW. The compensate for that, I will add text about the large number of lawsuits and about the controversial nature of QW. MaxPont 11:18, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
The article already contains a lengthy, well-referenced criticism section. To claim that people won't realize the site is controversial unless we include Bolen's one-man wesbite makes no sense to me. It's fine to describe Quackwatch as controversial, but lawsuits involving Stephen Barrett belong at Stephen Barrett, not here - there's already too much duplicated content between the two. The Quackpotwatch external link is not a bargaining chip - it's clearly unacceptable according to Wikipedia's guidelines. MastCell Talk 16:11, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Quackpotwatch->"This website, the official archive of Tim Bolen's".
Stephen Barrett->"A response to Tim Bolen"-
--scuro 12:34, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

"readers will be left in dark about the controversial nature of QW". QW represents the mainstream scientific opinion, therefore for there to be "controversy" implies that the mainstream disagrees or finds fault with it. The "controversy" is only a minority viewpoint, often who vehemently disagree with their sacred cows being criticised. The fact that poor references that violate most (if not all) WP policies (WP:BLP, WP:POV, WP:V, WP:RS) are required to prove the "controversy" is in itself evidence of the nature of the "controversy" and it's lack of notability. Shot info 23:21, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

QW represents the mainstream scientific opinion - Says who, Barrett? Barrett does a good job of making it seem that way, I do admit, but his publications are hardly peer reviewed or even scientific, they are "web essays" often full of opinion and rhetoric. Also, external sites are not beholden to Wikipedia's internal policies. WP:EL is the guideline we use, with each case being unique. -- Stbalbach 00:21, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Sure, let me add WP:EL to the list. WP:BLP, WP:POV, WP:V, WP:RS and WP:EL :-) As for "mainstream scientific opinion", [[20]] would help give an impression of what is regarded as opposed to selling the "controversy". Shot info 00:25, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
IMO those gold stars are getting kind of rusty, 1998 and 1999 was a different era, a lot of court cases have happened since. The late 90s was a kind of Internet honeymoon with the dot-com boom, when everything online was cutting edge and revolutionary. I would be surprised to see QW continue to garner those kinds of accolades today. Also when you consider alternative medicine has made continued in-roads into the mainstream since the 90s, QW is looking more reactionary than progressive. -- Stbalbach 01:06, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Methinks any JAMA card beats all your QPotWatch cards, the point of the above discussion remember :-) Shot info 01:52, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Removal of Tim Bolens comment from talk page

Regarding the removal of this comment by Tim Bolen from the talk page. I thought the purpose of talk pages is to discuss problems with the article. Tim Bolen lays out a list of problems he sees with the article. -- Stbalbach 17:22, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm in agreement with removing it. It's essentially an accusatory tirade, including a few claims that are misleading at best, all of which are totally unsourced, about a living person, from one of said person's enemies. With a dose of spamming for an attack site thrown in. Oh, and a legal threat. If you believe there were valid points about the article raised in that post, perhaps it would be best to summarize them, minus the inflammatory language. MastCell 17:36, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps reposting them and allowing discussion here would be more beneficial than a blanket removal. I agree with Stbalbach here and would like to add "Don't bite the newbie!". Also, I disagree with MastCell's deletion of Tim Bolen's website from the External Links section only because it was agreed upon in the decision to delete the article "Quackpotwatch" that a link to the actual site would remain in the external links of QuackWatch. -- Levine2112 discuss 18:13, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

The tone of the post was quite inflammatory. Why not summarize the points you believe are valid, and we can discuss them? I left the lowest level ("assumes good faith") warning about legal threats on the IP's talk page, but even newbies need to understand the talk page guidelines, disapproval of linkspam, and prohibition on legal threats - removing an inappropriate post, with an explanation of why, isn't biting. I understand the prior AfD on Quackpotwatch, but having actually looked at the website just now, I'm concerned (spelled out in more detail below) that it's included as an external link. MastCell 18:24, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

What legal threat? -- Levine2112 discuss 22:50, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
The last paragraph is a clear-cut legal threat. It even ends with "...So step carefully." (to remove any doubt). MastCell 23:20, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually I interpreted it as a friendly warning about Barett -- Bolen was discussing someone who was recently sued by Barrett. -- Stbalbach 01:32, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmm. Nor are the clearly false statements about Barrett's license particularly useful. But there's an easy fix - go ahead and summarize the points he made which you believe are valid with regard to improving the article, and they can be discussed. MastCell 04:55, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Quackpotwatch, again

I removed Quackpotwatch from the external links. Looking at it again, we really shouldn't be in the business of linking to sites that pretty clearly skirt or violate WP:BLP. Such sites exist, but we really shouldn't link them from Wikipedia. For example, the site accuses Barrett of participating in a wrongful police action. Barrett's site denies it, and there's no evidence presented to substantiate the accusation, which is pretty serious. Similarly, it repeatedly refers to Barrett as unlicensed (e.g. "don't call him Doctor... he's not licensed") - when Barrett's license is listed as "Active - Retired" by the Pennsylvania State licensing board, consistent with the fact that Barrett is retired from clinical care and hasn't "lost" his license - misleading at best. on further perusal, the PA state licensing website clearly lists the expiration date for Barrett's license as 12/31/2008. "Misleading" is probably being too generous. Finally, it ends by saying:

Barrett, his cronies, minions, and henchmen, have every reason to fear public rage. Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev said it best. He said, "We would never invade America. For every American has a gun..."

Again, such sites exist, but they really have no business being linked from Wikipedia. There's plenty of other, more appropriate, criticism of Quackwatch available. Comments? MastCell 18:15, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Seems correct. IF we keep having problems with Quackpotwatch being linked, it may make sense to put it on the blacklist. JoshuaZ 18:21, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
To address a point above, I understand that in the Quackpotwatch AfD a while back it was suggested to merge with Quackwatch. However, such decisions are open to review - I'd like to reopen the question of whether this is an appropriate external link for Wikipedia. My opinion is above. If there are valid reasons to keep it, other than what was said at an AfD last year, I'm willing to hear them. MastCell 18:26, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Until that happens, the link should be re-inserted. -- Levine2112 discuss 18:39, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
The result of that AfD was delete, it isn't clear that if there were no content on this page already that it woul dhave been merged here. Furthermore, it isn't at all clear that there is anything worth talking about about quackpotwatch. It fails WP:WEB, and seems to be functionally a personal webpage. I see no reason to link to it or mention it. JoshuaZ 18:43, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Here is the AfD ruling for "Quackpotwatch"...
"The result was delete. Many of those saying "keep" here approve of the idea of this being covered only in Quackwatch.. it already is."
Since then, we have watched this article's coverage of Quackpotwatch dwindle down from a paragraph to a sentence to a mere external link and now nothing. This behavior doesn't seem to honor the accord. That being said, if a new agreement needs to be reached about this link, then there should be another group consensus to decide this. Until then, it is wrong to delete the external link. -- Levine2112 discuss 21:36, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Consenus can change over time, and your use of the word "accord" as if this were some sort of treaty between pro and anti-quackwatch editors in unhelpful. Try to remember that Wikipedia is not a battlefield. JoshuaZ 21:39, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
"accord" is an agreement. And that is a good thing. I don't want a semantic debate. Consensus can change, but thus far any change hasn't been demonstrated properly. Until that time, the link should remain to honor the AfD agreement. -- Levine2112 discuss 22:11, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Again, use of terms like "agreement" there wasn't an agremeent, there was a determination of consensus at the time. In any event, there seems to be more editors here who favor removal than who favor inclusion. We don't need a formalized *fD for an external link. JoshuaZ 23:00, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I believe we do to override what another formal *fD concluded. Furthermore, it should be know that Quackpotwatch forwards to Quackwatch per that *fD. At least the link should stay here, if not a complete description of QPW. -- Levine2112 discuss 23:07, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Um, what policy and what venue do you intend to place this in? In any event, the solution then is to remove the link. If there is then a situation where a redirect should be removed as a result of an editorial decision here, that should be taken to RfD. JoshuaZ 23:13, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Here's an idea: let's hear an explanation of how linking to QuackpotWatch fits our policies/guidelines (e.g. WP:EL) and makes Wikipedia a better encyclopedia (see bottom of thread). That would be more helpful than referring back to a year-old AfD that most of us didn't participate in. MastCell 23:22, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Restored link. No reason not to link to it except some personal dislikes of the site. -- Stbalbach 19:54, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Um, you're welcome to restore it, and I won't revert you, but I just provided a number of reasons why I don't think it should be linked. None of them were "personal dislike", although I guess that could be added. Can you address the issues that a) the site contains material that would violate WP:BLP, b) the site contains serious accusations and claims that are highly misleading at best, and outright unfounded attacks at worst (see above, and WP:EL re: avoiding links to sites that present misleading, factually inaccurate, or unverifiable claims), c) the site's tone is inappropriate for material linked from Wikipedia, and d) the site contains essentially an incitement to violence? Otherwise it sounds like there's no reason to keep it, except some personal dislikes of Quackwatch. MastCell 20:03, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Has everyone read the link? It's an attack site. I have no contact at all with Dr. Barrett, Quackwatch or Quackpot for the record. I took a look at the Quackpot site and find it to be very nasty to say the least. It's an opinion piece as Mr. Bolin has stated. I am a new editor and from what I have learned so far this is against Wiki policies.--Crohnie 21:15, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

What I haven't heard is anyone giving a convincing reason why the link should be included in spite of being abusive in tone, misleading and factually inaccurate, unverifiable, etc. I've only heard reference to an AfD from last year that many current editors didn't participate in, and a claim that I have a "personal dislike" for the source. I've listed a number of reasons why I think the site is inappropriate for an encyclopedia, based on WP:EL, and needless to say I agree with Crohnie here. Its author was sued by Barrett for libel in a case that, AFAIK, is still ongoing - is this really the kind of encyclopedic content we want to link? MastCell 22:31, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I think everyone needs to take a deep breath. Obviously there are very strong opinions going on here that I don't totally understand. So why don't we do a consensus now and see what happens? I don't really care about this but I am trying to learn things here and it's very confusing changing the rules like this, atleast it seems to be. If people are interested in a new consenses, then get started and I will add my vote to it. Thanks, --Crohnie 23:43, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I think I know where everyone stands right now. I'm willing to be convinced, but I haven't heard any reasoning about why the link should stay, or how it squares with policies and Wikipedia's goals. MastCell 00:14, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

There is always WP:ILIKEIT, it seems to be a favourite :-) Shot info 00:37, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

We have watched discussion of Quackpotwatch on Wikipedia go from an article, to a section, to a sentence, to a single external link, to now completely deleted from Wikipedia. While the site does contain controversial material, it is in no way clearly false (despite MastCell's original research on Barrett's credentials, and acceptance of Barrett's word as gospel truth). The site is colorfully critical of Barrett in a few minor places, but there is nothing that would land Bolen in court, if there was Barrett would have already done so by now (or he tried and failed). This is a major and important site for those who are critical of Barrett, it is not just some minor blog, it is probably the oldest and most well known such site, and contains the most background information, deleting it would be a major loss - blowing out of proportion a few items on the site at the expense of the site as a whole, in particular by those who have taken a side in the debate, anyway the link needs to be restored. -- Stbalbach 01:32, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry, it is clearly false, as the PA medical licensing board confirms. If, as Levine2112 seems to believe, Quackwatch should not be linked as an unreliable attack site, then Quackpotwatch clearly would not be allowable even in its own article. I'm not entirely happy with Levine2112's arguments, but this site has got to go. (And, has been pointed out, calling someone a "quack" is not actionable, but may still violate WP:EL.) — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 01:51, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with that assessment, Arthur. That is why I am not defending the site based on tis content; only on the agreement which was reached per the AfD. If the link is to be deleted, then another consensus must be reached to strike the agreement reached in the Quackpotwatch AfD. Until that time, removing the link violates the terms of that AfD. Please feel where I am coming from, repost the link, and then start an MfD to get it deleted. Then again, if you don't argee with my point about Quackwatch, then why do you feel that Quackpotwatch should be deleted. My feeling is that Quackwatch hasn't demonstrated any level of accountability. At least with Quackpotwatch, Bolen has to worry about whether or not Barrett is going to sue him. ;-) -- Levine2112 discuss 01:55, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Levine, again, you see this somehow contractual and refer to an "agreement." This isn't accurate and has no basis in Wikipedia policy. Removing the link does not require a new AfD or anything. We as an informal group here can if there is consensus simply remove it, and there seems to be in this case. JoshuaZ 02:45, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
There is no consensus to remove the ext link, in fact prior consensus was to keep it. AfD's do have weight of precedence. If we tried to re-create the Quackpotwarch article it probably would be speedy deleted because of the prior AfD - you can't have it both ways. -- Stbalbach 15:35, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
In response to Stbalbach, the Pennsylvania state department of licensing is a primary source, not original research. Bolen's site already has landed him in court, and the case is ongoing - and in any case, the bar for inclusion in Wikipedia is a little higher than "it's not legally actionable". It's not like we have to dig to find criticism of Quackwatch - there are several decent critiques quoted in the article, so I don't see how it would be a "major loss" to remove a site that suggests Barrett et al. are being "hunted", should "fear public rage" in the form of armed violence, are "going to pay a terrible price for their actions", etc. - "colorful" indeed. I'll disregard the more personal comments on "taking a side" and "taking Barrett's word as gospel" as irrelevant and ask that we comment on content, rather than the contributor. If you feel strongly that the site is a major loss, then perhaps getting outside opinions or an WP:RfC would be useful. "Agreements" from an AfD 9 months ago notwithstanding, if the site can't be justified now, then it should stay out. MastCell 02:22, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Basically what your saying is there is no place for Quackpotwatch on Wikipedia, anywhere, that it should be banned entirely. You even went so far as considering asking to block the URL via a Spam block. There is obviously disagreement with this and no consensus. I think we need an RfC to bring in a wider audience. Barrett goes around calling people Quacks which is perfectly acceptable (although he often gets sued for it and sometimes looses), but you consider a critic of Barrett an attack site. I don't know about the details of Bolen's case, but Barrett has landed in court a few times himself and lost - if you really want to apply Wikipedia rules to a strict interpretation its hard to tell the difference between Barrett and Bolen. -- Stbalbach 15:35, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, no. Basically, Quackwatch is mostly fact, with some vitriol which is unsuitable for Wikipedia. Quackpotwatch is mostly vitriol, possibly some fact. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 15:45, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Quackwatch is mostly fact that is an opinion. My opinion it is a den logical fallacies and junk science with less credibility than Wikipedia, where at least we have to cite reliable sources and are open to a peer review process and alternative views. But these are just personal opinions. -- Stbalbach 20:33, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

If you open Quackwatch and Quackpotwatch side-by-side, it will be quite easy to see the difference. Quackwatch has an agenda, and many consider it unreliably partisan (see the ongoing WP:RfArb). But it also contains some useful information, contains input from many contributors, serves as a meta-resource (i.e. contains references which are, themselves, reliable sources), etc. It's undeniably harsh toward those it deems "quacks", but compare to Bolen's site - Quackpotwatch is apparently a one-person self-published site, a threatening rant, with a liberal helping of provably false and, at best, unverifiable anti-Barrett information (licensing, for instance). Since you mentioned I regard "Barrett's word as gospel", let me clear up that a) I'd never heard of Quackwatch, nor Barrett, till coming to Wikipedia, b) there's a lot on the site I don't agree with, and c) I'm not "pro-Quackwatch"; the site provokes so much hatred here that anyone who's not on board with bashing it is automatically assigned to the "pro-Quackwatch" camp. I really don't see things that way. But yes, I think a site like Quackpotwatch has no place in an encyclopedia. MastCell 16:55, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm currently unable to bring up http://www.quackpotwatch .org or even its Google cache, maybe temporary, or maybe something happened. I'll wait to see what happens before commenting further as I need to see the site to get some data. -- Stbalbach 20:33, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Remove it. This is an encyclopedia, not a soapbox. --Ronz 18:41, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
There is no vote currently. See WP:JUSTAPOLICY, we are just trying to establish consensus which takes actual time and effort of justifying a position, not just citing a policy page. -- Stbalbach 20:33, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm aware of the situation. The case clearly has been made, from at least my perspective, that the link should be removed per WP:NOT in the discussion above, and in the previous discussions to date. --Ronz 20:57, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
I support leaving the link out as well, it's just an attack site and doesn't add anything to the article. And the main reason to keep it seems to be an AfD months ago, which I don't see as a genuine reason. --Milo H Minderbinder 23:28, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

Why the Quackpotwatch link should stay

Quackwatch itself is a highly controversial attack site. QW and Barrett have been playing this rough game for decades. For example, QW has a long and vitriolic personal attack on Tim Bolen [21]. Given that, it is not unfair that the arch-enemy of QW is linked. QW actually sets this harsh tone of voice itself. And regarding the alleged factual errors on Quackpotwatch (apart from the “delicenced” error). Do we have other reliable sources to support that claim apart from QWs own rebuttals? The Quackpotwatch site seems to be down, but when it is operational again the link should be restored. MaxPont 16:19, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. Again, the argument seems to be ignoring WP:NOT, WP:NPOV and the previous discussion by others. --Ronz 16:34, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
Remove I think it's a horrible site that just attacks plus according to what I have read so far it's against policy here to have this kind of site. --Crohnie 00:00, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Anti/Pro labelling inappropriate

I don't feel that labelling editors pro or anti Barrett is helpful. I have been accused of being anti-Barrett. Nothing can be further from the truth. I would like to point out that I am nearly the only editors here who has attested to having ZERO conflict of interest with Stephen Barrett or Quackwatch. -- Levine2112 discuss 06:08, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Then I suggest that you start by encouraging other editors to drop the "pro" line. Because with "pro" there is "anti". BTW, pro and anti have nothing to do with COI (it is however a strawman). And your edit record stands for itself (don't you think :-). Shot info 06:13, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
I haven't counted how many times Levine2112 has now used this COI straw man defense in a feigned "I'm innocent" attempt to defend his actual POV actions to the contrary, but his track record does indeed speak for itself. He has learned to be more careful with his utterances (which is fine and good), but those of us who remember his utterances from his earlier days aren't in any doubt about the animosity he feels towards Barrett, quackbusters, and scientific skeptics and the subjects of which they are skeptical (he defends those subjects). His actual editing still speaks louder than his straw man defense. He could learn alot from Dematt and become an inclusionist. -- Fyslee/talk 09:07, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Incredible. I am calling for peace and all you guys provide is war. Please note that I am calling for an end to both pro and anti labelling. Both. Not just anti. Both. Not just pro. Both. I mention my lack of any COI because I want you all to know that I have none, but in that statement I am not accusing anyone else here of having a COI (only that I am among the few who have attested to not having any COI here). That's all. Now please, everyone: Chill out and be kinder to one another. -- Levine2112 discuss 15:32, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Thanks. -- Fyslee/talk 20:47, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
COI has nothing to do with the regular labelling of editors as "pro-Barrett". Suggest that those who use the expression review WP:KETTLE and WP:COOL before resorting to the expression lest the logical use of "anti" be applied to those using the "pro-Barrett" moniker. BTW, what purpose does it serve to continual trot out the COI flag? Shot info 04:41, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

How about we put this little insulting disruption into the archives? --Ronz 06:21, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Provided that we can all agree not to use these labels or anything else which can be construed as a personal attack. -- Levine2112 discuss 06:44, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
No provisos. The discussion is insulting and disruptive. Let's get it off this talk page. --Ronz 06:48, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
So you don't agree to stop with the labelling and personal attacks, Ronz? -- Levine2112 discuss 06:50, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Saherian Quote and References

Noticed some serious problems with Dr. Saherian’s quotes and references in the Criticism section:

"Ray Sahelian, MD, an advocate of nutritional medicine, accused Quackwatch of failing to point out 'scams or inaccurate promotion and marketing practices by the pharmaceutical industry', even while praising Barrett for having done 'good research on many of the people involved in the alternative health industry, and has pointed out several instances of inaccuracies and scams.'[34][35][36]"

3 references are cited in support of the critical statement made about Quackwatch/Barrett, when it appears that only one is relevant; i.e. #36 which contains the material quoted in the article. Reference #35 is a link to the homepage of the site that contains #36 and is therefore redundant and should be deleted. Reference #34 refers to an offline book by Saherian that may or may not contain criticism of Quackwatch; it seems that this reference should also be deleted.

The sentence containing the quotes from Sahelian is grammatically awkward and could incorrectly be read to mean that Saherian pointed out inaccuracies and scams on the Quackwatch website (which he did not). An easy solution would be to substitute “even while praising Barrett for having done“, with “and praised that Barrett has done…” However, for several other reasons, it should instead be deleted altogether.

  • Inclusion of Saherian’s article seems to violate WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:BLP and WP:RS. The article looks like a personal attack page. Saherian's website (#35, a blatant e-commerce site that does not seem to meet WP:RS) does not appear to contain any reviews of other websites or individuals. The article does not contain any references and appears to be just shallow, unsubstantiated opinion with a bit of mudslinging.
  • Saherian’s article includes a personal attack on Barrett based on an alleged email from an unnamed individual; i.e. "I couldn't agree with you more regarding the ignorance and pretentiousness of Stephen Barrett". Clearly not encyclopedic-quality content.
  • One of Saherian’s criticisms was that he thought Barrett was rude to him in an email but that is neither relevant nor encyclopedic, nor does it directly pertain to Quackwatch.

There appears to be sufficient reason to warrant removal of the Saherian quote. Rhode Island Red 23:48, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the quote probably doesn't belong here, but unfortunately I expect that you'll find it very difficult to remove. --Philosophus T 00:14, 24 April 2007 (UTC)


This article's topic is notable? J. D. Redding 17:21, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

There is a Notability section in this article which supports why it is notable. -- Levine2112 discuss 18:22, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Seems fishy to me ... but that is IMO ... seems non-notable. As to the "notablility" section, "Best of the Web" and a few journalist mention it? Hmm, very fishy ... is this a "pet site" of some editors? J. D. Redding 18:35, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Recently, there has been questions surronding using information from this site as a reliable source (There are countless references linking to Quackwatch throughout Wikipedia). Many editors and admins don't think it qualifies as a reliable source as the site is heavily partisan, doesn't have any formal peer review process and can be construed as deceptive (presenting opinions as facts). I haven't heard much argument about its notability, however. -- Levine2112 discuss 18:51, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, notability (in Wikipedia terms) is usually substantiated by multiple references to the subject in independent, reliable secondary sources, and we seem to have that here. Certainly this is a controversial topic, but its notability seems established according to Wikipedia's guidelines. MastCell Talk 20:42, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree. We have attributable and reliable sources covering the subject. I don't think notability is a questions. -- Levine2112 discuss 21:46, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
So one "best of the web" mention and a few journalist mentions qualifies as notable? J. D. Redding 22:12, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Notability criteria for websites is listed at WP:WEB. Please read it, it answers your questions. And yes, quackwatch appears to pass easily. --Minderbinder 22:14, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
There is also Forbes, US News and NY Times - to name a few - mentioning Quackwatch. Definitely notable enough to warrant this article. -- Levine2112 discuss 22:16, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
Kinda shaky JIMO ... seems a pet site. BUT with only a "best of the web" mention and a few journalist mentions it does seem to qualify. Alot of things could qualify over that low bar, though ... anyways, thanks for the info ... J. D. Redding
No problem. Lots of things do quality as notable per Wikipedia. Ever notice how many articles are here! ;-) -- Levine2112 discuss 23:05, 10 May 2007 (UTC)


I've reverted MaxPont's edit of the introduction.


Quackwatch Inc. is an American non-profit organization that aims to "combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct," with its primary focus on what it characterizes as quackery.[1] Since 1996, it has operated a website,, which contains articles and other types of information criticizing many forms of alternative medicine.[2]

MaxPont's proposal

Quackwatch Inc. is an American non-profit organization most well-known for operating the web site, which contains articles and othertypes of information criticizing many forms of alternative medicine.[1] Quackwath Inc. started the web site in 1996 with a mission to "combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct," with its primary focus on what it characterizes as quackery.[2]

I'm not sure that we need to emphasize the notability like this, but maybe this is a good time to look at WP:LEAD and get some ideas on if and how it should be expanded or changed. --Ronz 16:57, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Given the conversation just above, I think I prefer MaxPont's rewrite (which basically just transposes the two sentences and gets the notability of Quackwatch brought to the forefront. But please explore WP:LEAD and offer other suggestions. However, this to me, seems like an easy and innocuous fix which will help avoid more discussions such as the one above. -- Levine2112 discuss 16:59, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
From WP:LEAD, I think we probably want to add a bit more about the criticism. At the same time "information criticizing many forms" seems a bit pov. Maybe ""information investigating many forms". --Ronz 17:07, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Now that seems POV and not accurate. Quackwatch only lists "investigations" which are critical (and largely one-sided); hence they criticize. "Criticize" accurately and succinctly describes what Quackwatch does - and criticizing alternative medicine (and such) is exactly for what Quackwatch has become notable. BTW, Forbes magazine describes waht Quackwatch does as "attacking". -- Levine2112 discuss 17:11, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Sounds pov to me, especially for the introduction. Have any secondary, non-partisan, reliable sources to back your claims? Now that I look closer at the article, I think we should look at the descriptions in About the site as well("but are mainly critical descriptions of treatments" "especially critical of those").
Looking at the intro vs the rest of the article, I don't see anything tying the introduction to either the Criticism or Notability sections. --Ronz 17:29, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
It may sound POV to you, but it is actually quite accurate. "Investigates" is not accurate and has a phony gloss to it. If QW investigated, then surely not all of their investigations would be negative. But as all of their articles are of the "attacking" variety, "Criticize" is the correct term to describe what QW does. "Exposes" is the word which QW uses to self-describe, but that is certainly POV. However, it does tell us that they seek to expose; and their methodology is criticism. I think MaxPont's suggested rewrite is better at linking the lead to the notability section. Per your suggestion, we could also add something to tie it to the criticism section (i.e. "a controversial website", "in turn, it garners its own criticism", et cetera). -- Levine2112 discuss 17:35, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't understand the position of Ronz at all. The word "critical" is a neutral description of Quackwatch that is so obvious that I took it for granted that it would be uncontroversial. (But fine, let's be productive and discuss this word for the next twelve weeks.) I also don't understand the idea that good faith edits and rewrites related to language and style should be done on the Talk-pages instead of in the normal Wikipedia form of a series of edit rewrites in the article text itself. This topic is not significant enough to be discussed on the Talk-pages (where the endless space encourage verbosity). I will restore my edit and further "debate" should be confined to the edit comments. MaxPont 07:52, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Max, there is a reason for this methodology here. This is one of the most contentious articles in all of the health, medical and alternative medicine subjects at Wikipedia, and that has to do with it's notability and influence. It is not without reason that Quackwatch has lots of enemies. It is the "canary in the mine," and lots of people would love to kill that canary. The lead has a long history, where every single word is weighed on the balances and the slightest changes start long edit wars, and we don't want to go there again. Therefore any changes, even the slightest, need to be discussed first. A stable version is to be preferred. -- Fyslee/talk 09:48, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Quackpotwatch redirects

I've deleted the following redirects:

All of which redirected to this page. Since this article does not mention Quackpotwatch (not an encyclopedic source), the redirects are inappropriate. They were initially redirects to the now-deleted Quackpotwatch article, so fall under speedy deletion criteria (R1, redirect to non-existent page). I've preserved all of the associated talk pages, though, since they contain potentially relevant discussion. If anyone strongly disagrees with this action or rationale, just let me know, and I'll be happy to undelete them and send them to redirects for discussion for a more formal evaluation. MastCell Talk 18:50, 2 June 2007 (UTC)


Seems off topic and a criticism to me. I'd like to hear why ConfuciusOrnis removed it. --Ronz 03:12, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

Because it's not directly applicable, and struck me as a sidelong POV swipe. It's also linked to from both pseudoscience and scientific scepticism. ornis 08:15, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
pathological skepticism, still linked to the WP article, would probably be a slightly less critical form, carrying more an "over doing it" flavor, instead of "fake" skepticism. Quackwatch and its principal authors have been mentioned with (published) various elements of Truzzi's criteria by notable scientists with substantial scientific careers. Has as much standing here as with the other PS listed.--I'clast 09:41, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Pathological scepticism is the same article. Which principles are mentioned and by whom? And as far as I understand it pathological/psuedo scepticism is more than "overdoing it", it's rather more the rejection out of hand, ideas that run counter to firmly held convictions, without considering the evidence. The sort of thinking that leads to things like this, this, these or these. Oh and sorry, but I'm not sure what you mean by that last sentence.ornis 10:17, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
I was being nice, making allowances for editorial differences on how much "of out of hand". " PS"
These are similar to criticisms that have been made in one form or another about QW or its authors over the last 30-40 years, perhaps starting with Pauling (with Victor Herbert) and others rather conveniently detailed in Kauffman's paper. Pauling complained about several repeated failures on replication and hypothesis testing, although widely ridiculed for almost two decades, the recent NIH and NAS papers are saying, oohhh *those* f- u-s - obviously innocent oversights. QW still publishes its Pauling-vitamin C papers as if nothing was noticed about such failures of replication or gross failure to test the more general hypotheses, failures such as in adminstration route, chemistry, dose range, controls, analysis, etc.
  • The tendency to deny, rather than doubt - yes, common perspective of altmed
  • Double standards in the application of criticism - yes
  • The making of judgments without full inquiry - yes (inquiry results not used, if found anyway)
  • Tendency to discredit, rather than investigate - yes, some clear "oversights"
  • Use of ridicule or ad hominem attacks - yes, many complaints
  • Pejorative labeling of proponents as 'promoters', 'pseudoscientists' or practitioners of 'pathological science.' -
from QW search line: promoter - "Found 115 matches in 63 files"; "Looking for pseudoscience in ntire archive - Found 120 matches in 49 files"; "Looking for pseudoscientists in entire archive - Found 16 matches in 4 files"; "pathological science" - 1; and so on.--I'clast 11:28, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
This just comes across to me as OR and criticism. --Ronz 17:01, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
It is not only "OR and criticism," it is very specific and direct editorializing OR and criticism. Not only that, it is (as stated above by ornis) a "POV swipe", and a very direct one at that, made by those editors who keep reinstating it. This is no surprise nor any secret since their POV and intent is pretty obvious (in spite of claims to the contrary). Any criticism (and serious - non-ad hominem - criticism certainly should be included!) should be from V & RS outside of Wikipedia and independent of its editors. Therefore the "See also" link is a form of internal editorial linkspam that should be removed immediately. -- Fyslee/talk 17:59, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

The See Also section should provide CONTEXT for the reader [22] [23] and link to other articles that are related. The connection between the See Also link and the article does not have to be very high. WP states that a See Also link ideally should NOT have been linked to in the article itself. A clear norm pointing towards weak connections. IMO the Pseudoskepticism article belongs to the same cluster of articles as QW, SB, PS, and NCAH. Just look at how the same group of editors works on these articles. Articles form clusters of interrelated topics and the readers should be given the opportunity to explore them. The See Also link is not an endorsement, just a pointer to related topics. MaxPont 13:52, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

The "See also" links should provide context that is self-evident from the article, not from the opinions of unfriendly editors. There are two groups of editors (and some others) who edit those articles, each approaching from widely different POV. Those editors (the enemies of Quackwatch) who see scientific skepticism as an exercise carried on by pseudoskeptics, will quite naturally label those interested in supporting scientific skepticism as pseudoskeptics. Oddly enough, they don't see the irony in the fact that they are at odds with skeptic organizations and scientific skeptics on nearly every subject (and the related articles here). Thus they glibly claim to be scientific skeptics, when in fact they are just skeptical of the activities of scientific skeptics. They are thus a group of editors who on nearly every point fail to support the good that skeptics of quackery and health fraud actually do, and they defend the subjects that scientific skeptics attack as being unscientific, quackery, and often direct fraud. Yes indeed, there are two groups of editors at work, and their positions are self-evident in their defense or attacks on certain subjects and articles here. That being as it is, we still need to write articles here from an NPOV angle and keep our own views out of the articles, and in this case by not interjecting personal POV that is not obvious from the article into the "See also" links. -- Fyslee/talk 18:32, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Please refrain from general argumentation with only weak connection to the topic of the talk page. MaxPont 10:59, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. It is a well-known problem that is best dealt with here, unless someone wants to take it to RFC/U or ArbComm. --Ronz 21:23, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I support Fyslee's editor behavior analysis regarding "the enemies of Quackwatch". I need to point out, however, that one does not need to be a "friend of Quackwatch" in order to edit on the other side of the debate. The editors representing the enemies of Quackwatch (who themselves are also acting exactly like its enemies) represent a tiny minority they view as as mainstream (as demonstrated by their - no doubt genuine - conviction that Quackwatch is pseudoskeptical). The other group of editors consists of (1) neutral editors who recognize that a tiny minority POV is getting undue weight, and (2) editors who are friends of Quackwatch who have no reason in the world to even consider violating our rules - they only have to insist that the article be written from the NPOV. The antis are using every trick in the book to continue their fight on Wikipedia, marginalizing Barrett et al. in order to make it appear that they themselves represent mainstream (scientific and societal) - exactly like Barrett's real-world opponents.
There's another thing I need to point out. Current anti-edits to the article are quite disruptive. There's a difference between wearing out all other editors on the talk page (which I personally also consider quite disruptive) and hard policy violations in the article itself in the face of strong opposition with very good policy and common sense based arguments. Please stop. See WP:DE and WP:DR. Avb 11:38, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I think there are several points here. First there is a big difference between a "pseudoskeptic" and "pseudoskepticism", one as a chronic condition and the other as perhaps an occupational hazard or a transient condition like a cold, a flu or a bad day or particular case. For fairness, social and legal reasons, calling an individual a psudoskeptic is probably a bad idea. and that we best describe the individual case or behavior. That groups or individuals within a group, especially for persistent critics, may experience episodes of pseudoskepticism may be only human and expected. Truzzi demonstrated this with the group he co-founded, CSICOP, and a year later broke with.
Many of QW's critics have long been saying the essentially same thing as Truzzi since Pauling locked horns with V Herbert (1969). Truzzi's coinage of "pseudoskepticism" merely crystalyzes many of those individuals' descriptions into a recognizable, tractable and more concretely defined concept. Rather than assuming Pseudoskepticism in a See Also link is automatically the equivalent of being called a pseudoskeptic in the sense of a chronic or permanent state pejoratively, I think it is more productive to realize that many skeptics, of many stripes, generally may be all too subject to episodes of pseudoskepticism (commented by Sagan too) and consider the advice as a internal selfcheck or asseessment of new sources.--I'clast 12:34, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Fyslee your edit summary[24] reverting pseudoskepticism has no merit to me, the See also link Pseudoskepticism is not editorial, and has no WP:RS V requirement, merely relevance or context. This concern seriously pertains to *long runing* discussions about QW and on least some of its authors' statements at different points, for almost 40 years. My "POV" is a strong SPOV trying to achieve NPOV and insisting on claimed "mainstream" material meeting WP:V on the science ends, too (here at QW, sometimes a difficult task). The WP pseudoskepticism article allows a reader to better consider both sides' arguments and their basic nature in this superhot subject.
Victor Herbert, of QW fame, was sure and (over)confident of his answers. So confident he did not need to look for data or even at the data. When confronted with the data, Herbert still knew better[25] (Pauling writes of this in his books too). Apparently Herbert felt his insights better than Pauling's four quoted double blind studies in 1969 and then through the next 20-30, his doubts cured only in 2002 (died). This is one of many reasons, discussions abound related to pseudoscepticism (by description if not yet always by name, especially back then, Truzzi's work was new and more obscure) about the nature of some attacks by QW authors, since Linus Pauling's arrival on the scene (1968-9).--I'clast 10:41, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Matthew Ramsey

Anyone want to discuss? Do we have any sources to help us determine the weight of this? --Ronz 05:26, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Clearly V RS, looks like one of the few uninvolved publications by an academic whose context is examining altmed developments. It is NPOV, "militant" just says that QW really does its thing. Even QW related books literally talk about "attacking", militant seems to agree.--I'clast 05:58, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Matthew Ramsey is assistant professor in history at a first tier university. A quick look at his home page and CV [26] gives the impression of a serious academic who keeps a neutral distance to his research area. I read the entire article and still can't guess if he has a pro or con bias regarding alt medicine. As I see it, Ramseys comment about Quackwatch is a plain description without any POV pushing or value judgements. The article is published in a reputable peer-reviewed journal. IMO this an exemplary reliable secondary source. MaxPont 09:25, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Long time read, first time editor. Can't imagine a good reason to leave such information out. Good source. Good info. - KET @ 21:47, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I reverted because there is clearly no consensus and there are heavyweight problems. There is too much weight being given to a tiny minority of critics. Agreed?  QuackGuru  talk 21:54, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
I reject the notion that this concerns a small minority of critics. I am not sure about the rules of consensus here, but it would seem counterproductive that one editor who disagrees with the insertion of material can keep it out simply by protesting. The source has much notoriety and makes a fair critical analysis of the subject. I agree that it should be in criticism. The source is double referenced and I am not sure how to fix that problem yet. KET @ 22:01, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Will suggest that you review the "source" and let us know it's weight in the context of WP:WEIGHT. The source doesn't really agree with your statement above. I haven't deleted it yet, but I agree with QG however lets have some WP:CONSENSUS especially given that various editors haven't reviewed the source at all. Shot info 23:25, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Interesting source. Especially given that it's about the alt-med situation in France, where chiropractic is illegal when practised by non-MDs, and given that France is in the EU where COST B4 (demanding that the effectivity of e.g. homeopathy/manipulative treatments/fythotherapy/acu-puncture need to be proven) has, so far, prevented much of alt-med from receiving official EU recognition. However, while alt-med pugnacity is central to this article, QW militancy only merits a footnote. But to me the bottom line here is the question of weight. The lead of the article says that QW "combats". What's so special about "militant"? Why use up so much space in order to introduce a single word, going to extreme quote-mining lengths, introducing a fairly obscure historian to educate our readers about the societal character of Quackwatch? Could it be that "militant" has inherently POV connotations when used out of context? And how do we know Ramsey's opinion as a historian squares with the main POV (scientists/doctors/etc)? Wouldn't we need e.g. a well-known proponent of this POV for that? Avb 13:09, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
No: Forbes used the word ”attack” in their review of QW. Ramsey the words “very militant”. I don’t see any POV pushing at all in these assessments. They are neutral factual descriptions. <unsourced opinion removed WP:BLP (diff)> It ought not to be any controversy at all around the fact that QW/SB has a tough agenda. Words such as attack, militant and, controversial are the obvious and correct labels to use. That is not criticism but but should be in the ABOUT THE WEB SITE section. MaxPont 11:30, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
In the Foreword of Vitamin Pushers, coauthors Barrett & Herbert are literally congratulated on their "attack", all *before* page 1.--I'clast 22:22, 17 July 2007 (UTC)


This answers only one of my questions. I don't think I find this answer convincing but at least you've answered the question. Here are the remaining questions again:

  1. What's so special about "militant"?
  2. Why use up so much space in order to introduce a single word, going to extreme quote-mining lengths, introducing a fairly obscure historian to educate our readers about the societal character of Quackwatch?
  3. How do we know Ramsey's opinion as a historian squares with the main POV (scientists/doctors/etc)? Wouldn't we need e.g. a well-known proponent of this POV for that?

You are essentially arguing that any source will do because what's being said is true and you have the right to insert anything that is true anywhere in the encyclopedia. That is not a valid argument. We are discussing weight. Please answer my questions. Please show how this has sufficient weight. Please also let us know where we can find those "40 libel suits" and other sources for the stuff I've removed from your post above. Avb 12:03, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

PS I think you are repeatedly reinserting disputed content against the current consensus. Please read WP:DE. Avb 12:08, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

The reason for this "reference fishing" is that editors from the pro-Barrett camp refuse to write a correct NPOV article with neutral true accurate descriptive assessments using words such as "militant", "attacking", "controversial" etc. MaxPont 12:34, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for admitting to your purposeful NPOV violations in order to promote your personal biases against other editors! Please note that editors can be banned for repeatedly making such violations. Please stop. --Ronz 15:33, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
That is a misunderstanding. I am trying to push the article closer towards NPOV. Unfortunately both camps are deep down in the trenches and every edit that would even hint at moving the article in an unwanted direction is vigourously opposed by the other faction. If we could reach consensus about a text with an encyclopedic narrative that states the true fact that QW is a web site strongly arguing against all forms of Alt Med, surrounded by a lot of controvery when atttacking, it would not be necessary to source the context of every word such as "militant" and "attacking". MaxPont 17:43, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

I can only remember six libel suits counting the BvR case, which is actually an outgrowth of the BvClark case, so we're only talking about five libel suits ALL growing from ONE source - Bolen's very targeted and specific defamation campaign which he started after he was hired by Hulda Clark's son, and (IIRC) before Barrett had even written anything about Clark. I keep hearing talk of 40 cases of various kinds, but that figure is only coming from his enemies (who are renowned for clearly exercising bad faith by not even wishing to understand him or doing good fact checking when they criticize him), and I've never seen documentation for the charge. -- Fyslee/talk 17:49, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

This might be another libel "event" with Barrett [27]. (Click for the book review written by Barrett himself.) I believe that Barrett has sued more critiques who settled out of court which means that no records exist about the settlements. If he really said "around 40" under oath, I am inclined to believe him. MaxPont 18:27, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
By golly you're right. Forgot about Lisa. We've still got a long ways to go to get 40 libel suits. Who said what "under oath"? -- Fyslee/talk 23:28, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
This paragraph, 'Matthew Ramsey, a historian at Vanderbilt 's Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, in a footnote, described Quackwatch as "very militant" with respect to the anti-alternative medicine movement that developed in tandem with the alternative medicine renaissance in the US.[18]', is under notability. First it's not notable and it should be put in the criticism section if it has to be in the article at all. It really reads poorly the way it's written in. Read the section for yourselves. It sounds like a 6th toe that really doesn't belong and has nothing to say. --CrohnieGalTalk 12:25, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
The sentence read ok, verging on long, until someone else had to deprecate it with the extra qualifier phrase, making it too long. There is a continuing element of "I don't like it" here about facts and descriptions in the upper sections of the article that don't add direct flattery.
Crohnie, the reference is not criticism it is NPOV description by an academic, it could have been praise in context of other words or sentences, a la some of the QW related books - even sort of a "gives 'em what they deserve good and hard" kind of statement. The Notability section title is not hard and fast, it can different. QW is notable for its militancy and characteristic pugnacity, no one should doubt that - even in QW's early public articles, e.g. Readers Digest 30+ years ago, action was being militated and encouraged in strong terms, largely on the chiropractors, in their face and in the courts, whatever the merits of either side's positions.--I'clast
Try reading a bit more carefully:
  • "Yet alternative medicine flourished there in different forms, and the very disadvantages under which it laboured contributed to its characteristic pugnacity and may even have enhanced its public appeal."
In this quote, the word "pugnacity" is applied to alternative medicine, not to QW. Even if it were it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. -- Fyslee/talk 10:16, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry but it reads as a criticism not as being notable. --CrohnieGalTalk 22:29, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Here is one example of a prominent Quackwatch author (Victor Herbert) in action, a prime specimen of QW's scientific outlook and methods[28]. This is no shrinking violet. Do you feel "militant" and "pugnacious" might be insultingly understated? (QW's) Victor Herbert's pugnacity gave lifelong impetus and purpose for a double Nobel prizewinner's remaining 25 years on earth1969-1994 (the Nobel prize winner's criticism of Victor Herbert & VH's position continues to win international authoritative understanding & recognition as of 2006[29][30]). This an evidence based answer.--I'clast 09:40, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Try reading a bit more carefully:
  • "Yet alternative medicine flourished there in different forms, and the very disadvantages under which it laboured contributed to its characteristic pugnacity and may even have enhanced its public appeal."
In this quote, the word "pugnacity" is applied to alternative medicine, not to QW. Even if it were it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
BTW, that last ref is far from impressive, especially when one actually reads it and the "Editor's notes". Wishful thinking for a future proof is OR and should not be included in articles here. -- Fyslee/talk 10:16, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Ok. I haven't traced out what all happened here yet[31], but I withdraw the word & phrase from the Ramsey sentence.
It is not OR or a future proof about whether the QW authors missed the dose-frequency ranges in their allegations. Pauling et al complained long and hard about the gross test defects, was studiously ignored until 2001-2006, and has now been acknowledged on the point(s) for both cancer and respiratory illness. The future proof is only about efficacy, which has nothing to with long cited failures of Pauling's adversaries, including QW's Herbert, to even note the (hypotheses, modern) test ranges, old data and formulations correctly.--I'clast 10:54, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
I told you the sentence was written in a way that makes it difficult to understand. Ramsey refers to alternative medicine's pugnacity in the first couple pages of his article. Let's just withdraw the Ramsey sentence. Cool Hand Luke 15:00, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
I have to say I agree with Cool Hand Luke. Lets remove the Ramsey stuff. It's not needed and it's a blurb.--CrohnieGalTalk 19:21, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

We're discussing a footnote in a 37 page article, correct? I think the proper weight for such information is to leave it out. --Ronz 17:05, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Peer-reviewed articles are peer-reviewed - including the footnotes. The author obviously has deep knowledge of the relationship between alternative medicine and conventional medicine. He is writing within his area of competence even in the footnote. I can't see any valid arguments for excluding the source from the QW article. MaxPont 18:38, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
Please review the previous discussion and address relevant open issues like NPOV, especially WEIGHT. Otherwise, your comments may appear to be disruption and point-making. --Ronz 19:01, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
There is no weight issue here whatsoever. This is an exemplary independent reliable source and Ramsey is not at all involved in the pro/con controversy around QW/alt med. This is not a minority opinion but a neutral description. It should be obviuos to anyone. Please restore your revert unless you can come up with arguments why WP:Weight is applicable here. MaxPont 19:54, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
WEIGHT applies to all information in all articles, so it's always an issue. As you are the one that wants to include the material, it is your responsibility to address WEIGHT. You have not. It remains out until you do AND make a case that other editors actually find valid. --Ronz 19:52, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
The Ramsey article has a lot of academic analysis about institutional sources, perceptions and academic treatment of (alternative) medicine, focusing on France with explanations *and comparisons* for an American and English speaking audience. This guy and the center have a sizable academic medical-institutional backing for historical-social analysis and comparison of different factors in medicine. The short note is excellent for a neutral academic view from the social sciences summarizing an aspect of QW without a having the normal baggage of multiple positions that tends to create separate camps - no dog in the usual race here. It's weight derives from a number of factors other than long length of the specific item. F=ma was a brief result, are you proposing it has no weight...?--I'clast 20:13, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
I still agree with Cool Hand Luke and the others. For goodness sake it's a footnote, the article itself is long and unless I missed it, it doesn't say a thing about Barrett or QW except in this footnote which is just a blurb. Delete it already please. --CrohnieGalTalk 22:54, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
As per your request I deleted the footnote. There is too much weight being given to a footnote.  Mr.Guru  talk  23:23, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
I've also replied again to Ornis[32]. So how do you propose to address the issue? QW *is* militant, Any editor who reads their related stuff long term should understand and agree, "pro-QW" or not. This is as V RS as it gets, QW is not that (independently) academically notable outside pharma sponsored publications (including many popular media), to continue dismissing all references that do not openly favor QW.--I'clast 09:13, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
If F=ma was only listed in a single source, and only as a footnote, then yes I'd argue that it should not be included per WEIGHT. --Ronz 19:55, 23 July 2007 (UTC)
Ramsey: "...very militant..." point is two words supported in part by 30+ pages on comparative analyses on social, academia and legal environments about alternative medicine US and France. The quotes' strength is that it is an indirect object of the paper and neutral position.
QW itself: Assisting or generating consumer-protection lawsuits, Attacking misleading advertising on the Internet - sounds kind of militant;
Pro: Supporters acknowledge Quackwatchers attack, invovlement, , from Quackwatch's site, 'The Vitamin Pushers:, Foreword by Gabe Mirkin, MD: The people who wrote this book are involved. Dr. Herbert has attacked ...more forcefully than any other person in America. He has testified before legislators and in ...Dr. Barrett has investigated and written about quackery in more and different fields than any other living American. more... Chapt 21, How Much Can the Law Protect You?, 437; Appendix D: One Hundred Companies That Have Marketed Illegally, 493. - sounds kind of militant;
Contra: A critical version of militantThe Quackbusters, Vitality magazine, May 2002 :
...Quackwatch’s ... Herbert specializes in vitriolic smear campaigns...Quackwatch’s ...influence is formidable. The formula of their attacks ...depends on persistent repetition. ...Quackwatch also delights in using the medial regulatory systems to go after doctors who have strayed from the One True Barrett Path. Sounds kind of militant.
...and of course the battles with the chiropractors. "very militant" is appropriate. Multiple NPOV sources for a single phrase (vs similar descriptions by everyone) for a topic (QW) not that independently, sociologically notable to academia is ridiculously burdensome. Enough, this aspect is distinctive to those familiar with QW and should be discernable in objective description. WP:V RS is more than met here.--I'clast 10:40, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Without taking sides in this debate, I'll just explain why I reverted. This addition (and apparently some similar additions before it) have introduced a duplication of the introductory sentence to the Forbes quote. Otherwise (again without taking any position on the appropriateness of the Ramsey quote) this edit warring by constantly adding the quote is inappropriate edit warring. Leave it here until there is consensus. The article and edit summaries aren't the place to do this. -- Fyslee/talk 09:48, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Once again -- without taking any position on the appropriateness of the Ramsey quote -- I have removed it. Inclusion of controversial material (and it is being debated) requires consensus. Keep it here until consensus is achieved. Stop the edit warring. -- Fyslee/talk 11:22, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Ramsey's "very militant" is two words in a footnote in support of a 30 page paper. There is no evidence it is supported by the paper. That being said, if it could be added without distortion or having the comment longer than the material, it would seem appropriate. I haven't seen an acceptable phrasing yet, though. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 13:24, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
It seems that we *not* getting a very high signal-to-noise ratio on the collaboration required to succeed. The paper provides some comparative context, not direct address. Such sudden modesty. It seems like the obvious is being denied outright, the QW principals involved *have been* pretty fiesty over the years, "very militant" - admired by some, opposed by others. This article simply does not capture the essential aspect of QW's aggressive, militant nature that is one of its truly notable aspects for over 30 years, if not a Quackwatch hallmark.
This is my previous attempt at short and sweet, so I would appreciate would more detailed discussion, a counterproposal or example. Perhaps starting here, "Matthew Ramsey, a historian at Vanderbilt 's Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, mentions Quackwatch as "very militant".--I'clast 19:23, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
OK, I've re-added MR in a place where it seems to have adequate, but not undue, weight. Others may disagree. (I took it out once because it damaged the context of the Forbes quote, and seemed questionable there.) — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 19:31, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I haven't expressed my opinion on the content of this matter or its appropriateness before now. I support this inclusion. -- Fyslee/talk 20:12, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Request to restore Arthur Rubin's addition as described here. -- Fyslee/talk 20:21, 24 July 2007 (UTC) {{editprotected}}

The article is protected for the very reason of that addition. There is clearly a content dispute.  Mr.Guru  talk  20:27, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually no... it is protected because it was added, deleted, added, deleted... your deletion is as much a part of this as Arthur's addition QuackGuru. Personally, as the admin who protected the article, I'm not going to make any additions/deletions of content... particularly the part that was the subject of the edit war. Given the rather long thread here I'd almost suggest that you request a 3rd opinion or outside request for comment because it appears to me that the conversation thus far has not yielded a consensus. that is just a suggestion though.--Isotope23 talk 20:38, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure that that is the precise reason. Right now you (QuackGuru) are about the only one objecting to this new wording and its addition in a new location. Things have changed. -- Fyslee/talk 20:42, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Nothing had changed. Its the same information just written slightly differently.  Mr.Guru  talk  20:47, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, IMHO, there was never anything wrong with the information in the first place. It was the underhanded way it was usually presented that was problematic. Now a wording was proposed and accepted and Arthur Rubin added it, and I back him up. -- Fyslee/talk 20:52, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't see clear consensus for the change, so I am disabling the editprotected for now. — Carl (CBM · talk) 00:20, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

Pending questions


  1. What's so special about "militant"?
  2. Why use up so much space in order to introduce a single word, going to extreme quote-mining lengths, introducing a fairly obscure historian to educate our readers about the societal character of Quackwatch?
  3. How do we know Ramsey's opinion on Quackwatch represents the main POV (scientists/doctors/etc)? Or if it doesn't, which POV does it represent? Wouldn't we need e.g. a well-known proponent of this POV for that?
  4. Please show how the Ramsey quote has sufficient weight.
  5. Please also let us know where we can find those "40 libel suits"

Avb 00:39, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

  1. It is only special because it is notable criticism.
  2. It's more than a single word. It is who has presented that word.
  3. How do we know it doesn't? How do we know Barrett's criticsms of many many subjects represents the majority? Point is, we aren't saying it is a majority viewpoint or a minority viewpoint; this is just one well-qualified and notable critic's opinion.
  4. He is a historian at the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University.
  5. Are we to perform OR and find each of the 40 cases? What does that have to do with this anyhow? -- Levine2112 discuss 02:41, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
But you're forgetting WP:WEIGHT. Sorry to have to say it yet again. --Ronz 03:10, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
I repeat: He is a historian at the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. -- Levine2112 discuss 05:00, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
I'd still like to see a response from Maxpont. "40 cases", for example, was asserted here on the talk page as an unattributed fact by Maxpont, without reliable sources - a NOR/BLP violation, and I removed it as such. OR is permitted on talk pages by the way. It should be clear under the circumstances that I'm asking for reliable sources. My entire history on the Barrett talk page can be summarized as insisting on reliable secondary sources and reliable primary sources first discussed in reliable secondary sources. (And, of course, explaining why we need them and showing how the community handles these things in order to keep Wikipedia neutral—i.e. written from the NPOV.)
I had not understood that Ramsey is a "notable critic". I thought he had been presented here as a neutral observer. I quite enjoyed reading the article. Anyway, I see we have a dispute here regarding the meaning of undue weight. Avb 09:55, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
  1. That is a sourced assessment of QW. I would be fine with other similar words (aggressive, controversial etc.) in an encyclopedic narrative.
  2. He is not obscure in any way. His non-involvement in the pro/con QW controversy is a plus.
  3. Most doctors and scientists probably don't even have an opinion about a QW. Not many people have bothered to take the time to make assessments of QW.
  4. It is self-evident.
  5. The issue of exactly how many libel suits SB/QW has been involved in are beside the point here. It was only a supporting argument to show that SB/QW really mean business in their quest against alt medicine. MaxPont 16:22, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, MaxPont. Avb 11:01, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
Threshold comment from a semi-outsider: I don't know what to think of this sentence, but (1) it seems strange to include a brief comment from a footnote—even health historians must drop enough footnotes that they can't all be notable, and (2) putting that aside, I don't think the sentence should include the last preposition with reference to alternative "pugnacity". This tries to summarize the article in a clumsy way, and it just makes the sentence difficult to understand. Cool Hand Luke 06:16, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Fully independent, academic views of QW related sites are weighty & rare commodities indeed.--I'clast 11:21, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Has anyone in the world previously identified this footnote as "weighty"? Seems to me that it's just the only scholarly reference we've found. Seeing as his paper isn't even about the "anti-quackery" movement in the US, there's no reason to assume it's weighty. This patient's sidebar in JAMA suggests Quackwatch as a reliable site. There are many other potential articles to dig through. Cool Hand Luke 14:42, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Many of your "many other" references seem to be articles from the QW web site. MaxPont 16:24, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
If you're too tired to wade through the QW web site hits, you can filter them out using this. There are still many, many articles that cite it. Cool Hand Luke 20:02, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I've looked some of them. Dr Barrett apparently was serving on the JAMA editorial staff at the time the sidebar was published, and the material substantially matches QW material, so its independence is dubious. The part that needs to stressed is the independent part - articles from the "mainstream" or "allopathic" medical journals have to deal with an inherent competitive business/institutions/POV factor, a bias that no matter how hard one tries, simply is. This does not even delve into the history of the 20th century politics (and some scandals) between AMA and other healthcare groups (e.g. chiropractors and naturopaths for example) or the massive, pervasive advertising (and influence) in all media or the medical schools.
Two independent groups over the last 2-3 decades have tried with varying degrees of access and success to independently evaluate or interact with modern medicine: the social scientists (sociologists, here historian) and (mostly bio-/chem-) technologists outside the pharmaco-medical industry itself with varying degrees of resistance, backlash and success. This academic article from a social sciences perspective is an important reference because of that independence.--I'clast 21:17, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
You're saying that all mainstream medical journal's are biased in favor of the pharmaco-medical industry? I find that doubtful. Even if we grant it's true, it doesn't mean that a supposed outsider's views automatically merits inclusion. If anything, highlighting the views of a non-mainstream doctor because he's non-mainstream sounds like a WP:WEIGHT problem. Cool Hand Luke 23:24, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, there are a lot of complaints even from the journals' elite and editors, e.g. former editors-in-chiefs at NEJM, JAMA, BMJ have written scandalous exposes' on pharma influence, as well as have a number of recognized scientists. Also one has to differentiate mainstream science (the process) from mainstream medicine (the institution and corpus), this is precisely where the resistance & backlash get worst and a lot of people & professionals get confused between the two or make kneejerk errors, especially when one has transitioned and the other hasn't.
It the immediate case of Vandy's social science assessment, that sentence says *nothing* about whether QW is right, wrong, good/bad, it just addresses their presentation style & attitude, which the social scientists probably have more expertise and neutrality to speak from. So WEIGHT favors neutral social scientists & academics outside the industry in more neutral journals, and requires no medical expertise.--I'clast 03:44, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
I think it's strange to color medical journals and medical researchers as uniformly biased. There are in fact criticisms of drug company therapies in these sources. And you still seem to be saying that being outside of the mainstream is somehow an asset for WEIGHT. I've seen conspiracy theorists make this sort of argument elsewhere, and its simply backwards.
That said, you're right that it's just a statement of their presentation, and we can certainly include non-expert commentary about that. My main objection is that it's such a trivial portion of the article. Quackwatch has plenty of in-depth criticisms, so we should just cite one of those. I get the impression that you're fighting for this marginal passing reference just because it can be presented as neutral. POV presentation goals don't allow us to pluck a footnote from an unrelated article. Cool Hand Luke 06:35, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
I did not say uniformily, but rather "pervasive", a caution - unfortunately frequent in articles on areas that are supposed to address some non-conventional medical areas in the mainstream journals (and sometimes acknowledged). The comment on "conspiracy theories" seems to dismiss common corporate marketing related practices that do influence people, institutions and journals as well as documented conventional science & historical retrospectives in a number of areas. In altmed areas, it is extremely important to consider WP:V failures on reference articles, often using more current or authoritative conventional sources that WP:V correctly address the proper test regime (dose, frequency, specific chemistry etc), in WP:V testing nominally WP:RS articles that are in fact erroneous or obsolete. This gets into what I wil call "WP SPOV-NPOV" that is necessary to even make technical sense of some of the altmed articles and it has been the basis of serious collaboration with a number of the MDs & PhDs elsewhere.
That said, the Vandy material is independent & neutral, and is an important balancing NPOV view on a facet of QW that does correlate well with other material (the Forbes site review, QW site itself, QW-related books). Thank you for sharing your thoughts.---I'clast
There are indeed many Google Scholar links to actual Quackwatch articles and to scholarly articles that cite and/or recommend Quackwatch as a source. You will not find that to be the case with Barrett's or Quackwatch's usual detractors. That fact is quite telling. This is a well-known phenomena here at Wikipedia - how to find and use V & RS that are critical of mainstream science in articles here. They hardly ever exist.
It's often a problem because those that are critical often come from lesser educated or less recognized and authoritative sources, and things like attack sites totally fail inclusion for any purpose. So here we are with Barrett's and Quackwatch's critics desperately trying to find something and having to settle for crumbs from the bottom of the barrel and short mention in a footnote. Very telling indeed. -- Fyslee/talk 20:44, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps 30 years of great "chilling effects" on speech pre-BvR as well as the general media'$ pharma POV. The QW crowd did an incredible job popularizing their message, bypassing normal (critical) technical reviews (amazing how non-noted these articles are in the main and medical indexes). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by I'clast (talkcontribs).
Let's just stick to editing an encyclopedia shall we, but on an aside, see below... Shot info 11:56, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
The version I deleted was just wrong. I think all you can say is that, in a footnote, MR says that QW is very millitant. He did not say "vigorous anti-alternative medicine movement" in the footnote. Making the assumption that the footnote applies to that clause of the sentence it's attached to is OR. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 16:49, 23 July 2007 (UTC)