Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 9

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Archive 8 Archive 9 Archive 10



JSE has no consensus

Here are some examples that show JSE does not pass the rigors of BLP policy. Editing is based on Wikipedia policy.

  1. JSE is a fringe science journal because they attempt to rationalize UFOs while a true skeptic journal publication is critical and/skpetical of UFOs. The journal attempts to rationalize the evidence for the existance of UFOs. Moreover, JSE describes itself as a fringle journal because they assert on their website it is a "critical forum of rationality and observational evidence for the often strange claims at the fringes of science." Saying JSE is a skeptic's journal would entirely be original research. So what is the point? The journal is a "forum" for "rationality" of "the often strange claims at the fringes of science" which would make it a 'fringe science' journal. If any Wikipedian thinks the journal is not a fringe science journal, what kind of journal is it then? Keep in mind that current consensus for the JSE article is for it to remain in the fringe science category. Robert Todd Carroll of the Skeptic's Dictionary[1] stated in part: "In fact, the so-called Association for Skeptical Investigation is a group of pseudo-skeptical paranormal investigators and supporters who do not appreciate criticism of paranormal studies by truly genuine skeptics and critical thinkers. The only skepticism this group promotes is skepticism of critics and criticisms of paranormal studies." He also stated in part: "However, Gary Schwartz, in a published paper, refers to several of the deceased—including William James!—as “departed hypothesized co-investigators,” so perhaps the group considers the spirits of Keen and Truzzi as active investigators.[1] The Society for Scientific Exploration was founded by Marcello Truzzi. The only conclusion demonstrated by the examples is a fringe science journal.
  2. If you believe the journal is not a fringe science journal, then what type of journal do you believe it is. Moreover, if you believe the journal is not a fringe journal then what is a fringe science journal (A definition of a fringe journal is requested). Please provide specific examples and descriptions of the differences of a fringe science journal versus JSE.
  3. If you believe JSE is a skeptic organization then please provide examples of JSE being the same as other skeptic organizations.
  4. Kauffman is a person and therefore not formally peer-reviewed. We cannot use his asseration on it own face value. Moreover, his notability (or more precisely, lack of notability) is a straw-man argument. Is there even an article on Wikipedia on Kauffman? Per BLP policy, we insist on reliable third-party published sources and a clear demonstration of relevance to the person's notability. Kauffman is not a third-party published source. If you disagree, please explain. When you cannot explain how Kauffman satisfies BLP policy, you (yes, I mean you) have conceded Kauffman is not a reliable third-party published source. This isn't my rule, this is Wikipedia's rule as required by BLP policy. Again, how in the world is Kauffman independant of a third-party published source satsifying to BLP policy. The answer is obvious. He does not satisfy BLP policy. BLP policy drives editing on Wikipedia articles on notable individuals. A couple of editors are asserting but are actually refusing to explain how Kauffman meets BLP policy. You must properly show and not assert based on Wikipedia policy. Again, how does Kauffman specifically meet BLP policy. Please explain by citing BLP policy. Do you agree to abide by BLP policy anyhow.
  5. The journal describes itself as a fringe journal on their website as well others do.[2] They describe themselves as a fringe journal because they assert the rationalizing of "strange claims at the fringes of science." For example, Michael D. Lemonick wrote an article about the Society for Scientific Exploration called Science on the Fringe for Time Magazine.[10] My recent edit was not reverted because of any misleading statement. The other editor felt it was not necessary to say what the journal is and to, nevertheless, keep the description of what the journal is only after you went to the editor's talk page.
  6. Barrett studies quacks which would make him a skeptic. See at the bottom right hand corner of this article: American Skeptics. Barrett is in the category of American skeptics. The journal studies fringes which would make it a "fringe science" journal. For example, the journal studies for the rational evidence of UFOs, reincarnation, and crop circles.[2][3][4][5]
  7. Moreover, the journal describes themselves as rationalizing "strange claims at the fringes of science." The point is that they "rationalize" the "fringes of science." Thats exactly what a fringe journal does. Please contact them directly. In fact, the journal is proud of being a fringe science journal. See what they will tell you about themselves. What is scientific about crop circles? Hmmm. The journal studies the so-called science of crop circles made by UFOs. Everything the journal does is obviously on the "fringes of science." Therefore, it is clearly a fringe science journal when they are a forum to "rationalize" the "fringes of science." For example, it is a group inclined toward belief in paranormal phenomena.[6] The fringe journal clearly fails the rigors of BLP policy becuase it is not a third-party source. While Barrett criticizes various forms of alternative medicine topics, JSE attempts to rationalize alternative medical practices.[7]
  8. This is an example of how the term peer-reviewed can easily be misused or misunderstood. The JSE is reviewed by a minority group of fringe supporters. This minority group who share the same fringe ideology, without any review from dissent, falls into the category of reviewed by true believers of the so-called rationale fringe of true believers and their self-serving bias. They are fringe supporters because they attempt to rationalize such things as UFOs. For further information about how JSE portrays themselves, please visit the website.
  9. See: Journal of Scientific Exploration. JSE is subject to review "at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief." If the paper is accepted "but there remain points of disagreement between authors and referee(s), the reviewer(s) may be given the option of having their opinion(s) published..." The journal clearly is subject to the discretion of a single person which is the Editor-in-Chief. Therefore, the journal clearly publishes opinions without always having editorial review. Furthmore, the journal is reviewed by a small group of fringe supporters who attempt to rationalize such things as UFOs at "the fringes of science." Hmmm.
  10. The journal represents unconventional views. For example: In established disciplines, concordance with accepted disciplinary paradigms is the chief guide in evaluating material for scholarly publication. On the matters of interest to the Society for Scientific Exploration, however, consensus does not prevail. Therefore the Journal of Scientific Exploration necessarily publishes claimed observations and proffered explanations that will seem more speculative or less plausible than in some mainstream disciplinary journals. See Refereeing at the JSE article.
  11. Please take a look at the Journal of Scientific Exploration at the bottom right hand corner. What do you see. Is it >> Fringe science journals? Specifically what category is the fringe science journal in? Also, what do you see is the first listing in the see also section?
  12. Per WEIGHT: We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention as a majority view. Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. To give undue weight to a significant-minority view, or to include a tiny-minority view, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation among experts on the subject, or among the concerned parties. This applies not only to article text, but to images, external links, categories, and all other material as well. If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small (or vastly limited) minority, it does not belong in Wikipedia (except perhaps in some ancillary article) regardless of whether it is true or not; and regardless of whether you can prove it or not. Views held only by a tiny minority of people should not be represented as significant minority views, and perhaps should not be represented at all.
  13. Per BLP policy: The views of critics should be represented if they are relevant to the subject's notability and can be sourced to reliable secondary sources, and so long as the material is written in a manner that does not overwhelm the article or appear to side with the critics. Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics, to avoid the effect of representing a minority view as if it were the majority one. If the criticism represents the views of a tiny minority, it has no place in the article. Content should be sourced to reliable sources and should be about the subject of the article specifically. Beware of claims that rely on guilt by association. Editors should also be on the lookout for biased or malicious content about living persons. If someone appears to be pushing an agenda or a biased point of view, insist on reliable third-party published sources and a clear demonstration of relevance to the person's notability.
  14. Remove unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material: Editors should remove any contentious material about living persons that is unsourced, relies upon sources that do not meet standards specified in Wikipedia:Verifiability, or is a conjectural interpretation of a source (see Wikipedia:No original research). If the material is derogatory and unsourced or poorly sourced, the three-revert rule does not apply to its removal. Content may be re-inserted when it conforms to this policy. These principles apply to biographical material about living persons found anywhere in Wikipedia, including user and talk pages. Administrators may enforce the removal of such material with page protection and blocks, even if they have been editing the article themselves. Editors who re-insert the material may be warned and blocked. See the blocking policy and Wikipedia:Libel.
  15. Blocking: Editors who repeatedly add or restore unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material about living persons may be blocked for disruption. See the blocking policy. This is an official notice to all editors involved. This is a very serious matter.
  16. Multiple Wikipedians have deleted the Kauffman attack piece from the article. Avb, + ConfuciusOrnis, + Crohnie, + Fyslee, Orangemarlin, + QuackGuru, + Ronz, + Shot info + THF. As the discussion continued, Arthur Rubin, an administrator in good standing in the community, stated that JSE is clearly a fringe journal. According to policy, While the consensus process does not require posting to the discussion page, it can be useful. That means we do not have to continue to work on discussing this matter. Their points are based on valid reasons to exclude the POV material which is to be respected. Clearly there is no consensus to re-add the Kauffman/JSE bit to the article. It was removed for various reasons including, but not limited to, BLP policy, WEIGHT policy, and POV. It is considered highly disruptive to re-add BLP violations or WEIGHT violations against consensus. Re-inserting BLP/Weight violations is against Wikipedia policy and by extention against Wikipedia. Any editor who continues to try the patience of the community by engaging in disruptive editing may be blocked for disruption in accordance with blocking policy or community banned.

There are many reasons why we can't use the JSE ref. For example, many editors have rejected the use of the ref. There is no consensus for the JSE ref. QuackGuru 18:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

If it hasn't been done yet, I recommend bringing the JSE up at the reliable sources noticeboard to get more opinions. --Elonka 02:51, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Elonka is now an involved editor in a content dispute. There is a question of WP:WEIGHT. The view of a tiny minority is a WEIGHT violation. QuackGuru 06:53, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
I have no involvement in this topic area. See WP:UNINVOLVED. I have no preference whether JSE is used as a source or not, I am simply offering a suggestion for how to deal with the dispute. --Elonka 15:37, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Ok, having read all this through, I'm confused. how is this (in any way shape or form) a BLP issue? Quackwatch is not a living person.

now it seems to me that what you are really trying to leverage here is wp:undo weight, with a claim that JSE represents a tiny minority opinion and shouldn't be included. however, that can't be correct. even though JSE examines material at the fringes of science, it's authors are all scientists who can be considered authoritative experts in their fields, and so these articles are (almost by definition) reliable sources. Joel Kaufman in particular is a publish author and a noted researcher and professor in chemistry, and his article is JSE is a highly professional critical review. but you know this, because we had this discussion the last time that I put the kaufman article in (see this section in the archives, and this section. bringing up the same refuted arguments repeatedly is not productive editing. I see no reason not to put the Kaufman article back in as a reliable source. can you provide one that hasn't been thoroughly refuted already? --Ludwigs2 16:54, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

This is still a BLP issue. Quackwatch is not a living person but BLP applies to all articles.
There is no consensus to add the JSE article. Many editors disagree with using the JSE fringe reference. The view of a fringe journal is a minority view and thus a WEIGHT violation too.
I don't think we should make an end-run around the discussions on the notability of this source[8]
See Wikipedia:CON#Forum shopping
It is very easy to create the appearance of a changing consensus simply by asking again and hoping that a different and more sympathetic group of people will discuss the issue. This, however, is a poor example of changing consensus, and is antithetical to the way that Wikipedia works. Wikipedia's decisions are not based on the number of people who showed up and voted a particular way on a particular day; they are based on a system of good reasons.
QuackGuru 18:31, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

specific information and ease of reading

Each section of information of the article should have it's own section. Lumping a bunch of information into one huge section under Reception is very odd and is hard for the reader to follow. Organizing the article into specific sections will make it a lot easier to read. QuackGuru 18:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

You're mistaken about this, QuackGuru. First, the Reception section does not have to be very long. What do we actually have as notable commentary on this website? A handful of commendations, one constructive criticism and perhaps a little bit of rejection (depending on the outcome of the other discussions on this talk page). And even if it were long it could be divided into subsections. I've had experience of this approach on some very contentious articles. See Bat Ye'or, for example. And we appear to have consensus to work in that direction with Academic boycotts of Israel. I believe it is policy to avoid "Criticism" sections and work criticisms into the rest of the article. Itsmejudith (talk) 15:22, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Itsmejudith wrote in part: And even if it were long it could be divided into subsections.
The current article has divided each specific information into specific sections. I don't see any problems with the current format. QuackGuru 18:13, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Simply, we need to do all we can to overcome our own differences and achieve an NPOV article. See To Kill a Mockingbird, FA on the mainpage today for how a "Reception" section can cover all notable viewpoints under subheadings. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:07, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
The sections are already divided. I don't see any reason to add an additional heading and then create subsections. I see no problems with the current format. QuackGuru 20:30, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
I suppose I will keep having to spell out my reason for wanting to make the change. I believe it is a generally good principle to include all the positive and negative comments in one section, unless they are going to be spread throughout the article. It is not a good idea to have a section that is only positive or a section that is only negative. This is a good principle for all sorts of articles, and in particular controversial ones. It is also a good principle for this article, which does not need to be controversial. Itsmejudith (talk) 19:49, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Lumping a lot of the information into one large section is strange. I don't see a problem with the current format. QuackGuru 19:53, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Did you look at some of the articles I mentioned? Itsmejudith (talk) 19:23, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
QG - I'm with Judith on this one. plus I'll point out that strange is not a helpful or useful term, since I have no idea what you consider to be strange. --Ludwigs2 16:29, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Me thinks specific information would be better in each specific section. QuackGuru 18:44, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
but this is the point, QG - it is not clear to me that there are two different sorts of information here. All we are discussing in this(these) section(s) is the public reception of Quackwatch. the only real distinction I can see here is that the first section is a laundry list of 'back-patting' references, which might not sit well with WP:NOT, and would certainly run afoul of style guidelines like wp:Words_to_avoid#Article_structure. --Ludwigs2 18:57, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

combine sections?

I'm having a hard time seeing the distinction between the 'recognition' and 'usefulness as a source' sections, when I look at the content. should they be combined? --Ludwigs2 02:42, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

QuackGuru - I see no need for two sections for the 'Public viewpoint', but apparently you do, can you please explain why you think two sections are necessary for this relatively small amount of information? --Ludwigs2 18:38, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
See Talk:Quackwatch#specific information and ease of reading. QuackGuru 18:46, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


QuackGuru - please do not remove relatively neutral titles like 'Public views of QuackWatch' and replace them with unbiased and inaccurate terms like 'Popularity'. I'm asking you to self revert on that, otherwise I'm going to have to ask for administrator help, or whatever the proper measures are under these editing conditions. this is clearly pandering to Quackwatch, and not an improvement to the content or neutrality of the article. --Ludwigs2 19:03, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Guruji, how can you possibly defend "popularity" as an encyclopedic heading? Has the QW website suddenly become a fansite for some pop music band? Itsmejudith (talk) 19:08, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
hmmm... maybe he's trying to get Quackwatch nominated for Prom Queen (or Prom King??? - I can't tell the gender of that duck...) --Ludwigs2 19:35, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
(edit) well, I guess we're not going to get a response. since QG seems to think 'popularity' is unbiased, then I suppose that makes 'Unpopularity' unbiased as well. barring any further discussion, I'll change the title to that in a little while. --Ludwigs2 20:48, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Please don't rv. We should open an RfC on the article structure. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:09, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
From our Guru article: "A British professor of psychiatry, Anthony Storr, states in his book, Feet of Clay: A Study of Gurus, that he confines the word guru (translated by him as "revered teacher") to persons who have "special knowledge" who tell, referring to their special knowledge, how other people should lead their lives. He argues that gurus share common character traits (e.g. being loners) and that some suffer from a mild form of schizophrenia. He argues that gurus who are authoritarian, paranoid, eloquent, or who interfere in the private lives of their followers are the ones who are more likely to be unreliable and dangerous."
I only offer this in the spirit of friendly collaboration, and so that none of us will take ourselves too seriously. Itsmejudith (talk) 21:15, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Stick with the program, folks. If you don't like a new header, try something different, there's no need to ask people to revert themselves. Just keep trying different compromises. If necessary, pull out a thesaurus and keep looking for alternative synonyms. :) --Elonka 21:19, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
oh, I know, I had no intention of reverting. but (because I'm editing in good faith) I'm using up the neutral synonyms first. the longer this goes on, the more ridiculous it's going to get. for instance, I was quite serious about changing the name to 'Unpopularity', since that's no less neutral then 'Popularity'. I was hoping for a response from QG first, before it got to that kind of silliness, but that looks like a false hope. C'est la vie... --Ludwigs2 21:35, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


I trimmed a lot. There may still be issues of balance, so I kept in a tag. I don't understand why certain references were quoted with cherry-picked quotes while other references were more or less left unexplored. I think the best thing to do is keep the synopses of the articles as short and to the point as possible since there are so many sources that use/discuss qw. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:16, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, maybe people were trying to improve the article a bit at a time. I believe I myself used the word "cherry-picked" a while ago, when some people were trying to slant the Consultant Pharmacist review in a direction. But it isn't very conducive to good faith. I actually am not finding that many good sources that discuss Quackwatch. Of course, Google throws a lot up, but they turn out not to be reliable. There are few mentions in academic sources. I completely agree it is great to keep everything short and to the point. X said, Y said... Itsmejudith (talk) 23:33, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
excuse me - I think I need an administrator's attention here. several properly-sourced but critical statements I added to the article have been removed without explanation, and several other's have been minimized ridiculously. this is in violation of the current administreative policy on this page. list below.
  • this quote ""He [Barrett] seems to be putting down trying to be objective, [but...] is consistently provocative and entertaining and occasionally informative." Chowka also "feels it is okay for HHS to mention as one of many sources," but adds "I personally think he's running against the tide of history. But that's his problem, not ours". from the Ladd article disappeared entirely, as did the Dr. Thomas R. Eng, the director of the panel's study, later stated, "The government doesn't endorse Web sites." comment, even as the positive side of those articles was amplified.
  • this quote Joel Best asserts that sites such a quackwatch that are "devoted to particular social issues or types of data" may "vary in their concerns and underlying ideologies, and their critiques should be examined critically rather than simply being accepted." was watered down to say that Joel Best encouraged a critical eye, which is a significantly different meaning
  • David Hufford went from being a "Professor of Medical Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine" to an alternative medicine proponent
  • Walter Ernst became a Medical historian and sometime alternative medicine proponent
I don't mind a little competitive editing (that's what gets rid of POV views) but when it gets to the point of whitewashing sources, that's just ridiculous. --Ludwigs2 05:48, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Normally (and I have in early incarnations of this article) would just point out WP:WEIGHT, that QW is largely accepted by the greater community and also the more specific medical and scientific community. Sure it has it's critics and only the notable ones need inclusion. To include them all is ignoring WP:WEIGHT regardless of if it's "sourced". However it's now up to admins to determine what is weight and NPOV now, so I'm not going to edit the article either way. Shot info (talk) 06:18, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, no, it's probably not up to the admins, it's up to the editors. If someone feels that too much was trimmed, I recommend adding a smaller portion back. Don't revert, but try to find a compromise. Then if whoever trimmed, feels that you added too much back, they can trim again (without reverting), still trying to find a compromise, etc. If there's a lot going on, I recommend focusing on one section of the article at a time, or even just one paragraph or sentence, and go back and forth that way, to see if you can find a consensus version. --Elonka 17:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I'll go ahead and add some of the deleted sections back, but I expect as soon as I do that either SA or QG is going to accuse me of reverting and ask to have me banned. I'd like to reiterate my basic point, though: SA and QG have along history (I'll provide diffs if necessary) of trying to create a version of this article with no criticisms whatsoever, and have been recalcitrant about compromising on that position at all. I'm more than happy to reach for an effective balance (per Shot info's suggestions), but the current editing rules here make that an impossibility where editors are not willing to work in good faith. all I'm asking from the administrators here is that they take a dim view on edits that are clearly tendentious, like the ones I noted above. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ludwigs2 (talkcontribs) 18:34, July 16, 2008
Restoring deleted information is a violation of the conditions of editing and a revert. QuackGuru 18:36, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
LMFAO - yikes, I got a ban threat even before I made any changes. this is hilarious.  :-) --Ludwigs2 18:48, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Please take your arguments to AN/I or WQA. However, since your accusations lack proof, they are definitely uncivil and rude, and probably a personal attack. Please note that if you go to ANI, I will bring up your baseless accusations. Quackguru has been a valued editor here for much longer than you, and if there was a COI issue, it would have been dealt with much earlier than this. If you would like help in constructing your ANI, I will be most happy to help. Also, you should review the difference between WP:BAN and WP:BLOCK. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 18:56, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
See WP:CIVIL and WP:NPA. Please WP:AGF.[9]
Per WEIGHT, adding too much criticism is a violation of NPOV. Quackwatch's viewpoint is of the mainstream view and not fringe. QuackGuru 19:09, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Folks, please keep discussions focused on the article, not on the editors. And don't worry about someone making threats of a ban, unless it's one of the uninvolved administrators who's saying it. And don't worry, administrators are not going to ban someone just because an editor said "ban them". In short, please continue with good faith editing, which is in adherence with the #Conditions for editing. The uninvolved administrators here will be the decision makers on what is or isn't in adherence with the conditions. --Elonka 19:12, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Succinctly, since Elonka has already made the most important long explanation, none of the posts between those of 17:12, 16 July 2008 and 19:12, 16 July 2008 by Elonka should have been made.
Additionally, QuackGuru - you are not quite right in the first of those posts; only an identical restoration would be a revert. Rewordings or putting back into a different context would not be a revert. And remember that changes elsewhere in the article can be a relevant change of context - for example if material was removed in section A as duplicating section B, but it has since been removed in B, then putting it back into A would not be a revert. There is no first mover advantage here; just a requirement to keep looking for new possible compromises until everyone can accept the article despite it not being exactly what they prefer. GRBerry 19:30, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

The Review section needs trimming again.[10] I recommend we revert the edit that added a large paragraph to that section.[11] QuackGuru 07:59, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Which definition of "revert" are you using? What other changes would you suggest at the same time in order to attempt compromise and comply with Elonka's rule? Coppertwig (talk) 15:45, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Only one source removed

Jay, Nordlinger (2003-06-30). "Water Fights: Believe It or Not, the Fluoridation War Still Rages -- with a Twist You May Like". National Review. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 

The National Review is a source that generally should be looked on with some skepticism as they carry with them a serious political bent and are explicitly subjective and partisan in their writing. Since the intersection of science and politics is very tenuous in the area of alt. medicine, it is likely that the National Review is somewhat orthogonal as a source, but nevertheless, it is provocative enough to deserve removal. Let's stick to sources that are at least paying lip service to objectivity. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:26, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

National Review is RS, SA, whether you approve of their politics or not. Political magazines often have a slant but they can still be reliable. As I'm sure you know, the standard way to deal with this is to ensure they are balanced. Itsmejudith (talk) 23:33, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with whether I agree with its politics or not. If it was an article from The Nation or The Daily Kos I would make the same objection. I'm just saying that obviously subjective sources should be excised as in such situations authors are not acting as "objective" reporters but instead are employed to promote the particular editorial opinion of the publication board. ScienceApologist (talk) 00:26, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

And we actually also happen to have the Village Voice, with quite a different political outlook. Itsmejudith (talk) 23:51, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the Village Voice is not the same thing as the National Review. It is not a political periodical and there is no statement of political belief or explicit subjectivity associated with the mission statement of the newspaper. The National Review is a strictly subjective work meant to advance opinion rather than attempt to report objectively. You might accuse the Village Voice of having a different "political outlook", but as a periodical it is not explicitly political. Still, I'm not altogether opposed to looking at the Village Voice as a source more carefully. I'm not convinced that Donna Ladd is all that useful as an attributed person. ScienceApologist (talk) 00:26, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I stand corrected. Quite a different outlook, generally. Itsmejudith (talk) 00:28, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
With proper attribution of the opinion, I do not see why this source will not be useful. After all, the politics of medicine are quite obvious, irregardless of the opinion of the National Review. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:38, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Removing a source, was a violation of the #Conditions for editing. In the future, don't remove sources, but instead modify the information from that source (perhaps as Jossi suggested), or else tag the source as unreliable, with {{vc}} (verify credibility) so that it can be discussed. But wholesale removal of sources is discouraged unless there is consensus to remove the source, or there is some other blatant issue going on (such as BLP). --Elonka 17:16, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

POV assertion

labeling David Hufford as a "cultural apologist for alternative medicine" is currently not sourced at all, and is inherently biased phrasing. if sourcing can be provided, I'll rephrase, otherwise it needs to be removed. --Ludwigs2 23:32, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

I sourced it to his CV. Perhaps you should look at the references before making declarations. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:35, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Well now, isn't that interesting. The CV has been removed from the Hershey Medical Center site. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 23:56, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I did look at his CV, and I don't see the words 'cultural apologist' anywhere on on that page. that means that your phrase is either (a) unsourced in its entirety, or (b) a particularly dramatic example of synthesis to advance a position. or am I missing something?
I'll add that using someone's CV in order to make a defamatory statement about them is probably a gross violation of WP:BLP, but I'll leave that for the admins to decide.
Kaiwhakahaere - the link SA gave isn't to the Hershey Medical Center. do you have a different link? --Ludwigs2 00:05, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm confused, Ludwigs, you seem to be going for a grabbag of policies here (WP:POV, WP:RS, WP:BLP, WP:SYN, which one do you actually have a problem with? Now that the source is in, of course it's impossible to take out (per the rules). Shot info (talk) 00:19, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
BLP takes precedence over all other policies, so anything that's a BLP violation can (and should) be removed immediately. However, do use a clear edit summary such as "Removing BLP violation, see talk," and please follow up with a detailed explanation for your reasoning. --Elonka 00:22, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
(ec) I know that, the WP policies tell me so. But given the rules above (again) common sense editing in line with Wikipillars is not possible (ie/ sources stay in, you have written the rules not me - obviously they clash with policy, so rewrite them). However, as I stated above, Ludwigs alphabet soup of policy violations is confusing. Obiviously he has a problem with an edit, but he hasn't really stated what it is other than applying some scattershot to all policies under the sun. Clarity would be nice to cease my confusion. But will leave the actual editing up to univolved admins, after all, editors cannot removed sourced material in line with the policy-clashing rules above. Shot info (talk) 00:28, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Ludwigs, here is where I went to check the CV. Wonder why the difference. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 00:27, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Sometimes with altmed advocates, there's a difference to what they claim they represent and what they actually represent. Shot info (talk) 00:37, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Shot info, I find it is fairly common to have a problem simultaneously with all those policies. I might find two points put together, neither reliably sourced, that together make a synthesis, that pushes a POV that is at odds with the purpose of a BLP. Probably because I hang out in parts of the wiki that get that stuff chucked in. Usually it is straightforward to point out that policy is being breached. Hope you can get an explanation that doesn't confuse you. I'm not sure if using someone's cv/resume to make a potentially defamatory statement is worse than using any other material, probably about the same. Itsmejudith (talk) 00:38, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
ORLY - FWIW I have been bold, let's see if it screws with any policy clashing rules :-( Shot info (talk) 01:18, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Kaiwhakahaere - for some reason the link you used had a " CV" tagged onto the end of the link - removing it brings you back to the correct page. either it's a typo, or the page has moved recently to its current position.
Shot Info - it seems to me that a violation of any one of those rules would be sufficient for removing the source. or are you suggesting that if a passage violates multiple rules it should be kept in until we decide which rule it violates most? right now I'm going to remove it on the BLP issue, since I happen to think 'cultural apologist' is a defamatory phrase. we can discuss that further, and if we decide that it's not defamatory then we can address the other point, which is that the term 'cultural apologist' is not sourced by the CV, and any attempt to argue that it is must be improper synthesis. --Ludwigs2 00:42, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
(e/c)Kaiwhakahaere, that link doesn't point towards a CV, but rather to a "Meet the faculty section". Your formatting of the link was slightly off, and it should be [12]. It certainly doesn't use the phrase "cultural apologist". - DigitalC (talk) 00:43, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
(e/c)OK, I see what I did, silly me. While reading the recent change, I decided to see exactly what the CV said, so I copied the url in the current revision text to paste into a new window (to have two open at once). Unfortunately I inadvertantly picked up the letters CV when I copied, and by amazing coincidence it took me to the Hershey Medical site which said "You have requested a document which does not exist on our server". Mea culpa. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 01:25, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Ludwigs, make up your mind and present clear reasons why you want something changed. How your text reads is just coming across as WP:IDONTLIKEIT masked as multiple policy violations. Shot info (talk) 01:18, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) Shot info, how much clearer can I be? let me itemize the argument for you...

  1. 'cultural apologist' seems to be defamatory, violating BLP, therefore it should be removed on those grounds alone
  2. if 'cultural apologist' is judged not to be defamatory, it is still the case that it is not present as given in the source used, therefore (without some other source, or some other argument) it should be removed
    • no other reliable source is given for 'cultural apologist' - no help there
    • asserting 'cultural apologist' from the CV would require inappropriate synthesis - no help there

you can argue with any of those points that you like, but ultimately you'll have to address all of them. face it, this was just a bad POV assertion that had no place in the article to begin with. --Ludwigs2 01:36, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

As Elonka said, just try rewording it! I did. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:16, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
and I tagged it as original research. --Ludwigs2 21:45, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Did you read his papers? ScienceApologist (talk) 23:10, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
"Cultural apologist" doesn't impart any information as a description. Apologists side with viewpoints that other people attack, such as "apologist for Islam". (You couldn't call an academic that without violating BLP.) You can't be an apologist for culture, a human universal. However, it would work well as a step on a career track in The Sims. Itsmejudith (talk) 09:26, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

POV in site content section

The following sentence is blatantly POV and should be fixed. "The site also provides links to hundreds of trusted health sites." I have tried to repair it twice, but other editors have reverted my attempts each time, so far. The word, "trusted," in particular, is non-neutral, and indicates a clear point of view. I still favor this alternative: "The site also provides links to many like-minded websites." Petergkeyes (talk) 03:47, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

It's a quote from a sourse isn't it? So are you proposing to alter the original text in the source? Shot info (talk) 04:18, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
No. The original text is not appropriate content for Wikipedia, because it espouses a point of view that is not neutral. I would further speculate that Quackwatch's provision of a links page is not particularly interesting, or unique. But, if a mention of it must be made, then the word "trusted" must go. Petergkeyes (talk) 04:43, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Peter, you write: "The original text is not appropriate content for Wikipedia, because it espouses a point of view that is not neutral." Please stop and rethink what you've written. You are pretty directly stating that Wikipedia must not include content that "espouses a point of view that is not neutral." That only applies to article content that is editorializing by editors. That's not what NPOV means, and doing what you are suggesting would in fact violate NPOV. NPOV requires that we include all notable POV that are sourced using RS. That's basically all we do here! We document POV, and in fact much of Wikipedia is just that - lots of well-sourced POV. Without it Wikipedia would be a mass of neutral, meaningless nonsense. We don't even concern ourselves with "truth" here, just verifiable POV. -- Fyslee / talk 06:23, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
As explained in other locations, please indent your replies. The tag you have added in appropriate for the article. Try a section header instead. Also you will have to be clearer. You are the one who changed the information from a reference to a quote and then you have tried to modify the quote. Now you are saying the original text is not appropriate? What is appropriate. The fact is, there are sources that say QW provides links to trusted sites. There is a reference which states that. So what is the problem? It cannot be NPOV because the very nature of the article, and it's supporting source is NPOV and supported by an RS. Curiously the provision of a links page is one of the things that the rest-of-the-world likes QW for, hence it's mention in the article, and the reference that states so. Shot info (talk) 05:39, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Respectfully, you are mistaken, in that I did not change the wording (i.e. many like-minded websites) to the NPOV "trusted sites." The source's proclamation of trustedness does not make the claim encyclopedic. The claim is an opinion, and therefore needs to be presented as such, or not at all. Petergkeyes (talk) 07:41, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
If a web site is trusted by a lot of people, and is sourced as that, then it is a "trusted" web site. We're not saying that Quackwatch is linking to "objectively correct health sites" or even "trustworthy health sites". We're just reporting the source that says people trust them. --McGeddon (talk) 09:45, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
The source says "trusted websites". But looking into this raises a whole load of questions for me. 1) Why is this article cited to Thomson Gale rather than to the actual magazine or journal? 2) If this is a reliable source, then it is an excellent source for the article. It is a very favourable review and should feature prominently in the "reviews" section. 3) But what kind of source is it? Is it only a news magazine? Does it regularly publish reviews by experts in the same way as the Consultant Pharmacist. 4) What is the "American Running and Fitness Association"? No WP article and a Live Search doesn't find a official website for them. 5) If this is not a reliable source, then why does the article cite it in the first place? Thanks. Itsmejudith (talk) 10:03, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I changed the unencyclopedic "trusted" (which shouldn't have had the {{weasel-inline}} tag) to a direct quote, without checking whether the source is reliable. Someone isn't watching the edits carefully enough.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled flame war. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 00:19, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
LOL, thank you Arthur. To continue - anyone want to argue that this is RS? Itsmejudith (talk) 16:14, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Rules for the Addition and Removal of Tags

To Elonka and other admins. Please articulate the rules for the addition of tags, and hence the removal of said tags. According to Elonka, if a tag is removed, it is a reversion, regardless of the reasons nor the explanations on the talk page. This seems to apply for article, section and inline removals of tags. Clarification would be nice. Shot info (talk) 22:57, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Sure: When a tag is added, it should be clear why the tag is added. With most inline tags, the reasoning should be fairly obvious that a source or sentence is being challenged, immediately preceding the tag. For other tags, such as if/when {{neutral}} is added to the top of the page, it should be accompanied with a detailed rationale on the talkpage as to the reasoning for the tag. This rationale should be in the form of constructive suggestions. Not, "The article isn't neutral", but instead specific statements like, "There is too much information on (theory A)" or "Not enough information on (theory B) in proportion with the rest of the article", etc. Or even better than a tag, is to just go ahead and edit the article to bring it into compliance.
If the concerns that accompany a tag are addressed, the tag can be removed. On the flip side, if someone adds a tag and it is not clear why the tag is there, then a section can be started on the talkpage about the tag, asking for clarification. If no specific reasons are brought forward in a reasonable amount of time, then the tag can be removed.
Make sense? --Elonka 23:11, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Sure it does, can you explain exactly why was the article NPOV tag was appropriate? Please answer in the light of the minimal talkpage discussion from the editor who added it. Then consider the nature of the tag removal, the edit summary and the talk page discussion. The rules you articulate above where followed...yet you slap a warning. Why is that? Shot info (talk) 23:14, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
If you are referring to the revert for which you were warned,[13] it is because another editor added the tag,[14] and then within 10 minutes, you removed it, without making any other changes. That was a clear revert and a violation of the page's 0RR restriction. If you disagreed with the tag, better would have been to ask at the talkpage as to his reasoning for the tag; or, if you felt that you already understood the reasoning, you could have made a change to the article to address the concern, and then removed the tag. As for the fact that you just recently added the tag,[15] you should now post a clear explanation here at the talkpage, as to why you think the tag is justified. Or you can simply remove the tag yourself (a self-revert). But if you choose to leave the tag on the page, but cannot supply specific, reasonable, and constructive suggestions as to your reasoning, two things will happen: (1) any editor can remove the tag; and (2) you will probably be subjected to further restrictions, for violating WP:POINT. --Elonka 23:34, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Elonka, please examine the addition of the original tag [16] and look for the explanation of why and the context it was added. You have failed to do so, which is why (once again) you have not followed your own rules. With regards to my addition of the tag, I am just returning Peter's tag [17]. Perhaps you should ask Peter why he added it in the first place and then advise editors as to the hows, whys and whens it can be removed. Remember the question is about the addition of tags as well. FWIW you have also ignored my explaination of its removal (which is in the talkpage, I encourage you to review it). Shot info (talk) 23:43, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Unfortunate moving of refs

A recent edit by Itsmejudith moved several refs, and this has created an unfortunate and highly unusual situation which can't easily be reverted, since too many other edits have intervened. It should have been immediately reverted. We are sleeping on the job! Refs should and are normally placed immediately after the word or phrase to which they apply. Moving them all into a jumble at the end of a sentence or paragraph screws up the documentation process. How are readers to know which part of a sentence the ref applies? Verifiability is important here, and refs should not be separated from their reason for existence. That's why we do it the way we do. Please don't allow this to happen again in the future. This is going to be difficult to undo, but it needs to be done, preferably by Itsmejudith -- Fyslee / talk 06:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I believe that under the restricted conditions of editing this article, no reverts will be permitted at this time. Petergkeyes (talk) 06:45, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Leave it for the uninvolved admins to fix. Shot info (talk) 08:23, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I didn't mean to mess up the encyclopedia. Who says that references should be placed mid-way through a sentence? When I was involved in getting Islam to FA we were told to move all the refs to the ends of the sentences, so I did that here. I'll double and treble check on this one. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
WP:CITE "Material may be referenced mid-sentence, but inline citations are usually placed at the end of a sentence or paragraph. " I'll look in other places too. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:08, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Per WP:IAR, in the case of multiple references which support different (and contradictory) points of a sentence or paragraph, it's important that the references reside near (immediately after, per the MoS) the statements referenced. I haven't checked whether the specific sentences Fyslee is complaining about have that problem, but there are many self-contradictory sentences in this article, because the different clauses are supported by different references. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:29, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't see that as a problem, because I kept the references in the original order. Say I replaced "According to A, pigs can fly (ref to A), but according to B, they can't. (ref to B)", with "According to A, pigs can fly, but according to B, they can't.(refs to A and B). The reader can still see which is which. Now some of the cases I changed were much more complicated than that. Might this not indicate that there is room for improvement in the style? Namely: there are a number of lists; is that good? Having spent so much blood, sweat and tears on this article - about a topic I could hardly care less about - I would like to see the job through and get the article towards GA or even FA. Anyone else up for it? Itsmejudith (talk) 13:39, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I've left a message on the talk page of WP:CITE asking if I should self-revert. Itsmejudith (talk) 13:40, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I've had a message directing me towards advice that citations don't have to be at the end of sentences. I've asked the editor to come and have a look here at the results of my efforts, as I'm still not clear whether reversion is called for. Itsmejudith (talk) 16:12, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that mass reversion is possible. Individual restorations would be in order. Thanks for taking this like a good sport. -- Fyslee / talk 06:22, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

David Hufford

His introduction should be fair and neutral, and should not strip him of his academic title. Petergkeyes (talk) 06:42, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Fyslee - please don't tell me to read Hufford's work and make a decision - that's OR. find me a secondary source that says he's a advocate of "whatever", or else call it a day. --Ludwigs2 06:59, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Please excuse my terse edit summary. My bad! I'm not asking for OR, since even the titles of his works and the subject matter should make the description self-evident. We try to attribute things here, especially where the author's relevance to the subject matter is concerned, as in this case. -- Fyslee / talk 06:28, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Unless somebody can properly cite a reliable source stating Hufford's alleged philosophy on alternative medicine, it does not belong in this article. Petergkeyes (talk) 03:55, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I agree. However, the subject (or, at least, the title) of his Ph.D. thesis (as quoted in his CV) probably should be mentioned as part of his credentials. It's as relevant and as sourced as his "professor emeritis" standing. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 12:29, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
not unless that thesis has something to do with Quackwatch. look, I understand what you guys want to do here - you want to label Hufford as a AltMed supporter so that people will read his comments as a biased critique from an advocate rather than a neutral critique from an academic. I wouldn't object if there were some credible reason to assume that Hufford was an advocate rather than an unbiased academic, but the mere fact that he studies AltMed does not make him an advocate of AltMed: that's like saying anyone who studies homosexuality must be gay. it's a cheap move; stop it. --Ludwigs2 18:26, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
It's still relevant to his opinions that his specialty is a study of AltMed, even if it were not the case that he's a proponent of AltMed. It's still a different, non-hard-science, POV. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:04, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
uhhhh... what? there's such a mishmash of unfounded implications in that statement that I can't see how to straighten it out, and none of it bridges the fact that this is original research. --Ludwigs2 21:01, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
It's not OR per se, it's a statement of fact. What I personally think is that it's ugly and I would rather see it cut back to the basics (ie/ he's a retired professor in an unrelated field) and a link to the "Meet the Staff". Let the readers review his CV and make up their own mind. FWIW, David Hufford isn't really that notable, but cramming his opinion about QW is just a reflection on little real critical opinion there is out there about QW, and how much is needed to appeal to authority, any authority (say a retired professor in a social science from a small university) really :-) Shot info (talk) 22:56, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Careful, Shot - if by some strange fluke I were to accept this logic, then the next thing I'd do would be to visit every page that uses Martin Gardner as a source for establishing Pseudoscience and remove the reference (because he's a science writer, without a university affiliation, with a degree in an unrelated field). this cuts both ways you know.
but fortunately or not, I don't think the rules against original research dissolve just because you personally happen to think something is an established fact. get me a secondary reference, or I'm removing the comment entirely. --Ludwigs2 00:38, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Ludwigs, you don't need permission from me to do whatever you want in Wikipedia. Your example of Gardner as an example is quite odd however. Because if you actually use "my logic" then the source is acceptable, more acceptable in fact. Not less. I think you are getting yourself somewhat confused over what it is we do here in Wikipedia with editing of articles and these things called self-evident facts from a source. If a source says "He is Blah in Location X" it is not OR to do this thing called editing and rewrite this as "Located in Location X, where he is a Blah, He.....". Likewise if there is an author who writes about science fiction. Guess what, that makes him a Science Fiction Author....even if the source says "He is an writer of novels in the science fiction genre". But getting back to the article (rather than twisting logic to justify edits in other articles), I think the inclusion of the phrase is not required. Perhaps that was missed in the confusion :-) Shot info (talk) 01:43, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
my apologies, Shot, I was venting about other unrelated miniscule slights and injuries. did I happen to mention I'm not (even close) to perfect? allow me to give myself a resounding yeeech. --Ludwigs2 04:19, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

consultant pharmacist review

I received a copy of this review, and edited the article to reflect it's position correctly, but I think it now has way too much weight in the article. I mean, it's an 8 paragraph review in a minor journal that at best reflects the opinion of pharmacists, but it's carrying a whole lot prominence in this article. any suggestions about how that can be adjusted? --Ludwigs2 17:22, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Remove it. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:57, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Please don't. It's one of the only truly reliable and external sources the article has. I will shorten it and you and SA can see if you like the result. Itsmejudith (talk) 23:25, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Already shortened. ScienceApologist (talk) 00:27, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
And I did shorten it and kept it reasonably balanced and now it is far too long again and unbalanced. What a lot of unnecessary effort. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:52, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Weight in consultant pharmacist article

I got tired of seeing only negative comments cherry-picked from Nguyen-Khoa's article, so I wrote a properly weighted review. Future edits should be made to keep the characterization that is currently being described here. Do not put spin on the remarks, do not include only negatively construed comments, and make sure the fact that the reviewer himself is negatively disposed towards the alt. med. critics of Barrett comes through. Thanks. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:26, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I already wrote a properly weighted review that did not do any of the things you mention. Itsmejudith (talk) 16:44, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
That's a huge amount of quotation; I'm not sure we should be giving that much weight to the minutiae of one doctor's review, and we certainly don't need verbatim four-line quotations. We should be able to summarise the article in a balanced way in a much smaller paragraph. --McGeddon (talk) 16:53, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Right, I see what's happened. Ludwigs obtained the full text of the article and made a summary but said it was still too long. I then cut it down to the bare bones. Quackguru removed a phrase that I would argue was key to matching the balance of praise and criticism in the original. (The author does not give QW unqualified praise. If he had had to award a number of stars he would probably have given three out of five. Not four. But we can discuss that.) Then Jossi added a further mention of the same article in a different section. Then someone deleted my bit (altered by Guruji) as repetitive. Now we are warring about Jossi's version, which I would agree was slanted towards the negative. Without any reference to the work that was done so long ago (15 July). Elonka, can you help us to stop going round and round and to agree a consensus version on the talk page. Would RfC be useful at this point? Itsmejudith (talk) 16:58, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) McGeddon, would you like to look at the wording I put in on the 15th? Itsmejudith (talk) 16:58, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
ugh - our bit on the 'consultant pharmacist' review is almost as long as the frigging review! I'm going to go and cut it way back, because this is ridiculous. --Ludwigs2 19:21, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Well I for one am happy with the result. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:18, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Violation of editing restrictions by Itsmejudith

In this edit, User:Itsmejudith violates the editing restrictions by reverting to a previous version which just said "historian". The added descriptor is important because Ernst is actually a historian of Indian medicine and its relation to the West. She is a supporter of alternative medicine and this fact is important for the readers. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:32, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Didn't mean to violate the restrictions. I hadn't noticed it previously said "historian". We should be ultra-careful how we qualify academics. We can't try and discredit them by weasel wording. Don't forget, we are quoting here from a book published by Routledge so a genuine academic source. From its title its scope seems to be wider than SA implies, but I will try and look at some reviews. Also, an academic's work can't necessarily be described on the basis of one output. BTW surely Ernst is male. Itsmejudith (talk) 19:06, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
From Amazon, description and synopsis probably added by Routledge (NB one of the world's most respected scholarly publishers).

Book DescriptionResearch into 'colonial' or 'imperial' medicine has made considerable progress in recent years, whilst the study of what is usually referred to as 'indigenous' or 'folk' medicine in colonized societies has received much less attention. This book redresses the balance by bringing together current critical research into medical pluralism during the last two centuries. It includes a rich selection of historical, anthropological and sociological case-studies that cover many different parts of the globe, ranging from New Zealand to Africa, China, South Asia, Europe and the USA. Synopsis The essays in this collection originate from the research symposium organized by the "Society for the Social History of Medicine" at the University of Southampton in 1998. They are concerned with the interaction between different medical approaches during the last two centuries. A variety of methodological approaches are used to challenge narrowly conceived boundaries between disciplines and methodologies.

Note that the book is by no means confined to "oriental" or Indian medicine. Can we find anything more mainstream in the history of medicine than this? Itsmejudith (talk) 19:29, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
And he is editor of the Sage journal History of Psychiatry. Now, where exactly is the problem with describing this scholar as "historian"? Itsmejudith (talk) 19:49, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

This is not "referenced in scholarly journals" (or a journal, since I moved another citation to a journal to the "Reviews" section). It is a very brief mention of QW's viewpoint along with another "watchdog", in the news section of the journal, not in a refereed paper. I don't think it's a notable mention and would like permission to delete it. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:16, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Judith, I'm not sure I understand you. I hope that you aren't raising the bar for inclusion to something above what is required for all articles here. We are mixing various reports, awards, commentaries, positive and negative mentions, etc., all in one section. That wasn't originally the case, but that's where we are now. Each mention stands on its own merits and is sourced. Proper attribution should take care of the rest, and that should be good enough. Now if this mention is in the wrong section, then let's find a better spot for it, rather than just deleting it. The section is important because it was specifically created to meet the demands by detractors for proof of the notability of the website, as a condition for even keeping the article here. (Yes, believe it or not, this article has survived AfD's! That's how far they have gone.) Any attempts to water this down contribute towards their goal of attacking a source that attacks their pet ideas. That's unwikipedian behavior and I'm sure you don't intend to unwittingly participate in such unworthy endeavors, which is why I'm sharing this history with you. -- Fyslee / talk 05:52, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing it Fyslee. Of course I don't want to raise the bar here above what is usual for articles. If people would like to look, my model for a contentious article is Bat Ye'or. There - after massive amounts of edit-warring - consensus has settled on some very notable positive mentions and some notable/scholarly negative ones. It is left to the reader to work out how much credit to attach to each. Please note that I don't think this topic ought to be anything like as contentious or that we are aiming for 50-50 positive-negative. If we are reflecting the balance "out there", then the result will be quite different from that on the Bat Ye'or page. There are more positive than negative references to QW, and those critiques that we do have are not written in anything like as scathing terms as those about that controversial writer. I'm also bearing in mind that conciseness is a virtue: QW is this, does that, this person for this purpose said this, that person writing in that context said that, a few more notable comments, notes, external links, see also, categories. No POV-pushing from any side. Itsmejudith (talk) 07:28, 24 July 2008 (UTC)


This article reads like a turf war, folks. Almost every sentence is so contested, that the overall presentation reads even schizophrenically at times. When sentences cancel out each other, how can a reader even begin to understand the article in the first place? Understand that editors here are working under a lot of pressure, but readable copy for a encyclopedia is also crucial. I'm no grammar major, but I can read, and this article is best described as a working draft -- but it's on the front page. Can it be formatted to be read better at least while the finer points are duked out? FResearcher (talk) 02:19, 28 July 2008 (UTC) [Disruptive comments by indef blocked user stricken through.]

Thank you for your suggestion. When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Go ahead and be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes — they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. --Elonka 02:22, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Elonka, due to this article being a No Man's Land of two main warring factions, and I a new face, it's best that I don't touch the article itself (and upset an editor who's worked on a section for months). I'm suggesting that existing editors to go back and proof read their work, so that as a working copy, any third party that comes to this page can make sense of the article. There's too many sentences that literally cancel each other's citation out. When two sides war over how to make a sausage and it's ingredients, often they forget that other folks will have to eat it. But what looks good on the production floor, doesn't for third parties who aren't into sausage making (and probably throw up at the sight of it!). This is a friendly "heads up", that between the duking out of sources, that the readability side shouldn't be regarded as what happens after the sausage is made itself. Those Googling sources will come by, and these third parties deserve fine sausages to eat, even if the sausage itself is a hot link with an extra side of Cayenne. FResearcher (talk) 13:08, 28 July 2008 (UTC) [Disruptive comments by indef blocked user stricken through.]
FResearcher - I actually agree with you. In fact, if you want to go through and make this a decent read I will support you to the best of my abilities. it will get you in some hot water, yes: various people - you'll see who - will try to attack you in the hopes of provoking an unreasoned response, all in an attempt to get you blocked. just ignore them, because it's mostly smoke - leave a note on my talk page about anything that worries you. politics on wikipedia is mostly stuck at the grammar school level (tease someone until they get mad, then rat them out to the teacher (errr.. admins) as though it's all their fault). it's sad, but there's not much you can do about it except learn the ropes, keep your cool, and keep at it.  :-) --Ludwigs2 21:03, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Is this entirely "uncited, unsourced original research"?

Re: [18], I think we can easily verify:

  • "was asked by editors of the Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics"
  • "to give a presentation as the counterpoint for Dr. Lawrence J. Schneidermanthe s presentation"
  • "which argued that "alternative medicine" is not medicine at all"

I'm not so sure about:

  • "since he is known for advocating for tolerance of alternative medicine as a culture"

--Ronz (talk) 17:43, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

I've restored the info above that I think is easily verifiable and not in contention. I also moved his title to the footnote as it is in the other as a compromise to the previous discussions on this issue. Note that the footnote actually contains a reference for the information about the symposium. --Ronz (talk) 15:55, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
The information above is in contention. It is not easily verifiable, and it is not relevant to Quackwatch. The professor's credentials should be restored. Petergkeyes (talk) 10:08, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
If it's not relevant, then I guess the source and all relevant information should be removed as well. Otherwise, we need to be sure we present it per NPOV, which is what we've been doing. Have you read the previous discussions on this? Seems like you're asking us to ignore NPOV. --Ronz (talk) 02:59, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

What is Hufford?

I've heard the guy speak. He is a humanities professor who thinks that healthcare is part science/part art/part culture. If you read any of his papers, he evinces this ethos and it's a legitimate ethos to boot. He believes that alternative medicine is good for the same reasons that Patch Adams does: namely it is a cultural form that people engage with and it allows them to feel comfortable. To this end, he criticizes those who criticize alt. medicine for being narrow-minded in their approach to medicine-as-Western-evidence-based-science. In fact, he argues, since we don't have a scientific model for humanity, there are more things that need to be taken into account than simply whether health is evidence-based or not. Etc. etc. etc. Comes to be that this particular academic is sought out for his "alternative opinions" about "alternative medicine" quite frequently because he doesn't like the fact that alternative medicine is maligned simply for its lack of evidence. That's his take, and inasmuch as it is his take, he is a sympathizer with alternative medicine. I'll grant you that he has a nuanced perspective; he's not saying that alternative medicine is "effective" in the way that one would describe antibiotics as "effective". He's merely saying that it deserves a consideration that hasn't been afforded it, and indeed, he claims, has been denied it by a healthcare establishment too focused on models of medicine that treat human malady as isolated causal systems rather than as complex systems that belie simple analysis.

I'm not sure how the hell to get this across to the reader. He is an "apologist" for alternative medicine. I put that in there and less-than-kind people who I doubt did much reading, listening, or consideration of this professor balked. However, there needs to be some acknowledgment that Hufford is coming at this subject with a lens of accommodation if not acceptance of alternative medicine as a cultural form worthy of respectful treatment.

ScienceApologist (talk) 21:51, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

sorry, been taking a break from this page, so that I don't need to deal with certain less-than-kind individuals.
apologist is a judgement term, not a statement of fact. I have no problem contextualizing Hufford's perspective, as long as it's presented as a credible academic opinion, not as the opinion of a 'sympathizer', 'apologist', 'advocate', 'proponent' or any other term that is there to evaluate Hufford as a person. rather than to represent Hufford's opinions. this incessant effort to break things down into opposing camps is pointless, and only serves to confound and corrupt the information that the article is supposed to be presenting. --Ludwigs2 22:29, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Um, your removal of content in the article is a violation of the editing restrictions in this article. Rephrase, don't remove is the name of the game. If you have no problem with contextualizing Hufford's perspective then you should have tried to contextualize Hufford's perspective rather than removing the content. The fact is that Hufford was acting as an "opposing camp" to people who were critical of alternative medicine when he made the statement and since it is an important fact that only people who are supportive of alternative medicine are critical of Quackwatch, your removal of the characterization of Hufford's stated opinions on alternative medicine as well as your removal of the context in which he offered his opinions on Quackwatch removes information that provides valuable context for the reader. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:00, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually the edit in question left Hufford's view and the source in place, but it did shorten the statement considerably. If you think too much was taken out, perhaps there's another wording that both of you could agree to? Shell babelfish 19:53, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
We simply need to characterize the fact that Hufford is an alternative medicine supporter. That's important, perhaps more important than his status as a retired humanities professor. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:18, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
ok, SA - I actually understand your concern. how about if we say this? "David Hufford, a professor of humanities who studies the cultural aspects of alternative medicine"? that clarifies what he does, and puts his viewpoint in proper perspective, without using any loaded terms that might cast him as an advocate rather than an academic. it also leaves out the 'in response to' tangent, which isn't necessary to the article, but was only used to place Hufford in a 'camp'. would that work for you? --Ludwigs2 23:05, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
But that doesn't include the context required for NPOV. --Ronz (talk) 00:08, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Right. There are people who study alternative medicine who do not view it as sympathetically as Hufford. This is an important point to get across to the reader. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:36, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
first, ronz - I'm not sure what context you're talking about. it clearly identifies the author and his relationship to the topic, doesn't it? --Ludwigs2 01:16, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I would say that it misses the key point that Hufford generally advocates the thesis that alternative medicine should be looked at through a sympathetic cultural lens. By saying he "studies the cultural aspects of alternative medicine" we miss his unique perspective which isn't someone who asks the question: "why do people delude themselves?" but rather "how is alternative medicine beneficial to people involved in its culture?" ScienceApologist (talk) 14:38, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
except that I don't necessarily see Hufford as asking either question. Academics as a rule strive for objectivity, because if they have axes to grind they don't do well as academics (academia is allergic to politics, believe it or not - funding worries...). you keep wanting to place him in the category of a sympathizer or advocate, when most likely he just wants to explore the psycho-social aspects of AltMed without really taking a stand either way. I mean really, what is his criticism here? he says that QW is not fully committed to objective scientific practice (something that Barrett himself has admitted to, on the grounds that pseudoscience doesn't need objective treatment) - that seems like a perfectly valid scientific critique, one that any scientist might make without a prejudice for or against QW. --Ludwigs2 21:42, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Let's get down to business: Hufford is a bit of an odd-ball. He's a humanist amidst a group of scientists. He tends to think holistically while everyone else is a reductionist. He's an odd-man-out and he definitely is more sympathetic to alternative medicine than the vast majority of professors in schools of medicine. So that information should be available to the reader. It's not like this is not an obvious bit of information. A simple read-through of his last five published works is enough to show that this is his particular perspective. His perspective here is relevant because his critique was solicited due to his peculiar position being more sympathetic to alternative medicine than the opposing party. He was selected intentionally for a debate. What we're doing here is akin to citing Michael Behe in an article about the NCSE without coming clean about his affiliation with intelligent design. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:36, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
most of this seems like criticism of Hufford as a person, and that's not really relevant to anything (I mean, did you know that Einstein once had to be rescued by the coast guard because he cut the keel off his sailboat? - kinda dumb for a physicist, yah, but doesn't really detract from the theory of relativity). Hufford's last five published works show that he studies alternative medicine and culture; anything more than that is a matter of opinon. these works don't show that he is sympathetic to AM, an advocate for it, or anything like that. this is what academics do SA; they look at things and they write scholarly books about them, with (by expectation) a level of analytic detachment. again, I have no problem with noting that Hufford studies AltMed (which should be obvious by inspection anyway), but I do have a problem with him being cast as anything other than an academic who studies AltMed. --Ludwigs2 07:08, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Does Hufford belong here at all?

Actually, more importantly, exactly why is Hufford's opinion on anything (forgetting QW for the moment) valid and needed to be reported. Is he a relevant expert in the field? Regardless of his actual opinion(s) on various subjects, is is opinion actually notable. Is he quoted in his field(s) of strength? If not, why is his opinion then notable here. Sure his opinion is verifiable, and sourced (from a reliable source even) but why is his opinion notable in this article when his opinion is not notable in what he is employed as and actually writes in? Feel free to move this to a new section if required. Shot info (talk) 01:06, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

second, Shot info - allow me to point out that 'notable' re: wp:notability only applies to whether or not a topic should be entered into wikipedia as an article. this use of the word notable is senseless in this context; the proper guideline is wp:undue weight. with that in mind, your question becomes easy to answer: Hufford is an establish academic offering an opinion specifically about quackwatch in an academic journal. he is well within his field for what he is talking about (which is more than I can say for Martin Gardner, just to throw in a zinger). he meets the weight requirement easily. --Ludwigs2 01:16, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, now you have added to the problems of the article that you have articulated above. Firstly, if I meant WP:NOTE, I would have typed WP:NOTE, I mean notable in the context of the word - notable. Who is Hufford? You have complained that this article is suffering, yet one of the reasons it is suffering is that QW is a organisation that has be lauded in the media and within academic circles - and to seemingly counter balance that, all and any commentry is dragged up - no matter how obscure or obtuse. So how to fix this? Well, lets write an article for an encyclopedia with WP:NPOV in mind. Every ... single ... reference ... no matter how vague, remote, uncontexual, or just plain pointless - made about the subject of the article does not need to be included. This is editing 101. That fact is, this article suffers because there is a desparate attempt by editors to include every "negative" reference, which then violates weight, so more "positive" guff is added - which leads to unreadibility and the current "poor" state of the article. This can be fixed of course, but it requires editors to admit that not every single reference needs inclusion. But alas, it seems that some editors cannot do this - and so the article probably won't ever change (mind you Elonka's EP policy certainly ensures that ferked up articles stay ferked up). WRT: Gardner - You are more than welcome discuss matters about other articles on those articles talkpages. Shot info (talk) 01:30, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

(undent) sorry, I didn't mean to be confusing. but I'm failing to understand your issue here, even with the word clarification. there are certain people who laud quackwatch, and there are certain people who criticize quackwatch, and I don't see the problem with including both. I'm not asking to use every single reference under the sun, but I'm not at all clear what grounds you are using to ask to have this reference removed. is Hufford (a professor with academic publications under his belt that show he is a credible professional in his field) somehow a less reliable source that Nguyen-Khoa (a pharmacist, whose only professional publication that I can find is an eight paragraph review in a minor pharmaceutical journal). if you want to remove Hufford on those grounds, let me know, because I will use that decision as an axe, here and in other articles, to trim out a whole lot of scientistic deadwood (and no, I don't mind talking about gardner and other pages here - wikipedia should be consistent, after all, and what goes here ought to go everywhere).

and just so you know, I don't have a problem with quackwatch per se - to the extent that Barrett actually debunks scams, I'm completely in his corner. but he and QW have been criticized for being biased, unselective, and unscientific in some of their efforts, and those criticisms belong in this article just as does the praise for the good work that they do. believe me, I'm no radical: the only reason I push so hard for the criticism in this this article is that if I don't, the article will rapidly get reverted to the white-washed drivel that was here when I first saw the page.

Just think of me as the equal but opposite reaction in Newton's Theory of Wikipedia.  :-) --Ludwigs2 02:35, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Ludwigs, please don't try to characterise my suggestions as including in all "positive" non-notable information. Curiously I haven't argued for that. The problem with this article is, it starts out being (say) 90% information on QW (ie/ neutral and position), 10% "negative". Now before you try to pull the numbers apart, they are illustrative only. Then (say) somebody comes along and says "but what about X, Y, Z from obscure journal A, location B etc. " which starts to push the weight from 90/10 to say 80/20, or 70/30. So other editors cry "Weight" but the Elonka's of the world say "Na-huh has to stay in because I don't know about WP:UNDUE and it's sourced" so then to push it back to 90/10, in goes more "guff".
Let's face it. QW is a relatively small organisation that has attracted support and opposition. The article should read about what the organisation is, who it's key members are, what it's purpose(s) are and how it attempts to achieve it. Saying that is NPOV. Then the notable support should be included (as there is some key support quotes) and criticism from notable critics. ie/ notable people, people who actually mean something when they critise. So Chopra....yes. And on the so-called "positive" side, Nguyen-Khoa ... no. Time ... yes. On the whole, the article should reflect the fact that more significant and notable organisations and people regard QW with some measure of worthiness, while most of it critics are largely nobodies (yes, even Hufford is a nobody...especially given his critism isn't really about QW but largely an out of context mined quote).
The article on QW should be shortened and made more succint. What I see your problem being is that you don't seem to be pushing the article towards being an better article, but just stopping it from being white-washed. So cease stopping the whitewashing and fix the article. How about you present a new section skeleton which we can discuss and rewrite the info into? Shot info (talk) 03:53, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. We've discussed this many times, and it just came up at ANI: [19]. We need to follow NPOV. If that means ignoring the advise and opinions of editors that don't understand NPOV, then so be it. --Ronz (talk) 18:45, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Charlotte is actually not backing up your point at all. JzG seems not even aware of what exactly the dispute involves. Hufford is representing a common position, and it is certainly not undue weight to include his comments. The reason that we guide the content in an article with undue weight rather than notability is because people will get confused and think that whether something should be added is dependent upon the notability of the source, like Shot info with his statement that Deepak Chopra belongs, and Hufford does not. II | (t - c) 19:39, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I suggest you reread the comments here and by JzG. Then, please provide an independent, reliable source that demonstrates we should give Hufford and his opinions any mention at all. --Ronz (talk) 19:43, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Hi II. My concern is that Hufford is representative of a type of information that clutters up articles. Sure he said it and nominally I have no problems with it being included. The reason why I am suggesting that it and pretty much all the section(s) we have problems with should be rewritten. The problem is, that most edits want to turn this article into Criticisms of Quackwatch and accuse other editors of whitewashing (or the like) when undone. So rather than editing the article into something more like what you would see in say a real encyclopaedia we have this miss-mash article of poorly written material. So why not completely rewrite it and remove all the guff? This is what I'm proposing below (that seems to be ignored with an atypical WP:IDIDNTHEARTHAT tactic) and what we then have the ability to do is tighten up the article to make it more readable and keep in the relevant info.
2nd point (on Hufford) - lets not focus just on Hufford, while I'm using him as an example (and others are trying to mischaracterise me). Yes, he said X. But he himself, who cares that he said it? Really. Who is he? In order to make the bits fit, we must engage in suitable synthesis ... adding bits in about the quoter to make his/her words better fit the argument. This is a rather common problem in Wikipedia though, and it's rife throughout political BLPs particularly of modern leaders (where every commentator and his dog have comments/quotes with no context). But those editors in those articles recognise (true, some dont' but on the whole they seem to have got it right) that not every quote ("positive" or "negative") are valid in an encyclopaedia.
3rd point - FWIW, we should use Hufford's info not in it's current article context (ie/ as a review), but rewritten like "Quackwatch has been both praised and criticised in academia <pos ref><neg ref>" (or words to that effect) as part of a paragraph in english - rather than the quotefest. Shot info (talk) 23:21, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to fit well in the review section, I suppose. That's why it was better to put these things in a reception section. It would fit better in the "Public comment" section. Your argument for just referencing these guys vaguely doesn't seem that great. It is better for your position to note them in-text, because that way their profession are noted. Hufford is not just any academic; he is a humanities, same with Ernst. Readers will weight his opinion differently based on that (read: lower). Similarly, the pharmacist has one of the more objective and constructive criticisms of the site. Also, I think The Good Web Guide is a terrible source. I don't think it's non-encyclopedic to note what reliable sources have said about the site explicitly. I guess we're just going to have to disagree on that. I will grant you that most of the comments are fairly shallow, but that doesn't invalidate them. II | (t - c) 05:35, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
well, Ronz, I'll tell you... I and other editors have fixed this article two or three times already, and each time ScienceApologist and/or QuackGuru undid the revsions made, with a lot of energy but without a lot of discussion. how do you think this article came under editing restrictions in the first place? when consensus editing becomes possible here, I'm all for it; since it's not, damage control is the only meaningful option I have.
with respect to your other statements... I don't see any grounds in policy or guideline for what you are saying. in particular, this phrase - "ie/ notable people, people who actually mean something when they criticize" - seems to be central to your argument (in that it defines what you mean by 'notable' in the off-beat way you're using it), but it is such a vague, subjective statement that it couldn't possibly be founded in meaningful policy. and you seem to have a preference for popular-press sources over academic sources (Time & Chopra over the academic pair) that is a bit anti-encyclopedic. the fact of the matter is, Hufford is a reliable and verifiable source; the only grounds for excluding him might be that his opinion represents a tiny minority opinion, and fails undue weight. is that what you're arguing?
And shot info... be glad we don't make a policy of "ignoring the advise and opinions of editors that don't understand NPOV", because if we did no one would listen to a word you said.  :-P --Ludwigs2 21:30, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
In reply to your last paragraph: Expelliarmus. Coppertwig (talk) 22:45, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Heh, I'm glad that Coppertwig, an admin, enjoys the personal attack with the emoticon on the end. Nice.Shot info (talk) 22:57, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Coppertwig is not an admin. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 23:20, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
LOL. Just a defender of personal attacks then. Will need to keep an eye on his future RfA then. Shot info (talk) 23:22, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Shot - I appreciate the irony of you complaining about personal attacks in the same electronic breath you accuse me - and at least one administrator - of unspecified crimes against wikipedia (not to mention your assertions that I'm ignorant and whiney). Things like that just tickle me; I can't help it. Smile.png However, I think it's high time you learned that consensus is reached by discussing things with other editors, not by subjecting them to a string of unfounded insults until they get pissed off at you. while you're learning that, you might also take the time to realize that NPOV needs consensus - read the policy page, for heaven's sake.
Now, I've already told you what I find problematic about the page, above. if you'd like me to make some major edits to the article page, I'm more than happy to do so. however, the edits I'm likely to make will probably cause stress among some other editors, and given the fragile editing environment here I'd prefer to be careful about that. how would you like me to go forward on that? --Ludwigs2 23:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
If I may make a suggestion: How about if you quote on this talk page exactly the edits you would be thinking of making? Then they can be discussed with, I hope, somewhat less stress. At Talk:Chiropractic we often copy whole sections of the article onto the talk page and edit them there for a while. Coppertwig (talk) 01:40, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
ok, but give me a couple of days to get around to it. --Ludwigs2 21:03, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Sure, take your time, it's only a suggestion anyway. I also have a question for you, Ludwigs2. Having read the article, much of this talk page, and having done some web searches, I have the impression that in the reliable sources available out there, there are a lot of sources recommending Quackwatch, a number calling it "excellent" etc., and not many sources criticizing it. The web search turned up the title "Valuable resource despite anti-alternative medicine slant", which I thought was a nice summary of the situation, but perhaps the name of that website has been changed because I couldn't find an actual article with that title. Anyway, my question to you, Ludwigs2, is: do you agree that there are more reliable sources lauding than criticizing Quackwatch, and do you agree that therefore, according to NPOV, this article should devote more space to the praises than to the criticisms? Coppertwig (talk) 01:53, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I have no problem with that at all. I'm not at all averse to the current version of the article, actually, except that people keep pushing to remove, minimize or disparage the criticism that's there now. really, when I first helped to rewrite this article a couple of months back (circa here - not sure that this is the best version), the result was nice, if maybe a little heavy on the criticism at the end. but that got edit-warred out of existence before I got around to addressing that. there's no way that criticism should be the predominant voice in this article; but it is a voice, and it should be presented appropriately. --Ludwigs2 06:53, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

(<<outdent) Suggested compromise wording: "David Hufford, a writer about alternative medicine and professor of humanities, in a presentation invited as a counterpoint to an anti-alternative-medicine presentation, suggested ..." This is a shortened version of the disputed text.

Ludwigs2, thank you for your reply. Since you've indicated that you're not averse to the current version of the article, I suggest that it's appropriate for the POV template to be removed. Coppertwig (talk) 20:52, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

yes, removing the template would be fine with me. however, that compromise wording doesn't really work. Hufford is not a professor AND a writer about alternative medicine; he is a professor who writes about it in his capacity as a professor. would we say 'joe is someone who works on pipes and a professional plumber'? 'frank is someone who cuts people open and a surgeon'? 'jill is someone who handcuffs people and a policewoman'? writing is a given part of being a professor - separating it out as something separate merely makes his writing sound non-professorial (which is not the case). plus, the 'counterpoint to' phrase is simply unnecessary and misleading. --Ludwigs2 22:32, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
"'counterpoint to' phrase is simply unnecessary and misleading" Necessary per NPOV. Not misleading in any way that anyone has demonstrated here. --Ronz (talk) 16:09, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I assumed that the 'misleading' aspect was as obvious as the unnecessary aspect. this is an article about Quackwatch. the 'anti-alternative-medicine presentation' (AAM) that you are referring to did not in any way deal with QW and so it doesn't belong in the article on its own merits. nor is the Hufford thing simply a response to the previous presentation (academics rarely do that - generally they write independent pieces with little more than a rough idea of what the other academics are doing), and so the AAM is not being offered as a necessary context for understanding the hufford piece. the AAM thing was only introduced in order to cast Hufford as 'pro-alternative medicine' (PAM) so that his opinion could be presented as that of a biased AM advocate rather than an unbiased academic. i.e. it is unnecessary, and being pushed on the article because it is intentionally misleading.
look, I know you want to treat hufford as an advocate, but I'm going to continue to insist that you treat him as an academic, and I'm pretty sure that I have policy, reason, and common sense on my side. is it really worth your time to keep pushing this silliness? --Ludwigs2 21:24, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Some history regarding the balance of positive remarks and criticisms

Here's a bit of history regarding the balance of positive remarks and criticisms here. It has previously been filled with huge amounts of criticism, including from dubious sources. This was before WEIGHT was understood or constantly invoked. I suspect things have ended up this way because of any of the positive remarks or criticisms being hotly contested at every step. That happened at both the Quackwatch and Stephen Barrett articles, with actual attempts to delete the articles because of claims by critics of them not being notable enough! That of course created a demand for better documentation/positive remarks (more RS refs and precisely attributed quoting), which resulted in very well-sourced articles and extensive proof of their great notability and acceptance by mainstream RS. That was a big Pyrrhic victory (i.e. loss) for critics, who have hopefully learned that the Quackwatch/mainstream POV is usually right for a reason, namely because it usually is right and can document it using RS. Challenging mainstream POV ends up costing critical editors far more than it is worth. They lose at the local article level and force Wikipedia to implement more and tighter policies regarding fringe POV. From a Quackwatch/mainstream POV, this is very positive, as RS are generally much more positive and available from mainstream reliable sources, rather than criticisms, which are usually from fringe sources which often fail V, RS, and NOR requirements. This is how Wikipedia's sourcing and weight policies parallel principles found in science and EBM. Reproducibility, verification, and reliability are requirements for both Wikipedia and science.

MastCell has written something tangentially related to this subject:

-- Fyslee / talk 04:39, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

<sigh...> Fyslee, the problem Wikipedia has on this article (and so many others) is that many people (on all sides) treat this like a war. when I read phrases like "Challenging mainstream POV ends up costing critical editors far more than it is worth", it boggles me. the only win/loss, cost/benefit issue that matters is the credibility of Wikipedia as an encyclopedia, and if you're so tangled up in fighting this coterie of supposed 'critical editors', then it doesn't matter whether you win, or they win, or you both fight it out to a draw; either way wikipedia loses.
I swear, people learn nothing from history... --Ludwigs2 23:38, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I started out with a little "bit of history," and you reply with "I swear, people learn nothing from history..." Hmm... now just what has the history of this article taught us, at least us who have been here for several years? That its existence has been a thorn in the side of its critics and they have made it a place to carry on their real world crusade against it, even to the point of trying to get it deleted. Now that happens to mean they have treated Wikipedia like a battlefield. The article used to be a huge pile of criticism of all kinds from all kinds of sources, including very dubious and un-RS ones. Of course a reaction has occurred, and - humans that we are - none of us is totally innocent in this matter. It shouldn't be this way, but that's what the history of this article has taught us. You should study its history, if you have a few months to spare. It has included AfDs, RfCs, ArbComs, blockings, indef bannings, etc.. Why? Because this is the canary in the mine, and some wish to kill the canary, and others believe it has a purpose and should live. Ultimately, as far as Wikipedia is concerned, that all means nothing. It should just be allowed to live as any other article about a notable subject and be edited accordingly. I would hope that by now such real world attacks on Quackwatch would cease or at least diminish here at Wikipedia, but it continues to some degree. Let's try to raise ourselves above such things and collaborate. The best articles are written by editors who hold opposing POV, yet who seek Wikipedia's best and collaborate. Let's not hide our POV or pretend. Let's just recognize them, become collaborators, even friends, and work together. -- Fyslee / talk 00:27, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what your last comment means. But as for your earlier comments, it is a war at times. This is the first place everyone goes for medical information. There shouldn't be articles that state the eye of newt or warm camel urine does anything, but so many articles have bogus and unsourced information for treating and preventing disease states. We hold the line passionately, not because we enjoy fighting the friggin' war, but because there has to be an ethical standard that we uphold. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 23:49, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
as far as that goes, I totally agree with you (and so would most editors, I think). I would not like to see articles that make treatment recommendations at all, because even with standard medicine that would get people in trouble (maybe we should add that to the NOT page: wikipedia is not an electronic doctor). but I also happen to think that readers should be able to get basic and unbiased information about theories and practices and beliefs of all sorts, even those that are untested, unproven, or even completely debunked by modern science. It's one thing to add in the necessary facts and sourcing that will keep some clueless 14 year old from being convinced that some bizarre, sketchy theory is the god's-honest TRUTH, but if we push that too hard, we end up violating WP:NOTCENSORED only because some of these theories offend our scientific sensibilities
really, I know it feels like a war sometimes, but it's not. it's an encyclopedia, nothing more. the more it gets militarized (i.e. the more it gets broken into opposing camps; us against them; with us or against us; fighting against an irrational foe) the less consensus works, and the crappier the encyclopedia gets.
as for the last line - what can I say. this problem is not even new on wikipedia, much less new in the world as a whole. when people have a problem with other people, nine times our of ten they'll try to resolve it through name-calling, mudslinging, or worse. it almost never works (and when it does, it never works out the way people want it to work out), but next time they'll try it again anyway. god have mercy on anyone who suggests that they try to talk out their differences - Face-devil-grin.svg --Ludwigs2 01:37, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Formatting of quotes

One thing I have noticed is that the manner in which quotes are formatted is sometimes different in the same articles many places here at Wikipedia. That applies here as well. This is an unfortunate way in which editorial POV can creep into an article. An editor can insert a quote and make it more noticeable than other quotes. It may even happen with no ulterior motives than personal preference for a certain method of formatting, but it's still not right. Some quotes are indented in the simple and normal ":" or "*" manners and others are indented and formatted using the <blockquote> or {{quote}} template formats.

I think all quotes should use the simple wiki markup ":" or "*" methods of indenting, unless there is some special reason not related to editorial POV for doing otherwise. It isn't proper to highlight some quotes in big quote boxes, while others are kept more obscure, sometimes even hidden as part of the inline text, even though the quotes are several lines long. I think MOS allows both methods, but I find it to be misused at times, and would rather avoid making POV differences.

I have undone such formatting (the last two methods) in several places where I have found it, but will wait for comments before doing it here. I would like to simplify the existing blockquotes in this article. What think ye? -- Fyslee / talk 04:07, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Any responses? If not, I'll proceed as suggested. -- Fyslee / talk 05:04, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Done. -- Fyslee / talk 19:10, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I had been thinking of replying but hadn't quite figured out what to say yet. However, I think it looks better the way you've formatted it with colons, so it's still indented but without coloured boxes. (Or do I not need to bother saying this because nobody's allowed to revert it anyway? – just kidding) Coppertwig (talk) 01:58, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

We're not writing newspaper article here

We're writing an encyclopedia article. Searching high and low for sources that mention Quackwatch, then finding ways to add them into the article is not how encyclopedia articles are written when the sources are from primary sources not mentioned by any other sources.

Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources. All interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors.

--Ronz (talk) 23:36, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

If they are from RS, they can potentially be useful. -- Fyslee / talk 06:34, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely, but without the secondary sources to support them, we almost guarantee ourselves WP:OR problems. NPOV problems as well if the primary sources since we'll have difficulty presenting the information in a balanced manner without relevant independent sources to guide us. --Ronz (talk) 15:27, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Minor edits

I propose to do the following edits:

  • In the lead, change the wikilink of "criticizing many forms of alternative medicine" so that only the words "alternative medicine" are within the double square brackets, since that give the reader a better idea of where the link is going;
  • In the Reviews section, join the second, third and fourth paragraphs into one paragraph;
  • Also in the Reviews section, move the "Donna Ladd" paragraph up to become the second paragraph of that section.

Let me know if any of these would be considered reverts, or feel free to comment on whether to make these changes. Coppertwig (talk) 02:05, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

If it's any consulation I consider them edits (that thing we do here) rather than undefined reverts. A read thru your changes are fine by me as they are relatively minor and improve readibility somewhat. Shot info (talk) 02:08, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
LOL – well, I'm not going to search the whole page history to see if the paragraphs ever happened to be in that other order, etc. But if I happened to stumble onto something people had been edtiwarring about ... oh, yeah, I forgot, there couldn't have been any edit wars. Coppertwig (talk) 02:20, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

References for Quackwatch

[21][22] Here are two references I was going to add to the Quackwatch article but I forgot what I was going to write. Please give it a try if anyone is interested. I have lost interest in editing the article. Thanks. QuackGuru 04:48, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

They could perhaps be added to the sentence beginning "Sources that mention as a resource for consumer information include...", i.e. "PC World" and "WebMD" could be listed in that sentence, with those sources as footnotes. Alternatively, perhaps a sentence could be added along the lines of "An article in PC World listed it as one of three websites for finding the truth about Internet rumours, and WebMD listed it as one of eight organizations to contact with questions about a product."
However, I think it would be better to reduce the length of the "Public Comments" and "Reviews" sections, and combine them into a single section presenting both positive and negative comments in a NPOV way. These references bear some resemblance to directory listings and may not be notable enough to include. Coppertwig (talk) 17:24, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Neutrality tag

The article is currently tagged, saying that its neutrality is disputed. Could anyone who agrees with this, please list specific points of dispute, so that they can be addressed? Or if you disagree that the tag is appropriate, please state that too, so we can determine the consensus on how to handle it. Thanks, Elonka 15:58, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

And then can we make it into a list of things to do? Itsmejudith (talk) 16:05, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. That's how these "dispute" tags are supposed to work, is that the template is supposed to be a flag that there's a discussion going on at the talkpage about the specific points of dispute. The specific section can even be included in the template. If specific points of dispute cannot be defined though, then the template should be removed. For more information, see the docs at Template:POV. --Elonka 16:23, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
The sentence: The site "also provides links to hundreds of trusted health sites," is non-neutral. Trusted should be balanced with a qualifier, if it is to remain.
The description of Quackwatch reviewer David Hufford, Ph.D. as, "a writer who generally supports viewing alternative medicine as just a different culture," is vague and weak; it is unsourced, and is transparently POV. Some editors have repeatedly removed the Ph.D. from his name. Petergkeyes (talk) 00:45, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
It might be your opinion or my opinion that the statement The site "also provides links to hundreds of trusted health sites," is non-neutral. However, it is not Wikipedia making this statement, but a direct quote (referenced) from a source. If the word trusted is not "balanced with a qualifier" in the source, then it would be POV for you or I, (Wikipedia in other words), to insert our opinions. I see too that someone has placed a opinion needs balancing tag after the entry about Bao-Anh Nguyen-Khoa's review of Quackwatch. Better still, make the entry accurate for a start. It says Bao-Anh Nguyen-Khoa "... felt the site might lack fair balance....". He said no such thing. He said Barrett "leaves one sensing a lack of fair balance". He specified Barrett, not Quackwatch. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 02:15, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
K. you make an insightful and important point. The statement says absolutely nothing about Quackwatch, hardly anything about Barrett, but everything about the personal perceptions of the reader of Barrett's writings. It is a self-revealing statement about the feelings of Bao-Anh Nguyen-Khoa, which are no doubt replicated in thousands of altmed proponents who also read Barrett's and any other skeptic's writings. That's the nature of the beast and it really can't be any other way. As such it's just a rather "duh" and empty statement from a non-notable writer. It has no substance. Barrett has replied to such charges and openly admits that he is not trying to give equal time to all ideas. IOW he's not about to write as if he believes that undocumented fringe ideas he considers deceptive are equally valid as ideas from scientifically validated mainstream sources, and then just leave it up to often uninformed readers to make up their minds. That would be irresponsible, and it would be foolish to give promoters of quackery a soapbox. In some cases we don't even allow that here! He has a right to an opinion, and he expresses it. One can hardly blame him for that, and it's a perfectly legitimate way of writing. Those who "charge" him for doing so should look in their own mirror, since they are expressing their own undocumented opinions as if they were true, and they don't even have the evidence to back their quack claims, unlike Barrett who provides documentation for why the mainstream position is a better choice. -- Fyslee / talk 05:52, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I seriously doubt this article will ever achieve a stable, neutral perspective. in just the short time I've been here, I've seen it get reasonably neutral two or three times, and then each time someone comes by and removes all of the critical perspectives so it's just a spank-the-monkey piece. at this point, I suggest we leave the template on there until the article has gone 9 months without a major edit; that will give some incentive towards creating a stable page. --Ludwigs2 01:31, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Okay, re-visiting this: What needs to change, for the "neutrality" tag to come off this article? I recommend that we drill down and identify exactly which sections of the article need help. Could anyone who has concerns, please tag sections or sentences appropriately? These tags may be helpful:

  • {{POV-section}} - adds banner with "The neutrality of this section is disputed"
  • {{disputed-inline}} - Adds [disputed]
  • {{POV-statement}} - Adds [neutrality disputed}
  • {{POV-assertion}} - Adds [neutrality disputed -- see talk page]
  • {{lopsided}} - Adds [opinion needs balancing]
  • {{vc}} - Adds [unreliable source?]
  • {{vs}} - Adds [verification needed]

Note that you don't have to tag something, if it's easier to just fix it. But I'd like to try and narrow down where the specific problems are, rather than just having a generic "Neutrality" tag at the top of the entire article.

Thanks, --Elonka 19:31, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

The problem with this approach, Elonka, is that this is an attitude problem, not a facticity problem. and I'm not talking about the attitudes of editors... The major criticisms offered against Barrett and Quackwatch are that they are over-zealous in their work (i.e., that Barrett's clear and unambiguous opposition to alternative medicine leads him to overstate, overreact and overgeneralize, rather than follow normal and conservative scientific procedures). of course, those criticisms often come from people who it is easy to imagine have an axe to grind, so that's a different attitude problem. now this has been the general problem faced on this article - when editor A tries to add a sourced critical perspectives on QW, editor B asserts that the criticism comes from some AltMed supporter with an axe to grind, and tries to remove it or denigrate it as an unreliable opinion. this whole squabble is bound up in assessments of the characters of reviewers critical to QW, and until the question of the character of reviewers is removed from consideration the problem won't go away. the fact that Barrett is overtly snarky about altmed actually fuels the issue: because Barrett insults AM, it's easy to claim that people who criticize him are responding to his insults rather than the errors in his procedures.
so how do we negate these attitude issues? --Ludwigs2 23:30, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
So which bits are POV? Shot info (talk) 22:51, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
that's the problem - both Barrett and the majority of his detractors are POV positions. the few people I can see who aren't presenting POV positions (the academics, mostly) are being accused of presenting POV positions. The whole editorial process here has become a protracted effort at spin doctoring, and I don't know how to get editors to cease and start editing from wikipedia-style neutrality. you can tag this article until doomsday, and it won't make a darned bit of difference so long as editors keep trying to make judgements about sources rather than simply reporting them. --Ludwigs2 23:12, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I seemed to have missed it, so exactly which bits in the article are POV in your opinion. If you cannot point to them to help editors edit them, then there is no reason for the tag. Articulated previously mind you but thanks to Elonka, here we are writting essays in talk space instead of editing articles... Shot info (talk) 23:36, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
ah sorry, my mistake. keep in mind that I didn't place the neutrality tag myself this time (I think it might have been placed there by QuackGuru, on the concern that there was too much criticism in the article, though I myself placed it on an earlier incarnation because there was too little criticism in the article...). to my mind, the current bias arises arises in two major places, with the same functional root. the split between the 'Public Comments' and 'Reviews' section creates a bias - there's really no need for the division at all, but the 'Public Comments' section is defended as a 'QW back-patting' section. this was much worse in the past: originally the division was called something like 'Awards' and 'criticisms', except that the criticisms section kept getting deleted. now what's happened is that the 'Public Comments' section is used to give a nice, glowing review of QW, while the review section is edited heavily to minimize critical perspectives. that's the second major (if related) bias; this tendency to minimize critical viewpoints as mere advocacy. there are several academic opinions that have been entered into the reviews section, yet editors keep trying to refocus them a the opinions of altmed supporters, rather than as credible academic opinions. I mean, hello - a month or two ago I had to argue with quackguru because he was dismissing a Rutledge press book (one of the better academic presses in the nation) as a self-published source, and the author of that same book is currently currently being referred to 'a medical historian interested in how Oriental medicine can complement modern medicine' rather than as an academic who studies these issues professionally. (I just got a copy of that book, so I'll be revising that passage as soon as I get a chance, but you see what I mean...) --Ludwigs2 00:24, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually it was put in by Peter (for UNDUE reasons see above) then removed by me, and reinserted by me due to an example of Elonka's poor admining, then here we are. QG had nothing to do with it. FWIW, what you dismiss as "back patting" is from notable organisations, yet the criticism is often from non-notable individuals. There is a reason that we don't "balance" viewpoints - it's called WP:NPOV. Shot info (talk) 00:39, 18 August 2008 (UTC)


Hi all, I see that a dispute is brewing on the article. Can I please remind everyone that when engaging in controversial edits, that it's a good idea to discuss things at the talkpage? Please don't just battle it out in edit summaries. Thanks, --Elonka 00:59, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't see any reason for reverting (most of) QuackGuru's edits. The information he added seems notable and appropriate, while much of the information he removes is of at most marginal relevance. It's probably best to discuss the sections individually.
And see no reason to include Hufford, either, although I didn't remove it in my last edit. Is there a claim that he's a notable expert in a relevant field? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:05, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
thank you, I couldn't agree more.
the two points are at issue here:
adding text to make Hufford look like something other than an academic
this has been discussed ad nauseum. Hufford is an academic, and trying to frame his work as the work of an advocate is inappropriate, and I daresay goes against NPOV
removing a properly sourced comment by Barry Chowka, because it refers to Barrett
Barrett is the sole purveyor of QW, and it is clear from the context that Chowka is referring to Barrett in his capacity as sole purveyor of QW. you want to change the quote a bit, fine, but I see no need to remove properly sourced material
I'll add that I am disgusted with this. SA and QuackGuru have repeatedly failed to make decent arguments for inserting changes like this, and repeatedly return to edit war them back in until we force them to discuss the matter on the talk page (where they once more fail to make convincing arguments). how long is this going to go on before someone bans them from this article entirely? --Ludwigs2 01:10, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
You write that "Barrett is the sole purveyor of QW." You obviously don't know much about QW or it's editorial functions and contributors. -- Fyslee / talk 16:19, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
The article was actually completely stable for a month. Does anyone have any idea why it suddenly de-stabilized again? I'm open to re-establishing ArbCom Enforcement conditions, but hopefully that won't be necessary. Stay cool, everyone. Let's stay focused on the article, not the contributors, and that's probably the best way through this. If there are edits in violation of policy, please diff the exact edits (without attacking the editors), thanks. --Elonka 01:27, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
This edit that Ludwigs2 considers a minor edit (edit was marked as minor) deleted improvements made to the article. Can anyone explain the edit.
This article is about Quackwatch and not Barrett. Adding undue criticism is clearly an NPOV violation. QuackGuru 01:27, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I feel that the article should be reverted to the stable version and that new edits be discussed and agreed upon first. Chowka mention of Barrett is in context to the website Quackwatch. Obviously that can be restored. The well-poisoning of Hufford had been suggested before but never agreed upon. Both edits should be undone. Again, let's restore the article to the stable version and let's resume discussion if necessary. Is that not the Solomonic thing to do here? -- Levine2112 discuss 01:36, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree that restoring to the last stable version is usually the best way forward. Controversial edits (or those that turn out to be controversial) should be discussed here first. BRD isn't a good editing method here. -- Fyslee / talk 16:23, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you on the well-poisoning; although he apparently specializes in sociological discussion of alt-med, the relevance of that fact is unclear. However, the question of whether Hufford's opinion is of interest is a separate one. The Chowka sentence needs to be rephrased, but I'm perfectly willing to believe that sourcing is possible. The question of whether published short-lists including QW as a "reliable", "credible", or "helpful" source should be included is also open. (Personally, I consider those at least as relevant and notable as Hufford.)
Actually, I would consider the Solomonic approach to include all adequately sourced material from both version (i.e., removing the questionable characterization of Hufford, and rewriting the Chowka sentence slightly to indicate he's discussing QW), and decide then what to remove as being non-notable. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:08, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
The article was "stable for a month" because most editors gave up on editing the article under Elonka's sanctions, as being unworkable. QG should be blocked if those sanctions are still in effect, but I don't think they should be considered in effect. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:10, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
QuackGuru is at 0RR if the conditions of editing is still in effect according to Elonka's defintion of a revert. QuackGuru 02:18, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Arthur, I think I would agree to your suggestions above, except possibly the last (my worry is that the 'Solomonic' approach would result in a huge infusion of minor and questionable pro-quackwatch quotations that would make an incredible mess to sort out). and I'll add that I don't mind contextualizing Hufford's quote a bit, but I've been objecting to the wholehearted attempt to cast him as an altmed advocate rather than an academic. we can discuss that as well.
QG, apologies if I marked that edit as minor - Twinkle bit me. it should be clear from the summary, though, that I was not trying to do anything subversive. I'll add, however, that I am upset that you and ScienceApologist decided to revisit this page with a wave of controversial edits, when you know there is a long-standing dispute on the page. you should have started by introducing the topic on the talk page.
I second the motion that we revert page to a stable version and take up the discussion once more. --Ludwigs2 02:34, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I disagree that the so-called "stable" version is a reasonable reversion point. And we already have a lot of "minor and questionable" anti-QW quotations.  :) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 03:07, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
When there is so much controversy about the way this started, we need to start over and take it step by step, starting here at the talk page. Please revert. I suggest we use this as the last stable version, right before an undiscussed deletion. -- Fyslee / talk 16:35, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Though I disagree with the appropriateness and accuracy of some of the material in that version, I agree that it would be a good starting point. Let's revert back to that and then let the discussions truly begin. -- Levine2112 discuss 17:21, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I disagree with the appropriateness and accuracy of some of the material in that version (although I suspect we have little agreement as to which sections are inappropriate or inaccurate), but it seems a reasonable starting point to me. It won't do much good unless QG and SA (and some of the anti-QW editors, as well) sign on, or would be sanctioned if they don't concur. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:16, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Please explain why editors want to revert back to an old version and remove newly added text and references. Removing the newly added would be supporting edit warring and undue criticism. The problem is with the editors who continue to violate core Wikipedia policies including NPOV. Wikipedia does not enforce NPOV. If Wikipedia enforced NPOV there would never be any edit warring. We need a new kind of conditions of editing. We need NPOV enforcement and all the NPOV violators (anti-NPOV edits) and their supporters would be shown the door. QuackGuru 18:44, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
(undent) I support the proposed reversion. I say do it, and if QG wants to make an edit war out of it, we'll request aid from administrators
QuackGuru - if you don't want an edit war, that's good. I suggest you make arguments for your proposed changes on the talk page where we can discuss them properly and come to a reasoned consensus. --Ludwigs2 21:29, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Regarding the previous editing conditions: They were only temporary, and expired on August 30, and have not been renewed. So there are currently no active restrictions on this article. See Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 15#Conditions for editing and Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 15#Restrictions followup. --Elonka 21:27, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry. Perhaps there should be some active restrictions. May I suggest 1RR for all? — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:41, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
I was hoping that editors would step up and volunteer to follow 1RR. Given the recent situation, I think that an across-the-board restriction would be more agreeable to all. --Ronz (talk) 16:43, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
The goal is to improve the article. A 1RR restriction would not improve the article. How about an NPOV enforcement. The editors who support and make and VPOV violation would be banned from this article a week at a time. This edit removed references and text and added undue criticism. The editors who continue to support violating NPOV or make an NPOV violatiuon edit should be banned and then if they continue then blocked. The NPOV violators and the editors who are supporting the NPOV violation can be banned. No explanation has been made for removing the recently added new sources and text. The editors who agree with this edit have never explained any reason for removing the text and references and went against NPOV. QuackGuru 16:58, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, NPOV is extremely hard to enforce. I'm not sure if we could even come to consensus on what recent edits actually violate NPOV. Do you have suggestions on how to enforce NPOV?
"No explanation has been made for removing the recently added new sources and text." Yes, it's sad that most of the discussion appears to be on what version to revert to, rather than on objections and compromises to the recent edits. --Ronz (talk) 17:23, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I have requested an explanation for removing the recently added new sources and text. The editors who supported reverting to an old version are clearly NPOV violation supportors. They think they have consensus for violating NPOV and have refused to explain why they are against NPOV and why they like to remove text that was never in dispute in the first place. They ignored the improvements and insulted Wikipedia's NPOV. We can review each edit on a case by case basis This edit was clearly an NPOV violation edit. At least three admins could review the controversial edit. If the admins agree it was an NPOV violation then a ban would be issued to the editor along with any editor who supported going against one of Wikipedia core policies, NPOV. The key is to ban the editors who make an NPOV violation edit along with their supportors. Editors who have an appearance of wikilawyering should be banned too. Editors make a comment and disagree with an edit but have not explained why they disagree. They assert but not explain their position. Just take a look at this non-argument. For articles like this, a review process of obviously NPOV violations edits and wikilayering can be implemented. The goal is to improve the article. NPOV enforcement will speed up this process. Wikipedians are a can do people. Imagine a Wikipedia where we enforce Wikipedia's core policy. The mission is NPOV. QuackGuru 18:08, 21 September 2008 (UTC)


I have restored the sept 10th version, per the discussion above. NOW let's discuss the proposed changes. --Ludwigs2 22:03, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Your revert has ignored my previous comment. You have not explained your removal of references. Please stop. QuackGuru 22:15, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion instead of edit-warring

I suggest that the regulars who like to revert without any discussion on this talk page hold themselves voluntarily to WP:1RR. --Ronz (talk) 16:53, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I really don't think that a limit on reverts will do all that much here but I also don't see it as a problem. What I do see here though are editors removing new information added to the article that appears to be reverting of the editor and not the edit itself. There is no policy that I am aware of that an editor has to first post new refs to the talk page to get a consensus before adding it to the article. My personal observation is that the reversion to the older version should be undone with the new edits to stay in. If someone has a problem then let them bring the questions to the talk page and find a solution as to how the new information should be added or removed. I don't think that reverting just to revert is a good way to make the article move forward. If the new refs violate policy like WP:BLP or any other urgent policy, then of course it should be immediately reverted. But if there is no urgency to remove then why edit war over it? How about everyone just take a deep breath and try to calm down. The edits summaries clearly show history (bad history unfortunately) between the editors doing reverts. I think that maybe everyone should try to think about how they would feel if the edit summaries were directed at them in such a way that it would discount their attempts to edit. Please try to remember that what we try to do here is write an article with core policies in mind. Please, again let’s not see the article locked down do to stubborn pride. I really think that all the editors that edit here should by now know how to work together to get the article going in the right direction. Of course this is just my opinion and I did leave here because of the behaviors seen today by editors. Lastly, everyone try to calm down and put away the old feelings and start working in a collaborative way without the warring, it would be best all the way around for Wikipedia and the sanity of everyone. Thank you for listening to me, I'll go away again as I do not want to intrude, I am just hoping to help a little here. Good health to all, --CrohnieGalTalk 18:42, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Recent edit-warring

The latest edit removed references for absolutely no resaon. QuackGuru 22:06, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

This comment has the appearance of a point violation and has ignored my previous comment about removing references. QuackGuru 22:12, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

At least one of those was removing a WP:BLP violation, and the last was by an apparent consensus. But you can bring to WP:AN3 if you want to. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 22:15, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Looks as though it already has been reported. I added your points re: BLP and CON. But if you want to chime in there as well, it may be useful. -- Levine2112 discuss 22:22, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Ludwigs2 blocked for a week for edit warring, disruptive editing and incivility. All involved should carefully consider their edits here and note the warning at the top of the page. Vsmith (talk) 22:55, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure what is going on here but I removed a comma from the lead sentence that clearly shouldn't be there. I marked the edit as minor and I stand by that action as it was a minor grammatical correction. I was then accused of making a major edit and my edit was reverted. I've redone the edit as it really should be completely non-controversial. But I'm removing this article from my watchlist so if y'all want to revert my edit again and keep the misplaced and grammatically incorrect comma in the lead sentence then you're welcome to do so. --ElKevbo (talk) 23:22, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Removing Hufford

Per Arthur Rubin's suggestion above, I removed Hufford. I have come to believe that he is not offering a "review" of QW but, like the NR article removed previously, was simply commenting in the context of a larger topic. Off-handed comments are not reviews and unless we plan on documenting every one, should not be included in articles unless there is some independent connection of these off-handed comments back to the subject of the article.

ScienceApologist (talk) 17:06, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Arthur Rubin didn't suggest removal at all. Further, even if he had, we should all discuss and agree on that first, before it is removed. As it stands, I disagree that it should be removed and will revert accordingly. -- Levine2112 discuss 17:34, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Levine2112 has not explained his reason for disagreeing. QuackGuru 17:50, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Typical response not based on content but rather on Wikipoliticking and tried-and-true obstructionist techniques. Is there anyone who actually disagrees with this edit substantively? I'm going to take this to WP:ANI#Quackwatch. ScienceApologist (talk) 17:52, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Levine2112 that Arthur Rubin did not suggest removal. However, as pointed out above, that is not a response to ScienceApologist's comments above at 17:06, 21 September 2008.
We have no agreement here, nor is there any policy or guideline stating that agreement must be made on a talk page before an edit can be made to the article.
I suggest discussing proposed ways of presenting the Hufford information and/or further discussion of why Hufford's opinion is not relevant. --Ronz (talk) 18:18, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
See [23], it seems Arthur did imply that Hufford didn't belong. Also note that Levine2112's stated intention to edit war over this is a serious concern. Given that, Levine2112 is hereby placed on 0rr for warned of likely restrictions on this article. Vsmith (talk) 18:47, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
See [24], Artur Rubin agreed to reverting to the last stable version (one which includes the Hufford review) as a reasonable starting point. Where is my stated intention to edit war? I said that I would revert ScienceApologist's edit and I did. That's all. I didn't say nor suggest that I would continue to revert ScienceApologist's edits. There is no implication that I was going to edit war. I don't understand how or why you are inferring this. I really feel that even the warning you gave me is unwarranted and should be rescinded. -- Levine2112 discuss 23:11, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

As long as the section is about "reviews", off-handed comments that are made in the context of interviews or publications about other topics probably shouldn't stay in the article. That goes for the NR artice, the Hufford symposium comment and the Chokwa statement. What say ye? ScienceApologist (talk) 18:24, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

"NR" = ? Are you referring to something currently in the article? --Ronz (talk) 18:39, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Nope. I'm referring to the National Review article on water fluoridation which was removed by me months ago. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:40, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Notification of warning of 0rr

I have placed User:Levine2112 on 0rr for this article based on the threat to edit war [25] above. Any reverts by said user to this article will result in a block. User has been notified. Also posted to WP:ANI. Other users should proceed with caution. Vsmith (talk) 19:07, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

User has been warned that a restriction to editing will result if he/she edit wars. Vsmith (talk) 20:30, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

There was notification at this talk page.Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 12#Notice Here is evidence Levine2112 is aware of the probation.User talk:Levine2112/archive7#Homeopathy article probation notification User talk:Levine2112/archive7#Article Probation .28civility.29 The user has been warned before. QuackGuru 22:30, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, that's a different warning. The Homeopathy article was under a "community probation" for a time, but then that was superseded by the ArbCom case. See also the list at Talk:Homeopathy/Article probation, which has been inactive since early July (when the ArbCom case was finalized). Though it's interesting that Levine2112's name isn't on that page either. Is there another log somewhere? --Elonka 23:12, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Evaluating Complementary and Alternative Medicine: The Limits of Science and Scientists

Can someone explain why an article published in a symposium about Evaluating Complementary and Alternative Medicine: The Limits of Science and Scientists is not relevant to this article? [26] Is that "undue criticism"?, why? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:20, 21 September 2008 (UTC)[

Please read this edit summary. QuackGuru 23:57, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
This is being discussed in the above thread #Verification requested. --Elonka 00:08, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Tx. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:20, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Neutrality tag

Following up here, could we get a comprehensive list of the problematic sections of this article? What would need to happen, for the tags to be removed? --Elonka 00:39, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

My main concerns, which I've discussed multiple times in most, if not all, of the Barrett-related articles are 1) the problem of presenting information without proper context or otherwise not presenting it in a manner that meets WP:UNDUE and 2) the problem of presenting information from primary sources where we have no corresponding secondary or tertiary sources, violating WP:PSTS. While we've made progress addressing these problems, I find they are usually at the heart of most of the disputes here, including the recent editing and discussions related the the Hufford reference. --Ronz (talk) 01:05, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Verification requested

Nuvola apps edu languages.png Relevant discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Neutral point of view/Archive 33#Structure of tone section needs to focus on tone
Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 15#What is Hufford?
Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 15#POV assertion
Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 15#David Hufford
WP:RSNarchive#Plural medicine, tradition and modernity
Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 15#Removing Hufford

Waltraud Ernst, a medical historian interested in how Oriental medicine can complement modern medicine, disapproved of Quackwatch's dismissal of the role of spiritual forces in the healing process.[75]

I was unable to verify this text. Anyone can dump a reference after a sentence. I request verification or it will be deleted. QuackGuru 18:28, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

While we're at it, can someone verify this?

"sociologist Joel Best wrote that critiques in Quackwatch and similar sites should be examined critically rather than being accepted at face value.[76]"

ScienceApologist (talk) 18:35, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

"suggested that Quackwatch in particular lacked commitment to objective scientific practice and relied too much on personal belief.[74][10]"
I request verification for this strong language. QuackGuru 18:43, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

This is the entirety from the Hufford article that mentions QW:

  • Well, that's an interesting lay opinion, but not one which seems to me to be significant in context. He's not exactly a specialist in the field, is he? It looks awfully like this is being included just to "balance" the fact that most reliable independent sources rate Quackwatch rather more highly than the alternative practitioners would like. But on the face of it this is just a second-hand statement of someone else's opinion. It's almost as if these adverse comments are spread around until less than one byte of original content remains per repetition... Guy (Help!) 20:48, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Back to the original question in this thread. QuackGuru, in what way were you "unable" to verify a statement sourced to a book published by Routledge? If you do not have access to the book through an academic library or interlibrary loan scheme, then that is unfortunately not our concern. It would be completely against policy to delete material on that basis. On the other hand if you did look up the book and page and it did not contain the statement cited, then you must delete the statement in the article. I hope you understand what I am saying. It is a very important distinction. Please ask if you need clarification. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:23, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Please provided evidence the text curently in the article is verified by the reference. QuackGuru 22:28, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
No, QuackGuru, you - and any of us who want to check the info - need to go to a library, find the book, and look it up. Or you can find an editor who will do you a big favour and do the work for you, but then you would have to trust that editor .... . Of course you could AGF and trust the editor who added the text in the first place. Itsmejudith (talk) 23:17, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
Agree with Itsmejudith. Otherwsise we should delete 99% of the sourced material in WP. You can go to the library and check that content if you have doubts. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:20, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I simply request verification. When no verification is presented then we can leave it out until verification is established. There is also WP:WEIGHT issues with alternative medicine supporters. QuackGuru 00:42, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I think it is you that needs to re-read WP:V. The obligation is to provide a source, and we assume the good faith of the editor that provides the source. There are no grounds on removal of sourced materials, just because you doubt its contents. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:53, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
The text has not been verified and there are WP:WEIGHT and WP:REDFLAG issues here. Anyone can add a source. I respectly ask for verification and we establish this is from a mainstream view and not a tiny minority. Undue criticism is a red flag. QuackGuru 01:18, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

The question of whether Hufford is or isn't a reliable source seems to keep coming up again and again. Has this ever been addressed via dispute resolution? For example, a thread at the reliable sources noticeboard, neutrality noticeboard, Fringe noticeboard, an RfC, or mediation? --Elonka 01:07, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard/Archive_14#Plural_medicine.2C_tradition_and_modernity ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:21, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Ernst, Waltraud (2002). Plural medicine, tradition and modernity, 1800-2000. New York: Routledge. pp. 230–3. ISBN 0-415-23122-1. 

When anti-quackery leaders like Barret discredit the efficacy of alternative therapies [...] they overlook the important point that faith, persuasion, spirituality, and cognition, can be potent forces in the treatment process. [...]Barret's presupposition that medical knowledge can be separated from psycho-social forces fosters a form pf paternalism manifested in the aphorism that 'only' medical doctors know what's best for a patient.[...]Barret's medical monism and hegemonic crusade to undermine belief in traditional and alternative forms of medicine actually undercuts a potential aspect of healthcare.. As such, Barret's well-intentioned concern to protect the gullible public from quackery, undermines his aim. In reducing the alternative 'other' to the biomedical 'same', Barret ironically might be doing therapeutic harm like the quacks he warns against. [...] [despite Barret's thoroughness and care he extends to guard people from hucksterism] Barret's zeal sometimes blinds him to the good that is taking place as people explore new and traditional forms of healthcare and healing. [...] Barret's Quackwatch generates a number of problems that merit investigation. pp.230-3

I think that the above is not undue criticism, but a valid, relevant, and well argued viewpoint. The sub-chapter on Barret's Quakwatch is a very interesting read. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:23, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Please explain how the book is a mainstream view and not a view from an alternative medicine supporter. See WP:WEIGHT. QuackGuru 01:28, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, QuackGuru... This is not an acceptable manner to conduct an argument. You asked for verification and I provided it. Now it is your turn to provide an solid argument on why a book published by Routledge, that discusses the subject of the article is not an acceptable source. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:33, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
(btw, even a view from an alternative medicine supporter that is published in a reliable source is indeed a valid viewpoint to be presented for WP:NPOV; and what are your sources to assert that the author is an alternative medicine supporter? Have you read his works?) ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:36, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

After re-reading that chapter, I actually think that the material from Waltraud can be expanded. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:49, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Please provide a source for this statement: [Waltraud] a medical historian interested in how Oriental medicine can complement modern medicine. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:43, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

What does the book say about the author. Just fix it. Add a little context about who the author is.
Per WEIGHT: We should not attempt to represent a dispute as if a view held by a small minority deserved as much attention as a majority view. Views that are held by a tiny minority should not be represented except in articles devoted to those views. To give undue weight to a significant-minority view, or to include a tiny-minority view, might be misleading as to the shape of the dispute. Wikipedia aims to present competing views in proportion to their representation in reliable sources on the subject. This applies not only to article text, but to images, external links, categories, and all other material as well.
We can't continue to add undue criticism about faith and other types of treatments. Does the book say anything positive about Quackwatch. QuackGuru 01:52, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Really, Quackwatch... That is not undue criticism, but rather a well argued and valid argument that provides some counterpoints to Barret's. You may need to re-read the portion about significant viewpoints in NPOV, as a viewpoint published by Routledge, is by default, significant. And BTW, he speaks highly of Barret's attempts to fight quackery. Please go to the library and read the chapter. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:00, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, in Wiki-reality Stephen Barrett and Quackwatch are two different things. So criticisms of Stephen Barrett that are not specifically about Quackwatch belong somewhere else. Shot info (talk) 02:03, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
"wiki reality?" what is that? (lol) The author speaks of Barret's Quackwatch, and that is what I think this article is about. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:33, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
"Wiki reality" = Wikipedia for those who need the joke explained. FWIW Jossi, I don't mind the quote per se, just where it resides. And how I read it - it's all about Barrett, with a minor mention of QW at the end, almost to remind the readers where the information is sourced. On an aside, in the original, is it Barret (one t) or Barrett? Shot info (talk) 02:39, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
The section is named "Quackery reconsidered" and it is obviously referring to Barrett's Quackwatch (two tees). Would we have an article on Stephen Barret without Quackwatch? Certainly not: his notability is directly related to his website, and an article about his website can carry reviews of Barret's work through his website, as is in this case. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:55, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
It might be obviously about "Barrett's Quackwatch" but in fact refers only to Barrett. Hence my questioning. FWIW yes we do have an article on Stephen Barrett with reference in it to a different article. And I believe that there have been several attempts to merge the two - which have ended up with the current status. Sooooo, we have a quote which is primarily about the person Stephen Barrett - and what does policy encourage us to do with it? Shot info (talk) 03:14, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
No, I don't buy that. We have an article on Barrett that is mainly a biographical article. The author of this book does not refer to the life of Stephen Barrett, rather, to his work in Quackwatch as per the source's conclusion. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:18, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, naturally you don't buy that, otherwise we wouldn't be here. But the fact is, we have a quote that criticses Barrett, not QW. Sure with a gentle hint of "obviousness" we can make it about QW - but we don't have that luxury. Shot info (talk) 03:22, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't buy it, because the source refers in the concluding statement of the book section to Barrett's Quackwatch. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:05, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
"And BTW, he speaks highly of Barrett's attempts to fight quackery?" If he speaks highly of Barrett (and Quackwatch) then why is there only criticism about Quackwatch. QuackGuru 02:08, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Read the quotation above, and feel free to add from it. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:33, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Added some more material from that source. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:56, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Waltraud Ernst is a reliable source

The above thread appears to be about two works: One by David Hufford,[27] and one by Waltraud Ernst,[28] and questions about whether or not they are reliable sources which can be cited in the Quackwatch article. There appears to be some ongoing disagreement about whether or not the Hufford source is appropriate or not, so I recommend proceeding to another stage of dispute resolution on that one to seek a resolution.

As for the Waltraud Ernst book, Plural Medicine, tradition and modernity, published by Routledge, this one has been addressed through dispute resolution, via a thread at the Reliable Sources Noticeboard.[29] I have reviewed the thread, and it appears that the community consensus is that books published by Routledge are considered to be reliable sources. Anyone wishing to challenge information from these sources therefore has the burden of proof of providing other reliable sources which discredit the Routledge-published information. In other words: please do not delete citations to Routledge books unless there is a clear talkpage consensus to do so. Thanks, --Elonka 03:35, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

A paper published in The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, a peer-reviewed journal [30] by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, written by a Professor and Interim Chair of Humanities at the Penn State College of Medicine,[31] is a reliable source and can be properly attributed and included in an article that discusses a website that is directly related to Medicine, Law, and Ethics. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:47, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with jossi. The Hufford source is undeniably reliable and its apropos content should be reintroduced into the article. -- Levine2112 discuss 18:51, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Thinking about it, I do not agree that Hufford is reliable. We would need to investigate whether ASLME is a fringe organization, which has not yet been done. There are clearly fringe academic publications, even those with otherwise reliable publishers, which are not necessarily reliable. I can't find enough information on their web site to convince me either way. (Ernst, on the other hand, is clearly reliable and notable.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:13, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
There appear to be reasonable voices on both sides of the discussion about the Hufford source. Since this has been discussed for months without achieving a consensus, I recommend proceeding to another step of dispute resolution, such as starting a thread at one of the dispute resolution noticeboards, or filing a Request for Comment. Maybe that will put the matter to rest. --Elonka 20:06, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, Elonka, but I cannot see how a respected peer-reviewed journal cannot be considered as a reliable source. See [32] If there are editors that claim that an organization founded in 1911 (Massachusetts Society of Examining Physicians) is a fringe source, the burden is on them to prove this and not the other way around. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:36, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
(ec) The Journal is published by Blackwell Publishing [33] and its online version by Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press.[ [34] ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:43, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Or else someone can go around claiming that all sources are fringe and simply blank an article. The burden should first lay with those leveling the accusation. Until then, I don't feel that removing this text from the article is justified. -- Levine2112 discuss 21:38, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Not really, the burden of "proof" lies on the editor inserting the info. If something is deemed not to meet WP then it's ditched. This is why we have a bunch of noticeboards to discuss these items when "issues" arise. What Elonka proposes is the Wikipedia way forward however if nobody wishes to do so, then it seems we have consensus. Of course this is all "How to Edit" 101 which we all know. Shot info (talk) 22:01, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I am all for other methods of dispute resolution, but until there is some consensus that the material is unreliable, then it should stay in. The burden of proof is on those who have claimed that the source isn't reliable. That's the way Wikipedia works. It may take some searching, but believe that this source had previously been taken to NORN and it was found to be reliable. -- Levine2112 discuss 22:21, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
From its website: "ASLME is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians." Not exactly screaming out fringe, but can we ever be really, really, really sure? Itsmejudith (talk) 22:29, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
 :-) I guess we can't ever be really, really, really sure? Would you settle for just really, really sure? Given this, I favor inclusion with the reservation that an objecting editor can (and very well should) take this matter to another form of WP:DR if so desired. Any problems with moving ahead as such? -- Levine2112 discuss 22:32, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Plural Medicine

We're discussing the the chapter from Plural Medicine titled "Limiting pluralism, medical scientism, quackery, and the internet" by Ned Vankevich. This is Ned Vankevich. --Ronz (talk) 18:47, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Given Vankevich's credentials, or lack of them, I'm not sure why his opinions are relevant to Quackwatch without mentioning post-modernism, especially anti-positivism.
Maybe we can link to Sokal affair ;^) --Ronz (talk) 00:39, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Straw poll: Hufford

In order to try and clarify everyone's point of view on whether or not to include the Hufford source[35] in the article,[36] could everyone please weigh in here, one opinion per editor? This is not a vote (See WP:POLL), but it may help to clarify everyone's current stance. For example, each person could say "Keep" or "Remove", followed by a sentence or two on why you think that. Again, this isn't a vote, so just saying "keep" or "remove" without an explanation, will have no weight. But hopefully if we can get all the opinions in one place, it'll make things easier to sort out. Thanks, --Elonka 23:10, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

  • Keep - A peer reviewed article in a Journal published by Blackwell Publishing [37]; its online version by Stanford University Libraries' HighWire Press;[38] written by a Professor member of the faculty of the Penn State College of Medicine, is a reliable source for this article. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:41, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
    • Note: This is not an issue about "moving on". Either we have a reliable source here or we don't. WP:UNDUE does not apply for a significant opinion, and this clearly is (Law and Eithics in Medicine). I have yet to see any arguments that make this source to be not appropriate for this article. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:49, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Keep - This is published in a notable peer reviewed journal and comes to us from a notable professor from a very notable medical institution. As an expert in Humanities at Penn State College of Medicine, Hufford is certainly well-qualified to assert his opinion that Quackwatch lacks a commitment to objective scientific practice and relies too much on personal belief, and such an opinion is relevant enough to include in this article. -- Levine2112 discuss 23:46, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Remove. Detailed analysis:
    1. Peer-reviewed: Check, toward keep
    2. Publisher's credentials: check
    3. "Mainstream" nature of the subject of the journal's charter: Marginal. Could weight toward keep "if" that charter were included in the body of the article.
    4. Relevance of QW in that charter: Slight, toward remove.
    5. Relevance of the article to QW: slight, tangential to the principle topic of Dr. Schneiderman, and consisting primarily of approving of Kaufmann's review of QW.
    6. Academic credentials of the author: Good, but not relevant either to the journal's charter or to QW. As they're not relevant, they shouldn't be included in the article. Neutral as to keeping the reference.
    Overall value: negative. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arthur Rubin (talkcontribs) 00:02, September 23, 2008
  • Remove and put into Stephen Barrett - for reasons I articulate above. Also if the reference is not marginal, it would clearly be not marginal. If this status is murky (which it clearly is) then QED, status is marginal. Shot info (talk) 00:29, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Remove We have no secondary source with which to determine how it's relevant, and we're not agreeing on how it's relevant among ourselves. If we keep it, then we have an WP:UNDUE problem to resolve. Given the amount of effort we've put into trying to present it properly, it's time to put it aside and move on. --Ronz (talk) 00:45, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Neutral at this stage. But while we are here, what about reference 77? It doesn't even mention the claim it is supposed to be referencing. Kaiwhakahaere (talk) 01:34, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Remove Hufford's piece is a marginal opinion without any context added. No explanation for Hufford's opinion is presented in the article. It was a minor comment and not a review of Quackwatch. It cannot bear the WP:WEIGHT of WP:NPOV anyhow. QuackGuru 01:40, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Remove Hufford is a folklorist who is in the employ of a humanities department and has a joint appointment to ruffle feathers at Penn State medical school. He is not a reliable source for critique, moreover, he's just recycling Kauffman's critique which was already removed. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:41, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Poll discussion

(response to Kaiwhakahaere's comment) Slap a verify tag on it or just pull it out (your call). Shot info (talk) 01:41, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

(response to Jossi's comment) The symposium back-and-forth was not subject to peer review. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:42, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

(response to Levine2112's comment) Though the journal publishes peer-reviewed article, this particualr back-and-forth was not peer reviewed. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:42, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

(response to Arthur Rubin's comment) Actually, this particular work is not peer-reviewed in the normal sense. They just published symposia correspondence. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:43, 23 September 2008 (UTC)


ScienceApologist has gone ahead and removed the Hufford piece [39] claiming that it was agreed upon on this discussion page to do so. As we are only at the Straw Poll stage of DR, I frankly don't see how he could have concluded this. Thoughts of what to do? Should his edit be reverted? Should he be disciplined for reverting yet again and not participating in these ongoing proceedings? He has already been cautioned for edit warring in regards to a similar set of edits. -- Levine2112 discuss 19:25, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

If SA is correct as to the content of the article, (I am unable to check), the reference shouldn't be here; not because of any question of relevancy, but because the only reference to QW is a quote of Kaufmann. Would reinserting the reference with {{verification failed}} be more appropriate? I agree that SA is being tendenatious, but this time, he's clearly right. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:29, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
You agree with his position that the information should be removed. I understand. However do you see that given that there is disagreement about whether or not the text meets some "relevancy" standard" and that the discussion is on-going, that he removal at this time is premature and thus disruptive to the DR process? I am not sure about the "verification failed" caveat at this time, because I don't know how that applies. Is there some verification issue with the Hufford text? -- Levine2112 discuss 21:01, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
There seems to be a dispute as to the context. It appears that the excerpt of Hufford's article related to QW is a "review" of Kaufmann's review of QW, so should only be listed under Kaufmann. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:30, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
What do you mean by "should only be listed under Kaufmann"? -- Levine2112 discuss 21:45, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the Hufford removal because as it was written it failed verification, was not a review, and only briefly mentioned QW. The editors who want to continue to add controversial material as well as unverified content to the article have a hard time understanding the reasons it was removed. QuackGuru 21:36, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I've notified ScienceApologist that we've got #Conditions for editing back on the article, and that he shouldn't be removing citations to reliable sources. As for the poll, it's only been running for about a day, so I'd like to give it more time to let people weigh in. Also, is there a compromise here anywhere, that would address everyone's concerns? For example, could we keep the Hufford citation itself, but just reword the paragraph that uses that citation? --Elonka 01:21, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

There's no compromise possible. Hufford must go because he doesn't really offer a review of Quackwatch. Cherry-picking a few sentences that criticize QW by implication is the sorriest of sourcing. Besides, the article wasn't properly reviewed. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:28, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I am curious about what Arthur means by "should only be listed under Kaufmann". Perhaps there is a course for compromise there. I always think compromise is possible. I don't think the "the article wasn't properly reviewed" argument really holds water. None of Quackwatch's articles are properly reviewed yet they are used as source all throughout Wikipedia. -- Levine2112 discuss 02:32, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Classic WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS argument. We already agreed not to include Kaufmann here. By the same token we agree not to include Hufford. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:14, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
(Third try, third different browser.) It appears that Hufford's reference to QW is only quoting Kaufmann, so there's no reason to include this reference in the article. {{verification failed}} tag was appropriate, but {{importance-inline}} or {{relevance-inline}} might have been better, if they existed. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Could I please see a link to the Kaufmann discussion, with consensus about not including him? Thanks, --Elonka 18:38, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I beleive that you will find that no such consensus exists. It was one of those long, on-going battles which I beleive kind-of sort-of ended with a compromise to include Hufford's reference to Kaufmann rather than just Kaufmann. The main issue with Kaufmann was that his review of Quackwatch was published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, which - though peer-reviewed by an impressive editorial board - was deemed "unreliable" by the opposition here. However, since Hufford quoted the review in a more reliable source, Hufford was allowed in the article in place of Kaufmann. I believe that this is the way it went down. -- Levine2112 discuss 19:32, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
It would be helpful if you would provide differences to support your conclusions. QuackGuru 19:35, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
What conclusions? I am only giving my opinion of what I think happened. Mostly, I feel that the Kaufmann dispute ended because the supporters of inclusion got burned out after months of stonewalling from the detractors. Here you can read a little bit about what I am saying. I still think that Kaufmann should be included in this article. It is the only thorough website review from a scientific viewpoint that we know of. The basis for exclusion of this source seems to have been tantamount to WP:IDONTLIKEIT. -- Levine2112 discuss 22:06, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Conditions for editing

Per discretionary sanctions authorized via cases such as Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Homeopathy and Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience, restrictions are now in place on the editing of this article. These restrictions are in effect until October 23, 2008:

  • Do not remove citations (references) to reliable sources (though the information from those sources can be changed)
  • 1RR, meaning editors are allowed only one revert per day
    • A "revert" is defined as something that might be done with the "undo" or "rollback" buttons, or any manual edit which effectively does a clean revert to a previous version of the article. However, changes to the work of other editors are allowed, and even encouraged, as long as an attempt is made to try different compromise wording than what has been tried in the past.
    • Exceptions:
      • Reverting vandalism does not count towards the revert restriction
      • If something is added that is unsourced, it can be deleted immediately, per Wikipedia's policy on verifiability
      • Anything that is obviously troublesome (such as very biased, potentially untrue, or an obvious BLP violation), can be deleted on the spot. Please use a clear edit summary such as "removing BLP violation, see talkpage", and then follow up at talk with an explanation of the edit.

Other advice (though not necessarily specific conditions):

  • Ensure that any new material that is added, has a reliable source
  • If you see someone add something that you disagree with, the best option is: don't revert it, change it. Specifically: Try to change it to a compromise wording, or add some (sourced) alternate view wording nearby.
  • Long sections of the article can be condensed. Do not remove references to reliable sources, but information from those sources can definitely be condensed, expanded, moved around, and/or re-worded.
  • Useful tags:
    • {{POV-statement}} - Adds [neutrality disputed}
    • {{lopsided}} - Adds [opinion needs balancing]
    • {{fact}} - Adds [citation needed]
    • {{vc}} - Adds [unreliable source?]
    • {{vs}} - Adds [verification needed]

Bottom line: Stay civil. Try not to revert other editors. If you disagree with an addition, instead of deleting it, try to change it.

Good luck, Elonka 05:20, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Administrative notes

This section is for the use of uninvolved administrators in managing the dispute on this page

Uninvolved admins

Editors notified of ArbCom restrictions

The following active editors on this page have been formally notified of the potential of discretionary sanctions, per Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Homeopathy or Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Pseudoscience.

Other frequent editors on this page

Note: Being listed here does not imply that these editors were disruptive. It is simply for reference, a list of those editors who have recently been actively engaged with this article.

Admin log

  • Conditions established: 18:38, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Page protection lifted by Seicer. 15:43, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
  • QuackGuru (talk · contribs) formally cautioned about talkpage disruption.[40][41] If he continues repeating the same charges over and over, I recommend temporarily banning him from the talkpage. --Elonka 15:12, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Jossi (talk · contribs) cautioned about reverting. GRBerry 18:06, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Minderbinder (talk · contribs) cautioned about disruption.[42][43] --Elonka 17:19, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Shot info (talk · contribs) cautioned about reverting.[44] --Elonka 16:35, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Conditions expired on August 30
  • Conditions were archived on September 19, then edit-warring broke out again, so have been unarchived on September 21, pending discussion. --Elonka 23:08, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Ludwigs2 (talk · contribs) blocked for one week for edit-warring, by admin Vsmith on September 20.[45]
  • Levine2112 (talk · contribs) cautioned about edit-warring, by admin Vsmith on September 21.[46]
  • ScienceApologist (talk · contribs) cautioned about disruption and edit-warring.[47] --Elonka 23:08, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
  • Ludwigs2 (talk · contribs) formally notified of the Pseudoscience case. --Elonka 04:12, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
  • New conditions established for 30 days, including 1RR restriction, after discussion between admins Elonka and Vsmith.[48] --Elonka 05:22, 23 September 2008 (UTC)


Previous discussions have been archived at
Talk:Quackwatch/Archive 14#Discussion
Anyone, admin or editor, who has questions or comments on any of the above, may post here.

Restrictions followup

As a followup, the above #Conditions for editing expired on August 30. The article seems to have stabilized since then, which is great, and I congratulate everyone involved.  :) I don't personally see any reason to renew the conditions, and recommend that we just archive this entire section. Does anyone else feel that the conditions should be renewed and/or changed, or do you feel that they've done their job? --Elonka 19:51, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Job well done. -- Levine2112 discuss 19:54, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
LOL, restrictions get lifted and it's the civil POV pushers who get blocked/banned. Wonder why that is?? Shot info (talk) 22:40, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

I see various people calling for restrictions to be re-established on this article, such as 1RR. Can I get more details on what 1RR would mean exactly? 1 revert per editor per day? Per week? My own inclination is to put 0RR on the article for a week to keep it from being yanked around while we sort things out, but I'm open to suggestions. -Elonka 23:18, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

FWIW, I think you should stick to 3RR - and come down heavy on those editors who do the "up to 3 rv per day" trick. You know who they are - some of them have been recently blocked. In that way normal editing can resume, and when a little edit war breaks out (which it will) then you can step in to block the editor that starts it (not the other one or both). Sure, after a couple of edit wars and a couple of blocks - normality will resume without the need for EP. And if there are editors who edit war, get blocked, edit war, get blocked, then go for a Community Sanction on AN/I. Sure it's a bit more work for admins, but hey, what else is the mop and bucket really for? Shot info (talk) 23:25, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Two things

Two things, 1 - Elonka "warned" SA prior to slapping her Elonka Policy back on the page - yet we see her adding in the warning into the list above - why is it acceptable to have no restriction, then a warning, then restrictions, then assume that warning is included...perhaps to pre-emptively "get" an editor? And 2 - would Elonka care to explain the reasoning why Quackwatch falls under the Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Homeopathy? Shot info (talk) 23:17, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

There are currently no active restrictions on this article. The last conditions expired on August 30. --Elonka 23:21, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
So this "ScienceApologist (talk · contribs) cautioned about disruption and edit-warring.[15] --Elonka 23:08, 21 September 2008 (UTC)" means nothing? Also, care to explain your reasoning why Quackwatch falls under the Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Homeopathy? Shot info (talk) 23:25, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
When restrictions were first placed on this article, the most relevant case was the Homeopathy case, which applied to "articles which relate to homeopathy, broadly interpreted". Which definitely includes Quackwatch, since the site covers homeopathy. Since then, however, a newer and more appropriate case, the Pseudoscience case, has become active as of late July 2008. The discretionary sanctions available under either case (Homeopathy or Pseudoscience) are identical, so it doesn't really matter which case is used. I've stuck with the Homeopathy case for continuity's sake, though I see that some admins are starting to warn under Pseudoscience, which is fine. It is not uncommon for a disputed article (or editor) to be within the scope of multiple cases. --Elonka 00:02, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
So it the application of the ArbCom case doesn't relate to the article in question, but (in this particlar case) relates to the 3rd party website? So using this logic, this implies that the ArbCom case can be pushed out to any organisation that mentions the word even if the word is only tangentially used in the article? FWIW, it would be interesting to see those editors who would disagree that QW comes under the Pseudoscience ArbCom restrictions, because Quackwatch covers pseudoscience, especially as they fight to stop their particular form of woo from being identified as pseudoscience :-) Shot info (talk) 02:00, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
When ArbCom said "broadly interpreted", their intent (as I understand it) was to give tools to uninvolved administrators, to help reduce disruption to the project. So whether it's the "homeopathy" or "pseudoscience" ArbCom case isn't really the point, since the potential discretionary sanctions are identical. To give a general example: If there were an article in a chronic state of edit-warring, and an administrator used the Homeopathy discretionary sanctions to help stabilize the article, even though the article was only weakly-related to homeopathy, ArbCom would probably support those sanctions. The goal of the sanctions is to reduce disruption to the project, with the minimum of amount of administrator intervention necessary. In fact, I would point out something that some people seem to be missing: In the several weeks that the #Conditions for editing were in effect on the Quackwatch article, not a single editor was banned or blocked, and the article never required the protection toggle. Before the Conditions, the article had been in and out of protection for months.[49] During the Conditions, there were definitely warnings issued to several editors, but the editors heeded those warnings, and no further administrator action was required. Which I see as a good thing: No editors had to deal with the "black mark" of a block in their logs, and the article stayed open to editing by everyone. Without the discretionary sanctions, what probably would have happened would have been for the article to continue to go in and out of a nobody-can-edit "protection" state, and/or various editors would have been completely blocked from Wikipedia. I personally dislike blocks except as a last resort, because when we block an editor, we lose all the other good edits that they may be providing in other non-disputed areas. Plus it puts that black mark in their record, which stays with them permanently, long after the original dispute is forgotten. So, when all that fuss can be avoided with just an admin-issued nudge here and there, I see that as a better solution. In all the times that I have used discretionary sanctions, I'd say in 90%+ of situations, all I needed to do was post a note or caution to someone's talkpage. Actual bans or blocks have been very very rare. --Elonka 21:18, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your clarification. No doubt the Community is very interested in seeing your particular interpretation of what the ArbCom is attempting to do. FWIW, everything that you suggest is a good thing and as a result of your implemention of EP can be performed by any admin using the existing set of policies. All your actions did (as discussed in your RfC) was to shut down the article. Shot info (talk) 21:53, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

(unindent) I think this is a case of someone with a hammer looking for things to hit. Worse, we appear to have no way to change the hammer, how it's used, or otherwise fit it into the normal consensus-derived processes here on Wikipedia. --Ronz (talk) 00:27, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Controversial edit

{{subst:Pseudoscience enforcement}} Ludwigs2 made a controversial edit by removing well sourced material. Ludwigs2 should be notified about the sanctions. QuackGuru 04:00, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

What is controversial about that edit? Any specifics? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:03, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
I think QG is implying that Ludwig2's edit equates (or even exceeds) edits made by himself that have been sanctioned (or rather warned) over. But it was two days ago, which seems to be a lifetime ago <shrugs>. But here in Wikiwonderland, strange things sometimes occur :-). Shot info (talk) 04:09, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
QG brings up a good point that Ludwigs2 hadn't been formally notified of any ArbCom case. Which is indeed one of those "Wikiwonderland" things, that someone can be blocked for a week without any notification, but can't be banned from a single article unless they've been formally cautioned first. Ah well, I've posted the notification, so it's all moot now. --Elonka 04:14, 22 September 2008 (UTC)
[50][51] Not one but two controversial edits were made in a short time period. The edit restored text that was suggested by Hufford. It seems to be taken out of context and was not a review. QuackGuru 01:58, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Controversial? What is controversial about a peer reviewed article? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:02, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Read my previous comment. Also see Talk:Quackwatch#Straw poll: Hufford. QuackGuru 02:09, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Here is another controversial edit. The content is about Barrett and not Quackwatch. The Quackwatch part fails verification. Why was this added to this article when it is about Barrett and not Quackwatch. QuackGuru 03:18, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Nope. The source has that wording: "Quackwatch has had some reversals in the courts". If a source describes Quackwatch as having reversals in court, we report that. You may disagree with my edits, as well as present arguments, but please, stop characterizing my edits as "controversial".≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:22, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
There is no evidence Quackwatch went to court. It was Barrett and not Quackwatch that went to court. The way it is currently written is misleading. If it is fixed it would explain it was Barrett. Why was this added to this article when it was Barrett and not Quackwatch. QuackGuru 03:30, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
See WP:V. We report what sources say on a subject. Read the book. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:34, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Quackwatch never filed any court cases. Barrett does not equal Quackwatch. QuackGuru 03:48, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Actually, I would have to concur with QG here Jossi. To the best of my knowledge QW never had any court action. Instead it was Barrett as an individual, or in conjunction with a team of people. I have a feeling that the source may be conflagrating Barrett and QW together which in itself is problematic (as the discussion about Hufford also articulates). Shot info (talk) 03:56, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I think that there is a need to discuss this segregation between Barrett and Quackwatch articles. I believe that such segregation is artificial and has no merit, but I am willing to hear arguments against my assessment. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:49, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
The same pattern with the Hufford piece is happening again with this latest problematic edit. QuackGuru 04:09, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. A source which says "QW sued" might possibly be included, but only with the caveat that the source is clearly incorrect. in so stating. (This is without reviewing this particular reference. It may be it's not notable or reliable in regard to Barrett, either.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 12:51, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Barrett's article and this article

I have yet to understand why there are two articles. After all, the notability of Barrett is directly related to his website (no website, not notable). So why do we have two articles? And if there are grounds for two articles, what is the rationale for segregating content to either article? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 03:25, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I believe (without double checking the archieves) that this has come up a couple of times before. And in any case, Barrett has now separate notability for a rather spectacular court case called Barrett v. Rosenthal Shot info (talk) 03:58, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
This Barrett v. Rosenthal tiny article is in mainspace. Stephen Barrett is more notable than a tiny article that problably would not survive an AFD. QuackGuru 04:41, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
That article needs to be merged with Stephen Barrett. As for the previous discussions about separate articles, I would be interested in reading them. Thanks. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:46, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Go crazy, the archieves are there. Shot info (talk) 05:02, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
That's just wrong. Barrett v. Rosenthal is a notable court case, being the first appealate ruling that the CDA's provisions apply to protect individual content providers from suits related to intentional (but not collusive) reprinting of defamatory material. merging it to Barrett is clearly inappropriate. If anywhere, it should be merged to Ilena Rosenthal, but she's managed to prevent any such article from being written by vandalism. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 12:47, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Merging any of the articles would be a very bad idea. This has been discussed pretty thoroughly before and clearly rejected. Reviving it would just be disruptive. Let's move on to other matters. -- Fyslee / talk 05:09, 25 September 2008 (UTC)


Some editors have been asserting that all the lawsuits are related to Barrett, but a cursory look into sources available online, Quackwatch, Inc. and have been named in lawsuits. Any comments? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:45, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Can you provide such sources? I believe that what we need for inclusion is more than just a court record, but some sort of coverage by a third-party source. -- Levine2112 discuss 23:54, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, please provide sources. I know of one lawsuit (filed by Hulda Clark) that named the Quackwatch website, some other websites, and a few internet discussion groups, as well as a long list of people, but that lawsuit was dropped before going to court. People can be sued, not websites. -- Fyslee / talk 06:51, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Detailed description needs moving

A sentence (underlined) needs to be moved:


Founded in 1969 by Stephen Barrett, M.D., the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud was incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania in 1970.[3] In 1996, the corporation began the Quackwatch website, and the organization itself was renamed Quackwatch in 1997 as its website attracted attention.[4] Quackwatch is closely affiliated with the National Council Against Health Fraud.[5] As of 2003, Quackwatch engaged the services of 150+ scientific and technical advisors. 67 medical advisors, 12 dental advisors, 13 mental health advisors, 16 nutrition and food science advisors, 3 podiatry advisors, 8 veterinary advisors, and 33 other "scientific and technical advisors" were listed.[6]

Mission and scope

Quackwatch is overseen by Barrett, its chairman, with input from a board of advisors and help from volunteers, including a number of medical professionals.[7] (Needs to be placed here.) Quackwatch describes its mission as follows:

That sentence doesn't belong in the History section at all anyway. Any objections to such a move? -- Fyslee / talk 06:46, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
No objection, that seems like a good idea. I would suggest the sentence itself could use some editorial pruning, but am not sure what would be the best way to do it, other than that dropping the final "were listed", to prevent a run-on, seems appropriate. Baccyak4H (Yak!)
Okay, barring any objections, let's move on with a proposed version here:


Founded in 1969 by Stephen Barrett, M.D., the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud was incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania in 1970.[3] In 1996, the corporation began the Quackwatch website, and the organization itself was renamed Quackwatch in 1997 as its website attracted attention.[4] Quackwatch is closely affiliated with the National Council Against Health Fraud.[5]

Mission and scope

Quackwatch is overseen by Barrett, its chairman, with input from a board of advisors and help from volunteers, including a number of medical professionals.[7] As of 2003, Quackwatch engaged the services of 150+ scientific and technical advisors. 67 medical advisors, 12 dental advisors, 13 mental health advisors, 16 nutrition and food science advisors, 3 podiatry advisors, 8 veterinary advisors, and 33 other "scientific and technical advisors" were listed.[6]

Quackwatch describes its mission as follows: .....

How's that? If there is any change I can see right now, possibly tweaking the subheading (Mission and scope) to be more descriptive and inclusive of this content might help. Maybe "Operations, mission, and scope"? -- Fyslee / talk 21:53, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Since there haven't been any objections, I'll try to implement this change. -- Fyslee / talk 02:57, 3 October 2008 (UTC)


[52][53] Here are two refs that might be of interest. QuackGuru 18:08, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Pharmacist bit

Bao-Anh Nguyen-Khoa, a pharmacist, reviewed Quackwatch in the The Consultant Pharmacist. Nguyen-Khoa characterized Quackwatch as "relevant for both consumers and professionals", though he felt that the presence of so many single-author articles by Barrett "leaves one sensing a lack of fair balance in his condemnation of many dubious health therapies. Steps to correct this are under way, as many reputable professionals have signed on to populate the site in their areas of expertise." Nguyen-Khoa remarked that the implementation of a peer review process would benefit the site, and since the review one has been implemented.[8][6]

Comments on pharmacist bit

This is a bit too long because it contains duplication. Thoughts? QuackGuru 18:11, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

I had a go at consolidating that paragraph in the efforts I mentioned below. I agree it was clumsy and wordy, and think I improved it. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 20:11, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
It's OK. We have done this before several times of course. Itsmejudith (talk) 20:21, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

copyedits in Reviews

I just did some of these, mainly to make more readable. Some POV issues were noted there and I hope I improved that as well. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 19:59, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Cudos to you! Well done. These are sensitive wordings, so you are brave and your edits seem pretty good. I do have some question about one of them. I'm not sure it follows the source properly. I guess the problem is that it's not verifiable here. I wish we had a link to the actual source. Do we have it somewhere here? I have another quibble, which is not determinative as to whether or not we keep this source at all, but I don't believe it's even a true statement! (I'm not talking about your version, but the previous one.) I think it's basically false. I'd like to see those who defend its inclusion (not you, Baccyak4H) provide something from Quackwatch that actually backs up this likely false accusation by Waltraud Ernst. I think she's off base here. I'm going to tag that part so we get some attention drawn to it. -- Fyslee / talk 05:02, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. To be honest though, I don't have the source either. I based my edits simply on the previous wording, and tried to not make it read like a POV struggle, yet retain apparent balance. Naturally, if it can be demonstrated that the source does not support this (or prev), let's fix or even gut it. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 13:32, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

(Followup) OK, I am trying my hand in other parts as well, using the content already there but tightening and clarifying so that the article reads better. I understand the article is a sensitive one so please question any of my edits which deserve it. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 14:40, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

The word acknowledges is used in two sentences in a row. For the second sentence I recommend changing it back to states that. QuackGuru 16:28, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
That's a good point. "states that" is OK but I tend to read subtle weaselness into that phrase, a weaker version of "claims" if you will. Perhaps "credits" with appropriate reorgainzing the second sentence? However, the actual "claims" (noun) of funding sources themselves are not really controversal in the sense some other material might be. So I'll leave it to others to hash out. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 16:38, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I too question the short series of three(?) changes starting here. "States" is totally neutral and the wording had no special weaknesses or problems worth correcting. "Claims" is a denigrating weasel word that should be used with much caution. "Acknowledges" indicates a response to a question or usually an accusation, so it is also problematic.
Let's stick to the totally neutral version. I think we originally arrived at that wording as a solution to a similar discussion, so we are only reverting to the consensus version. In fact, all these changes have been undiscussed changes to an existing consensus version, which is pretty dangerous in this explosive minefield of an article. There are a number of editors who have been indefinitely banned over battles involving this article. Fortunately most of the current edits seem to be innocuous and not worth fighting over, but please be more cautious and present your suggested changes here first using their own headings. -- Fyslee / talk 02:54, 3 October 2008 (UTC)