User talk:MastCell/Archive 21

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Archive 20 Archive 21 Archive 22


Rife Reversion And Revision...

I noticed you reverted all my recent edits regarding Royal Raymond Rife. I can understand if you think those edits were unsubtatiated. They were. Though my own personal experience has proved to me their validity. On the other hand, I've removed a few sentences which I found to be highly biased and infamitory. Some of the things in those sentences were referenced, however the references themselves were extremely weak inasmuch as they were based solely upon opninion, WITHOUT ANY empirical evidence. Therefore, while you are certainly "bigger" as an administrator, in the interest of fairness, I would very much appreciate you leaving it more or less as is now. Or, at the very leased not reverting my edit in its entirety. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:40, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

The important difference here is between personal opinion and experience, which doesn't really have a place in a Wikipedia article, vs. verifiable material from a reliable source which you may find "biased and inflammatory", but which nonetheless has a place in a Wikipedia article. MastCell Talk 23:50, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Please allow me to ask you three questions:

1. In the Cancer Society paper referenced by the present Rife Wiki article, in which various have restored to the article, specifically the part pertaining to rife, is what is written opinion, or is any empirical data offered?

2. While people may have died (I know of only one case, actually) while using Rife type devices, is it not indisputable that thousands upon thousands of people have died during and after treatment for cancer by chemotherapy?

3. Would you take the time to view the third video at, the film of Rife's lab, and tell me what you think? I saw it for the first time last night, and I'd sincerely like to know your opinion of it.

Sincere Regards. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

1. In general, the scientific method demands evidence in support of a hypothesis. It does not accept a hypothesis off the bat and then demand that it be disproven. The American Cancer Society article makes clear that there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate the claims made by marketers of Rife devices. Whether you choose to call that "opinion" or "empirical data" is not particularly relevant.
2. I'll assume you're serious, and that you don't see a difference between a fraudulently marketed, completely untested device and chemotherapy, which has been systematically and rigorously studied in hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of patients with widely published and scrutinized statistics on efficacy and side effects. Chemotherapy has actually, demonstrably saved peoples' lives, while Rife devices have not, beyond the dubious and unverified anecdotes offered in marketing material. You set up a completely meaningless comparison. I can guarantee that more people have died from using penicillin than from using a Rife device, but... you see where I'm going, right? It would actually be more dangerous to treat one's syphilis with a Rife device than with pencillin.
3. I'm sorry, no. MastCell Talk 23:50, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Nassim Haramein!

This guy has a WP article! His 'theory', is. unfortunately, not that new: "World's Top Scientists Ponder: What If The Whole Universe Is, Like, One Huge Atom?". What is WP coming to......... Yilloslime (t) 03:41, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

Interesting reading, at least... MastCell Talk 23:39, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

An unbelievable witch hunt

1. K4T takes a Wikibreak from Obama related articles.

2. LotLE posts an endless series of snide remarks, personal attacks and false accusations against Noroton and WB74.

3. Noroton approaches LotLE and requests removal of the false accusation against Noroton. LotLE complies, but he leaves his personal attacks and false accusations against WB74 intact.

4. Since he is on Wikibreak, K4T is unaware of Event #3.

5. Upon his return, K4T notices LotLE's attacks against WB74 and starts going through LotLE's diffs on the page, copying all of his snide remarks, personal attacks and false accusations, including the one against Noroton that had been refactored.

6. K4T posts all of these excerpts as part of a warning to LotLE to stop making such offensive remarks or he will be reported.

7. And MastCell blocks .... K4T ?!?!?

This is outrageous. Kindly unblock K4T. Since his return from Wikibreak, his conduct has been excellent. A review of the diffs confirms that he was trying to post a warning to LotLE. WorkerBee74 (talk) 12:19, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I saw your cross-post of this note to WP:AN/I. Blocking K4T is not an indication that he's the only one behaving unconstructively on those pages. I don't agree that your chronology is representative. Basically, LotLE made an inappropriate comment. He was asked to refactor it, and he did, which is something we should be encouraging (of course, better still would be not to make the inflammatory comment in the first place, but baby steps...) When an editor has reflected on something they've said and toned it down in the interest of harmony, the absolute wrong thing to do is to re-post their original comment for them in order to berate them about it. This could, conceivably, have a role on LotLE's user talk page, which is usually the best place to attempt de-escalation, warnings, etc, but bringing it all back to Talk:Barack Obama is guaranteed to produce maximum disruption. Hence the block. I do not see a reason to lift it at this point; I will of course agree to an unblock if there is a signficant feeling among uninvolved admins and editors on WP:AN/I that one is warranted. I'm also willing to look at misconduct by LotLE, or other editors, should you wish to provide diffs here or at WP:AN/I. MastCell Talk 17:45, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

How about some science

Can you take a look at CIITA? I'm an old fart, and I don't keep up with biochemistry much these days. But this article gives me a headache trying to read it. I figured between you and Tim Vickers, it'll be a work of art. But it reads like OR. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:35, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

I think we should have notability criteria for genes, you know, like WP:GENE or something. I'll see what I can do, but "science" and "molecular biology" give me a headache. MastCell Talk 19:45, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
Then you're approaching uselessness around here.  :) OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 01:24, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
"Approaching"? You're kinder than most. MastCell Talk 05:49, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

CNN Antelantalk 03:35, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

That is to say, (1) attractive people can get into the news for any reason, and (2) even barely-literate CNN cites the 70-80% number for EM. Antelantalk 03:37, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. I have some thoughts about this whole situation, but Wikipedia is probably not the appropriate forum for them. Thanks for the link - interesting reading. MastCell Talk 06:03, 7 July 2008 (UTC)


Re [1]. I think you were sensible, though it was funny William M. Connolley (talk) 21:19, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

No big...

Wasn't taken the wrong way. Suggested changes to ArbCom on the RFC, if you want to give it a read. :) SirFozzie (talk) 21:22, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

I'll take a look. Thanks for understanding. MastCell Talk 21:23, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Anon. GoodFaith

I'll note his IP or main account has hit my autoblock at [2] MBisanz talk 18:35, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Quick note

Thank you for the personal welcome to Wikipedia that you issued me over a year ago. I've enjoyed being a contributing member since then. Reinderientalk/contribs 06:38, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Glad to hear it. Hope things are going well. MastCell Talk 16:43, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Ludwigs2 (talk · contribs)

I have been asked, if not ordered, to be a civil editor. I have attempted to be so despite the personal attacks and tendentious editing of this editor. I believe it's time for Ludwigs to be shown the door. He doesn't play so nice.  :) OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:58, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Does that mean that it is RfC/U time already? (I also corrected the typo in the template above.) - Eldereft (cont.) 11:01, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
I do not get the reference. Sorry. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 14:44, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Allegations of apartheid deletion notification

Some time ago, you participated in a deletion discussion concerning Allegations of Chinese apartheid. I thought you might like to know that the parent article, Allegations of apartheid, was recently nominated for deletion. Given that many of the issues that have been raised are essentially the same as those on the article on which you commented earlier, you may have a view on whether Allegations of apartheid should be kept or deleted. If you wish to contribute to the discussion, please see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Allegations of apartheid (fifth nomination). -- ChrisO (talk) 17:47, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Wait... let me get out my trusty ten-foot pole, since I swore never to come closer than that to any of those accursed articles ever again... MastCell Talk 22:28, 12 July 2008 (UTC)
Ten feet might be a bit short... ;-) -- ChrisO (talk) 22:50, 12 July 2008 (UTC)


I got a laugh out of this edit [3]. I don't have any opinion either way on the topic but I find your writing style humorous. Thanks! --mboverload@ 04:12, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

Take a look at my proposed wording for the "neutrality of tone" section

Please take a look through the "Synthesis of MC, SDY, HA, LW2 concerns" subsection on the NPOV talk page.

I've been working to draft a variant of your proposed wording. I made changes that I don't beleive change the principles you're going for, but I would greatly appreciate your feedback before I put it up for consensus discussion. HatlessAtless (talk) 17:56, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Will do. MastCell Talk 18:42, 14 July 2008 (UTC)


As the blocking admin, I would appreciate if you could keep an eye on Wikipedia:Requests for checkuser/Case/Muntuwandi and Origin of religion. Apparently users are posting obvious socks on the first; the second is still a breeding ground for socks. The Evil Spartan (talk) 18:41, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

OK, I've watchlisted both and extended the semiprotection on Origin of religion for another 2 weeks, though of course this will have only a limited effect. I'll keep an eye out; if you see obvious socks, feel free to report them to me here or by email and I'll try to look into them more quickly than what you'd get at WP:AN/I or WP:SSP. MastCell Talk 18:48, 14 July 2008 (UTC)
Hm. What do you think of Moontowandi (talk • contribs • deleted contribs • nuke contribs • logs • filter log • block user • block log)?  Sandstein  06:15, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Yup. But it looks like Sam Korn beat me to it. MastCell Talk 15:57, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

Unified log-on

it's easy - takes seconds and your account is created right across "the family". --Allemandtando (talk) 19:10, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

POV in David Reardon

Hi, MC. I've been pretty much inactive for about two months. Now I notice that IAA has practically vandalized David Reardon. She has removed everything that doesn't support her POV, rephrased things in line with her POV, and even removed perfectly good references. I try to AGF but it is very hard to assume that she was making a good faith effort to improve the article. I don't own the article and don't want to own it but somebody has to defend the article from POV-pushing. I intend to revert her edits. I wish I had the time and energy to engage in a talk page discussion in an honest effort to improve the article. I'd appreciate hearing your opinion about her edits and if you would keep an occasional eye on the article. Sbowers3 20:26, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

I was wondering when those articles would flare up again, though I had purposely committed to self-exile for a few months after the close of the ArbCom case to let things take their course and to avoid being accused of profiting from ArbCom's decision. Actually, I was wondering where you'd gone, since you were making good progress on them, I thought. I am loathe to get reinvolved, though I will look at the page again (I think I'd actually de-watchlisted it, or else I've just programmed myself to ignore its appearance on my watchlist). In general, I think the changes you were working on last time I looked, a few months ago, were positive ones. MastCell Talk 20:31, 15 July 2008 (UTC)


Why did I think of you when uncertain of this edit? I don't know enough of the systems to know if it's talking about intra or extracellular but I do know that it makes a difference. WLU (talk) 13:26, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, extracellular is correct. A fine point, though - the original text was intercellular, not intracellular. While "intercellular" is non-standard terminology, I think both versions have the same gist: histamine and other mediators are released from the cell into the environment. MastCell Talk 15:36, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Oops, me stupid. Thanks! WLU (talk) 17:15, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
No, it's not stupid at all - it took me a minute to catch the intra/inter thing, since it's an odd way of phrasing things. MastCell Talk 18:36, 16 July 2008 (UTC)


Why did you leave a 3-revert warring warning on my talk page, but did not leave a similar warning on Paul Gene's page? He reverted my edits twice, but i reverted his only once. My first edit was to add content to his content, which he reverted. My second edit was to delete the errors of fact in his comments after i reviewed his reference. He stated that leukemia, lung, and pancreas, had shown no improvement after injections, and yet injections were not mentioned for those, and benefit had been shown for leukemia and pancreas. For reasons you have not explained, you also disagreed with these facts. So he reverted my edits again, without explaining his errors in fact, so i made probably my first revert after years of posting on wiki, while he made maybe his 10th revert on the resveratrol article, which i pointed out in the revert. Please use fairness and due consideration when policing wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

I didn't warn Paul Gene because he's been around long enough to be aware of the three-revert rule, so a warning would be superfluous. The warning is a courtesy; its purpose is not to "punish" you, but to make sure you're aware of this site's policies on edit-warring. Paul Gene (and I) are bound by them just as much as you are.

I don't want to debate content issues here, but Paul's reading of the source was reasonable. For example, you cite a "benefit" shown in pancreatic cancer. The source actually indicates that there have been some interesting in vitro results with cell lines, but that resveratrol was ineffective in an in vivo hamster model of pancreatic cancer. Paul's edit more accurately reflected this. MastCell Talk 15:32, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

As my talk page says, I've been around a while too, so you're still being selective. You do not want to discuss content here, so i won't point out the 4 places you're wrong so far. That you do not wish to know where you're making errors is no surprise. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Since you've been around awhile, have you found a hostile, abusive tone to be effective here? Do you think that personal attacks in edit summaries are helpful? If you're already familiar with this site's policies, then I'll skip the templates and just tell you that you're behaving inappropriately and unconstructively. I'd be happy to discuss the reasons why you believe me to be wrong, but would prefer to do so on Talk:Resveratrol rather than here. MastCell Talk 16:21, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate the reminder of the personal attack rule as i am apt to identify the source of problems without regard to social consequences. My belief is that you take an opposite approach: in this case i believe you have placed social pleasantries above the facts, by perceiving me to be more at social fault without regard to if i am factually correct. I would like to see wikipedia place facts first, which i guess could go against your principles. I have added a section to the end of the discussion section of resveratrol. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:42, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
You know, I'm actually pretty hard to bait most days, not that you need to stop trying. :) In fact, in my initial post to this thread, I identified areas where I felt you were both factually incorrect and at "social fault". Anyhow, I'll drop by the article talk page. MastCell Talk 16:44, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Paul actually said it was mice, not hamster, a factual error, and i believe i had clarified that the benefit was in vitro only, a fact, not error. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:00, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Inappropiate Links

Inappropiate linking- please explain. You have not provided any info on why you have deemed the links inappropriate. Have you even looked at the linked site and read the white papers on the subject of HIPAA encryption? I am in the process of adding references to back up the claim. Thanks for your time and I will try to continue to add useful info. Also, please add the external link for HIPAA back since it is related and has related white papers on the site relating to HIPAA encrypted email. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Metamorph123 (talkcontribs) 01:30, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Replied on your talk page. MastCell Talk 04:12, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Robert Young (author)

First, thanks for the clean-up work on this article today. Second, I think I have identified an instance of SYN in the article, but I'd love for your input. Thanks, MastCell! -- Levine2112 discuss 17:18, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

You should also know...

LOL. Shhh, don't tell everybody the dark secrets!!!!! Shot info (talk) 22:50, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

The most unfair part was being accused of opposing heath freedom (sic). I think they should be free - I never have change for the damn vending machine. MastCell Talk 23:07, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

A concern

I know I should be assuming the assumption of good faith, but it's failing me, and I apologize.

The article should have a broad scope of coverage, and the opinions of noted individuals are a reasonable inclusion in the article, but leaving them out does not mean that the article was intentionally biased.

Defending science against the unwashed hordes is great and all, but "The article as currently written goes to great lengths to obscure that basic, vitally important fact in a blizzard of confidence intervals..." goes a bit far.

That it's not written in a fashion that will browbeat a reader with the obvious and stated conclusion and forces the reader to actually look at issues like confidence intervals and data quality instead of a litany of "sound bites"... is that so awful? SDY (talk) 07:37, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I dunno... maybe I need to let it go. That was actually one of the first articles I worked on when I started out here, so it's hard to see the big picture sometimes. I do think RoyBoy edits in good faith, and that he genuinely wants the article to be as good and accurate as it can be, so I should probably start from that point. At the same time, I think we (RoyBoy and I) have fundamentally different ideas of what the article should look like. I won't bore you with the details here, but people come through and try to address what they believe to be areas needing improvement, and ultimately they get discouraged, the article looks the same, and they move on.

I agree with you that encouraging people to look at detail is important. But you work in the health care field, so I'm sure you understand the other side: someone considering a medical decision deserves a clear, accurate, digestible summary of the current state of knowledge on the topic - a "sound bite", if you like - in addition to detail should they choose to examine it. I think the article does an excellent job with detail, but falls down on its obligation to clearly summarize that detail and clearly describe current expert opinion. My addition was an attempt to remedy that perceived shortcoming, though as you note I was probably unfair, or at least unconstructive, in the talk page post.

It bothers me when articles create the appearance of an active medical debate where none really exists, and I find this to be a very common phenomenon on Wikipedia. I've tried to address that issue on that article for almost 2 years now, on and off, and I've watched other people try to address it, to no avail, so frustration is certainly a factor. When I was younger in wiki-years and more naive, I spent a lot of time discussing the data with RoyBoy (check the article talk page archives). I don't bother anymore, in general, because it never goes anywhere and because who cares how two pseudonymous Wikipedians parse the data when Reliable Secondary Sources have spoken? I just happened to be looking at the article again, and I was struck by the fact that it carefully catalogs each and every tree without stepping back to look at the forest. As a reader, I want to see a brief, clear summary of the salient points before I dive into the minutiae, and the article fails to properly encapsulate it.

Yes, I'm tired of hearing about how the NCI panel was obtuse, secretive, and biased, and about how the rat studies from 1980 need to be more and more prominent, and how Joel Brind should have the last word on everything the NCI, WHO, etc have said, and how ACOG/RCOG/ACS don't "count" because they just copied the NCI's statement, and how the WHO didn't really "reject" the hypothesis even though their fact sheet is entitled "Induced abortion does not increase breast cancer risk". I'm tired of arguing about those things after multiple iterations, and I probably can't be fair or unjaundiced about them anymore, so I should step back. Anyhow, I have no intention of edit-warring over it; you're a good editor and I trust your judgement, so I'd be curious to hear what, if anything, you would change. MastCell Talk 09:08, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I've proposed a slightly different version that captures the essence but avoids the bludgeoning. SDY (talk) 09:20, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Orangemarlin 2.0 must need a slight upgrade

I haven't a clue what this is about. Do you? OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 14:35, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

I didn't read the above. Apparently, this is just one of those articles. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 14:36, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Eh, I think SDY does good work. To be honest, I'm not in a particularly constructive mood at the moment, as you might have guessed from my updated userpage, so he was right to call me on the tone of the talk page posts. I made my peace with the state of the article and moved on long ago, which was a conscious decision intended to improve my Wikipedia experience, and I need to stick to it. I took it off my watchlist long ago, but for some reason I surfed to it yesterday and got fired up about it again. MastCell Talk 17:35, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Sex drugs and rock and roll can help. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 23:03, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Help what? Help you get cirrhosis, tinnitus, amotivational syndrome, and chalmydia? See, I am in a bad mood. MastCell Talk 23:07, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Yup. You're beyond help. I believe a 72-hour hold is necessary. (Dialing 911). OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 00:34, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Look you MastCell person, you don't understand what Wikipedia is all about. You think Wikipedia is supposed to be all scintific and you use all these elitist journals and stuff that people have to pay to subscribe. That's so totally unfair to people whose ideas get rejected in the journals or don't even get into the journals. NPOV means everybody's ideas are equal. And the experts always get it wrong too -- all the exprots though the earth was flat so the they burned Galllilleio at the stake. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 22:17, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Ray, you are missed. MastCell Talk 21:28, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
I might drop by to josh around from time to time. But on my list of Fun And Rewarding Things To Do, "resume editing Wikipedia" is about six notches below "gouge out my pancreas with a screwdriver." Oh, and I swear to hell that I wrote the above before I saw that fellow's remark about burning Galileo at the stake. It's too hard to come up with absurd pseudo-bulldada rantings for the sake of humor when all possible ridiculosity already been offered with a straight face. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:50, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
You know, my personal hero Tom Lehrer once remarked on the difficulty of effectively satirizing a world which had awarded Henry Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize. Analagous difficulties abound here. MastCell Talk 03:01, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
By the way, have you considered auctioning off your admin bit on eBay? Someone should be getting some use out of it. MastCell Talk 18:44, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
I'll trade him my N ray generator for it. Antelan 21:17, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Oh wouldn't that be fun?  :) Maybe that's what Mr. Clown did!!! :) OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 18:10, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Input requested

I'd love for your feedback at Template:Pseudoscience. I created it recently. It's my first foray into Navbox template-land, so I'd appreciate any guidance or ideas you may have. Thanks! -- Levine2112 discuss 22:30, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Iba Mar Diop and the sock drawer

Thanks for tossing up that checkuser :) Unfortunately, doesn't sound like the guy is willing to give it a break. Shell babelfish 19:12, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

When you get a chance...

I think some editors are having problems with User:WorkerBee74 on the Obama pages again. You may recall that at the original Obama discussion, I'd proposed WorkerBee74 be banned for a period of time - he did end up getting blocked, but apparently has continued misbehaving since. I'd suggested they try RFC on user conduct but the filing party has some reservations with that. If you have a chance, please do look at the ANI. Cheers - Ncmvocalist (talk) 17:13, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Argh. I saw it, but I was hoping some other admins would step up and get involved. Dealing with those accounts on the Obama page is a mud pit - it ends up sucking up all my on-wiki time, and I get angry emails from all sides explaining point-by-point what a biased disgrace I am. Normally I'm up for that sort of thing, but I'm a bit tired of Wikipedia silliness at the moment and trying to refocus on articles where I'm interested and can see real improvement happening. But I'll keep an eye out. MastCell Talk 17:16, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
I myself was put off after the first time of going through it and I think most of the admins and other editors are sick of it. I was going to suggest to Orderinchaos to make another block, but I don't want to ask any admin to do that without looking at it thoroughly myself. Sigh, what to do. Logging off, will try to look at it later if nothing's done by anyone still. Cheers - Ncmvocalist (talk) 17:38, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Ideally, a handful of uninvolved admins could oversee the article for awhile, to provide sanity checks from others who are familiar with the ins and outs and who don't need two pages of diffs to evaluate each new complaint. This would also diffuse the Two Minutes' Hate that settles on individual admins when they take action there. Of course, Wikipedians have a term for a handful of admins who collaborate to rein in abusive behavior and improve an article in the face of tendentiousness: it's called a cabal. MastCell Talk 17:48, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Heh, I've noticed the cabal label has been popular in the last few months, though I haven't heard it shouted as much very recently. Anyway, I've proposed an official sort of article probation in the meantime - I think it'd save a lot of troubles, and would take care of any user who wants to play up there. Please do leave a note there if you support or oppose the terms proposed there. Cheers - :) Ncmvocalist (talk) 17:18, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Regarding that overlong ANI thread

Specifically this, would you mind telling me where I started foaming at the mouth without realizing it? ;) I just wish to avoid similar mishaps in the future. I'm sure you understand.--Ramdrake (talk) 19:05, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I wouldn't say you're foaming at the mouth. I think that you guys are justifiably frustrated at the situation. But for whatever reason, the noticeboard threads aren't effectively making your point. I see it, because I've looked at those pages, and Moreschi sees it, because he has an especially sharp nose for tendentious agenda accounts. But the fact is that such accounts can persist nearly indefinitely if they are able to master superficial politeness and avoid doing anything disruptive enough to be captured in a single diff or two (look at how long Jagz lasted). In such a situation, you guys need to be especially careful, because Wikipedia has a knee-jerk reaction to anything that looks like "ganging up", and a nearly inexhaustible sympathy for any underdog in a fight, no matter how well-deserved that underdog status may be. It doesn't matter that you're right, or that your edits move the article in a more positive direction, or that Zero g is a single-purpose purveyor of a rather unpalatable agenda, if it looks like you're all ganging up on him.

But what I particular referred to was bringing Elonka and Shell into it. Elonka is much more sympathetic to those accounts (Jagz and Zero g) than I would be. But attacking her on that basis does no good, and criticizing Shell doesn't either (I know you personally didn't do so; it's more a comment to the group). Shell is a sensible admin, and if she's not seeing your point, then the presentation needs work, because I know the point is valid. I hope that's useful. MastCell Talk 21:44, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, it was quite useful. Thank you for the honest feedback. :) --Ramdrake (talk) 15:26, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Please note:

A public apology for my part in this mess. (had to get teh IP unblock doen before i could post) ThuranX (talk) 00:29, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for striking. Not a big deal as far as I'm concerned; these sorts of misunderstandings come with the territory of online interaction. No hard feelings, I hope. MastCell Talk 03:14, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


I think it'd be okay to close the Neptun88 thread at AE now. RlevseTalk 20:19, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Done. Thanks for your input. MastCell Talk 18:24, 23 July 2008 (UTC)


Well, Mastcell, you are either directly ignoring me (and are a bit rude for it), or you changed your email address. If I could be so bold to ask which it is? Thanks. The Evil Spartan (talk) 22:51, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

The latter - I changed the email address associated with this account a little while ago, so if you're responding to older emails they've likely gone off into the ether. Would you mind resending your email using the "Email this user" link? Sorry about that. MastCell Talk 23:35, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
That would actually be difficult; however, I will make an attempt, though it may involve some copy/paste. The Evil Spartan (talk) 23:39, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
I apologize - I've tried to look at the old email account, but I'm not seeing anything recent from you there. I'll keep looking and let you know if I turn anything up. Sorry for the inconvenience. MastCell Talk 23:40, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


Is there some way we can put this issue finally to rest? The AN/I report on WorkerBee74 is quickly digressing into a small fight between editors. Is there some way that this can be finally settled? Brothejr (talk) 00:40, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest that whichever side stops responding to the other first will have "won". I made my opinion clear. I've already been on the sharp end of enforcing a few sanctions at Talk:Barack Obama, and would prefer to have a sanity check and some backup from other uninvolved admins before stepping in again. The problem is that when the thread degenerates into bickering between involved parties, it drives away uninvolved input. I'll keep an eye on it. MastCell Talk 16:55, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

moss-covered rolling balls of phlegm

Hi, saw this post. You mention "[ArbCom is] dealing with quite a few intractable issues; maybe this is partially their "fault" for accepting cases of limitlessly unmanageable scope (like this one)...". That seems true— but then what should be done with such moss-covered rolling balls of phlegm? Thanks Ling.Nut (WP:3IAR) 14:32, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

That's easy - break them into bite-sized nuggets of phlegm and deal with them one by one, systematically. You can't have a case which lumps together every grievance that any politically active editor has had over the past 3 years and then complain when it becomes unmanageable. There is enough substance for a case involving SlimVirgin alone to go foward. Some might say there's enough for a separate case involving JzG, though I don't agree. Finally, there's probably enough for a case involving FeloniousMonk. Any one of those would be challenging but surmountable for ArbCom. But combine them all, then throw in problems that people have with Viridae, Cla68, and Wikipedia Review, and the result is entirely predictable. MastCell Talk 16:51, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Why do you consider that there is a case for SV and FM, while not one for Viridae, Cla68 and the rest of the anti-SV/FM/Guy alliance? I'm not sure you can make a pronouncement on one group without making a similar damning one about the other. I've stepped out of the fray because it was getting nasty, but it is my opinion that this RfA is going to be like nuclear war--both sides are going to be hurt.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 18:02, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I didn't comment on the Cla68/Viridae/WR aspect; I have an opinion, but I think that people are overly ready to offer their opinions there, to the point that they just become noise. The cases involving SV and FM are based largely on use of administrative tools, which is a bread-and-butter issue that ArbCom can tackle effectively. I'm not commenting on whether I personally think the case against them is persuasive or not - again, one more opinion isn't going to help resolve it - but I can at least see a case on those grounds being resolved one way or the other. MastCell Talk 18:32, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Additionally, I'm finding it increasingly hard to care about who said what to whom about Tony Sidaway, or Giano, or whatever. The solution to drama is to ignore it, and I'm trying to more actively set an example there. It's actually really easy to lose sight of why I bothered to register an account here in the first place. It wasn't to block Giovanni33 socks, or try to get people to play nice on Talk:Barack Obama, or to mete out Great Justice to evildoers (however one defines the term on-wiki). But that's all I seem to get around to doing these days. I wish I felt like we were developing and promoting a new group of admins skilled in handling these sorts of issues so that us old burnt-out cynical ones could go away. We're not. But even so, I started contributing here because I saw it as a way to improve the quality of widely available medical and health-related information, and there's still a ton of work to do there. My Mid-Year's Resolution is to go back to doing it like I did before I was awarded these extra buttons. MastCell Talk 18:39, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm with you on the drama front. Walking away from it has made me a happier fish. Speaking of fish, I'm reading a book on parasitology, New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers: Tales of Parasites and People by Robert Desowitz. Best investment ever, since I figure that I spend about $2000 a year on sushi, so I'm saving about $100,000 present dollars for the rest of my life. Never touching raw fish again. (Note how I changed the topic to something completely gross.) OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 03:33, 24 July 2008 (UTC)


  • if you persuade me not to eat sushi, you'll be taking away one of the two non-fattening joys in my life (the other being Wikipedia).
  • Drama doesn't go away if you ignore it. Sorry. Wish that myth were true. But some people (many of whom figure prominently in current ArbCom [alleged] deliberations) are emotionally/constitutionally unable to stop playing politics and spreading their bile across as many fora as possible. Talk about parasites...  :-) Ling.Nut (WP:3IAR) 03:50, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't really matter to me if the drama goes away or not. I can't control that. I can't force people to ignore silly junior-high-level interpersonal disputes. I can't force them to be the bigger person even if they're "right". I can't force them to realize that this isn't Dynasty, nor a Manichean struggle of Good vs. Evil. I'm a pragmatist. All I can do is choose where I focus my effort.

Besides which, people crave attention. If they get attention for making good edits, adding solid content and removing crap, then they'll do more of it. If they get attention for acting like petulant 12-year-olds scheming to humiliate other petulant 12-year-olds, then they'll do more of that. That's not a myth; it's reality.

Incidentally, I've always regarded sushi as a mechanism of natural selection. People have recognized the benefits of heating food since the Stone Age. Sushi assumes that not only are you willing to disregard tens of thousands of years of human experience, but that you'll pay extra to do so. A Darwinist and evil-utionist like Orangemarlin must be able to appreciate that angle, right? Or else I'll have to revoke your membership in the ID cabal. MastCell Talk 05:31, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
If you run for ArbCom again, then you make it your life's work to chase down folks who have a dangerous combination of a) tragically arrested emotional development, and b) considerable pull/influence over the processes of the 'pedia. Is that not what you want to do? Ling.Nut (WP:3IAR) 05:46, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, quite like the RfA process, ArbCom voting is set up to allow milquetoast types. MastCell stands up for science too much, so the anti-science crowd is going to do whatever they can to stop him, even if he is a nice guy that doesn't like sushi. Of course, the "pro-science" group won't vote for those that believe in magical processes for the natural world. So, what happens is that the least common denominator shows up. So, we get average to below average individuals like User:FT2 on ArbCom, and the jpgordon's and FloNight's become the last of old guard, who are passionate, intelligent, and stand up to the BS. Even now, RfA's are just filled with average to below average individuals, although every once in a while, a Risker or Gwen Gale sneak through, mostly because they hold their POV close to their vest. I wonder if Jimbo, whom I respect because he has a vision for this project, sees what's happening to his baby. Well, I might just go back to eating sushi. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 09:06, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

(undent) All depends. At this moment I am basically asking someone (via email) to run for ArbCom when I absolutely know for a fact that his position on the Darwin/Genesis spectrum is the polar opposite of mine. I do so because I trust him to care more about the 'pedia than his POV. But I doubt doubt doubt he'll run. Pisses me off :-P Ling.Nut (WP:3IAR) 09:17, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not interested in running for ArbCom again.

My problem with the new ArbCom members is that they're not active. The "older" Arbs are justifiably burnt out, and the new ones, who don't have that excuse, have mostly failed to step up. Newyorkbrad's departure was a huge blow to ArbCom's credibility and stability. There's a vacuum, and I'd have hoped that one or more of the newer Arbs would step up. Kirill does a fine job, but the most dynamic of the new group seems to be FT2. And that's a bit disconcerting, because not to kick the poor guy while he's down, but I no longer have much confidence in his judgement.

But I have to give credit where it's due, even in the current pile-on-to-ArbCom climate. When I actually had a situation that required their intervention, they took the case, handled it expeditiously, saw through the reams of attendant BS, and did what needed to be done. And that included Arbs with whom I've publicly differed in the past, like Charles Matthews and UninvitedCompany. (See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Strider12). I think they can still handle those kinds of cases well - but people are asking them to do the impossible, and they're unwise enough to agree to try. MastCell Talk 16:24, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Can i ask you to take a look...

At Talk:Solar cycle for a third opinion with medical background? The synthesis is obvious - but i'm really out of my league when assessing the reliability of medical references... --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:49, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Argh... Medical Hypotheses again. That journal is probably the most heavily cited on Wikipedia, despite its complete absence of scientific credibility. In my more cynical moments, I've considered comparing the number of Wikipedia's citations to Med. Hypoth. to our citations of Science, Nature, or the New England Journal of Medicine. I'm truly frightened of what I might find. Anyhow, I've left my 2 cents on the talk page. It's a WP:WEIGHT and WP:FRINGE issue. MastCell Talk 03:21, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the input. I can't see why Med Hypoth can be used seriously, the guidelines and description of it specifically points out that its an "alternative" journal. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:13, 24 July 2008 (UTC) quite frankly i found it refreshingly honest that the journal is so upfront ;) --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 09:57, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, both Medical Hypotheses and another perennial favorite Wikipedia citation source, the Journal of Scientific Exploration, make it crystal clear upfront that they are not "mainstream" science but are dedicated to fringe ideas. They're quite honest. That honesty from the journals, of course, doesn't stop people from attempting to misuse them here. MastCell Talk 16:05, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Hey, there are a few non-Medical Hypoth articles, as I noted in the response above yours. The editor made a list of non-Medical Hypotheses, rather indiscriminately (including an 1934 article from the Quarterly Journal of Economics). I told him to be selective, but he didn't seem to appreciate my advice. Would you mind glancing at them? One of them is entitled Influenza pandemics and sunspots — Easing the controversy (1994). No abstract. That suggests there is a bit of contentious attention on this in the science. The journal (homepage) appears somewhat notable. Another full-text is from the Actas Espanolas Psiquiatria. Another. If you'd prefer not to spend the time, I suppose we can forget about it, although Kim and Sesqu's responses to the editor are unsatisfactory. Kim says synth, but these two articles are clearly about health, mood, and solar cycles. II | (t - c) 16:33, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree that it's not really a WP:SYN matter - there are sources that have explicitly drawn a connection between the solar cycle and human health. To me, it's a straightforward issue of WP:WEIGHT and WP:FRINGE. These are, quite simply, not mainstream claims. A handful of iffy sources can be found, but there has been no significant "mainstream" attention to the subject. That doesn't mean it's "wrong", but it does mean that Wikipedia should not go out of its way to highlight it. Honestly, I can see a million things we can spend our time on that will improve the encyclopedia more than inserting a poorly referenced section describing fringe claims about the solar cycle and health, but that's me. MastCell Talk 16:40, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Understandable. I don't particularly care on this issue. II | (t - c) 16:49, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Giovanni again (talk · contribs) and MonikaShepard (talk · contribs) both. Could you please block and keep an eye on these articles for more socking? Thanks. The Evil Spartan (talk) 06:42, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

IP's an anonymous service geolocating to Malaysia, which I've hardblocked. The account appears to have been created specifically to participate in G33's edit-warring, so I've blocked it as well. I'll watchlist the pages; if anonymous IP socks are an ongoing issue, they can be temporarily semiprotected. MastCell Talk 16:18, 24 July 2008 (UTC)


Hi MastCell - could you clear something up for me - I thought Kossack4Truth was topic banned from the Obama area[4] - am I wrong?--Cailil talk 14:43, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Sigh. I will clarify this. MastCell Talk 16:50, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing that up MastCell --Cailil talk 17:05, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Re: RfA thanks

Hey MastCell,

thanks for those kind words! As a sidenote, I hope you'll join us at WP:MEDMAT at some point Smiley.png ?

cheers, --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 15:31, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Inquiry (Sockpuppetry Problem)

In the past I have come to you with a problem pertaining to a sockpuppeteer under the dynamic IP User: This person consistently makes numerous edits that either violate the NPOV or fall under the category of unconstructive vandalism. This person has been warned and notified on several occasions, and ceased once a block was incurred. Once the blocks ended, this user flared up again using the aforementioned IP#'s. Now it seems he is using the same batch of numbers along with another list of Dynamic IP numbers. Click here for the list including the new IP#'s starting under the number 7. If you look at each of the numbers, you will see the pattern of editing from this user. I have looked up all of these IP#'s and they all come from one source. Is there something that you can do about this? I've tried addressing this with Good Faith, and so have many others. I've also added the suspected sockpuppet tags to the talk pages of this sockpuppeteer. I'm not trying to edit war with this person, in fact I would like to be able to settle this maturely. I really hope that you can help me to do exactly that. Thank you and have a lovely week... --Candy156sweet (talk) 21:36, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

K4T thread

Would you mind archiving the thread to Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive455? ThuranX has been nothing but a disruptive influence there so far, showing absolutely no sign of contributing positively there, and although Risker had reverted my closing of the thread, I don't think it'll go anywhere otherwise. I think there's consensus to close. Ncmvocalist (talk) 17:40, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm not a big fan of archiving threads - it gets confusing when I suddenly can't find them on WP:AN/I and have to search the archives. At most, I prefer to throw {{discussion top}} and {{discussion bottom}} templates around discussions which I have not been involved in if they show signs of rapid deterioration. I do agree that the tone and utility of the thread are declining - I've left a note urging everyone to take a step back and do something else for awhile. I consider that there was consensus for the topic ban, and intend to enforce it. MastCell Talk 18:01, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Okay. Yes, you should (re: topic ban) - it was in force on 26 July 2008 when there was consensus for it. One thing worth considering is making a motion-request for discretionary sanctions to be enacted in the area by the Committee, but I don't know to what extent it'll help the overall situation. Ncmvocalist (talk) 18:48, 28 July 2008 (UTC)


Moved from FayssalF's talk page Hi - I understand from your comment here that you've linked (talk) with a named account and are concerned about a violation of WP:SOCK. Since this IP has been active in the disputes surrounding the Obama pages (largely in a flame-fanning and commenting-at-AN/I manner), I just wanted to ask if you could follow up to ensure this is resolved appropriately (I assume you do not want to disclose the named account due to privacy issues at this time). There are already plenty of socks, suspicious IP's, and SPA's contributing to the dispute. Thanks for looking into it. MastCell Talk 18:25, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

You got it right MastCell. And that has been my clear message, not only to the particular IP and its owner but to all users using IPs on that topic (in theory I'd mean everywhere). And yes, I'll be keeping an eye. -- FayssalF - Wiki me up® 19:07, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Sounds good. Thanks for the follow-up. MastCell Talk 19:08, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

John Edwards prot

Does "This page is currently protected from editing until July 30, 2008" include the 30th? Or does protection end tonight? I would argue that we are in the middle of working on consensus. It is possible that we may come to consensus in the next day or two (hard to tell) but I would prefer that an admins add any consensus text and keep it protected so that any further desire to change can be left for the talk page. Thoughts? ∴ Therefore | cogito·sum 17:52, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

The protection expires at 17:16 UTC tomorrow, or just about 24 hours from now. I've strongly considered extending the protection, particularly if there is progress toward consensus, as changes can be implemented by using the {{editprotected}} tag. At this point I will probably let the protection expire and then keep a close eye on the article. If there continues to be edit-warring, lack of consensus, BLP issues, etc, then I would favor re-protecting it and again using the talk page and {{editprotected}} as necessary. I've asked for outside eyes and administrative sanity checks at WP:AN, because I think this is a tricky issue and the more eyes on it, the better. MastCell Talk 17:57, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I think we have a fairly clear consensus on the text now. Can I prevail upon you, Mast, to add it into the article? Not sure there is much to be gained by further delay. Ronnotel (talk) 02:36, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay. I think it would be better to use the {{editprotected}} template and have another admin, besides me, review the edit for consensus etc. Mostly, I don't want to be the protecting admin and the arbiter of consensus at the same time - I think it will be good to get more admins directly involved. I guess at this point the protection will expire soon anyway, so it will become apparent whether there's consensus or not. MastCell Talk 16:00, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
No problem. Sandstein took matters into his own hands last night and implemented the change. Thanks anyway. Ronnotel (talk) 16:06, 30 July 2008 (UTC)


Sorry to come to your talk page but I thought this would be the route of least disruption. Given that you pronounced the topic ban of User:Kossack4Truth on Obama-related articles, does that ban extend (and if not, should it extend) to advocating content and/or behavioral positions on AN/I discussions (and other meta discussions) about those articles, advocating on other people's talk pages, etc? See the latest posts[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] My request that the editor hold off pending a clarification did not slow him down[13] and only generated a personal attack,[14] which I asked as politely as I could for him to revert.[15] My hands are tied at this point - it looks like anything I do at this point will only inflame him, which in turn inflames other editors. Thanks, - Wikidemo (talk) 00:39, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

I also wanted to chime in here in that the lower portion of K4T's edit seems as if he is trying to renew his Obama/Ayers arguments on the AN/I page where he feels that he can discuss the controversy without actually discussing it on the Barack Obama page. It would also be my personal opinion and speculation that in the near future as the election grows closer he will try other means to participate in the Obama page whether by proxies, sock puppets, meat puppets, etc. I have a feeling that this turn of events with his involvement in the AN/I report is only the tip of the iceberg. Brothejr (talk) 01:36, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
[16]. MastCell Talk 03:39, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

I will point out that during the topic ban, I have never, ever mentioned or even made an oblique reference to the topic from which I have been banned until now. I have discussed William Ayers, the misconduct of LotLE, and the edits of Noroton and Curious Bystander regarding Ayers. Furthermore, your note on my User Talk page vastly expands the topic for which you gained community support, from a single person to any topic associated with that person. Since that person is a United States senator and presidential candidate, you are in effect unilaterally expanding what the community intended as a topic ban about one person, to a topic ban about Illinois, Chicago and the entire United States Congress, since the city, the state and all members of Congress are topics related to that person.

Also, some of the comments at ANI regarding ratification of your topic ban suggested a topic ban of three months, or four months; and even you framed it in terms of 4-6 months. Why don't you just make it 100 years, while you're unilaterally expanding what the community authorized you to do?

Three specific illustrations of the completely fascist expansion of power you have just unilaterally grabbed, MastCell: If I work on Mauna Loa, an article about a volcano in the state where the topic from which I'm banned was born, will you block me? If I work on Frank Lloyd Wright, a biography about a famous architect from Oak Park, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), will you block me? And if I'm editing the article about Kyrgyzstan, a country where the topic I've been banned from has never set foot or even mentioned (to the best of my knowledge), if LotLE, Wikidemo and Scjessey show up there and start edit warring with me and posting personal attacks on the article Talk page, and if I complain about it at ANI and AN3, will you block me?

It appears that the answer to all three questions is, "Hell yeah."

Kindly retract that vast expansion of the topic ban, or go back to ANI and obtain community support for that vast expansion of the topic ban. Also, if you're going to make it longer than three months or until Election Day, kindly get community support for that specific length of time. Also, I'd like to have some clarification on whether I will be impaled by one of your lightning bolts, as CB puts it, if after three months of exemplary conduct on other articles I go to ANI and seek to have the topic ban reduced to time served. Thank you. Kossack4Truth (talk) 07:38, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Your argument that you haven't violated the topic ban "until now" is less impressive when one considers that it has only been in effect for about 5 days. I understand you're going for reductio ad absurdum, but it's really not that complicated. You are not prohibited from editing articles on Mauna Loa or Frank Lloyd Wright - in fact, I would encourage you to do so. You are prohibited from editing material which deals with Barack Obama or the election. Here is a simple guide to acceptable vs. unacceptable editing under the topic ban:
  • Acceptable: Mauna Loa is a volcano in Hawaii.
  • Unacceptable: Mauna Loa is a volcano in Hawaii, the birthplace of Barack Hussein Obama, who is close friends with the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers.
A consensus of uninvolved editors were able to see quite clearly that your editing here uniformly serves a narrow political agenda rather than any interest of the encyclopedia or the project. Your efforts to cast the topic ban as arbitrary or capricious are understandable, but unlikely to persuade anyone who's looked at your actual contributions here.

At this point, the topic ban will run for 6 months from its imposition on 25 July 2008. If you'd like to appeal for its removal after 4 months of constructive editing, then you can. If you feel these terms are unfair, then you may post again to WP:AN/I or WP:AN to request another review of my actions here; please reference the prior discussion supporting the topic ban if you choose to do so. I would suggest dropping the accusations of "fascism", since they tend to make people's eyes glaze over. As long ago as 1944, Orwell noted: "It would seem that, as used, the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless." MastCell Talk 16:03, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

You are prohibited from editing material which deals with Barack Obama or the election. How broadly will the term "election" be interpreted? Am I allowed to edit John McCain? Or articles related to 2008 Senate and House campaigns, since the banned topic's Senate term runs for another two years? Kossack4Truth (talk) 23:36, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Avoid McCain and the Presidential election. If you're moved to edit articles on Senatorial and House races, that would be fine. MastCell Talk 01:46, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Your opinion...

...would be most appreciated, and comes by recommendation, here. Thanks in advance! (Of course, unless you are too busy writing diatribes on Barneca's page...yes, I read it all...) Keeper ǀ 76 19:00, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Oh, that takes no time at all - the process has been fully automated. MastCell Talk 19:36, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
That's hilarious :-) That's going in my freqtemps. I can see me using that often ;-) Keeper ǀ 76 19:41, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I take it that means you're interested in participating in the associated drinking game? MastCell Talk 19:45, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I'll play. Only if, upon answering "I don't know", I get rewarded and punished with two shots. Keeper ǀ 76 19:58, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Request on behalf of Curious Bystander

Would you please put a short statement on his talk page similar to the statement you made at AN/I about me regarding that BLP notice? I'm sure you agree that no admin should think he's under any special warning at this point. He's told me on my talk page that he'd prefer the same statement I got and referenced on my talk page. See User talk:Curious bystander#Re: BLP. Thanks, Noroton (talk) 00:29, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

You're correct - I don't see a WP:BLP issue there. He's free to remove the warning if he'd like. I don't see any grounds for administrative action in the AN/I thread in question for anyone involved. MastCell Talk 01:50, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Der Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde

Hi, just regarding Der Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde which you deleted back in September 2007. Would you mind restoring the article to my userspace? Preferably at User:AmeIiorate/Der Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde. I was planning on writing an article about it (I have plently of third-party sources; websites, books etc.) and I would like to see the deleted version before I start. Cheers, ~ AmeIiorate U T C @ 03:02, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Done. Not much there, but maybe there's something useful in the page history. Good luck. MastCell Talk 01:40, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Cheers, much appreciated. ~ AmeIiorate U T C @ 01:42, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

EFT experiment

A simple read of Craig's rebuttal (and verification of his statements) will reveal that the experimenters did not understand nor follow the EFT protocol. Obviously, the experiment must be included - it is referred to frequently. However and partly because of NPoV, it cannot remain without reference to its major flaws. Mindjuicer (talk) 18:49, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

I don't agree - the source is a self-published promotional website. While the owner of that website may feel that the study has major flaws, Wikipedia's bar for sourcing is higher than that. It produces undue weight to cite a self-published, promotional website as "debunking" an independent, third-party study. For obvious reasons this would be a terrible practice and precedent for an encycloepdia. MastCell Talk 01:44, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps if you actually read the criticism, you'd see it's clearly more than his feelings that indicate major flaws in the experiment. Is Wikipedia in the business of informing people or misinforming? The bottom line is that the section is misinforming people as it stands and needs some counterbalance. Secondly, academic psychologists have their own agenda just as much as anyone else. The only things that qualify the experiment are that it was published in a minor journal and is subject to peer review. As such, the 95%-5% depth-of-text ratio I used cannot be undue weight. Mindjuicer (talk) 00:46, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Even if the "only difference" were that one is a self-published promotional website while the other was published in a peer-reviewed academic journal, that should answer your question as to why one is appropriate and the other is not. If you're having trouble, please re-read the verifiability policy and the reliable sources guideline. MastCell Talk 03:13, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
It does not. RS article: "their authors are generally regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand." Clearly, Craig is regarded as an authority on the technique he invented. If your sole argument is that his criticism, in context, is inappropriate, you must justify that view. Mindjuicer (talk) 15:24, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Take another look, particularly at the large box at the top of WP:RS entitled "The Page in a Nutshell": Articles should be based on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. Third-party is in bold print. Reputation for fact-checking and accuracy also come into play. See also the subsection on self-published sources from WP:V, which is relevant here. If you don't agree, I'm happy to go to the reliable sources noticeboard for more feedback. MastCell Talk 16:25, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
As far as I can see, the subsection on self-published sources entirely supposts my edit. Perhaps you can state where you think it doesn't. Mindjuicer (talk) 19:55, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I have done so, multiple times, but once again: WP:SPS says: Anyone can create a website or pay to have a book published, then claim to be an expert in a certain field. For that reason, self-published books, newsletters, personal websites, open wikis, blogs, knols, forum postings, and similar sources are largely not acceptable. Self-published material may, in some circumstances, be acceptable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. However, caution should be exercised when using such sources: if the information in question is really worth reporting, someone else is likely to have done so.

This falls under the "anyone can publish a book and claim to be an expert", it falls under "whose work in the field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications" (I don't think Gary Craig qualifies), and it falls under "if the information in question is notable, someone else will have reported it." You may either accept this repeatedly proffered explanation or request additional input from the reliable sources noticeboard or other dispute resolution mechanisms. I'm not going to endlessly repeat myself, though. MastCell Talk 23:22, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Not only did Craig invent EFT, he is widely acknowledged to be the main authoritative expert on it. There are several papers on EFT & 20+ books so his work "has previously been published by reliable third-party publications". I was hoping to avoid escalation but will do so if you insist that Craig is somehow not a notable, authoritative and widely-cited source on his own field. Mindjuicer (talk) 16:35, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
What "field"? EFT was created and is promoted by a small group of people. I'm not talking about "in-universe" expertise, but actual recognized expertise. "Widely cited"? How many articles in the reputable psychological/psychiatric literature cite Craig? If I invent a mind-body intervention, then I'm suddenly the "main authoritative expert" on it, because no one else has bothered to particularly study it. There are very few papers on EFT, and exactly one published in a PubMed-indexed journal of at least minimal reliability. That should tell you a lot about how experts in the field have considered (or not considered) the topic. MastCell Talk 16:50, 15 August 2008 (UTC)


Hi MastCell. I translated the Cholangiocarcinoma and now it is a good article in the german wikipedia. Greetings -- Andreas Werle (talk) 20:05, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Excellent. I'm glad to hear that, and I'm glad the article was useful as a source. MastCell Talk 01:44, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

I'll miss you - you earned this

[ Barnstar moved to userpage ]

Take your break, hug the kids and spend some valuable time with them, but don't think you won't be missed here! I'll hold my breath till you return. -- Dēmatt (chat) 15:19, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Kids? Do you know something I don't? :) Thanks for the words of encouragement. Good luck. MastCell Talk 20:55, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Hehe, okay, you can hug one of mine! I've got enough for everybody :-) -- Dēmatt (chat) 21:51, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) Just to parrot the commendation. You do good work here and understand the project's pillars better than most. Take care of yourself. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 01:51, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

ibid, ditto, etc.. :-) JimScott (talk) 06:14, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Survey request

Hi, MastCell I need your help. I am working on a research project at Boston College, studying creation of medical information on Wikipedia. You are being contacted because you have been identified as an important contributor to one or more articles.

Would you will be willing to answer a few questions about your experience? We've done considerable background research, but we would also like to gather the insight of the actual editors. Details about the project can be found at the user page of the project leader, geraldckane. Survey questions can be found at geraldckane/medsurvey. Your privacy and confidentiality will be strictly protected!

The questions should only take a few minutes. I hope you will be willing to complete the survey, as we do value your insight. Please do not hesitate to contact me or Professor Kane if you have any questions. Thank You, BCproject (talk) 18:01, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

BLP dispute on Story of My Life (novel)

I just came across this article, and saw the dispute you're involved in; thought you might be interested in my contributions, see Talk:Story of My Life (novel)#Real name removed. Terraxos (talk) 02:58, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi MastCell, I noticed you used the new BLP templates to place warnings. I found this out by following this link. Are you the first person to use that set of warning templates? Possibly the templates have been used before and then removed, but I doubt it. I don't expect you to know the answer to this, but I think the "tracking image" system set up should show all uses of the templates, even when subst'd. Carcharoth (talk) 08:35, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm probably the first - no one dares touch the BLP shoot-to-kill "special enforcement" that ArbCom set up. I'm not particularly eager to become a... test case myself. :) MastCell Talk 22:17, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Personal question about medication

In annoying times like these, do you prefer scotch, red wine, or perhaps even rum? (Careful; if you answer Malibu Rum, I will leave the project.) As an aside, I have a wonderful photograph from a Wal-Mart where there is an aisle that offers "Soda | Cold Beer | Warm Beer." Warm beer?! Antelan 21:33, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm a gin drinker, mixed with tonic, Rose's Lime, or a few drops of vermouth depending on the ambient temperature and my motivation for drinking. As second choices, I have a soft spot for certain tequilas (currently Don Julio) as well as Maker's Mark. Red wine gives me a headache and rum is too sweet. Scotch is just too puzzling: too many variables, and the more expensive ones taste like you're drinking barbecue smoke. While I'm not a big fan of Malibu (the town and the rum), you shouldn't knock the latter till you've tried it with half-and-half cranberry and orange juice. It's not bad on a hot day. MastCell Talk 18:41, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
You know, good dark rums taste an awful lot like scotch... and some tequilas, for that matter. Damn it all, hand me the bottle of 151. At least that has a distinctive taste (like burning) and mouthfeel (like burning). Antelan 02:19, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I try not to drink anything inflammable. MastCell Talk 03:11, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Warm Beer - Perhaps there is a sizable contingent of UK folks in the area. My UK friends all prefer their beer / stout / whatever warm. JimScott (talk) 06:26, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks (2)

Ha, I came upon this and thought "here is someone wise in the way of the Wiki", then I saw you were taking an admin break. Good on you, and enjoy it. You'll be all the fresher when you return. Best wishes, --John (talk) 01:56, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I'm trying to actually take my own advice. It's harder than I thought. :) MastCell Talk 18:31, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Be gentle with yourself - every so often I get fried and only edit the fun pages but usually come back. I used to check every single page on my watchlist every time I came to wikipedia, now I only skim the top 50 or so. Done wonders for my blood pressure though my edit count has been fatally wounded. Above all, don't leave us! Wikipedia needs dedicated admins. WLU (talk) 19:00, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not thinking about leaving entirely at this point. But I've been around long enough to notice that, among admins who put themselves on the front lines of thorny issues here, there are two possible endings to their career arcs. Either they get more and more fed up, irascible, and trigger-happy until they screw up, at which point their legion of detractors pounce and they are hobbled or desysopped. Alternately, they get more and more fed up until they scramble their passwords and leave in frustration. I'm trying to find a third way. MastCell Talk 19:09, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Third way: Scramble the passwords of your legion of detractors. Antelan 19:27, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Or a way that won't get you desysopped - reserve the right to contribute when you feel like it, quit when you don't, and do all the things that made wikipedia fun. If I get in to a particular funk, I like to pick a redlink and create a page de novo. But I consider that fun, and I can't argue with a straight face that my approach is normal. I found if I set myself rules, I ended up breaking them but if I just said "fuck it - I'm reading webcomics" I always came back after a day or two. But what works for me won't necessarily work for anyone else. Sometimes I spend a whole day just correcting disambiguation pages.
Sweet monkey jesus when you type it out it just sounds so unsexy. Which is why I contribute naked. WLU (talk) 20:12, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and I'm a rarity on the AN/I boards, which probably helps. WLU (talk) 20:13, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Not true... I report you there all the time. I just don't do you the courtesy of leaving a notice on your talk page. o_O Antelan 02:20, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
"why I contribute naked." - you too? I thought it was just me! Is there a userbox for this? Tim Vickers (talk) 02:24, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
You could do worse than take WLU's advice, not the contributing naked, to which I express no opinion, but to avoiding the boards and other controversial areas for a while. There are lots of other admin tasks that need done, and, for the other things remember there are lots of other people out there who will carry on while you recharge. Tim, I can work on the userbox if you like; would you be willing to upload a photo of you editing in the nude? It could be great on the userbox if done right. --John (talk) 08:48, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Sorry John, there's already one. It's on Tim's talk page. WLU (talk) 11:02, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Outside view by MastCell

I wish I'd said that. Thank you for speaking my mind. Tim Vickers (talk) 02:06, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

MastCell, you might be interested in a discussion at User talk:Antelan#MastCell's comment in response to your RfC comment. Coppertwig (talk) 13:31, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Very well put, MastCell. -- ChrisO (talk) 15:46, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Any opinion on this?

[17]. Avruch T 14:29, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Sure, I have opinions on everything. I'm making an effort not to share them quite so often, though :) I haven't been very successful so far. MastCell Talk 18:17, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
This is the worst fucking wiki-break I've ever seen. LOL. You may as well just edit the articles. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 18:26, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Ha! Indeed it is, and thank goodness for that. If MastCell left too, that would be. . .highly discouraging. R. Baley (talk) 18:32, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm still upset that Raymond Arritt left. He had the same droll sense of humor as Mast Cell. Unfortunately, begging by me has not gotten RA back here. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 18:40, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I miss Ray-Ray's presence too, though he has a cleverly disguised sockpuppet who contributes occasionally.

You know, it was not intended to be a complete break, but just a refocusing. Just recently, I was "outed" and attacked on a high-profile website associated with a person whose article I've edited. What struck me most was that the site presented a laundry list of dozens of articles I'd edited or started in my early days on Wikipedia - everything from dasatinib to exchange transfusion to ischemic colitis, not to mention acute myeloid leukemia and cholangiocarcinoma, which I brought from stubbiness to featured-article status.

The point they were trying to make, I think, was that I'm beholden to the pharmaceutical industry or something. The point I took away, though, was this: I used to actually write articles. There was a time when content was my major contribution, rather than dealing with depressingly circular and predictable water-cooler politics and abuses of the encyclopedia. I'm thinking about how to get back to writing articles, and taking a break from the other stuff. MastCell Talk 18:44, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Ray-Ray's sockpuppet can't be that clever, considering you and I figured it out. You do realize that "a pawn of the pharmaceutical industry" is just a method to dismiss a rational discussion. Once someone uses that term, it sounds like "neener neener" in the rank ordering of logical arguments. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 20:45, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Good thought

At WP:AE, you said, "Move past the idea that civility is a "law" that, if "broken", results in "punishment" from an authority figure.". There's an awful lot of sense in that. The absence of civility as a "law" results in rampant individualist assholism. The presence of civility as a "law" results in rampant authoritarian assholism. I'm coming to the conclusion that civility can't be a law: it must be a goal. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 15:42, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

We seem to have managed both an excess of individualist assholism and an excess of authoritarian assholism. :) In all seriousness, civility can be encouraged, rewarded, and (most importantly) modeled. It can't be mandated-or-else. Even if WP:CIVIL disappeared tomorrow, or had never existed, people would still instinctively value and respond to civil discourse. If someone is chronically rude, people will instinctively consider them an asshole and extend less credibility to them.

Instead of this natural, self-enforcing and self-sustaining form of civility, we have "civility paroles" and "WP:CIVIL violations" and "WP:CIVIL blocks". Every time I open the drop-down block menu, I see "Incivility" staring me in the face as a pre-made, one-click block rationale. That's fucked up. But I've been beating this particular drum for awhile without much effect, so I've resorted to a work stoppage, conscientious objection, or whatever you want to call it. I just won't enforce any block-based civility remedies, and I don't block people for incivility. When someone is rude to me, I try to practice what I preach rather than demanding satisfaction. But I digress. MastCell Talk 18:32, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

What a jerk. Piss off, MastCell. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 20:54, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Ray, I am tempted to block you, but only to force you to get your admin bit back, unblock yourself, and resume full participation here. :) MastCell Talk 21:05, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Interrupting conversation rudely. Ray ray. Get your ass back here. The barbarians are at the gate again. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 23:48, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Why should I hang around here when Antelan is trying to make me drink Ketone Light?[18] Actually my professional life has taken some turns this summer so that I couldn't be involved regularly in the foreseeable future even if I wanted to. And with Team Drama intimating that they'll sooner or later be going after global warming cabal -- you know, those nasty folks who insist on literature references, proper weight, and so on -- who needs it. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:52, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
When you say global warming cabal I assume you mean the the rational skepticism meatpuppet team? Antelan 05:49, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I stole MC's userbox for the RSMT. It's nice. Anyways, without RayRay, Will Connelly has to fight the good fight by himself, and they're going after him left and right. Of course, I do consider myself unconvinced of human causes of global warming. When someone explains to me why Greenland was warmer in 1150 than it is today, I might be swayed.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:27, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
If a patient's cardiovascular disease was mostly attributable to heredity, would you tell him it's OK to take up smoking? Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 02:10, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Whenever I need my spirits lifted, I come here and you guys never fail to give me a good laugh. Bartender, another round for everyone, on me, and especially that incivil Short Brigade Boris guy. You are missed. Woonpton (talk) 21:05, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Uncivil? I thought it was blunt but fair. It's all so... subjective. :) MastCell Talk 21:08, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Please, I didn't say "uncivil" I said "incivil;" let's get it "right."  :) But you're right, it's all so....subjective... Woonpton (talk) 22:56, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree that civility shouldn't be a law. People in Wikipedia should just toughen up. The most obvious insults are meaningless, and the most hurtful "insults" are usually accurate. Compare "you're a tendentious idiotic SOB with a stick up your a**" (or, as I was called recently, "a wackjob conspiracy theorist lunatic") to "you're a dramawhore who spends all her time on talkpages, carefully calculating what small edits you do make to articles to increase conflict and waste people's time". Of course, I raised an Arbitration Enforcement note recently on SA which included civility concerns, but the disruptive editing and battleground behavior seem much more significant. II | (t - c) 21:35, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
The bullshit about SA is getting out of hand. I believe every week I get to read a new whiny accusation against SA. They are amusing. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 23:47, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I mentioned SA only because it might have seemed hypocritical of me to say that incivility isn't a big deal, but at the same time have raised a "civility notice". I wasn't exactly targeting him with my "accurate incivility". II | (t - c) 20:08, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
SA does yeoman's duty in a bad neighborhood. And it doesn't help that he has to deal with admins and established editors who instinctively side with the fringies as the underdogs fighting the big bad scientific establishment. That said, it wouldn't cost him anything to be a little nicer in the way he goes about things, and it would help him get the job done more easily. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 01:59, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
(to Imperfectly...): I don't like "toughen up" as a strategy for community. It fails to allow for the broad range of contributors we want and need on Wikipedia. Incivility which causes disruption, of course, we need to avoid. However, incivility as a reaction to disruption is sometimes quite understandable. I'm thinking in this case of a particular editor who was the subject of some pretty serious racist horseshit, and responded to it in strong words on her user and talk pages -- at which point people whined about her incivility. There is such a thing as righteous anger, and considering that the sole currency in this marketplace is words, anger at such mistreatment should not be reacted to with condemnation of the expression. If someone uses a thousand words to say "fuck you" to me, I'm going to answer back "fuck you", because I'm terse and impatient. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 02:06, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I'd say the latter type of incivility is relatively rare. I suppose the question when it comes to the rule against incivility is: does it have a deterrence effect? Why or why not? I believe that incivility could be controlled if we raised the expected value of punishment higher, with the exceptions of those people who are just don't give a fuck, but I don't know if it would be worth it. (I disagree with MastCell and others above that "incivility is too subjective" – it is almost always obvious.) Anyway, I'm rambling. It's hard for people to act on the truism that politeness is an "an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy" (Schopenhauer). II | (t - c) 20:08, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
II, I'm not sure how you can judge uncivil comments. I live in Southern California, and we are much more laid back. I'm always appalled when I travel to New York with the way everyone treats everyone else, especially on the road. So New York's standards of civility are different than California's. That's one country with two coasts of opposite levels of civility. If we take the world, our English editors say things differently than American ones. And so it goes. I'm with jpgordon. If you're going to tell me to fuck off, do so in two words. The bullshit diplomacy bores me, and I frankly don't read it. Honestly, I read only the first sentence or two of any posting--the rest I ignore. SA has no patience to explain himself, as do I. The only reason I'm marginally nicer than SA (and that's just my opinion), is that...never mind, what I wrote would definitely get me blocked. Anyways, I don't think civility is all that clear. Passive-aggressive, but polite, comments are actually psychologically more harmful, and the person doing it is frankly mentally ill. I'd rather see a fuck you, be done with it, and move on. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 21:22, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think "not having the patience to explain yourself" puts you in a good position in Wikipedia. We're not mindreaders. I get the feeling that I pick up on almost all incivility, but I suppose that it is subjective to some extent. Like I said earlier, the most hurtful things are often the most accurate -- does that mean they're uncivil? I don't think so, but that can be avoided by taking a show, rather than tell, approach. By the way, feel free to email me the things you don't want to say, for fear of blocking. Insults don't affect me much, and I can keep things private. II | (t - c) 23:01, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

IP query

I'm not very good at identifying stable IPs. Do you think (talk · contribs) is a stable IP? (You flagged their comment at an AFD as repeated trouble.) Whois just says Comcast... but I don't know how they rotate. I'm also thinking this might be a particular editor, whose edits don't look great - but who doesn't meet my block standards absent the connection. GRBerry 19:53, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm not particularly technically adept either, and I'm not sure how Comcast handles things. I just clicked out of curiosity, as I sometimes do when an IP leaves a snarky comment, and the threat jumped out at me. I probably shouldn't have bothered leaving my own snarky comment, but I did. I don't think there's anything blockworthy there, at least not at present. The account you mentioned isn't active, and absent more prolonged disruption by the IP a block is probably overkill. By the way, good work picking up and posting the ABC News source - it certainly led me to withdraw my objection at the AfD. MastCell Talk 19:59, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Even if an ISP rotates its pools, some IPs in those pools might be stable. My home router is attached to a UPS, so the only time it should reset IP is when I power it down for a vacation or we get a major power outage. So I prefer to identify stable IPs on behavior rather than technicals. But there just aren't enough edits for me to be confident.
With most of the related articles on my watchlist, when the source popped up on both of them and a talk page, I thought it was worth reading. Having read it, it got me off the fence I'd very strongly been trying to stay on regarding the AFD, so I knew that it was worth mentioning there. GRBerry 20:03, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
On that topic, I found this piece from Wired very interesting, and very good coverage of the issue as it relates to Wikipedia. I did have to smile when it quoted a blogger fulminating that the page protection was the work of "liberal Nazi admins". I suppose to a stridently conservative blogger, "liberal" and "Nazi" are the two worst epithets imaginable (in no particular order). On that basis, it's perhaps understandable to combine them, though of course the Nazis were famously illiberal and one might regard "liberal Nazi" as a ridiculously hyperbolic oxymoron. But I digress.

It just reminds me why I don't read blogs. If I want to hear someone on a soapbox self-righteously trying to out-shout everyone who disagrees with him, I'd just go to... Wikipedia. :) MastCell Talk 20:25, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

There are very few blogs that I read. My wifes. And personal finance blogs, as those bloggers are genuinely trying to help their readers, and keeping that sort of stuff in my mind is a good idea. My default google serach includes "-wiki -blog" to help filter the crud. GRBerry 20:35, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
For no other purpose than to be a completely annoying troll, I hereby recommend this blog to you both. :P -- Noroton (talk) 20:44, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Based on the New York Times Bestseller, of course. ;) Noroton (talk) 20:47, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I remember seeing Jonah Goldberg on The Daily Show promoting that book. Oops, I just revealed that I watch the Daily Show. Cat's out of the bag. :) MastCell Talk 21:00, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Surprised you don't check out DC Science or Respectful Insolence. II | (t - c) 21:52, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
Never heard of the former. I'm a fan of Respectful Insolence, though. MastCell Talk 21:53, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

MEDRS once more

MEDMOS & MEDRS are catching fire again. JFW | T@lk 13:56, 10 August 2008 (UTC)


Nil carborundum ani, and all that. We need more rationalists such as yourself.

An interesting point is that, as shown here, many of the quacks feel that WP is insufficiently respectful of them, and thus they are starting their own wiki. Keep up the good work! DS (talk) 04:02, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, exercising the right to fork off a more sympathetic wiki is probably the most constructive approach these folks can take. Conservapedia is one of the best things to happen to the editing environment here, because it skims off the hardest core of agenda pushers. By the way, when I first started contributing to Wikipedia, you were one of the first Wikipedians I actually interacted with. Your note of encouragement, from exactly 2 years ago, was one of the major reasons I bothered to stick around and keep contributing. I don't know if I ever thanked you, but I try to keep that example and its impact in mind when I get frustrated and assume the worst of brand-new users. MastCell Talk 04:08, 11 August 2008 (UTC)


I am proposing deletion of the entire set of articles on Neurolinguistic programming. See Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Neuro-linguistic programming. NLP is an extraordinary pseudoscience that is so successful at disguising itself as real science that it had many people fooled for a long time. I'm amazed this has gone on for so long but enough is enough. I would appreciate any help on this as there is bound to be a bitter fight - there are a number of commercial interests involved and there is evidence of some inside support in Wikipedia itself. I have a separate file of information if you are interested, but for obvious reasons that cannot go on-wiki. Best. Peter Damian (talk) 10:53, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Gaby De Wilde.

Wikipedia:Suspected sock puppets/Gdewilde Thanks for you attention.

Guyonthesubway (talk) 14:10, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Hello Mastcell,
Guy on the subway seem to be looking for a reason to get rid of me.
Please see his talk page for details.
Gdewilde (talk) 16:57, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Per the banner at the top of my page, I'm going to ask both of you to pursue this dispute elsewhere. Thanks. MastCell Talk 17:15, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec) A (perhaps not so quick) review of Gdewilde's deleted talk page warnings, block log, alternate accounts (User:Gaby de wilde,, User:GO-HERE), and this thread User talk:Prodego#Lets attack user Gewilde on the page of the admin who last let off the hook—if you care to review all that (and given your latest banner atop this page, I'm guessing you won't care to, which is 100% understandable)—but if your care to check this out, I think you will see that this user is LONG overdue to be re-indef blocked or at least topic banned. Yilloslime (t) 17:17, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
My instinct is that you're right, though I haven't looked into it in detail as I'm trying to live up to the banner at the top of the page. Would you like to borrow my admin bit for awhile? :) I don't want it to get rusty. MastCell Talk 17:22, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't see your notice. I'm sure there's another admin that can help out. Cheers! Guyonthesubway (talk) 17:25, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
No problem. Good luck in resolving this dispute. MastCell Talk 17:26, 11 August 2008 (UTC)


Hi, I think you have really brought a lot of clarity to the recall/rfc for Elonka. I am writing to ask a favor. Between the rfc and recall the discussion is a mess, which is not helping any constructive progress in any direction. I unfortunately am in transit with very infrequent and brief access to the internet. Would you be willing to use this template: {{subst:RfA|User=Elonka|Description=}} and refactor the discussion from the RfC and recall so that there is some logical order to it? I will be off-line for a few days but feel free to cut and paste anything I wrote concerning the rfc or recall, if you think it is worth it. I hope you do not mind my asking. Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 17:18, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I think it might be worthwhile to rearrange the RfC for readability, but I confess that I'm completely lost in exactly what's happening and where things are. I'm probably not the one to do this since a) I've expressed an official View, and b) I don't have the time to do a really good job of rearranging and refactoring it. Sorry to punt on this, but perhaps someone else can do a better job than I would. MastCell Talk 19:09, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Fair enough. But I hope you will keeep an eye on things - there are several editors who have made very reasonable and thoughtful comments but I especially appreciate the clarity you bring to the discussion. Slrubenstein | Talk 01:03, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Talk page Royal Rife

The contribution that I made moments ago was removed by you.

What was the nature of the "violation?" I am honestly interested in your opinion / POV so that in future a proper discussion can be conducted. Oldspammer (talk) 22:14, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I see that such discussion is more aptly done on user talk pages now? Is this correct? Oldspammer (talk) 22:20, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The talk page guidelines have been brought up with you numerous times. For the record, again: article talk pages exist to discuss specific, concrete improvements to the associated article. They are not forums for general discussion and debate, nor for off-topic rambling or material which is patently and obviously unsuitable for inclusion in a serious encyclopedia. The talk page guidelines state in their lead, in bold type: Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views.

I'm sure you're aware that there was serious discussion in the past of blocking your account because of your incorrigible abuse of article talk pages as a soapbox for various conspiracy theories. Please consider whether Wikipedia is an appropriate venue for the goals you have in mind. I believe it is not, and if you are continually unwilling to respect the talk page guidelines and the purpose and policies of this project, then I will probably ask that your account be blocked from contributing. MastCell Talk 22:25, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

In that case I was careful not to give a particular family's name. To this end, persons wanting more information would be inspired to do their own investigation into historical records.
It is true that I have not studied all of the numerous WP guidelines in minute detail. Other contributors are probably similarly predisposed to not become wiki lawyers with a full awareness of all of the paragraphs of these guidelines. I suggest that in dealings with users such as myself who are not interested in reading and committing to memory all of the WP guidelines that the specific guideline snippet of the violation be delineated to the offending contributor so that they do not have to wade through the numerous sections and paragraphs of a guideline to guess what specific item is being violated, and determine from that the suggested workaround to avoid such violations in future.
For me, it would have been more suitable to have deleted my contributions immediately, and said that this information should go onto a given set of user's or a group's talk page so that established guideline such and such is not violated by your contribution here. What I'm saying is that the guidelines that have evolved are quite numerous and lengthy. As such they constitute a huge learning curve that some users want to avoid having to undertake. My aptitudes are not in the social sciences of politics, law, manners, and such, and so I tend not to have a keen interest in these dry subject areas.
I am more interested in logic, intent, motivation, reason, and scientific understanding why and how.
A year or so ago, I wanted to try to understand why science and medicine have encountered certain seemingly political road blocks. I searched the Internet, read WP articles, Google videos and so on. When a talk page comment asks the same or similar question to this, I often feel obligated to inform the editor of my findings in this regard. My ideas are formulated by examining various sides presented in historical accounts of things--questioning everything told to me. What makes sense of these historical accounts? I'm sure that you know that I am not the first person to have opened up to the possibilities of similar perspective understandings of these historical accounts? I'm sure that some who have not invested time to investigate, confirm, and reason, jump to the conclusion that persons having unusual openness to beliefs have also jumped to conclusions without at least some logical considerations.
I have found that well-educated people tend to entirely reject a presentation as soon as one single reported item seems to conflict with their belief system. They then throw out the baby with the bath water by concluding the entire presentation is without any merit what so ever. In my view this is short sighted because if even one important fact is overlooked, it is regrettable, and may come to haunt one in future. What if one's belief system is slightly flawed? Historically it has been identified that man's beliefs have changed radically from one century to the next. Would it not be naive to think that current day accepted beliefs would not change once we are dead and buried?
I am interested in your experiences that have made your approach to investigation of things in general so completely different to mine. Do you ever question your schooling? Have you ever questioned the motivations of colleagues? Have you ever discovered something that was taught to you was inadequate, wrong, or oversimplified? Oldspammer (talk) 23:39, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The answers to all three of those questions are yes, as I suspect they would be for any thinking person. I am provisionally willing to discuss this further with you here so long as you will respect the guidelines for article talk pages.

One need not be a "wikilawyer" or seasoned Wikipedian to grasp the fundamental point from which all policies and guidelines flow: this is a project aiming to build a serious, respectable, and freely accessible reference work. Activity which serves that goal is appropriate. Activity which works counter to that goal is inappropriate. It's not my intention to be mean to you, but your goals (as manifest by your edits) seem to be at odds with the project's goals. MastCell Talk 23:51, 11 August 2008 (UTC)


The contributions I made to the babesiosis page have been removed by you. This page could use more information about up to date tests and references to some of the best treating doctors in the country. However you removed the sources saying there were questionable?? Did you not look at the source? And why have you said it's uncommon once again, you're getting some very opinionated information from somewhere rather than clinical statistics. I ask you to look at the source you removed for yourself and consider reading the test on babesiosis by James Schaller which is the only book ever written so it makes absolutely no sense to removed anything from that book. Please make the adjustments yourself or I will need to find a way to escalate this to give people proper information. Pryorka82 (talk) 11:32, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Here's the edit you insist on restoring: [19]. It relies on questionable sources and it incorporates much unsourced and incorrect information (for example, FISH is not a "new kind of blood smear"). Why don't you find a source first and then edit-war over the information? What is the source for the FISH test? What is the source for claiming that most infections are "likely latent asymptomatic infections"? Are these all sourced to ILADS?

I'll go a bit further and say that edits like [20] this indicate that you need to review Wikipedia's basic principles, including verifiability, appropriate sourcing, and neutrality, before jumping into a battle which, coincidentally, a long series of "new" agenda accounts have wanted to bring to Wikipedia. MastCell Talk 14:48, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

The FISH test for babesia is new, not fish test in general. You can read about it at, I think neuroscience labs is also working on one too. I posted a number of references including the patent(which is good info and even incorporates the information you've posted on maltese cross formations) on the babesiosis discussion page. The sources for babesia being a latent infection are described in "The Diagnosis and Treatment of Babesia" by Dr. James Schaller. He has many doctors post research articles on his website for free at you can then find the full articles elsewhere (sometimes they cost money) or you can contact the researchers (or someone working with them) and they'll send you them for free.

I am fully aware of wikipedias basic principles and I ask that you do the same rather than simply write narrow sited opinions like "babesia is uncommon" and that it somehow resolves on its own when so much research and published clinical experience proves otherwise.

Be careful reading resources that may all reference one single source. Know where the information comes from or you may think you're getting information from multiple sources when in reality it's all from one source that may have a serious conflict of interest on the subject you've investigated. Pryorka82 (talk) 18:56, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I've realized you're a fan of pubmed and you trust them so I wanted to point to articles that you would agree to using to update the babesiosis page.

Pryorka82 (talk) 18:19, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

tag teams

Elonka drafted an essay on tag teams, [21] - as you know she has claimed that you, Matchsci, Alun Ramdrake I and others tag-teamed against Jagz. It seems to me that if there is to be an essay on tag teams, we had better make sure it is carefully worded to help identify true tag teams and not well-informed editors who have reached consensus. I hope you will check this out and see if you can improve it, Slrubenstein | Talk 03:19, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Sigh. I tried to edit it, but Martinphi is ensuring that the essay remains as friendly as possible to those who would take up the noble crusade against the wicked scientific establishment. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 05:11, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Hmph. It's just an essay. It should probably be in userspace. It should definitely have a section on distinguishing "tag-teaming" from legitimate consensus in action, especially as the ability to make this crucial distinction on the part of involved parties has been a topic of discussion. The way it's currently written, it's going to be a porch light to the POV-pushing mosquitos. But it's just an essay. Not worth losing sleep or edit-warring over. MastCell Talk 05:27, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

"Note that some behaviors described as "tag team" characteristics may not be negative, or even evidence of tag teaming. For example, it might be reasonable for the same editors to show up on the same pages, since they have a common interest in the subject matter. Similarly, it should be no surprise to find that on any give article many editors adhere to the academic or scientific consensus. "Tag team", however, describes a kind of coordinated activity that becomes disruptive, such as happens when members of a tag team collectively push a POV (especially one that is counter to the prevailing view in reliable sources), circumvent normal consensus-seeking methods, evade dispute resolution mechanisms, claim ownership of an article, or act in other ways which are disruptive to the project."

What's the beef? ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 05:44, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

The irony... Shot info (talk) 05:49, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I stand corrected; the essay does make a distinction between "tag-teaming" and more innocuous alternatives. I do think this essay, no matter how well-crafted, is bound to be cited by every agenda account that finds themselves on the wrong end of a consensus, but perhaps I'm overly cynical. I guess my main point was the last one; not worth arguing about. MastCell Talk 05:53, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
No doubt on both counts (-: That's why I quit it. ——Martinphi Ψ Φ—— 05:01, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi MastCell, one last plea to reconsider. As long as Wikipedia emphasizes collaboraion and consensus based editing, "tag tem" will be the epithet of choice for POV warriors. That is why i think we need a good, clear, essay on tag teaming that is constructive. I just did some editing in my own attampt to move it away from specific conflicts involving me and Elonka and to try to turn it into a meaningful essay. I sure would be grateful if you looked over it and improved it as you saw fit. Best, Slrubenstein | Talk 07:23, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, as predicted WP:Tag team gets thrown around by (now banned) POV pusher: User_talk:Gdewilde#WP:Tag_team_attack I don't doubt that this is just the beginning.... Yilloslime (t) 16:51, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Please help me

Can you review this thread? How can I have handled this better? More importantly, how can I repair the damage? GRBerry 20:16, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Ah, here's the thread before it was abridged. I noticed this discussion taking place (I still have Kelly's talk page on my watchlist, apparently), but since I'd recently taken issue with other actions of his, I figured any commentary from me on his talkpage would be unproductive.

I think part of it was templating him - I understand your rationale, but for an experienced editor, being templated nearly always pisses them off. I certainly make this mistake from time to time, but when possible, even a short personalized note usually goes over better than a template for established users.

I don't think this was about you so much as about Kelly's frustration with the Edwards articles and surrounding circus. You happened to be the one to push the last of his buttons. I think your attempts to deescalate the situation were appropriate, though in the end I think Kelly probably needed to vent regardless. Querulous demands that people retract perceived slights almost never work out well on Wikipedia, and your suggestion that he simply remove the template was appropriate.

In terms of hindsight, I think the don't-template-the-regulars thing is probably the only thing to do differently. In terms of repairing the damage, I think the best thing is to give Kelly some time and space - it sounds like he hit the boiling point in terms of frustration and responded (properly) by taking a break. I think you've said what you can say - any further notes on his talk page right now will probably just make things worse regardless of their content. Let him calm down and resume editing - I think he will be back soon - and then approach him about smoothing things over. I think he'll be more receptive once he's blown off a bit of steam. Hope that's helpful. MastCell Talk 23:45, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Peace process: pseudoscience

See my message on FT2's talk page and suggesting of mediation process. I think there are some important lessons to be learned from recent incidents, and would value your input. Let me know on my talk page. See also the points I discussed with Guy. Peter Damian (talk) 06:03, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

trying to avoid deletion.

I'm really trying to write an "encyclopedic" article on The International House of Reiki. I've pared down anything that *I* think sounds like an ad. I'm waiting to hear from the institute's founders for the medical articles in which they were show-cased. They are trying to bring back the "spiritual practice" aspects of Reiki and wrest it away from new-agers... and they've really done a lot of good solid research on Mikao Usui.

So, I want this to be real, how much time to I have before you "ax" me? It's not physics-type-notable, I agree. It's more 'Zen'-type notable. I'll admit to being a newbie. Help is appreciated!

If you think the article is really beyond hope, how can I delete it myself?

Thanks trishi (talk) 22:22, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Hi - I've responded on your usertalk page. MastCell Talk 22:40, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

My article

Hey thanks so much for the response. I took it down since it seemed to be irritating others as well, and will work on the 3rd party coverage. They've actually had quite a bit - and it was my bad for not digging it up first, so I'll work on that. I had based what I was doing on articles like and Deepak Chopra. Live and learn! Thanks loads! trishi (talk) 04:15, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

No problem; sorry that your initial experience was a bit rough. If you need help or advice, feel free to ask me. The third-party coverage will be key. Just remember there's no deadline here, and decisions about notability, deletions, etc can always be reconsidered. MastCell Talk 05:11, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I am working on it! FYI, per another user's advice, have changed my user name. I'm now KyoukiGirl... just so you know! Is there a way to float an article to you for commentary 'before' setting it live? Reiki tends to get lumped with alternative healing and new age stuff, but it is really more like Qigong or yoga in many ways. Research and coverage is just starting to happen. I want to make sure that what I think is a good reference for notablility really fits the bill.KyoukiGirl (talk) 16:18, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I think the name change was a good idea. Just leave me a note here on my talk page if you want me to look something over. I know essentially nothing about reiki, but I can give you feedback about the Wikipedia nuts and bolts if you like. MastCell Talk 05:12, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Identifying reliable sources

I've left a note on the NLP talk page describing the problem of identifying reliable sources for possible pseudoscience. Any help appreciated. Peter Damian (talk) 15:06, 17 August 2008 (UTC)


From an OMM perspective, the FDA, its power grabs on supplements, proposed legislations and the armed raiders for minor vitamins, have probably been the big federal boogeyman. NIH certainly has a checkered history in OMM, some +, mostly 0 or - , but it still seems the current best hope in the US government system to me.--TheNautilus (talk) 08:29, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Oh yeah, the FDA is always wildly popular. The libertarians are mad because they think the free market should decide which drugs are effective and which are dangerous (not "scientists" and "randomized controlled trials"). The supplement folks are mad because the FDA exercises even a miniscule amount of oversight of their marketing operations. The health-freedom folks view the FDA as a paramilitary organization of jackbooted thugs with submachine guns and a sadistic desire to rip lifesaving vitamins from the hands of the elderly while chortling malevolently. The public is mad because of things like Vioxx and tainted heparin. The administration has systematically de-funded them and created a leadership where decisions like emergency contraception are ideological rather than scientific. Things should get really interesting when they're given oversight of the tobacco industry - any day now. MastCell Talk 18:13, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
There are others who just think that the FDA seems incompetent and often politically motivated, like all the other government agencies. The websites of just about every government organization are disorganized, most likely reflecting reflecting a lack of logical structure inside the organization (BLS and FTC have decent websites). Navigation is one thing, but others, like a lack of permanently linked pages in important spots (the Andy's take URL is not stable) are just obvious. Similarly, PubMed's lack of updating its URL for a search is absurd. They make you write your own. I've sent email after email about these sorts things, and they never get fixed.
At least the FDA is headed by a scientist, although judging by their last choice, Lester Crawford, and their position thus far, I'm not hopeful. Their decision on Bisphenol A deserves a little more ink, for example, when you've got reviews like this one. We are not so fortunate with the EPA. Christine_Todd_Whitman should go to prison for her involvment in the Health_effects_arising_from_the_September_11,_2001_attacks#Political_controversies. If wiki is correct, then the first scientist to head the EPA, Stephen L. Johnson, has only a Master's degree in pathology. The head of the energy information is an oil and gas man. The head of Health and Human services guy is a Mormon politician. The list could continue. II | (t - c) 19:55, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, the last 8 years have seen an interesting take on environmental protection. I could go on and on about the FDA, but not feeling moved to do so at this point. The websites should be better, yes. MastCell Talk 21:18, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

WikiProject Medicine Featured Topic Task Force proposal

Hey MastCell, I've just set up a proposal for a new task force in the WikiProject Medicine called FTTF, or the Featured Topic Task Force. We aim to create a featured topic for medicine, most likely to do with an infectious disease of some form (the proposals so far include polio and bacterial infections in general) and become the first medical featured topic. The proposal can be found here and further discussion can be found at the bottom of the WikiProject Medicine talk page. I've very much appreciate your comments and possibly support of such a proposal, if you'd be willing to take part! —CyclonenimT@lk? 13:38, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

"Grossly NPOV"

Go back to making edits that are "grossly NPOV"

That was too funny. -- Scjessey (talk) 01:58, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

please do this

Please remove the page protection from this page.... and see this This RFCU shows that he is not related. Rather than become stubborn and try to justify something, note that I am not asking for unblock, merely removal of page protection so that I can ask a question. By doing so, you become the good guy and any misbehaviour would be that of Neptune. This makes Wikipedia look good instead of being insecure and heavy handed. You can be assured that if Neptune is incivil to me, I will report it.

I am interested in Chile and wish to discuss this with him. If there is controversy about Chile, I am interested in trying to mend fences. 903M (talk) 05:43, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry, no. This user has been banned. That means that, as a result of various abuses of this site, his input is no longer welcome under any account name. It's not a matter of civility, or incorporating Giovanni33's viewpoint about Chile, any longer. MastCell Talk 05:52, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
You are blocking my access. Please don't be so stubborn. Please end page protection of the page. Please, please, please. According to Wikipedia policy, page protection of this page is not allowed as the criteria have not been met. You may hate the guy, maybe he deserves it, but WP policies and guidelines should be followed. The fact that the person is banned doesn't give anyone the right to do anything to protecting that page is not right. Neither is going to his house and stabbing him. (same analogy, overreacting). 903M (talk) 05:47, 21 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't hate Giovanni33 - I don't even dislike him. In our one or two interactions, he seemed polite. But he has been banned, and it falls to various administrators to enforce that ban. In that respect, Wikipedia's policies are being followed. If you're comparing being asked not to contribute to a specific website with being stabbed or assaulted, then I'm hardly the one overreacting.

But in the interest of addressing your primary concern, which I take to be a desire to communicate with Giovanni33, I have a suggestion. Email Giovanni33. Go to User:Giovanni33 and click on the link in the toolbox entitled "Email this user" (or just use this link). You can ask him whatever questions you like. I would strongly encourage you not to act as a proxy on Wikipedia for his agenda, but you're completely free to communicate with him by email. MastCell Talk 18:31, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

The Fall and Rise Of Kilmer McCully

No doubt you've heard this story, but in the context of our discussions over the medical mainstream's position towards alternative research, it's worth noting. You probably know more about the current context than I do; perhaps the press perspective is misleading (I did glance at the homocysteine article). I'll summarize: In 1969, McCully first published a paper noting a compelling relationship between homocysteine and heart disease. "He soon expanded his theory to include a probable cause of elevated levels of homocysteine: a deficiency of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid. When these vitamins were administered to animals with high homocysteine levels, those levels plummeted, often within hours. Once McCully started extrapolating from his cellular-tissue and animal studies to the human situation, he says, 'it all began to fit together.'" By 1979, McCully was fired, and he was more than just fired -- he was blacklisted, or at least that's what he thinks. In 1990, someone finally got around to pulling up the data and he was vindicated.

One has to wonder what effect the vitamin factor in his research had on the medical community. I can't imagine it was positive. In any case, it is a good case of what Imre Lakatos called research programmes irrationally defending its "hardcore" against competing theories, rather than investigating these theories with an open mind. II | (t - c) 07:26, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Interesting story. I'm not sure what you'd like me to take away from it. That it's hard to go against mainstream opinion? No question. That petty, bigoted interpersonal disputes and narrow-mindedness play a significant role in academic medicine? You can't possibly think that would be news to me. :) If your funding dries up, these places will kick you to the curb with a quickness (Mass General quicker than most). Funding decisions are made by human beings trying to predict the future - in other words, they're prone to prejudices, mistakes, oversights, and often they prove wrong in the fullness of time. That's life. It's a shame that McCully was treated so badly, since he had good data. I guess one moral is that the system is self-correcting in the long run - other groups got interested and proved his initial ideas about homocystine as an atherogenic and prothrombotic molecule to be correct.

The vitamin angle is interesting, though. One might conclude that if folate lowers homocystine levels, then folate supplementation should reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. A Natural Cure "They" Don't Want You To Know About, in other words. Interestingly, most if not all major studies of folate supplementation have not found any efficacy in preventing heart attack or stroke (though I suppose you could argue that agents of Pfizer and the AMA ensured that the trials used the wrong isomer or something. :) Of course, it may be that our grains are folate-supplemented now, and so the incremental benefit of additional folate supplementation is minimal. Open question. Anyhow, thanks for the link - it's an interesting story. MastCell Talk 19:42, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Can we be slightly more precise? First, folate isn't the only vitamin related to high homocysteine levels. Perhaps it is the major one -- I don't know -- but B6 and B12 are also related. How many major studies have there been? On the homocysteine page, there seems to be just 3. One was performed on 5000 people who had survived a heart attack. Another had just 315 subjects with chronic renal failure, and used only folate. Another dealt with 3700 people who "had an acute myocardial infarction within seven days before randomization". II | (t - c) 20:02, 22 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the studies have generally looked at secondary prevention - that is, they've enrolled people with documented cardiovascular disease or at extremely high risk for it (as people with chronic renal failure are). That's because the effectiveness of a preventive agent should be most apparent in a high-risk group. If you take a general population with a relatively low baseline risk of cardiovascular events, you'd have to enroll a zillion people to achieve any kind of statistical power. Though I know certain advocates like to paint this process as "poisoning the well" by only studying "sick" people, it's actually a basic aspect of clinical trial design. Trials of folate/B6/B12 supplementation with a clinical endpoint include:
  • PMID 14762035 (VISP) was really low-dose vs high-dose supplementation, in 3,680 people with recent but non-disabling strokes. They showed a greater reduction in homocystine at the higher vitamin dose, but no effect on clinical outcomes (reucrrent stroke, heart attack, or death) in 2 years of follow-up. They did see an association between baseline homocystine level and outcomes, suggesting that while homocystine is a risk factor, it may not be a meaningfully modifiable one. Alternately, 2 years of follow-up may not have been sufficient to detect any difference that existed.
  • PMID 16531614 (NORVIT) looked at 3,749 people with an MI in the prior seven days, and assigned them to one of 4 arms: folate/B6/B12, folate/B12, B6, or placebo. Again, they observed lowering of homocystine levels but no effect on clinical endpoints. This was the trial that observed a potential harmful effect of folate/B6/B12 supplementation.
  • PMID 16531613 (HOPE-2) was 5,522 patients with cardiovascular disease or diabetes (the most "general" population of these 3 studies). They got folate/B6/B12 with about 5 years of follow-up. And again, they saw homocystine levels decline, but they saw no effect on their primary clinical outcomes of the lower homocystine level. They did report a lower risk of stroke in the vitamin group, but a higher risk of unstable angina/acute coronary syndrome. I think this is most likely the result of multiple statistical comparisons rather than a real effect, since it's inconsistent, but your mileage may vary.
  • PMID 12821232 was a randomized trial of relatively low-dose folate-only supplementation in 593 patients. Again, folate lowered homocystine levels but did not affect clinical endpoints. Obviously, this was a smaller trial with lower-dose folate and no B6/B12, but interestingly they still managed to lower homocystine levels - it just didn't translate into clinical benefit.
  • PMID 16545638 (ASFAST): This was 315 patients with chronic renal failure (an extremely high-risk group for cardiovascular events and deaths) who got megadose folate (15 mg/d) vs placebo. They actually used a surrogate endpoint - change in carotid-artery intima-media thickness, a marker of atherosclerotic burden - and failed to observe any improvement despite, once again, a clear lowering of plasma homocystine levels with folate.
  • PMID 17848650: A VA trial enrolling 2,056 people with chronic renal failure and high baseline homocystine levels. They got folate/B6/B12 vs. placebo for about 3+ years of follow-up. And again, vitamins did lower plasma homocystine levels, but had no effect on clinical outcomes.
  • PMID 18460663: 5,422 people with either existing cardiovascular disease or multiple risk factors were randomized to folate/B6/B12 vs. placebo. With 7 years of follow-up, there was no significant difference in clinical outcomes between the vitamin and placebo groups.
  • PMID 17164458: A meta-analysis of 12 randomized, controlled trials studying folate for prevention of cardiovascular disease. Even when pooling these trial datasets, totalling nearly 17,000 patients, the authors were unable to find any effect of folate/vitamin supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes or mortality.
  • PMID 17544768: This was a meta-analysis of 8 RCT's reporting stroke as an endpoint. They found a possible preventive effect of folate supplementation on stroke, though the 95% confidence interval crossed 1.0 so it was a fairly weak effect statistically speaking. Interestingly, they found a large effect in populations without grain fortification, which suggests that we may already be getting whatever benefit folate provides as a result of fortified bread, and that extra supplementation may not add much benefit.
So there you have it (at least, those are the major trials and meta-analyses that I'm aware of and have looked at recently). There is a remarkably consistent body of high-quality literature, in the form of numerous large randomized controlled trials, which indicate that folate (and B6/B12) supplementation can effectively lower plasma homocystine levels, but does not have an appreciable effect on real, clinical outcomes. That's quite a body of evidence arguing against folate supplementation. I don't need to tell you that if, say, statins had even one large negative trial like these, we'd hear an endless drumbeat about how useless they are. Actually, we hear that drumbeat regardless. :)

Let me play devil's advocate: with the current shoestring budget for medical research, how much more money do you think should be spent investigating this aspect of vitamin supplementation as opposed to some more novel or promising approach to cardiovascular disease prevention? If you think more study is warranted, how would you design a clinical trial to ask and answer questions that the above studies have not? MastCell Talk 16:32, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for such an in-depth reply. Hopefully you didn't feel pressured into it. I agree that the evidence you've presented is quite compelling -- I would have agreed to that earlier as well. I also don't think there's a shoestring budget for medical research, although there could always be more. I'm concerned that many of these trials were redundant, and avoid going to directly to the next relevant question. Since the first large trial, we can be fairly certain that folate/b6/b12 don't do much for random people with cardiovascular disease. An existing question is what they do for regular people in the low-normal range of these nutrients, or normal people with high homocysteine. Maybe a zillion people would have be enrolled, or maybe just 30k. My impression is that studies which replicate other high-powered studies which came to a conclusive answer are a waste of money. It's called "declining marginal returns". Instead of hitting one question over and over, it is best to move onto another question which has received less attention, even if you have to spend extra money to do it.
I don't think your question is a devil's advocate one though. For you, playing devil's advocate require would imply trying to argue the flaws in these studies. One obvious potential flaw is that if you start lowering homocysteine when the damage is already apparent, then the damage has already been done. Possibly a sharp shift in something which the body has accustomed itself to (high homocysteine) disrupts the body's equilibrium in a harmful way. Are there any methodological critiques of some of these studies? Usually there is. If there isn't, then it is probably a dead end right now. I don't know that I'd do any more clinical trials until more low-level biochemical research has been done in clarifying what exactly is going on. Another idea is to try the diet mentioned in that article which "would include many natural sources of B-vitamins like fresh fruits and vegetables and would limit animal protein". Of course, the opens up a lot of confounding variables.
You note on the first there that baseline homocysteine was correlated, and that that suggests that it might not be modifiable. Do you mean by baseline "initial homocysteine"? Because if you do ... well, there's nothing about "initial baseline" that seems non-modifiable. Some people could have taken vitamin supplements right before the trial, and their homocysteine levels would have been modified. Anyway, it certainly seems mysterious. II | (t - c) 20:37, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
No, no pressure - I actually find it useful to revisit the primary literature from time to time. As to the budget for medical research in this country, it's stagnated dramatically since, oh, let's say 21 January 2001. I've seen a number of promising ideas go uninvestigated for lack of funding, and more concerning is that the next generation of researchers is being hit pretty hard. Promising investigators who don't get that first career-development grant end up in private practice or driven into the waiting arms of the drug industry, which is happy to step in with funding the government can no longer supply. Of course, then you get research that serves the ends of the pharmaceutical industry, which do not always overlap with those of the general public. If the government abdicates a role in funding medical research, which it absolutely has done over the past 8 years, then other players will step up, but it will come with a price.
It's an interesting academic question whether folate has any benefit for "normal", healthy people. It would take me a while to dig up actual numbers to calculate statistical power, but the absolute rate of MI/stroke in the general population at age 50 or so is not that high. Even a relatively large benefit from folate would be hard to detect without a huge sample size. What do you think it costs to screen, enroll, register, and follow "only" 30,000 patients for 5 or 10 years? What sort of infrastructure does that require? How about data analysis? That's a major undertaking. Any responsible funding agency has to consider whether that money might be better spent elsewhere.
Sure, maybe the problem with the studies is that "the damage has been done". Of course, the statin studies show pretty convincingly that existing cardiovascular disease can be stabilized or reversed, and that clinical outcomes can be improved, and they're most effective in secondary prevention (i.e. in people with existing cardiovascular disease). But maybe folate/homocystine is different. There are any number of possible holes you can poke in these studies - you've seen the orthomolecular medicine talk page - they used the wrong dose, or the wrong combination of vitamins, or the wrong study population, or the wrong follow-up period, etc. The reason I asked you how you'd design a trial is to underscore the fact that every clinical trial is a compromise between the ideal scientific study and the ideally feasible study. A study which asks all the right questions is no use to anyone if it doesn't accrue or if it proves too complex to adequately conduct. MastCell Talk 23:07, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Many of the hyperhomocysteine patients have problems that make them resistant to lowering by the B6-B9-B12 therapy and require something stronger, e.g. grams of trimethyglycine (betaine, not betaine hydrochloride, the stomach acidulant) to reach the desirable homocysteine levels e.g. under 10 or even 7 mmol/L. Also, more recently, the Am J of Clinical Nutrition (Feb 2008) published research that having lower levels of choline and betaine, is linked with higher blood levels of inflammation markers. This is an area that is probably still not well researched yet, having lost 1-2 decades in the research scrum at Harvard (where therapeutic nutrition a la OMM was likely a forbidden phrase for all those tens of millions of dollars of grants from the processed food industry, see another OMM/Pauling bete noir). Undersaturated fatty acid phosphatidyl cholines (e.g. lecithin) seem to have some common agreement in both OMM and the mainstream (Charles Lieber in the 1990s, Lester B Morrison in the 1950s).
Concerning ...into the waiting arms of the drug industry, I don't know that it is that uncommon for bright, charming, even underage, kids to be dusted with a few thousand pharma dollars and/or perks before the parents even suspect there is a potential career in science, medicine or pharma sales.
As for OMM and the "excusitis", there are a lot of tests that appear to be either *very poorly* researched and planned, by not identifying clearly known special groups (including indications for stronger treatments or contraindications) in the literature and properly designing for significant subgroups, or exclusion. Other tests appear to be flat out designed for (negative, adversarial) competitive purposes. It is the overlooking of these types of tests and improperly represented analyses, all too common with nutrient tests and reporting purported to be relevant to the OMM protocols, that breed suspicion, distrust or outright rejection by the more experienced segments of the non-medical technical population. (e.g. those familiar with even more subtle technical cheating & biases in other sectors for much lower stakes)--TheNautilus (talk) 04:21, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not making excuses. I'm saying that it's very easy to criticize a clinical trial and very hard to design one. There are an infinite number of abstract scientific questions and a very finite amount of resources, time, and eligible patients. I appreciate your viewpoint, but I don't think you appreciate the practical aspects of clinical research. At the very least, you're very quick to cite malevolence as a motivation for what are actually quite rational trial-design decisions. MastCell Talk 04:49, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Comments on my edits

You are very much mistaken with your allegations of promotional material. I assume you speak of the articles I intend to create, because I haven't yet edited any articles. All pharmaceutical companies have their own wikipedia articles for educational purposes, and they tend to list exclusive products the pharmaceutical company developed. As it is, the pharmaceutical company I intend to create an article for has been shut down for 8 years. It's a very important research and development company that produced 2 break threw substances. The information is vital and should be available to the public. As it is, one of the substances is no longer available and the other could not be easily found after looking at the article. I truly do not see how you could allege promotion, perhaps for GHI/MRI. But I intend to create that article when the non-profit organization becomes well-known and the public starts trying to find information about it. Do you now agree that there is no promotional material? Jason1170 (talk) 07:45, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Are you talking about this? I'm afraid I still get the sense that you're here to promote a specific line of unproven remedies. Actually, that's not the real problem - please take a look at Wikipedia's policy on verifiability as well as its guidelines on notability. I get it - you want to spread the word about a substance you think is important - but that's not what Wikipedia is for. If no reliable, independent sources have covered this material, then it's not right for the encyclopedia. There are plenty of other venues on the Internet for what you seem to be trying to accomplish. MastCell Talk 22:51, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
"when the non-profit organization becomes well-known and the public starts trying to find information about it"? That's a variant of the ever-futile WP:UPANDCOMING "they're gonna be famous someday" argument. --Orange Mike | Talk 19:27, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Any idea where medical reliable sources discussion is?

I thought I saw QuackGuru link to it, but I'm probably mistaken. It's from one of the projects where they discuss not cherry-picking research papers and similar topics related to RS, NPOV and OR . Thanks for your help! --Ronz (talk) 16:00, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Found it: WP:MEDRS. --Ronz (talk) 16:30, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

How's that Wiki-break going?

LOL. You may as well remove the template on the top of this page. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 19:57, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, that's valid. On the other hand, I have refrained from commenting on various wikipolitical blowups since putting the template up, and it's a useful reminder. I think the crap I deal with from here on will be more narrowly focused to articles I actually care about, and I'm not going to involve myself in the Wikipedia Drama Of The Week. That's really the point. On the other hand, I should probably take a real wikibreak; I've got one more manuscript that I'd like to get published before the year is out. MastCell Talk 20:02, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

User:Northwestgnome at User talk:Raymond arritt

He's upset about what he perceives to be an attack in the article on Robert M. Carter. He threw templates down on nine of us, if I'm not mistaken. Some of who haven't edited since 2007. AniMate 20:30, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Ah. MastCell Talk 20:32, 24 August 2008 (UTC)
I think he meant well. Chalk it up to the "anything worth doing is worth overdoing" approach. By the way, I seem to have caused a bit of an incident] (unintentional, for once). Basil "Basil" Fawlty (talk) 04:24, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
So you take an obscure Python name and don't know what it meant? I knew that back when I was 15 watching Monty Python. RayRay, enough with the socks. Get your ass back here. MC is nearly ready to quit. And I didn't have your support during the oh so touching secret hearing episode (the drama of the quarter award winner). OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 08:29, 25 August 2008 (UTC)