User talk:Wanderer57/Problem with Homeopathy Discussions

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Problems with Homeopathy Discussions[edit]

I believe there are major communication problems with the homeopathy discussions.

Good communication is important in any discussion. However, because this topic is highly polarized, and has such a history of dispute and ill will, clear communication is especially important in homeopathy.

I would say, and this is an opinion only, that the quality of the communication typically ranges from mediocre to bad.

  • There is a shortage of good will and AGF. Not always, but too often.
  • Misunderstanding of what another editor is trying to say; making assumptions that are incorrect.
  • Wandering off topic is common.
  • Scattering discussions between sections of the talk page is also common. To give an example, earlier this month, there was discussion about the lead section of the article (which is three paragraphs long.) This discussion is in Talk:Homeopathy/Archive 30. If anyone wants to read it, it is inconveniently scattered over the following fourteen! sections:
  • 1 popularity
  • 2 Prevalence of use
  • 4 Concerns with the latest version of the opening sentences
  • 5 What happens if we put important things first?
  • 7 Another suggestion for a LEAD
  • 12 Rearrangement
  • 15 Propose a sandbox discussion of the LEAD
  • 16 Discussing the LEAD
  • 18 2nd sentence
  • 20 Strong disagreement with the above section
  • 22 Article degradation (briefly)
  • 23 Doesn't make sense
  • 26 What is wrong with the lead of this article - a highly personal opinion
  • 27 Revert of LEAD

This would not be as bad if it was a linear discussion. No such luck. It was in some cases parallel discussions of different versions of the lead. During the course of this discussion, suggestions for bringing some order were made by editors Smith Jones, Arion 3x3, Filll, and myself, without effect, as near as I could tell. Filll created a subpage Talk:Homeopathy/LEADdiscussion in an attempt to take the discussion to one location. However, discussion continued scattered over multiple sections of the talk page. In other words, independent discussions of the same thing. In short, near chaos.

Bad communication and unstructured discussion are not the entire problem in homeopathy by any means. However, these greatly aggravate other problems. Wanderer57 (talk) 08:00, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

We cannot assume good faith, because the most vocal editors on that page are not, in fact, acting in good faith. That's the fundamental problem here. The pro-magic editors are not willing to discuss (they simply stonewall when presented with contrary evidence, and bring up the same fallacies over and over again until they happen to hit a time when no one is watching the page). They are not willing to concede even the most basic tenets of NPOV, FRINGE, or WEIGHT (Dana Ullman wants the page to reject the entire molecular theory as "scientistic dogma!"). They are not willing to admit the basic definitions of words such as "pseudoscience." They abuse the administrators complaint pages in an attempt to get all their opponents banned. They are not looking to create an objective encyclopedia article that presents facts backed up by citations; nothing less than a glowing pro-homeopathy piece that ignores 99% of the facts will suit them. There is no solution to this problem short of getting rid of the magicians on the page and giving it back to the reasonable scientists to fix. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 18:18, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
I concur with Randy. Naturezak (talk) 19:21, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Yup, the problem is gaming the system, not a lack of good faith. Addhoc (talk) 20:41, 29 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks to all for the comments. I'm not trying to minimize the concerns you raise. My point is draw attention to a problem that I think makes the situation worse.
There are communication problems with the way the discussion is "structured". The recent example I offer is discussion of the same three paragraphs taking place scattered over fourteen different sections of Talk. It was impossible to follow without a flowchart.
I think there is a general communication problem and I'd like feedback on it. Thanks Wanderer57 (talk) 21:06, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Specifically about communication I would say a big problem is circularity: endless tail-chasing because folks just can't be bothered (?) to read the page or the archives to 'gen up' on issues previously discussed ad nauseam. So, same topics keep coming up over and over which means very little progress is ever made. Also, as you say disjointed scattering of the same topic in several different paragraphs. How do you propose to deal with these issues? thanks Peter morrell 21:27, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

I have observed a recurring pattern in the last 3 months of following this article and its discussion page. Attempts have been made by a number of editors, including myself, to edit this article into a neutral tone that is NPOV and without bias. We have made very specific suggestions. Before adequate discussion to reach consensus is able to be accomplished, a number of vocal anti-homeopathy editors start with personal attacks (such as calling others "pro-magic editors") and general discussions on the entire topic of how homeopathy is "nonsense" and "consumer fraud". This results in a chaotic situation in which trains of discussion on specific suggestions are repeatedly scattered. That is the crux of the problem, in my opinion. Arion 3x3 (talk) 02:25, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
It is telling and more than a tad ironic that this discussion on "communication" has Randy B make up a quote from thin thin air and attribute it to me. When I expressed concerned at his talk page [[1]], two friends of his complained that I am "baiting" him...and they seemed to actually say that with a straight face (see chutzpah). They asserted above that WE are "gaming the system." When you consider that the articles on homeopathy are on probation, there should be penalties against this type of behavior. DanaUllmanTalk 17:15, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
I concur that you didn't use this phrase. Regardless, my current view is that some of the conduct on talk:homeopathy is described in wikipedia:gaming the system.--Addhoc (talk) 17:20, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad that YOU recognize that I didn't use THAT quote, despite the fact that Randy put those words in quotes. Where is his apology and correction? As for gaming the system, indeed. The fact (!) of the matter is that I have hardly done any edits on the homeopathy article (I've done about a handful), though I do plan to suggest some more shortly. DanaUllmanTalk 18:48, 1 March 2008 (UTC)
Addhoc and Dana - your conversation is off-topic here. Please will you take it into another section? Wanderer57

Thanks to all for your comments. As several people point out, within the homeopathy discussion there are well-known problems of wide differences in opinions and styles of discussion, etc.

I'm concerned that perhaps people are missing the point I'm trying to raise here, namely that there is ALSO a general problem with the way the discussion is structured. Complaints about particular editors or groups of editors do not address the concern I'm raising.

I think that the chaos and ineffectiveness of having the same topic (the article lead) discussed in fourteen different sections would concern editors. The main problem in that case was NOT the actions of one or another editor. The discussion, now in archive 30, was relatively amicable and positive in tone, but it was bloody near impossible to follow. Can we get any broader recognition that there is a problem in this regard? Thanks. Wanderer57 (talk) 18:45, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Peter asked above how I propose to deal with the issues I'm raising. Good question. I would suggest creating more structure in the discussion pages.
But unless there is more recognition that there is a problem, and some willingness to work to solve it, I think specific suggestions would be premature and would fall on rocky ground. Wanderer57 (talk) 19:16, 1 March 2008 (UTC)