User talk:Colin/Archive 10

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MEDRS & tox

Hi Colin

I understand you are taking a wikibreak, but I have been looking for your input. I posted a too-long section in talk-MEDRS here about what I see as a widespread problem in Wikipedia. Namely, that basic researchers publish primary "tox" studies and draw big conclusions from them, that toxicologists would never draw, and that non-toxicologists publish reviews of those primary studies and also draw strong conclusions from them. Under current MEDRS, content based on those reviews is perfectly fine. However, reviews by toxicologists throw out many primary studies by basic researchers because the study design makes the results un-usable for tox (e.g. studies where a compound is injected instead of given orally may be useless when the main human exposure is oral). The result of the current MEDRS policy is that we get content in Wikipedia articles (especially on chemicals like various plastics, and herbicides, etc) that is scary and probably wrong -- exactly what MEDRS is meant to avoid. I think we should amend MEDRS to specify reliable sources for tox content. Something like (very draft-y here): "Sources that are most appropriate for content that summarizes results of in vitro or animal studies of the toxicity of products, are secondary and tertiary sources written by toxicologists. Primary studies should not be used to support content about toxicity." This may be a dead letter as whatamidoing seems to have a very different perspective than I do. However, I think this is important and may want to keep working to make it happen but would want more support. What are your thoughts on this issue generally, as well as the idea of amending MEDRS to deal with it? thx Jytdog (talk) 04:05, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

See Dreyfus model of skill acquisition (the article is a mess but the ideas helpful). Our problem often is that editors come to WP with the whole range of skill and sometimes with conflicting skills (such as academic writing). Simple advice such as "avoid primary research papers as sources" will be helpful to many beginners and appropriate for a huge amount of WP writing. Sometimes, discussions on MEDRS can fall into the trap where experience at Wikipedia combines with a desire to be completely accurate in case someone pick holes in one's argument. The result can be "correct" but unhelpful advice or commentary. MEDRS is trying to be useful for a wide range of medical articles and for Wikipedians with a wide range of abilities and access to sources. Sometimes people look for a binary answer to a complex problem. Like whether a source is primary or secondary (it depends). Or whether some source is "MEDRS compliant" and presumably then we can include whatever it says into the article. Or if some issue is governed by MEDRS at all. It can be helpful to step back from the specifics of the question and look for general advice in MEDRS or other policy. I find WP:WEIGHT wins many arguments. Certainly MEDRS could be improved -- it is too long for a start.
Wrt toxicology, I know nothing about the subject. Are the deficiencies you mention documented by commentators on the field perhaps? For example, some of the problems of fMRI research or evolutionary psychology or drug studies are well documented. Perhaps there is some reason we should single-out toxicology for mention? However, MEDRS already says "written by experts in the relevant field and from a respected publisher". So doesn't that already place issues of toxicity written by toxicologists as more likely to be valuable sources than the writings of non-toxicologists? But where these issues require abilities in two or more domains, that does become tricky. I'm not sure there is a general solution.
Can your problems with specific sources be better handled by stepping back and asking, per WP:WEIGHT, if I collect some of the best reliable sources on this subject, what do they say about it and in what proportion? Often it seems folk start with a source that says something they want to say, and then argue about the validity of that source in isolation. Rather than trying to remove the claim because the source is bad, perhaps the claim doesn't deserve mention per WP:WEIGHT or its inclusion should be minimal. Colin°Talk 12:20, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your quick reply! I had the same idea, that I could bolster my argument with a review article or tox textbook, discussing the problem broadly. I am still looking for that. I hear you that the text you quote from MEDRS addresses it, and I agree, but you may have seen that whatamidoing believes that any medical professional can make reliable statements on tox. I don't understand what you say about something requiring "two or more domains" -- within the field of toxicology there are people who specialize in neurotoxicity, cardiotoxicity, etc. From my perspective having the toxicology framework first is essential for this stuff. I hear you too, on using the WEIGHT argument but especially dealing with editors with a a strong environmentalist bent, those arguments are very hard to make, since in the world they see (weltbild rather than weltanschauung) and the sources they read, these toxicology issues loom very large and should have more weight than anything. I will continue searching for the kind of general discussion by toxicologists on basic research studies that you mentioned - will let you know what I find! There is no hurry on this. Thanks again. Jytdog (talk) 16:36, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
The "two or more domains" comment refers to issues that require experts in multiple disciplines. Often people writing a comprehensive article need to cover areas they are particularly expert in and areas they are weaker. Someone writing outside of their speciality can write something quite reasonable. Unless they are in a controversial area, these experts-in-something are probably more likely to be useful than the experts-in-nothing that write our newspapers. There are rogues, of course. Nobel prize winners who use their fame to write nonsense but also subject-experts who are just plain maverick. I'm not really sure what whatamidoing is getting at wrt neurologists vs toxicologists. Surely both terms are too vague to be useful in this argument. Some toxicologists will know nothing about nervous diseases and plenty neurologists will remember little about how chemicals affect the nerves (they spend their day seeing and treating patients, each of which contains billions of neurons). I don't know much about toxicology, but if it provides a scientific framework for these sort of topics then that is surely to be valued. There are certainly many pitfalls and poor science is published -- something that our best review authors know to discard or comment-on when reviewing the field.
You need to bear in mind that the imperfect world cannot be fixed on Wikipedia. We are at the mercy of the body of literature published and you won't win the battle on every article. If experts generally disagree on something, we will need to reflect that -- we can't just pick the expert we think is best and take their views alone. Colin°Talk 19:31, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for this response. I guess it comes down, a bit, to what "type" of study. As per MEDRS (as you know, I am telling you that I know) "'Assessing evidence quality' means that editors should determine the quality of the type of study." I think this might be a useful place to add a toxicology review as a type of study -- because the "best" type of study, a "meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs)" - will never be available with respect to tox. It doesn't seem that MEDRS wasn built taking tox into account and this is where it would be great to have some structure... btw I have gotten a couple of tox textbooks from the library and am reading, and plan to call a few today to ask about this question of "tox" studies done by basic researchers. Jytdog (talk) 15:08, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

POTD notification

Hi Colin,

Just to let you know that the Featured Picture File:Electric steam iron.jpg is due to make an appearance as Picture of the Day on June 16, 2013. If you get a chance, you can check and improve the caption at Template:POTD/2013-06-16. Thank you for all of your contributions! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 23:02, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Hi Colin,
This is a very cool picture. Thanks for sharing it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:50, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

The Wikipedia Library now offering accounts from Cochrane Collaboration (sign up!)

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Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 19:55, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

The Wikipedia Library now offering accounts from Cochrane Collaboration (sign up!)

The Wikipedia Library gets Wikipedia editors free access to reliable sources that are behind paywalls. Because you are signed on as a medical editor, I thought you'd want to know about our most recent donation from Cochrane Collaboration.

  • Cochrane Collaboration is an independent medical nonprofit organization that conducts systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials of health-care interventions, which it then publishes in the Cochrane Library.
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Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 20:23, 16 June 2013 (UTC)


Wondering if you have an opinion on the template being discussed here [Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Medicine#Trip_database] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 11:36, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

POTD notification

Hi Colin,

Just to let you know that the Featured Picture File:King's Cross Western Concourse.jpg is due to make an appearance as Picture of the Day on August 2, 2013. If you get a chance, you can check and improve the caption at Template:POTD/2013-08-02. Thank you for all of your contributions! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 00:31, 18 July 2013 (UTC)


Not quite sure what your interest is this subject? Your not a member of the project, so why the comment?? Bhtpbank (talk) 18:29, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

See the notice from Crisco 1492 on the article talk page. I tried to improve the article by shortening the infobox, which makes it infinitely more readable and better presented, but this was reverted. There's an ongoing backlash against long infoboxes, so the railway project would do well to be ahead of the game and move some of the clutter out of the lead. Colin°Talk 18:54, 18 July 2013 (UTC)


I am replying here because I do not know it you read everyone's talk page.

You can revert my revert. But ---- have you warned Ben that he must not revert my edits without discussion first. Thanks. Scotire (talk) 09:55, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

No more

I won't be bothering you or talk:smallpox anymore. Reciprocation appreciated. PumpkinSky talk 20:58, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

Well, unlike you, I have an interest in the article that goes beyond personal animosity with one of the editors there. Good riddance. Colin°Talk 22:02, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
hmmmm ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:07, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

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Featured picture renomination

Just a note to let you know that I have renominated a previous featured picture candidate of mine that you commented on. You can find the new nomination here in case you would like to comment. Thanks, Ks0stm (TCGE) 20:10, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Paisley stained glass

Since the frame is 3D, however obscured, I think you're fine with CC. By the way, let me know if you get over to Edinburgh. Adam Cuerden (talk) 21:30, 7 September 2013 (UTC)


  The Rosetta Barnstar
For your common sense and wisdom at Talk:Malaria relating to references and translation efforts. Thank you. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 09:52, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, but it felt more like stumbling about in the dark. I randomly clicked links that I guessed were edit, create and submit. Now if only the whole Visual Editor fiasco was as easy to resolve... Colin°Talk 09:57, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Your stumbles are appreciated! Wouldn't it be nice if there was an option to switch those tabs to English? Kind of like how I asked that at the bottom. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 10:01, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Now asked at m:Wikimedia_Forum#Tabs_in_the_language_of_our_choice. Check out WP:WMF, I created it recently, if you haven't seen it yet. Best. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 10:08, 24 September 2013 (UTC)


  The Copyright Cleanup Barnstar
To Colin, for investigating the copyright concerns of x-ray images. Axl ¤ [Talk] 10:52, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Best wishes. Axl ¤ [Talk] 10:52, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Thank you too, I've been focusing on other issues, despite its importance. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 11:17, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

I cited your work

Thanks for making it. I cited it as a source. ;-) See here. Best regards. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 14:55, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

That's a unreliable source for the statement "Wikipedia justifiably expects instructors to take responsibility for their students' work". Although I wish it did, it appears that Wikipedia does not expect instructors to take responsibility for their students' work. Which is why I have disengaged from discussing the Education Program. Colin°Talk 15:15, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
See my recent discussion with jbmurray at WT:ASSIGN? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 21:32, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

A bowl of strawberries for you!

  For this fix: GeorgeLouis (talk) 02:50, 12 October 2013 (UTC)


Mine deleted when responding to you ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 23:15, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Books and Bytes: The Wikipedia Library Newsletter

Books and Bytes

Volume 1, Issue 1, October 2013


by The Interior (talk · contribs), Ocaasi (talk · contribs)

Greetings Wikipedia Library members! Welcome to the inaugural edition of Books and Bytes, TWL’s monthly newsletter. We're sending you the first edition of this opt-in newsletter, because you signed up, or applied for a free research account: HighBeam, Credo, Questia, JSTOR, or Cochrane. To receive future updates of Books and Bytes, please add your name to the subscriber's list. There's lots of news this month for the Wikipedia Library, including new accounts, upcoming events, and new ways to get involved...

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Policy or guideline

Colin. I'm coming around to supporting your original idea about the assignment guideline/policy, with profs taking responsibility for student edits. I think this is the secret behind the success of User:Brianwc (Brian Carver). We need a policy/guideline to clone this kind of individual/approach, in my opinion. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 12:34, 4 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for keeping me updated. Cheers, Colin°Talk 18:36, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Pingie pongie

No time to look today, but I love the title: Wikipedia talk:Education program/Research/Plagiarism. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:54, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

I'm staying out. How to make a Wikipedian angry: present as fact "plagiarism" figures that didn't detect plagiarism from the kind of sources students actually use (like their textbook or paywalled journals). -- Colin°Talk 18:35, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I know. But Sage is one of the few good and competent among WMF employees, so ... I pick my battles. I will try to make progress on getting that more prominently mentioned ... flies, honey, vinegar and all that. Have you seen this? I'm waiting to see what the article is, to see if he's right, but if he is right, that might help the bump to a BLP-like policy on MEDRS. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:44, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't read that site and nothing on the page encourages me to bookmark it. "dangerous and frightening untruth" Hmm. I have to say I'm a bit sceptical but who knows. Colin°Talk 19:30, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
If he's wrong, fine. If he's right, could work to our advantage. I'm watching :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 19:33, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Am I missing something? Wikipedia contains errors? Is this news? How would MEDRS being elevated fix that error if nobody has spotted it for a year? Well let me know what it is if you find out. Colin°Talk 19:45, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
It wouldn't fix that error, but if that case is correct (which I kinda doubt), it would shine a light on why we need a policy that will help us fix other errors more easily. And, on another tangent/rant, I am SO disgusted and tired of trying to deal with the student editing stuff, along with the random and usual POV pushers, that I'm beginning to wonder why we don't have a general disclaimer at the top of every medical topic, in addition to our site-wide disclaimer. It is getting to be too much for a few of us to keep up with, and if that example is correct, and considering Google goes first to us most of the time, I wouldn't be at all offended by some disclaimer/warning at the top of TS indicating to our readers that they should consult their physician, this article has not been vetted, it was written by RandyFromBoise. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:16, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
Turns out that these were the offending edits. FWIW. --jbmurray (talkcontribs) 21:03, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Jbmurray thanks. Lovely. Medscape news, and info from the manufacturer, wonderful sources. From an editor who picks up info from his reading of journals (according to his user page), but as far as I know, doesn't regularly engage MEDRS and isn't regularly seen around med articles. Great-- a good reason for a policy akin to BLP to allow any editor to shoot on site anything not compliant with WP:MEDRS. Except few editors understand the difference between a primary source, a secondary source, much less understand the need for a medical secondary source on health info. No wonder Bali ultimate highlighted this one-- it's a doosie. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:40, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Doublechecking, Nbauman was around the MEDRS talk page years ago, so ... SandyGeorgia (Talk) 21:56, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Well Nbauman didn't agree with MEDRS and the sources used aren't ideal but actually, what's wrong with what was written? The ultimate source is NICE who are a very reliable source, though some of their conclusions are dependent on what price can be negotiated between the NHS and the manufacturer -- hence later NICE guidelines allow it use in certain cases because of some undisclosed significant discount being offered. I guessed this would be one of those cancer drugs that offer meagre life extension for high cost. That whole area is rife with astroturfing by manufacturers and Wikipedia should resist this by ensuring the facts, sometimes depressingly sad facts, remain. The NICE source is here which says "The manufacturer estimated the overall survival benefit for patients receiving erlotinib to be 3.3 months over placebo and the ERG estimated the overall survival benefit to be 4.2 months". The NICE document builds on the SATURN trial mentioned in the article. Our article currently would give most people the impression that this drug gives you a 19% chance of survival. In fact, it just delays your death a little. I encourage people to find the best up-to-date sources on this drug and create an accurate article. Colin°Talk 22:04, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
I've asked at WP:MED for help. The "frighteningly incorrect "information"" could have been sourced reliably and the statement "The drug is in fact highly effective about 60% of the time for certain otherwise fatal types of lung cancer" is just crazy talk. Colin°Talk 22:15, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Class edits

SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:09, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

I'll try to look at these at some point. Are they finished or works in progress? -- Colin°Talk 22:21, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

The Education Program has become such a mess that I no longer know where or how to find course details, like a date when the students might be moving these from sandbox to article. There are about 60 projects from this one group, and they all look promising awful. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 22:29, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Final straw approaches

So, one person can go over to the cite journal page, and two techies can change a cite template that has long worked just fine for linking PMCs in medical article citation, and the techies (like the WMFers and other Ed Program brownnosers) can tell us to shove it, because of course, they know what is best for our readers, because of course they spend so much time interacting with our readers. [1] So, we've had PMC's linked in article titles for as long as I've edited, and now we don't. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 01:36, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

I like PMC. If no consensus they should be returned. Feel free to revert these techies and ping me. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 09:32, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
It is the last straw. WP:MED has gone moribund, nothing is getting done, students are overwhelming, and now we have technobabble affecting our articles. Help talk:Citation Style 1#Reboot: inconsistent citation style due to change in long-standing URL v PMC parameters. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:43, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Hi Sandy. It is the weekend. Not everyone is as urgent about fixing templates on a Sunday :-). Anyway, more evidence, if anyone needs it, of the value of hand writing citations. Colin°Talk 15:40, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I am more discouraged about the overall state of WP:MED. Is it not time to give up in here? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 15:43, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Do you mean the project page or the project itself? I've hardly ever read the project page, just as I hardly ever read the WP main page. The project talk page still seems fairly active. Colin°Talk 17:00, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Both. It's utterly discouraging, and another sign of the overall decline of Wikipedia. First, the project page has become a mess-- looks to be more about promoting off-Wiki ventures then engaging the on-Wiki work. The talk page looks active, but major items are not even being addressed. We used to have active involved editors who got right on things ... no more. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:03, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm pushing m:Wiki Project Med, including User:Ocaasi, to make sure the contract for Wikipedia:COCHRANE/WIR includes some paid editing support for WT:MED. Ocaasi? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 17:07, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
And we've seen pushes to use Cochrane to the exclusion of other sources, even when Cochrane is inferior. I am alarmed at the increasingly external focus. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 17:10, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

It is a push to use systematic reviews and meta analysis when available. Others are perfectly appropriate as well. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) (if I write on your page reply on mine) 17:38, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

That's why I'm trying to shift the focus. I don't want any external relationship to act as a deleterious factor on the quality of Wikipedia. They should boost our quality, not the opposite. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 17:16, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

The Wikipedia Library Survey

As a subscriber to one of The Wikipedia Library's programs, we'd like to hear your thoughts about future donations and project activities in this brief survey. Thanks and cheers, Ocaasi t | c 14:52, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Poor Man's Talk Back

I replied to your post here. - NeutralhomerTalk • 17:40, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Happy New Year!

  Bringing you warm wishes for the New Year!
May you and yours enjoy a healthful, happy and productive 2014!

And I hope to see you more active :)

Best regards, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 16:54, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Paisley Abbey from the south east

An image created by you has been promoted to featured picture status
Your image, File:Paisley Abbey from the south east.jpg, was nominated on Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates, gained a consensus of support, and has been promoted. If you would like to nominate an image, please do so at Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates. Thank you for your contribution! Armbrust The Homunculus 14:49, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/St Matthew's Church - Paisley - Interior - 5

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Charlotte is back

The epilepsy case "cured" by cannabis and television is back. I am sad to say the new article was written by an editor whom I respect from our work together on the Andrew Wakefield, MMR vaccine controversy, BullRangifer-- disappointed because I tend to think that someone who has worked on the "science by press release" topic of MMR controversy would intuitively see how much damage can be caused by promotion in the media of unscientific information to parents desperate for a cure. Anway, since you know epilepsy, I was hoping you would look: I edited the article from this, to this, and I do respect BullRangifer as an editor, so would like another opinion. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:13, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Hi Sandy. Belated Happy New Year to you. I've added some comments. There's an interesting comparison with ketogenic diet -- I can note the press/TV coverage that sparked a revival in the use of the treatment and I do so by citing a review in Pediatrics and a chapter in a medical textbook. Perhaps in 10 years time we will be in the same place with marijuana but perhaps not. Also, the revival in the KD was accompanied by a large trial conducted by respected institutions and proper neurologists. Not some GP and a pathologist. It makes me ill thinking about it. Dravet syndrome is a dreadful form of epilepsy and very hard to treat. It was responsible for some of the cases of so-called "vaccine encephalopathy" before doctors knew better how to diagnose it and what caused it (genetic fault). It is a common target for experimental drugs/treatments because parents are so desperate. I must note, however, that the ketogenic diet had its origins in a crank's "fasting cure" so sometimes, but only sometimes, the cranks stumble upon something. -- Colin°Talk 22:16, 13 January 2014 (UTC)
Colin,I welcome any good, policy based, analysis of the article. I don't own it, and naturally realize that being very close to an article one creates can induce a form of myopia. Note that the article has (had, until changed...) a very different focus than many such articles. I recall editing the Andrew Wakefield article with SandyGeorgia, who did a great job whipping it into shape. In that case, we had RS which stated that Wakefield used science by press release, and thus were justified in adding that to the article. We don't have any of that in this case, and we are not justified in throwing that expression about here. We just see the press doing what they do. There is nothing wrong with that, and that's the basis for many of our articles. This is a notable matter, and it deserves an article which covers all sides of the story.
We have a human interest story which captured the nation's attention and has been described in many RS. It has gained the attention of politicians, medical societies, lawyers, and experts in epilepsy and pediatrics. No experts have claimed that what has happened didn't actually happened, but they are questioning how and why. We lack the research to be certain, and we also know that there can be a tendency to exaggerate the situation, which is why I try to stick very closely to the RS, often using exact quotes for attribution. Maybe we should use attribution more, but we must be careful not to add demeaning weasel words not found in the sources. That would be inappropriate. We aren't supposed to take sides. I suspect the sources I have used, and others on the talk page, may contain more cautions and criticisms we could use. That would be appropriate. Let the sources speak.
I have sought to include the concerns and worries about the lack of research, the reasons for that lack (legal obstacles to research), and other POV expressed by professionals. These are very justified concerns which I share, and they are found in RS discussing CW. As a mainstream healthcare worker, scientific skeptic, and quackbuster whose life (and life of my children) has been threatened because of my criticisms of the chiropractic profession (and Hulda Clark), I'm always against pushing unscientific claims, etc.. Here I stick to documenting something and have only used RS which mention Charlotte's Web, and whose other comments are made in that context.
The article doesn't make medical claims, but it does document that such claims have been made, without endorsing them. There is a huge difference. We document notable events and facts from the real world here. We don't take sides. I fear that our concerns as anti-quackery, science based people, will override our duty as wikipedians to follow the sources and not engage in NPOV violations by deleting what RS say. By doing that, we are exercising censorship, a serious violation of "not censored" and NPOV. We must also be careful not to add information from sources which do not mention CW, because that would be a SYNTH violation. That's not our job. So, let's be careful to AGF and work this out so we end up with a better article, not a censored shadow of what RS say. I especially welcome the addition of criticisms of CW from RS. I have found some concerns raised, but welcome more. Let's continue this at the article's talk page. -- Brangifer (talk) 00:18, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, we can continue at article talk, but noting that CW is a cannabinoid, so we should be using the secondary reviews on that, even if they don't specifically mention a brand new version of same. Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 00:31, 14 January 2014 (UTC)

POTD notification

Hi Colin,

Just to let you know that the Featured Picture File:St James's Park Lake – East from the Blue Bridge - 2012-10-06.jpg is due to make an appearance as Picture of the Day on March 7, 2014. If you get a chance, you can check and improve the caption at Template:POTD/2014-03-07. Thank you for all of your contributions! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 00:31, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

An RfC that you may be interested in...

As one of the previous contributors to {{Infobox film}} or as one of the commenters on it's talk page, I would like to inform you that there has been a RfC started on the talk page as to implementation of previously deprecated parameters. Your comments and thoughts on the matter would be welcomed. Happy editing!

This message was sent by MediaWiki message delivery (talk) on behalf of {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 18:26, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Synonyms at Onion

The Onion article is not just a "vegetable" article – if it were I would agree that the synonyms weren't needed. However it's also the "species" article Allium cepa, and synonyms are usually given in the taxoboxes of plant articles, as per the WP:PLANTS guidelines. Peter coxhead (talk) 15:26, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

@Peter coxhead:, common wisdom for info boxes is to restrict their contents to only the key information for the article topic. There is increasing movement on WP to taming these boxes as they have become somewhat unruly and often as a result of over-enthusiastic wiki projects. What a subject-nerd (without meaning offence) finds fascinating is often at odds with the 99% of the general public who wish to read an encyclopaedia article on onions. The boxes compete with photos for the important right-hand-side margin and due to their monolithic form, they tend to push photos down the page resulting in bunching. Nearly always, the information can be better presented. The lead section of an article is prime real-estate and should grab the reader's attention. More difficult, obscure or less vital information should generally come further down the article. These recommendations are all found in the official manual of style and other guidelines, whereas what wikiproject Plants recommends may be useful and generally helpful, but it actually carries no more weight than the opinions of any other editors on a given article. Often what works well for some or most articles in a domain, doesn't for some. This is particularly true for main-topics (e.g. onions vs some more obscure plant or veg). It is also true when articles cross subjects (e.g. food + plant rather than just plant). A list of obscure latin names or odd varieties will have no interest to almost all the readers of this article, so really doesn't belong in the lead. List of onion cultivars is nearly as long as the Onion article. Wikiprojects have tended to use info boxes as a means of collating all the information they regularly gather on subjects, but in fact there is no reason why this needs to go in the lead or in one huge box. Some project have developed other boxes that go along the bottom, for example. And if the information is potentially overwhelming to the subject, then moving it to a daughter article is the best solution. -- Colin°Talk 18:30, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
I have a lot of sympathy for the argument that the top right infobox should show only a limited amount of key information. I'm less impressed with the argument that readers are best served by splitting up articles: related information is then difficult to find; some redundancy is often needed in order to introduce each daughter article properly; this repeated information easily becomes inconsistent.
An idea that has been discussed in the past at WP:PLANTS is to use the show/hide facility; synonym lists in taxoboxes could then by default be hidden. Do you have any views on this? Peter coxhead (talk) 12:35, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
Read MOS:LEAD, MOS:INFOBOX and MOS:COLLAPSE. Also WP:LENGTH. All topics get split up. There is simply not any way to chop up the world's subjects into readable self-contained articles. Wikipedia is designed to be a hypertext encyclopaedia. So the argument about not splitting up articles (or trying to put all related content into one article) is never going to fly. For a major veg like onion there are competing interests from folk who wish to discuss it as a plant and folk who wish to emphasise its food use. But I don't think anyone honestly has a strong argument that 101 varieties with their latin abbreviated names is of such importance that it belongs in the lead or that they are so important that all photographs should be pushed down to the References section. Show/hide is not a solution -- it doesn't print well, has accessibility issues, and of course, it hides things. -- Colin°Talk 16:41, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm aware of all of these MOS entries. It's neither correct nor helpful to say "all topics get split up" when the issue is how they get split up. Separating lists of synonyms from a discussion of the taxonomy of the species, for example, removes vital context. This is not to say that the list has to be in the taxobox. I see that another member of WP:PLANTS has restored the synonyms to the taxobox. I suspect this will continue to happen unless you can persuade the project that their guidelines are incorrect. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:10, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
No, it won't "continue to happen". Joseph is now edit warring (restored content twice without discussion). I encourage you to voluntarily remove that information from the infobox or else you'll find the article restored by someone else, an admin lock on the page and members of the Plant wikiproject may find themselves blocked. The article does not belong to a Wikiproject. -- Colin°Talk 08:21, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Ok, I don't know the history of this, but threats of admin locks and blocks should be a non starter. As an outside observer, I see a group of people dedicated to improving species articles being threatened rather than supported. Every effort needs to be made to harness that enthusiasm and knowledge, not thwart and dishearten! :-)
I see that collapsible boxes have already been used to try and reach a solution that suits both schools of thought. I can see that that can cause other problems; eg no help if the viewer doesn't support javascript etc. But for most users it works well. I don't see long info boxes as a great problem - mostly when I view articles I don't initially look at any info in such infoboxes (except the lead picture), but it's all there as a quick reference when needed. --Tony Wills (talk) 11:40, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm responding to the edit warring and possible tag-teaming by Wikiproject Plants. I'm just someone with the article on their watchlist -- no "insider". To me it looked like bullying by a Wikiproject who have invented their own style at opposition to MOS. That perception may be wrong, but without discussion it sure just looks like it. Sometimes people need a wee reminder that edit warring is absolutely not acceptable, and a reminder that the reader (99% of whom are not botanists) is most important. -- Colin°Talk 12:43, 17 March 2014 (UTC)

Infobox length

You might want to comment on this proposal re infobox length. Barryjjoyce (talk) 01:37, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

FPs and delisting

(Bringing it here as we're getting off-topic on the nom pages.) There are lots of current FPs that would not pass today and we have no intention of revisiting them all on a regular basis. We seem to have a pretty fundamental disagreement, here- that sounds like a perfectly sensible thing to do, to my ears, and it's certainly something that happens in other processes (for example, the GA sweeps was a single effort to look over every current GA). I'm not really sure what you believe we should be judging existing FPs against if not the FP criteria. J Milburn (talk) 10:01, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Why is it a sensible thing to do? It isn't as though the forum is overloading with reviewers looking for something to spend their afternoons doing. The other process deal with articles, which certainly do deteriorate. Photos don't deteriorate. Those aren't technically wonderful pictures and may well not pass today but they are still in use after eight years and nobody has suggested any on-commons pictures that could do better or that show they are no longer our best work. You know the "this is too small" argument is not valid -- we'd never have got the resolution standard raised if that was to be allowed. And "there are better pictures on flickr" is also not a valid argument. Please, let's stick to delisting images that have been or should be replaced by another, or have been pushed out of articles. That's a far better judge of the EV than some drive-by nominator speculating on whether we could do better. Merely using delist as a second chance to revisit the same issues is not the most productive use of our time imo and likely to just cause arguments. There will be some exceptions to this, where an image is so bad one wonders what we were thinking at the time. Per WP:SOFIXIT, we should cull our old poor FPs by obtaining better ones. -- Colin°Talk 13:40, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

Sleeping Dogs

Hey man! Would you consider doing a peer review, or giving some feedback on Sleeping Dogs (video game)? I would like to get some feedback about issues that need to be resolved. After that, I would like to nominate it for a featured article. Thanks for you for your cooperation! URDNEXT (talk) 12:41, 8 June 2014 (UTC)


Colin, I want to take a picture of some candy, and I'd like your advice on how to do it. The candy is basically white tablets. They look like large, very plain aspirin pills. Usually, we'd put the subject on a white background, but white tablets on white paper seems like it would not be a very good picture. I've got the packaging (they're individually wrapped), but I didn't want to run into restrictions with their copyright on the packaging. What do you suggest? WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:17, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

I don't know what kind of kit you have so will assume you just have a compact camera rather than a DSLR with fancy studio lights and a macro lens. You are right that shooting white-on-white is difficult. It can be done, but is considered an "advanced exercise" in my lighting book :-). The hard bit is ensuring the surface/background is pure white while not over-exposing the subject. Or resort to Photoshop to isolate them from the background. I Googled your sweets and found this set of six photographs, which might give you ideas. It is possible to include packaging in Wikipedia provided the image is uploaded to Wikipedia (not Commons) and used in an article (see Hula Hoops) and is very small pixel size. The individual wrapping of these pills is important so a compromise might be an image like this that does not show any significant copyright imaging and would be suitable for Commons. It is probably best to describe the size of the pills in the image description page (and article) rather than using a ruler or a coin to scale.
Ideally, you want soft lighting and gentle shadows (unlike the Hula Hoops photo). So small light sources such as your camera flash or a light bulb, or the sun on a clear day are not good as they produce hard direct light. Instead, take on an overcast or cloudy day outside or next to a large window. Turn the flash on your camera off. Avoid mixing daylight with lightbulbs as the two "whites" are not the same. Your compact camera may have a macro mode that helps you focus close-up. If you choose a very light or very dark background, you may need to use some exposure-compensation menu option (or manual exposure if possible) as the camera may try to expose the scene as light-mid grey. An easy way to alter the lighting of your subject is to use a piece of white card (held out of sight) to reflect the sunlight. A dark paper surface is one possibility, though the texture might show and be distracting. Alternatively, find a shiny surface like glass (with something under it) or a ceramic tile to get some reflection. Or, if you find the pills to be very plain, then a textured background like a wooden desk might be a contrast. Yet another option is to take a picture in a child's hand, being opened, or on someone's tongue. -- Colin°Talk 20:58, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! Your guess is absolutely correct: I have an old digital camera, and not much skill with it, either. I think there's a macro setting on it, so I'll try that. Manual exposure might be possible, but would probably be a disaster in practice. I think my first step will be to see if I can find something reflective. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:57, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
One of the problems of asking whether any of these are worth uploading or if I should scrap them all and start over is that I can't show them to you without uploading them! So you've got mail, and hopefully your e-mail address hasn't changed in the last couple of years. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:04, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates/Sony Alpha 77 II

An image created by you has been promoted to featured picture status
Your image, File:Sony A77 II - top.jpg, was nominated on Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates, gained a consensus of support, and has been promoted. If you would like to nominate an image, please do so at Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates. Thank you for your contribution! Armbrust The Homunculus 09:09, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
An image created by you has been promoted to featured picture status
Your image, File:Sony A77 II.jpg, was nominated on Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates, gained a consensus of support, and has been promoted. If you would like to nominate an image, please do so at Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates. Thank you for your contribution! Armbrust The Homunculus 09:09, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
An image created by you has been promoted to featured picture status
Your image, File:Sony A77 II - rear.jpg, was nominated on Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates, gained a consensus of support, and has been promoted. If you would like to nominate an image, please do so at Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates. Thank you for your contribution! Armbrust The Homunculus 09:09, 14 July 2014 (UTC)


If you think that WP:SSF means I "despise experts" as you claimed at Talk:Autism (where that essay was never mentioned, that I recall - I'm not sure it'd be relevant there, since what terms to use for people with autism in wording that's both sourceable and neutral isn't a style matter but a content policies matter), you haven't understood it at all. Experts are vital to Wikipedia. But they're definitely not vital to how we capitalize and punctuate and hyphenate for a general-audience readership, which is what SSF addresses. [Well, linguistics, grammar, and communication experts are actually vital to that, and it's why they make up the bulk of MOS regulars.] WP doesn't need an expert who focuses on engaging in style holy wars to force everyone else to write like that expert's preferred journal. We already have too many of those. We need experts who adapt to WP's style guide like they do to every other publication venue's, and who then focus on content. Anyway, I have no intereste in a protracted dispute with you, it just seemed weird to me that you were injecting that much ire about a non-relevant essay into that discussion.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  14:47, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

SMcCandlish your tiresome rant essay is cited as an example where you dismiss reliable specialist sources in an area where you think you know better. Your comments on the naming discussion just made manifest your prejudices and ignorance on the topic rather than bringing any light. You state "RS tell us what the facts are, not how we must write about those facts", which is very similar to the argument in your essay about style. But here you are simply wrong. It is absolutely vital that we mirror how the specialists write about autism. Not, as Muffinator suggests, to use politically or socially correct phrasing, but to ensure we are actually writing about the same thing the expert is writing about. One can't necessarily change the words "to keep the article text from being monotonously annoying". Rather than engaging in a "holy war", Muffinator was suggesting things in a good faith, if eager, manner and the only person to get hot under the collar about it was you and your "vehement" oppose. -- Colin°Talk 19:31, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
In any cases where the wording tolerances are so tight that any variation could have us actually writing about a completely different topic than the source, we should be using direct quotation. I'm skeptical that anyone else in that discussion believes the tolerances are that tight; I don't see any evidence that they do. Obviously, you've filed me in your "Idiots" folder, but it's curious to me how everyone can be wrong but you. The odds of that seem low to me, unless you're some world-renowned authority on not just autism but how to write about autism, and every other editor chiming in is WP:Randy in Boise. Sure seems coincidental that they'd all show up at once to !vote unanimously against. Was there a conspiracy that canvassed the Internet to get people to show up and take a position you don't like? And I'd sure like to see the reviews of your field-changing articles and books on autism. You seem to be coming from the standpoint that lay-audience summarization of scientific or technical topics should only be done by PhDs. Last I looked that's a different encyclopedia project, called Citizendium. If you don't like the non-credentialist rules here, you have alternatives.

You still don't understand SSF, or you're projecting that you don't, for unclear reasons. It doesn't dismiss reliable sources at all. It simply avoids the glaringly obvious logic error of believing that experts on facts about something are experts on writing for a general audience. Quite the opposite is most often the case; academics are notoriously bad at writing for people aren't other specialists in the same or related fields. So why act like you believe your mechanic would be insanely great at developing engine repair teaching materials because he's just so good at fixing engines, or that you assume someone who knows everything there is to know about the history of medieval warfare would make the best sword fight scene coordinator in Hollywood? No one has to "think [they] know better" than the mechanic or the medievalist, about anything at all much less about their specialties, to see the why those assumptions aren't valid, and I doubt you're an exception. It's not defensible to treat a source that is written by experts in topic A, and which is reliable with regard to topic A, as magically also reliable on unrelated topic B, a topic about which the writers are not also experts, just because they're tangentially related. Wikipedia would not possible if we did that. We would never treat a journal article about speciation in tropical amphibians as somehow also reliable about amphibians in art, or sports teams named after amphibians, or speciation in ferns, or the species problem and its history. This fact doesn't somehow turn on its ear when topic B is how to best style encyclopedic prose for Wikipedia's readership, just because the topic of the prose being styled happens to be amphibians. If this is still unclear: You may be the most knowledgeable person ever about avocado horticulture. This doesn't automatically make you the best person to deliver them via a truck, put them on display, ring up their sale, or serve them in a dish at a restaurant. There is no close correlation between content knowledge and the mechanisms of its conveyance to others. I'm extremely skeptical that you have any difficultly following any of this reasoning, in reality, so what is your game? Are you just irritated because of the perhaps too sarcastic tone of the piece? Did some style debate not go your way and you think it would have if only SSF hadn't been written? Any chance this is about common names of animal species, particularly winged ones?

To get back to the autism article, I do concede that my tone there was intemperate; I think I'd had an entire week full of people being political correction police, or trying to tell others what their experiences are, often from the same twits not realizing their hypocrisy. But no one seemed swayed by my opinion in that discussion, anyway; no one said "per SMcCandlish" or mirrored my arguments at all. Yet it still didn't go your way. That discussion would have concluded with the same result if I'd never been in it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  22:42, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Your first sentence is just plain wrong. Perhaps you haven't worked or read in a discipline where words don't just arise from collective usage but are actually captured or created and specified. Where international committees meet to define the terminology, publish their conclusions and papers are written by others about how good or bad this change is? Where our understanding of what we are studying is so poor that new discoveries frequently cause us to reconsider the fundamentals. Have a read of Timeline of tuberous sclerosis. Do you get any sense of shifting understanding though that time? We have several diseases to begin with, then they are combined into one (with variable manifestations), then split apart (somewhat) as we discover two separate genes are responsible, and then joined again as we understand the common pathways that link these genes and their proteins. So what is Tuberous Sclerosis Complex? Is it the disease Bourneville studied with lumps in the brain? Or perhaps it is the disease Vogt describes that has "epilepsy, idiocy, and adenoma sebaceum" combined. Or the modern day understanding that an apparently unaffected person might have the genetic fault and only discover it when she has a child that, by chance, manifests a more severe form. These are complex things and our definitions are necessarily complex and precise. Often words that appear everyday (like "focal" or "partial", in epilepsy) actually have absolutely precise meanings and one can't naively dig out the thesaurus in order to improve the prose. The autism spectrum is far less understood than the relatively straightforward tuberous sclerosis, and the field is undergoing a shift in nomenclature.
I don't understand your further comments about everyone being wrong or groups turning up and the rest of that paragraph just shifts further in to wild fantasy/speculation. Let me tell you a secret: I have no higher medical qualification that my Scouts first-aid badge, earned many decades ago. I've no idea why you think your SSF bothers me in some way that you need to invent a psychological trauma to explain my comments about it. I'd forgotten all about it till you turned up on the autism talk page (which I watchlist) and your comments about not using reliable sources to guide how we write rang a bell. As you admit yourself, you turn up out of the blue carrying frustrations from some other war into a relatively straightforward discussion. People might want to know what shapes your "vehement" angle on this, so I cite your essay. I don't understand when you say "Yet it still didn't go your way" or how you can conclude whether or not people were swayed by your argument: the discussion died when nobody supported the proposition and possibly everyone had said all that needed said -- not every discussion on WP has hundreds of support/oppose !votes.
I don't think you are an idiot. On the contrary, I suspect you are well above average intelligence. But I do think you are a rather angry person who thinks that a combination of insults and lengthy explanations from your rational mind will convert the hoards of fools that you frequently encounter and bring them enlightenment. You wouldn't be alone in that mindset, and I dare say I fall into that trap from time to time myself. -- Colin°Talk 19:14, 16 September 2014 (UTC)
Not ignoring you. Have big IRL project, and it's also my birthday, but I look forward to getting back to this. I agree with much of what you're saying here, but think it's conflating some different things that have different resolutions, and I suspect that some of them at least are resolvable or at least improvable. I understand why that particular post of my triggered the response it did, I think, and am disiclined to bare any more teeth about it.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:59, 18 September 2014 (UTC)
Happy birthday. May you be both older and wiser :-) -- Colin°Talk 06:54, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Requesting opinion on South Beach Diet

Hi there Colin, I'm writing because I am hoping to find an editor with experience editing diet-related to articles to take a look at the current discussions happening on the South Beach Diet Talk page, in particular the most recent exchanges regarding the History section here.

Myself and a couple of editors have had some disagreements on what information should be included in the section and also the article overall. Having seen your contributions to the Ketogenic diet, I think your input would be valuable in coming to a consensus on how to move forward.

If you have a moment, would you be willing to read over the discussion and offer your thoughts? I've also reached out to one additional editor to take a look. Cheers, WWB Too (Talk · COI) 13:52, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Return to the user page of "Colin/Archive 10".