User talk:Colin/Archive 7

Active discussions


Hi Colin, I have sent you a copy of a paper by Koprovski. Graham Colm Talk 12:14, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Congratulations on Ketogenic diet FA

Colin, much deserved, you put so much work into this. Graham. Graham Colm Talk 20:16, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

Hear, hear. Looking forward to the next one! Fvasconcellos (t·c) 21:27, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Working together

Let us remember why we are editing Metformin - because of FV's call to help with moving it to FA status. Can we avoid using the article as a battleground for our different understanding of "ideal" Wikipedia? Can we concentrate on adding new information for now and not on deconstructing (instead of improving) the existing text? Can we agree to use common sense?

Deconstruction is not a way collaborate productively. Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. For example, I looked at ketogenic diet and in the very beginning of the article I see a contradiction. The text states "Although popular for a while, it was abandoned by most academic centres in the 1940s in favour of new anticonvulsant drugs." While the source states "The ketogenic diet (KD), developed in the early 1920s, had fallen into disuse during the 1970s and 1980s with the rapid development of new anticonvulsant agents for epilepsy". There are probably dozens of OR-suspicious interpretations in any FA, if one wants to be paranoid. But let us use common sense. The Sceptical Chymist (talk) 18:52, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Well you got me on that one. Guilty m'lord. It isn't actually a contradiction but "the 1940s" is a precision that isn't in my sources. A number of textual changes were suggested by an expert review. I worked really hard to ensure every one was sourced, and often I had to rephrase or occasionally drop one if I failed to locate a good source that precisely backed up the change. You will see that phrase entered as a result of this process. I hesitated on it but decided in the end that "Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the ketogenic diet was widely used...phenytoin discovered 1938...A new era of medical therapy for epilepsy had begun, and the ketogenic diet fell by the wayside." (Wheless2004, and others) implied the 1940s was when the diet was no longer widely use. I let that suggestion through. I've revised the text now and added another source for that statement. You know, I'd not really noticed that "fallen into disuse during the 1970s and 1980s" bit before and most sources concentrate on phenytoin 1938 as the turning point. The nail in the coffin for the KD was valproate, which came to the US in 1978 (the US often seems the last to get a good thing -- seen that before anywhere?) The ketogenic diet article mentions this second decline later.
I'm sorry it doesn't look like I'm being constructive with Metformin. I do want us to find a way of working together. I'm still reading the sources so am not really confident enough to add material yet. Even with time, it is folk like you and Fvasconcellos that are going to be better placed to make changes and add material. I've successfully worked with others who were pushing articles to FA, where my role was to provide a critical lay review and the expert revised the text. In those cases there was no way I could play an equal part in directly improving the text, but I believe I did play an indirect part in improving the text. I've been on the sharp end of a critical review myself, and one either has to take it on the chin and make changes, or provide a source based explanation of why the text is valid. Sometimes, like the example above, the solution is a mix of textual changes and additional sources.
If metformin is to reach FA, we need to deal with and agree there are fundamental policy-based problems, before we even begin to worry about brilliant prose, an engaging story or comprehensive research. In the first few sentences I checked, I found unsourced text, original research and misuse of primary sources. These will sink an FA like a stone. We need to get the house in order and be singing from the same hymn-sheet.
It would help if you were less defensive. This isn't about me claiming to be better than thou (the "without sin" comment). For sure it is easier to find fault than to be perfect oneself. But these faults need to be found and dealt with before FA. I didn't look to see who wrote what when I made the comments, so don't WP:OWN the text and feel you personally have to defend and keep it. There are more important things to worry about than some bloody Boots patent that nobody in the sixty-year history of metformin and over five thousand medical journal articles has bothered to comment on before [and if they have, please let me know]. Colin°Talk 21:54, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
I will try to be less defensive. And on second thoughts I agree with you that Boots is not important enough to be as a major source in History. I checked other pharmacology FA's and they usually mention only the first synthesis. I shall move that patent to the Chemistry part.
What we could do to avoid unnecessary arguments is to address sources on merits - not on a set of formal criteria. Wikilaw is useful to quickly shut down cranks, biased apologists and soapboxers. But neither you nor I have any ax to grind. But the Metformin article is outside our main field of interests, and we are editing it just for fun. We do not need the heavy hand of WIkilaw to resolve our differences -- to the contrary, I am afraid, if we involve Wikilaw to try to resolve them, we could "wikilawyer" and deconstruct each other to death.
Can we agree not to refer to guidelines in our discussions? There is no need for that - we both know them well enough. Can we discuss things purely on merits? It would make editing so much smoother. For example, I can hardly agree with removal of the Boots patent based on the Wikilaw, but I see the merits of removing it based on readability and precedent. The Sceptical Chymist (talk) 11:45, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
I think you have highlighted a difference between us. You think that because you are not a "crank, biased apologist or soapboxer" that Wikipedia guidelines and policies can be ignored to some degree. These P&Gs are not only an excellent framework for helping anonymous non-experts collaborate to write half-decent articles, but they provide a defence and foundation when the POV warriors come knocking. You and I might not be set on subverting WP for our own end, but you know articles like metformin can be a target for such people. We have no defence against them adding whatever material they like based on whatever sources they like, if we don't set an example. You might know our guidelines "well enough", but I don't see evidence you've taken them on board and apply them throughout.
If metformin doesn't obey our policy and guidelines, it will fail just as surely as if it were non-comprehensive or terrible prose. I don't think it would be helpful to restrain me from pointing out where I think the article fails in this regard. I won't edit war on the article text. You can choose to ignore my policy/guidelines comments should you wish to avoid conflict, and leave it to Fvasconcellos or others to judge/discuss. There are other aspects of content where I'm sure we can discuss more productively. Colin°Talk 15:37, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
I did not say Metformin should not obey policies and regulations, what I said is it would be more productive to avoid citing them at each other. My point is that discussions conducted in the plane of Wikilaw between us are never fruitful. Both of our views are based on policies, guidelines and precedents. We know them well, we can cite them in support of our views. But what we usually argue about is in gray areas of Wikilaw. That is why I suggest to base discussions between us on the universal law of reason.The Sceptical Chymist (talk) 16:01, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
If the law of reason was universal, we wouldn't need policies whose sole purpose is to take away the job of reasoning/analysing/interpreting/weighing/judging/etc and make them the job of our sources. By refusing to follow WP rules on this matter, you are actually taking away some of the mechanisms that stop Wikipedians arguing. Like judging the weight of an issue: if our sources give it no weight, then neither should we, job done and no need for further disagreement. We wouldn't need to argue whether an event was the first or marked a turning point or whatever, if our sources said so explicitly. I'd rather your response was "Well, so and so in such and such said this or that" than "I've counted the database search results prior and post this event and conclude ...". I'd prefer if our disagreement on WP policy interpretation was in obscure grey areas. It isn't. Colin°Talk 18:45, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

And now, for FV's traditional last-minute nonsectarian holiday greeting!

  Here’s wishing you a happy end to the holiday season and a wonderful 2010.
Fvasconcellos (t·c) 15:10, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Happy New Year!

  A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul."

—"A Noiseless Patient Spider" by Walt Whitman

Happy New Year Awadewit (talk) 05:53, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Main page

Have fun :) I'll help. Happy New Year! Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 02:59, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Oh wow. That was quick. That's made my day. OK, the blurb looks good but the only problem is the second last sentence gives the impression the diet is no longer used. I see the text is 1447 characters, which is longer than the 1200 benchmark so I guess we can't add more. Perhaps the whole "Developed in the 1920s, the ketogenic diet was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant drugs." sentence could be dropped and the "Developed in the 1920s, " bit stuck on the front of "The classic ketogenic diet contains"? Perhaps we could also replace one of the "The diet"s with "This medical nutrition therapy" to emphasise this is a serious therapy under medical supervision, not some fad diet. Thoughts? Am I able/allowed to edit the blurb or do I request changes somewhere? Colin°Talk 09:16, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Raul doesn't usually object to changes, but I'm not sure if the page is protected yet? You might make your changes, and then drop a note on his talk page, with a diff and explanation of the changes. If it's already protected, you'll have to suggest the changes on the talk page of the blurb, and find an admin to do it. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:17, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Looks like I missed the boat for making the change myself. I've made a suggestion on the talk page. Colin°Talk 11:42, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I have implemented the changes, could you tell Raul? Graham Colm Talk 12:30, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Award time

  The Original Barnstar
For an absolutely brilliant article on the ketogenic diet. Great stuff. RB88 (T) 02:06, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
I stayed up 'til 2 am ... all has been quiet for several hours, so I'm getting some beauty sleep now :) SandyGeorgia (Talk) 07:15, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Congratulations on an inordinately calm TFA, Colin. What's next on your list? :) Fvasconcellos (t·c) 01:33, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Thank you very much to all those who stayed up or otherwise helped monitor the page. Despite my fears it only got about 60 edits. Which is just as well as I was very busy IRL yesterday. The minor vandalism or incorrect edits were dealt with very swiftly -- so much so that every time I refreshed my watchlist, someone had beaten me to it. I didn't actually edit the article at all. I see that one person missed the opportunity to comment on the article during FAC, and made their opinions known! We even had a few helpful IP edits. The viewing stats for yesterday were 37,000 hits, which is not at all bad for an obscure medical subject, and 4.6M hits for the main page. A lot of people saw my wife's hand and my kitchen tiling! Colin°Talk 09:22, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Fvasconcellos, my next personal project will be tuberous sclerosis, though I'll be sure to help you and others out on your projects too, as I find the time. Colin°Talk 10:02, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for your help

Hi, Colin. I've just been studying again the comments you made on the talk page of the article on Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health. I really appreciate the time you took to explain things. And your tips about how to find reviews have been very helpful. Thanks much. TimidGuy (talk) 12:08, 4 February 2010 (UTC)


Melatonin is available in the UK. It may not be legal but it is available. Vexorg (talk) 18:37, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

List review request

I was told you are experienced in creating and reviewing high-quality lists. I have one up at FLC now, and it has been received with overwhelming ennui, which I don't know is a result of the basic lack of attention reviewers are giving lately, no one cares about the topic, or the list sucks and blows. If you have a moment, could you take a look at List of invasive species in the Everglades and let me know your thoughts? The FLC is here, as well. I appreciate your time. --Moni3 (talk) 14:47, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

User talk:Dravetfoundation

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement to the above user. On a related note, I remember seeing you around as a voice of reason and vaguely thought that you had the mop'n'bucket already. I have not checked your contributions in detail yet, but would standing at WP:RFA be something that would interest you? Regards, - 2/0 (cont.) 17:34, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. I'm not really interested in the mop'n'bucket, sorry. When I do find quality time for Wikipedia, I prefer to spend it writing or reviewing. At the moment, I'm not even finding time for that. Cheers, Colin°Talk 20:44, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Hepatic encephalopathy

Thanks for sorting out those URLs. I wasn't aware that the QJM article could be reached freely. I'm a bit surprised at the lack of response to the peer review request. Would you able to read the article more closely and offer your usually sage advice? JFW | T@lk 22:44, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Yes. I read through the Cash paper last night and the lead of the WP article. I've already made a few notes on my PC but didn't get very far before I ran out of time. I do intend to continue with it, though I may only manage a little bit at a time. Reviewers might be getting put off by the complex article title. Not much we can do about it, though you might try adding a lay-friendly sentence to the peer-review-request saying what the subject is and perhaps what aspects of review you feel it needs (some folk might think you just want it reviewed for medical accuracy and feel underqualified). The "...I thought some feedback would be useful" might be a little too passive for to stir our American friends into action :-) Colin°Talk 08:32, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for having a peek. I will clarify the PR request. The subject is indeed quite technical. Some of the articles on liver disease on Wikipedia are very good, thanks to Samir and the now departed Countincr. Hepatorenal syndrome is a really tough topic, yet it is FA. JFW | T@lk 20:02, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the copyedit. Rather than waiting for the PR rigamarole, do you think it meets GA criteria and should I submit it? JFW | T@lk 22:10, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm only a little over half-way through my first reading of the article (told you I was slow). At the moment, I'm just trying to see if it makes sense and reads OK. Then I'll check up on the sources to see if it accurately reflects them and is comprehensive. So I couldn't really confirm if it is GA level yet but I suspect you wouldn't have any problems that couldn't be dealt with while "on hold". I'm a "passed my driving test first time" sort of person. Perhaps you could ping a few potential reviewers. The folk who turned up at my ketogenic diet peer review were mostly invited. I suspect Awadewit is so busy as to only have time for potential FAs but the other names on that PR would all make excellent choices. If you do decide to curtail the PR, I'll make/continue my comments on the talk page, so I don't mind. Colin°Talk 22:38, 11 March 2010 (UTC)


Hello, Colin. You have new messages at Immunize's talk page.
Message added 16:06, 11 March 2010 (UTC). You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

Immunize (talk) 16:06, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Draft for query

How about something like this, as a first draft?

The first obstacle for blind readers of Wikipedia, according to a 2008 study, is lack of alternative text (alt text) for images.[draft 1] Wikipedia editors have responded to these concerns about the site's accessibility with a guideline for alternative text for images.[draft 2] This guideline is used for Wikipedia's newer featured articles and is highly visible outside the site: it is currently the first hit for the Google query 'alternative text'. The main source for this guideline has been the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.[draft 3]
Recently, a question has come up about the examples and overall thrust of the guideline. Although the guideline recommends that alt text be brief, it is criticized for not suggesting enough brevity. For example, in an article about Mary Bartelme,[draft 4] the article's only image currently has the alt text "Head and shoulders of a serious and dignified woman in her forties, with dark hair up and in a dress with high lace collar and a cameo at her throat, Edwardian style", and this wording has been criticized as being too detailed. Instead, it has been suggested to limit alt text to fewer words. Critics cite the RNIB guidelines, based on WCAG 1.0, which state "We recommend the maximum length does not exceed a short sentence."[draft 5] Supporters of the current guideline have argued that a too-brief description of Bartelme would not convey to blind readers the gist of Bartelme's appearance. Similar issues arise for other images where details are important, such as maps, graphs, and detailed text.
Could you please give us further advice about this? One possibility, if you have the time, is that an alt-text expert could review the examples in the Wikipedia guideline, and suggest rewording for existing alt-text examples when they need improving. We realize that choice of alt text depends greatly on context, so each example in the guideline specifies the image's context (another Wikipedia article), which can help guide the review. Any help that you can provide in this area would be greatly appreciated, and would help improve support for visually impaired readers of Wikipedia and of many similar websites.
Draft references
  1. ^ Buzzi M, Leporini B. Is Wikipedia usable for the blind?. In: Proceedings of the 2008 International Cross-disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (W4A). Beijing: 2008. (ACM International Conference Proceeding Series; vol. 317). p. 15–22. doi:10.1145/1368044.1368049. ISBN 978-1-60558-153-8.
  2. ^ Wikipedia. Wikipedia:Alternative text for images; 2009-03-15.
  3. ^ Caldwell B, Cooper M, Guarino Reid L et al., editors. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. W3C; 2008-12-11.
  4. ^ Wikipedia. Mary Bartelme; 2009-11-07.
  5. ^ RNIB. Alt text; 2009-09-11.

Eubulides (talk) 17:31, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. I'll look at this after I get home and have had my tea. My first thought is to turn it upside down with the request for help at the top. We're probably going to to get some admin person who won't have the faintest idea what alt-text is and the first thing they'll do is forward it on to someone technical. Colin°Talk 18:03, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, thanks, good idea. Eubulides (talk) 18:29, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
I've sent them an email. Thanks for your help. 22:34, 15 March 2010 (UTC)


Hello, Colin. You have new messages at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Medicine.
Message added 18:10, 20 March 2010 (UTC). You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

Immunize (talk) 18:10, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Another new message

You have another new message from me at Wikiproject medicines talk page. Best wishes. Immunize (talk) 13:43, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Using Wikipedia in class projects

I noticed that there are other people using Wikipedia as a tool for class projects. I am about to launch a class project on musculoskeletal injuries, where existing articles are updated or new ones created. I hope this leads to more featured articles on health and medicine. To ensure good quality work from my students, I am going to require peer review (FA extra credit). However, as an as-of-yet unpublished Wikipedian, I want to ensure that the project goes well, and does not create undue burden on the volunteer editors. Any suggestions are appreciated! Scholarchanter (talk) 07:10, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Just wanted to say ...

I think your proposed amendments to the alt text guidelines were a vast improvement, and a gigantic step in the right direction. I take my hat off to you (well, I would if I actually had a hat) for sticking with this thorny issue and trying to drive it to some kind of conclusion. Malleus Fatuorum 18:48, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Thank you. That's appreciated. Could you voice your approval at the proposal on the talk page, just so any consensus for change can be recorded. Colin°Talk 21:12, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Will do. Malleus Fatuorum 21:28, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Your spam removal

Thank you for your anti-spam maintenance effort. Please consider the use of {{uw-spam}} on the spammer's talkpage. Cheers, LeadSongDog come howl! 13:09, 20 May 2010 (UTC)


Hey, Colin-- I hope you're well! Did you ever get the Kushner Cursing Brain book? I'm traveling, and even when I return home, I may find that I've already packed it off to storage for my pending ... lifestyle changes. If you have that book, you might help me deal with a tedious issue. Why is it that those articles can sit dormant for months, but every time I travel, someone decides to muck up TS or PANDAS articles? <rhetorical> Best, SandyGeorgia (Talk) 10:58, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

Hi Sandy. Yes, I'm well but busy IRL as usual. I've got Kushner. What do you want to know? Colin°Talk 15:12, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Lovaas technique

People haven't called ABA, "Lovaas method" since the late 20th century, and it can be easily confused with the Applied behavior analysis article and is hard to find the article (Lovaas technique). Shouldn't it just be renamed to Applied Behavior Analysis? And the "current" Applied behavior analysis article seems redundant to the Behavior modification article. Shouldn't the behaivor modification and ABA article be merged? The early childhood intervention article could say: Applied behavior analysis (ABA, also known as Intensive behavior intervention, IBI, Early intensive behavioral intervention, or EIBI).... and to also read that this was implemented by Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas. (And in the history section it could describe the whole process with the aversive and behavior modification program, and B.F. Skinner and O. Ivar Lovaas which developed the Lovaas method.)

Wasn't the Behavior modification method picked up as a researched-based experimental project by Dr. Ivar Lovaas to use as an abusive approach (with the use of aversive developed by B.F. Skinner) for autistic children when it was thought to be a form of Schizophrenia in the '60s-'70s? And then in the '90s I believe it became a non-abusive/non-aversive approach and the name was revised to ABA? ATC . Talk 22:56, 2 June 2010 (UTC)


Hi Colin, a conversation came up on wiki med and I mentioned your name as someone who may like to try for adminship. Are you interested? You certainly have the experience and I imagine community support if you ran.--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 22:20, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Thanks Literaturegeek, but adminship doesn't interest me and I don't have enough time for WP to make it worthwhile even if it did. Cheers, Colin°Talk 18:34, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
You are welcome. It is a shame but I understand why you don't want to. :)--Literaturegeek | T@1k? 23:52, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Alternative text

Hello, Colin. You have new messages at SlimVirgin's talk page.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

SlimVirgin talk|contribs 08:23, 11 June 2010 (UTC)


Hi, I am currently involved in a proposal for a guideline on primary, secondary and tertiary sources. I have just discovered that you were once involved in a similar proposal a while ago - either in contributing to it directly or in discussing it on its talk page. You may wish to get involved in the current proposal and I would encourage you to do so - even if you just want to point out where we have gone wrong! Yaris678 (talk) 23:47, 13 June 2010 (UTC)


Pls check your old e-mail; I lost track of your new one. My fault, busy. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:21, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

WP:RFPP, Wikipedia:Alternative text for images

Hello, Colin. You have new messages at WP:RFPP.
You can remove this notice at any time by removing the {{Talkback}} or {{Tb}} template.

I'm probably the newest "regular" at RfPP, so I'm also probably the best-placed to handle your request. I have, however, declined it. Full protection would not prevent the admin in question from further editing the page, so I'm unconvinced that full protection is warranted here. However, I acknowledge that I'm quite likely "involved", by virtue of having worked with the editor in question. You may wish to consider WP:AN or WP:ANI to get input from uninvolved admins. Alternatively, I recommend WP:DR in my response at RfPP.

TFOWR 11:24, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Missing you on WP

I'll admit I'm a wiki-gnome, so I'm slow to get news sometimes. I was saddened to see that WP dysfunction has driven you to take a break, but I certainly understand how that could happen - some users generate too much drama to be tolerated, and I fear that you ran into some of those. That said, your contributions over the past 5 years have been incredible, and you'll be missed while you're gone. We've only shared a few efforts because I'm pretty low-key, but when I see your edits I always feel like a learn a little something - you bring a valuable perspective and level of quality to WP editing. Cheers, -- Scray (talk) 15:14, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

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