>> If you want to make a distinction between alternative medicine
>> and quackery would you object if I moved [[homeopathy]] to the
>> quackery category?
> I would.
> Me too. That's a really hard-to-defend
> category except for proven frauds.
I may well be mistaken. I'm not a native English
speaker and often miss fine distinctions in meaning.
Perhaps "quackery" has more negative connotations
than I was aware of. What I mean by "quack medicine"
is simply "treatments falsely presented as having
curative powers". If the term has more negative
connotations than that it may well be inappropriate
for a Wikipedia category.
I still think that "Alternative medicine" is misleading,
has undeserved positive connotations and does not represent
I still think the Quackery category and the Alternative
medicine category should be merged. If Quackery is an
unacceptable term then I suggest "Ineffective medicine".
We can debate the inclusion of each item there on its merits.
I would also be happy with Category:Pseudomedicine.
If you haven't heard, the board member elections are official on.
I'd like to encourage everyone who is eligible to participate, but I'd
also like to encourage you do like I did and cast a blank ballot.
Because we use approval voting, a blank ballot is the same as voting
for everyone and the same as not voting for all. But it is also
different because it shows your interest in the process, without
either approving of or disapproving of any particular candidate. Since
there already votes there is no risk of us going without a board,
which is good. :)
I have posted why I choose to vote blank and why I think you should do
the same on my userpage, and I welcome comments.
> Your definition, I'd say, is unusual. As far as I can see, quackery
> really have two meanings. One is stated in the beginning of
> It is a disputed article needing improvement, but it starts
> "Quackery is the practice of producing fraudulent medicine"
> and thus, if someone believes in what they are doing they are not
> If you can show good reasons to believe that homeopathy is a
> deliberate fraud, that it is illegal in at least a few countries, _or_
> a definition of the word "quackery" from a good source where the main
> meaning of the word supports you then please go ahead.
I got my definition of quack medicine from Webster's.
By your definition medicine that doesn't work is only
quackery if the practitioner is intentionally deceiving
the subject. I'm sure most homeopaths act more or less
in good faith. But I don't see any particular reason to
doubt that this is also the case for practitioners of the
stuff currently in the quackery category.
Our medical disclaimer notwithstanding I believe Wikipedia
should do its darndest to provide people with accurate
information on medical subjects. This includes making a
clear distinction between quackery/alternative medicine
and useful medical care.
I think the alternative medicine and quackery categories
should be merged because I don't believe that the difference
between them can be defined in a workable way. If there is
strong resistance to merging the alt. med. category into
the quackery category then I suggest merging the quackery
category into the alt. med. category.
> "Alternative medicine" is excellent as an NPOV category without
> introducing a needlessly pejorative term like "quack". "Not proven to
> work" within the rules of mainstream science is already implicit in the
> term "alternative". The concepts "not proven to work" and "proven not
> to work" are very different, and quackery would have more kinship with
> the latter.
It's very hard to prove something doesn't ever
work under any conditions. On the other hand
most popular "alternative medicine" stuff
*has* been put to scientific tests and *failed*.
When tested in properly controlled double blind
scientific studies (such as any new medicine is
subjected to) homeopathy has failed. More than once.
Homeopaths alternatively point to poorly conducted
studies that seemed to show some efficacy and, more
usually, anecdotal evidence. Sometimes they like to
imply that their craft has never been tested
scientifically and that scientific validation
is just around the corner. Needless to say, that
is not the case.
This is, I think, what many people think of when
they hear about "alternative medicine" - something
new that hasn't been properly tested but just might
work. That's the impression the quacks like to give
(often in good faith, no doubt) but it's wrong.
Most of this has been tested and failed long ago.
That's why it's accurate to call it quackery and
somewhat misleading to call it alternative medicine.
> "Falsely presented" is a point that would need to be proven. Do you
> have evidence that homeopathic medicines are not curative, or that they
> are just water?
Certainly. The homeopaths don't even really deny
the fact. Their idea is that the pure water they
sell has some magical properties. They don't usually
deny that chemically it's pure water.
James Randi (http://www.randi.org) offers his million
dollar price to anyone who has a method for distinguishing
between homeopathic water and normal water.
> That may very well be the case, but I would not be
> prepared to jump to that conclusion. Making definitive statements about
> these practices requires more than parroting the opinions of their
I may be a parrot but I'm
a fairly well informed one :)
> I can just as easily see that "quack medicine" has
> undeserved negative connotations, while "alternative" adequately warns
> the user to proceed at his own risk. The credibility of the various
> practices that come under this heading is wildly variable, and some may
> indeed qualify as quackery, but certainly not all.
The overwhelming majority of what quacks (and other
well-meaning people) like to call alternative medicine
is quackery. Sometimes the term is defined so broadly
as to include massage. This is a further attempt to
confuse the issue since massage has very little in
common with, for example, homeopathy.
To sum up the case against homeopathy:
1. Theory developed in the infancy of modern medicine.
2. No plausible mechanism by which it could work.
3. Proper scientific studies fail to show any efficacy.
4. No-one has come up with a method to distinguish between
normal water and homeopathic water.
5. It's sold for profit to many people around the world,
some of them sick and desperate.
What more could you possibly want in order to
classify something as quackery?
> The degree of doubt that there might be about homeopathy does indeed
> belong in the article on the topic.
Our article on [[Holocaust denial]] is in the
[[Category:Pseudohistory]]. That term sounds
pretty derisive to me. Does the "degree of
doubt that there might be" on the occurrence
of the Holocaust deserve a prominent place
and a sympathetic representation in any articles
related to it?
(I'm sorry for breaking Godwin's law. I honestly
tried to come up with another well known example
of pseudohistory. I tried the Apollo hoax theory
but for some reason the relevant article isn't
in the pseudohistory category. Nothing in that
category is as well known as [[Holocaust denial]].
To be absolutely clear I'm not suggesting that
any member of this list is a Holocaust denier
or that the Holocaust is somehow comparable to
homeopathy or other types of quackery.)
My opinion is that [[Homeopathy]] belongs both
in [[Category:Pseudoscience]] and in [[Category:Quackery]].
If there is a consensus that it doesn't I will
of course defer to it.
I'm willing to discuss other members of the
alternative medicine category on their individual
merits for classification as quackery.
-------------- Original message --------------
> Roll back to the previous version! That's some pretty powerful
> medicine there - it took twenty-odd hours to roll forward...
> There's a lot of bugs currently listed at
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:MW_1.5_bugs (which I've just
> discovered); there seems to be a good bit of patching going on. I
> suspect it'll be fixed relatively soon, and a buggy live wiki is
> better than a frozen one.
That would be good news. Given the expense of a rollback,
we can probably live with this if there a prospects of a fix
within a week.
However, is there a way to make the message on the edit
page FLASH, even though it was highlighted, it took me
many edits to finally notice it. You get out of the habit
of looking at the boilerplate. I bet others are not noticing
-- thanx, silverback
There is a message on the edit screens which acknowledges the bug. Here is the quote:
Expect edit conflicts.
Due to a bug on the new software, edit conflicts will overwrite other people's changes, even if you do not save on the edit conflicts screen, and even if you were editing a different section. As a courtesy, take a look at the edit history after saving and fix any accidental text deletion or duplication.
This is pretty serious. They should roll back to the previous version. -- Silverback
"Quackery and alternative medicine is not the same. In Great Britain,
healers etc. are often welcomed to work in the hospitals. That is
alternative medicine/complementary medicin, choose what term you like
best. The German ex-med-doctor (forgot his name) who claim that cancer
is pure psychological and cancer patients should leave the normal
health care and go to him for some kind of therapy, is a definity
By my definition quack medicine is a remedy falsely presented as
having curative powers. In this sense the overwhelming majority
of "alternative medicine" is quackery. Homeopaths, for example,
sell people water and tell them that it will cure their illness.
If you want to make a distinction between alternative medicine
and quackery would you object if I moved [[homeopathy]] to the
There seems to be a huge increase in people "deleting" each others edit to talk pages. Since it has happened in different page communities, and I have even deleted the comments of others unwittingly without being notified of edit conflicts. I suspect a bug in the new software. Is anyone else seeing this?
-- thanx, Silverback
> Since the upgrade yesterday, my python bot code is no longer working
> and halts with the following error:
You need to edit families/wikipedia_family.py and on lines 106–110 move
all wikipedias from latin1 to latin1old. Hopefully the pywikipedia
developers will fix this and make a new release soon.
-------------- Original message --------------
> >From: actionforum(a)comcast.net
> >There seems to be a huge increase in people "deleting" each others edit to
> >talk pages. Since it has
> >happened in different page communities, and I have even deleted the
> >comments of others
> >unwittingly without being notified of edit conflicts. I suspect a bug in
> >the new software. Is anyone
> >else seeing this?
> > -- thanx, Silverback
> This was moderately common even before the upgrade.
I never had it happen before the upgrade, and never deleted other edits myself. I had edit conflicts occur more often before the upgrade, this seems to be happening when edit conflicts should be occurring. I can recall only one edit conflict occuring since the upgrade, and given what was going on, on these talk pages, more should have been happening.
Perhaps, I just had a coincidental multiple occurrance of rare behavior that was present before the upgrade.