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Thread: Is the quality of the studies linked to not an issue when it's liked? page

  1. #1
    JohnC's Avatar
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    Is the quality of the studies linked to not an issue when it's liked?

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    Note: I'm posting this in this forum because it seems to most closely match what I'm concerned about, I apologize in advance if this is not the right forum, please let me know.

    In response to Weekend Link Love - Edition 305 | Mark's Daily Apple article which had the following section and link at the top:

    "
    Research of the Week

    When you study actual living and breathing runners who’ve switched to barefoot-style running, the results are overwhelmingly positive.
    "

    This was a link to a "study" which if it were telling the world why you need to get your heart healthy whole grains would have sent most MDA readers rushing to their keyboards to point out all the various things that are terribly wrong with this "study". In this case the "study" was nothing more than self reported questionnaire on running blogs and "facebook pages". Not a study in any meaningful sense and certainly not "scientific" or controlled or...well..anything that Mark's Daily Apple is supposed to stand for.

    I pointed this fact out in the comments in an un-snarky manner a couple of days ago and requested that they do better in future because I trust that the info on this site is valid enough I can recommend people to come here and that was just a bad link.

    However I just noticed today they removed my comment completely from that post and kept the link to the bad "study" and left in the text exclaiming it.

    (Note: I did recomment again just now today in a much more snarky manner out of anger at the censorship and I wish I could delete that because it's pointless and unprofessional so if you see a comment from JohnC it's me but they will likely delete it again anyway.)

    I don't know how others feel but this is really troublesome for so many reasons, not only the bad "study" link but the censorship after a mild complaint.

    Do I really trust the info here if they so casually link to bad science and I do not see anyone's criticism of it? Doesn't that just make this site an echo chamber in the end?

    Mark always says he's open to new science and criticism but when even mild constructive criticism is censored I'm not so sure I want to come here anymore.

    Is this just a one off or an accident or...?
    Last edited by JohnC; 07-22-2014 at 06:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Elliot's Avatar
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    I feel similarly. Many people don't seem to appreciate what constitutes good evidence. I generally try to ignore most epidemiology because I consider it to be fairly meaningless, but then other people accuse me of "cherry-picking."

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    JohnC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot View Post
    I feel similarly.
    At least two of us care!

    Having my comment removed for pointing it out is actually the most troubling thing to me; if a bad link to bad information gets by whoever is in charge of that stuff here then I guess it is what it is, stuff happens (though it really really shouldn't for this site in particular where bad information and bad "studies" in particular are vilified on a regular basis).

    However to not allow people to point out those bad links to bad information or do anything about them beyond censoring the person pointing it out is completely against the spirit of this site as I understood it.

    I think it's safest to take everything I see on this site with a skeptical eye from now on and time to start looking for somewhere else more science based to send friends interested in the Paleo diet, something has changed for the worse.

  4. #4
    Elliot's Avatar
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    Accepting invalid evidence is problematic, but censoring opposing opinions is so much worse. If they really edited your comment because they disagreed with it, I'm rather disappointed.

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    JohnC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot View Post
    Accepting invalid evidence is problematic, but censoring opposing opinions is so much worse. If they really edited your comment because they disagreed with it, I'm rather disappointed.
    I don't know for certain why it was removed, but I did endeavour to be polite and helpful in tone and it's content was entirely concerned with the link to the "study", nothing else; my best guess is it was removed because it was critical in nature.

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    Rig D's Avatar
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    Other than this blog post, have you attempted to contact anyone in charge of the web site, like Mark, with your issue?
    I would be surprised if it were a deliberate effort to suppress opposing thoughts.

  7. #7
    JohnC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rig D View Post
    Other than this blog post, have you attempted to contact anyone in charge of the web site, like Mark, with your issue?
    I would be surprised if it were a deliberate effort to suppress opposing thoughts.
    Mark replies in the comments to the daily news posts on the main page regularly, in fact it was his name as the author under the two 'weekend link love' posts that I commented on both last weekend and the one before.

    That's where I posted it the first time, directly addressed to him and it was deleted and that's where I posted a similar question last weekend (not directly addressed to him) and it was *also* deleted so that's twice now and no response.

    I assumed the most appropriate area to discuss the daily blog post is in the comments under the daily blog post.

    After this second deletion, I now have no doubt at this point that carefully worded, polite, but critical comments are not welcome and are deleted on the daily news post comments section unless it's spectacular co-incidence.

    To be charitable I'll assume that this site and enterprise has grown too large for Mark or that he isn't actually the person that posts under his own name or that he doesn't actively supervise the comments himself or that he no longer has time to supervise the quality of the information posted in the daily news (blog) section and not something more sinister.

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