User talk:ImperfectlyInformed

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Note to self on commitments and subscriptions[edit]

My current focus (as of 2018-03) is software development, career and personal development. Until I figure out how to sustainably contribute, unsubscribing from:

  • categories of economy, trade, and companies
  • Math, science, and technology
  • Politics, government, and law

II | (t - c) 17:21, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

ArbCom 2018 election voter message[edit]

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Okay, I'm back[edit]

I had other priorities. And then I realized that I care too much about this project.

But first, I needed to make a point. When you go so far as to defend editors who clearly do not understand the subject matter of the article -- and obviously have made no effort to engage with the material -- and then threaten to take other editors to arbitration for calling out an obvious argument from ignorance, that comes across as not only uncivil but obnoxious and threatening on your part. At this rate, you will be the only person covering the law articles on this encyclopedia.

With the benefit of hindsight, I'll readily admit that I should have attempted to first coolly attempt to elicit any reasoned rationale for the proposed move from User:Arrivisto before drawing conclusions. (As you should have noticed by now, that user's next statement confirmed the obvious: he does not understand what is a contract.) But that logic goes both ways. There were more tactful ways to call me out for jumping to conclusions (as User:BD2412 did), short of making a threat.

In the meantime, I've noticed over a dozen examples of vandalism or just grossly incompetent editing on important articles that slipped through during the past seven months, including Law of the United States (where the vandalism was quite subtle) and Product liability (which was formerly a decent summary and is now utterly incoherent). I deliberately refrained from reverting those edits in order to confirm a longstanding theory of mine: I'm the only editor who cares enough to monitor those articles regularly enough to recognize bad edits. I hope you're prepared to step up if I ever decide that I no longer care. --Coolcaesar (talk) 08:11, 26 November 2018 (UTC)

I'm very glad that you're back! I'll refrain from repeating myself, and I appreciate your cool tone. I don't want to sound condescending, but I think you will find that the restraint of a cool and professional tone is well worth the effort. One of my favorite quotes is from Schopenhauer on the topic:

It is a wise thing to be polite; consequently, it is a stupid thing to be rude. To make enemies by unnecessary and willful incivility, is just as insane a proceeding as to set your house on fire. For politeness is like a counter--an avowedly false coin, with which it is foolish to be stingy.

I also must stress WP:GOODFAITH, and hope you look at ignorance as an opportunity for education. I think we should consider doing conference calls when things get heated. II | (t - c) 08:31, 26 November 2018 (UTC)

Page for Richard T. Burke?[edit]

Hi, ImperfectlyInformed. I see you recently did some solid editing to the page about UnitedHealth Group. I'd like to briefly propose the idea of creating a page for Richard T. Burke, the founder and chairman of UnitedHealth group. The founder and chairman of the world's largest healthcare company deserves a page. Based on your recent edits to the UnitedHealth Group page, I'm confident you would do a good job of getting it started, much better than I would. If you have no interest, and don't want this on your talk page, don't hesitate to delete this comment. Just an idea. Anyway, thanks for the edits to UnitedHealth Group. Carlsonaar (talk) 10:54, 8 December 2018 (UTC)

I agree that he could use a page, but why don't you think you could do a good job? Let's work on it together. Can you do some searching for sources and start a stub in your draft space? II | (t - c) 14:51, 8 December 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the sources you left on the talk page for UnitedHealth Group. I've never started a page before, but there's a first time for everything. I have no excuse not to just do it myself. I'll see if I can give it a go. Thanks again for the sources and the encouragement. Carlsonaar (talk) 10:34, 11 December 2018 (UTC)

Rikkunshito edit[edit]

Hello -- I reverted this edit because a) the studies reviewed were on small numbers of subjects or done using animals in lab studies (a very low-quality review), and b) that journal published low-quality, non-MEDRS content, with a low (2.0) impact factor. Best to avoid citing literature from EBCAM for WP medical content. Kind regards --Zefr (talk) 02:57, 20 April 2019 (UTC)

Zefr (talk · contribs), there is no such thing as a "MEDRS" journal, as noted at the last paragraph at Wikipedia:Identifying_reliable_sources_(medicine)#Biomedical_journals (i.e., there is no black/white list). I understand that we have a certain United States institutional bias, but I have no idea what journals are on your list, and I'm probably not OK with whatever small list (mostly by not freely-accessible) publishers you have in mind. Seems to be a fairly arbitrary decision - all review articles discuss a quite varied level of evidence, and requiring that all medical content discuss - what, multicenter RCTs? - seems quite unrealistic. Where would you prefer to handle this dispute resolution? We can go to WP:3O, then WP:RFC, and so on. As I'm sure you are aware, impact factor is controversial - see Impact_factor#Criticisms. I like a PageRank-based algorithm, altho that's a topic for another time. II | (t - c) 04:20, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
Note, I think that this institutional bias is something that needs to be discussed on a broader meta-level. There's arguably a cultural bias bordering on unethical (I'll try to avoid more inflammatory language) in how Wikipedia treats publication by researchers from anywhere other than the United States (or maybe Europe). In this case, there's lots and lots of literature including reviews - if you don't like that journal, we can use another one. But if *all* 14 reviews, plus the ones since 2014 (somewhere around a half-dozen), then that's frankly troubling. My understanding is that rikkunshito is also approved by the government of Japan for cachexia treatment; I haven't done a full literature in a few years. II | (t - c) 04:45, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
"there is no black/white list". Actually, WP does maintain a source blacklist called "Crapwatch" here, and EBCAM is on it (under Alternative medicine, which disqualifies that journal from use on medical topics). We can find a better ref, perhaps this. For the Appetite article, I'm ok with saying that rikkunshito is "under preliminary research to identify its potential use as an appetite stimulant". This is fact, but to state it more conclusively is misleading. I'm copying part of this discussion to the Appetite talk page. If you're curious about the opinion of other medical editors, I suggest an entry on WT:MED. --Zefr (talk) 17:28, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
@Zefr:, actually being about alt med alone isn't disqualifying on its own. E.g. Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies is very likely fine, for example. The issue with EBCAM is that it, like many but not all journals on alternative medicine, is that its peer-review process is a joke, and will publish pretty much anything 'pro' alt med, regardless of the scientific merits. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:05, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
@Zefr and Headbomb: Ultimately it's fair to say that we are the final arbiter of what we allow in and we should maintain high-quality, but the more that we can base determinations on actual evidence, the better. It's a bit hypocritical to accuse journals of being fraudulent if we can't readily point to good evidence. I don't follow scholarly publishing like I used to (altho apparently I'm still #3 in authorship of academic publishing) but Jeffrey Beall stopped updating his list a couple years ago. And EBCAM, for example, was not on the list, and Hindawi was taken off it in 2010. It seems that the anonymous person who revived the list [1] who will not be updating it. Hopefully we'll have more work to rely upon - things like Retraction Watch, more "stings", maybe Cabell's, or even standardized processes around review could help. Blithely saying that an entire journal is unusable because some American librarian said years ago so isn't really very rigorous.
As far as the alternative medicine field, EBCAM is notable in that it has been called out specifically by Ernst. But I'm not sure how the algorithm in general handles better-run AM journals. Seems like it might pick up "unreliable fields" without looking at the substance of such publications. Certainly if an alternative medicine publication uncritically publishes stuff like homeopathy or whatever, it shouldn't be used. But not sure such analysis has been done in most cases.
Also, as mentioned in the talk, ultimately these efforts should merge with meta:WikiCite which aims to make automatic quality-checking easier. Exciting stuff! II | (t - c) 07:37, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
EBCAM has a lot more going against it than just Beall's word. See, e.g. the thoughts of one of its founding editors, who describes its articles as 80% of 'useless rubbish' with a peer-review system that is 'farcical'. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 07:45, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
Which shouldn't be much of a surprise, given the pay-to-publish model it has. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 07:57, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

In choosing high-quality sources for WP medical content, editors also have to maintain a healthy skepticism and assess candidate sources critically. The original object of this discussion - rikkunshito use to improve appetite reported in the EBCAM review ("Mogami") - was a systematic review, which (by title) qualifies it for consideration, rather than dismissing it outright because it's a CAM source. Inspecting the clinical studies in the Mogami review, however, reveals they were all disqualifying studies with low subject numbers and weak designs (section 3.1), i.e., if judged individually, each would be called "primary research" at best and not used. So, is a review of questionable primary studies acceptable because it consolidates clinical studies on the rikkunshito-appetite topic? Some would say 'yes', although I maintain it's 'no'; that the editorial review allowed Mogami to be published testifies about the low-overall quality of the journal. The Ernst editorial makes an additional case against EBCAM and by inference other CAM journals: the research quality is generally so poor that authors seek to pay their way into publication. Another way of looking at this is to ask if the Mogami 'systematic review' could pass muster in a rigorously reviewed journal, like Lancet or NEJM. Definitely not, leading us to find a more reliable source for a topic that will always be nebulous for defining efficacy, specificity, and safety, as was done for rikkunshito and ghrelin, although not with much satisfaction (for me). --Zefr (talk) 14:11, 21 April 2019 (UTC)

For II's skepticism concerning WP editors and choices for source quality, background here. --Zefr (talk) 15:24, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) We need to move away from journal-level medals. There is no need to launch an investigation into the journal nor to read tea leaves about its average quality: just look straight into the reality at hand, i.e. the authors of this work. I say they're clearly suspicious, given 1) their academic credentials and experience seem unknown, 2) they are working for a private company. When you see that their employer sells that product and that they declare a conflict of interest for this reason, there's no need to look further. Their work cannot alone be used for any such claim, much like any publication by Monsanto swearing that glyphosate is safe, whatever journal contains it. The article could however be used as a source for a sentence like "companies selling rikkunshito have attempted to demonstrate its benefits for X compared to Y", or something similar. Nemo 15:27, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
Zefr, NEJM is not an example of a "rigorously reviewed journal": in fact it tops the retraction index by a large margin and its articles on average have questionable statistical qualities. Nemo 16:22, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
Nemo_bis. Good points about the Mogami study. The article you provide on high impact journals does state "the best reporting practices ... were present in more than 80% of articles published in NEJM and Lancet". There will be arguments all around about what are the most respected journals and why, but NEJM has been ranked highest by almost every index for years or as long as there have been impact factors. Most medical authors would also attest that getting an article published in NEJM may be the most difficult of all journals. --Zefr (talk) 16:42, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
Tressoldi et al. appear to consider those best practices essential, to the point that any score below 100 % should be considered a failure. I cannot say whether they are right, but the point is that journal-level metrics like the impact factor are very poor predictors of the quality of individual publications. I understand that a lot of the best researchers will flock to such famous journals, but fraudsters will too, for the same reasons.
When you see OUP and Wiley publish articles on glyphosate co-authored by Monsanto employees without even a standard COI acknowledgement, you can't help but conclude that their pre-publication checks are astonishingly inadequate: as for minimal quality checks which the publisher ought to guarantee, Hindawi did a better job with the Tsumura article than OUP and Wiley did in that case. Should we just trash anything anyone publishes with them? Certainly not. We need to take a critical look at every source equally.
Please just forget using the impact factor or any journal-related metric ever again in a Wikipedia discussion and I guarantee you'll be better off! Nemo 10:57, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
@Nemo bis, Zefr, and Headbomb:, thought of this conversation when I saw We Tried to Publish a Replication of a Science Paper in Science. The Journal Refused. - in my admittedly limited experience (I stopped reading regularly reading Science and Nature years ago) it seems clear that the high-profile journals prioritize splashiness over rigor; this was also part of the explanation for why a 2011 study found that "journal retraction index versus the impact factor revealed a surprisingly robust correlation between the journal retraction index and its impact factor (P < 0.0001 by Spearman rank correlation)" [2]. What gets measured gets managed, and prolly part of the reason that *Science* refuses to publish a failed replication is that it doesn't see it see it as interesting enough to increase the impact factor. Additionally, "Perversely, a weak paper that is being refuted will augment the impact factor, as will a retracted article, because although the article may have been retracted, the citations of this article will still count" [3]. Hopefully we will have an open-source alternative eventually which can be fine-tuned. Generalist journals don't really seem that great to me, but I suppose it's fair to rebut that at least high IF journals (1) represent areas where high-profile discussion is happening and (2) have lots of submissions and therefore take their pick of the litter. II | (t - c) 07:10, 24 June 2019 (UTC)


What on earth is promotional about MY edit? Nothing. Revert your revert of my edit, or justify it. (Leave your revert of the promotional edits, by all means.) Re 2601:643:8680:158F:5972:9BD:41CB:349 (talk) 01:11, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

@2601:643:8680:158F:5972:9BD:41CB:349:, hmm, sorry, that was an accident. But linking LDT there is overlinking - it's the first thing linked in that sentence. II | (t - c) 01:24, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

Potassium bicarbonate[edit]

I replied to your comment on Potassium bicarbonate, but now it does not exist. Has it been deleted? _ _ _ _ 83d40m (talk) 13:16, 26 May 2019 (UTC)

ArbCom 2019 election voter message[edit]

Scale of justice 2.svgHello! Voting in the 2019 Arbitration Committee elections is now open until 23:59 on Monday, 2 December 2019. All eligible users are allowed to vote. Users with alternate accounts may only vote once.

The Arbitration Committee is the panel of editors responsible for conducting the Wikipedia arbitration process. It has the authority to impose binding solutions to disputes between editors, primarily for serious conduct disputes the community has been unable to resolve. This includes the authority to impose site bans, topic bans, editing restrictions, and other measures needed to maintain our editing environment. The arbitration policy describes the Committee's roles and responsibilities in greater detail.

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